“From Here” – New Book Release


From Here is a collection of poems that have been inspired by poetry, the poetry of others as well as the poetry of my life.

“From Here”

This is a small collection including 24 poems and illustrations. The illustrations explore ‘found patterns’, which like the poems, often led me to surprising and beautiful results.

Illustration from “From Here”

Now available from Amazon as paperback, hardcover, and e-book.


Be well,

Monty


a prayer

A golden shovel poem/prayer.


Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the grey mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

“Under the Harvest Moon” by Carl Sandburg

A Prayer

From Carl Sandburg’s “Under the Harvest Moon”

Please God, lift me up from under
This heaviness; sew the
Seed of hope in my heart for next seasons’s harvest;
Fill me up with the gentle light of Your moon
For when
The
Soft
Hues of blue and silver
Shine upon me, my eye drips
Shimmering
Moisture over
The
Cracked soil of my soul, and coaxes the seed to garden
Into faithful nights.

Please Lord, may the certainty of death
Be enough to grant me the
Patience for meeting the grey
Mocker,
May you gift me with serenity before he comes
And
Whispers his welcome to
Me? Do I ask too much of You
As
I weep to life a
Beautiful
Bloom of faith and a friend
Who
Remembers?

Thank you God for providing this shade to rest under,
A cool oasis from the
Endless summer
Sun with it blazing shame that burns through the roses.
For when
The light shines upon my flagrant
Sins, their thorns prick crimson,
And their evil, which lurks
In
The
Dusk
Of
The
Soul, spreads wild
And red,
With poison laced leaves.

Thank you Lord, for planting this seed of love
With
Your own hands and teaching me, despite little
Faith, that in my own hands
Comes
The power of prayer, letting go, and
Accepting the touches
Of guidance You
Provide — with
A
Light whisper or a
Thousand
Memories.

And
Yet here I pray with asks
To You,
To bless me faith, so beautiful;
To answer the unanswerable;
To understand I still have questions.


Be well,

Monty


A Patch of Peace


A golden shovel poem.

The sun has drunk the dew that lay upon the morning grass

“Summer Wind” by William Cullen Bryant

A Patch of Peace

from William Cullen Bryant’s “Summer Wind”

Escaping the
Hellish August sun;
He has
Found a patch of peace under a shadow yet drunk
By the
Earth’s daily flight; And dreams of the long gone dew
That
Lay
Upon
The
Early morning
Grass


Be well,

Monty


Out of my Mind


It’s been a while since I felt poetic. When I read the poem “In the Yellowstone” by Harriet Monroe, today, it inspired me to give it a go. And in the spirit of appreciation, I decided to go with a Golden Shovel. Buckle-up for this one…its a bit of a wild ride.


Out of My Mind

From “In the Yellowstone” by Harriet Monroe


Little,
Upon the head of a pin
Threatening to prick
Fast and furious geysers
Spitting
And
Sputtering.

Not at all little,
Sea-sized foaming
Geysers
That
Gurgle
Out
In tall-tales fabricated of
See-through sails pulling the
Mind’s calyx
Of
Morning
To glory
In whirling pools.

Unbridled laughing
Geysers
That
Tickle my fancy and dance
In
The
Name of the spirits, our father, and the sun;
And
Spread
Folly upon their
Cast-off robes
Like
Down feathers escaping from lace
And wafting over
The
Techno-colored rocks.

Angry, raging
Geysers
That
Can’t wait to rush
Out
From the reach of
Good intentions with scorching hell
Raised neurosis and with
A
Great
Strike of lightning and its grumpy rumble of noise
And
Blurt
Out
Curses across the vast
Sky, summoning the demonic dragon
With gulps
Of
Lusty urges and steam
And
Finishing
Upon her breast, sink
Back
Spent and wearily
Into
Singed darkness.

Gay and glad
Geysers
Escaping the forest like nymphs
Dreaming of
The
Mid-night sun
That
Arise
When sleep is slim
And
Nude
Figures cast shadows out
Of
The
Sweet, hot
Musky, dark,
Earth
And
Ebbs into a stand
Of trees
Poised
In
Twilight’s beauty
Awaiting a
Moment
Perfect for un-veiling
Their
Wild brows
And
Boyish breasts
In
The cooling mist.

Clip-winged
Geysers
Broken spirits
Of
Smothered fire
That
Fail to rise,
Not tall,
And
Limp, not straight,
Like
A
Half-cooked noodle, a sequoia
Seedling stepped upon by heavy boot and
Aborted plume
Falls short of the
Sky
With
Tepid foam.

