2021 National Poetry Writing Month Anthology

2021 National Poetry Writing Month Anthology


of mostly ekphrastic poems
- an anthology by Geoff White, B.Ed.

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A Heap of Broken Images

Inspired by The Wasteland by T.S.Eliot

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. "

Piet Mondrian, l'arbre rouge, 1908

1. A Ghostly NaPo's Eve

1. A Ghostly NaPo's Eve

Shreds of epitherium lay strewn upon the ground,
translucent tendrils of demon spirits.
Open crypts yawned where year-dead muses re-born
at the end of March, burst forth to terrorize
innocent poets and wanna-be versifiers
tempted by a NaPo morn
to take up the quill. They would rue the day.

Spirits of the day, from years passed,
eager for mayhem, cast about for a vein 
to suck inspiration from the brain
of any unsuspecting scribe:
a layperson or member of the tribe
who, unprepared for the drudge,
thinks just to coin some phrases on the day,
raise up beauty from the sludge
of abstraction, forced rhyme and cliche
- the quotidian products of the fray.

Though they know it not, the month to come
that lies supine, welcoming to some,
holds traps and pitfalls hidden
in the grime and mire of the midden.

All there remained were bones and scraps left behind
when last year's battle sounds abated,
the refuse of a befuddled, wasted mind,
whose creative urge was used up, one addle-pated
writer less to scribble in hopes to find...
what? another thirty poems? Fat chance!

But the lions of March have vanished;
fresh green tendrils again emerge.
The slaughter of last year's debacle adumbrated
seems not so bad, not all was in vain.
Mellow breezes blowing over the Starnbergersee
continually surprise us. To breed lilacs,
stir again blood chilled by winter,
is the goal, to engender new birth
and finally, to tame the muse.

2. Snow Joke


Four meters of a fluffy white drift,
blown into the gully, rise and curl
like a ghostly wave, a perfect tube.

Fields all around swallow sound.
Only the flumpf of clumps falling
from branches breaks the stillness.

Roads will be plowed, sidewalks scraped;
all the noises of a clean-up will ensue.
For now, a sublime silence reigns.


3. Whisper Location

3. Whisper Location

Echoes of our footsteps return from the cave walls
and we four sound like a crowd
of theater-goers on the sidewalks of 42nd street.

Water, trickling from hidden fissures, gurgles
down the walls, drips from stalactites,
leaves rhino-horn stalagmites, and emerges from the adit.

Air flows from the cave mouth in an ethereal sigh.
Its fluctuations, an exhalation, seem like a lament,
mutterings of stories from years gone by.


4. The Return of NaPo

4. The Return of NaPo

Last May I retired all the tools of the trade
that sired the poems and conceits that made
April such a fruitful, dreadful month amid the plague,
but only for a year, and now the rage

to sing songs of places, persons, plants
rhymes, verses, limericks and rants
that left my readers all aghast
has risen up once more from the past.

I am home from Mexico and now reside
by lakes and a forested mountainside.
The wind is cold, the peaks are white and sere;
"Oh, to be in England now that Spring is there!"**

---

**ref. Home-Thoughts, From Abroad by Robert Browning
"Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,"

5. Kitty Litter

5. Kitty Litter

Some string,
loose lint balled from being batted,
a ragged stuffy, a rubber band,
an empty basket with a pillow
shaped by her furry body,
are all that's left,

except in my heart,
where still there is joy
from incessant purring,
the ghost of a tickle on my shin
where she rubbed me daily
and sandpaper kisses on my chin.

6. Voyage to the Bottom of the World

6. Voyage to the Bottom of the World

From the Greenwich observer's point of view
in verdant England, perched atop, dead-center of the globe,
he looked out across the South-Downs
and saw our ship diving south, blown by following winds
disappearing over the belly of the Eurocentric world,
down, down, to the nether regions, out of sight.

Each day passed, our sextant showed the North Star falling
Into the sea behind as we neared the edge. It was
inevitable that we would plummet into the void
unless by some magic we could sail upside down, stuck like flies
to the underside of the world, in darkness, endlessly falling.

