An Ordinary Day, With Peanuts: Poetry by Chris Mills and John Hansen - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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An Ordinary Day, With Peanuts: Poetry by Chris Mills and John Hansen

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

Another Collaboration

Another Collaboration

Another Collaboration

A little while ago Chris Mills (aka cam8510) and I collaborated to write a short story called Number Eleven. That was our second collaboration at writing a short story and was very well received by readers. It is always a pleasure to work with Chris so I made a suggestion that we collaborate again but this time in poetic form.

The difference here is that we did not combine to write a single poem and try to maintain a constant flow and style but agreed that I choose a title and we write our own poetic interpretation on that. Neither of us saw the other's poem before writing our own so that it would be our own unique style and take on the title. The only stipulation was to keep each poem between 250 and 350 words.

I chose the rather weird title An Ordinary Day, With Peanuts. I hope you enjoy both poems. As you'll soon see, they couldn't be more different.

One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts

One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts

One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts (by Jodah)

It was just one ordinary day,

Much like the one before.

I rose from bed at 6.15

And opened up the door.


The sun had risen for an hour,

I breathed the fresh air deep,

Stretched my arms out to the sides,

And exhaled the last of sleep.


I showered, ate, and dressed for work,

Checked the Internet for news,

Grabbed the keys to my sedan,

But, I had no time to lose.


Morning traffic moves so slow,

People crawl to ho-hum jobs.

But, my boss says, “That’s no reason,

Those ‘stuck in traffic’ sobs.”


I arrived, but just on time

As is my usual way,

Sat down at my office desk

To join the working fray.


I sorted through my in-tray

Putting “urgent” files on top,

Turned on my computer

And opened Photoshop.


I had a bunch of images

That I needed to improve,

Of models for our magazines.

“Perfection” is the groove.


I must erase all blemishes,

Eradicate the lines,

Smooth out any bumps or lumps.

It takes a little time.


Some say that I should be ashamed,

I’m a purveyor of falsehood.

To me, it’s just a job that pays,

It’s neither bad nor good.


The afternoon just rolled on by,

My work was finally done.

I paused by the vending machine

Before I left for home.


I inserted coins into the slot

And pushed buttons B 6.

A pack of peanuts tumbled out,

I’d get my snack food fix.


Afternoon traffic’s stressful,

People impatient to get home.

Honking, road rage, overtaking,

And talking on their phones.


Though I drove on oblivious

To all the ifs and buts.

This was just one ordinary day,

But, at least I had peanuts.

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The Hiker - One Ordinary Day With Peanuts (by cam8510)


The hiker wanders through the autumn woods

With water flask and peanuts in their shells.


Birds dart between the oak and aspen limbs

While squirrels play tag and sprint from tree to tree.


The winding trail is partnered with a stream,

Where trout rise up to strike a wayward midge.


Roots bent and twisted cross the trodden path

And reach to snag the toes of hiking boots.


Gold sunbeam filters through the autumn leaves,

a spotlight on a pleasant bed of grass.


He rests against a lichen covered log,

Waylaid by forceful winds and ancient age.


His eyelids sag as sunshine warms his frame.

The wind in treetops echoes nearby stream.


The chill of evening’s breeze awakes the man

As setting sun bids him a last good night.


The peanuts serve to sate his hunger pangs

He follows with some water from the flask.


The darkness quickly overruns the woods

And in the murk, he picks a wayward path.

As moments pass he understands his fault

That in his haste he’s gone and lost his way.


He crunches on more peanuts from the bag

Which feels so slight he holds it to moon’s light.


A branch has torn a hole in paper thin

From which the peanuts fell along his path.


The silence of the breezeless autumn night

Bears sounds that tell him he is not alone.


From shadows dark through which he just has passed

come tones of something feasting on his snacks.


Crunch, crunch he hears then sniffing for some more,

The hidden thing draws nearer in its hunt.


He runs along the trail and stops just once

to learn he’s still been dropping peanut shells.


Crunch, crunch. Sniff, sniff, and now it adds a growl.

He drops the bag and flees into the night.


Upon a hillock in the moonlight glow

The phantom creature creeps and makes it clear.


It wants more peanuts now or else beware.

It isn’t one to take the answer, no.


The crunch of peanut shells has now grown still,

But growling from the shadows he yet hears.


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© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 26, 2019:

I am glad you enjoyed the different interpretations that Chris and I came up with Alyssa. It was a fun collaboration.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 26, 2019:

What a fun challenge and collaboration! I love your line, "perfection is the groove," and your ending! I also enjoyed Chris' take on the topic. I felt like I was actually there, walking through the forest, and then fleeing from that phantom creature. A great read!

Ann Carr from SW England on January 23, 2019:

Thanks, John. You too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 23, 2019:

Hi Ann, I am glad you were entertained by our poetry. It was a bit of fun for both of us I think. Have a great Wednesday.

Ann Carr from SW England on January 23, 2019:

It's amazing what a difference peanuts can make, John! Great poem.

Chris, the phantom peanut eater prowls the night! I thought it was going to be a squirrel but this is more sinister. Great imagery.

What a wonderful compilation and an enjoyable read on this Wednesday morning.

Ann

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 21, 2019:

Thank you for reading both poems and for your encouraging comment Chitrangada. It is always a fun exercise collaborating with Chris. Glad you appreciated it.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 21, 2019:

What a wonderful idea to compose poems, in collaboration, and both the poems came out so well.

My appreciation to both of you. I loved going through both the poems. It really needs talent and a creative mind to write differently, on one theme.

