February Word Challenge, Day 11 (with poem)

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are sand, napkin, ski, insult, race.

Chosen word for free association: sand
Wyoming, wind, Ed, cats, Wheatland, Wyoming Sun, Wyoming son, Landshark

Exercise (haiku):

“Wyoming Son”
for Ed

Wheatland winter
Winds moan, mourning the loss of
Their Wyoming son.

— Stace Johnson, 2017

Title page of Wyoming Sun, inscribed to me by Ed Bryant

Title page of Wyoming Sun, inscribed to me by Ed Bryant

Resolute 2017

Resolute 2017
(for myself and the world in general)

Less anger
More agreement

Less bitching
More bonding

Less conflict
More cooperation

Less drinking
More dancing

Less excess
More economy

Less fighting
More fixing

Less griping
More giving

Less hate
More Haight

Less introversion
More inclusion

Less judging
More jokes

Less kicking
More kissing

Less loneliness
More love

Less madness
More music

Less negativity
More nature

Less oppression
More openness

Less politics
More poetry

Less quarrelling
More quality

Less racism
More respect

Less sexism
More sex

Less television
More time

Less ugliness
More understanding

Less violence
More victories

Less weed
More words

Less xenophobia
More xiexie

Less yammering
More yoga

Less zealousy
More zebras

— Stace Johnson, 2016

H8

H8
for Sandra

Among the murals of
    Jim and
    Jimi and
    Janis and
    Jerry she
Walks with the spirit of her mother,

Absorbing the afterglow of
The Summer of Love,
Transcending her troubles and
    Resetting
    Her Compass to Compassion
    Restoring
    The bit of her heart that she left with Ganesha
        for safekeeping.

For her, Art equals Love.
For her, Love equals Haight.

— Stace Johnson, 2016

The Kestrel

The Kestrel

I spied this evening gravity's bane, ground-
  Defying dusk's dirigible: an airship, soaring,
  Drifting in the dust-driven draft, mooring-
Mounted, engines churning, yearning to bound
Into the sky! Then, down, ‘round, and ‘round,
  As a raptor circles groundling prey, spooring,
  The Kestrel met the mooring, engines roaring.
Breath broken, I watched as her tether wound.
The ship's skin stretched, struts strained,
  Snapped! AND the fire that bloomed from within
Eclipsed the setting sun.  Downward sparks rained,
  Fiery teardrops reflected in their salty kin.
And yet, fantasies of flight remain;
  A tragic crash shan't quash the dreams of men.

— Stace Johnson, 2013

This poem appeared in Volume 9, issue 4 of Tales of the Talisman in May of 2014. It’s a pastiche of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “The Windhover“, hence the odd, “sprung” meter.

Publication Announcement

I arrived home from my first vacation in years Sunday to find a copy of Tales of the Talisman waiting in my mailbox. This is the issue that includes my steampunk sonnet, “The Kestrel”, which is a pastiche poem inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ “The Windhover“. (At least one other Colorado writer is represented in this issue: Ian Brazee-Cannon‘s story “A Night at the Club” also appears.)

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Basically, I asked myself, “What if Gerard Manley Hopkins had been inspired more by technology than the priesthood?” I dug out my old Norton Anthology of English Literature and refreshed myself on Hopkins’ unique sprung rhythm so I could try to stay true to the meter of the original poem. Hopkins is my favorite poet, and in writing this pastiche, I meant no disrespect toward him or his work. I see it as more of a tribute to his writing, as well as an opportunity to work within a unique poetry framework, where the meter is dictated by the number of stresses in a line, rather than the number of syllables and feet.

Tales of the Talisman is a beautiful magazine, chock full of excellent writing. David Lee Summers did a great job putting this one together, and I’m honored to have my work represented.