Tag Archives: poetry

Pola Vortex

A badass poem about the polar vortex, defined as “a low pressure area—a wide expanse of swirling cold air—that is parked in polar regions.” We know it as the force that wreaked havoc here in the U.S. last week.

Tricia Knoll first published Pola Vortex as part of a “poetry marathon” put on by Tupelo Press, an indie press that publishes books of poetry. It was part of a 30-30 challenge—30 poems in 30 days.

The poems will be up through February here.

Thanks, Tricia, for sharing this one with us.

— S.K.

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“Bodypainted Snow Queen” by by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer, via Wikimedia Commons. Licensing agreement can be viewed here.

Pola Vortex 

am the witch’s tit.

You people never get me right. My bitch bra is made of silver, not brass. I make mirrors and hand you froth. I go by many names, but call me Pola. The lusty wind diva. Cringe all you like.

Be warned: Jail break! I am no longer stuck to the cloverleaf of north. I swoop down to kick ass on your sad little towns, clog your straight-arrow roads, shiver your timbers, and kill your weak. ICE? You ain’t seen nothing yet. I lock you homebound.

I rub you raw. Push me with plows? I keep coming. I’m higher than your kites, clouds, skyscrapers and drones. My slip shows – flakey lace. White and quite long-wear-you-down. Hah! I’m a swirling hurl-a-girl layback spin, skating your way every chance I get on ice-sharp blades. Flashing my flowing skirts – silver thaw and midnight blue.

You ignored me. You favored rant-chants about warming. While the sea beneath me went soft. We are going to dance, you and me. Like it or not, I lead. Buckle up your boots. Snowshoes. All-wheel drive and all-weather coats.

You don’t have time to tame me. I’m counter-clockwise. Pola revolutionary.

Fools unlocked the gate. I’m no more stay-at-home dame. Good times Pola Mama. You get what you deserve.

—Tricia Knoll

 

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Tricia Knoll’s latest poetry book, “How I Learned To Be White“, delves into how ancestry, childhood, education, and more form a concept of white privilege . . . and what work is required to see through that privilege and live in this multicultural world. She lives in Vermont and you can read more about Tricia and her books at her website.

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The December Rose

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Photo by Tricia Knoll.

The December Rose

From so many, so few,
survivors of first pruning,
waywards scrabbling
sideways for some sun,
as Lenten roses plump
up their buds, those faux
first flowers of late winter.

Where summer gives
full-blown,
lush of reds in silk,
just these, orphans
of short days, of freeze,
they narrow
the number
of months
without roses,
that darkness
of impossible
hope.

—Tricia Knoll

Tricia Knoll (2)
Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose rose garden keeps expanding. In 2018 her new poetry collection How I Learned to Be White is coming out from Antrim House. Her 2017 collection Broadfork Farm (The Poetry Box) focuses on life on a small family-run organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington where Knoll farmsits when the farmers need to go away.

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Crystal Light of Morning

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Pikesview Quarry, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo from The Gazette Telegraph archives, by Carol Lawrence.

 

Crystal Light of Morning

In the crystal light of morning I look to the mountains.
The earth has been cut open, it is bleeding red.
the snow is like a blanket covering the dread.

In this shimmering, frigid air I can see the veil between us and them.

This ancient earth and the ancient humans abhor the modern world that is now.

The earth is alive. The broken open skin of the earth cries because of these atrocities.

—Ginger Hipszky

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Photo of Ginger and Gretchen by Skee Hipszky.

Virginia (Ginger) A. Hipszky was born in 1960 in Franklin, Indiana. She relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado in December 1979. She has one daughter and two stepsons. Various interests include reading, collecting modern and ancient coins, amateur radio, book proofreading, and collecting rocks and fossils. Meteorology and astronomy are two of her favorite passions, and she also enjoys writing poems and prose.

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Note from the Editor: I met Ginger a couple of weeks ago at a mutual friend’s art sale. She told us of a poem that had come to her, inspired by that morning’s view of the first significant snow of the season on a mining site nearby. I found the poem captivating and asked her if I could publish it here. Ginger said yes, and then wrote a little about how it came about in an email: “When the sun first comes up, it turns the exposed granite pink. . . [The poem] just came to me. I felt anxious all day till the words got out and on paper.”