We had long passed the equator and sailed
in uncharted waters, under new constellations
and if our navigation failed
we faced serious deliberations.

To go on, or turn back 
amidst monstrous sea ice,
the ship meandered this way and that
to find the safest route, a strange device.

I stood against the rail thinking of my life,
Hawks-Heath Common, Virginia Woolf,
and the unpainted bird on the open sea.
Standing white-knuckled on the steel
as the ship pitched and yawed,
my eyes stung from frozen spindrift,
and I spied the long range of ice-white cliffs.
It wasn't Dover.




7. Ice Storm limerick

7. Ice Storm limerick

An ice storm is not the usual form;
blizzard and lightning is the norm
with downed power lines
and loss of all kinds,
it's a regular brute of a storm.

8. Daybreak

8. Daybreak

The hard, cold, edge of dawn
scraped at my sleepy cocoon
that warded off the day;
it rubbed raw my nerves, and soon
my drowsiness was worn away.

9. Mezcal

9. Mezcal

In these agave fields, I've been
for three years in a row, and they grow, and grow.
We need to wait this much to harvest,
dig valuable roots such as pineapple,
bake them in the oven for at least a week.

All will wander for a week or two. Then
connect a real moonshine machine and voila!
From this beautiful agave will emerge a brew,
fragrant with a taste of smoked mezcal.
If Master Mezcalero isn't on strike,
he will add worms, chicken or marijuana to the drink.

Interested yet? Well, come to Oaxaca.
Here you will learn everything about mezcal
and that's not tequila, mind.
Tasting is guaranteed.

10. Good Vibrations

10. Good Vibrations

It has been a good year for round sounds and pounds.
Dawgs and sound. Sound dogs, hound dogs,
it's been a good year all round,
Without exaggeration: reverberation sans perturbation.

"It's all about that sound:
his master's voice, those droopy ears,"**
sneaker squeak, ground sounds, round ball, Tacko Fall.
Sharp amplification echoing from the hardwood.
New sensations of limited durations,
sudden, abrupt, a revelation hardly understood,
but a profound sound must be good.


** found poem, in the words of good friend Ethan

11. Running High

11. Running High

I had one of those runs today...
the ones that keep me coming back.
I felt all the feels during the run...
powerful, but humble and grateful.
Physically, spiritually, mentally sharp.
Throughout my run, I thought about
the stresses in my life. I felt confident
that I could handle whatever comes.
Why can't I feel that way all the time?
The air was cool. I was breathing steadily,
surrounded by nature, and a runner's high...
Not every run feels like that, but the ones that do
remind me of why I love to run.**

**inspired by good friend Sharon

12. The Red Bicycle

12. The Red Bicycle

Almost nothing turns
on
the red bicycle
parked,
under a cloudless sky
across
from the white lights.

Rusted it is,
far from the bike I once knew.
I saw it, your smile, right then
helpless I was, and I knew
a ruined wreck,
It was forever
a milestone now passed.

13. Celine

13. Celine

They took her brother in a fit of madness
and her mentor, spouse and lover, all
in a single week, Whence came this sadness,

and still her soul will find the fire.
Her talent, all that's left of her life
- a way to carry on, just a burning desire.

Show us the rage!
Show us the rage!
as she struts across the stage,

opens her eyes to take a look
before she writes another page
in the great Canadian songbook!

The throng demands her best;
all their love, hopes, dreams they give her,
all that a minstrel could ever want,
and after all that, wow, does she deliver!



** Okay, so the Feb 23rd, 2016 show in Las Vegas was the first show following the death of her husband and her brother two days later.
When Celine hit that final E flat in the chorus, the effect was so powerful it stopped the show. The crowd went wild at her emotionality
and she was unable to sing, or even speak for several minutes, while they gave her the standing O. Can you say, catharsis? The performance
is on Youtube at  Celine 2-23-2016

14. Forget Me

14. Forget Me

I will not be missed, nor remembered;
no one, years hence, shall look up
from his pint and muse or remark
whatever happened to old what's-his-face?

