The Opalescent Swallow

As you have no doubt figured by now, I hold down a steady gig with the good folks at Tweetspeak Poetry. I don't always cross-post to my stuff there, but I was particularly fond of today's piece and thought I'd share it. (By the way, thanks for bearing with me during this moving phase. The Haines house is neck deep in foam peanuts.) In Randy Laney’s field, the grasshoppers and katydids rubbed leg against forewing, and wing against wing; their songs were the rising crescendos and falling diminuendos of one thousand cabinet doors creaking opened and closed, and opened and closed again–all in rhythm, ad infinitum. In the center of the field, from the knee-high grass, rose three poles, which climbed some twenty feet to their terminus where the Purple Martin tenements balanced. The homes were white-washed over winter because, as Randy Laney said, the miniature siding was beginning to splotch green with age and the Purple Martin is a well-to-do bird, a passerine with no fancy for the unkempt.

The male Martin perched on a white-sheathed wire connecting his condominium to the next, the opalescent swallow gleaming as if freshly oiled, as if being greased to slide through the remarkably undersized front door of his summer home. He clung to the line, chippering and cheeping toward us. It was a welcome, not a warning.

Continue reading at Tweetspeak.  Photo by  Jenny Downing, Creative Commons via Flickr.

Battle of the Beverages (Another Coffee Prompt)

coffee poetry promptThere is no doubt, we are becoming a coffee culture. Across America, soccer moms have traded Diet Coke cans for paper cups of their favorite double-shot lattes. Working stiffs pull single servings of barely palatable stuff from the Keurig. Hipsters eschew all other permutations of joe for a mug of single-batch Harrar (chemex brewed, of course). It's intriguing, I think, the way our various subcultures have adapted the drink to their own particular styles. This nationwide trend is felt acutely in my medium-sized university town, where we boast no less than thirteen coffee shops, the majority of which opened their doors in the last ten years.  We have local artisan roasters, expert cuppers, and graduate students who prepare well-researched papers regarding the socioeconomic effects of corporate coffee plantations on local farmers. Here, the university has influenced us, so we mostly take our coffee with a bit of cream and a spoonful of pseudo-academic sweetener. And we take it by the jugful.

*If you ever enjoyed a writing prompt, today's your day to participate. Visit me at Tweetspeak for more. (This is a fun one!)

A Holiday (Not a Haiku)

FrozenEach month, I have the privilege of composing a bit of a themed writing playlist for the good folks over at Tweetspeak Poetry. This month's theme is haiku, but turns out, there aren't that many seventeen syllable songs lying around. So, what did I do as a compromise? I pulled together a compilation of my favorite holiday songs, of course. I start the playlist with Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas," because Amber and I always say that the Christmas season doesn't officially start until we've heard that song. I've also thrown a bit of Stevie Wonder, The Shins, Neil Diamond (yes, Neil Diamond), Marvin Gaye, and The Polyphonic Spree for your listening enjoyment.

While you're listening, make sure you check out the haiku writing prompt at Tweetspeak. (This means you and your students, too, Mom!) Next week, I'll share a bit of a writing contest that might make good use of your prompt submission!

Enjoy the playlist (feel free to subscribe to it on Spotify), jog over to Tweetspeak, and get to writing!

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September: Tea for Two (the diary of a coffee quitter)

I am a helpless, habitual coffee drinker. For the most part, I don’t drink yuppie, frothy coffee. No, I drink the black stuff, the kind that tastes like ash. I drink it like it’s a badge of American masculinity, I guess. My grandpa used to say, “real men take their coffee the way God intended it–black as night.”

Today I am at Tweetspeak Poetry, writing their found poetry prompt "tea for two." We'll discuss the British, the Japanese, and my cold-turkey coffee break. Click here for the rest of "September: Tea for Two (the diary of a coffee quitter)."

Photo (top) by ienjoysusi, Creative Commons via Flickr.