Voyager

Naima has taken up the challenge of writing a poem a day, and we’ve decided to email or text them to each other each night.  That’s great inspiration for me to make time to get my poem written!

Also, I followed a link from Minal Hajratwala and found myself taking on yet another challenge for the month. At Writer’s Digest, the Poetic Asides blog is offering up daily poem prompts and asking folks to post their poems in the comments.  The best poems from each day will be selected by daily guest judges and collected in an anthology by Words Dance Publishing. Fun times, yes?  Today’s prompt is to write a voyage poem.  That prompt coupled with the fact that reading Vanessa Veselka’s chilling essay “Highway of Lost Girls” this morning has had me thinking about my own experiences with hitch hiking led me to today’s Arun.

I went for something different, writing Arun stanzas for a longer poem. My jury’s still out.  I’m finding the form to be a bit awkward.  When I was writing Zeno poems two years ago, I found it fairly easy to work my way down from many syllables to one (the Zeno syllable count is 8/4/2/1/4/2/1/4/2/1). I find it much more difficult to start with only one syllable.  It feels more forced, contrived.  In any case, here’s today’s Arun, a voyage poem:

Here Alone

Ride.
Lean back.
Watch the road.
Watch the driver.
Hold your bag. Smile. Talk.
Safe —
for now.
Be ready.
You’re here alone.
Climate changes, shifts.
Watch.
Don’t blink.
Don’t miss it.
Stay on, ready,
always set to jump.

Talk.
Listen.
Hear silence,
weight in non-words.
Hold the door handle.
Ride.
Watch him,
smile and nod.
He’s a good one.
Still: stay on, ready.
Watch.
Lean back.
Hold on tight.
Eyes on his hands.
Keep your smile bright.

Luck.
I rode
months. Alone
with strangers, men
I did … didn’t trust.
Rode.
Oceans
from home, from
family. Trusted
strangers, gave myself
whole,
into
unknown hands.
Luck riding close
down every long mile.

natpoetrymonth1

__________

An Arun is a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x.  It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year.  “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba.

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6 thoughts on “Voyager

    1. Thanks, Sonia! Luck was definitely riding with me on those hitches. Luck and (as I’ve written about before on this blog) Divine Intervention. There’s no other way to explain how I could have come through some of the less pretty situations unscathed. The essay is in our book for April. Have you read it yet? I was well and truly shaken up by it.

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