Poetry Friday: “Handsome Jack”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllWhat happens when you are sifting through computer files of photos from last fall, and stumble on one that makes you think, “Hey, this deserves a poem!” You write the poem, then and there!

Now, the problem with this scenario is that it’s almost 10:30pm and my brain is pretty much toast. But with a few minutes of thought, this came out of my head:

chest-hairHandsome Jack

The ladies love my body
for its rugged, manly size.
They love my smooth complexion
and never-wandering eyes.
My chest hair raises eyebrows,
my swagger gets me cheers –
alas, they leave when they learn
nothing’s ‘tween my ears.

– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

This was the scarecrow I put together for the front of our house last October – and yes, I deliberately gave him chest hair. He seemed to like it. Every year I try to do something different – one year he was a farmer, one year he was a politician – and I’m not sure what I’m doing this year, but I have some ideas!

If you’d like to enjoy more poetry (and much BETTER poetry, I might add), then please visit Catherine at Reading to the Core for today’s Poetry Friday Roundup, where she’s featuring Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s brand-new Grumbles From the Town: Mother-Goose Voices With a Twist (WordSong, 2016)!

house

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Poetry Friday: Autumn haiku, 2016

Having spent my Labor Day Weekend working at the local fair (you can find out how dinosaurs, high-tech saw blades, and “battered savs” all tie into this by checking out this past Tuesday’s post), I’m in a sort of autumn mood…

antique-truck-haiku-graphic
Photo courtesy of Katherine Esenwine, (c) 2012 (Click to enlarge)

I’ve had this photo sitting in my computer files for four years (this was taken in early Oct. 2012), so I’m glad I finally put it to use!

poetryfridaybutton-fulllFor more poetry, be sure to visit Today’s Little Ditty, where Michelle H. Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday with her own contribution to a poetic challenge from the inimitable Jane Yolen!

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Revelations from the state fair, Vol. V

hsflogo-lg

Every Labor Day Weekend, I spend Friday through Monday working at the local state fair as the PA announcer, a position that requires not just a lot of talking, but a lot of walking and a whole lot of preparation.

It’s one of the most fun jobs I’ve had in my life, and I look forward to it every year. One minute I’m heading over to one of the small stage areas to double-check times or check out an act I hadn’t seen before; the next, I’m inside the administration building chowing down on a loaded baked potato piled high with every ingredient known to mankind.

(Trust me, when it comes to fair food, one needs to pace oneself.)

As has been tradition here at Triple R, I always share some of the things I’ve learned from each fair, because it’s not just an enjoyable work experience – it’s a learning experience, to boot. In the past, I’ve learned the most despised candies in the universe;  why environmentalists hate truck pulls; and even the best time to “smell” the fair.

So what nuggets of wisdom did I glean this year?

  1. The threat of a hurricane drives up Friday attendance. There was a lot of talk about whether or not Hermine would make it to the New Hampshire coast, and when. We were anticipating getting hit Sunday and Monday, the latter half of the fair, which is why I think our Friday ticket numbers were off the charts. As it turned out, Hermine never even made it, and we had a stupendous weekend all four days!
    .
  2. sandtasticSand used for sand sculptures is not normal beach sand. As Sandtastic Sand Sculpture Company’s sculptor (pictured) explained to me, the sand they use is comprised of faceted grains, which help the sand to wedge together and stick to itself. Conversely, beach sand is worn smooth from being tossed in the water and therefore is much more difficult to work with.
    .
  3. Speaking of sculpting…chainsaw sculptors use specially-designed chainsaws. I was chatting with Ben Risney, whose chainsaw
    risney-1
    (Click to enlarge)

    carvings are masterful, when he told me that some of his smaller chainsaws are custom-designed, industrial-grade. His larger saws are standard chainsaws, but the smaller ones, like the one pictured, have an angled bar and run at twice the RPMs of a normal chainsaw. The primary benefit of using a saw with such high RPMs is that the cuts are so smooth, he rarely needs to sand the sculptures once they’re completed! You can see Ben in action and more of his handiwork HERE.
    .

