NaPoWriMo – Day 25

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself. I mixed it with the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a poem title using a seldom seen or heard word.

 

Exhortation

 

Take it as a warning

the person you are about

to engage with

becomes dangerously hot(headed)

in the presence of hateful ignorance.

(Be kind for peace of mind).

Advertisements

NaPoWriMo – Day 24

Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for an elegy, with a tinge of hope. My daughter’s provided the inspiration.

Elegy for a Ladybug

My daughters come in from the yard,
the younger one kneels by the door
her hands cupping something.
The older one digs in a drawer
for paper, scissors, tape and a marker
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Making something important,” she replies.
They whisper together, then the older one
begins cutting and writing.

“Come here Mom,” they say
and I walk to their crouched figures
expecting a shout of Boo! or a giggle
or to see they’ve been up to something
sneaky but innocent.
Instead, my older daughter says,
“We’re going to say nice things about
this dead ladybug we found outside.”

There, on the floor, a ladybug husk,
its bold red muted to a brownish orange.
She’s taped to a paper, with the words
R.I. P. Ladybug, ? — 2018
scrawled on top in blue.
A plastic case set on top,
keeping her, like Snow White.

“She was pretty, and bright,” my young daughter begins.
“She was good at flying and crawling, and though
we don’t know how long she lived, she probably
had a nice life,” my older daughter says. “Your turn, Mom.”

I find my own mouth empty, at first,
my thoughts too full of gratitude for my girls,
but I meet their sweet and sombre tone,
“We wish we could have known her while she lived.”

My older daughter nods, gently picks up
the paper and the plastic case, sets it
on a cabinet, between a painting she made
and an overgrown spider plant.
“A nice place to rest,” she says.
Nature is safe in these small hands.

NaPoWriMo – Day 23

The Poetic Asides prompt today called for an “action” poem, while NaPoWriMo.net‘s suggestion was to write a poem based in sound. I decided to do a little mixing.

Listening

 

The ear is a good reader.

She can catch things that the lazy eye

just rolls on by,

like the awkward way this line

ends.

Or how another line might wander on and on and on and on too long for a

breath.

Voice is fleeting

but timbre, tone, emphasis

the tools of poetry come alive

with the touch of a tongue.

Sing the word — musicality.

Sounds better out loud, doesn’t it?

Oral tradition

voice and verse passed down

through generations.

Since I’ll never be a rock star

howling

Yeah!

Huh!

Woo!

Come on!

from a brightly lit, stadium stage

I’ll take this small room

of kind listeners,

poets, ears perked

and hearts swaying

to linguistic melodies.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 22

Melding prompts again today with Poetic Asides suggestion to take the name of a plant, flower or tree and make it the title of your poem, and the NaPoWriMo.net prompt to pick something impossible from a list of statements, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens. The statement I picked was The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky. Because it’s Earth Day, I was also thinking about humanity’s  propensity to shoot ourselves in our own earthbound feet.

 

Datura

 

Some things aren’t supposed to happen.

Stars aren’t supposed to rearrange themselves in the sky.

Flowers aren’t supposed to bloom at midnight.

We’re not supposed to be our own worst enemy.

 

Under the hood of night

Cassiopeia does yoga, corpse pose,

tries the lazy letter I on for size.

 

The datura opens, moonflower

swallowing the dark with her

soft white lips. Seducing

the sphinx moth with her scent.

 

The city’s backyard aglow

with the twinkling

oil refinery, burning 24/7.

Spotlight on

the dark side.

NaPoWriMo – Day 21

The NaPoWriMo.net prompt today suggested playing with the myth of Narcissus in some way. Couldn’t stop my brain from going straight to 45.

 

Presidential Self-Assessment

 

I’ve got the proof

right here

in my golden mirror.

 

How dazzling.

How powerful.

How brilliant.

How great, not again,

but always.

 

I think,

therefore I am,

whatever I think I am.

And aren’t I amazing?

 

It’s fake news,

don’t believe

that I’m not all I see.

 

You’d see it too,

if you had a

reflection like me.

NaPoWriMo – Day 20

The NaPoWriMo.net prompt today called for a “rebellion” poem. At Poetic Asides, the prompt suggested taking a line from one of our poems written earlier this month, and using it as a first line for a new poem. My first line came from my Day 9 poem.

Set Fire

 

Little brain ember, taking hold:

Let’s burn this place to the ground.

 

I don’t think of myself as destructive.

It’s the fresh start that hooks me.

 

Even ground. Equality

borne of loss. We build again,

this time together.

 

The headlines whisper again today:

It’s all a dumpster fire, but what comes after?

It could be better.

 

When I was 9, and older girl from my school

set fire to her family home. Accident. No injuries.

Insurance covered everything.

 

We all rode past on our bikes, ogling the charred

bungalow shell. Noting how part of the roof

had completely collapsed.