Everyone in Colorado Springs, Colorado is familiar with the mining scar of Queens Canyon Quarry, not far from the one in Ginger’s poem. During a little research I found an article that told how that quarry was mined for limestone, to be used in the concrete foundations of buildings at the Air Force Academy, the Colorado Springs Airport and NORAD (and, I’d add, tens of thousands of homes and businesses). The article stated that in 1966 when Stewart Udall, then Secretary of the Interior, visited here he dubbed our city as “the city with a scar”. For many decades people remarked on its ugliness and how it marred a landscape that held, so close by, geologic wonders like our Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. Here’s the link to that article if you’d like to read about how 20,000 hours of volunteer labor went into reclamation of that area below. The good news is that now you can actually see trees growing on this area.

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Queens Canyon Quary, Image from ImFromColorado.com. Another discovery I made is that it is very difficult to find images of the scars. Understandably, they are not something people enjoy photographing.

 

As the YA author John Green wrote, “The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

—S.K.K.

 

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Four Days Away

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“Cedar Flags” by Tricia Knoll.

Four Days Away

A small time gone to see the first snow
on the gold hills near the mountain.

A return to tomato plants turning black,
the hosta succumbed to a frost.

The cedar loosed its fall flags
in the west wind and turned the deck

to gold wonder of a forest floor.
Four days under a record rain

and first thing we carried inside,
that heavy temple bell, a gong

too noisy for gusts that attack
our coming winter nights.

—Tricia Knoll

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Tricia Knoll’s most recent book is Broadfork Farm, a series of love poems for the creatures, family, and gardens at a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington. In a time of urban disturbance, retreating to the farm brings a measure of peace.

 

Website: triciaknoll.com

 

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October

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Image from Wikimedia Commons, attributed to http://www.ForestWander.com

October

The gesture of October is sneaking
rain-green back into dry moss,
painting north to drop
hand-me-down leaves
to the ground’s open palm.

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Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with two books in print – Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014). Website: triciaknoll.com

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Rain Songs

1024px-Here_comes_rain_again Juni from Kyoto, Japan

Here Comes the Rain Again by Juni from Kyoto, Japan, via Wikimedia Commons

 

In Colorado we’re getting some much needed moisture this week, so I thought I’d share this weather-appropriate poetry comic by one of my favorite authors, Jessy Randall.

Sandra Knauf

Rain Songs by Jessy Randall

Rain Songs by Jessy Randal (2)

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Jessy Randall’s poems, poetry comics, diagram poems, and other things have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, McSweeney’s, and Rattle. Her most recent book is Suicide Hotline Hold Music (Red Hen, 2016). She is a librarian at Colorado College and her website is http://personalwebs.coloradocollege.edu/~jrandall/.

 

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Ode to My Garden Pruners

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Photo by Tricia Knoll

Ode to My Garden Pruners

The hardware store keeps your kind
under lock and key. I know I could lose you
like sewing scissors, postcard stamps,
that jade ring from China,
my purple pull-down hat for fall.

I rigged up a cinching-to-me. One Goodwill belt,
a leather holster, slick-draw me and you, my garden gun,
ready for mayhem to camellias. Or caressing.
I learned how to prune the rose bush from a master
with ten thousand in his care, and now you snip
rose hips and blind shoots under sagging lilacs and ambitious camellias.
Help me tame the vertical fig that smothers the quaking aspen.
What fears us? Your jaws of steel, anvil blade.

You are my costume, my going forth into green.
I swivel the holster to the small of my back
so you won’t fall when I lean, rip out blackberry.
I home you into your holster bed in one swift move.

There is so much to love about you, long-term.
How your swivel lock closes your eagle craw.
Did you ask for handles dipped in red?
Would you have liked dark green? Gold?
Sky blue? Red leads me to you.

Yes, I use your blades to dig dandelions
or slice open a bag of bark dust when no one looks.
I apologize for knicks from trying to bite off more
than we can chew through, your mouth
smaller than twinberry gone gangly.

You’re reluctant to disturb
the fat spider hung
who caught a fly and shrouded it in silk,
and you are right.

Later for the roses.

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Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who has maintained gardens all her life, sowing the seeds of sanity. She grew up admiring her mother’s roses and vegetable garden. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and volunteers at Portland’s Washington Park Rose Test Garden. Her chapbook Urban Wild is available from Amazon and focuses on interactions between humans and wildlife in urban habitat.

Her lyric and eco-poetry of  Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press) focuses on a small town on the Oregon coast, Manzanita. Website: triciaknoll.com
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