Silver Street – for dVerse

You can spot the Silver Street kids at school –
they glimmer and dart, like fish in a pool –
and their mothers are slim, and their hair is pale,
and they whisper and sway, like trees in a gale,
and their fathers walk to a silent beat-
that’s the way that they roll, in Silver Street.

There isn’t much to see by day,
When the doors are shut, and the pavements are grey,
but lamplit stalls selling curious treats
come out at night, on Silver Street,
and a silver coin is what you must pay
for a bottle of dreams, or a charm to say,

And on moonlit nights, when the air is sweet,
there’s singing and dancing on Silver Street,
though sensible people stay away
when the Silver Street fiddles start to play,
for you never know just who you might meet
when the dancing starts on Silver Street –

For a Silver Street boy might tempt you to stay,
or a Silver Street girl might whisk you away,
so turn your back, and plant your feet
when the music starts up on Silver Street.

They shimmer and gleam, like fish in a pool –
you can spot the Silver Street kids at school.

 

I’m hosting at dVerse tonight – come and join us! We’re getting poetic about street names – the strange, the unusual, the quirkier the better. The dVerse bar is open for words, rhymes, rhythms and imagination. You’ll like it there. 

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Silent sounds – haibun for dVerse

For a few moments, the ocean was everything. I was in it, and it was in me, filling my head with its noise, its motion, the taste of salt, the smell of brine. All I could see was blue water, and the light scattering through foam. For a few moments, that was enough to drown out that voice in my head. For a few moments, I floated free of to-do lists, decisions about dinner, fragments of song lyrics, re-plays of conversations – all that stuff that fills my head, that tangle of words and phrases – lost in pure sensation.

Leaf falls from the tree

Petal falls from the flower

Silent as a thought.

 

For Frank at dVerse – read the prompt over there!

Age – a contrapuntal poem for dVerse

Half killed by lightning
paper doll
left burnt and broken
translucent
stubbornly pushing out
against the window, fluttering
green leaves, each spring
in the soft breath of the day,
as if the sap still rises
fearfully, fearfully,
joyfully, joyfully.

You are the same substance
made delicate, artifice
drinking the rain, eating the sun,
dressed in soft paleness
oak tree imagining the world
carrying a parasol, an umbrella,
feet deep in the dark soil
hands reaching, reaching,
branches open wide
fearfully, fearfully,
joyfully, joyfully.

This is for Paul at dVerse. It’s a contrapuntal poem – two poems that can be read separately or combined to form something new. The formatting on WordPress has defeated me on several occasions, so the only way I could think of separating the poems was to put one in plain font and one in italics. Three poems for the price of one! Bargain.

 

My humorous anecdote – for dVerse

We have a funny story
that we often try to tell,
so funny, when we start it,
we giggle for a spell

We can’t remember how it starts
or recall how it ends,
so perhaps we shouldn’t share it
with our dinner party friends

but it’s really so amusing,
it always makes us smile,
so we keep on trying to tell it,
and we struggle for a while –

we argue on location,
can’t recall the time of day,
but it was so hilarious,
we must tell you, we say,

about this thing that happened,
though we cannot say quite what,
a story with no ending,
no middle and no plot:

There were definitely two bottles,
or maybe six, or four,
and we know there were two men involved,
though maybe there were more,

it’s such a funny story,
and we really want to share,
but we can’t tell you how it began,
and maybe you had to be there;

but still, for us it’s easy
to make each other smile –
we just say “Gin and Limca”
and then giggle for a while.

 

I’m not very good at amusing anecdotes. I’m more of a witty comeback kind of gal. This is what happens when me and my husband try to tell our favourite funny story. This is for Mark Walters, who is guest hosting at dVerse tonight, and asks us to tell a true life funny story in verse. 

Words

Who would I be without books,
if I could only scrawl my name,

or not even that, just make a mark
thumb pressed in black ink,
writing a mystery, marks dancing
and empty masque on a white stage?

all those words unread, unwritten –
words I have gobbled up, plots
I have sucked dry, narratives gulped
and guzzled, and then my writing,
words scratched, scratched out,
scribbled, scrawled, scraped out of me,
words flung freely, words floating
in the air around me, waiting to be grabbed
and grappled, as if I’m catching fireflies
made of indiarubber.

What happened to all those “me”s?
Did we talk more, tell stories,
pull an audience in around the fire?
Did we carry the soul, the story,
the history of whatever people
we chanced among? Did we knead our
words into dough, cut our words
out of apples? Did we stitch stories
into samplers? Did we daydream
as we moved dust from place to place,
see plotlines moving in the flames?
Did we chant poems to the moon?
Did we pray? Did we whisper our words
into our children’s ears as they slept?