  4. “Battered Savs??” Who knew? corn-dogs
    .
  5. Some folks take their fried foods way more seriously than others. I was walking along a pathway when I overheard two young women chatting behind me. The conversation went something like this:
    “So, so sad.”
    “Yes, it is.”
    “Such a sad situation.”
    “Things like that just shouldn’t happen.”
    It was at that moment I realized they were talking about a piece of fried dough that lay on the ground; perfectly elliptical, not one bite had been taken out of it. I shed a tear, as well.
    .
  6. Saw blades are high-tech pieces of equipment. One of the many attractions at the fair this year were the Axe Women: Loggers of Maine, featuring championship women loggers competing in axe throwing, log rolling, cross-cut sawing, and a number of other events. I learned that their crosscut saw (bottom photo) is made in New Zealand of a special metal alloy that is strong and smooth – but is extremely sensitive to moisture; in fact, if the blade is not kept properly oiled, under very humid conditions it will start rusting within 30 minutes.
    axe-2  axe-1
    axe-3
    .
  7. Deep-fried pickle chips are superior to deep-fried pickle spears. This is not a decision I came to haphazardly; I spent a number of years researching the merits of each. You’re welcome.
    .
  8. dino-2 Dinosaur costumes are a lot heavier than they look. Really high-quality costumes, I should say. I had an opportunity to chat with John and Chance Bloom and their family, who run (among other things) a business called Dinosaur Xperience – which brings a walking, talking T-Rex right to your event.
    Chance told me the lifelike suit is 80-100 pounds, and contains a metal cage around the  head and thorax, which allows for

    dino-1
    Yes, even dinos need ID.

    electronically-controlled motion and sound. She can tolerate about 30-40 minutes inside the outfit before she needs to get indoors to cool off and re-hydrate…so thank goodness her husband and their 4 kids are all part of the act, helping her!

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Well, I hope you enjoyed this little review. It’s amazing the things one can learn at the fair – and spending so much time at this one allows me ample opportunity to discover things I might never notice otherwise. And for writers, learning and observing is crucial!

Until next time, have a good week! (and seriously, let me know your thoughts on the deep-fried pickles!)

risney-3
Some examples of Ben Risney’s work, which were featured around the fairgrounds.

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National Poetry Month: “Young Adult Review Network” Poetry Contest Results!

national-poetry-month 2016

Me?

One of my poems?

One of the winners of a national poetry contest??? 

It began on World Poetry Day, March 21…the good folks at the Young Adult Review Network (YARN) began accepting submissions for a poetry contest they called “Enchanted Spaces and Places,” using the hashtag #EnchantedYARN.

Inspired by Margarita Engle’s award-winning memoir, Enchanted Air (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015), the editors at YARN invited writers to submit poems about their own enchanted places – where they have lived, visited, or even spaces they hold inside their hearts. (You can learn more about the contest HERE)

The poems were all judged by Margarita herself, who I have to imagine must have been worn out from entries pouring in from all over the world! Entries were judged blind (that is, names were not attached to the poems while judging), so Margarita had no idea who had written the poems while she was reading them.

She had no idea mine was one of them…

And the winners are:

Winner: London Shah, “Desi Donations” 
Runner-up:
Cynthia Grady, “Early Morning”
Runner-up: My poem, “Last Autumn!”

You can read YARN’s complete post HERE, along with all three winning poems. I hope you’ll check them out, because I’m very honored to be in such good company with these two other poets! Many thanks to Margarita for all her hard work, and to everyone who entered the contest – because ultimately, the important thing isn’t winning, so much as it is the writing. Remember what I always say, #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!

Although in cases like this, it’s nice when they DO read!

