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McKenzie Lynn Tozan Posts

“Sleepwalker” & The Inspiration Behind It

 
Happy Thursday, everyone! I’m arriving a tad late to the party again today, but I hope you each had a wonderful day, and I appreciate, again, you joining me in my writing journey. I’ve been doing things a little differently this week, writing every day, with a combination of free-style pieces and prompt-driven work.

Here is my poem for today, and the prompt/inspiration behind it. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for the read! I hope you’ll share your own inspiration, and work.

 
SLEEPWALKER

My husband asks me why I leave the bed to sleep somewhere else        why
I don’t come when he calls, &—I have no answer for this. This scares me more

than the image of my nighttime body lurking elsewhere in the house, what I could be
getting myself into, what wall or street, or what small matter, finger sliding

on small screen, clicking ‘like’ on items my mind renders anonymous in its present
state, perhaps awake, perhaps now a part of the dreamscape that follows me

in the dark, has me rolling & begging for what little rest
That my aching joints & migraine temples can get. My daughter rests down

the hall, her snores floating & locked like little clouds out there. I imagine
waiting there for comfort, never opening the door, never looking, but some part of me

always listening—for her snores, her rustle in the night, for some other sign
that she will be more like me than I want her to be, & me always wondering

if there’s some other way for me to quiet that part of her down.

 
 
 
 
Prompt: Today’s prompt comes in the form of inspiration from my daily life, as a reminder that sometimes you don’t NEED an exact prompt in your life to do some writing! Think about something mundane and recurring in your life, exaggerate its features, and bring it into a piece.
 
 

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“I Remember Her Hair” & The Prompt That Led Me Here

 
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your week. I’m doing things a little differently this week, writing poems every day, but in a mix of free-writing and prompted writing.

Here is my poem for today, and the prompt that inspired it. Thanks for being here, and thanks for the read. I hope that the prompt inspires you, and that you’ll share your poem in the comments!

 
I REMEMBER HER HAIR

I remember the crack in the ceiling by the front door, still creeping. I remember
the chair in the room, gone now, where I used to look out on our sycamore tree,

our neighbors, our fence that leaned a little bit with snow. I remember the hallway full
of her footfalls, her own small herd. I remember her hair, draped down

the length of the couch, our laps, on her pillow. I remember how it felt
in our fingers as we separated the strands, sunflower from gold

from chestnut and mouse. I remember its length, how soft,
the curls. I remember how the rain hit—our windows, the fog, the fingerprints,

pawprints, the dust. I remember planting flowers in the backyard.
I remember loving you late in the night.

How far off it all looks now. Bursting open.
I remember.

 
 
Prompt: “I Remember” by Joe Brainard, found here.
 
 

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“Where It’s Gone” & The Prompt Behind It

 
Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! I’m doing things a little differently starting this week, sharing a poem and the writing prompt behind it (I’m back to writing poems each day, some written free-style, and some by prompt).

I know I’m a little late to the party today, but I still wanted to check in. Here is my poem, and its prompt. Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading! I hope you will share your work in the comments!

 
WHERE IT’S GONE

My room disappears one item
at a time: becoming less like the place I go

to rest my weary body, and more
like a place where strangers crawl, searching

the corners for stray marks. I’ve already
mourned this city once and didn’t plan

to do it again. The windows, the trees,
were mine. But now as the suitcase fills

and I see the items creeping up the sides,
I see bare walls, bare windows, until

the trees outside seem to bare themselves, too,
whiting themselves out.

 
 
Prompt: “Will Wonders Never Cease?”, from The Time Is Now via National Geographic, found here.
 
 

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“All My Things Are Empty Now” & The Prompt That Wrote It

 
Hello, everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend and are enjoying your Monday. Starting this week, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m back to writing every day, with a mixture of free-writing and prompt-driven writing.

I’m going to share a poem each day that is driven by a prompt, followed by the prompt that “wrote” the poem. I’d love it if you’d tackle the prompt, as well, to see what you come up with, or to share another prompt that you enjoy.

Here’s my poem and prompt for today. Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading.

