The Hairbag Poet-Eye Spy

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Hi Ho, and Ho, Ho, and Happy Holidays to all! It has been quite some time since my last Hairbag Poet post, and that’s because my loving (loser) brother has been unable (refuses) to send me any new photos from his west coast relocation. So today I have a guest photographer (my friend Carol) who was kind enough to send me some of her awesome (weird) pictures from Paris (my 2nd favorite city).

For a long time I have been wanting to write a post on Iambic Pentameter. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Shakespeare’s primary writing style was probably one of those banes of high school English Class, along with Beowulf, and The Canterbury Tales. Trying to read Old, Middle, and Early Modern English was not an easy task as a teenager, and quite frankly isn’t an easy task as an adult either. Although I have struggled with the form of Iambic Pentameter, I yearn to get it right.

Iambic Pentameter is actually the combination of two poetic terms: Iamb and Pentameter. Iamb refers to “A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable…It is the most common meter of poetry in English” (Poetry Foundation, 2018). As we know, William Shakespeare wrote all of his plays and poems in this meter. According to Poetry Foundation (2018), a pentameter is a line made up of five feet, and is the most common metrical line in English. “Iambic pentameter is a beat of foot that uses 10 syllables in each line” (Literary Devices, 2018).

Here is an example from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:

“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall…
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity…
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.”

Brilliant right? I’m almost embarrassed to follow William Shakespeare.

Here’s just a quick history behind my pictures today. My friend Carol spent several weeks in Paris this summer while her husband was working on his book. She would often send me pictures from her days wondering the city. One day I received a picture of these weird looking eyeball street posts, and have to admit I was a little creeped out by them, imagining cameras inside those stony pupils watching one’s every move. I thought they would make an excellent subject for the Hairbag Poet.

This is my first attempt at iambic pentameter, and I hope I managed to get it right. I also wrote in monorhyme which is the use of only one rhyme in each stanza.

Photos by Carol

Eye Spy

I walked along the Paris streets last night;
A city swathed in scintillescent light.
I stumbled on a rather frightening sight,
of painted orb like eyeball pegmatite.

A visual, or a vision, watching me?
Big brother, or just streetwise artistry?
Direction générale de la sécurité?
Either way I find the eyes creepy.

I bowed my head and pulled my hood down low
But eyeballs tracked my movements to and fro
on sidewalks optic archipelago,
Paranoia palpable from head to toe.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Veterans Day: Nurses on the Battlefield: The Ultimate Sacrifice

I like to believe that every day nurses do something heroic for people, even if that something is trifling. We make small sacrifices every day for our patients, like forgoing a meal, or a trip to the bathroom, staying late to make sure our patient’s care is complete, and spending holidays caring for our sick patients instead of sitting down to dinner with our families. But when I think about the sacrifice our military nurses make, I quickly realize a grumbling stomach, and a full bladder are inconsequential in comparison.

Today is Veterans Day, a day I hold in high esteem. I honor all the men and women who serve this great nation. However, when I think of what it truly means to sacrifice, I am drawn to the battlefield nurses who are not only hungry, and running with full bladders, but are putting their lives in danger to care for the heroes that defend our nation. Battlefield nursing launched our most famous leader, Florence Nightingale, into the history books, during her time in the Crimean War. Her dedication to service, her intellect, and her ability to improve battlefield conditions, while reducing soldier mortality rates in the wounded, changed the face of nursing care not only on the front lines, but in each and every hospital as well.

In America George Washington understood the importance of the battlefield nurse, and in 1775 The Congressional Resolution allotted one nurse for every 10 patients in military hospitals, and provided nurses a salary, though meager, at two dollars per month. Up until that time, nurses positions had traditionally been voluntary. By 1777 George Washington put out a call for more nurses, and the salary was increased to eight dollars per month. Nurse’s time on the battlefield did not end with George Washington. From 1861-1865 over 3000 nurses served in the Union Army during the Civil War. By this time nurses were earning 12 dollars per month and rations, however, nurses were always at risk of contracting contagious diseases, and battlefield injuries.

