Sunday, September 03, 2006

September's Challenge

Please follow these directions. This challenge is open to cafe cafe community members. Poems must be new and not being considered by another editor. Poems must include all the words listed below. Poems must be posted on this thread as well as on its own thread. Poems not placed on this thread will not be considered no matter how good they may be. I (Didi Menendez) will send a $100.00 gift certificate to the writer via email. The writer who receives the gift certificate will also have thier poem published on OCHO. Deadline is September 25th noon EST. Only one writer will be selected for this gift.

All the words below must appear in the body of the poem as well as one of the words must appear in the title.

-lepista nuda
-populus tremula
-black beans
-xylaria hypoxylon
-Caye Coco


Good luck.
Didi Menendez


LKD said...

Good luck? Jesus, Didi. This may be the toughest challenge you've ever posted. Not that I didn't savor it, like I savor any challenge, but good LORD, I felt like a dog being forced to leap through hula hoops of fire to get this poem to come out.

I did enjoy the hell out of the intensive, extensive research involved. I had no idea what any of these terms meant--except for grooy and black beans--so thanks for educating me.

The poem probably sucks. I may come back and edit it. But man, you have no idea what a huge feat, what a big fat triumph it feels like just to have written one at all. (smile)

Thanks, ma'am, for this rigorous challenge.

Now, my poem:

Flying into the Dark with Cienfuegos

Everything’s a metaphor for love and sex.
Joe, Jose, whatever. I’ll call you Mortimer.
Your eyes, the stillest water. Or, Seymour.
Your skin, the darkest plum I’ve ever sucked.
Dusk, strange, yet familiar in my mouth.
Yum. Of course, they’re staring at us. Ignore
them. You like my long, translucent limbs.
Luna Ilena, you leer. I like your accent.
Say anything and I go all shimmery,
all populus Tremula, quivering. In the middle,
I’ll whimper: I am not your hot tamale.
Dulce, dulce, you’ll whisper, your tongue,
quenching. Xocolatl, I’ll groan. Afterwards,
we will not spoon or snuggle. I’ll stare
at the low ceiling and wonder: How
did they eat in Caye Coco, that aceramic
place. With their hands, your voice, low,
a wolf. Lobo. Their fingers were the only
utensils they needed; their palms, the only
bowls. This hunger isn’t natural. I admit,
it makes me nervous. It must be fed
with poison. The raw gills of an unidentified
fungus. Let’s gets lost in the forest searching
for lepista nuda and xlaria hypoxolon.
Life is short, you’ll say. Cienfuegos is swimming
with the bonitos. Let’s fly into the dark.
Let’s get this over with and fall in love.
Amor. Whatever. Groovy, I mutter. Your mother
will serve us plates heaped with black beans.
You’ll introduce me as your future wife.
My eyes and hers kosumi across the room;
kitchen, they call it. Your poor madre
will shake her head and hear white.

Birdie said...

Cienfuegos Capture

White stone against black. Click. Mortimer laughed. A ceiling fan some hundred vomit painted rooms away wobbled, told me I made the wrong fucking move. Again. Again.

"Bonita Seymour, we may have the same last syllable, but you can't fucking play Go."

My name's not Seymour.

I didn't say it. Didn't think it. What's the fucking point? His eyes made the next move, sparse eyebrow dipping into blue pupil, blue stone, blue, hard, hard, hard ice hard, until it turned black stone, click against white. The table shivered, but I didn't know if it was the heat, my fractal focus, the fucking mushroom the guard handed me. Xylaria hypoxylon. You can't fool a fucking biologist. The table shivered.

Fuck. Good move.

"Kosumi. I answer the keima with kosumi."

All my life's a fucking proverb. A fucking proverb. What the hell did I do to land in this fucking mosquito trap?

White turned black turned white turned black. Then white. Black. White. The stones slid like fingertip UFOs over a faded, scratched cornfield, a stepped crop circle of archaic strategy. Japanese war strategy. Why the fuck am I casting Asian game pieces on this fucking banana skin table instead of collecting new specimens in Caye Coco? Why the fuck am I in this sweltering hell hole, playing for life, for my escape, for a haunted cigar, for my children, my dear children. Two years since I saw them, Juanes and Pepita. Do they remember they have a mother?

I lost count.

I lost appetite. Sweat memorized my back, my forehead.