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2016 Kidlit Progressive PoemDon’t forget: Irene Latham’s 2016 Progressive Poem continues today as poet/blogger Renee M. LaTulippe adds her contribution, so be sure to stop by the No Water River and see how it’s coming along!

You can follow the 2016 Progressive Poem at the following blog spots:

April

1 Laura at Writing the World for Kids

2 Joy at Joy Acey

3 Doraine at Dori Reads

4 Diane at Random Noodling

5 Penny at A Penny and Her Jots

6 Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink

7 Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass

8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem

9 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche

10 Pat at Writer on a Horse

11 Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

12 Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

13 Linda at TeacherDance

14 Jone at Deo Writer

15 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly

17 Kim at Flukeprints

18 Irene at Live Your Poem

19 Charles at Charles Waters Poetry

20 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town

21 Jan at Bookseedstudio

22 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

23 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page

24 Amy at The Poem Farm

25 Mark at Jackett Writes

26 Renee at No Water River

27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository

28 Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro

30 Donna at Mainely Write

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Poetry Friday: Autumn haiku

I know, we’re in the middle of winter…so what am I doing, you ask?

This poem originally appeared on Carol Varsalona’s blog, Beyond Literacy, a few days after Christmas – and although I hope you had a chance to check out all the contributors’ works, I wanted to showcase the poem here, as well. The photo has been going around the internet for awhile, so I wish I knew to whom it should be attributed; I must thank them for the inspiration!

(click to enlarge)

Again, you can view all the poems and photos in Carol’s gallery HERE, and please leave a comment so she knows you visited. And for more poetry and links, please visit Keri at Keri Recommends for today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Autumn’s Palette, unveiled!

Since we’re still in the midst of the holidays, I’m still on a small pseudo-hiatus. The family spent Christmas together last week – which is why I was absent from the Poetry Friday festivities -and this week is just as busy!

New Year’s Eve is, of course, this Friday…our first big storm of the season is upon us as I write this…my son turns 6 years old TODAY…and since he’s home from school this week due to the holiday break, we’re spending some extra time together. But there is one thing I wanted to make sure I shared with you:

Carol Varsalona’s “Autumn Palette” is live! The children’s educator/writer has pulled together a huge assortment of children’s poetry and photos celebrating that most colourful of seasons, and it’s now available for viewing. Two of my poems are included, and I hope you like them.

Children’s writers and poets from all over share their thoughts on autumn and each poem is paired with a photo, creating a giant gallery of ekphrastic wonder! (and if you don’t know what that is, look it up!)

You can find the gallery HERE – so please check it out, and leave a comment so Carol knows you visited. She’d love to hear from you! Enjoy your holidays, enjoy your first days of winter, and enjoy the beauty of fall with Carol’s “Autumn Palette!”

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To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Poetry Friday: “Poetry…Cubed!” wraps up!

Poetry Cubed logo

Today’s the day!

Earlier this month, I challenged readers to come up with a poem utilizing imagery from these three pictures:

 IMG_0637 

It’s a little contest I call “Poetry…Cubed!”and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, how good you are – or how good a job you do writing the poem – is less important than your willingness to tackle the challenge. (Remember what I’ve said before: #WriteLikeNoOneIsReading!)

So now that November is over, I can share all of the poems that have been submitted:
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The Visit
I won’t be alone
Tonight in my small cabin.
I’ll have company.
I’ll light a warm fire
and decorate with branches
for my puppet guest.
People think I’m odd.
But folks are disappointing.
Toys are constant friends.
– Deborah Holt Williams
.
.
A Seasonal Game

Autumn offers sweet solace
as Summer fades away
lulling us into complacency
while Winter lurks on our doorstep
Like syrup coating a bitter pill
it distracts us in early days
with brilliant splashes of color,
maple leaves and bittersweet,
the pulsing heat of a wood stove,
and camaraderie in the stands
where frosty cries fog the frigid air
as fans cheer the flying pigskin
Autumnal beauty hovers,
a neutral zone before
the full blitz of Winter’s winds,
But inexorably Winter slips in
and picks off those vibrant leaves
one by one
In its unrelenting offensive march
it drives forward and blasts us
into our homes to await
the tender shoots of Spring.

