NYC Poems

74707-poetry-friday-logoI’m in New York right now, participating in Teachers College Summer Institute for Reading. What a week of learning this has been! I’m always inspired to write by the sights and sounds of the city around me, but it’s tough to find time and mental energy to devote to it. Here are a few in-the-works poems inspired by the sights and sounds of NYC. 

Broadway buzzes by
he curls around his black bag
a sleeping question

©Molly Hogan, 2019

A Subway Moment

swept into the subway
by torrents of rain
and arcs of lightning
I stumble onto the train and stand
pressed against passengers
a humid mass
of bedraggled humanity

through the window
I see a man
sitting on the platform
his hands dance gracefully in the air
drumming an inaudible tune
against an invisible drum

his bag of belongings behind him
he sits in his island
taps and beats until
his hands agitate
as if tripped up, bumping up
against microscopic motes
He grimaces
cocks his head
his hands still
Until…in a moment
his face smooths and
he resumes
his drumming

above us thunder booms
rain pummels the city
my train pulls away

Molly Hogan ©2019 (draft)
(Note—I edited this after first posting)

Journey

A man slept on the street
his naked feet
pale and surprisingly pink
peeked from beneath
a dingy blanket

Who washed these feet
when they were small?
Did anyone count and kiss
each precious toe?
Chase the little piggies
all the way home?
wee wee wee
What a journey

Molly Hogan ©2019 (draft)

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by children’s author, poet and wonderful photographer, Buffy Silverman at her blog (here). She’s sharing a peek into Helen Frost and Rick Lieder’s book “Hello I’m Here” and a wonderful original advice poem. What a delight!

Love Poem

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My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this past Monday. I wrote him this, my first love poem, in honor of the occasion.

Love Poem

If I wrote a list of my favorite things
owls would perch there
as would the seed heads of dandelions
with their wind-wild confetti parties
I’d jot down twisting wisps of dawn-lit fog
dew-bedecked spider webs and
the first chorus of the spring peepers
along with bloom-laden stalks of hollyhocks
the scents of balsam and cinnamon
and the echoing cry of a loon
Then, above them all,
there’s that spot on your neck
beneath your left ear
and your scent that rises as I lean in
to press my lips there
the constellation of freckles on your shoulders
and the solid warmth of you beside me
at the close of every day

Molly Hogan ©2019

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Mary Lee Hahn at her blog, A Year of Reading . She’s sharing a wonderful original poem entitled “I Am Not”, inspired by a Naomi Shihab Nye prompt. This week many others are also sharing poems with a Naomi Shihab Nye theme. Stop by to check them out!

Complaint

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Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Oscar Wilde

Like many others in my neck of the woods, I’m a bit obsessed with the weather these days. Overall, it’s been a pretty miserable spring. Chilly, drizzly and grey. I’ve tried to talk myself into appreciating it. All this rain sure makes everything green!  or Well,  it’s easier to still be in school when the weather’s not so nice.  or …. Well, honestly, I can’t think of much else. Maybe,  At least you won’t get a sunburn?! Clearly, I’m reaching here.

So, I’m terribly sorry, Oscar, but I’ve decided to grab onto this silver lining: The crummy weather gives me something to write about. It inspired my first dizain last week (Rainy Spring Lament) and today I’m lodging another poetic complaint. 

Complaint

Yo, Springtime, why you gotta be so rude?
It’s April showers in that platitude
May’s for sun and blossom amplitude
This weather smacks of nasty attitude
My sunscreen lotion cap is still unscrewed
My pallid winter skin is still unhued
Can’t you gift us with an interlude,
a patch of sunny day to up the mood?
Folks down here are gettin’ kinda rude
This weather is a major downer, Dude!

©Molly Hogan, 2019

 

NPM 2019–Autumnal Paint Chips

This morning I listened to the spring peepers before the sun rose, and pulled four paint chip colors that turned my thoughts to fall: Mystical Shade, Surprise Amber, Autumnal, and Summer Day.

What mystical shade marks the shift
from summer day to autumnal eve?
Is there a surprise amber
that stealthily permeates leaves,
tints the tips of tallest trees,
then tilts the balance
toward wintry breeze?

©Molly Hogan, 2019 (rough draft)

NPM 2019 Beta Fish to the Rescue!

I picked another three random colors today in my on-again-off-again NPM Poetry Paint Chip play. When I saw the first selection, I thought I was doomed. “Rice Paddy”? Really!? Then I pulled “Topiary Tint” and “Searching Blue”. From some dark corner of my brain, a dim memory surfaced–a life line. Don’t beta fish live in puddles in rice paddies? Hmmm….

Looking up

Below the surface
of the rice paddy pond
does the beta fish wonder at
the verdant topiary tint
of green seedlings
rising skyward,
ever searching blue?
Or does he merely circle,
content with his own rainbow of colors
in his own boundaried world?

©Molly Hogan, 2019

NPM Day 5: PF–Paint Chip Poetry

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This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Karen Edmisten at her blog. She’s sharing a wonderful poem by John Ashbery there. You can also find links to dozens of other poetry-related blogs. Check it out–It is National Poetry Month (NPM) after all!

I accepted Mary Lee Hahn‘s invitation to spend this NPM, or at least some of it, Playing with Poetry. I had access to a collection of paint samples, so have focused my efforts there. So far, it’s been a fascinating process. I’m only five days in, but I’m having such fun! My first effort (here) still makes me giggle, and every day yields challenges and surprising outcomes. Some names come together immediately and others just won’t play nicely. I love the way the paint chip names encourage me to make new and unexpected combinations. 

I’ve been varying the game each day.  Today, I decided to pull one random color strip and choose from amongst the seven possible color names on that strip. I chose these three: Meander Blue, Cloudburst, and Raindrop.

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As Winter recedes
she withdraws her white cloak
revealing the flowing river
reborn in full meander blue glory
with cloudbursts dancing on its liquid surface
birds swimming in reflective depths
and rising fish creating raindrop ripples
that expand into infinity

©2019 Molly Hogan

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I also was tickled by the thought of enthusiastic poets swarming their local hardware stores to score some paint chip samples. With that in mind on Day 3, I wrote this poem highlighting the colors: Sensible Hue, Manitou Blue, and Angora. I’m sharing it here again (with a few changes–it’s still drafty and I’m still playing!).

Meanwhile at the local hardware store…

“Here comes another one,”
sighs the exasperated clerk.
“No sensible hues,” she announces
“I’m looking for exotic names,
or at least some rhyming potential.”
Her eyes skitter across the rainbow
of graduated color samples
Moving closer, she pushes back the sleeves
of her bedraggled angora sweater,
her ink-stained fingers hover, twitch
Lost in thought, she mutters,
like a fledgling incantation,
“Perhaps enlightened lime, euphoric lilac
or maybe this brilliant Manitou blue?”

©Molly Hogan, 2019 (draft)