I lost memory, too, of the white hashed trees my mother called populus tremula that stood sentry to my childhood home. White bark trees. White stones. The game continued. Click. White stone against black.

"So. You wanna break for tamale? Black beans?"

Don't patronize me.

I willed it, didn't say it, didn't say My Name is Belamor. Belamor. I have long hair and soft breasts like your mother. I have no need for tamale. I didn't say it.

White against black. I collected the stones, his stones, replaced them with mine in ancient rhythm. Groovy. Fucking groovy, fucking groove, groove pitted deep with the dried skin of pig, the fried skin of pig, chicharrones, I will replace all your stones with mine, with mine. I will replace them.

The table shivered. I remembered the mushrooms. The xylaria hypoxylon, the xylaria hypoxylon, the campanulatus, the cubensis, the black, the white, the mushrooms that mirrored my hell here on game board. Fuck. Why did I take them?

White against black. Click. He moved black, black, black, stole my white, my stones, my children, my tamale. Black.

The table shivered.

max cielo said...

groovy bonito
(or - sarda sarda sumthin sumthin mmm)

there's an ocean without salt
in the flavor of her fresh raw fish
reminding me of moments
far beyond any sushi you could imagine from anywhere

ah, sabor de groovy bonito
y lepista nuda ensalada
con limon y thin thin slices
of daicon or jicama or just that certain smooth flank from Cienfuegos

then later perhaps a homemade tamale
on a plate with savory black beans
not the ones Seymour and Mortimer serve
down at the soul food kitchen but like you'd get in Caye Coco

anon it's time to gift kosumi moves while
shimmering solid as populus tremula towering
above xylaria hypoxylon fingers beckoning
from those aboves distant ancestors who've fallen and feed this fungi frenzy

until we and they
as silent symphs of breath

derek said...
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Pris said...
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Pris said...
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derek said...

um yeah...mistakes here too...there should be no reference to Martin anywhere in my piece...title & last sentence. sorry...poem should read:

Mortimer Seymour: The Official Poetic Hagiography

The bearded man Mortimer Seymour was born in Ohio in 1843; of his life, nothing more is known. Last night the baby only stopped coughing between us to pull my hair. I know how this feels.

Morning & a cloud of kids get lost in soccer dreams.

I was born in Victoria & the lepista nuda can be found there. Or Van Diemen’s Land, as Dransfield (the poet) would prophesise archaically. They say it might poison you. At 1.55 pm I am wondering if gets you smashed.

Poetry can be about merging the particular & the general, apparently. I asked someone how to pronounce ‘frisson’ before a reading once, though I knew what it meant. I had in mind that exact Google-image of the populus tremulus, all shook up with life mystery. Poetry is not about images.

Many things have many meanings and a bonito might be many things. It is not Moby Dick though like the DVD I picked up today and shortly replaced. I rented nothing & maybe it was Captain Picard moonlighting as Ahab that did it.

I looked up Xanax yesterday.

The grade 3 to 5 student writes ‘black beans are as black as night’ and is deemed ignorant, the metaphor of tamale innards repugnant, but a more unique figuring I say. Seems fun to kick the shit out of corn stalks but don’t tell these kids anything they will use in later life…

The university said I owed two fifty on my internet balance; when a place Cienfuegos is this many kilometres away from Havana. I have never smoked a cigar but will try it next weekend – partying is in vouge amidst this economic paradise of Australian Dollars and British Metric Systems.

I saved a recipe for LSD on floppy disk in 1996. Is it securely archived?

Here the twitter of birds never stops. How would that translate to mp3?

I suppose there is always research and more research is needed on the xylaria hypoxylon, antler fungus that it is, playing tricks on everyone. My poetry PhD though, well… it will be a fist-fight for ‘change the world’ relevance.

Caye Coco I believe is likely to be the Colonial Maya site of Chanlacan, capital of Chetumal. This religious fervour & belief inspires panglossia. I must learn to paraphrase correctly before it kills me.

Heroin? Bah.

The language of tactics is the language of kosumi & the language of language poetry is a superb Power-point presentation. Like the antibiotics for my foot (existing just to disrupt): the hum of the hot-water tank (3.26 pm). So freaking groovy Mortimer.

corporate library said...

Groovy Kosumi Stain on her Sunday Best

The picnic voice carried over the black beans,
“I just want to travel a bit, sail
upon the waves of Cienfuegos,
grow the freshest tamale know to man.”