 In 1917 when WWI raged across Europe, over 12,000 American nurses were ready to serve. They were deployed all over the world. Again in 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, nurses came forward to serve in the Second World War. For the past nearly seven decades Nurses have served in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. To date, approximately 1000 nurses have lost their lives in the line of duty. A true sacrifice!

Operating Room, MASH unit Korea

Vietnam war memorial with nurse and wounded soldier.

Flight Nurses Today           

I recently came across this article about one of those brave nurses who made the ultimate sacrifice doing her job, caring for the soldiers, and country, she swore to protect. She is the kind of woman, nurse, and human being I would hope all of us aspire to be. Today’s Veterans Day post is dedicated in her honor: Jennifer M. Moreno.

An undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Army 1st Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, Calif., an Army nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was one of four people killed Sunday, Oct. 5, 2013 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/US Army)

Everyday we have choices to make. Some may be small, some large; others may be easy, while some may be life changing. On October 6, 2013 Captain Jennifer Moreno, an Army Special Operations Command Nurse was on assignment with her comrades in Afghanistan attempting to capture a high value target. Instead of the high value target surrendering, an Afghan woman came out and detonated her suicide vest, wounding six troops. That explosion then set of an IED. As soldiers rushed to help the injured troops, they set off another IED. A second Afghan emerged from the building, detonated his suicide vest, killing Jani a working military dog.

Ground soldiers were ordered to stay in place by their commander, but Moreno heard the cry of help for a wounded soldier. It is in that moment where Moreno’s choice represented duty to serve, and Captain Moreno chose not to stay in place, but to perform her commitment, and follow the Nurses Code of Ethics, as well as the soldiers creed to “never leave a fallen comrade”, to go help save her fellow soldiers. It was a choice that would prove to be fatal.

In over a century of war, we have lost many nurses to the side effects of conflict whether by disease, or injury. I would like to take the time to honor those listed below, and thank them for their service, and their ultimate sacrifice.

Spanish American War: 21 Nurses died of typhoid and malaria.

WW I: 430 Nurses died from the 1918 Influenza outbreak.

WW II: 460 nurses died. Six Army Nurses died in hostile fire at Anzio Beachhead in 1944. Six Army Nurses died when a Japanese suicide plane crashed into the Hospital Ship USS Comfort near the Philippine Islands in 1945.

Korea: 16 Army, Navy, and Airforce Nurses died enroute to the battlefield

Vietnam War: 8 Nurses died in enroute to the battlefield. Army Nurse Lt. Sharon Lane died from hostile fire.

Iraq: Army Nurse Capt. Maria Inez Ortiz was killed by a mortar attack in the Green Zone in Baghdad. Army Nurse Captain Gussie Jones died in Iraq of non-battle related causes.

Ft. Hood Texas: Army Psychiatric Nurse Captain John Gaffney, Army Mental Health Adult Nurse Practitioner Captain Russell Seager, and Army Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Lt. Colonel Juanita Warman were all killed by hostile fire when Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on them.

Afghanistan: Army Nurse Captain Jennifer Moreno killed in and IED explosion. Army Nurse Practitioner, Lt. Colonel Richard Berrettini died from injuries after his vehicle was hit by an IED. Army Nurse Captain Bruce Clark collapsed, and died during deployment in Afghanistan. Army Certified Nurse Anesthetist Joshua McClimans was killed by indirect rocket or mortar fire from insurgents on his way to work at the Army Hospital in Afghanistan.

God bless all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms!

The Hairbag Poet-Perspective

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Today I will be presenting two poems. One is from the perspective of the dolls, and the other is from the perspective of the Aliens, characters that you may remember from some of my previous poems. This has been a fun series to write, if not a little creepy.

Today’s poem, and really this whole series has been an example of anthropomorphism. According to Poetry Foundation anthropomorphism is “a form of personification in which human qualities are attributed to anything inhuman, usually a god, animal, object, or concept.” I think children are always bringing objects to life. It’s why I have the photo’s I do. The dolls, and toys in most of these posts are my nieces. However I believe their worn torn world are the result of my brother’s imagination. When I think about it, I feel like my brother and I are kids again, playing with toys; we’re just a little older, and our sense of humor has warped a bit, but we’re creating, collaborating, imagining, and having a good laugh.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

 

Photo by Donald who says, “The barbies attack the fairy village.”