When my corpse iies rotted and dismembered
by time and tectonic shifts, shook up
by quakes or buried deep in the dark
domains of demons in their darkest space,

when life's fires' fuels have become embered,
when the Great Librarian has torn the book up,
I will not have a statue in the park.
My forgotten visage will no gallery grace.

So let's forget we ever loved, or had a kiss;
shed the memory of whatever lusty spark
once drove us to the heights of bliss.
Let me to the shadows of forgetfulness embark.

15. Bourgeoisie Epitomized

15. Bourgeoisie Epitomized

A cabin in Tuscany with shuttered windows,
and doors with sagging hinges, bore testimony
to a marriage badly made, and a family of narcissists.

She was irremediably shallow, shackled with
meagre depths of feeling, coupled
with a lack of imagination. Pettiness
was her modus operandi, her raison d'etre.
Each morning she awoke only thinking
of how to re-organize the world
into a better place for her to live in.

He dressed well, a nascent Beau Brummel,
and spent his waking hours seeking someone
who could explain the dailies to him. Let's
go to Brighton, he said. We'll eat currant-tart,
and live in chintz and salt-water.

All who saw them thought them to be
a lovely couple; together they looked well,
but in private, their life was Hell.
Not a violent one, but one
of a slow death. Conversation
was impossible. They had much to say
but all of it banal. They behaved
as if every moment were the interval
between cocktails and the announcement
that dinner was served. Only at bedtime
had they something to do: congress.
Grand-mama wanted babies, heirs.
And the lovemaking was adequate,
something to make the day worthwhile,
memorable even, as long as he didn't muss her hair.

16. Tempus Regrets

16. Tempus Regrets

You give me pause,
nineteen years I think
have come and gone
since I joined the cause.
It led to drink, and dames, and song;
some verse, of course.
And crits soon came along,
tho' writing verse of late
has slowed, but once a year
now, I tread the boards,
glad to re-acquaint myself
with fellow bards,
exchange a greeting,
and pen a strophe,
reminisce, loiter, then don my hat
and disappear.

So sad, I've got
naught else to say.
If I mumbled lost regrets
that'd be a very long day.
Too many know the debt I owe
or ought to pay,
so I'd rather not,
life's just that way.

17. Death

17. Death

Death ye are reproved, the poet has heaped his scorn
upon ye, pathetic wretch, thou ridiculous whim,
and thou art scotched, the poet's words torn
from life, scabrous, but belonging to Him.

No way that this brief passage thru the void
however joyful, sad, triumphal, brutish or short
could be apportioned to as fractious, or annoyed
a demon such as thou, however ye might exhort

and rail for us to cower and adumbrate the score
to account for ten years and three score, as if
'twas all we had to show, but know ye not what's in store?
Forever after this mortal coil is shuffled off,

we'll sup on manna, exult to trumpet's clarion call,
sitteth on God's right hand, bathe in His Glory.
So, Death, thy direness, calumny and the pall
of sadness are naught but dross; that's the story.

18. Haiku

18. Haiku

The world awaits your
latest angst: unembellished
poetic pictures.

19. Spring Invites

19. Spring Invites

It would be fine to recline
on a pillow by the willow,
to dine on the pine
boards of the picnic
table, if you're able:
al fresco. If you care
for the air of the time,
to take wine after nine,
I would find it agreeable.

Je crois l'air du temps
c'est tres agreeable,
n'est ce pas?
Mais si vous n'aimez pas l'idee
au printemps,
or if you're unable,
- then simply decline.

20. Dancing Queen

20. Dancing Queen

Lying abed, propped up on pillows stacked three deep
Sipping coffee too hot to drink, I think.
I meditate on Honan Chapel in far off Cork,
not fully kitted until the eve of the war.

ABBA lyrics pick at the scabs of memory
mini-skirts, Mary Quant, platform boots,
Op Art, disco at Manchester's Tiffany's,
the Irish problem, the pill, leisure suits.

