orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to rice

September 23, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write a poem to a staple of the human family.

rice field in jackson louie's dai gong village, toisan, china photo credit: belvin louie

rice field in jackson louie’s dai gong village, toisan, china
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to rice

guangdong province, toisan county
nam yang & dai gong villages

orchid you are jasmine me
savor how my sticky white
gives black salt beans bite
I tasteshift into any lover

your tongue wants me be
steam me explode me gird
your hips with my surrender
just few muscle grains my

power come ooze toe paddies
backs fled beneath my dove
flesh find me green as
dragonfly pillows cricket bandits

hunger’s fortress wall sheath your
veins in mud’s rebirth farmer fingers
scratch scalp lullaby sigh grow
thresh me brown as night

soil of ox people who
waste nothing green why itchy
with desire feet surrender ululating
waters for asphalt desert horns

insult rice wolf nights all left
who dragon seeds once were
now each bite jasmine me
remember place where rice begins

green orchid green

note: this poem first appeared in Ranting Tiger Thundering Bunny: Words & Art Together, by miriam and nguyen louie.

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to sugarcane

August 27, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write a poem from the point of view of a plant or mineral that humans have processed into pleasure, gain and/or pain.

sugar's trusty mocha-machete photo credit: belvin louie

sugar’s trusty mocha-machete
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to sugarcane

a belvin, mi mocha-machetero millonario

swing low, chariot machete. slice me
at syrup root, sweet slavery. where you
bow in supplication. i am honey bearing
reed slashing faces peppering ankles
with fire ant addicts. older than opium

i am giant grass sister to rice & sorghum.
brother to wheat orchids & corn
pyramids. i am crystal trafficker
of horse intensity. i am shoulder pole
who shanghaied indian africans arab chinese

across whipback trails of europe’s craving.
close your eyes. hear master cutter
ancestors fell me in each single dance
motion chop don’t stop rhythm.
i barrel sweat into rum. i sugar

skins shoulders deep brown.
fire sky sticky scent of molasses.
sprinkle me over your wounds
intensify sucking sound
of pain’s pleasure.

swing orchid swing

note re image: check out belvin’s heavily used mocha, a machete originally more shaped like a rectangular chinese cleaver. it was used for chopping cane stalks close to the ground where the sugar was most concentrated.

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to throat

August 16, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

sing eulogy through plant or animal anatomy.

gil scott-heron, regency ballroom, san francisco, 10/3/09 photo credit: adam turner

gil scott-heron, regency ballroom, san francisco 10/3/09 * photo credit: adam turner cc

ode to throat

after gil scott-heron

1.
rote blue dog
note eve’s rib can’t
music. moon howls
tramp loss. harp hangs.
cave drowns
moat mind knots.
sewers alley. jail tin
cup rots. mouth rains dead
swallows. heart windows
shutter. when my rivers
gag, chokehold
needs no baton.
sliced apple
chords no can
yowl betrayal
cormorant faith. how
long hanged harp
swing mute before
dogheart paddles
whale ribs
to shore?

2.
brother prophet
hair afire
before black
earth kisses
coffin you lay down
book of gil
scripture songs death
sea scrolls scat stomp shout
sorrow’s crystal wings
you couple poetry & blues
until hunter finally
ensnares you
patron saint
of runaways
& throats
smooth
be your road

sing orchid sing

note: see saint gil’s obit in the guardian for pieces of the man.

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to bamboo

August 4, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

invite guest plant or animal to stand in as teacher.

bamboo you photo: mcylouie

bamboo you
photo: mcylouie

ode to bamboo

monkey of 72 transformations
cricket thicket panda pantry
gunpowder tube for dynamite partisans
bones migrants swing building emperor’s cities

heart of beasts she tickles
drums sonorous with their skins
hallowed flute bones marimba
pulse of jungle veins
sweep mind empty as
ten thousand meditations

she is to summer as chrysanthemum
to autumn plum-blossom to
winter orchid to spring

when leaf blades shudder
in arc of fear’s flight
don’t run past blind
study her flex
more than useful
more than music

she knows when
to be hurtling spear
to be forest’s dragon legs
to be surrender’s serenity prayer
there is nothing left to defend

supple orchid supple

orchid odes poetry prompts–ode to nüwa

July 28, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write a poem to a fixer or cleaning lady—or both. repeat the first line of each stanza—then riff. repeat-riff. repeat-riff. for unity & depth of her skill.