– Molly Hogan

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Thanksgiving Day

Applauds
fumbles
Hike
pass
Last second
Five o’clock dinner-plate
Cranberries in a boil
Turkeys blazing in
Grandmas’ oven
Yesterday grandpa
Chops firewood
Tonight we bless
Those we love
Happy Thanksgiving

– Jessica Bigi
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cbhanek cubed poem

– cbhanek

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Under Wraps
How bitter it feels to be sweet when you’re not
When you lose what you love
And pretend you don’t care
When all’s gone that you’ve sought
The voice in your head says
Keep cool! Soldier on!
Hold still that façade
Soon the pain will be gone
So while you burn at your core
You keep a stiff lip
You’ve learned well how to hide it
That heart that’s too tender
The one that is falling
The one that you’re holding
So fast in your grip
.
– Leslie Lotz-Skimmings

.

West Virginia

Misty ghosts of
Blue-gray uniforms
Crowing mountains
Berry-leaved branches
Razing towards glory
Somehow not
As gram remember
Though still in
Her mountain beauty
The cools that warmed our stove
Grew snapdragons’ feet
Distrustful it is
Victory – victory
Streets a blaze
Grams remembering
The heroes that battled here and
The beauty of her mountain home
Lights a candle and prays

– Jessica Bigi
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November Haiku

Autumn dances
in gusts of red, gold stars;
bittersweet flames

– Anonymous


Sweet Revenge

The stove burns brightly.
I’ve tricked them again,
fed bittersweet berries
and now they have lain
aside all their worries,
asleep as I sought.
Dear Hansel and Gretel –
now time for the pot.
Oh no! He’s awakened.
My plan to be slick
is failing, I’m falling
into my own trick.

– © Linda Baie 2015, All Rights Reserved

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November

Autumn, in a bittersweet mood, once more
makes a puppet of me, puts me right here
next to the wood stove, makes me say
“I don’t know if the fire will catch,”
makes me turn and watch as the fire catches,
makes me turn back and clap my hands,
makes me say “Time for tea,” makes me dance
a little let’s-have-tea-by-the-fire two-step
just like last year and the year before.
I’m nothing in November if not predictable,
but it’s out if my hands, firmly in his:
Autumn, the puppeteer who paints the scenery,
pulls all my strings, knows all my lines,
and me, his well-loved marionette, his little toy.

– Julie Larios

.
Writing a Cubed Poem

Word jock
Writer’s block
Inspiration glows
Ink flows
Rhyming shoots
Cubed fruits!

– Karen Eastlund
.

Barbeque
Intermission
Tackle
Touchdown
Entertainment
Rally
Shout
Wallow
Evaluate
Enounced
Teams

F
O
O
T
B
A
L
L

Hot Coals
Under Feet
Go Team Go

– Jessica Bigi
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Her, in November

Love’s seeds burst open
on the vine
as autumn plays its games;
the fire, ’tis sweet,
but once lit, none
dare try contain the flames.

– © 2015, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved

poetryfridaybutton-fulll

I love how the same three pictures can stir different thoughts, feelings, and images within different people. Thanks so much to everyone who submitted their work!

Out of all the poems entered, ONE lucky writer was chosen at random to receive his/her choice of:

And the winner is…

Leslie Lotz-Skimmings!

Congratulations, Leslie! Just send me an email letting me know which of these three prizes you would like, and I’ll get it to you! Thanks again to everyone who participated, and for even more poetry, please visit Buffy Silverman’s blog for today’s Poetry Friday roundup!

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Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!
SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)Cybils-Logo-2015-Web-Sm
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Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!