We need YOU to vote in the July 2010 Poetry Sweatshop's Anthology Thread. Please.

It is 9 PM, EDT - the July 2010 Poetry Sweatshop will now close an hour. In the meantime, I will start posting the poems I’ve received thus far, and I’ll start the poll at 10 PM.

Past poets (and I) have greatly appreciated peoples comments and feedback on the works presented here. I have one simple request - please wait one hour until the Sweatshop officially ends at 10 PM before posting anything else. That way, the first threads are all just the poems. After 10 PM this evening - yes, please, we welcome your input!

I just want to emphasize the importance of voting - the poets are depending for an outside opinion of their work. The poll is by secret ballot, so no one need ever know how you voted. As we did for the last two months, I will make this a multiple choice poll.

Please note that the poll is seeking your favourite poem - no knowledge of poetry’s deep, arcane inner workings is required. Whichever poems strike a chord with you, please give them your vote. And, though the choice will be difficult, please take the time to choose at least one poem.

I also want to mention that because of our current working method, all of the following poems will be posted under my user name, which may lead people to think that I am trying to claim authorship. Only one of the following poems is mine - the authors’ names may be found in the spoiler boxes at the bottom of each reply.

The three words this month are:


And so, allow me to present our poets’ work for this July…

Her hands held out a candy tin.
The waxy paper crackled like
The brittleness of her skin.
She was old. Her hair all gray
With wisps that vainly sought
To cover her head but they
Could not. Her skin kept peeking through
and I could see the spots of age
As if they were leaking too.
I glanced at the clock. My time
Was precious to me; such a loss
to have to spend it here, with her.
I knew my boss would wonder
Where I was, and why.
For here I was, sucking on a candy,
Tempting fate, hoping she would
Not keep me late. But I knew
No matter what I hoped, she’d take her time
Composing thoughts in weary,
Ancient rhyme. A riddle for my ears
No longer tuned to work out now
Her worn out, crusty rune.
She swallowed hard and I looked up in haste.
How much more of my time would she waste?
She smiled and began in such a tone
That endless hours she would surely drone.
Prejudiced was I to what she’d share
And I would leave if I could surely dare.
But she held my gaze just as she held her will
And I endured so my coffers she would fill.
Had I heard what she had truly said
Perhaps I would not now be filled with dread.
For she has passed and so, it seems has wealth,
I should have listened better for my health.


I did not want to be here,
thinking there was no need for me.
Guessing you’ll be prejudiced,
against a stranger such as I

I pace the airport for a while alone,
contemplating to flee while I could.
Worrying I am presumptuous,
to be even here at all.

Merely friends for less than a year;
Laughing over boardgames,
chatting at coffee places,
does not close bonds forge.

But when I see the look in your eyes,
hesitating to say goodbye,
thanking me for coming,
then I realize
the brittleness of my facade

For all my posturing to be absent,
convincing myself it matters not,
fooling others that I care not
was just to deny the loss of a friend.

Crowbar of Irony +3

I must confess, I’m prejudiced
and never thought to apply that word to myself.
Gaudere forgive me, but words like ‘metaphorism’ gall.

Words outlive us, and like everything
that lasts beyond our meagre span,
they come from somewhere outside our control
and pass on to beyond our control.

To me, a dictionary is like the attic
in our family’s farmhouse.
‘Random’ as a synonym for ‘interesting’
is like seeing Great-Grandfather’s Civil War razor
being used as a screwdriver.

To hear ‘awesome’ join the ranks
of ‘neat’, ‘cool’ and ‘groovy’ is
like seeing our feisty, prized Brahma Bull
giving toddlers rides on his back.
He catches my eye and in that look
there passes a Psalm about transitory things.

My resistance will one day shatter
because of its brittleness.
The oak will bow lower than the reeds
when the wind finally brings it down.

Till then, I’ll continue to
paw through my family’s treasures -
recount the tales of each one’s provenance.

(“We stole this from the French
back in the Norman times - then they
took it back from us when William conquered…”)

And maybe, if I can bestow
the noble history of this lexicon,
its richness will compensate for the loss…

Le Ministre de l’au-delà

The little girl smiles up at her mother,
Blue Moon ice cream smeared
across her round, pale face.
Her mother tries to smile back.
She stirs her melting Rocky Road,
trying to find a way to tell
that sweet, blue cherub
the news.

They get ice cream on the first of the month.
The day before he left, they all got ice cream.
Twelve sugar cones of Blue Moon later,
it was still just them. The little girl
was prejudiced towards the color blue.
On her nightstand is a picture of her father
in his blues. Normally, her mother
takes her for ice cream after dinner,
but this time, they went before.
The mother didn’t want her precious
little girl home at 6:00 to hear
the news.

The mother looks down at her little girl,
always a step behind the next drip.
She grips her cone tighter,
trying to turn it and catch the drips.
The cone busts in her hands,
The brittleness collapsing in her young hands.
A sea of blue cream and sugar
spreads across the table. The girl
looks up at her mother, tears
welling in her pale eyes.
Her mother starts to cry, too,
wondering how her baby was supposed
to handle an even bigger loss?
How would she tell her
the news?


The pliability of my youth has long
since given way to the brittleness of age.
I don’t know if I had a choice in the matter
or am just a subject of the natural order.

I do know that I hope to be in a world
where I stop wondering if the way I
precisely quarter the jam packet a waitress
brings, is representative of a compulsive
need for order and control.

And I guess this makes some things good
and makes other things bad. I am entirely
wrapped up in my prejudiced little head.

The Tao tells me that “hope is as hollow as fear”.
That all seems heady and great.

But maybe I just like jam.
And maybe that’s the loss I’m after.


No, not me; surely not, for
the voters chose as they saw fit
after a harsh and hard-fought campaign.
True, my years of service counted against me
to those prejudiced against any who might spend
too long on Capitol Hill, even while doing their bidding.
It hurt to lose, but I’ve moved on, really;
the brittleness of my ego long since made strong.
Now I am pleased to count my blessings:
my husband, and my children, and a grandchild,
a garden, music, books, friends, and time.
Time to think of a lifetime of service, and
the sacrifices I made for a great republic.
But no regrets; at least, none that I wish to share
with a public that turned its back on me so long ago.
That will do, I think; already I have said too much.

Elendil’s Heir

Yay! New poems!

Good work, all.

Another great month. Once again, I’m proud to write alongside all of these other great poets.

Likewise, and well said.

With less than 35 hours to go before the poll closes, I just wanted to take a moment to encourage people to vote. Yes, it would appear we have a runaway winner at present, but if you agree with the general assessment, I’m sure that poet would be gratified to know. And because of the multiple choice nature of the poll, it’s possible for the second place poem to change many times between now and end of poll.

Besides, it surely can’t take any more time to vote than it took the poets to write these works.

First, a word of thanks and a round of applause to all of our poets this month - melodyharmonius, Crowbar of Irony +3, Le Ministre de l’au-delà, Serenata67, mauxlicious and Elendil’s Heir. Once again, the contributions were all outstanding.

And a special congratulations to July’s Poet Laureate of the SDMB - Serenata67, whose moving poem ‘The Blue News’ was the favourite by a decisive margin.

Once again, I’d like to thank the Mods as well for their permission and their ongoing support. It is greatly appreciated.

Best wishes to all, and I look forward to another Poetry Sweatshop in late August!

Thank you very much for voting for me. I truly appreciate it.

This came at a good time. I’m unemployed, having a hard time finding a job, and in general feeling very discouraged. This really gives me a boost. Thank you everyone!

I like your new title - it suits you!

Hear, hear! Congrats.