O,
Wild
Geysers, choral
Fountains
Of absurdities forever
Singing
To laugh-tracks and
Squelching the seething
Voices forever
Boiling
Disquiet in
Politics of despair from too deep
Places
To be safely conceived and
Leaping
Forth
For
Joyful and bright
Moments
Before disappearing into
The
Air.


How
Do
You
Like
It
Up
Here?

Why
Must
You
Go?

Going back?
Going to?
Will the
Spirits
Of
Light and darkness
Remain, or what?

Do
You
Tell
Them
Down
There
About
Your
Little
Adventure, your brief, glorious
Life
Out of my mind and in
The
Sun?


Be well,

Monty


Golden Shovel April Round-Up

About a month ago, I posted three Golden Shovel prompts for April as a collaborative project for our writing community. In this round-up, I share my golden shovel poem as well as those that were contributed by the community.

What is the Golden Shovel form, you ask? The Golden Shovel form was created by the poet Terrance Hayes, whose poem “Golden Shovel” (from his 2010 collection Lighthead) is based on Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool” which references the phrase “Golden Shovel”. Check out the “rules” here.

I want to give a big thanks to each of you that were willing to give this months challenge a try:

No Love for Fatties

A Different Perspective

Serendippity


Golden Shovel April Prompts

April Prompt No. 1

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep”

from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

April Prompt No. 2

…feel the wet maples leaves flicker in the rain”

from “The Leaves of a Dream are the Leaves of an Onion” by Arthur Sze

April Prompt No. 3

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore – and then run?”

from “Dream Deferred” (Harlem) by Langston Hughes

Golden Shovel Poems for

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep”:

Dear Brother

Dear brother, the

Days we spent trekking through the woods

Are

My brightest childhood memories, lovely

Moments of joy and laughter interrupting the dark

And

Instilling a love, to this day, so deep.

by Monty Vern

Starlight reflecting against the

Leaves lush and green in the woods

Dancing shadows among the branches are

Creating moving pictures so lovely

Tapestry of… [read more]

No Love for Fatties (gigglingfattie)

You tricked me into the

Moon lit night and led me into woods

Asking me what my intentions are

Not waiting for an answer saying lovely

Words and… [read more]

by A Different Perspective (murisopsis)

Hunting the Stag

In the

hart’s woods

there are

long lovely

passages, dark-

leaved and

shadow-deep.

In the

leafy woods

hunters are

biding [read more]

by serendippity

Golden Shovel Poems for

“…feel the wet maples leaves flicker in the rain”:

Amber Rain

Feel

The

Sticky wet

syrup harvested from the local maples.

It leaves

A flicker

Of joy on the lips; Tastebuds dance in

Delight with the

Sweet taste of amber rain.

by Monty Vern

The Tables Complaint

No one considers how I feel,

covered with bits of breakfast: the scrambled egg scraps, the

itch Pop-Tart crumbs, the wet

orange juice spill (bad for my complexion), the maple

syrup smear. Everyone… [read more]

by serendippity

Golden Shovel Poems for

“Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore – and then run?”

Plump Plumb or Puckered Raisin?

Does

It

Feel like this to you? Not wet or dry.

Neither right nor down, Nor left or up.

Not like

A

Plump plumb or puckered raisin?

Neither out nor in,

No warmth of a shining sun

Or

Coolness of a full moon? Do you feel whole? Or, as me, like a hole?

Do you feel dead inside or

Do you feel joy or perhaps pain and fester

Like

A

Sore?

Or, like me, just empty and numb? And,

Deaf and dumb? If not, then

Please teach me how to feel. To love. To dance. To run.

by Monty Vern

Talking to Myself

Yes, it’s a long line and includes the word fester, but does

that mean it’s impossible? I can do it. I want to do it.

I did the other two. My creative juices haven’t run dry

yet; in fact, with all I’ve been posting, I’d say my cup

is overflowing. I just need a sip to start. And it’s not like

I need to write another “Iliad” or “Odyssey,” just a

simple 18-liner. You know, if my brain were a raisin,

I could put it in a bowl and let it soak up the waters of in-

spiration till it was nice and plump. And then squeeze the

poem out drop by drop. Better yet, what if I made the sun

my muse? [read more]

by serendippity

If you missed the original Golden Shovels created by the community in the February challenge, check out all the contributions in the Week 1 Round-Up, Week 2 Round-Up, Week 3 Round-Up, and Week 4 Round-Up. Feel free to give these prompts a try as well. They were great poem line prompts with lots of creative potential.

Thanks again to all of your poetic efforts. Stay tuned for more opportunities to get creative together in the future.



