Friday, September 19, 2014

Writing from the Outside in – day 7 of 7:

Writing from the Outside in – day 7 of 7:

Here we go – day 7 of 7 – made it through the weeklong Writing From the Outside in Challenge given to me by my partner in rhyme – sara holbrook.

Accept the challenge
Writing from the outside in
Haiku ends the week.

There you have it – seven days labor seven new poems all written from the Outside In.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Writing from the Outside in – day 6 of 7:

Writing from the Outside in – day 6 of 7:

Here we are – day six of seven. And it’s starting to feel like Autumn is taking hold. Switched to flannel sheets on the bed. Flannel sheets with a monkey print. It is monkey sheet weather folks. This is a bittersweet situation – I love the monkey sheets – but I could use a bit more summer.

The sweater in the attic
inside a plastic tub
has never seen
the July sun or an August beach.

It blinks its eyes
like a mole popping from the ground
in September
when the lid gets peeled back.

It toasts the Autumn sun
with apple cider
and marches off
to a clambake.

©michael salinger

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing From the Outside In: Day 5 of 7

Writing From the Outside In: Day 5 of 7

My office at home shares a wall with the laundry room. So I hear all the noises coming out of there.

So here I just report on what I hear – no moralizing – no confessions – no inner feelings – a simple study of what is there.
I trust my reader to come up with a metaphoric reason - or not.
Since it’s intended audience is grade school – probably not – and guess what – that’s okay.

Laundry Day

Snaps, buttons
zippers and buckles
pennies, dimes and quarters
sometimes even little rocks
forgot in a pocket,
bounce and scrape and slide
inside the dryer
when it’s run,
making  a crazy rhythm
to go with the humming
washer’s sudsy song.

© michael salinger

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writing From the Outside In - Day four of seven.

Okay – here is day four of the Writing from the Outside In seven-day challenge that Sara Holbrook assigned me. I know technically I missed a day there – but it was Sara’s birthday and we were a bit busy and I blame it on her. But here we go back on track.

Last night riding home from a birthday dinner with Sara and a dear couple friend of ours it was raining and I noticed the street and car’s lights reflected in the blacktop in front of us as we drove along. That was the inspiration for this little snapshot poem.

Mirror Mirror

The world turns upside down
when it rains at night,
street lamps,
the moon,
car’s headlights,
are reflected in the streets
like a blacktop mirror.
The image is a little blurry
and backwards from the original
One must realize
that things may look different
through someone else’s

 © michael salinger

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Writing From the Outside In - Day Three of Seven.

Writing from the outside in – day three.

Today as I was riding my bicycle in a rural area not too far from my house I happened upon a duck crossing sign – which I took as a sign to write about ducks crossing the road.

So here again – we take an image from the outside and use it as the impetus of a poem. I try to get inside the head of the person who might put up a duck crossing sign – to empathize with someone I haven’t even met.

This is one of the values we can talk about when we write from the outside in – empathy – putting ourselves in another’s shoes. (And, we don’t have to get preachy about it!)

Caution – Duck Crossing

is where the ducks cross
when they need to get
from one side to the other.
Sometimes one duck
sometimes two
sometimes half a dozen dinky ducks
following their mother.

is where the ducks cross
we’ve even put up a sign
so that you know
you must be careful
when driving here
you must be cautious
you must go slow.

is where the ducks cross
we want none injured.
Drive carefully on this hill.
Please don’t bump
one of our darling ducks,
or we’ll be forced to send you
a duck doctor’s bill.

© michael salinger

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Writing from the Outside In (day two)

Day two of the seven day Writing from the Outside In challenge.

Taking inspiration from things that are outside of my self is the charge for this little challenge that Sara Holbrook has given me – and accepted herself. It goes to illustrate our idea that writing doesn’t always have to be (and in the real world, usually isn’t) from the inside.

That is one of the themes that might be echoed in this piece that was inspired by the sound of trains outside just before I was falling asleep.  Sometimes I hear them and sometimes I don’t, it all depends on which way the wind is blowing – which in itself might be a metaphor.

Here ya go – Poem Two:

Wind from the Northwest.

When the wind blows right
on a clear and cool
end of summer night,
the trains that are really
miles away
sound like they are
just outside my window.
The whistle blast,
and the wheels clack,
ride through the air
as if their track
ran straight and smooth
just outside my window.
Then the sound seems to fade
as it follows the train
to wherever it is going
and I fall asleep
in my warm bed knowing
that the world continues on
just outside my window.

© michael salinger

Friday, September 12, 2014

Writing From the Outside In

Okay – I have accepted a challenge from my partner in rhyme Sara Holbrook and I am going to attempt to write a poem a day for seven days for younger folks. we both know that others have managed to do this for a month and even a year – (or if you’re Jane Yolen) decades – but, we figure baby steps for now and see where it gets us.

What Sara and I are doing is working on writing from the outside in. There has been so much talk (and books written) about writing from the inside out. Well, I think there is enough self-reflection in our world today – the me, me, me, it’s all about me ethos isn’t exactly conducive to creating the best neighbors. Plus, when we are talking about an elementary aged kid – how much experience has he or she got to write about?

We find that we write from outside stimulus more like reporters than diarists – and that is how we are approaching this experiment.

So my first entry comes from riding my bicycle past some roadkill – a possum to be exact. And if we are talking the American Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) you’d be hard pressed to find an uglier animal – in fact the only thing uglier than a live possum is a dead one with its pointy little face all screwed up in its death grin.

So I give you my poem – 

When a Possum Grins

When a possum grins,
shows his thorny teeth,
though he’s trying to be friendly
and means no harm,
he still appears pretty scary.
It’s not his fault.
It’s just how he looks.
He was born scraggly and hairy
with warped whiskers,
twisted ears,
and a tail that’s long, bald and pointy.
It’s no big wonder
he makes us flinch and shudder.
Who could love
such an ugly thing
the possum’s mother?

©Michael Salinger