Downtown Development (Sapphic Stanza)

Ugly cars with rusted-out bodies park here,
Underneath the flowering plums and maples,
Staid beside our manicured, landscaped greenway,
Sharing the sidewalk

Maple boards with thundering wheels break peaces
Gravely spanning chasms between the burdens
Built on wine and barbecue by the fireplace,
Burning through nightfall

Iron gates with delicate motors hum here,
Gliding shut and opening when we bid them,
Boasting signs to terminate rights of passage,
Locking out friendship

Kaküno Sapphic Stanza

Pilot Kaküno fountain pen with Lewis Putnam Turco's The Book of Forms
Pilot Kaküno fountain pen with Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms. Yes, this pen was designed for children. No, the book was not.

Last week, I treated myself1 to a copy of the revised and expanded edition of Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms2. Yesterday, while at Mitsuwa Marketplace3 in Costa Mesa, my wife treated me to a Pilot Kaküno4 fountain pen.

These two treats go well together.

I’ve reached the part of Turco’s book which introduces the Sapphic line and the Sapphic stanza5, and because I want to actually learn the material in the book, as opposed to just digesting it, I’ll be spending at least a few days taking winky-nibbed stabs at Sapphic stanzas.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me.

I’m comfortable with iambs6. Trochees7 and dactyls8 feel awkward and weird. “da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA”9 makes perfect sense to me. “DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-da-WTF-DA-da-Da-da” not so much. (That “WTF” always, always follows the dactyl. Always.) My archetypal drummer keeps dropping her sticks, and I don’t particularly like the sound of it.

But I do like that fountain pen!

And, since the pen was in my hand when I started writing…

Pilot Kaküno with handwritten sample of “Kaküno Sapphic Stanza”. If you look closely, you can see the smiley face on the nib.

Kaküno Sapphic Stanza

Fountain flows of ebony staining paper
Winking, smiling up from its steely shoulders
Lilac, white and metal in pudgy fingers
Piloting verses

Here’s to the concept that practice makes… well, at least better.


Notes

  1. Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms. Samusumi.com. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://samusumi.com/2018/05/10/lewis-putnam-turcos-the-book-of-forms/
  2. UPNE – The Book of Forms: Lewis Putnam Turco. University Press of New England. Accessed 15 May 2018. http://www.upne.com/1611680355.html
  3. Mitsuwa. One of several Japanese markets in Orange County. Accessed 15 May 2018. chttp://www.mitsuwa.com/
  4. Pilot Kaküno. Pilot.co.jp. Accessed 15 May 2018. http://www.pilot.co.jp/products/pen/fountain/fountain/kakuno/
  5. “Sapphic stanza”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphic_stanza
  6. “Iamb (poetry)”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iamb_(poetry)
  7. “Trochee”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trochee
  8. “Dactyl (poetry)”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dactyl_(poetry)
  9. “Iambic pentameter”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iambic_pentameter

NaPoWriMo Shakespearean Sonnet

When NaPoWriMo’s gone, what will be made
Of April’s work? And all our odes assessed?
We’ve dashed down rhymes and surged the lines we’ve laid.
We’ve streamed brainstorms, and through our words, we’ve pressed.
We scramble through each day to churn out verse.
Why rush your feet through iamb and dactyl?
Why blitz the flow until you’re just a curse
Away from lying down unhurried skill?
My NaPoWriMo lessons are but one:
A poem’s only done when it is done.

Disc Collector’s English Rondeau

We take our stand on vinyl discs,
Where synapse fire, like sound, persists;
Where sawteeth wave in analog,
With cracks and higher -fi than Ogg.
We’re flattened by precision’s kiss.

But right alignment still insists
We spine our grooves and rest our fists
Stock still, unless the needle jog.
We take our stand on vinyl discs.

RPMs slow, ‘though we resist,
Our columns may indeed consist
Of polyurethane and fog,
Titanium, no master’s dog.
Bone has gone the way of mist.
We take our stand on vinyl discs.