Thanks for sharing this!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 20, 2019:

Li-Jen, When it came to poetry, I knew the results would be miles apart. A friend told me she wanted to know what was creeping in the shadows. I responded that I didn't know. I never saw it.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 20, 2019:

Thank you, Diane. Unique and creative is our goal.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 20, 2019:

Yes, you said it, Li-Jen...total opposites, but true both had stressful situations. Glad you enjoyed.

Li-Jen Hew on January 20, 2019:

Wow, the different styles is what makes this share an interesting one. I like how the first poem is in the city and the second is in a natural environment. Each environment has its own stressful situations haha like the traffic jam and the "phantom creature". Thanks for sharing, Jodah and Chris. Good bonding.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 18, 2019:

Thanks, Diana. We appreciate the support.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 18, 2019:

Thank you, Diana. If we had decided to combine to write a single poem it would have restricted the creativity of one of us. Having separate interpretations was a better idea in regard to poetry.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on January 18, 2019:

Each poem is unique as their creator. It makes for an interesting hub. Good job on both.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 18, 2019:

PoetikalyAnointed, This is like giving several people the name of a dish but no recipe and no limits. There is a lot of freedom to create.

FlourishAnyway, Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Devika, In our short stories, John and I attempt to blend our styles together into a seamless whole. In the poetry, it is like you said, different and unique. The contrast is what makes this so much fun.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 18, 2019:

Thank you so much Devika. It was a good way to highlight how differently people’s minds work.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 18, 2019:

There you have it, two different individuals and a unique style. Amazing!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 17, 2019:

Thank you, Flourish, I appreciate your comment. It was fun.

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 17, 2019:

You are absolutely right! They could not be more different. I enjoyed this novel approach.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 17, 2019:

Hi PoetikalyAnointed. So glad you could relate to both these poems and they made you chuckle. Hopefully, Chris and I will collaborate again in the future.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 17, 2019:

Great job to you both!

I enjoyed reading both poems and you guys should most definitely continue collaborating.

I could relate to both versions so I couldn't help but chuckle a bit.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on January 17, 2019:

Well, I am just a bit behind responding to the posts.

Eric, It is a bit unnerving to have my poetry appear in the same hub as John's. The contrast is to be expected. I saw the word ordinary and ran the other direction.

Venkatachari, John and I are thrilled you liked the poems and this format.

Linda, it is all about the inspiration. I saw the phrase John proposed as the theme and thought it was brilliantly trivial, perfect for going anyplace a person might venture.

Bill, this probably is a lesson on the creative process. It simply has no bounds.

Verlie, Attempting to understand a poem by its title is like finding a crown and not realizing its owner was a pauper. In writing, nothing should be as it seems.

Liz, now I want to write this again with Linus and his blanket as main characters.

Dora, this is a good format, and it would work just as well with many more participants.

Shauna, nothing good happens after midnight. That's why I go there.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 17, 2019:

Haha you got it Shauna...”Day and night” it certainly is. I knew our interpretations would be different, but I didn’t realise just how much until I read Chris’s. It would have been interesting to have opened up the challenge to a group of writers and see how many other ways people could take the title. I am sure Brisbane will be impressed by the comments when he gets a chance to read them.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 17, 2019:

Wow, John and Chris, the difference between the two poems is like day and night - literally! I find it interesting that John's poem takes place during the day and Chris' at night. Two talented writers with polar opposite interpretations of the title.

Well done, gents!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 17, 2019:

MsDora, thank you very much for that positive comment. I am sure Chris will be happy to read your words and your vision for a poetry anthology with a common theme and different poets.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 17, 2019:

This was such a great idea, and it worked out well, producing two excellent poems by two expert poets with different styles. Suddenly, I see the book of poetry with a title as simple as this and a few dozen poems by different authors under the same theme. You started something unique and entertaining here.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

Liz, I have to admit making reference to Charlie Brown actually crossed my mind, but somehow didn’t eventuate. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

I tossed a few possible titles around in my head, then scrapped them and decided on this one. Verlie, you certainly can’t judge a poem by its title lol. I thought Chris’s interpretation was wonderful and totally different to mine.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

Bill, we actually discussed writing a single poem together and trying to incorporate the same style but decided this may be a more interesting way to go.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

Linda, they certainly were contrasting poems. I couldn’t believe how different our interpretations were. I am sure we will collaborate again at some point.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

Hi Venkat, thank you for the generous comment. Glad you enjoyed both poems.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 16, 2019:

And there I was expecting references to Charlie Brown and Peanuts! You are right. Two very different, but equally good interpretations.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on January 16, 2019:

Enjoyed this John Hansen/Chris Mills collaboration. Clearly shows that any subject is open to wildly different interpretation in the Poet's creative process. And that you can't read a poem by it's title?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 16, 2019:

A fascinating look at the creative process. I loved this look at parallel works.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 16, 2019:

Wow, both of them so very different. That demonstrates what inspiration can do. Your poem made me laugh, and the second was frightening. What a contrast! I hope that they two of you will find the time to collaborate again.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on January 16, 2019:

A beautiful collaboration by you both. The peanuts story told in two different styles so much interestingly. I got glued to both without missing a letter. Greatly enjoyed the treat.

Thanks to both of you, John and Chris.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 16, 2019:

Thank you Eric. Glad you enjoyed these poems. It is always a pleasure to work with Chris. He is a very talented writer.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 16, 2019:

Wow this is great. Both of them are mesmerizing. It is a good thing to do it in this style. The contrast was great. It also makes me appreciate more how cool it is that you can do the joint style. You guys are talented.