Mix and Match Muse

Creative Bloomings, one of the poetry blogs I frequent, offered up a poetry prompt this week called Mix and Match Muse.

I was tickled to learn I won this week’s bloom for the visuals.

Here is the prompt:

Autumn is a time of change. The skies are changeable, day get shorter still, The foliage takes on the hues of a broad palette. The air takes on a chill. There are many inspired thoughts connected to Autumn. Here’s the twist.

Write down the following:

Something you buy in a bakery.
A smell in a diner.
A make of automobile.
Something people do to relieve stress.
An unusual musical instrument.
A child’s game.

Use all six in our poem. Start with:

The smell of burning leaves…


“Autumn smoke in the city”
(C) J.lynn Sheridan, 2014
“Because of the smell of burning leaves,” he tells me
when I ask why he left the farm for a two-flat in the city.
“Smells like tar.”
We lean against his pomegranate red hot-rod Lincoln,
he slides a harmonica from his pocket and begins playing
“The Hokey Pokey.”
I put my right hand in. I am shaking it all about when a
tangerine mustang pulls aside. “Play some jazz, cowboy,”
the driver says spitting his chew into the sewer grate.
I take my right hand out. The three of us stare at each
other. My buddy starts playing, “Who’ll Chop Your Suey
When I’m Gone.”
There’s a moment of panic, one scrawny yellow elm leaf
dangles from his antennae, then falls. He shows us his
toothless smile, then speeds away, cutting donuts in the
intersection, leaving us in a cloud of blue/black exhaust.



Orange Matches



“Orange Matches”

It’s sad that leaves burn
twice in Fall
first on the branch then
in the pyre,
Burning matches struck
by matches
a fate for Autumn colors,

A keening cloud
hides tiny hands
that tuck
the saved ‘tween leaves
of poets’ lyre

and all the children cry for one
more Autumn rain.


(posted and written for: #WSStudioPic (Wordsmith Studio’s Weekly Photo Prompt:This week’s theme is: Orange)and also for the November PAD Prompt 1 “Matches”)


Backstory:  In 1953, Frank O’Hara, a New York School of Poets poet wrote a series of twelve poems entitled: .“Oranges: 12 Pastorals” based on his theme: “Oranges.”

And yet, he never once mentions the word or color Orange. Then in 1957  he wrote a poem entitled: “Why I am not a Painter”  in which he cleverly addresses his series of Orange poems that never mention the word orange. You can read about the poem at Modern American Poetry. There’s a whole lot to say about this poem but I decided to combine his idea of not mentioning orange with the WordSmith Studio photo prompt and with the very first November 2012 PAD prompt. (Yikes, I must be mad!)

“I only hear the shadows groan”

DAY 11

Write a season poem and name it the season. So, okay, I didn’t really name mine “Autumn.”

Call me a rebel.

“I only hear the shadows groan”

The tree shadows groan and she asks me
if the autumn sky opens the day in thanks
for the winds that shake the forest throne,

do the leaves blow, she wonders, with
smiles and hugs as they roam the wood
for laurel mothers inside the forest home.

I have no eyes for stormy dreaming, I tell her
I only hear the shadows moan.

The day rains soft with dancing yews and
tiny gnomes huddled inside mulchy domes,

but in the night,
inside Autumn’s forest throne,
I can only hear the shadows groan.

(photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services)