Slice of Life – Open Write for November

21 November 2023 TwoWritingTeachers.org

I had a wonderful time at NCTE, and I want to write more about it later. Here are a few pictures on Instagram, but my slice today are the poems I wrote for Open Write. My Sunday poem includes a strong feeling I had this week.

Saturday, 11/18/23 “Instructions on Being a Dragonfly” with Kim Johnson

Instructions on Healing with Witnesses: A Skinny Poem

Not on a journey. I’m alone.
healing
needed
fears
wounds
healing
occurring
witnesses
together
healing
I’m on a journey; not alone.

Sunday, 11/19/23 “Belonging” with Fran Haley

Kaleidoscopic Encounter

I met someone yesterday
At a conference–
We engaged in
conversation
standing in the exhibit hall.
She’s come here from a
South American country
Where she fled to the U.S.
as a refugee.
Her grandfather came there as
A refugee fleeing the Holocaust.
Her name came together,
a perfectly delightful mix of
Spanish, Arabic, and Jewish.
She is a kaleidoscope of
color and light and generosity,
And I am better for having met her.

I’ve come here from
a white-washed history,
a white-washed lineage,
and so much loss of
color and light and generosity.
I’ve come from who knows where,
Except the generic ‘Wales,’
as a child, it was all I was given
when I asked, evidence enough
that we were in the right pot,
melting into America.
I came from who knows when–
not in this century,
or the last,
maybe the one before.

We are all losers
in the myth of white supremacy.
We are not a melting pot,
We are a kaleidoscope.
We will all win, when
We all belong.

Monday, 11/20/23 “Give Me This” with Kim Johnson

On the airplane, Moon followed me home
last night. She wore a hefty grin–
face half full of bright white teeth,
gleaming, she smiled at me
as I peered out through
the darkness. Watched
her dance with
the plane’s
wing,

As
I view
her playful
moves, She reminds
me: we need the dance.
While the Sun brightens far
away, we are left here with
Moon. She transforms: new-, crescent-, half-,
full-faced, while dancing with obstacles.

Tuesday, 11/21/23 “Birdspiration” with Fran Haley

Quail families grow–
Eggs hatch, and precocial chicks
hit the ground running.
Soon, coveys are filled with teens.
How quickly we come of age!

Wednesday, 11/22/23 “Doggerel” with Fran and Kim

There once was a dog named Sonny
Whose lifelong goal was not money
All he wanted was rubs
Castle King he was dubbed
scritch-tingle-scratch of the tummy

Poetry Friday – #WhyIWrite

Today is Poetry Friday and the dancing, nurturing, running Bridget Magee, at Wee Words for Wee Ones, is hosting. (She has a birthday gift for us too.)

Today is also the National Day on Writing, and Day 20 on my Inktober writing small poems in October. Today’s word is frost.

October 20 – frost

#WhyIWrite

As Kafka said, “A book
must be the axe
for the frozen sea
within us.”
A pen then is balm
for the axe wounds
I write to heal
to process
to contemplate
to go deeper
I write to leave
a small mark
I write to thaw
the frost that is left


Tomorrow begins the October Open Write–five days in a row to pick up your healing pen and write poetry witnessed by a nurturing community. Join us at EthicalELA.com

 

March 20 – Open Writing Poetry with You

March 20, 2023 TwoWritingTeachers.org

This week it is time for Ethical ELA’s Open Write. It’s always so joyful to spend time with this supportive writing community. (Lots of us are part of Slice of Life and the group that writes poetry at Open Write, like Maureen, Joanne, Kim, Glenda, Britt, Fran H., Barb, Margaret S., Molly, Heather, and me…Have I missed anyone else? Please tell me in the comments).

We meet five days a month and every day in April, when it’s called #Verselove. Below I’m posting a poem I wrote yesterday. You can join in on this week’s past prompts– Saturday, Sunday, and Monday–or join us Tuesday and Wednesday for more writing wonderfulness.

On Saturday, I wrote a whole post about the inconceivable junction between artificial intelligence and poetry. [On an aside: You may want to read the essay, published today, on Two Writing Teachers by Beth Moore, “We Need to Talk About AI Essays.” Fascinating.]

On Sunday, we wrote a Pile Poem on Canva, using a beautiful mentor poem by Amy Kay.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Amy Kay (@amykaypoetry)

Mocha Productivity Being with my love Making beautiful things A heart decluttered, yet full Being Grammy to my sweet Milo Recognizing the birds in our yard Having our house become our home Being able to sleep as long as I want Many ways to make a vegetarian Reuben The four subtle seasons of the Mojave desert These freshly washed, tightly-fitting flannel sheets Finding a treasure that I need in a second-hand store Sweet memories of a time when I had young children at home Eating mint chocolate chip ice cream while laughing with loved ones A masala tea soy latte from my kitchen delivered with love from Keith

And today, on Monday, we shared poetry on Flip (formerly Flipgrid.) Do come over and join the conversation. Find the link at the Ethical ELA site. (There is an invitation to give opinions about the use of AI in the poetry classroom.)

