“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” -Edgar Allan Poe

****Challenge Accepted****

I asked readers to give me a person, place, object, and quest. Janet gave me “housewife, chicago, sponge, winning the lottery,” and I may just be weird, but this is what I came up with:

Once upon a midday, dearie, as I scoured, brisk and cheery,

Over many a stain, with a furious broom across the linoleum floor,

While I flourished, fairly flapping, suddenly there came a pocking,

As of someone gently knocking, knocking at my kitchen’s door.

`’Tis some neighbor,’ I tutted, ‘knocking at my kitchen door,

Only this, and nothing more.’

 

Ah, faintly I am recalling it was as the autumn leaves were falling,

And each vibrant, falling hue did alight the forest floor.

Eagerly, I awaited morning; -for at next midday’s warning

From my numbers on Chicago – the lotto posted at the store –

For the bare and paltry chance brought by the devils at the store –

To name it here is loss for sure.

 

And the hopeful rough undaunted scratching of each jaundiced patch

distilled me – filled me with optimistic dreams never felt before;

So that now, to quell the hopes that filled my heart, I stood repeating

`’Tis some neighbor, requesting respite at my kitchen’s door –

Some nosy neighbor requesting respite at my kitchen’s door –

This is it, and nothing more.’

 

Presently my breath grew calmer, `clearly they are asking alms for,’

`Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was caulking, and so gently you came talking,

And so faintly you came knocking, knocking at my kitchen’s door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –

Sunlight there, and nothing more.

 

Far along the skyline looking, long I stood there wondering, cooking,

Spouting, dreaming dreams of lives I’d never dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the daylight gave no token,

And the only word there half-spoken, was the gasping breath,`Eleanor!’

This I whispered, and she murmured back the name, `Eleanor.’

Merely this, and nothing more.

 

****Next Challenge****

Submit to me your own challenge! Preferably poetry related, but I’ll do whatever. If no one submits anything I’ll just write a weird poem.

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“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -Lewis Carroll

****Challenge Accepted****

I asked readers to give me a person, place, object, and quest. Hannah gave me “Benedict Bandersnatch (you know, Cumberbatch), Maine, stiletto, making the perfect cup of tea,” and of course “Bandersnatch” reminded me of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. So let’s see if I can do it justice:

‘Twas brilliant, and the smaugy combs

Did billow and bumble through the hall

All whimsy were the tales of tombs

And the mum pass by all

 

“Beware the Benedict, my döttr!

The reptile eye, the smiles that catch!

Beware his nose upturned, don’t bother

The frumious Cumberbatch!”

 

She took her lifted heel in hand

Long time the handsome foe she sought

So rested she on Baker street

And stood awhile distraught

 

And, as in uffish thought she stood,

This Benedict, with eyes of blue

Came whistling with a carefree mood

A sunny day in Maine!

 

One, two! One, two! And three, and three

The hightened heel went clicky-clack

And instead of dead, a cup of tea

They went a-throwing back.

 

“And, as thou tamed the Cumberbatch?

Run to his arms, my beamish lass!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

With breath upon his glass.

 

‘Twas brilliant, and the smaugy combs

Did billow and bumble through the hall

All whimsy were the tales of tombs

And the mum pass by all

****Next Challenge****

I will continue accepting “person, place, object, quest,” prompts and turning them into poetry modeled after my heroes’ works. Or you can submit any other type of writing challenge you want from me and I will try to complete it.

The Cotton State Acid Trip

****Challenge Accepted!****

I was given: “Katy Perry, Alabama, tape dispenser, become a Jedi,” by Danni. I came up with this:

Once upon an Alabama eve
Katy did wander all a’fright
For swamps are known to eyes, deceive
And ladies to vanish in the misty night

Furthermore, she did implore, to avoid what the world had in store
For in her hand, you understand, two tabs of paper and a wedding band

Ms. Perry’s path did vary
‘round snakes and frogs and fog-turned-smoke
Nervous, she whispered her query
And spun on an old crow as it spoke

“Little one, why did you come? Though wandering may sound like fun,
Getting lost, you end up cross, or lose yourself with morning frost”

Our lady shrieked and fled
The silence split on her cry
Her luck was gone, for this new path led
Straight to a large reptilian eye

Even stilled, the water’s filled, below the surface churned and milled
Big or small, short or tall, but deadly beasts one and all.