Perspective: Dolls

Warriors come out to play.
Revenge is what we seek today.
Fairy Queen,
you’ve killed our tribe,
and now in hollowed oak you hide.
Come out and face us
one last time!
Let justice judge
your vicious crime.

Photo by Donald who says, “The Aliens still on their trek come upon the battle.”

Perspective: Aliens

We are the aliens
from X-241,
our planet is Ogda,
it’s warmed by one sun.

My offspring and I
landed last year in Maine
in your snowy, cold land
with its icy terrain.

We were chased by clawed beasts,
and a smoking old guy,
so we ran for our lives
as our spaceship stood by.

We escaped to our home,
we regrouped,
and we planned
to return to this land
we could not understand.

So we waited till Summer
when earth neared the sun,
and traveled through space;
another journey begun.

But not much has changed,
this land they call Maine,
remains brutally cold;
a hostile domain.

We’ve witnessed a war
between dolls and a fairy
that’s inhumane, ruthless,
vicious and scary.

Barbie doll heads sat skewered on spikes,
that were severed with ease,
by the Fairy Queen’s strike.

This visual nightmare,
a crime wicked, mean.
“An eye for an eye”
claims this homicidal Queen.

It’s time that we leave now
and head westernmost,
to the fog laden, misty, Pacific seacoast.

I am sad to say that my brother Donald has moved from Maine to Washington State, and we will no longer be sharing the same coast. Though I’m happy for him, and his family, because they are moving to a beautiful area, I will miss them dearly. I look forward to what the west coast will inspire in Donald’s photography, and the future of the Hairbag Poet.

The Hairbag Poet-First Impressions

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

I’m sad to say that today’s poem will be an elegy to my dear friend Vera who passed away recently. According to Poetry Foundation, “In traditional English poetry, it is often a melancholy poem that laments its subject’s death, but ends in consolation.” My friend Vera was quite the traditional English lady, with a divinely cheeky side that I think she let shine when she came to visit us in New York.

What’s so wonderful about my friendship with this amazing lady was the genesis of our relationship, the difference in our ages, and the ocean between us. I first met Vera, who is the mother of one of my closest friends, back in the mid 1990s.  I was a young 20 something year old, living and working in NYC, and like most NYC singles, I was renting a share in a Hamptons house with a few of my friends, Vera’s son being one of them.

On one of the hottest days of the summer, my friend asked me if I would pick up his mother who had just flown into town, and drive her out to The Hamptons with me in my run down, no air-conditioned, two-door, hatch back, hunk of junk. Besides not wanting to take a total stranger in my car for a 4-5 hour hell ride out to Long Island, I also kind of had a bad experience in the past with an ex-boyfriends English mother, who let’s just say left a rancid taste in my mouth.

After quite a bit of pleading, and a notarized letter that his mother was not a mean, English aristocrat guided by the ramblings of Emily Post, I acquiesced. It was a wonderful decision! Vera was the kind of lady that smoked like a chimney, partied like a rock star, danced like a dervish, and spoke like my fair lady. I loved everything about her.  Over the years Vera came to visit NY often, and we continued to bond on those short visits.

Life is not immune to change, and neither was I. I grew up, got married, and started a family of my own, and though Vera made a visit to my house in the country when my first child was born, we didn’t see much of each of other after that. We exchanged Christmas cards, and I sent her pictures of the kids, but our correspondence was brief.

Life is sad when we find ourselves distanced from the ones we love.

I know Vera truly lived a wonderful life, and I am grateful, and honored for having had the pleasure to spend the time with her that I was given. She will be truly missed!

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by.

The Hairbag Poet

First Impressions

I was uncertain the first day I met you,

sovereign in your jewels, and high brow heritage.

It was a meeting I tried to refuse, but,

for the kindness gifted to a good friend, I conceded.

“She’s nice, she’s cool, you’ll love her,” he said.

“No Way!”

English Mothers are not my style, they cramp my style; they don’t get my style.

But I said yes anyway,

and there you were: dripping in gold, and purple track pants, climbing into

my rusty car, with missing hubcaps, and locks jammed long ago

by the thieves of New York.

You were quiet…polite.

I was quiet…polite.

The heat was stifling,

and we hadn’t even gotten off of St. Marks Place.

