Category Archives: Poetry

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 17

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Today’s prompt is celebrating milestones.

Wedding cake
Will There Be a 50th? 

Many years ago at church
on Valentine’s Day
the pastor asked all couples
who’d been married 50 years or longer
to stand.

You turned to me and said,
“That will be us one day.”

I did the math.
I’d be 71 years old.
Who wants to live that long?

And the harder question—
how do two people stay together
for a lifetime?

You’re a good man
but you’re far from perfect,
and you’ve made it clear that
I have my faults too.

So many couples we know
have fallen apart.
How have we managed to 
cling to one another?

That golden anniversary 
is only a couple years away now.
I know our fondness for each other
is as strong as ever,
but will we live that long?

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 15

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Today’s prompt is leaves.

disappointment and despair 

the showy explosion lasts only a week or two
then the lie is exposed
the bursts of color that promised life and beauty
decay to brown
the leaves abandon their posts
fall lifeless to the ground

all that’s left are stark gray trunks and branches
naked
indistinguishable from death
the cold dark months drag on and on
as snow reduces the landscape to black and white
like primitive television

no autumn sight-seeing for me
it’s all a scam
a build-up to nothingness

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 13: West Side Story

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Today’s prompt is theater.

The_Shark_girls_extol_the_virtues_of_America
From the 2007 Portland Center Stage Production of West Side Story, “America.”
West Side Story 

somewhere in the wings
my son awaits his cue
his heartbeat audible to himself
out of sync with 
the latin music
the band plays

when he signed up for
the high school musical
he looked forward to acting
not knowing he’d be expected to dance

his partner’s full skirt rustles
as she wonders
will he lift me
will he drop me
or will fear so paralyze him
that I never leave the floor

the moment comes
adrenalin kicks in
he twirls the girl
and raises her to new heights
amazing even himself

after the show
his former middle school drama coaches
congratulate him on his performance
and he bursts into tears

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 9: Retirement

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Today’s prompt is how to spend the weekend, but you know, when you’re retired, weekends don’t have the impact they used to–we’re on perpetual Saturday. I chose The Bop as the form.

Retirement 

our calendar is all weekends now
each day indistinguishable from another
no workweek to give us structure
no place we have to be
(except for doctor appointments
and routine errands)

what day is it? hell if I know

no reason to dress up
no bosses to please except each other
all the time in the world to do those things
we couldn’t do when we were working
all those things we put off for later
when our schedules wouldn’t be so full
what were those things anyway
damned if I remember

what day is it? hell if I know

we may not be accomplishing anything special
or taking those cruises we put off
the grandchildren we thought we’d have
haven’t materialized
but that’s okay
we still have each other

what day is it? hell if I know

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 7: The Power of Balance

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Today’s prompt is about finding the perfect balance. I chose the balance as my form, but I couldn’t manage the rhyme requirement, only the syllabic structure.

scales
The Power of Balance 

it’s a carefully choreographed dance
creative drive, obligations
if the truth be known
a question of
balance
options
what I should do
or what I want to do
follow the visions in my head
or respond to the needs of those I love
prioritizing moment by moment
juggling my desires and others’
brain gymnastics
mindful
faithful
deliberate
doing what's important
grasping the best of everything
it’s a carefully choreographed dance

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 5

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The prompt for today is to write a prose poem about following your path wherever it may lead.

Lead Me In Your Path

Meandering through the neighborhood, I rack up my daily steps. Good for my health! But also, good for my soul. As I wander, I wonder. I explore. I notice nature (or truly, I notice my neighbors’ landscaping). Flowers and plants and trees arouse my joy and my appreciation of beauty. Sometimes I listen to scripture as I walk, sometimes to music. Sometimes I carry my camera so I can capture the splendor of the outdoors, the antics of the local wildlife (or wandering pets). Other times, I walk to clear my head or to think, to thank God for my blessings, to ask Him for guidance. Walking outside is a path to my inside.