Katy feared she’d found a croc
Her knees shook, though ground was firm
The beast rose and she re-took stock
For now she looked upon a wyrm

What’s more, with a roar, the creature’s talons gouged the floor
The dragon’s ire, she must admire, into the air a burst of fire

Off our hero took again
As if for the other side of the globe
But instead found a strange new friend
A little green man in an oriental robe

Put your trust, in me you must, and into her arms a parcel thrust
With a quick scrape, she unwrapped the shape, and found a plain dispenser of tape.

She looked up and the man was gone
With the fading sound of “use the force”
Then she faced the demonspawn
And tried the tape—no use of course

She would be lunch, her bones would crunch, just a snack for him to much
The dragon spoke, his nostrils smoked, and she closed her eyes in time and woke.

****A New Challenger Approaches****

If you guys like these, keep sending me a person, place, object, and quest. If you don’t like it, suggest a challenge for me of your own imagining!

“We Can Do It!” -Rosie the Riveter

It has been a while since I wrote anything with a specifically Feminist message, and the men’s rights activists have finally stopped picketing my house from my first feminist post, so clearly it’s time to write another. Because who doesn’t enjoy lectures about equality accompanied by a trilby, neckbeard, and over-aggressive, misguided chivalry?

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Stop. Please.

However between Men’s right’s activism like #notallmen, and the actual issues like the Elliot Rodgers shootings (that quickly and helpfully prove #notallmen to be an incredible waste of breath), there’s a lot going on in the Feminist world. And frankly it’s all pretty rough.

You know what? This was going to be one of my usual silly posts, highlighting the unfairness of how men’s and women’s pants are sized, but as strongly as I want to make jokes about how hilariously cruel it is for women to have to play pants-roulette to find something that fits, I don’t think I have it in me today. Which stinks, because I really wanted to.

After re-reading the Rodgers shooting, I’m not sure I can continue to make jokes about fake feminist issues, because there’s so many real ones out there. Violence against women is very real. Rape culture is very real. Even the neckbeards who call themselves “nice guys” are a real problem, because when they complain about being rejected and how unfair it is, they show they feel entitled to the girl in question.

Let me reiterate that: They feel entitled to the emotions and decisions of another human being.

We are institutionally teaching our men to feel superior, to feel as if women owe them. We are teaching them their value is based upon their success with women, and that women are a commodity. We are teaching them that women are to be conquered. With our “boys will be boys” attitude, we are teaching young men that they are all inherently rapists. And that we believe it is okay.

Furthermore, in all of this, we have somehow convinced our young women that it is their fault. We are teaching our women they are to blame, that they should be afraid. We are teaching them they have to hide their faces and their bodies, and stay quiet and out of sight. We show them unattainable standards of beauty, and then condemn them for wearing makeup and showing off.

We encourage our boys to be excellent, to be leaders. We tell our girls they’re too bossy, and need to be modest.

We cannot take this lightly. We cannot brush it under the rug, ignore the fact that we are a culture in which men are told they can make decisions for women. I am not asking you to march on Washington. I am asking you to open your eyes and acknowledge what you see.

I am asking you this because there’s only one crime in today’s world where we ask what the victim was wearing.

 

“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.” -Pamela Hansford Johnson

————Challenge Accepted!————

Last week I prompted you to give me a person, place, thing, and a goal. Chris was the only submission and gave me “Caveman, Frozen Wasteland, Wood, Making Fire,” so here’s what I came up with:

 

Sing to me, Nodd and Tuk,

Spirit leaders of our tribe.

Whisper me tales of strength and luck,

And on the winds of history we ride.

 

I will tell you a story of the first ones, the old ones

From ages past, before your grandfathers’ grandfathers,

Passed down to us ‘tween moons and suns

From when we were many, not all together.

 

In the elder days our Mother was wild, alive

In her springtide, the Spirits ran free

And from their likeness, others derived

Creatures from majestic elk to tiny flea.

 

What youth! What greenness!

