Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another Two-Poem Catch-up Day

April 5: The prompt on day five of the Poem A Day Challenge was to “… write a TMI poem (or too much information poem).” This one gave me a bit of a creative challenge—not so much the poetry part but how to limit the limitless view of the subject, yet capture its essence without writing "too much." Here goes....

Too Much Information—May I Have Some More, Please
By Bill Kirk

I woke up this morning
And what did I see?
Too much information
Surrounding me.

A common lament, wouldn’t you say?
What is it about information
That makes it a problem to solve instead of a gift?

Are we any better off after being assaulted
By TV, radio, print media and other sensory messages
For most of every twenty-four hours?
How many words, images, sounds and tactile tidbits—
Often classified as news—
Are insufficient,
Or too much to process?

Is information simply a stimulant
Which some need more than others?
Are some never sated and others overwhelmed?
Has evolution cyber-adapted the few with filters
To disregard all but the most essential?
Or are we turning off even important stuff
Just to escape information overload?

Alas, perhaps it is only the
Useless or unwanted information we rail against.
Do we really want to hear it announced
On our favorite talk show,
That a trans-gender someone
Is having sex and lots of it?
Or perhaps, instead, we secretly want to know how.

Should we be giddy or feel guilty
Having the knowledge that someone previously anonymous
Has become more comfortable
With their newly recognized
Multi-morphed identity?

In an instant forty million people
Are now routinely exposed
To what was previously private.
Should it still be?

Where is Paul Simon in our moment of cultural need?
Who will be the one to pen "Bluetooth Conversations"?
Who will immortalize the public musings of our
Unknown neighbor on the metro train,
As he shares the results of his colonoscopy?
And what about those pesky genital warts?

“Yeah, the doctor told me they aren’t contagious.
(Now Yelling) No, I said contagious.
Reception in this tunnel is really the pits.
I said pits.”

Pardon me, but that’s more than I bargained for
On my commute to work.

And yet we want more….

April 6: “…For this prompt, write an ekphrastic poem. According to John Drury's The Poetry Dictionary, ekphrastic poetry is "Poetry that imitates, describes, critiques, dramatizes, reflects upon, or otherwise responds to a work of nonliterary art, especially the visual." So, I've provided links to two pieces of art, and I want you to pick one (or both) to write an ekphrastic poem. (It would be helpful for you to mention which art you picked.)

1. Pocahontas, by Annie Leibovitz
2. Flight of the Witches, by Francisco de Goya”

EKPHRASTIC? Who could have guessed? Setting aside the odd name of this poetic form, for me these kinds of prompts (using images as a foil for the written word)trigger a quick creative response. In a way, maybe it’s a bit of the same process (although from opposite sides) an artist goes through when handed a story to illustrate. Artists react to the words. In this prompt, writers are asked to react to a visual image. I chose the image of Pocahontas.

Run, Pocahontas! Run!
By Bill Kirk

Run, Pocahontas! Run! The British are coming!
Your carefree days as a 12-year old princess
Will soon be a distant memory.

Run, Pocahonta! Run! The warmth of
Indian Summer days will soon enough
Be replaced with Northern Virginia snow.

Run, Pocahontas! Run! Two years after
Meeting John Smith, he will be injured and
Return to England in 1609.

Run, Pocahontas! Run! Your marriage in 1611
To Powhatan warrior, Kocoum, at age 16
Will soon end mysteriously,

Run, Pocahontas! Run! In 1614, you will be
Ransomed for English settlers and tools
Held by your native countrymen.

Run, Pocahontas! Run! You will marry English colonist,
John Rolfe, in 1614 and will bear him a son,
Thomas Rolfe, in January 1615.

Run, Pocahontas! Run! In 1616, you will travel
To England, be treated kindly by Queen Anne,
And be reunited briefly with John Smith in 1617.

Run, Pocahontas! Run! In March 1617, you will depart
For Virginia with your family and become ill on the
River Thames—and die at age 22 at Gravesend, England.

Be at rest, Pocahontas. The run is over. In your short life,
You connected two worlds across an ocean,
Making history and sparking myths that live on today.

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