“You want too much” #SOL21 30/31

Today is the second-to-last day of this year’s challenge. It’s been, well, a challenge and yet… I have an awful lot bubbling up – but that’s tomorrow’s post. Today, I want to try my hand at poetry one more time because it’s my blog, so I can.

First, I jumped onto the Golden Shovel theme that started a few days ago, I think, when Fran wrote about it and then Sherri picked it up. Next thing I knew, Peter tried one (in one of his quintessential two-for-one posts) and on and on it went. Heck, something must have been in the air, because even the New York Times got in on the game. The Times article explains the origin of the form, but the quick version is that poet Terrance Hayes created it in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks. He used the words from epigraph of her poem “We Real Cool” as the final word in each line of his own, new poem, “The Golden Shovel”.

Basically, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve tried these before and don’t know that I have any particular gift for them, but they definitely get my brain going.

First, I took one of Sherri’s six-word stories and tried that: Tell me a sorrow you’re hiding.

Don’t tell.
It’s mine. Leave me.
Let me share a
Version of my sorrow
Even when you’re
Sure I’m hiding.

Hmmm…ok. Then I started thinking about a line that’s been echoing in my head a lot lately, “Oh, you want too much!” Yup, that’s Daisy in The Great Gatsby.

We sit in Mrs. Burch’s class and – oh,
how we are bored. “You
must realize that the rose bush represents…” when all we want
is a single red rose or a dozen or a garden because the world is too
alive, too present, too redolent of our sweaty desires. We are too much.

Meh… not terrible, but…now I’m thinking of the prose poem that Kimberly Johnson introduced in EthicalELA’s Open Write challenge earlier this month. So, on the second-to-last day of this challenge, I offer a slice as a list poem, still working from “Oh, you want too much”

Oh, you want too much

Some of the things I had not yet tasted when I was 14 and 120 pounds and my mother said I should probably weigh about this much for the rest of my life
Carrot cake
Caesar salad
The hint of apple on left on his tongue the first time we kissed
Brie cheese
Sea salt
The dirty salty flavour of cuts, kissed better on my children’s fingers
The slippery sweetness of fresh papaya
Soft boiled eggs
The heavy warmth of Belize’s damp jungle air
The chalky morning realization that he did, in fact, just want sex
Sacher torte
Fresh eggs and tomatoes, scrambled in a shallow metal bowl over an open fire in China
The metal tang of rage
Coconut water
Lemon souffle, impossibly light, tangy and sweet, a little like heaven

I feel like this one could go somewhere, but not right now. Right now, it’s going to have to marinate a little (hahaha) and I’m going to bed.

Many thanks to https://twowritingteachers.org/ for giving teacher-writers a safe place to experiment and learn

12 thoughts on ““You want too much” #SOL21 30/31

  1. It was crazy how Golden Shovels popped up everywhere! I mean, like mushrooms, overnight, even in the Times! Yours have so much power, Amanda. Those memoir shovel poems are deep and emotional. You encapsulated hidden sorrow so well – that is exactly what it’s like. Same for the adolescent revelation, “we are too much” – that is too true. And that list of things not tasted is flooring. These are all so diverse and rich – I savored every one.


  2. Okay, I love the list poem. The setup about your mother is perfect. I had two moms torturing me about my weight. Ugh. Nikki Grimes has a wonderful collection of golden shovel poems, and there’s a great essay about its origin on poets.org, whichever site sends out the poem a day. It’s a great form to use w/ students. And Gatsby is full of lines ripe for the shoveling. I hope you’ll drop in for the Ethical ELA challenge. I’m hosting April 3 and have a form I think is great for students. 🤗


    1. Oh! I will be there for sure. And I have a new project in mind… At some point I’m going to throw in the towel & have a zoom meeting with you – I can show you my bathroom tile & renos & we can meet each other’s cats and talk poetry.


  3. Whoa. Just whoa! How have I never heard of The Golden Shovel? I must admit, I had to go check out the links you posted to fully understand what was going on here. I want to try! I want to try with my chickadees! It’s just the kind of “word puzzle-ish” thing that I can nerd out to. I guess next week when I’m on Spring Break, but waiting to see if I have Jury Duty, I can try my hand at this. Oh, and your list poem-so, so telling and beautiful…full of surprises and hushed voices and secrets. I see a poetry collection in your future, Amanda Potts (and I think you should forward this to those other Amandas “by accident”). Cheers.


    1. Ooh – I want you to write golden shovel poems & share them. They’d be great for jury duty (though I hope you don’t get picked). And I’d love to see what your chickadees do with them… You could blog on Tuesdays… (Yes, I’m pre-mourning the end of your blog for the year & trying to tempt you into writing more.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really want to do it THIS TIME (she says every year). I’m seriously thinking about Tuesdays. Yes, I think I could do Tuesdays. It’s good to have an accountability partner…hmmmm…stay tuned! I will still read you, even if I don’t do my part!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If you’re bubbling over already with tomorrow’s material and tonight’s efforts netted you (I’m going back to double check) three poem drafts before bed, I’d say you’ve hit a rich seam of writing territories. Thanks for introducing me to the golden-shovel concept, like a found-poem plus!


  5. Your phrase brings me back to one of my favorite children’s books- The Magic Fish by F. Littledale. Still gives me chills…. It is delightful to be in this community whose slices of life conjure so much nuance with each new reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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