2016 Found Object Poem Project: Day 18, Poetry Friday
It’s Day 18 of our month-long daily writing project.
We’re also celebrating Poetry Friday. This week’s host is Donna Smith at Mainely Write, who hosted our project earlier this week! If you’re enjoying the poetry community we’re creating with this project, I know you’ll have fun getting to know the Poetry Friday blogging community as well.
It’s a special Poetry Friday for me and my niece, Madeline. We are guests at Penny Parker Klostermann’s blog series “A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt.” Madeline drew a Keith Haring inspired scene and my poem accompanies her art.
Jan Annino Godown of the blog Bookseedstudio contributed our Found Object today.
I was tempted to go searching for more information about this sculpture, but waited until my poem was drafted. From what I can tell, there are several versions of this giant eraser in sculpture gardens around the country. I found more information at the National Gallery of Art’s website. Here are the basics: “Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, American, born 1929, Sweden / American, born 1942, The Netherlands Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999 stainless steel and cement.”
In looking at today’s found object, I wondered whether teens and twenty-somethings would recognize the everyday object it’s supposed to represent. It looks like Diane Mayr was wondering the same thing.
Field Trip to the Past
By Diane Mayr
I heard her incredulous cry,
“What is that?”
She grew up with laptops and printers.
I grew up writing papers by longhand
then typing them out on a clunky
There was a backspace key,
but no delete button.
White-out invented by
a Monkee’s mother had yet
to find a market.
There was only the eraser.
Round, slender, and pink.
With a brush of sorts at the opposite
end used to whisk away
the erasure crumbs of mistakes.
“Well? What is it?”
she asked again.
And realizing I had no formal name
to associate with the pink rolling eraser thing,
I honestly answered,
“Damned if I know.”
What stuck out (pun intended) at me was the blue bristles, so my poem focuses on that part of the sculpture.
By Laura Shovan
Imagine it shooting from the top of my head
like a bamboo forest sprouting on Neptune.
Spiky as blueberry licorice, an upside down
waterfall of frozen blue icicles, a crown
of Bluebeard’s bristles. Imagine it pulled tight,
held in place by a silver elastic, charged
by enough volts of lightning to kill a giant.
Each strand reaches up, as if Medusa
traded in her snakes for a set
of Moray eels, their hungry blue eyes
wondering what everyone’s staring at.
Like me, Donna Smith used the sculpture as a jumping off point for some wild imagery.
With spiked blue hair
As if to dare
Us to stop him
In mid flow,
As he erases
To and fr…
Will not win;
Watch him roll,
See him race,
All over the pl…
There he goes
He’s so exci…!
Hey, stop erasing
All my lett…
This isn’t getting
If you don’t let
Me finish a thoug…
I cannot fix what
You have wroug…
Okay, off that unicycle,
And let me write
So I can see
And I can read
Slow down now and
©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved
Carol Varsalona has a narrative poem in response to the sculpture. She is blogging alongside us at Beyond LiteracyLink.
Magic Eraser rolled into town.
Looking silly as a blue-haired clown
erasing all that was in his sight
causing a stir and a great fright.
The townsfolk turned a shade of white
as all was lost in broad daylight.
Who would stand up for property rights?
A hero came with the speed of light
and took a very fanciful bite.
So limping away in domestic flight
Magic eraser left the suburbanites
and found other towns to rub out that night.
Carol writes, “You have to turn to the blog post to find out the moral of my tale.”
I like the way that Mary Lee Hahn focuses on the outlandish size of the object in her poem.
Live Big/Fail Big
Are you willing to risk it?
Will you go for broke?
Take a chance,
Take a dare,
Try that limb?
The payoffs are huge!
Take the chance,
Take the dare,
Chase the win!
©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016
Please visit Mary Lee’s blog, where she is posting about our project.
Several people got some good advice out of the sculpture. Linda Baie’s counsel is specific to writers.
Advertisement: Poets & Writers
For sale: This splendid little wheel:
–rolls along the hasty scribbles
–rubs away the tired rhymes
–brushes out the crumbs of stale words
Rush order available!
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved
Catherine Flynn writes, “My high school typing teacher was a stickler for perfection (‘Proofread like the page was typed by your worst enemy!’) so I thought about that angle… I decided to create an erasure poem giving a little history about this giant eraser.”
“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X”
remembered from childhood.
playing in his fathers office,
a typewriter eraser
in a graceful, dynamic
By Catherine Flynn
It seems fitting to have an acrostic for an object that’s meant to help us with our words. Here is Margaret Simon’s contribution.
By Margaret Simon
By Jessica Bigi
Flick of wrist
I can see that the object is making a lot of us feel
old nostalgic. Here is Buffy Silverman’s poem.
Homework in the Dark Ages
By Buffy Silverman
Rubbing, rubbing, rubbing
brushing, brushing, brushing
she tries to undo her careless words.
The pink eraser squeaks,
the gritty pile of crumbs grows on her desk blotter,
sticking to the back of her hand.
The smudged paper gets thinner and thinner
until it tears…..
She crumples the paper,
hurls it in the trash
and starts again.
Matt Forrest Esenwine knew what functional object the sculpture represented. He says, “I wore those things down to the bone in another lifetime! Another busy day today, so another haiku – well, more senryu, actually.”
If only mistakes
could be so easily brushed
away. If only.
– © 2016, Matt Forrest Esenwine, all rights reserved
Charles Waters makes a great connection to a topic most children are familiar with. I see a character emerging here!
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
By Charles Waters
Blue spiked hair,
nose, and bottom lip,
fire red lipstick,
tight biker jacket
made with fake leather
cause I love animals,
ripped black jeans,
rainbow colored sneakers.
I look awesome!
And no one can
convince me otherwise!
More poems coming in from this prompt. Thanks again, Jan, for sending in such a great object today! I think most of us can relate to Jone MacCulloch’s poem.
Oh to take
back the words
in anger, in haste
the send button
© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved
If I missed your poem in the comments, please let me know. I will add it as soon as possible.
See you tomorrow for Day 19.
Interested in what we’ve written so far? Here are links to this week’s poems:
Sunday, February 14
FOUND OBJECT: Hot Potato
Poems by: Violet Nesdoly, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Charles Waters.
Note: You will find links to all of the Week 1 and Week 2 poems at this post.
Monday, February 15 at My Juicy Little Universe
FOUND OBJECT: Coffee Mug
Poems by: Jessica Bigi, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Catherine Flynn, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Diane Mayr, Buffy Silverman, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Donna Smith, Julieanne Harmatz, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Charles Waters.
Tuesday, February 16
FOUND OBJECT: Sculpture
Poems by: Victoria Costa, Jessica Bigi, Laura Shovan, Carol Varsalona, Mary Lee Hahn, Donna Smith, Catherine Flynn, Diane Mayr, Linda Baie, Robyn Hood Black, Buffy Silverman, Jone Rush MacCulloch.
Wednesday, February 17 at Mainely Write
FOUND OBJECT: Hot Pink Sandal
Poems by: Diane Mayr, Jessica Bigi, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie, Catherine Flynn, Mary Lee Hahn, Buffy Silverman, Donna Smith, Jone Rush MacCulloch, Laura Shovan, Heidi Mordhorst, Margaret Simon.