Fruit and wine did much abound

And in this verdance, Mother’s children keenest

Our grandfathers, the men were found

 

This land of plenty had no lack

And thus no need for clans, just kin

Yet, when wise ones turn minds back,

We find perhaps this was our sin.

 

I can only say we do not know

If the worlds’ turn must be the same,

Or if our coming did begin the flow.

Still, our Mother began to wane.

 

Days grew shorter, nights grew colder

Life itself seemed to have fled the leaf.

As prey does vanish, hunters must be bolder

But as we caused death, we only found grief.

 

As our numbers dwindled, we broke into pairs

One man to hunt, and his mate

Bearing a single child, as food was scarce,

And an extra mouth could seal one’s fate.

 

Of such a match came a child born twain,

A pair of boy-childs, both of good health

And though the hunter thought it too vain

His mate kept both, in spite of herself.

 

But all was not joy, as the two grew

It was soon clear they were down to the bone

To keep from splitting their hearts in two

The strongest young hunter set off alone

 

His steps were unsure, for his journey had not end

There was little to be found, the land unforgiving

But he soon chose a path, his head did not bend

For he knew nothing of hope, only of living.

 

He traveled for miles, past tree and hill

Seeing less creatures and greenery than ever before

The ground underfoot grew icy and still

And still the young hunter kept to his chore

 

Four days without food, he crossed frozen ground

He grew more certain the ice would be his grave

Still he drug along until his eyes found

A tree, on a hill, which might prove safe have’.

 

As he reached its foot, the slope seemed to grow

It stretched to the sky, yet he started to climb

Not far up, a cold wind did blow

And he felt to his bones he was near out of time.

 

He dared not stop, as he knew he would freeze

He dared not think, as he knew he was doomed

He kept in his mind, stories of Mother’s Tree

Said to give of pure life when it bloomed.

 

As he crested the top, he could see for miles

Yet could see most of all that he had been right

The tree was full dead, and for all his trials

He would freeze too, by the end of the night.

 

As if in mocking, the skies did darken

In his despair, he sank to his knees

The winds started howling, screaming, barking

He collapsed on the hillside and began to dream

 

His dreams contained flashes of pure, bright light

And falling, no! Flying like a leaf on the breeze

And with a great crash, he awoke in a fright

And fell to the ground amongst the debris.

 

Surrounded by charred wood, smouldering, smoke

The young hunter was first to awe and admire.

He understood, though she never spoke

He was given Mother’s last gift: Fire.

 

We know he returned the way he had came

To his brother, his home, and their grief,

And though we know naught of his name,

We know he became the first Chief.

 

Thus ends the tale, praise to Nodd and Tuk

Carry it with you, though times may look bad

For though the young hunter had only luck,

Luck was the best thing he could have had.

 

****Next Challenge****

I’m extending last week’s challenge. Give me a person, place, object, and goal, and I’ll turn it into some type of poetry!

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” -Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2.

Hipsters can gossip without end, perhaps

‘bout old Absurdist neck tattoos,

Or Omar Bradley prone, unmoving, still,

With canc’rous tumors gaining ground.

This war is one he cannot win, and in

The closing dark, he sees some dirt upon

His mother’s cushion, what and where it’s from

Unknown, just speculation given now,

Under a coffeehouse umbrella, with

Half-empty wine carafes and bites of pastry.

****** Next challenge ******
Give me a person, place, thing, and a goal. I’ll make a cool poem out of it all!

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” -Edgar Allan Poe

A week ago I asked you to give me an everyday object, promising I would, “Haiku the crap out of it.” Well the time has come, so you can judge for yourself whether I succeeded. Also, once again I took every suggestion despite my claim I only take one from each person, because I am a liar.

• From Danni: “Pillows or Pillow Cases”

Whether for sleeping

Hiding, biting or fighting

Pillows are the best

Does not protect much

I love having a pillow

but its case is odd

• From Chris: “Doorknobs, or strigil, because I’m a jerk” (I may be paraphrasing)

Which came first, the lock

Or doorknob? We need both, it’s

Just a wall without

What is a strigil?

Had to do some quick research

Chris you are so strange

By the way, this is a strigil. Talk about ‘Things that are weird.’

• From Ian: “Reese’s Pieces”

Peanut Butter in

Chocolate skin, I love your

Candy in my mouth

Thank you everyone for your submissions! Keep it up!

