Saturday, April 19, 2014


The prompt:
This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text.

The process:
Such cute kitty. Anyway, I tried to follow the rules but....I didn't. I couldn't source all the words. I just sourced my end words. To be somewhat successful, I had to throw caution to the wind. I did source some words from the source text. So, that was sort of following the rules. Doug Luman is the man and I used his excel. I still am not entirely sure if created a proper sestina but I gave it a go. It's the longest poem I've ever composed, I think. 

Also, the Excel document and myself screwed up at the end and I did not intend the poem to end the way it did but I like it. I changed a few tenses and pluralizations of words. 

The result: 

A harrowing, glossy, (happy) experience

Seeking sustenance proves harrowing
the pangs of hunger lingering
a bologna sandwich, not normal 
food photographs glossy
Eating lunch with friends
A fond memory

You are a memory
I search for happiness, something less harrowing
A food for the soul, Could it be friends? 
A walk to find what is lingering
Yogurt--- glossy
Is tidy the new normal?

I wonder what is really normal?
Is it something in our memory?
Is it new, exciting, shocking and glossy?
Do we shrink to a whisper, something less harrowing?
We are strong, but wounds still linger
We peer into ourselves, we search for friends.

Changing colors, changing friends
A chameleon, is that normal?
Suspects in this, a motive still linger
I cannot erase your memory,
into something less harrowing
Our photographs shiny and glossy

Feelings masked under layers of glossy
Paint, a face hidden to friends
sustenance still proves harrowing
I will never be normal 
It's all just a memory
Balogna sandwich thoughts still linger

I grew to find, it's okay to linger
Cover your face with all things glossy
Until it's all just a happy memory
Hold tight to new and old  friends
You will never be normal 
Because if you are, you life is harrowing

I cried because it was all so harrowing
I dried my tears and I’ve stopped seeking normal
You are my friend
(and my normal...)


Rusell, Jenna. "For Watertown residents, normal will never be quite the same." The Boston Globe.  19 Apr 2014. A1-A6. Print. 

Moskowitz,Eric. "Danny takes strength from ordeal with Tsarnaevs." The Boston Globe.  19 Apr 2014. A1-A6. Print. 


Sonja Johanson said...

We all tweak the forms to make them possible for us! Strong regional theme running through your work, Nicole - very nice.

Nicole said...

Thank you so much!! I try! :)