Be well,

Monty

N is for…Night, “Goodnight Moo” (#AtoZ)

Here is my latest post for the #AtoZChallenge for April 2022. My title and theme for this challenge is “Seriously Silly Poetry” in recognition of April being poetry month and also wanting to do something fun and playful to celebrate spring. I hope you enjoy this series.


“Goodnight room

Goodnight moon

Goodnight cow jumping over the moon”

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moo

a Golden Shovel from Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

As a good day turns to goodnight,

And we snuggle together in your bed-room,

We say goodbye to this lovely good-night,

With a lullaby welcoming sleep and the rising moon,

We say goodnight,

You to me and me to you; and to the black and white cow

Jumping

Over

The

Moon

(with a moo).


Be well,

Monty

Rediscovering Sight (Golden Shovel)

Since it’s poetry month, I thought I would try out some new forms and I bumped into a great blog post from A Different Perspective listing out 13 poetic form prompts. A big thanks to them for the inspiration

Prompt 5

Write an Golden Shovel poem or

Write a poem incorporating the theme of change

A Different Perspective by muisopsis

So I’ve actually written quite a bit in this form and am currently running a poetry collaboration based on this form. Check out “Welcome to Golden Shovel April” for all the details and invitation. Hope you join along!


Here are the guidelines for a Golden Shovel:

– Take a line (or lines) from an existing poem.

– Use each word in the line as an end word in your poem.

– Keep the end words in order.

– Make sure to credit the poet of the original line.

Also you can check out these round-up posts from a golden shovel even I ran earlier this year for lots of examples both from myself and the writing/blogging community: Golden Shovel Week 1 Round-Up, Week 2 Round-Up, Week 3 Round-Up, Week 4 Round-Up.

“Golden Shovel” were words used in the original Golden Shovel poem by Terrance Hayes (pulling from Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool”.

Ok, let’s get out our Golden Shovels! Actually, I’m cheating a bit here. There was a Golden Shovel that I recently wrote that also incorporates the theme of change (the optional prompt here) and I thought I would share it again here as I really like how it came out. Thanks for accommodating my lazy indulgence!


Rediscovering Sight

after Robert Frost’s “After Apple Picking”

I
chase the cannot
from the rub
of darkness, embrace the
strangeness
of yes, peeling my eyes out from
underneath my
lids, rediscovering sight.


So, what do you think about the Golden Shovel form? Wanna give it a try? Check here for some prompt suggestions.


Be well,

Monty


Welcome to Golden Shovel April (an invitation)

Here’s an invitation to all of you poets (or potential poets, which is all of you) out there to join me in Golden Shovel April. This is a collaborative project for the blogging and writing community to create together.

Back in February I ran a weekly prompt challenge called “Get Your Golden Shovel”, which called upon the community to create a Golden Shovel poem based on the prompt line provided. It was a fabulous success and a number of the participants asked me to continue with the challenge. However, I wanted to provide a little more flexibility (both in terms of prompt and in terms of time), so I’m making an adjustment as and launching this as a monthly collaborative project with up to three prompts to choose from. And since April is #PoetryMonth, when better to launch than now?

What is the Golden Shovel form, you ask? The Golden Shovel form was created by the poet Terrance Hayes, whose poem “Golden Shovel” (from his 2010 collection Lighthead) is based on Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool” which references the phrase “Golden Shovel”. Here are the “rules”:


Golden Shovel “Rules”

1) Take a line (or lines) from an existing poem (I provide this in the prompt section below)

2) Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.

3) Keep the end words in order.

4) The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

5) Make sure to credit the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines) and link to my prompt post.

6. Have fun! If the rules are too rigid for what your muse is calling for then break them!


Golden Shovel Example:

Prompt: “Cursing the winter solstice sun” (from Under the Solstice Sun by Monty Vern)

New Golden Shovel poem:

Winter’s Curse

Honey sweet lips cursing;

Stoking flames, melting the

Frozen timepieces of winter;

Summoning summer’s solstice;

Accelerating earth ‘round the sun.


Golden Shovel April Prompts

Choose one, two, or all three and create your own Golden Shovel poem for each prompt you select.

April Prompt No. 1

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep”

from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

April Prompt No. 2

…feel the wet maples leaves flicker in the rain”

from “The Leaves of a Dream are the Leaves of an Onion” by Arthur Sze

April Prompt No. 3

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore – and then run?.”

from “Dream Deferred” (Harlem) by Langston Hughes

Additional Guidelines

(1) You can either post on your own blog and link to this prompt post so that we can all see it and further share, include it in this post’s comments section, or post on twitter and tag me (@montyvern).

