Posts Tagged ‘totally optional prompts’

Only A Geek Could Have Written “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

“Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.”
Zora Neale Hurston



Think on Zora’s expertise about the mating habits of bees,
And how forcefully a hurricane could uproot the Florida trees.
We expect our writers to be ethereal and carefree,
Not matriculate with degrees in Anthropology.

She never quite fit in with the New Negro crowd;
Her gaze lingered too long,
She laughed a little too loud.
But Zora insisted that the unvoiced speak for themselves;
Their souls belonged on life’s highest shelf.

And here is something else that Zora knew –
Geeks are hopeless romantics and dreamers too.
We blast to the moon
… build iPods
… believe in the audacity of hope,
We make mules talk.

In our creative hands, words without masters walk.

Today’s Zora is a Trekkie;
I’ve read about it on her blog,
Wild natural hair has replaced her 1930s bob.
She tweets with Langston while solving crossword puzzle problems,
And arrives late for her own signing at Hue-Man’s in Harlem


This week’s Totally Optional Prompt encourages participants to write a poem that is inspired by a quotation. I decided to play around a bit with the popular image of writer Zora Neale Hurston as a sassy, free-spirited sophisticate. I mean, c’mon – only a geek could have written one of the greatest southern novels of the 20th century in seven weeks! Like most gifted artists, she was brainy, easily wounded, and her country-girl swagger sometimes disguised nagging insecurities. The Harlem rent parties and ‘Bama juke-joints were probably a blast, but more often than not, this woman had to have her head in a book or her fingers on the typewriter. As a fellow geek, this is the image of Hurston that I can relate to and admire.

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“Changing Seasons”

Now the steely gaze of a Female Cop,
(too tough to love)
will begin to soften and linger a moment longer
on the District Attorney’s back.

A newborn baby is about to be stolen, but
Mr. T is coming by,
and the gang has just touched down in
mrtsunny Acapulco.

Now come the time slots
we welcome,
the twists and turning points.
The evil twin.

We stay tuned to the changing seasons
and to each other, knowing
we’ll be right back.
This catchphrase, this commercial break away
from wonder.


This is my first contribution to Totally Optional Prompts – a site I discovered through Black-Eyed Susan’s – where participants are asked to write a poem based on a weekly theme. This week, in honor of Spring, the theme is “season change.”


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