Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 30, 2017)

The struggle never ends.
Not for you. Not for me.
The victories come and go,
beliefs and claims in a riot
of madness and certainty.
The hawk is never vanquished,
the dove is never pacified.
The tale is never told.
The extremities burn their own
in tantrums and strategy.
The soul will sell for a dollar
to the paparazzi and the scholar,
the orphans and the squalor,
a crowd of props and pawns
in protests and parades.
Napowrimo 2017: Write about something that happens again and again.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 29, 2017)

It was named after the ship’s Admiral,
Louis Antoine de Bougainville,
and it usually crawls along the porch frames
or borderlines the windows of bedrooms,
transforming dingy frame bungalows
like a mistletoe of summer.
Angelenos pronounce it almost Spanish-like
without the lovely trill of Ls.
And this morning we look up
where it came from
and hear this story
about the first European
who found it on exploration in 1769,  
2oo hundred years before Woodstock.
A botanist, who was also a woman,
snuck aboard a ship disguised as a man,
flowing through the drab spaces and corridors
where women weren’t allowed.
The galley, the botany, the discovery.
Jeanne Barē, the first woman
at the circumstance
of bougainvillea,
the first one
to circumnavigate,
to circumvent
the world.
Napowrimo 2017: This is the penultimate poem! I’m exhausted! Pick a noun from one of your favorite poems (I picked “Seranade” by Billy Collins) and write a poem around it.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 28, 2017)

Upholding etiquette,
terms to fretiquette
like laws of grammar
that make us stammer
and what’s the matter,
obstinate manners?
Disturbing the rude,
curtailing the crude
chronic disruptor.
A social rupture.
What’s good for the goose,
to hell with the truce.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a Skeltonic.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 27, 2017)

I’ve done this ode many times before.
I was weaned on this ode
where appetite is for the appetizer
and salsa is the blood and guts
that feeds the baby. The spherical planet
of the tomato, reflecting sun on its skin,
cuts and bleeds a thick calming juice.
Smell is the trigger and the buds begin
to register the cool, salt taste
before a single drop rides the tongue.
The idiom of heat—a sliced green chile
or dark jalapeňo, the shape of dripping light,
the second planet of onion, severe and raw
like a crux, joins its sister pieces of earthy garlic.
The chopped pico de gallo is bright and primary—
through fusion, a picante smooth and criminal,
blood red with white seeds which will burn.
A small vessel of penance and grace.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a poem poem that explores your sense of taste.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 26, 2017)

In a square tomb attached to a 21st century dwelling, archaeologists have uncovered a massive trove of artifacts related to what they believe is an ancient deity called Chēr:

1. Something called a “Cher Makeup Head” which researchers believe is actually an altar piece for greasepaint and grooming ceremonies.

2. Over 75 circular shaped and mostly, but not all, black colored vinyl plates which were most likely used for holy feasts.

3. Eight 12-inch hard-plastic statuettes of the deity complete with various diminutive and sequined polyester costumes allegedly used at one time for ceremonial recreations of sacred and historical events.

4. One male statuette of a man with a mustache. Scientists are not sure the role of this statuette but believe he might have represented either the deity's male concubine, nemesis or svengali.

5. Various plastic cases with shiny discs inside. According to materials included in tiny booklets inside the plastic cases, these discs were used in some storytelling apparatus that projects sound and images onto a kind of archaic screen. These stories are believed to be mythologies related to this particular deity.

6. A miniature temple made of orange and blue plastic. The temple has various pieces that are very difficult to assemble but once constructed form a structure with revolving stages and rooms. Archaeologists believe this temple was used in conjunction with the small hard plastic statuettes in ceremonial recreations.

7. One shelf of bound manuscripts labeled “biography.” Researchers believe these books were bibles, possibly from contrasting religious sects, containing all mythologies and theories related to the deity creation story.

8. Various ceremonial pieces of clothing, mostly highly causal wear, usually white in color with some image of the deity on the front and a list of dates on the back. We believe these dates represent either major weather events or memorable war battles that took place during the deity’s lifetime.

9. Large scale representations of the deity, rolled up and stored in cardboard tubings.

10. Small boxes of perfumes, lotions and shampoos believed to be healing ointments, salves and meditative balms created by the deity or her representatives.

