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

74707-poetry-friday-logo

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

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

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

74707-poetry-friday-logo

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.

55822280_2366388970264140_5433666016406142976_n.jpg

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

DSC_0984 (2).jpg

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)

 

SOLC 2019, Day 25: Flashback–A Resuscitated Draft

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

March 2019 SOLC–Day 25
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.
http://www.twowritingteachers.org

 

When I’m looking for inspiration, sometimes I go diving into my drafts, looking for a spark. It’s interesting to do and often I feel like I’m visiting some alternative me. I have to work to get into the mindset or mood I had when I started the post. Often it’s a jumble of sentence fragments, half-finished thoughts and photos, like a puzzle that needs to be solved. What was I thinking? Why had I started writing it? Why had I never finished?

Today, draft diving seemed like a good plan for finding a slice. I found the beginnings of this one. I’m not sure exactly when I started writing it, but it must have been a couple of months ago….although the beginning sentence sounds a bit too familiar! At any rate, here goes:

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately–or perhaps unsettled. At any rate, yesterday morning was a cold, cold start to the day. I went out to the car to warm it up and pulled my arms close around me. What coat to wear today? I suddenly thought, Oh, I want to wear mom’s coat.  I rarely wear it, as it’s a full length wool coat, but today that extra warmth and comfort of my mom around me felt like a good idea. In more ways than one. I had to go dig it out of the attic and even though it was stiff with cold, I stuck with my plan.

Once in my classroom, I opted to play music. Soon “The Rhythm of Love” by the plain white tees filled the room. I smiled. This song sends me back to the first time I heard it–or at least the first time I remember listening to it. It was December 2017 and Kurt, Lydia and I had traveled to Philadelphia to spend Christmas with Adeline. The four of us were in a neighborhood restaurant eating a delicious breakfast. I remember the song coming on the radio and one of the girls commenting how much she liked it. I listened and the music linked irrevocably to that moment. Now whenever I hear that song, I feel connected to my daughters, to that trip, to that bubble of warmth and companionship in the midst of a cold winter day.

Then I picked up my phone. I can’t get Facebook Messenger at school, but the notifications still pop up. There was an unexpected text from my daughter, Adeline,

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 5.18.06 AM.png

and a notification that a photo had also been sent. I couldn’t see the latter until later, but the spontaneous heart was so welcome. Like a hug. I felt myself settling into the day, feeling less at sea.

When I got home after school, I remembered the photo Addie had sent and clicked.

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 5.18.31 AM.png

I responded, and Addie answered promptly.

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 5.27.38 AM.png

I ended the day feeling so much better, settled and connected, and oh-so-thankful for all the love in my life, past and present.