Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: Downtown Walking by Preeti Parikh

Sharing here my poem that recently featured in the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project and the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project. Many thanks to Pauletta Hansel for the wonderful work she does as Cincinnati Poet Laureate.

Pauletta Hansel

Did I mention I loved sonnets? Yes, I believe I did! Preeti Parikh of Blue Ash wrote this lovely poem while participating in a Cincinnati Walking Sonnet workshops, starting off from the Mercantile Library. I invite you to read more of these at my page devoted to the Cincinnati Walking Sonnet Project and to try one on your own. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops—I’m scheming up a Cincinnati Streetcar Sonnet Workshop for the summer. In the meantime, come hear Preeti read this poem tonight, April 26, 7 pm at the Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily Project Reading  at People’s Liberty, 1805 Elm Street, Over the Rhine.

Downtown Walking

Hot dog stand-smell, a red and white canopy;
up in the wrought iron balconies, four ashen-
faced figurines in white robes and shawls,
their long skeletal fingers beseeching;
a sign on a storefront says–Safeguarding
the children–elsewhere–Divine love always has
met and always…

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Downtown Walking Sonnets

Reblogging a post from Cincinnati Poet Laureate, Pauletta Hansel’s website and sharing a poem that arose from an interesting project that I had a chance to participate in:

Pauletta Hansel

In October 2016 The Mercantile Library graciously hosted a group of us for a Cincinnati Walking Sonnet workshop—a new Poet Laureate project in which I invite poets to take a walk (with or without me) in one of our 52 neighborhoods, drafting a 14 line poem along the way. Seven sonnets were written as a result, and can be read here. From our seven poems I created an additional sonnet, Downtown Walking: A CompoSonnet. I hope you enjoy! And more than that, I hope it inspires you to write your own!

Downtown Walking: A CompoSonnet

Pink. That’s how I remember the windowed
stores with names of Cincinnati now gone,
with their long, tall windows, like a lighthouse.
Large clay pots of yellow marigolds grace
up the wrought iron balconies. Four ashen
Bengal striped soirées stumble through construction,
flirt with me, remind me of girlhood days.
My fountain is flowing thick with…

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Writing an ‘aftermath’ poem

After painting the chair

It stood there simply
with its arching back and sinewy arms,
resting its four legs on
wrinkled and splattered sheets of newspaper
bearing what were now blotched accounts
of the ordinary lives of regular folks.

A container of black paint lay askew–
faint rivulets of color stains on it
where the pigment had bubbled over
reaching for a levelled ground.
Caked bristles of a paintbrush
rested on the rim–stiffening and drying out.

A new paint smell lingered in the air
faintly registered by a nose
now acclimated to its sombre presence,
leaching slowly
into the beads of sweat
rolling off my brow.

A curious silence pervaded
where for an hour
papers had rustled beneath my shifting weight
as I reached into the hidden crevasses of the chair,
the steady brushstroke sound wiping out
the grating blemishes smoothened out by gritty sandpaper.

I stood admiring my diligence in
staying out of bounds of the
intricate latticework of strings
that formed the back and seat of the chair–
this vestibule that had once borne the weight
of a Grandfather I had never known.

My hands still felt the tremors
of hypnotic repetition–
dip, squeeze, stroke
dip, squeeze, stroke–
the trance of steady movement
of being lost in the service of painting.

It was but yesterday
or many years back into childhood
that I am reminded of this moment–
the day I met afresh and
not just in my thoughts
the chair that Grandfather once sat upon.


*This is a poem I wrote recently in response to a writing prompt in a class that I am currently taking.

Daybreak

Daybreak

The chime
of the clock
at a quarter to five
the first thoughts
the walk down the stairs
and onto the desk
the words that must come out
onto the journal
or else the angst that
seeps into the work
much like the ink
leaking onto the page
and then
the work onto the notebook
until the longing
for the evidence
of a social existence-
of life posited beguilingly
the news gathering
the information plucked
and finally
the rustling up of
the family’s first meal
of the day
the announcement
of the arrival
of a fresh morning
to rousing little ones-
it’s here, it’s here
daybreak is here
as is
a transformed existence
beyond all personal parameters.