In April, we will have daily prompts. Please join us. If you are interesting, check out these Tips for Verseloving, created by our founder, Sarah Donovan.

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

February Open Write Poetry

Fables, Fairy Tales, Folktales–Oh, My! with Stacey Joy

All dressed up
And no one knows
The foolishness inside.
Interim wisdom shows

But once mouth opens
And words tumble out
The ass is revealed
Stupidity, now no doubt
 
Inspiration from: The Ass in the Lion’s Skin and a proverb:
Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

 

Me, Too with Britt Decker

I’m sure I’m not the only one who

  • chooses the front row at conferences
  • raises my hand to be the needed volunteer
  • does a double take when seeing a sunset
  • cleans my plate at every meal
  • doesn’t drink coffee or alcohol (that makes me the permanent designated driver)
  • can be interrupted and switch gears automatically
  • edits anything and everything I read or see
  • can listen to one thing while reading another
  • thinks some people talk too much
  • lives life as a young person in an old body

 

Lift and Line and Make it Golden with Stacey Joy

I loved reading Giovanni’s “Kidnap” poem–those last lines where kid and nap are separated is fun. James Weldon Johnson is a favorite; he lifts my spirit, even with this line I chose, “God of our silent tears” from James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

God, are you there? It’s me, Denise
of endless hope, but thinking
our world teeters on the brink. Do not be
silent. Please, come and change our
tears into joyous laughter.

Another golden shovel is from Jimmy Carter’s “Considering the Void”: “an infinity of suns”

an earth of time brings an
infinity of stories–pleas
of possibility,
suns of soul

 

Written on a Shirt with Britt Decker

Why does this sweatshirt say Alcaraz?
It’s Alcatraz Island–the prison,
you know, in San Francisco bay.
Oh, I thought of Albert Alcaraz,
grade six, my first crush.
Nope.
Ok, that’s fine. I’ll take it.

 

Etheree with Stacey Joy

Run,
Children,
Sense and know–
Wild and loathed things,
Turn to the sun and
Dance on the rainswept days,
Someday you’ll see those who have
No voice, they’ll need someone, and you’ll
Remember your loves, all your years of
Tending the fragile; you will be the one.

Inspired by Nicolette Sowder’s poem “Wilder Bond

A Slice of Life and the January Open Write

14 February 2023 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Since April, 2020, I have been part of the poetry writing community at Ethical ELA–Open Write (five days monthly) and #Verselove (every April). That first April, while the world was in pandemic lockdown, a healing poetry community came together to write and support one another. This January, while I was traveling in Bahrain, jet-lagged and busy eating and visiting dear friends, I forgot about the five-day Open Write until the last day, when I wrote a quick “postcard” poem about Bahrain.

This week, I went back and had my own Open Write , writing one poem a day using the other prompts I missed last month. I’ve linked each prompt below, where you can hopefully find inspiration for your own writing, and maybe for your students too.

By the way, this Saturday, February 18, Open Write begins again at EthicalELA.com. Please join us. (I plan to not forget this time!)

Postcard Poetry with Barb Edler and Glenda Funk

Bahrain

You were
(still are) home.
Though I’ve left, you hold me
Again in your open arms.

 

Connecting with Strong Women Among Us with Glenda Funk

Her husband in prison
No tuition fees
Visas expired
No money for living
But for years
while they
survived,
she always said
Praise God,
God is great,
Thanks God,
Alhamdulillah.

 

Connecting with Your Inner Self with Barb Edler

I am proud of my humility
I am kinder than I sometimes act
I am confident yet uncertain
I am creative yet fruitless
I am resourceful yet unimaginative
I am savvy yet slow
I am adept yet inept
I am conflicted

 

Connecting with School Communities in the Aftermath of Shootings and Lockdowns with Glenda Funk

Visit Moms Demand Action. (It’s not just for moms.) After reading these poems by educators about shootings and lockdowns, I wrote to my Congressional representative about gun violence, and I signed up for the first time to volunteer with Moms Demand Action.

Her Voice

Every day as she got up,
Jamie G. called down the stairs
to her early-rising father.
Five years ago, on February 14, 2018,
she stopped calling,
silenced by a gunman
at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
She was just a freshman.
Today she could have been
in her second year as a Florida Gator,
but she forfeited her future
because of political cowardice.
Jamie’s voice,
frozen in time,
no new memories
for her and her family to create.

