Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Normal Poem

Carter Neumann


My mother says I have to write a normal poem

but I ask her, what’s normal?

She will not tell me. She says, that’s a great start

But, what’s normal?

I know I know it, but I just can’t say it

maybe I don’t know it because I never am. normal.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two NORMAL poems


My Cabin

I don’t normally send texts
about my vagina.
I don’t even remember why I did it
this day.I remember only the bait-and-switch
of autocorrect, reassuring me at first with v-a-g- then
amending my ‘vagina’ to ‘cabins’
as if the word had never
How I raged at first! Feminism
brimming. Humans, I sizzled,
have forgotten
their origin.

Then I read it again
And again.

Something, perhaps,About having my cabins examined,
Or maybe what I wanted so-and-so to do
To my cabins after work.
And I realized.
The vagina is
A cabin.

A winter womb,
clenched doors sealing in
the balm of fizzing fires,
unfreezing even the iciest
A summer stopover,
How they rejoice, after hiking miles,
when they spot it
airing campers in
and out with fluid
and even at its oldest,
mossy boards clutching
a last rusted nail,
it makes men shiver with a wild ache
to bang at the door
just one more time.



Is it the prim and proper, white picket fence, blonde hair, blue eyes and creamy white skin?

Is it good grades, bike helmets, elbow pads and cowboys and Indians?

Is it, speak when spoken to, legible penmanship and perfect attendance?

Is it movies with catty girls, dates with zit faced geeks and mall shopping with a vengeance?

Is it the power suit, the MBA and the stock portfolio?

Is it the 2.5 kids, the daughter’s wedding and trips to the Pochonos?

Is it from my father’s house to the sorority house to my husband’s house?

Is it the porch swing, 20 cats and a shrine to the dearly departed spouse?


What is it really???

It's… hula hoops, bellydance and marching band madness

It's blue hair, stripy sox and coffee shop badass

It is playing with fire, and Thriller parades

It is saying, HELL NO, to drama and hate…

It's screaming some lyrics at the top of your lungs

It's slammin poetry when scared shitless its bein’ done wrong

It is letting go and holding on and joining the circus

It is feathers and clay and leather panel skirts

It's cryin loud and lovin hard, With. No. Exceptions

It's standing tall, head held high and lacking perfection

It is living alone, having no kids, with NO apology

It is quiet time, stretching the limbs and learning to see

It's finding yourself, loving yourself and accepting what comes

It's generosity and patience and another trip around the sun

It is losing the folk that made you feel less than.

It is having a purpose you can believe in.

IT …is what YOUR eyes want to see

This is how it is… so. mote. it. be.

A Yield poem



No more will I yield
give forth or produce.
I am tired of being obedient
sick of giving up
refuse to relinquish one more inch!
This yielding has got to stop!
Not only is it dangerous for the body
But, surely unhealthy for the mind.

Everywhere in this damn town
Yield here relent there
defer to the ignorant
Whose motto is bliss

I want to:
Onto Versailles Road
from New Circle
and visa versa
unite with my husband
be one with the horse
and land I tend.
I want to combine all that is good
and wallow in what arises from
the MERGE.
To hell with yielding!

May's Prompt

Hey all, we had a great April English B with Rae Goodwin and Theo Edmonds. May 17, is this season's LAST English B Tuesday. We'll be taking a short break during the summer.

The prompt is: WATER.

May's English B will also serve as a fundraiser for Parkour! Media and Design's film version of the poem, "Waterbody" by Bianca Spriggs. Suggested donation is $5.

Until next month!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Yield Poem


Traffic Light

She says she does not know which way to turn, even though she’s been at this intersection before.
His frustration mounts as he yearns to reach across and smack her,
as if a physical blow would restore her memories.
Instead he kisses her
until her lips bruise.
He refuses
to tell her which way to turn, so she yields to her fury and drives
through the traffic light, brushing her hair away from her face
the wind blows through the car
his anger at her indecision as he knows they will have to turn around,
knows he should have just told her which way to turn.
She accelerates and reaches for the knob of the radio, searching for static, which she turns up.
He merely grimaces, withholding the anger she seeks; he will not listen.
She would not ask.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April's Prompt

Hey everyone, we really enjoyed the YIELD poems! Next month's prompt is: NORMAL

The next English B Tuesday is on April 19th and guest-hosted by multi-disciplinary artists Theo Edmonds and Rae Goodwin!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Whistle Poems



native peoples
of East Africa,
of the Amazons,
once pursed their lips
with strapping intensity.

nurturing warm air in their larynx,
relaxing their tongues on the tip of their incisors,
forming minuscule tunnels with their vestibulum oris,

they liberated
steady streams
of sound
to ascend,
through the wind
from tribe
to tribe.

lacking vocabulary,
unbound by articulation,
demonstrating the unnecessary nature
of contractions
or the future-perfect tense,

these tones carried true definition
among thousands
of beautiful societies.