****Next week’s challenge****

Give me a noun and I’ll work it into a poem in Iambic Pentameter! (Fact: You cannot ever have enough Iambic Pentameter.)

“This totally counts as a legitimate post because I told you it was going to happen ahead of time.” -Me, just now.

A week ago I challenged you, the reader, to provide me with any combination of an everyday object, a concept, or pretty much anything you can imagine, and I promised to turn them into metaphors. You had the weekend to leave a response for me.

We’ll start off easy. Here we go:

1. Dictatorship/A clowder of purring kittens (pairing submitted by Christopher)

Dictatorship is a clowder of purring kittens: it sounded like a good idea but then you made a wrong move and it’s all tiny, razor-sharp needle-claws.

2. Transubstantiation/moldy gym socks or a snotty tissue (pairing submitted by Ian, who is determined to get me in trouble with any Catholic readers I have. This is the least offensive thing I came up with.)

Transubstantiation is accepting someone’s snotty tissue: symbolic of trust, but touching the actual product would make you cringe.

3. Beyonce/A box of Cheerios (pairing submitted by Austin, who is determined to get em in trouble with Beyonce fans, i.e. pretty much everybody.)

Beyonce is the Cheerios of modern music: objectively the best around, but never as exciting as you were promised.

4. Funding for the Arts/A paper napkin (pairing submitted by Kent.)

Funding for the arts is a single paper napkin at a restaurant: Not enough to do the job and it’s a huge production when you inevitably must ask for more.

5. High School Prom/Scientology (pairing submitted by Kent, again.)

Scientology is your High School Prom: most people recognize its not as important as they were told, but some people get really into it and never seem to let go.

6. topsoil/Millionaire bigotry (pairing submitted by Kent, who missed the memo where I said “one per person.”)

Millionaires are the topsoil of our economy: the richer the ones are mostly full of shit.

7. the 9/11 terrorist attacks/nose hair (pairing submitted by Kent, who is apparently determined to get me in trouble with the NSA. Fun fact – they make up most of my readership.)

9/11 is the nose hair of America: terrible when it first happened, but we’ve reminded ourselves of it so frequently that we just can’t work up the energy anymore.

There we go! If any of you readers are still following me, I’ll be back next week!

“I think the reason my stories have been so successful is that I have a strong sense of metaphor.” -Ray Bradbury

Metaphors are one of the most commonly used tools in the English major’s toolbox. If you consider concepts to be the nails, metaphors are the hammer. Which I guess means the piece’s theme is the blueprint. Writers and storytellers are architects and carpenters. The story we tell is the house we are building in your mind. WORDS ARE POWER.

Sorry, got carried away there.

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite metaphors, from some of my favorite authors and people. So here are some good ones:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.” – William Shakespeare

“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with meter running.” – Groucho Marx

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane.” – John Green

“Chaos is a friend of mine.” – Bob Dylan

It occurs to me though that, while a good metaphor can be difficult, metaphors are not exactly hard to make. For example, when discussing gender inequality and the myth of virginity, people tend to use this:

“A key that opens many locks is a good key, but the lock that is opened by many keys is a bad lock.” –Unknown jerk.

A creative Feminist replied with:

“A pencil that has been sharpened a lot is a bad pencil, but a pencil sharpener that has sharpened many pencils is a good sharpener.” –Unknown smart person.

The point being that using a metaphor does not mean that your argument is really any more valid. Plus the second person kept with the theme of comparing inanimate objects to genitals in a weirdly unflattering way, and I respect that.

To be honest, to make a decent metaphor you really just need to be clever and/or bored, and those two qualities pretty much sum me up. Here, let me show you:

“The human race is a flurry of unique snowflakes, made of the same stuff and heading the same direction.” –Me, just now.

See? I made that up in less than a minute. No problem. It’s actually harder and more fun to compare grand concepts and strange objects, like the famous “Life is a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.” –Forrest Gump.

But I can do that too, watch: “Life is a thermos: hot or cold, empty or full, keeping everything on the inside.” –Me, again. BOOM.

So here’s my challenge: give me a concept and an object, or really any combination. I’ll put it all together and post it next week.