Odd Celebration

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub
Meeting the Bar:  endings/beginnings  (posted by Peter Frankis)

"So tonight poets, I leave it up to you. Let’s write something on endings:
 - it could be a poem that plays with endings – where your lines
   don’t end properly but run off into the next line creating
   ambiguity and doubt.
 - it could be a golden shovel – find a poem (or indeed any other
   text) that annoyed you or that you loved, that spoke about
   change or resisted change, and use your golden shovel to
   comment, critique or cheer (don’t forget to tell us the poem
   that you’re quoting).
 - it could be a villanelle, pantoum, ghazal or any other repeating
   form which resists endings in favour of recurrence of emotion and
   memory (or obsession).
 - it could be a poem with the good old ‘repeating the word just in
   case you missed it’ ending, or a surprise ending. 

 "Endings as quotations
 Some of you may have read African-American poet Terrance Hayes’ A Golden Shovel – a poem where Hayes quotes Gwendolyn Brookes’ 24 word poem ‘We Real Cool’ by using each of her words as the last word of each of his 24 lines (twice!). (De hosted a session here at the pub back in 2016 on the Golden Shovel)". 

I have chosen Golden Shovel from "Life Expectancy" by Billy Collins:
"On the morning of a birthday that ended in a zero"

What outfit or dress should I put on?
she asked.  Really, what does one wear on the
occasion of divorce.  I'm worried now, and it's only morning.
This evening her friends will gather-of
course they are happy for her–to party with a
few drinks, some Tapas, maybe cards.  I think a birthday
party is far more fun, but that
is only my opinion.  Why celebrate a married life that ended
after so many years.  Well, I will not put my two cents in.
Perhaps she will meet a
new companion of whom she'll say, He's a few steps up from a zero.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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28 Responses to Odd Celebration

  1. Billy Collins has a wonderful wit – and his humour is created by the incremental reveal: line by line – so that you’re laughing by the end. Your golden shovel is just like that. For example, the line – ‘her friends will gather for drinks, some tapas, maybe cards’ – and right there, we know both the age of the group (they’re not off to the disco or getting a consolation tattoo); and the ‘maybe’ tells us they’re not super-close friends. Neither, we suspect, is the poet. And the wonderful final line…which tells us about the woman, how bitter the divorce has been, how embittered she is etc. This is a portrait drawn with a fine pen. Terrific stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen Dehner says:

    I think she should choose bright red! Your choice of Collins, the creative manner in which you wrote the poem, quite clever. I have friends who celebrated with divorce parties … mine lingered for almost three years. I should have partied, was so relieved i simply collapsed.


  3. I very much enjoyed this – thank you!



  4. robtkistner says:

    Excellent response to Peter’s wonderful prompt Sara. Hope you have a great holiday season, and look forward to reading more of your work in 2021.


  5. Grace says:

    Nice shovel poem. An odd celebration but definitely a hopeful beginning.

    Thanks for being part of our poetry community. Happy Holidays !


  6. msjadeli says:

    Rich atmospheric offering, Sara. What, indeed, does one wear to celebrate a divorce? I remember my co-workers convinced me to go with them to a singles dance. At that point I was still wearing my wedding ring.


  7. rothpoetry says:

    I love your hook at the end! Beginnings endings and beginnings and a zero!


  8. memadtwo says:

    This strikes just the right tone…the ambivalence of endings. Including those of zero. (K)


  9. I have so far never experienced anyone celebrating a divorce (but I’m sure that there are many relationships that are so bad, that the end is worth celebrating)….


  10. Beverly Crawford says:

    Well, you applied the Golden Shovel quite skillfully, having chosen a fascinating source!! Well penned and an enjoyable read. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.


  11. Lona Gynt says:

    I hope she finds that handsome (or beautiful) integer. the characterization in these few lines is fleshed out so nicely by the details, and that opens to the emotion, the opening question, so precisely right. Some have said she should wear red, but this is my idea (at the time I viscerally knew my marriage would end, years actually before it did, this song let me know that there would be a me that would come out the other side of it). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPOin-5tAns


    • Lona Gynt says:

      Oh, and PS, this poem touched me and has an interesting symmetry for me. Here I am, my divorce final last year, transitioned to the woman I am, living my own real life now, and ina relationship with a beautiful kind woman, so here we are, a couple of Happy Trans Lesbians (HTL is the acronym), and still all parts of life reach back to us, are a part of us and hold those we have loved in our hearts. My poem this dVerse cycle is what I think is the last poem I will write about my former marriage, but these things have a way of insinuating themselves (I laughed when Laura Jane Grace wrote a song abut hating Chicago and in the middle of it she sings, Oh, this is just another ****ing divore song afterall!” anyway, this was some fabulous poeting this time round 😉


    • I love this song and artist. Never heard of her before, so thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. great response to this amazing prompt! well done, Sara, thank you for sharing🤍

    Follow @everythingtips for tips and recommendations if interested! It would mean a lot to me🥺🤍


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