John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.
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 (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.
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.
© 2019 John Hansen