Val Morehouse

Rookie - 4 Points (California)

Sentence - Poem by Val Morehouse

With ruler and pencil
poised above the river of words the writer
has been schooled to diagram.
The blank sheet demands answers.

Words must be classified,
nouns named,
the power of verbs diverted by
the military regulation of adverbs.

Life’s wild grammer channeled by such no-nonsense
decision, grows its map of either-or,
roads forked, intentions side-tracked, corners turned
connotations winnowed down

to connections side-lined by choice.
North, south, east or west reduce to one
“Turn here.” Once-upon-a-time whirls away
like chaff sucked up by a dust devil.

That lovely ghost in the mirror,
ectoplasm courted by sly prepositional
interventions of, to, at, or by
meaning turns on a dime

into an off-ramp to nowhere.
And poetry’s door slams shut, sentenced
to history diagrammed, parsed, and proofed by right
or wrong toward the dead-end period.

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Langston Hughes


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poem Edited: Saturday, August 1, 2009

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