I offered cold tea.

Do the English drink cold tea?

Apparently.

With the city behind us,

and a long journey ahead,

I wanted to smoke.

Do the English smoke?

Apparently…

like predators on prey.

Was that relief?

Smoke drifted out both windows,

and the tension wisped away with it.

Conversation eased from pleasantries to endearment.

This was a friendship in the making!

Vera on the back of my Harley Davidson.

The Hairbag Poet-The Drones of War

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

 

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

One of the things I love about being the Hairbag Poet, is the research that goes into writing this series.  I know it’s mostly silly, and weird subject matter attached to often disturbing photographs (thanks to my brother Donald) that I write about, but I take the learning of poetry seriously.

For this post I came across a poetic term called Caesura. According to poetry foundation Caesura is “A stop or pause in a metrical line, often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such as a phrase or clause. Medial caesurae (plural of caesura) can be found throughout contemporary poet Derek Walcott’s “The Bounty.” When the pause occurs toward the beginning or end of the line, it is termed, respectively, initial or terminal.” Caesura can be marked with this symbol ll (parallel lines) in the middle of the line, but according to literary terms it is not usually marked at all. Some famous lines evincing caesura are the “The Star-Spangeled Banner” lyrics “Oh, say can you see ll by the dawn’s early light…” Another example is Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” “To be or not to be, ll that is the question.” A beautiful example of initial and terminal caesura can be found in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “Mother and Poet.”

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

Photo by Donald who says, “Barbie sends in her archers.”

The Drones of War

The Drones ride in with their spiked wings.
Vengeance coats their metal tips.
Fairy Queens do not veil themselves in honey,
but ready themselves on the battlefield;
defeat absent from their vernacular.
No hive of arrows will incarcerate this fierce sprite.
With quiver mute, the Drones retreat.
Their return…cocksure!

The Hairbag Poet-The Fairy Wars

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Todays poem covers two poetic writing styles of repetition: anaphora and epistrophe (or epiphora). According to Poetry Foundation, anaphora “is the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.” On the other hand, epiphora is when a word or phrase is repeated at the end of successive clauses (Literary Devices, 2018).

I attempted to incorporate both into my poem today. Hopefully this Hairbag Poet got it right.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

 

The Hairbag Poet

Photo by Donald. He says, “The barbies thought it was a good time to take the fairy stronghold. They were mistaken! And so the Fairy war began”

The Dolls of War lie prone in the sun soaked grass of a summer afternoon.
Tears cry for the fallen.
The Dolls of War espy the Fairy Queens triumph; hubris hangs in azalea’s fragrance.
Tears cry for the broken.
The Dolls of War rigored bodies prove victims of an indiscriminate battlefield reaper.
Tears cry for the wicked.

The Hairbag Poet-Space Sled

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

 

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Yikes, I know, I know, I have been MIA for quite some time now, but my grad school end of the year projects took up so much of my time, and to add insult to injury I decided to continue the craziness by taking an 8 week summer course.  I am a glutton for punishment. Now that school is finally out for the summer, we will be catching up with our winter aliens, but first we must catch up with our poetry, because as the Hairbag Poet, I still have so much to learn.

One thing I’ve realized about these alien characters, is what I’ve realized about most fictional characters we read about, which is, we tend to hypostatize them. For example, I have been living with Harry Potter in my house for years. My daughter has been pining to go to boarding school at Hogwarts, and waits patiently for her letter of invitation to shoot out of our fireplace. We often view our favorite characters as old friends, and believe in their existence. When Mulder and Scully of the X-Files came back on TV, it was like a high school reunion for me; we all looked a little older, but reveled in the good old days none the less.

This notion of truth in our fictional characters and stories is known as verisimilitude. Verisimilitude, according to the Poetry Foundation, is “the appearance of being true, or a likeness to truth.” It’s interesting to note that Veritaserum is Harry Potter’s magical potion of sodium pentathol. Ver, as you may or may not know, is the latin root word meaning truth or true. I think writers are often mixing truths or at least believable fiction into their writing, and we as readers love believing in them. I for one would not hesitate to touch the stones at Craigh na Dun to go back in time to meet the hunky, lovable, Scottish Highlander Jaime Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Believable fiction is what often brings us all together at the water cooler, pining over characters that don’t exist in real life. I guess we can all dream a little…

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet

Photo by Donald who says, “The Alien tries the ways of these strange inhabitants.”