Goddess Nüwa (女媧). Artist: Xiao Yuncong (蕭雲從) 1596-1673

Goddess Nüwa (女媧).
Artist: Xiao Yuncong (蕭雲從) 1596-1673 /public domainPublicDomainSymbol

ode to nüwa

nüwa fixer goddess of broke things
she & bro-hubby fuxi created chickens
on moonday, dogs on fireday, sheep on waterday
pigs cows horses on tree gold and earth
days. but on sunday no jehovahesque rest
she made mud people of earth & rain
who got busy testing & cracking her creations

nüwa fixer goddess of broke things
she sealed sky when gong gong, god of water
bashed his head against mountain pillar bracing sky
after lost battle for throne to god of fire,
zhu rong. missing a stem, sky staggered
northwest throwing earth southeast kicking
kingdom off center unleashing flood fire famine
man-eating beasts to devour nüwa’s people

nüwa fixer goddess of broke things
she cut legs beloved giant turtle ao
for struts to replace wrecked pillars
she patched heaven’s wall with stones
of seven colors but ever since heaven’s
spine broken sun moon stars
tilt northwest & rivers southeast

nüwa fixer goddess of broke things
during FLOOD she killed brave black dragon
to fill earth & dammed waters with reed
ash mortar she trained generations of daughters
like our ah-mah how to mortar rainbows
with sorrow stems seven color stones
for patch hurt from drowning rage of men

legs orchid legs

Additional notes re image: Original from Tianwentu (天問圖), imprint of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912); currently located in Taipei, National Palace Museum; and reproduced in The Mysterious Path to Immortality. Heaven, Earth, and Beyond: Prints and Illustrations of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist Figures.

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to xylem & phloem

July 19, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write a poem to the magic power of flesh.

xylem & phloem @ work photo credit: belvin louie

xylem & phloem @ work
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to xylem & phloem

young farmers, your calves ripple trees. your
vascular cords, chestnut pith. you are thorn’s
backbone. corn’s fifth column. where trees
go to book. soldiers to stipule. your phloem
shelters food banks. your xylem pipes
quinine camphor candor. cinnamon desire.

last shall be first, and first, last.

after rubber, cambrium chariots break siege
after elevator nectar, femur hammers
after blue dragon, uncork grapevines
after winter, bark epic orchid uprising
after walk on milk stems, bind marrow
after tagger ancestors, bomb reed paper
after scrawl caishu script, scowl bodhidharma
after stilt fishermen’s huts, weave nets
after rabbit grass tunnels, hemp nakedness
after scale beanstalk, hurricane palmera prayers

last orchid last

note for nerds: xylem is the water-
transporting vascular tissue in plants;
phloem is x’s food-packing tissue sibling.

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to monocotyledons

July 11, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write poem that taps into the power of a number.

power of one photo credit: belvin louie

power of one
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to monocotyledons

                      after lucille clifton

solo
seed leaf sun
stretch
never lonely
wretch
among 10,000 orchid clans
60,000 spear villages
glade
side mountain cane
brake
rice corn ginger
black
bamboo goat grass
i’m a farmer not a fighter
unsheathe my
blade
make own
shade
james brown
me
moon & back
long as you
land
on the
one

clan orchid clan

orchid odes poetry prompts – ode to bud

June 30, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write from a bud’s eye view.

rosebud riot photo credit: mcylouie

rosebud riot
photo credit: mcylouie

ode to bud

panda nibble. cell division frothing in drop. pushing hands.
node feet. twist. crawl. stand. stack leaf toys tongues out.
pattycake. tumbled blocks random. your are forest memory
splitting hull. toddler spring. green wisp, one day
brown bears will scale your trunk. feeling acorn small.

reach orchid reach

orchid odes poetry prompts – section iii: stems – ode to general of the east

June 20, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

section iii: stems

pistil poetry prompt:

now that we’ve explored seeds and roots, let’s move up orchid’s anatomy to stems. pair a body part with an animal, plant, mineral and/or color and ride the fusion.

blue dragon on turtle sea photo credit: mcylouie

blue dragon on turtle sea
photo credit: mcylouie

ode to general of the east

this poem is dedicated to pulse dance nation
who perished who were wounded
who now ride the ocean skies
for loving who they love

vanda dragon
turquoise queen
of east wood spring
sharp as hunger’s
teeth you soar heavens
plow seas spit thunder
ride mountain back
korean confusion
emerald & blue
mixed blood spawn
rabbit deer carp smart
frog cow camel stubborn
snake hawk tiger sanguine
you are volatile gorgeous
typhoon tessellating
direction of spring’s
first green meal

scale orchid scale

orchid odes poetry prompts – ancestors al-anon

June 8, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

eavesdrop on a conversation between ancestors.