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 4: Sonoran Desert, October

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First of all, I just realized today is an even numbered day, and I meant to draw instead of writing a poem. Oh, well. We’ll see if I have time to draw later.

Secondly, it looks like the OctPoWriMo site has been updated, but I’m getting a gray screen on the home page that won’t let me click on links or leave a comment. Is that happening to anybody else? Does anyone know a work-around?

Today’s prompt is to write a pantoum about the change of seasons. I live in Arizona, and up to September 23, we were still getting temperatures of 100 degrees or more.

Sonoran desert, October

Goodbye to temps of 100 degrees—
the blazing sun was getting old.
I’ve ditched my tanks for short-sleeved tees;
the 70-degree pool seems icy cold.

Perfect weather for patio-sitting
(goodbye to temps of 100 degrees),
perfect for walking or hiking-trail-hitting
since I’m wearing my short-sleeved tees.

Pleasant temps and days getting shorter,
ditched my tanks for short-sleeved tees.
Pumpkin spice latte with my daughter—
goodbye to temps of 100 degrees!

©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 3: It was a Hospital Room

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Today I’m using a prompt from The Crafty Poet II by Diane Lockward: the Marriage of Heaven and Hell poem.

hospital bed
It was a Hospital Room 

a delivery room to be exact
and I’d labored long and hard
in pain and exhaustion
and finally
one last push
and the effort was over
a slithering left my body
accompanied by tremulous cries
relief
and when they plopped her on my chest
I couldn’t believe how beautiful
how perfect she was
her mouth open in a perfect O
expressing her indignation
while I fell in love 

forty years later
another hospital room
I watch my husband shuffle to the bathroom 
with infinitesimally tiny steps
wondering why he’s not bouncing back
from an easy surgery 
supposed to change his life for the better
his life now a nightmare 
and no one explaining to me
what’s happened to his brain

when we drove home from the hospital with our four-day-old daughter
I saw a farmer on his tractor in his field
and I wanted my husband to stop the car
so we could show the farmer our baby
share our joy


©ARHuelsenbeck

OctPoWriMo2021 Day 1: Obsolescence

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OctPoWriMo.com seems to be inactive. I am currently working through the book The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop by Diane Lockward. That is where I am getting my inspiration in lieu of prompts.

Obsolescence

To hang on to that landline—
isn’t that proof that you’re old-fashioned
behind the times.
You have an iPhone
graciously accepted when your daughter got an upgrade.
You like the GPS
enjoy asking Siri for help.
But when you want to talk to a friend
you grab the landline
force of habit.
You tell yourself
it’s so people can reach you in an emergency
when your smartphone’s charge is low.
But secretly
you don’t trust information
residing in cyberspace.
Your identity could be stolen
your finances compromised.
What if the system goes down?
Technology is wonderful
enhances life.
But you’re the person you’ve always been
analog to the end.

©ARHuelsenbeck

Are you participating? Feel free to add a link to yours in the comments.

Creative Juice #262

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Creative Juice #262

A lot of interesting articles this week.

  • Cats in stores.
  • I never really understood how vital the bison had been to the ecology of the prairies. Read how Native Americans are spearheading the effort to reintroduce bison to the wild.
  • Don’t you just hate it when you’re writing a scene in your novel and you get stuck? Here’s three ways to get unstuck.
  • Are you tempted to throw in the towel? Here’s why you should persevere.
  • Children’s book authors: when you submit a picture book manuscript, do you show where the page breaks are? It’s a controversy, but I like this approach.
  • A stroll through Jersey City, including a couple of awesome murals (be sure to scroll to the end).
  • Crap. I think I may be the friend that all my friends lovingly tolerate. I recognize myself in this poem.
  • The search for authenticity.
  • Oooo. More artistic people to follow on Instagram.
  • Yellow Submarine means different things to different people.
  • Connecting our Natural Worlds is an art quilt exhibition. In addition to photographs of the quilts, the website has links to videos of the artists talking about their creations.
  • How to write fiction about drug abuse when you have no clue.