Space Sled

My offspring and I
are still stranded in Maine,
in this snowy cold land,
with its icy terrain.

We fear that the double clawed creatures
are spies,
Led by a cold, creepy
smoking old guy.

They’ve been lurking about
at the shore,
on the pier.
They’re tracking our movements
with high tech spy gear.

Our Wand of All Knowledge,
that’s fixed with a chip,
has picked up a message
from our mothership.

Our spacecraft is coming,
the rendezvous’ far,
so we hijacked this space sled,
like human, snow car.

Our Wand of All Knowledge
will guide our descent
down the snowy cold banks,
over frozen cement.

The spies sense our movement.
We see them approach.
We fasten the reigns
of our horseless sled coach.

They are closing in fast
on my offspring and I.
If only this red, plastic, chariot
could fly!

We zoom down the hill
icy spray coats our face
our sled gathers speed
at a breathtaking pace.

This Olympic like race
draws the smoking man near
in this steeplechase, face-to-face
tense atmosphere.

Our ship’s up ahead,
but the sled’s slowing down.
The angry clawed spies
begin making ground.

My offspring is caught,
clamped in double clawed jaws.
My Wand of All Knowledge
fires magnetopause.

The clawed beasts scream out,
releasing my offspring,
but smoking man grabs him
and locks him in coiling.

The Wand of All Knowledge
takes aim at this foe,
and blasts him 10 feet
into piles of snow.

I uncoil my offspring,
and remount my sled.
These humans are crazy!
They want us for dead.

Two miles to go.
The ships lights are in sight,
but ahead I am blinded
by two bright flashlights.

“Stop! FBI!”
Come two voices
quite dully
from the X-Files two agents
called Mulder and Scully.

“We’ve been to your ship,
and we know who you are,
and we’d like to assist you
back home to your star.”

My offspring and I
were relieved to find friends
on this hostile, cold planet
of clawed beasts and men.

“Greetings to you
Mr. Mulder, Ms. Scully,
your kindness is felt
in my three chambered zulli.”

“We’ve heard of your work,
and we plead you take care,
in your search of the truth,
for the truth is out there….”

“Now it’s time we depart
back to X-241,
to our planet Ogda,
that is warmed by one sun.”

“One day we’ll return,
but for now we’ll take leave,
but we want you to know
it’s ok to believe.”

X-Files, Mulder and Scully

 

Hairbag Poet-Ekphrasis-Coming Home

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

 

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Each and every week I post a picture, and write a poetic interpretation of what I’m seeing, but I didn’t realize (because I’m the Hairbag Poet) that this is actually a type of poetry known as Ekphrasis. In Greek Ekphrasis means description. According to Poetry Foundation,  “An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.”

Ironically my brother has been doing a study/portfolio/ of his Wand of Knowledge toting Alien, and has sent me two photos this week of Alien family experiences in the snowy tundra of Maine.  I say ironically because I too have been a bit alien obsessed, having found the new X-File series recorded in the free on demand section of my cable. Have I been living under a rock not knowing that Scully and Mulder were back in action?  Can I just say how happy I am!

Scully and Mulder are back in the new X-Files!

I’ve titled this poem Coming Home, both for the Alien photo, and my nostalgic return to one of my favorite T.V. series.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

Photo by Donald who says, “Facing harsh conditions on third planet the alien finds shelter for offspring and the wand of knowledge.”

We hale from solar system
X-241.
Our planet is Ogda.
It’s warmed by one sun.

We traveled through space
to learn and explore,
when our vehicle crashed
on your Maine ocean floor.

We signaled for help,
but our systems were down
so we swam to the shore,
and walked into town.

Your planet is harsh
Your language is odd
we were chased from the sea
by an angry clawed mob

We need to find shelter,
safety, protection
contact command
and prepare for ejection.

This abandoned old house
will do nicely I think,
with its minty green shutters
and door painted pink.

My offspring and I
will camp here for the night.
Our Wand of All Knowledge
provides crystal light.