 
ALL MY THINGS ARE EMPTY NOW

the kitchen and its table
                dark corners and wax        the bathroom        cabinets
extra items            stored     up     and     away
                wide     open     rooms                   quieter now
the walls and their hangings            my daughter            ’s friends
                cats gone missing               somewhere deep
the dust                the shelves
                the curtain            what white is left hanging
off of it                scarves thrown
over the back        of a chair
                (my suitcase        is full)     what moon
is left in the sky            what stars        what dreams
what        what
 
 

Today’s prompt: “Elegant Things,” drawn from Ivan Morris’s The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, prompt found here. I hope you’ll share your work in the comments!
 
 

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What Growing Up Tastes Like

 
                —A poem today after a long hiatus

                —Happy International Day of the Girl

 
WHAT GROWING UP TASTES LIKE

 
I sit with my windows open, drink of the air
as if it were the gumdrop from childhood

that never melted, that never tasted
quite like the color coating implied:

daffodil yellow, all-of-your-dreams-come-true-
blue, make-a-wish-like-it-matters-white

cotton. Now, I chew on gum only until
the flavor is out, long before it can turn

gray skeleton, harlequin moon, empty lake
by an extinguished fire.

 
 

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My Reading with Write Night! Next Up: Dinosaurs.

 

Last night, I had the extremely great opportunity to perform as one of the five Selected Readers for Lit Literary Collective’s Write Night in May, organized by Krista Cox and Ultreia, Inc.

Thank you, to Krista and Lit Literary and everyone, for having me. I haven’t read in over a year, and I needed it; the company was great; and my fellow readers were excellent.

Here are a few photos from my little sliver of the night, taken by my wonderful friend, Jenn Adams. Thank you, Jenn, for being there, and for taking these and a video.

And thank you to my friends, Jonathan Adams and Joe Eggleston, for also being there and supporting me. You all make me laugh, and you make me feel more deeply, which is what this whole big artistic world is all about.

Next up in my little world of reading: dinosaur poems in Chicago. Stay tuned!!

 

 

 

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Reading at LangLab Tonight! & Poem Featured as Creative Writing Prompt

 

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your week. Two pieces of fun news for this afternoon—

I’ll be reading tonight among friends at LangLab in South Bend at 7pm as a part of Lit Literary Collective‘s WRITE NIGHT with Ultreia, Inc. You can find more about it here; I hope you’ll join us!

And I also found out yesterday that my poem, “Timetable,” previously published by the beautiful Rogue Agent (and featured partially above), was used as a creative writing prompt online! I am so pleased and flattered. You can check it out, and the other writing prompts, over here.

Have a wonderful night, all! If I don’t see you, I hope you enjoy the sunshine and get some writing done. If I do see you, I hope you enjoy the poetry!

Until Later, Best ~ from me

 

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Poem of the Day: Ada Limón

 

Help me turn my mind off. Help me be more than a song. The stress like a crow’s open flame. Help me to not give up on forgiveness. The work has become too wild here. Help me. Help me—
(Days like today, poetry reminds me to live.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS ON NOT GIVING UP

 

1976

 

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

 

—appeared previously with Poets.Org

 

 

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Poem of the Day: Kim Addonizio

 

DARKENING, THEN BRIGHTENING

 

The sky keeps lying to the farmhouse,
lining up its heavy clouds
above the blue table umbrella,
then launching them over the river.
And the day feels hopeless
until it notices a few trees
dropping delicately their white petals
on the grass beside the birdhouse
perched on its wooden post,
the blinking fledglings stuffed inside
like clothes in a tiny suitcase. At first
you wandered lonely through the yard
and it was no help knowing Wordsworth
felt the same, but then Whitman
comforted you a little, and you saw
the grass as uncut hair, yearning
for the product to make it shine.
Now you lie on the couch beneath the skylight,
the sky starting to come clean,
mixing its cocktail of sadness and dazzle,
a deluge and then a digging out
and then enough time for one more
dance or kiss before it starts again,
darkening, then brightening.
You listen to the tall wooden clock
in the kitchen: its pendulum clicks
back and forth all day, and it chimes
with a pure sound, every hour on the hour,
though it always mistakes the hour.

 

—previously appeared with Poets.org

 

 

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A Walk in the Snow

 

When we were younger, we leveled
footprints in the woods—off

the path, of course, down deep
where the sun could barely

find us, where we blended
with the trees and hid behind

the shrubbery. I found a deer,

small, its eyes glazed and wide, still hiding
from the storm the night before.

Left berries. Made scarce. We could barely
make our way back up that track,

so steep, the rock, the roots.
We made it. We told no one. We

did not say why. We did not
say why.

 

 

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