So many words. I have lost count.
More darkness than star, more grass
than flower, more sea than foam,
I have buried myself in them,
feasted on them,
vampire suckled myself on them.

Brand new cities:

I   New York

In Tiffany’s, the diamonds glitter
like the Milky Way. In Macy’s
there’s a perfume counter selling
true love, so they say. On
Fifth Avenue, a yellow taxi’s
pulling in. The woman climbing out
has never had to worry
about payday. In Central Park,
a soldier puts his kit bag down
to start a conversation with a cat.

II   Dublin

In Brown Thomas, there’s a man
flicking through soft bright ties,
and thinking about shoulders,
white shoulders rising out of
creased, white linen sheets.
He’s got Italian silk socks
in English leather shoes,
and he’s going home tonight
to a woman he’s betrayed.
On Stephen’s Green, a girl is lying
in the grass, watching the clouds
drift by, and wondering
if she’ll always feel this way.

III   London

In Harrods’ food department
two women meet and chat.
“Cheerio!” they say, turning aside,
the thin one with a basket full
of cheese, and chocolate, and pate:
the plump one was just looking,
totally came here for the kicks;
and in Hyde Park, a woman pauses
to watch a squirrel skip
from tree to tree, tail swaying,
and wonders if she ought to
Instagram it, but she’s left it
all too late. The moment’s gone.

This is for Lillian at dVerse, who asks us to “noodle” with brand names. See how many you can spot! I liked this so much I couldn’t choose, so I’ve done three linked poems, one for each supermarket shelf – cereals, candy bars and perfume. I’ve copied the whole prompt below, for your delight and edification. I can usually summarise, but this one is long and complicated:

  • Choose ONE category FROM THE THREE GIVEN BELOW.
  • Include AT LEAST TWO of the brands listed IN YOUR CHOSEN CATEGORY, in the BODY of your poem.
  • Use the brand name’s words as words.
  • If one of the brand names you select has two words in it, try to use the two words in the same order as the brand does.

PLEASE NOTE : If you choose the Candy Bar category, do not write a poem about candy bars, including three of the candy bar names in your poem. Instead, use the words to refer to something other than a candy bar. Noodle with the words in the brand name! 

HINT: You may find the need to use a form of the word – as in “mounded” or “mounding” instead of “mounds”. BUT – a synonym for the word will not count. IE using the word “piles” instead of “mounds” will not fulfill the prompt.

Here’s the 3 Category lists (remember to choose only one category!)

CANDY BARS
Charleston Chew
Butterfinger
Chuckles
Kit-Kat
Snickers
Milky Way
Mr. Goodbar
Mars Bar
5th Avenue
Oh, Henry!
Pay Day
Baby Ruth
Mounds
Krackel
Twix
3 Musketeers

PERFUMES
My Sin

Tabu
White Shoulders
English Leather
Ambush
Charlie
Opium
White Linen
Beautiful
Romantica
Obsession
Red Door
Allure
Insolence
Midnight Poison
Diamonds
Untold
Reveal

CEREALS
Kix

Cherrios
Froot Loops
Apple Jacks
Trix
Life
Fruity Pebbles
Total
Lucky Charms
Cap’n Crunch
Special K
Alpha-Bits
Chex
Cocoa Puffs
Harvest Crunch
Count Chocula
Frosted Flakes
Puffed Wheat

 

Birdlife – haibun for dVerse

The birds have built their nests, and are waiting for their eggs to hatch. It’s a moment of pause for them – soon they’ll be spending their time feeding, feeding, feeding, because nestlings are hungry and need constant attention. They won’t have time to watch the bluebells going over, and the blossom falling. They won’t notice spring turning into summer. They’ll be interested in food and predators – their world view narrowed down to the basics of survival. Their young will keep them busy until the moment the fledgelings make their first stuttering flight. It won’t be long then, until the young birds fly away to make their own lives, and become rivals for territory.

The rooks are different. They welcome their children into the tribe – the more the merrier. Their nests are spreading through the ash trees, an aerial housing development, with penthouse views, and excellent, if noisy,  neighbours.

 

waiting for eggs to hatch

blossom falling, spring turning

flight through the ash trees

 

An erasure haibun for Xenia Tran, who is guest hosting at the dVerse poets’ pub tonight. She asks us to write a haibun that alludes to compassion or self-sacrifice, without naming it directly. 

 

Fountain

The sun created a jostling queue at the drinking fountain. Jake stood his ground, though, gulping cool water from the spout, then filling his bottle. He’d seen the pale girl again, sitting in the shade. If he offered her a drink, maybe he could sit with her for a while. She looked thirsty.

 

Fifty-three little words for Sammi Cox’s weekly challenge.