halmae orchids photo credit: belvin louie

halmae orchids
photo credit: belvin louie

ode to ancestors al-anon

after Amir Rabiyah & Tek & Uilani Yoon

sacred bones
ancestor ashes
please help me

CHUJA SPIRIT HALMAE: What now? Where you going?
MUNHEE SPIRIT HALMAE: My granddaughter is summoning me.
CHUJA: What, again? Didn’t you bail her out yesterday?
MUNHEE: Ung, but she needs me now. She graduated from whatchucallit? yes, cultural training something she knows how to summon me all respectful.
CHUJA: Ah, so skilled at satisfying their cravings, our saekki-deul. If she’s truly your descendant, she can take care of herself while you’re having fun with girlfriends.

wise grandmother spirit
help me

MUNHEE: Sorry, Onni. I got to go.
CHUJA: No, you need to sit here and finish your hwato hand with us.
JUNGJA: And what about music class tonight? You already missed too many practices.
SUNHEE: Anyway, we all have needy offspring. You don’t see us jumping up every time some saekki yanks our string.
CHUJA: Respect your elders. Hello—that means us dead ones, too.

are you listening, halmoni?
give me a sign

MUNHEE: Okay, okay. Let me find out what granddaughter needs first.
CHUJA: Alright. Put down your hand and go. But listen well: more time you spend bailing out descendants, less time you have to enjoy yourself. With us, your equals, learn to explore this side of stars and cosmos. Watch elder spirits perform stories of Mago Paridaeki and Chacheonbi. And share their encounters with goddesses of Apreeka & Palesetene & Nam America & so many countries you can only visit when you’re dead & riding fly-fly zone.
MUNHEE: Ooo, stop tempting me, Onni. How about I just visit my granddaughter this time? Then I hang out with you guys.
CHUJA: After she used you just yesterday? Yaah, you need to let go, let halmang. Soon as we finish this game, I’m gonna sign you up for uri nara chapter of Ancestor Al-Anon. You start hard with 30 AAA meetings in 30 days. Then focus on one of 12 steps each month for a year.
MUNHEE: 30 meetings in 30 days? At start of eternity? Not bad. What’s catch?
CHUJA: Those going to be 30 super killer days where your co-dependent, enabling big sis, omma, grandma bones going to get totally broke down. Then reset so you can be strong enough to walk wonders of universe that each of us grannies earned a million times over before we got here. Or else, one side give give all time, other side take take all time you gonna get spirit sickness again.

halmoni, help me

ALL GRANNIES: Ancestors Al-anon. Starts. NOW!

release orchid release

ode to rootcester

June 1, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

choose a skill of someone you miss and write a poem to skill and master.

baba goes fishing photo credit: minnie marguerite ching

baba fishes for tomato sides
photo credit: minnie marguerite ching

ode to rootcestor

1.
floyd terrace housing projects everyone knows
skinny bean chinese electrician peasant enuf to plant
tomatoes in trickle of sand kids sift/ mutts fertilize

2.
guanyin bless brotherhood sleeping car porters
exec order 9981 & gi bill
for homes & gardeners of a darker hue

3.
absorb
every gardener 25-mile radius mare island naval shipyard
has heard baba’s tomato root wisdom

anchor
plant em deep up to first leaf he repeats each spring
as if you suffer yellowleaf blight memory loss

stash
once he gifts you his ace & beefsteak big reds “fergalized” with
horse poop you’ll forever thumb nose at cardboard store-bought fakers

season
even his hey chinaman, lend me your needlenose
pliers idaho potato coworkers make nice come august

reach
listen, ching, how about one more for my lunchbox?
they lick their dogteeth when baba’s sweet beauties beckon

deep orchid deep

orchid odes poetry prompts–ode to boots underground

May 25, 2016 No Comments Miriam Uncategorized

orchid odes poetry prompts

pistil poetry prompt:

write a series of numbered poems loosely tethered to a subject. then edit and choose the stanza order you prefer.

orchid odes ah-mah & halmoni tubertalk image: mcylouie

orchid odes ah-mah & halmoni tubertalk
image: mcylouie

ode to boots underground

1.
flex shoulders
bust concrete
how they evah
think they could
contain root me?

2.
ah-mah be taro comfort root
pearl delta steamy
halmoni be bellflower meaty nuff
to half-nelson any bring-it-on peppah

3.
que viva la différence
twixt-n-tween
osmosis veil
sexy root chamber

4.
sweet potatoes
cozy up
to cassavas
farmers drive-in
root cellar

5.
what semen secrets
do peasant rebels
root in seed plots?

6.
if a poem falls in forest
will roots
hear mulch
of acorn time?

7.
when roots knot pot
in pubic profusion
googoo translation: hunt me
up new crib, mama

8.
roots? reparations?
right, orchid
soon as you osmosis
nobody owes you jack
you be heel-to-toe
mudboot free

tuber orchid tuber

note: all power to professor truong tran & his kearny street workshop poets for inspiring this piece.

© , Miriam Ching Yoon Louie | Visual Design by Jai Arun Ravine