What has the Dancing Queen
got to do with a kirk in Cork?
That's where she goes to pray
for forgiveness after her display.
In her shame, it's a place to appease
for the tease she's become.
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
It was all in fun, but she was no nun
An' after a' that she's a mum.

It’s a crying shame she's to take the blame
just for the joy of meeting a boy.
But with mosaic floors, fine enamels
and nineteen stained glass windows,
Saint Finbarr's is the place to purge the disgrace.

At The Lyceum, dancing wildly to funk and pop
is sinful, it's all about where you find your ecstasy
- swaying to the hymns at Honan is not.
That's not teen spirit I smell, it's hypocrisy.

21. KupuKupu

21. KupuKupu

On a road winding up from the lowland heat
stands a man where the road became too steep,
He tests the thickness of the soil with a stick.
"Only a little bit higher," he says. We abandoned the jeep.

Here, in Sulawesi only, lives
the peacock swallowtail.
It is a treacherous thing to seek
where every handhold and step
begins a small mudslide.
Not far from the peak,
along this narrow path,
is where the Blumei abide

With wings of black velvet,
on each, a stripe of peacock blue-green
Its splendor rivals anything that lives;
Its equal seldom seen.

For capturing this prize
Jasmin can feed his baby on rice;
yet the best mesmerize
collectors who'll pay the top price.

22. Bantimurung Water Park

22. Bantimurung Water Park

Great cones and towers of rock
rise and lean over the landscape
at the park. Among the largest karst
formations in the world,
it is visible from miles around.

Shaped when limestone and soil was washed away,
larger than western hoodoos, they stand not
on guard, but in welcome to tourists
seeking thrills at the water park
and butterflies on the slopes above.

The market sells trinkets and souvenirs
and displays hundreds of insects for sale;
half of them are protected species,
The butterflies not the baseball caps.

"Kupukupukupukupu!"
cry the hawkers. "Butterflies!
Stunning specimens for you
to take home. What a prize!"

The takeaway is simple:
enough junk food to make you sick,
the mother of all sunburns,
and beauty on a stick.

23. Between the Wars

23. Between the Wars

Is this the dead land, of dull roots, memory and desire,
out of which lilacs are bred?
A land of canals and bards
and churchyards where the dead inspire odes?

The Victorian straitjacket or perhaps corset,
had to give way and when it did, the organs reset
novel movement became possible, new life.
Dionysian change emerged, fashion evolved, forgetting strife.
Creative juices burbled anew and Eliot’s despair seems deranged.

A post-apocalyptic revival driven by those who were too young
too afraid to fight, frenetically embraced life to forget
the privation of the Great War, and in their lust and frivolity,
they denied that it could happen again just twenty years on.
The band played and the flappers danced on.

24. Modern Arts

24. Modern Arts

A land of tradition, travesty, rebellion,
Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Oscar Wilde
is no wasteland. From Bernie Taupin
and Sir Elton John, that wild child,
alone, we have learned
that a rough beginning is no limitation

and from the fab four of Liverpool,
John, Paul, George and Ringo
who wrote of yellow submarines.
Such a strange vibration,
from even humble beginnings,
with hard work and some luck - bingo!

25. Awakening

25. Awakening

Enticed from slumber by the steam-gurgle
of the coffee shrine in the kitchen,
- the steam phase of the auto-brew cycle,
that most welcome of alarm clocks,
I am summoned from that nether-world,
the undiscovered country, a lesser one
of a thousand shocks that flesh is heir to.
Die in your dreams and you may never see
the light of day, or so I'm told. The whistle-hiss
of water droplets hitting the hot plate,
the shift-clunk of the pot,
then the sloshing pour of the morning brew
are the final sounds before that first satisfying sip.
And during the window gaze at the leafy dew,
I cradle the cup, easing myself into the day,
and the near-burning of the lip
is just part of the resurrection.
Now, why is it that coffee always smells
Better than it tastes?