This plastic pitched shelter
will be our new home
where our space crafts can land
in this crude aerodrome.

I open the door,
and step quickly inside
relieved to discover
its unoccupied.

My Wand of all Knowledge
is fixed with a chip
that signals distress
to our home mothership.

It may take some time
for help to arrive
my offspring and I
must learn to survive

in this place they call Maine
with its downy white lands
and monstrous sea creature’s
double clawed hands.

Will the aliens be rescued?  Will Mulder and Scully be called in to investigate strange Maine alien sightings? Will the smoking man and his shadow government conspire to get there first?

Stay tuned. Until next week…

The Hairbag Poet-Madness Poetry

Hi and welcome to my series The Hairbag Poet

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

So as some of you may know I have been participating in the 2018 March Madness Poetry competition hosted by Ed DeCaria over at madness poetry.com.  I wish I could remember how I stumbled across this competition and give that person credit, but unfortunately being the Hairbag Poet that I am, I can’t remember. It was sometime last year that I went to Ed’s site to check out what the madness was all about, and sign up to be notified when the 2018 competition would be open.

In the meantime I learned that the Madness Poetry competition is a writing challenge that starts with 64 authletes (writer athletes) competing against each other in bracket like matchup of skill (mimicked after the college Basketball brackets). In order to enter the competition you must submit an entry poem.  This year I was asked to write a poem about the Thinkier Trophy, and to my pleasant surprise, I received an email a few weeks later letting me know I had been selected to compete.

The Thinkier Trophy

After jumping up and down with excitement, I went onto the madness poetry site to check out the past competitions, and get a feel for the contest.  Since Ed re-launced the site in 2017 as a new site with less technical difficulties, you can only see the 2017 competitors, but if you go here, and dig around, you can read the other competition years dating back to its inception in 2012. As I started to read the past entries my excitement faded to anxiety.  The talent was intimidating; the writing top notch.

However, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, and when the first day of the competition arrived, and I received my first word, I was ready.   My word: Bedevil. I spent all my free time (which isn’t much) thinking about my word, looking it up, perusing the thesaurus for inspiration, until finally a small idea seeded, and grew into a poem.  I was excited and nervous to put my work out there to be judged and voted on.  Would I suffer a humiliating loss? Would anyone like my work? Whatever my fate, I was happy I had written a poem with my assigned word prompt, and stayed within the 500 character limit (which was not easy to do!).

Then it was time to vote.  This is the coolest part.  Ed has the voting divided into three sections: the authlete vote, the student vote, and the community vote.  We as writers get to vote all throughout the competition, even if we lose, and this vote carries some extra weight.  The student vote comes from schools that have signed up their classrooms to read and vote on the poetry entries. The student vote also carries heavy weight considering the poems have to be kid friendly.  The community vote consists of everyone else who chooses to sign up to read, and vote for their choice of best poem. The voting is open for two days, at which time everyone can vote and comment on their favorite poems. The winner then proceeds to the next round. With each round the authletes are cut by 1/2 until only one winner is left standing.

After two nail bitingly, nervous days, I was elated to discover I had advanced to round 2.  It was a close match, and the writer I was up against had a very funny poem.  Humor is key to winning most times, but not all of the time, and my little mythology poem squeaked by for the win.

Round 2 had me up against another excellent writer. My word: incoming.  Again I stewed on my word, and let ideas simmer until I came across one I loved.  I wrote to my word, and kept to my 500 character count, but unfortunately for me, this was the end of the line.

The good news is I get to keep on reading and voting on all the new poems yet to be written.  It is exciting to open my computer and click on each entry and discover the creativity of each writer as they display their new works.  With each new poem, I learn a little more about rhyme and meter, form and style.  I am inspired to keep writing no matter what.

I cannot wait to see how this years Madness will end, and who will be honored with the Thinkier Trophy.  I also cannot wait for another chance at Madness next year.

Please continue to follow along at madnesspoetry.com to read, vote, and enjoy the immense talent, and amazing poems being created. If you know any teachers who might be interested, please share this post with them so they can incorporate this competition into their lesson plans for next year. It is a great way to introduce poetry to children of all ages, and set up for April’s National Poetry Month.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.

The Hairbag Poet