DEAR READERS: YOU ARE INVITED!
The Flooid is a short poetry form, no longer than five lines. It is rooted in a prior “good deed.” The Flooid poem can be written only in the aftermath of the author’s action to benefit others--whether it’s the community, the environment, and other worthy causes. I hope you will be interested in participating in this project:
WHAT MAKES US HUMAN: The First Flooid Anthology
Editor Eileen R. Tabios
Deadline: March 31, 2022
Submissions: You can submit as many poems as you wish. Each poem should be accompanied by 1-2 paragraphs explaining the underlying “good deed” undertaken by the author and that inspired the poem.
Send Submissions in the body of an email to Eileen R. Tabios at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please GO HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION, including the official Submissions Call for the Flooid Anthology.
Here are some EXAMPLES from four poets:
I walk with the children to the river
to give their young mother time to grieve.
I watch as a butterfly hovers over them,
somehow it resembles their father to me.
The daughter of my good friend, who I have known since she was born, suddenly became a widow when her children were just two and four years of age. I've spent many days and hours with them, trying to bring comfort amidst an impossibly deep pain in their lives. It made me realize how hard it is for most of us to sit with death, to acknowledge it and accept it. To be with people in their time of need and try to provide support even when we feel helpless to alleviate their suffering is as important as it is difficult.
Sarah Brooks is currently pursuing an MA in English/Lit. at Mills College and have also focused on poetry. She lives in Humboldt, CA where she studies with poet laureate David Holper. She says, “Interconnectedness and community are essential to the work I do and I strive to find ways to communicate the immense importance of these subjects in my writing.”
SOFIA M. STARNES
She may not know her husband is far closer
Than the aide insists I tell her:
In the other wing, confined to bed….
But he has died. His winter and his
Spring as near to her as every word that misses.
When I’m not writing, editing, or mentoring, I volunteer, through St. Bede Catholic Church, at a retirement community, which includes a memory care center. Recently, one of the women I visit lost her husband, and her children thought it best that we not tell her—so I abided by their wishes. I wonder, though, if she heard him nonetheless, nearby, whenever I left his name out of our conversation. There is presence in the absence of the beloved.
Sofia M. Starnes, Virginia Poet Laureate, Emerita, is a Critique Editor & Literary Translator. She serves on the Editorial Boards of The Journal of the Virginia Writers Club and Poetica Magazine. More information is available at www.sofiamstarnes.com
Under the Meyer Lemon Tree
A jar of marmalade waits
on the wicker table, a gift.
Alcohol wipes sit between us,
dear Marisha, my friend during Covid.
I pop a good bottle of pinot.
During the 2020-2021 lockdown in Sonoma County, my friend Marisha turned eighty. She had a daughter in a neighboring town, but otherwise no contacts. We had become friends at jazz concerts, as the only single women in attendance. We became much better acquainted over the couple of years, almost, of this quarantine. We shared a love of the arts, cuisine, and people’s quirks—and the motivations for them. I miss these conversations during the depths of the United States political vagaries and the disease that brings so many deaths. Remaining hopeful became our mission.
A Poet Visits Council Grove, Kansas
In a Carnegie Library basement the director serves iced tea.
Ghosts of Buffalo Bill and General Custer darken the corner.
I am the visiting state poet laureate.
The crowd awaits words as fancy as a six-shooter quick draw.
As Kansas Poet Laureate I traveled the geographic distance of the four-hundred by two-hundred-miles state rectangle. Other traveling was through layers of history contained in places and in words themselves. The Old West of cowboy narratives lives in buildings still standing from the 19th century. The Hays House is the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi River. In its basement, made of vernacular limestone, a bar remains from the time of Custer. He had a meal there in the spring of 1876, just before he headed out to the Battle of Greasy Grass/Little Big Horn. When I gave a poetry reading at the Carnegie Library building, across the street, I found the place haunted as strands of time converged. Words are bundles of the past carried forward, so these tools of the poet similarly are haunted. This archaeology of language is the realm of librarians. As poet laureate, I came to honor those who keep buildings of books and histories alive. My good deed was to contribute in a small way to the daily work of these book angels.
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other recent books are Wing (poems, April, 2021); The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (a memoir, U. of Nebraska Press); A Casino Bestiary (Spartan Press); and Jackalope, fiction (Red Mountain). She has won 4 Kansas Notable Book Awards and recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Sequoyah National Research Center, Poetry Society of America, The Circle -Best Native American Books, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Awards, and the Kansas Arts Commission. Low has an MFA from Wichita State U. and Ph.D. from Kansas U.
You Never Know
During my years teaching college English, I developed a themed course in environmentalism. I talked a good deal about the need for environmentalists to be active not only in exercising their political voice to save the environment but also in cleaning it up or restoring what has been damaged. I remember reading and sharing a study that demonstrated that altruism is a learned skill: it takes practice for people to be able to pull off heroic deeds, such as running into a burning building to save someone. I framed it in the context of environmentalism, but I definitely used the idea of practicing, so when there is an emergency, such as someone trapped in a burning building, that you’re able to do what is needed. One student, Daniel, stayed after that class and discussed this idea with me at some length, in terms of global warming.
Probably ten years later I found a voicemail in my office from this same student, Daniel. He said that same day he’d been driving home from work. He lived somewhere in a rural part of Oregon, as I remember. He saw smoke pouring out of a barn just off the road, so he pulled off to see if anyone needed help. As he got out of his car, he saw a woman climbing a ladder to the upper story of the barn—and then going into the burning building. Seeing how dangerous it looked to her, he immediately climbed the ladder and helped rescue both her trapped dogs and her as well. He said, “If I hadn’t been there, she probably would have died, along with her dogs.” As the poem’s title suggests, you never know how what you teach can have a future impact on someone’s life. It’s a lesson I’ll never forget.
David Holper is the first Poet Laureate for Eureka, Calfornia. He is a teacher, veteran, and activist.
EILEEN R. TABIOS
Five poems in descending order as 5 lines, 4 lines, 3 lines, 2 lines, and 1 line:
We adopted a dog
like others in Covid lockdown
But we chose the puppy
others would not want:
Nova, most charming when asleep
Love is infinite
until it’s not—
from kibble to hugs,
the dog can’t receive enough
fur becoming silk
History defined as ancient dirt
stuffed deep into your ears
Perhaps monsters most need mommies
When Covid-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, many animal shelters put out an emergency call to their various networks since the lockdown would constrain their ability to manage their animal rescue programs. We decided to adopt one more dog. We identified two German Shepherd (GSD) candidates. One dog was well-behaved and we would have wanted him for our family. Instead, we put a GSD rescue organization in touch with him and helped find him his adoptive family. We decided to adopt the other dog, Nova, because we knew she would be a difficult challenge for most families—she’s a loud and frequent barker and bears a past of being rehomed four times that made her skittish and suffer attachment issues. An inherently wonderful dog, Nova since has calmed down as she’s been persuaded we are her “forever family.” Unfortunately, her behavior calmed down by only two percent. We are looking forward to much more calm in the future (please please please!).
Eileen R. Tabios likes to play with new poetry forms. Inventor of the hay(na)ku and the MDR Poetry Generator, the Flooid is her latest creation. She first revealed the Flooid to the public through her first novel, DOVELION: A Fairy Tale for Our Times (AC Books, New York, 2021).
More examples, the anthology's Call for Submissions, and information about the Flooid is available HERE.