Tag Archives: Poetry

Poetry: The Writing Process

I just happened to be sifting through my Google Drive and found the poem and note I wrote to the students I worked with a few summers ago at the Young Writer’s Camp in Neenah, Wisconsin and the poems I wrote for my students during clinicals. This, of course, made me a bit nostalgic about teaching and spending time writing on my own. I have been so busy lately with work and life and everything that I haven’t thought about it much until now.

The Writing Process
Mindy M. Wara
August 9, 2011

Creativity bubbles to the surface
while imaginations squirm in their seats
inspiration boils over
and words spatter onto the page

Keys click against soft pads of fingertips
as thoughts thicken and become concrete
the computer monitors hum along
and the printer patiently waits
to publish black on white

Students savor the taste of fresh syllables
as the words roll off of their tongues
and drip like honey into anxious minds
to ponder, soak up, and relish with delight

2011 YWC Students,

I want you to know how much this experience has meant to me as a writer and as a future teacher. I hope you have learned a lot this summer and know that you have also taught me as well as inspired my writing. Thank you for putting so much imagination and effort into your work and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your writing process.

 

Creativity Enters the Room
a poem for my drama students
By Mindy M. Wara 

when the bell rings for fourth period.
It sits down and talks amongst itself
as if it were its own family.
Familiar, safe, home.
Pages flip
open for meaningful discussions
about skydiving, cannibalism
and somehow is always spun into webs
of innuendo. It flock dances
to the stage ready
to unleash all of itself
unmasked
on to the muted world.

 

First Hour Students
a poem for my English students
By Mindy M. Wara

I welcome their questions like long lost cousins,
growing their critical minds
like festering science projects, mutating with every fresh variable.
I want to crawl into their brains and see what they see.
Am I making a difference?
Am I getting through?
Do they know they make a difference in my life?

He rolls his water bottle back and forth, back and forth.
She discretely texts under the table, her keypad memorized.
He pokes once, twice, “Garrett, stop,”
gain, once more, “Garrett.”
Multitasking with books open and ear buds thumping,
so loud I can feel the music from across the room.
Confessions walk into the classroom,
“My book is in the car.”
Interrogations take their seats,
“Can I turn my discussion questions in tomorrow?”

“Moist” litters the board.

 

(***My students know how much I hate the word “moist” and they would come in and write it all over the board before I arrived in the morning.)

Hotel Riverside Studio, 2008

Hotel Riverside Studio, 2008
Mindy M. Wara
April 18, 2011

 

I look up at the eggshell ceiling festering

with cracked paint, water stains, and visible pipes

as the coiled springs dig into my back.

The bargain of a plywood bed

with palm tree inspired headboard

available for only $150 a night

on the Upper West Side.

The Easter colored plaid duvet worn from too many washes

clings to my clammy skin

to cool itself as the thick August air that invades the room.

 

I watch the slow beads of water trickle down

the single cloudy window. The condensation forms

a cataract to dim the Manhattan lights.

My sister lays still

on the matching twin bed next to mine.

She can sleep through anything.

I envy every deep sleepy breath she takes.

 

The pink chiffon and purple linen innards

of her imitation Louis Vuitton suitcase

strewn about the slightly slanted floor

and the crusty brown carpet that covers it.

 

I couldn’t make my way to the communal bathroom

without my glasses in the piss-cold dark

even if my bladder twists and twinges,

torturing me for having to drink

that last bottle of water before bed.

 

I think about the online Travelocity testimonials

and realize the 8.8 rating is full of shit:

“The room was nice and clean; there wasn’t much to it,

but for the price I paid it was perfect.

Shared bathrooms and showers were always clean

and available when I needed them.” – Anonymous

The mildew scented bathroom

down the hall was not mentioned. The dingy porcelain

toilet I hover over and refuse to sit on

did not make the website.

 

I cannot step into the tiny shower

 even in flip-flops

without thinking of every stray hair

that has ever been sucked down the drain

and the sloughed off skin

that probably still sticks to the tile walls.

 

With this thought, I wonder

who the hell has slept under these sheets before me?

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Canterbury Thoughts on my Way to Work

Mindy M. Wara Maciolek

March 11, 2013

 

The cool March sun begins to break through the thick traffic.

Weathered ice, gritty with sand, leads me from the parkade.

Tailored suits and peacoats drift past as they shuffle in masses

to board meetings with their smart phones in hand.

 

images

Pilgrims weathered grooves into Canterbury steps,

polishing the marble with their knees.

They carried burdens instead of briefcases,

and relics instead of flash drives.

 

The ice, heavy underfoot, is worn with daily footprints

and shows no sign of melting.