Thousands of other relics from other deities have been found in similar houses around the world since excavations of the 21st century have begun. There seems to have been no consensus in the 21st century around one or two deities. There are literally hundreds of them in storage facilities and tombs, and in some cases, domestic interpretive museums.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a poem about what a future archaeologist would make of our culture (or rather, my garage).
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 25, 2017)

There are many small spaces
where poems come from
like a vortex in the room
or the far deep of the brain.
Early in New Mexico
was all about fermenting
with disasters of toys and monsters
living in the wall. Music fed
the core from a stereo console.
St. Louis was the smart house,
flower papered walls for things
Jessica Lange said in Tootsie.
This is where the poems came
if I sat under the window,
warming on the heat vent
between the foot board
and the bookcase my father built.
The dorms of Kirksville were vacant
and Maryland Heights was about collecting things
not words. Massachusetts, off the Great Road,
near the colonial stone fences and the old world woods,
was transitional, with suitcases
stuffed under the bed.
Yonkers was the second vortex
in the basement corner.
I wrote my way into morning while Helga
growled at the ghosts in the closet.
The nightstand light turned on by itself
while I slept and beautiful Mars things
were imagined. The river place
was a reading place, always flooding.
We invented our Internet spaces there.
In Pennsylvania, I wrote above the garage,
reading to stave off the sink hole
of misplacing myself. The first zine.
Playa del Rey was during a rainy season,
but the early morning sun on the balcony
was a small, shining vortex in a glass of water.
My only writing in the melancholy outside.
California was a renaissance,
poems abandoned on the carpets.
Mar Vista had a converted garage
down a shallow step into a plush ****.
This is where we planned books and courting ads.
The second Zine. The genesis of cowboys and zen.
Helga died here. John came here.
Venice was all about making pots
and domesticating on threads of ideas.
Redondo was dubbed Mayberry
with its shade and birds.
I couldn’t write in its beautiful spaces
so I planted budding bushes.
Back in Santa Fe, we made a makeshift office
out of the makeshift dining room.
The ceiling had hundreds of trees.
The third Zine. The first book.
Down in Albuquerque, there are cowboys
on the couch. The same twister of books,
poems and pop songs. Every piece
of every piece feeding into its space.
Every poem belonging to its home.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a poem exploring a small defined space.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 24, 2017)

Elaborately drawn under the calligraphy towers,
above the tendrilling border lines and flowers,

there’s an idea of meditations and devotions
lost at the border of scribblings and notions.

Monks are making statements in monasteries:
a cabal of ladies holding baskets full of Henrys,

disembodied Henrys, Henrys growing on trees,
the harvesting of Henrys, this name a ******* trustee,

the work-safe word I came up with, befittingly generic,
suitably affable and applicable to the alabaster ******.

Search Google images for Medieval manuscript marginalia.
You’ll find a plethora of genitalia.
Napowrimo 2017: Write an ekphrasis poem based on the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. (A link to google images was provided.)
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 23, 2017)

Chaotic stacks
Crux of house
Where the dope lives

Open grass
Paper blowing away
Along odysseys of grass
Napowrimo 2017: Write a double elevenie.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 22, 2017)

There’s a pickle recipe that’s been in our family
for many years, many times a blue ribbon
winner at the New Mexico State Fair.

It came from my Great Aunt, Missouri Avaletta,
and her daughter, who is over 85 years old now,
jars one-hundred pickles year after year.

We are not farmers. The dust bowl taught us that.
This is a waterless state. But apparently cucumbers
grow in any kind of earth. They have shallow roots.

So after the last frost, you can sow them
in average, well-drained soil.
Give them plenty of sun.

Plant four to six seeds three inches apart,
one inch deep. Gently firm the dirt over them.
Keep them moist. Don’t talk to the pickles

about how you see the world. Don’t give them
your opinions about the president.
Talk to them with metaphors.

And don’t forget the dill. Let it be the **** that it is.
Gather the harvest when the dill has seeds
and the pickles are three to five inches.

I have a cousin from Alaska
who told me when I was six
that a pickle was a drunk cucumber.

Pickles in the garden
they don’t all grow the same
although they grew from the same place.

Honor to this family of pickles.
Honor to the bitter. Honor to the sweet.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a georgic.
Mary McCray Apr 2017
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 21, 2017)

Like engaging with my superpower
I am waiting to overhear.

I am the seed spot in this office
where I can overhear it all.

And there it comes
from behind a closed door.

“I would gladly do that,”

said in such a way to be completely without
pleasure or bloom, even maybe

with a tint of bitter apple
and a prediction of hopelessness.

And then the conversation turns
and somebody laughs

and then everybody laughs
and then the door opens

and promises are made at the threshold
with a keen shine of gladness that is full of deceit.
Napowrimo 2017: Write a poem incorporating something overheard.
Next page