orchid odes poetry prompts: endosperm

January 30, 2016 No Comments Miriam orchid ode, Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

this week’s pistil:

let an object be a subject with a grievance.


Twins Photo Credit: Belvin Louie

Photo Credit: Belvin Louie

ode to endosperm

brother embryo, release
your twin sister. we sleep
head to toe in hull cradle

mama carved to shelter
our race. once two plump
nuclei, when did i become

your donkey? remember
this, golden boy: i give
barley his beer. wheat

her bread. corn my
belly. chewing me divine
shennong twinned

seeds to guardian trees
millet to date rice to willow
bahtbean to plum sesame to

bramble soybean to peach
me to feed lazy
green of your reach.

belly orchid belly

ode to cells

January 22, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


choose an object. study smaller units of that object. if you like, complicate your poem with repetition.


inside seeds--cells photo credit: belvin louie

inside seeds–cells
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to cells

inside nucleus, leads
map genealogy maintenance
repair operation work orders clone
new factories to punch of 24-hour clock
inside cell, hands

inside leads, membrane walls
organelles chant holy trinity divide fish loaves
pack energy bundles breathe sisters
create thousands products put box stores to shame
inside hands, hunger

inside membrane walls, battle
checkpoint pat down passports
two-way passage water minerals waste
pop cork backbone wood waters
inside hunger, teeth

inside battle, algiers
each cell strong enough to act on own march
contingents create chains share nutrient
synergy feed & clothe nation
inside teeth, tribes

space orchid space

ode to acorns

January 16, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


channel your inner seed in dialogue form.

saekki photo credit: belvin louie

photo credit: belvin louie

ode to acorns

acorn saekki: our granny, big trouble! devil squirrels are eating us alive. waah! we’ll never grow up gnarly as you.

oak halmoni: aiguh! think hard, kids. what you got to do to survive?

ka: hide under leaves you send down to blanket us?
na: talk mushrooms into lending us their poison hats?
da: eat sunrays catch dew in our caps for grow tall fast?
ra: roll away from fucking tigers?

halmoni: yaah, watch your mouth!

ra: sorry, our halmoni. we roll away from animals who whatchucallit? love each other too much?

halmoni: you saekki so smart! do all those stuffs and you’ll grow into saplings, maybe even black bear oak like me. but even as squirrel food you’ll come back as poopie grow sauce. even if crushed by loving too much tigers you’ll always be mulch protectors of our tribe.

saekki: yeh, our halmoni.

halmoni: beware of two leggy animals. who’ll stash you where squirrels fear to tread. grind you into flour. mix you with water. make you into gruel and muk jelly. for soak in ground soybean sesame seed cousins. by saekki of saekki of old mountain people.

we tremble like pine needles.

halmoni: your ancestors scratched captors’ buttholes hard on way to freedom. so make two legs respect mighty acorn. leave few behind for trees to rise. sprout you saekki when leaves blush maple. that’s how it is. prey feeds predator who is some other nom’s lunch.

we gulp, confused. our halmoni, are sunlight and water our prey? how do they feel when we swallow them?

halmoni grunts “aiguh!” showers us with leaf hats. to grow black bear strong we need her protection. to outlast piggy squirrels, humpy tigers and two leg acorn jelly eaters she dusts us with toadstool smarts.

wonder orchid wonder

saekki—offspring, kids (take caution—can be endearing or fighting word)
nom—guy (ditto)

ode to ox metals

January 8, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


take seed of a family legacy or heirloom, however you define family. if you chose two seeds, see how they ping off each other.


ox zodiac image - pacific ties 2001 image credit: lung san louie

ox, zodiac cards – pacific ties 2001
image credit: lung san louie

ode to ox metals


let gold & silver caress queen’s neck
you are peasant ripple cord shoulders
alchemists mix breed hittite fire
china limestone for spawn carbon
you pig iron headed white tiger
sword you shred war rules fertilize
battlefields with still beating
viscera conquered tribes
ox blood seed, you pull grain
up arteries night soil down veins
soldier metal farmer’s spine
baba cleaver i bow before
judgment your plow blade


metal shame you swallow lassos
cowgirl highs murder river lows
imprisons you tin crunch goat
boredom. no metal, no gate. no
freedom, no steeple chase highway
dividers. oncoming traffic only way
slow you so goats can lick
your face. salt your belly.
dust that detonates h-bombs
barely powders your cheekbones.
no fair, mama. leaving me
your ox mud river but
not your mustang fire.

plow orchid plow

ode to germination

January 2, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


choose a number that you have an affinity with and create a form around it.