(2) While there is not any hard deadline, the intention is to share your Golden Shovel poem(s) during the prompt month (feel free to post each poem separately if you decide to do more then one). If you post prior to the 25th of the month, then I will try to include your submission (along with mine) in a monthly round-up post for us all to enjoy. If you’ve posted on your own site then I will include an excerpt with link. If you post either in the comments or twitter I will include the entire poem with credit to the author.

(3) While there is absolutely no requirement, I highly encourage you to tag one or two potential poets in your post and invite them to join. Let’s grow our creative community!


If you missed the original Golden Shovels created by the community in the February challenge, check out all the contributions in the Week 1 Round-Up, Week 2 Round-Up, Week 3 Round-Up, and Week 4 Round-Up. Feel free to give these prompts a try as well. They were great poem line prompts with lots of creative potential.

That’s it. Time to get poetic! Enjoy!



Be well,

Monty

Reflections (a Golden Shovel)


A Golden Shovel poem inspired by:

A pink house trailer,

scuffed and rusted, sunken

in weeds. On the line,

Five pale blue workshirts

up to their elbows

in raspberry canes—

a good clean crew

of pickers, out early,

sleeves wet with dew,

and near them, a pair

of bright yellow panties

urging them on.”

from “Laundry” by Ted Kooser

Reflections

By Monty Vern

She licks her upper lip, coating it with a

Slick layer of shine, highlighting the pink

Pigment of knock-off Tom Ford she stole from the main house

Up the dirt road from her trailer.

She checks out her long legs in their scuffed

And

Red heels in the rusted

Sheet metal mirror on the wall, her sunken

Cheeks appearing elegant only in

Her mind, where flowers bloomed from weeds.

She puts on

A pout, the

Kind of pout intended to catch the men on her line;

She imagined reeling in the cute one among the five

That sat on the liquor store steps under the single pale

street light drinking Blue

Ribbon in their grease-stained workshirts

Rolled up

To

Their

Elbows.

She sucks in

Her mentholated tobacco breath, tasting raspberry

Sweetened naturally with sugar canes

Grown down south where belles like her belong, in a

Home among good,

Clean

Folk that watch over the crew

Of

Sugar cane cutters, or perhaps it’s the raspberry pickers?

She puffs out

Her breasts, one nipple poking out of her sagging dress, an early

Blossom coaxed out of its green spring sleeves

Glistening wet

With

Dew.

She reaches her bony arms up tall and

She near—

ly pushes them

Through the trailer roof to touch a

Thousand stars, Her dress rising above her sharp hips exposing a pair

of

Bright

Yellow

Painties

Urging

Them

On.


If you appreciated this golden shovel poem and want to give this creative technique a try, don’t miss the “Get Your Golden Shovel” collaborative project that is ongoing. Click here to link to the current prompt. Enjoy.


Be well,

Monty

Get Your Golden Shovel! No. 04 (a collaborative series)

This is an invitation to all of you poets (or potential poets, which is all of you) out there to join me in a collaborative series I’m calling “Get Your Golden Shovel”. Here is how it works.

Each Saturday in February (as an initial experiment and then I’ll decide whether to continue), will be Golden Shovel Saturday. I’ll post a prompt consisting of one or two lines from a well known poem on Saturday, then we all will create a new poem using the Golden Shovel form and share it with each other. I think it will be very interesting to see how different each of our pieces are despite pulling from the same source of material.

What is the Golden Shovel form, you ask? The Golden Shovel form was created by the poet Terrance Hayes, whose poem “Golden Shovel” (from his 2010 collection Lighthead) is based on Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool” which references the phrase “Golden Shovel”. Check out the “rules” here. There is also an example provided.

If you missed the earlier prompts, check out all the contributions from the community in the Week 1 Round-Up, Week 2 Round-Up, and Week 3 Round-Up. Feel free to contribute yours anytime. They were great poem line prompts with lots of creative potential.

Here’s our fourth (and final, for now) prompt. Enjoy!


Golden Shovel No. 04

The sky is blue, or the rain falls with its spills of pearl.”

from “Spring” by Mary Oliver

You can either post on your own blog and link to the prompt post so that we can all see it and further share, include it in the prompt post’s comments section, or post on twitter and tag me (@montyvern).

While there is not any hard deadline, the intention is to share your Golden Shovel poem during the prompt week before the following Golden Shovel Saturday. I’ll target posting my own poem along with some of yours with links in a round-up post ahead of the following week’s prompt.

That’s it! I’m looking forward to seeing what we all come up. It should be a bit challenging, but hopefully fun.

In this weeks round-up, I’ll share my thoughts on the future of the “Get Your Golden Shovel” collaboration.

Be well,

Monty