Poetic Response to Wallace Stevens

The poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens is commonly used to teach poetry students how to analyze one thing in many different ways. Here is Wallace Steven’s poem and my poetic response from about a year ago. I am contemplating making longer poems based on a few of the ideas I had in my poetic response, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Rain.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Wallace Stevens

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

13 Ways of Looking at Rain

Mindy M. Wara

I

Calf-skin drums thump and hum

Menominee feathers

dance in prayer

II

A drop of disappointment lands on a child’s face

little league game

cancelled

III

Towering cumulonimbus bursts

the plump gray water balloon finally erupts

IV

A red ribbon flashes across a screen –

thunderstorms and strong winds

Waupaca Waushara Winnebago

V

Diagonal sheets drill the pavement

and ruffle trees against a muted backdrop

VI

Crack of lightning

crunch of roof timbers

collapsing under the oaken trunk

VII

Icing roads and glazing snow

coating the landscape in confection

proceed with caution

VIII

Bleeding into soil –

tulips stretch and yawn

awakening from their sleepy bulbs

IX

Prop up your umbrella just outside the door

peel off the yellow slicker

hang it up to dry

X

Drops race down the windowpane

following the jagged paths of their predecessors

XI

Air pressure changes

as fog lifts and clouds chase each other

to the next county

XII

Puddles bask in the sun

warming themselves

until they disappear

XIII

Breathe in deep – this is the stuff laundry detergent is made of

Poetic Response to Lucille Clifton

Though I have studied poetry for about a decade now, one of the first poets I was introduced to in a high school creative writing course still remains one of the most powerful influences in my work: Lucille Clifton.

022510_clifton

Homage to My Hips

Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Homage to my Hands
Mindy M. Wara Maciolek

These hands are inventor’s hands,

worn to a calloused middle finger where they hold the pen,

scissors, and sewing needle.

These hands are tender hands.

They have rocked a baby to sleep,

crafted a peanut butter sandwich, and pinned up quilted forts.

These hands are seductive hands,

teasing with backrubs and tangling themselves in a man’s hair.

These hands are working hands.

They have laid concrete, sod, and roofing tiles.

These hands are thieving hands,

pocketing earrings from Kohl’s without paying the price.

These hands have flipped the bird,

flipped the channel, and flipped my hair.

These hands are crooked hands,

scarred and chipped in all the right places.

These hands are indented by rings,

scratched by cats, and scented with sandalwood lotion.

These hands have plunged through ice

and come up breathing and bleeding.

The House on Oak Street

With the seasons changing so rapidly here in Canada, I start thinking about the holidays and back home. Here is a fairly nostalgic poem about my childhood home.

 

The House on Oak Street

Mindy M. Wara

 

Spring awakens Mom’s sunny tulip cups

along-side the white house, mint

in 1991, when Dad first drew out the “For Sale” sign

as if he were Arthur pulling the sword from the stone.

My sister and I can never resist the urge to pluck

the tulip heads from their stalks, mashing them

into potions along with poison berries.

We were warned never ever to eat them,

but I made her try one once. She was fine.

 

As the last puddles of spring evaporate,

I drag the storm-blown birch stick

through my dad’s left-over rainbowed gasoline spots

on the driveway. The iridescent spectrum swirls in on itself.

I discover I am an artist, not a mechanic,

as my father had anticipated,

though the grease stained coolots and jumpers

in the hamper suggest otherwise.

 

Dead geraniums allude to autumn,

hanging their weary wilting heads

in the planter below the mailbox.

The cheapest pumpkins

we could find at Fernau’s stand guard,

etched with the scariest faces Dad’s knife can carve,

the orange mucus, guts, and seeds

our fingers squish around in

is left crusted to the table for Mom to clean up.

 

Peering out the living room window,

I see blue snow under streetlamps.

It takes over the yard, the jungle gym,

the windows as I lick and stick the snowflake window clings,

readying the house for reindeer and grandparents,

offering Christmas warmth from the muted world.

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What vivid memories do you associate with your childhood? Please comment and share!

Hi, my name is Mindy, and I am a bibliophile. (It is not as dirty as it sounds)

Even though the majority of my books are stacked in piles and piles of boxes at my dad’s house back in Wisconsin (I don’t know what I would do if he couldn’t store them for me until we move back!), my book collection here in Canada keeps growing and I can’t keep up! And worse – Jason has picked up my habit of book collecting. Our shelves are lined with books we hope to have time for some mythical day in the future when we have time. We have filled another crate of comic books and need to buy yet another bookshelf… and it is new comic book Wednesday…

I Buy Books I Know Will Never Read

Mindy M. Wara

Half Price Books should never

have given me a teacher discount,

volumes by the crateful at 10% off.

I sift through every nook and cranny of the store,

scrounging the towering shelves for my next fix.

I love justified margins and strip

off book jackets soon as I get home.

I admire the ruffed rabbit etched

into Alice in Wonderland’s leather cover.

Fingering the texture helps me understand the text.

I am a slow reader. I distract myself

with the diction of every paragraph,

the shape of every word,

caught up in the moment that Times New Roman

meets black on white in anything by Austen.

The musty smell of cheap titles

and water stained pages fills my summer

as I dig through cardboard boxes

in strange garages,

rummaging for literacy’s sake.

10% off of Half Price is still too much

when too many books is never enough.

Books spill off shelves and into the swarm

of words I wade around in on my apartment floor:

Given the choice between rent or the rush

of words added to my hoard,

I always chose words.