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:, and I will post to the blog!

Good luck!