Black hole on a sunny street.

Her mom’s bright pink peonies

blooming in defiance.

 

I always hoped she did it on purpose.

A little truth she kept warm in her chest.

A plan, all along, to call out the phoenix.

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 19

Followed the NaPoWriMo.net suggestion today to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Then, build a poem by erasing words from this paragraph or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem. I did a quick free write about the view from my window, and then cherry-picked words to make a new poem.

 

Remnants

 

Light slaps the deck,

highlights the cracks in the paint.

 

Dusting of dirt and grit,

dried leaves wedged

between the boards.

 

Seasonal hangover.

Sunglasses sky  —

snow threat forgotten, for now.

 

At the top of a bare elm, magpie surveyor.

We both stare at that mound of dirty ice.

Glistening.

 

Some things will be gone

before day’s end.

NaPoWriMo – Day 18

Decided to experiment this morning by combining the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a “temptation” poem, with the NaPoWriMo.net call for a reverse, line-by-line response to a published poem. Sounds a bit more complicated than it is, but here are the rules:

  • Find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with).
  • Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it.
  • Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line.
  • Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I am not sure mine really meets the “response” instruction, but I just went where my mind took me.  I suppose I’ve been influenced by news of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and other daily news about the threats to water. I’ve posted my poem first, and the source poem below.

 

 

Hands in the Well

 

Tempted by still, blue water

how long do we cup it in our hands

before bringing it to our greedy mouths?

 

Our solar system, even beyond

awash in water they say,

liquid planets.

Life could be teeming

in the smallest drop.

 

Here it is not a maybe.

What makes this home

a home,  welcoming water smile.

 

When did we start

to take it for granted?

So humdrum it even falls from the sky.

Pour in the dirt. Bottle up the clean.

It doesn’t care if we dance

in praise or thanks.

 

Our eyes clouded by

too much too much too much,

we’ve forgotten the word sublime.

Can’t see past the mirrored surface.

 

Together, our hands panning for gold

what can we get get get.

 

Minds clogged

like a pipe jammed with

grease and hair.

 

Future solutions,

gummed up in there somewhere,

if only we can rinse them free.

 

The poem I reverse responded to was “With My Back to the World” by Saskatchewan poet Judith Krause, from her book Homage to Happiness.

 

With My Back to the World

by: Judith Krause

 

I have no ideas of my own.

I empty my mind every day

 

and wait for inspiration.

Alone, my back to the world,

 

I seek the sublime.

Nothing in nature

 

can match the happiness

I find in rectangles —

 

so much friendlier

and welcoming than squares.

 

The grid is my door

to the universe.

 

Bands of colour wash

through me onto the canvas —

 

green waves of beauty.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 17

Another natural fit day for the prompts. NaPoWriMo.net asked for a family anecdote poem, while Poetic Asides suggested a love or anti-love poem. I went with love, based on a memory of my brother and our cat.

Mistaken Identity

 

What convinced a bellicose boy of sixteen

to walk towards the chain link fence,

unprompted, but with a heavy head,

shovel in one hand, box in the other,

ready to gather what remained of our

orange tabby from the edge of a freeway?

 

It could only be love.

 

There it glistened in his reddened eyes when,

just as he was about to climb the fence,

he heard a croaky meow from below,

felt the nudge of our adventurous Rusty,

who’d been missing for three days,

pushing his head against my brother’s boot,

asking to be taken home and fed.

NaPoWriMo – Day 16

The NaPoWriMo.net prompt today asked for a poem that features play. Made for a nice compliment to the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a “favourite” themed poem.  It was an easy trip back to some of my favourite childhood memories.

My Favourite Game

 

You hide, I’ll seek

my way back to

summer nights when light graces us until ten.

Any kid from around the block can join in.

Start after supper,

save the jump-out-scares

until after the little ones have gone home to bed.

 

Watch out

for the snarling German Shepherd in the backyard

of the white split-level with the green door.

His chain’s always stretched so tight.

 

Watch out

for the old lady in the brown stucco house.

who paid good money for those bedding plants

and doesn’t need them trampled by the likes of us.

 

Count to fifty,

because one hundred takes too long

and twenty’s not enough to scatter.

First one found is the next seeker

and when Glenn plays, we all seek

Like a roach, that boy, able to slip

into the tightest, darkest places.

 

Olly olly oxen free — come out, come out,

wherever you are, whoever you are.

We want to play again. Another round

until the sun goes down, until someone

gets a sliver,

twists an ankle,

pees their pants.

 

Come back tomorrow.

Meet at the garbage bin at the end of the alley,

with “Sara Loves Josh B.” written in Sharpie.

Count heads, pick partners (if it’s a twosome round),

draw rocks for first seeker. No cheating — you hear that Matt?

Have fun.