Grandmothers hovered over the onion dip.
Mortimer gargled lemonade, “Tamales, huh.”
A mosquito landed on his big toe,
it was the season of flip-flops.

“You know my friend Seymour lives
near Caye Coco, has a view that changes
the way you dream, literally.”

Out in a clearing giggling children froze inside
a game of tv tag, their faces like hooked bonito.
Someone caught a frisbee in their teeth.

“I travel to Tully every Thanksgiving,
stay with a popular Celtic band. We feast
on Lepista Nuda and drink until the sun rises.
You should join me next trip.”

She leaned against a pine tree,
xylaria hypoxylon sprouted wildly at her feet.
“Northern Ireland is not my idea of vacation.
I need a beach, a place where I can show
off my collection of sunglasses.”

An older man with a fake mustache
and a golden cigar stuck his pinky finger
in the guacamole. Mortimer smiled
at him as if he just got out of prison.

“I don’t know why everyone associates
beaches with vacation. I always associate
beaches with war.”

He bent to tear some leaves off
a populus tremula, which someone had told
him earlier was mixed in the guacamole.
He stood for a moment disguised in thought,
“How did you get that stain on your blouse?”

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

"Groovy Mortimer y Su Lepista Nuda"

It was a black beans summer night,
the squash was kid long in the grass
and you could smell the tamale pie in the avenues
coming from the curtained backs of the bodegas.

Lucky Cienfuegos was on the ancient phonograph,
black nylon no longer slick, the tar-voiced maestro
still snappin' his hat on the wrist, stiff kinky
creases in the cuff, double turned and out

of fashion. But in his prime, never: cha cha ritmos
of rhymes between the bolero eyes, Caye Coco
all the way to the heavenway of poetry, Mayan
waves chucking bonito in the aqua

spray. In a heyday of rites and rituals,
this shred left on the trunk of cultura like candlesnuff clumps on a stump, the indigenous
xlaria hypoxylon, common and otherworldly

as a woman named Kosumi, Miwok for
She Who Fishes For Salmon With A Spear
who goes into the forest padlocked in pine and searches the Aspen floor for the populus tremula,

the aspen flower for fears -- to stop the fear
and trembling of an age. This black bean soup.
This herbal blossom. "How to Speak,
And How to Listen."
The blue foot, pink cap

lepista nuda sunning herself among the needle
beds -- purple fleshed in the vulva, a hundred
fires in the stem. And somewhere sweet Seymour
turns in his dream of beaches and pies, spies

the black pitcher of night dawning into sap,
the well-fed soul stalling on the stove,
a single salmon stunned in the wake and
scooped up by hand en un camino antiguo,

un camino real. And Mortimer grooves,
his lucky capitalist nickel heaving up
the tunes on a lonely juke box on a flaxen
fleshy night; the groovy night, a wood blewit

blue cap erect, edible and delicious.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

Pris said...

(didi..i finally got the little sign that allows a delete, so deleted the error ones and this is the correct one, though the space is narrow and a couple of line breaks are off and the line with italics doesn't show)

When the cancer gnaws at his bones
like a crazed wolf
and the angry moon scorches his eyes
he dreams himself back in Caye Coco again.
His homeland.
That golden wing dangling
from Cuba's broken spine.
He finds god in the Cien fuegos,
the warring kosumi, the gray hazed
tobacco-like clouds, the bonito.
He finds god
in the trampled ground
and the crumbling haciendos.
Mortimer and Seymour, his childhood friends
lash him to the populus tremula,
arrived full bloom through the mists
of time with him,
its leaves quivering with excitement
over being the first Cuban cross.
His penance.
His gateway through hell.
His reason for coming.
Lepista Nuda, zylaria hypoxylon,
he screams in his sleep.
Odd words zing back and forth
in this time travel progression
through spirit.

His fat caretaker,
tummy crammed with tamale and black beans,
lumbers to his bed to poke him.
Crazy old coot, she mutters.
Doesn't notice the blood on his palms,
his feet, can't see the halo
or the Cuban birds who have followed
to guide him away from the wolves
and the moon and this soiled cot,
guarded by a woman who only
cares what her next meal will be.

She settles back in her chair,
snores her own way to the groovy El Carlos Restaurant.
el restaurante de lo mejor en Miami, she sighs.
Drool runs onto her heaving bosom.
A breeze from the cot ruffles her hair.