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INSCRIPTION

18 April, 2016: INSCRIPTION

READ A POEM

by Darlene Montonaro

INSCRIPTION

A city shapes you.
The way rain speaks
to the buildings on Euclid Avenue,
slide of snow into the Cuyahoga.
Clatter of wood escalators
as you lean under the awning
of stairs, the taste of Frosties
on your tongue, between basement sales racks
at Higbee’s.
 
Families shape you.
The mother you had
or didn’t, the stepmother who erases
your past like a nun’s blackboard.
The father, too busy, sweaty bottles
of Black Label in the basement,
the Cleveland Press held like a wall
between you.  Or your sister
reflected in the tri-fold vanity,
a parade of bottles gleaming
in the glass, the smell
of Evening in Paris dark blue
as sin.
 
Lovers shape you.
The one who stands behind,
his face buried in the smell
of your hair, a slow dance
with his mouth so close
to your ear, his words
spilling down a page set against
the blue of truth.
 
Endings shape you.
Spitting gravel
beneath the Plymouth
as your father pulls away, the metallic
skid of carnations as they hit
the coffin lid, the spray
of change and mints
your lover emptied from his pockets
that you leave like an altar
across your dresser long after
you realize he is never
coming back.
 
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“Inscription,” by Darlene Montonaro. © Darlene Montonaro, 2016. Used by permission of the author.
 
ABOUT TODAY’S POET
Darlene Montonaro is a poet whose work has appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines including Calyx, Slipstream, Visions International, Earth’s Daughters, Blueline, Poetry Motel, The Comstock Review, Abraxas, and Buddhist Poetry Review. Four of her poems were also anthologized in the book Illness and Grace: Terror & Transformation, published by Wising Up Press, 2007. She is a founding member of the poetry group Take Nine, and serves on the Board of Literary Cleveland, a new organization working to serve and promote area writers. In 2016, she was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture.

WRITE A POEM

Cities, Families, Lovers and Endings shape us, says Montonaro. Write a four-stanza poem using her stanza form or one you invent that examines how four of these shape us: Bodies of Water, Teachers, Enemies, Animals, Diseases, and/or Beginnings.
 

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Comments
Raine Shakti
Beginnings shape us
Molding our old selves
Into something new
Good beginnings excite us and inspire us
Generating a need to explore and take chances
Bad beginnings scare us and deflate us
Creating a desire to stay static and step back
Beginnings shape us
With their excitement
Their fear
Their newness


Teachers shape us
Molding the young clay of youth
Into maturity
Good teachers coax us and nurture us
Sparking desire to emulate and make proud
Bad teachers berate us and bully us
Stoking a desire to defy and show up
Teachers shape us
With their words
Their actions
Their lives

Friends shape us
Molding our old beliefs
Into new thoughts
Good friends love us and hold us
Inspiring us to be open and honest
Frenemies taunt us and tease us
Bullying us into submission and self loathing
Friends shape us
With their love
Their scorn
Their actions

Endings shape us
Transforming who we were
Into who we are going to be
Good endings give us roots
Reminding us where we came from
Bad endings scar us
Making us cautious about trusting again
Endings shape us
With their events
Their feelings
Our remembrances
4/20/2016 10:04:20 AM

Carol Morrison
Lovely; evocative.
4/19/2016 9:48:30 AM

fgsdfg
A city shapes you.
The way rain speaks
to the buildings on Euclid Avenue,
slide of snow into the Cuyahoga.
Clatter of wood escalators
as you lean under the awning
of stairs, the taste of Frosties
on your tongue, between basement sales racks
at Higbee’s.

Families shape you.
The mother you had
or didn’t, the stepmother who erases
your past like a nun’s blackboard.
The father, too busy, sweaty bottles
of Black Label in the basement,
the Cleveland Press held like a wall
between you. Or your sister
reflected in the tri-fold vanity,
a parade of bottles gleaming
in the glass, the smell
of Evening in Paris dark blue
as sin.

Lovers shape you.
The one who stands behind,
his face buried in the smell
of your hair, a slow dance
with his mouth so close
to your ear, his words
spilling down a page set against
the blue of truth.

Endings shape you.
Spitting gravel
beneath the Plymouth
as your father pulls away, the metallic
skid of carnations as they hit
the coffin lid, the spray
of change and mints
your lover emptied from his pockets
that you leave like an altar
across your dresser long after
you realize he is never
coming back.
4/18/2016 5:42:07 PM

Cara Armstrong
An island shapes you.
The way water circumscribes
the boundaries of buildings on Roosevelt Avenue
and stitched on piers sift the tides.
Farewell to slide of snow into the Cuyahoga
and hello to seas outside the reef,
clouds bubbling up from the Gulf Stream
as you look toward Cuba.
Crab clattering that you mistake for the sound
of women in high heels running
by your mailbox under the stairs after you return home
from the hurricane, the smell of rotting seaweed
under your toes, the cut off head
found by the salt ponds that you can see
from your front door, where once
you spied a roseate spoonbill.

A river that catches fire shapes you.
Especially if you and your family grew up on its crooked
meanderings, the way it flows south to curve west
by your childhood home only to head north and empty out into the lake where your grandfather started working on ore boats
at 14, and learned a $10 magic trick
on one trip to Detroit.
It’s where you scatter
your father’s ashes.

Cars shape you.
The ’86 Plymouth that carried
the Alsatian immigrant’s daughter
to your first date eating sushi
on Pearl Harbor Day.
Or the rented Skoda
with the Hungarian in the backseat
who introduces you as
the astronaut’s granddaughter
in the shadows of a Cistercian cathedral.

Beginnings shape you.
Conceived in the same room
where your father will die,
you will come to understand irony and
know that even islands
are connected
underneath.
4/18/2016 2:49:47 PM

kathleen d gallagher
Beautiful imagery and great ending.
4/18/2016 9:26:09 AM

Jack McGuane
Best poem I've read this month!
4/18/2016 8:11:12 AM



READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.