…but i have never been able to whistle

in hushed moments
i long for the
embraced by these cultures

i examine these languages,
these histories,
through the lens of a voyeur
with genuine admiration,
severe jealousy

my “ancestors” shared,
through countless generations,
their own restricted codes:

“Always cough into your napkin, darling”
“Place your knife on the edge of the plate when you are finished, child”
“That fork is for salad, only, sweetheart”

i have never been able to whistle.

i was instructed
in what was proper,
void of substance
or emotion.

years of escape
have taught me
to forget disciplines of my past
have allowed me
to think
to sing
to feel
to dance
have inspired me
to speak my mind

still, i am still mercilessly imprisoned
by my grammar
MLA formats
major and minor scales.

it is time
that i
absolute sovereignty.

it is time
that i
to whistle.



I hear it... and I see Sharks and think Jets
I am not an animal... don't talk to me like that
It's the end of the day... the factory closes
I pray that the dog's owner gets responses
traffic is thick, an officer directs you
on majestic wings, toward the blind she flew
the ship is away... the train pulls in
the puck is in play... he has fumbled again


Whistle Pigs

The Whistle Pigs played a gig at Al’s Bar 

on Thursday, January 20, 2011, 10pm. 

They were the opening act 

for The Downtown County Band.
I had never heard of either band before seeing

their poster on the wall at Al’s.

I didn’t see it until after their concert. 

So I missed it.
I guess The Whistle Pigs are a country

rock band-- maybe Wilco wannabes.

Maybe they have a whistling pig mascot

painted on their magic bus. 

The bus is electric blue and the whistle pig 

is day glo orange.
Maybe they have a light show with Disney-like

pink animated pigs on a jumbotron
whistling while they work, 

whistling past a graveyard at midnight,

whistling at Dixie chicks and gettin’ slapped,

whistling for the dogs,

whistling while they walk.
The colors are psychedelic, man,

the images high definition. 

And let me tell you, these Whistle Pigs 

know how to get down and wail

in front of their light show.

They are one hard rockin’ country band.
Hell yeah!
Whistle, pigs, whistle. Put a front hoof 

between your piggy lips 

and blow. Blow, man, blow. 

Whistle. Say it again with a hiss.



Whistle through my memories
that nostalgic maple yawn
when the sound stops me
from remembering
I find comfort in its sound
the rustle of the train tracks

My son taught me to stop for trains
for his delight and my nostalgia
even as I experience the moment
when time stands still
as the train roars past
its echo whistles through my mind
that melancholy maple yawn
whistles through my memories.
The sound stops me
from remembering
I find comfort in its sound
the rustle of the train tracks.

Last Spores of Fungus

Enjoy the following fungus pieces by Catherine Perkins, Elizabeth Beck, and Sunny Montgomery, from January's prompt!


The Bizarro Ball

Out of mind and out of body
sometimes out of this world.
Fungus grown in cow poo
picked on the right day
can split you in two.
The fruit on an organism,
a separate kingdom.
Eat a few and go somewhere
novel and new.
They were magic
dirty and dry.
Ate one and a half,
felt like a fly.
Danced with a man
who had a big butt,
on a rubber band,
tucked under his tails.
Grabbed that behind ,
put it in my face
then let it go back.
Oh what a SNAP!
Captain Dee and Billy B
ended up at home with me.
Remember some of the drive.
Unbelievable, we survived!
Born from earth, water and shit
What a strange and wonderful high
Fungus, Funguses or Fungi!



She stole my heart and left
a fungus to grow in the space
where memories float
and dreams spiral-

A damp, musty floor
of mushroom memories and fungus nightmares
is the faulty foundation
from which I step but cannot escape
because the fungus has a life of its own
pervasive, intrusive, opportunistic.

Even as I strive to aerate the soil
of my being
it creeps between my toes
and under my fingernails
invades my reality
a fungus fortitude of deceit and betrayal
clings to my soul and gets caught in my throat
stopping the screams lodged between my tonsils.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

March's Prompt

Hey everyone, we really enjoyed the whistle poems! Next month's prompt is: YIELD

You have four weeks from today to write!

The next English B Tuesday is on March 15!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Win a copy of Nikky Finney's newest collection!

Next week is February's English B Tuesday! Every writer who signs up for open mic will be entered into a drawing for a copy of Nikky Finney's latest book of poems, Head Off & Split.

Don't forget, the theme for February is WHISTLE.

If you can't make the reading, you can still send your poem or piece of prose (600 words or less) to: biancaspriggs@gmail.com, and I will post to the blog!

Good luck!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One More Fungus Poem


the ruins or the ruined

i asked the lord to reverse my degeneration
to raise me up from the chewy wet dirt.
the last fading crumbles of me
finely threaded together by fungus
and rot stuff.
“is it too late for resurrection?” i pried.
“yes,” he said,
“your heart is already Babylon.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Fungus Poem


For a Sassy Sow Who Abandoned Her Savor to Discover Her Flavor

Overshadowed by Aphrodite’s heady pungent sweet fruit
lauded by Petrarch in his Ninth Sonnet of Rime,
a fungus-sniffing sow named Jeanette Antoinette
once perfected a fanciful, alluring earth-rooting dance
following thunderclaps ‘cross wooded country plateaus
of temperate Dordogne in southwestern France.
First retired, she often longed for the musky terre brûlé
past chalk-white stone churches, fortified chalets, and chateaus.