3-legged crow photo: mcylouie

3-legged crow
photo: mcylouie


ode to germination

three-legged koryo
crow seeds need

fill crypt corner
unfasten leather coat
nestle honey throat

baptize sun-moon rhythm
feel heaven’s touch
hurl javelin season

pickpocket air raid
free hostage granary
pierce armor fly

elixir orchid elixir


note: the three-legged crow represented the sun in ancient korea and china.

ode to dust

December 19, 2015 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


write a kid time poem.

dandylion dance photo credit: mcylouie

dandylion dance
photo credit: mcylouie


ode to dust

          for minnie, born in reedley, “world’s fruit basket”

throw your arms wide, mama, spin
under almond tree who envies your eyes
eleventh & last child of migrant parents
because they work new soil each season you
will live in future of where they were last seen

wake up! rooster shouts at dawn you rise
beneath blanket great plains topsoil flew in
fresh last night heralding battalions hungry
jalopies your okie arkie texie mexie friends
teach you to relish chicken fried steak

bacon fat gravy albondigas how to outrun
dirtdevils outlast whippings twirl like dandelion
umbrellas parachute from moving cars mama
you are girl tornado gathering on my horizon
hug your chest to accelerate speed of joy

time orchid space 

note: a version of this poem first appeared in Valerie Haynes Perry’s
Write, Read, Listen: Your Handy Writing Coach. 
check out valerie’s projects at: http://wpwrr.com/wordpress

ode to neolithic ancestren

December 12, 2015 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


write a poem about a gift you’ve received from your peeps.


long & short of it on moshi/ ramie     photo: mcylouie


ode to neolithic ancestren

comb pattern pot
ochre firebelly grain shelter
pointed bottom generous mouth
slate lines trace you driving siberian
herds down old koryo’s rivers

bast fiber hemp
grannies strip worker plants
soak you in beanwater sun dry split fibers
spin weave starch you in ricewater sun sheen
canvas for daughter bone needles

girls seduce moths with mulberry fan dance
bathe eggs spring water herb tea hatch
battalions to eat spin eat spin until you unspool
butterfly trade route luxury’s first must have

rumble gut with millet wild before boar
& ram settle into domestic pig lamb bliss
before pearl & yangtze flood before divine farmer
potters paddies to harbor your wildness

offerings orchid offerings

ode to shennong

December 4, 2015 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


write a pathbreaker poem—from their point of view or yours.


Shennong, taste testing herbs Source: Li Ung Bing, Outline of Chinese History, Shanghai 1914

Shennong, testing herbs
Graphic Source:  Li Ung Bing, Outline of Chinese History, Shanghai 1914       PublicDomainSymbol











ode to shennong

divine farmer taught baba’s people no more gnosh
worms wasps when can forge plow grow five sacred grains

soak seeds in horse urine repel famine’s suitors
shennong plied secrets from medicine plants thrashed grains

wrote recipes for mud herb tonics nüwa’s
daughters could cauldron he drank toadstool tincture grains

showed our people what to swallow what to spurn
celestial farmer of translucent flesh grains

traced each plant’s alchemy rivering his organs
wrote kingdom’s first medicine book before last grains

foxglove poison strangled his waters he mortal
as most beloved gods protector of farmers

once dirt eating wasp spitting toddler fat fingers
trace wolfberry seeds winking in his belly grains

wonder orchid wonder


note: this praise poem to shennong, the god of agriculture and medicine, is written in a loose ghazal form. play rules = repeat a phrase at the end of the second line of each couplet + use the same number of syllables in each line. 

the ghazal form comes courtesy of poets of the middle east and north africa, as well as south asia, often expressing the pains of separation and love.

ode to small

November 29, 2015 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized


write a poem to an attribute or quality that catches your attention.


lazlo's pine nuts photo credit: nguyen louie

photo credit: nguyen louie

ode to small

split granite
millennia forever’s
green whiskers

scale kingkong
skyscraper scrunch
stretch steps

grief shave
speed of
rot’s resurrection

start orchid start

ode to general of west

November 17, 2015 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil prompt:

pick a mythic character to inspire a poem.

Guardian General of West, Pulguk Temple Korea

guardian general west, pulguk temple, korea
photo credit: mcylouie

ode to general of west

magnolia tiger
divine general autumn
west metal souls
protector of children
killer who taught hunters
how to stalk phalaenopsis
how to hypnotize iron
how to shapeshift moth orchid
how to impregnate earth
infinite wisdom you are
sword’s ruthless
decision anger’s
roar now baby beast
welcome seed
prophesies come
to play between
your mugwort paws

fortune orchid fortune


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