How many more voices will be lost
before we take action?


Some thoughts in the poem above came from Jamie’s father, Fred Guttenberg, and a quote from Mike Barnicle on last Friday’s (2/20) Morning Joe clip.

Here is a Skinny poem about The Nature of Today’s World by high school senior Cam Prescott.

 

Connecting with Others or Things Through a Personal Letter Poem with Barb Edler

Justice

It’s difficult to believe You will win,
that You will forever be
a refuge for the hopeless.
It’s hard to trust that Your goodness
will shine like the dawn,
that Your deliverance
will break through the doom
as bright as the noonday sun.

When will that happen?
How long must the oppressed wait?
Do I still believe in You?
Will I fight for You to break through the chaos?

So many people continue to soldier on for Justice.
(I’m ashamed I don’t seek you wholeheartedly)
Others prowl and scratch hoping Justice will be obscured.
(I don’t want to be part of that group.)

So I must commit to join You,
for silence is not a neutral position.
I do believe in Justice, but, please,
help my unbelief.

June Open Write 2022

Making it Count: Syllabic Verse with Fran Haley

Today my daughter had a baby
Sweetest, most perfect ever, maybe

Anagram Poems with Fran Haley

Baaing Baas Vary Him
Ya Brim Abash Vagina
Via Babyish Anagram
Aha Baby Raving Aims
Maria’s having a baby

Sociably Best
Acolytes Bibs
Basic Boy, Lets
Solstice Baby

Things You Can Do With an Orange with Allison Berryhill

Things that Happen When Looking at the Horizon
Feel blessed
Find rest
Less stress
Less
Yes

Poetry Treasure Hunt with Allison Berryhill and Lauren Stephens

I am the green
that hurts your eyes,
brilliant and dazzling,
bright and ubiquitous.
Here in the Emerald City,
the sprinkles come in
a circadian rhythm of sogginess.
Moss carpets wood and stone.
Ferns pop and ivies creep
Green, the only color.

Word Association Poem with Allison Berryhill and Andrea Goes

The tangles of yarn
Are becoming a blanket.
Right now, they are sitting by
my Mother’s Day gift of
board booksChicka Chicka Boom Boom,
The Very Hungry Caterpillar,
and I’ll Love You Forever, (yes, I will)
that I will read to you,
Sweet baby, on Facetime.
But now we wait for your arrival,
Healthy and whole
Bearing life and
Bringing hope
To our world

More Open Write Poems for October

Wednesday, 20 October
Embrace Your Why with Andy Schoenborn

Why I Bake

So I can enjoy the
smell of chocolate chip cookies
lingering in my home, I bake.
When I crave rhubarb crisp
with ice cream, I bake.
When I want to tear my hands
into a warm crusty loaf
of sourdough, I bake.

I bake for myself.

I bake for others, too,
so I can spread out
the fat and happiness.

I bake to reach back
across generations.
I bake warm, flaky biscuits using
Grandpa Sockwell Leodore Hamilton’s recipe,
biscuits that can’t hold all the
honey and butter dripping off them.
I bake Aunt Thelma’s corn bread
and Grandma’s foolproof pie crust.

And I bake into the future
to create the best peanut butter brownie
for your wedding and
vegan carrot cake muffins
for yours.

I bake for you.

Tuesday, 19 October – My Husband’s Eyes 

Monday, 18 October
Abecedarian Poem with Cara Fortey (There are such clever poems by the others; I hope you will check them out at the Open Write Ethical ELA site.)

The ABCs of Bahrain

Al Raja School and
Bahrainis, so helpful and kind,
Camping in the desert and
Doctors at American Mission Hospital,
English Language Congregation and
Freedom to worship here,
Galleries of arts and crafts and
Hummus at our favorite restaurant,
Indian food in the homes of dear ones,
Juices, freshly squeezed,
Karak tea at
Lumee and
Mango gelato at
Naseef,
Onions from India for thirty cents a pound and
Petrol for less than $2 a gallon,
Quality friendships are family now,
Rava dosa with dried fruits and nuts at
Sangeetha,
Table crowded with friends and
Unceasing hospitality,
Vinolia and Victoria, dear friends, and
World Trade Center of Bahrain,
eXpatriates bringing their cultures here,
You–should you want to come and visit–and
Zaatar and labneh on khubz

Sunday, 17 October
20/20 Poem with Anna Roseboro

Before cataract surgery
I thought the world
was shaded in umber.
Now my eyes remember
too many colors
to number.

Saturday, 16 October – A poem using anagrams of my name