Posted in Poetry, Tabletop Poetry (and Other Artforms)

30 in 30 Day 6: The Ferryman

Many of of the cards in the Dixit Revelations deck make me think of mythology, like this one of a ferryman with an egg. This poem is also inspired by Robert Lee Brewer’s Day 1 prompt. (And for your information, this is both a morning poem and a mourning poem.)

The Ferryman:

By the light of the rising sun,
Charon rows the babe across the river.
If possible, the ferryman seems more solemn
than usual, as if considering a new profession,
though his CV looks rather plain. 
He is a cog in the machine,
supposedly part of some greater cosmic plan
but sometimes even gods wonder
if things really happen for a reason.
There is some unfairness in this,
this child too young to weep.
This child whose cries will never
be heard by its mother
who likely now weeps for it.
Charon does not know what became of her.
All he knows is that she did not pay a fare.
This child he will carry without payment
for this is the only passenger that is colder than an obol.
Though this is not the first time
nor will it be the last.
These passengers hollow the ferryman
from the inside out.
Some say they have seen it in his eyes,
but none have asked why.
It is simple.
Even babies get a lifetime, but this poor child never did.
And now, the babe stirs, waking, for its first and only sunrise.

Posted in Poetry, Tabletop Poetry (and Other Artforms)

30 in 30 Day 4: The Gods are Like Us

This is one of my favorite Dixit Revelations cards. I mean, it’s Shiva. Watching a video of Ganesha on a smart phone. What’s not to like?

This poem also works for Robert Lee Brewer’s Day 3 prompt: write an animal poem (not because of Ganesha, but because of Vishnu’s zoo). I used it as an excuse to explore some basic Hindu mythology, and I made sure to include the story about Krishna and the universe down his throat because that’s been one of my favorite stories since I first saw The Secret Garden.

The Gods are Like Us:

And it turns out
the gods are more like us than we thought.

Ganesha has a one-man band
He plays three instruments at once
and sings through his trunk.
He plays all major events–
weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs–
but he’s especially fond of open mics
that are just starting up.

Shiva is the best video editor in space-time.
When he’s not filming Ganesha
he runs a fact-checking website
quietly guiding his followers to enlightenment.

Vishnu advertises on Shiva’s site.
He owns a zoo, but doesn’t bother with a gift shop.
Everything is free.
Even the food you can give the animals,
many of which roam outside of habitats.
When interviewed by the local paper,
Vishnu insisted, “it the experience that matters.”

Hanuman runs security for Vishnu
(in case someone tries to steal a snake)
He owns the dojo down the street
where he teaches martial arts
as a form of moving meditation.
He also offers his services
to women walking home late at night.

Krishna teaches yoga at the dojo.
He always has a smile on his face.
Most days he goes to get coffee with his students after class.
And once, when he opened his mouth to eat a piece of cake,
someone said they saw the universe down his throat.

Posted in Poetry, Tabletop Poetry (and Other Artforms)

30 in 30 Day 2: Icarus

Two years ago, I heard a local music duo play a song about Daedalus and Icarus, and I fell in love. Something about this song struck a chord in me. I was still in school at the time, and having a very rough time with a teacher who decided mocking me in class was more productive than answering the questions I asked about her unclear directions. I get this kind of thing a lot–people who snap at me for things I don’t understand–and often looking back, I realize I have a tendency to intimidate others. I don’t mean to, but at age 28, I’m a pretty accomplished young woman, and anxiety aside, when I am confident about something, I show it. This does not fit the “traditional” view of what women should be.

So when my teacher brought me to tears and then held me after class to tell me I had no right to consider her language offensive, I latched onto this idea of Icarus. I even dressed up as Icarus for Halloween. I had flown too close to the sun, asked too many questions, been too smart for my own good. But I don’t feel like I (or anyone else) should have to pretend to be something I am not because another person is intimidated by me. So I always wanted to play with the ides of something else happening to Icarus, like instead of being hurt by the sun, Icarus becomes the sun. So when this year’s early-bird prompt on napowrimo was to write a poetic self-portrait as a mythological character, I knew I had to take a swing at it. (Yeah, I never follow the prompts in order. Get used to it.)

Icarus

As a child, I wanted nothing more
than to fly.
I suppose when you live so near the sky
it is impossible
not to want to touch it.
But I was always told such things were
forbidden.
Such heights
were not for girls.

Not all prisons are made from walls.
And though I am not the first
woman to be trapped in a tower
these stones are not what hold me here.

All my life, I have been told
stay low to the ground.
The sky is for stars,
not for young women.
Don’t act too smart.
It’s not safe.
If you touch the sun,
you will burn.

But the sun is already burning
within me. I do not want to touch it.
I want to become it.
And I see the faint stars in others
worried my brightness will block them out.
Even my father, giving me my wings,
could not hide his fear.

His warning echoes in my ears as I rise.
But I take no heed.
Because even if I fail…
after a life of imprisonment,
subject to the whims
of those who trapped me with their words…
even falling will be better.