26. Piano Practice

26. Piano Practice

The young boy sat motionless,
watching the fly on the keyboard.
His hands were poised above the keys
to the opening chord of his practice piece
but he did not play. His fingertips
lightly touched the keys without
depressing them. He wanted
not to disturb the fly.
The air was still and warm in the studio
and the late morning sun shone in
through the half-shaded window.
The roller blind was pulled down
and the sunlight glowed through the aged paper.
As he stared at the fly, it began to move.
In his mind the dark, hairy fly on the ivory keys
had become a wolf traversing a snowy waste.
It paused as if sniffing the bitter wind
from the north, searching for scents
of reindeer, elk, anything it might eat.
In the vast, white, open landscape
the wolf seemed so alone. He sensed
that it was very hungry. His stomach
rumbled in sympathy with the wolf.
A tear welled in his eye
and spilled down his cheek.
Just then the door opened, and the wolf was gone.
His mother called to him,
"Are you finished? It's time for lunch."
He closed the lid on the keyboard
and followed her out.

27. Why I do it

27. Why I do it

Running is a daily compulsion,
as I wrote above,
you may do it for health
or maybe just for love.

Its all about the feeling
of the street beneath your feet
and every breath you take
that makes your heart beat

like a frantic drummer in your chest.
It makes the blood surge in your breast
as if to burst as you crest
the hill and emerge full of zest

into the world of fresh air
sunshine and the rest;
exhilaration is everywhere.
Running is simply the best.

28. The Meaning of Cities

28. The Meaning of Cities

I. New York

I find no joy in New York city,
it has no views, just endless storeyed caves,
corrupt and friable, the tenements
warehouse despair. Violent and vibrant,
it throbs and sighs, gasping from subway vents,
cold, dirty, bleak. The river only
removes the sludge, a sewer surging seawards.

II. Beijing

Sour air etches misery on every edifice,
devoid of soul and spirit, purged by communism,
every monstrous building a mausoleum
housing dead ideas and fallen emperors,
any lingering majesty hidden behind massive doors.

29. Cosmic Enigma

29. Cosmic Enigma

Two hundred billion stars, give or take, comprise
The Milky Way, an average sort of galaxy
as these things go, and yet, perhaps because
of a tiny rock circling a trivial sun, memorable.

If we knew how life begins we could say what
the odds are of it occurring elsewhere, but we don't.

30. De-Mused

30. De-Mused

Mine was not Euterpe, but a distant second cousin
one of many such, perhaps a couple dozen,
a wicked, cajoling, taskmaster from the start
whose relentless determination seemed sans heart.

From dawn to dusk she/he nagged me, even as I dreamed
Write! Write! Worthless scribe! Pretender! he/she screamed.
I wrote but oft contemplated how to end her/
him, the hermaphrodite muse of variable gender.

Then, late last night I found the tiny body
sprawled lifeless on a cushion in the study.
I felt a pang of sorrow and not a little sadness
where earlier in the month I had expected gladness

at the thought of the tempestuous sprite's demise
forgetting how vital he/she was to my enterprise.
I'd had moments hoping for her/him to relent
and now my diminutive, darling muse is spent.
 
Sleeping Hermaphroditus, by Bernini at the Louvre

2020 Anthology found here: 2020 NaPoWriMo

Teacher's Handbook for Teaching Math with Manipulatives


$65 USD - by Paypal only, receive delivery same day by email! (m-f, bus. hrs.)




Table of Contents
The Premise 								P.1
The Five-Minute Overview of the Method 					P.8
Key Phrases in Mortensen Math 						
Very Brief Summary of the Method 					
Psychological Principles at Work 					
Introduction - cont'd  							
Create a Math-Rich Environment  					
The Teacher's Role & Student Self-Esteem  				
Six Key Ideas from Jerry Mortensen  					
									
Appendices:								
Section One - Counting							P.46
Section Two - Addition
Section Three - Subtraction
Section Four - Multiplication
Section Five - Division
Section Six - Fractions
Section Seven - Algebra
Section Eight - Solving Equations
Section Nine - Functions & Relations
Section Ten - Story Problems
Section Eleven - Mortensen Math Program & Materials			P.240