Today’s prompt

I’ve just started reading “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg (which is wonderful btw) and she said something I thought would make for an interesting prompt…so here ya go!

“Make a list of all the stories you have told over and over”

These are the stories, memories and oral tradition of your life experience. The memories you share with others, or use to nostalgically reminisce with friends and family. Stories you know so well they are essentially a part of what makes you you.

So now…make your list then take each of these stories and find a different way to tell the story by changing the perspective or the details. Be as fantastical or as grounded as you’d like. Look at the experience from a completely different angle.

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I meant to only write 10 more poems these last few weeks, but as you can see I’ve already gone above and beyond my goal…and the ideas just keep coming!

So…I think I’ll just start posting a new poem every Monday until the idea well runs dry. Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s poem!

13/10

How to tend the garden:

Take some dirt
Put it in a pile
And ask it to grow
A foot

Nothing will happen

The next night
You will water the mound
Under the light of a full moon
And ask the stars to make a head emerge
And find your efforts barren

You will ask
How come so many bodies are planted in the ground
And people never sprout

11/10

Ok so this is something that has really been bothering me for the last several months: I am a well accomplished woman with lots of life and work experience, yet no matter what, it seems that whenever I am in a group of people, I tend to be overshadowed by the opinions of men in that group who think they know more than I do (especially about topics have more experience in). I seriously have had that experience where I suggest the group do something and no one seems to hear what I said….and then some dude suggests the same thing about 2 minutes later and everyone thinks the best idea in the whole world…I really feel like this is something not only women experience, but it’s the lens I have to go with, so that’s how I have chosen to write this first draft. I think women are socialized to downplay their accomplishments, to not interrupt, to be “good listeners” and to “not rock the boat” (and this is something that I have personally felt an enormous pressure to do in lots of areas of my life). I think we are afraid of being called “crazy” or “bitchy” for voicing our opinions passionately the same way men do, and have been told that although we may not take the credit for our ideas, the fact that the idea is “out there” should be reward enough. I think it’s important for everyone to be heard, and for us to examine the ways we “don’t hear” people based on their abilities, their skin color, their gender, etc and how easily we dismiss those voices.

To the men who have taken credit for my ideas:

You told me to put marbles in my mouth
To sit silently
Smiling
Like the Virgin Mary
Or the Mona Lisa
Serene and quiet
be a symbol
Instead of a statement
In the conference call
I am only asked my opinion
When it doesn’t matter
When I speak
The words are ripples on a frozen pond
I talk to myself
Be humble
Be humble
Be humble
No one wants to be the bitch
In the boardroom
When I’m more qualified than
The dude sitting next to me
Who gives the same suggestion
To thunderous applause
Be humble
Be den mother
Take the scraps they throw
And call it success
Pull strings and pretend
They feel anything
Spread Vaseline on your teeth
And you’ll find it easier to smile
To smooth situations
Always with this terrible taste
Lingering
in your mouth

10/10

“HA!”
Palm covers the voice
Muffles the noise
Shh sweetheart
Stay here
In the background
Blend in
To your surroundings
Be invisible
Be seen and not heard
Be a portrait
Silent and beautiful
No one will remember anything you said
Only that once
You were beautiful
Once
You were worthy

I cover my mouth when I speak
Now I’m convinced no one can hear me
In a room full of people
Seen and not
Heard
It’s easy for me to get attention
Just throw on the tightest outfit
And I can pretend someone is
Listening

As a child
I took up too much space
Stuffed cookies in my mouth
To muffle the sounds I made
When I spoke up
“Shut up”
Till I expanded
And found myself
Bumping into door frames
And bruising too easily
Until teachers saw the marks I made
Suspiciously
Never asking me to explain their origins

I’m still striving to be heard
I’m still finding ways to take up space
To allow myself the room I need
To show the world
I deserve to roar