But gone is the foraging and plowing her snout
through mossy leaf clutter and juniper shrubbery
‘neath a canopy of majestic pines and towering oaks,
neglected by progress disguised as misguided drudgery.
Noble forests divinely conceived before the Hundred Years’ War
abandoned for seven-year-old saplings in unremitting rows
coppiced from manipulated, inoculated hazelnut stock.
Our sow, she decided to forego her work sorrow and woes –

She determined she would not be sad with her loss
for it had become rather gauche,
rather pedestrian for a lady to dig –
common sport for mixed-breed mongrel hounds
and even one cross-eyed pot-bellied pig!
So what’s a proper Pompadour damsel to do?
But give up the leash, the staff, and that sort,
Just turn away with a dignified sigh...and a snort

for more decadent commerce in pork for morels.
Succulent chandeliers of blue and brown chanterelles
now dangle like glistening dew drops from her elegant ears;
she keeps her ungulate tips scarlet and well-manicured
for the more delicate, more refined decoupage arts.
With her peccary proclivities she has successfully lured
many well-bred gentlemen boars and society swine.
With a sophisticated palate accustomed to fine French wine

further honed on tasty Terefezia pulled from exotic dark sands
blanketing Baghdad, Izmir, and other far-off desert lands,
she now prefers slices of the aromatic Tuber magnatum,
cream-fleshed madonnas marbled with veins of stark white
imported from Alba nestled in the Piedmont of Itaia –
Any confusion with Tuscany’s pico or borchii just wouldn’t be right!
Best shaved over foie gras or into an amorous consommé
of black trumpets and celery hearts paired with a delicate rosé.

She lounges on a fainting couch constructed from fodder
as sweet nothings tumble precariously out of full cherry-red lips;
she adjusts her corset carefully with cloven hooves
all the better to accentuate the voluptuous curve of her hips.
She will slip you a sly grin if ever on her you may spy
sipping chocolate laced with ambergris and vanilla,
not diverting her attention from scanning her sty
keeping close watch over her bucolic bacchanalia.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prompt #2


The next English B Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Have fun!

DATE: Third Tuesday of the Month
WHEN: 7:00 PM
WHERE: Alfalfa's (141 East Main Street)
FARE: Light refreshments and beverages (coffee, beer, wine, sodas, etc.) will be available for purchase.
GUIDELINES: Writers have up to four weeks to write poetry, prose, and dialogue revolving around each month's theme, no longer than three minutes.

English B Tuesday is a malleable forum for creative expression. From open mic, to salon, to workshop setting hosted by various members of the local literary community, we hope to expose writers of all walks and literary enthusiasts to an entertaining and productive writing environment.

Two Fungus Poems


One Up

I smash each soft-spotted head
reaching from the lawn,
not because I know mushrooms
keep poison or notice their ugliness
but being a boy means
having never turned down
a clean kill. None of the horror
of a splatter of blood
or ooze, no slime or gentle give
of bone. Nothing but broken
drum skins, curious zombies
in the yard, never living long
before their frills are torn
and scattered in the dirt to disappear,
gone the way of snail shells,
lighted bodies of ants, the beef jerky
tongues of worm and bubble pop
of pigeon eggs. The day is long
for me and I cannot find
my sidewalk chalk.
And anyway, the ground
is too wet. I am too young,
understand suffering
like the rules of baseball.
Mushrooms don't scream,
and what if they did?
Out here, alone?
I know the innocence
of destruction, the torture
of wondering what the color
of inside is. I know what all children
are pretended not to know,
and adults craft a million shades
against: God made good and evil,
safety flags to run to when It sees you.
In between, a cleared field
for fun, a song that didn’t live long,
buried under a hill without a name,
the good kind for rolling down.


Fungus, Like Poetry,

is tricky, jack-o-lanterns look like chanterelles,
false morels like true morels, and the destroying angel
so much like the harmless button mushroom.

Despite gills glowing in the dark, stomach cramping,
fits of vomiting, the jack-o-lantern, they say,
is even tastier than its edible cousin, causing some
to return again and again, disregarding the pain,
seduced by the smell, the memory of its taste.

I have seen grasshoppers, bees, spiders eaten
from the inside out, covered in a white shroud of spores.
Read of ants being turned into zombies by a fungus
eating away their brains, causing them to die at the very heart
of the colony, the enemy multiplying from within.

I have savored truffles and huitlacoche, and know
why men spend years training their pigs to smell
them out among the roots of oak and hazel, poplar and beech.
Why the Aztec purposely blighted their crops with corn smut.
And I love the veins of blue-green mold marbling white cream,
the piquant taste of Penicillium.

There have been nights when instead of sleep
I have listened to the retching of shamans, heard their visions,
their screams as they turn into jaguars and prowl the night.

Who can say what will happen when you eat it
or when the spores sprayed into the air, like words spoken,
settle in, rooting in the soft, moist heartwood?