Using the 30/30 prompt “susurration” to build on a recent moment with my daughter.
There Will Be Gentle Things
I miss normal
she whispered to me
as I rubbed a circle over
her back, some kind of
dial to move her toward
sleep, toward an even quieter
place than this darkened bedroom,
where the hard edges and jagged ridges
of the last year have dissolved into
only soft S sounds, the small swish
of two pages closing against one another.
Using the NaPoWriMo.net suggestion to stop fighting the moon. Lean in. Accept the moon. Do what poets have done and keep on doing and write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon. I added a dab of the 30/30 prompt, “house I used to live in,” too.
Another Moon Poem
Nothing new can be written about the moon.
No question or tribute that hasn’t been said better,
brighter. How its round face has been held
responsible for madness, but also revered.
Relief in the dark. I’m remembering it now,
on the back deck of our first house, no-cloud
night with a handful of stars tossed in patterns
that scattered differently than the ones we looked
to growing up. I know you’ve marveled at it too.
Felt tethered, just like the inevitable ocean.
Today I took inspiration from the Writer’s Digest prompt to write a poem with a “_________ Story” title, and the NaPoWriMo.net prompt from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.
She moved through the small space
too quickly for me to keep track of her hands,
mother magician with a whisk for a wand,
tea towel for a cape,
throwing the threadbare plaid cloth
over her shoulder with a flourish
when concentration was at its highest.
I feel it now too, the furrowed expression
of attentiveness on my face, a meditation almost,
kitchen work. Poring over a recipe, looking
for the unwritten instructions that will make
for a close imitation, if never as good as hers.
The way, I too, wipe my hands, then throw
the towel across my left shoulder, as though
the ritual will result in big reveal:
here she is! Again, all along.
Today I used the NaPoWriMo.net prompt calling for a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. The example was this poem by Mark Wunderlich, appropriately titled “Wunderlich.” I went in a different direction, after finding some meanings of my surname, Mannix, here and here.
green field after a rainstorm,
the way the clouds cast shadows
over a treeless meadow.
Call the first blooming daisy
little monk, for the way it lifts its
face to the sky, gathers sun like faith.
Mark your place on a well-worn path
with the letter X, crossed sticks or the stems
of two dandelions, so when the next traveller
comes along, O' Mainichin or MacNeice,
they will see something familiar in the inscription,
knowledge that though the sounds may vary, over the
course of one life or generations, something simple
connects us to this place. Both as important and as plain
as a blue pen, signing us into history.
I’m happy to have one of my 100-word stories featured today at Microfiction Monday Magazine. I’ve pasted my story below, but if you love microfiction as much as I do, please check out the entire issue here.
As he boarded the train, she drew a tissue from her pocket, thinking the tears would come any second. They didn’t.
Numb. I’m just numb now, she thought, dabbing at the corner of her eye anyway. In case he was watching.
“Last trip for the year,” he said on the drive to the station. “Then it’ll be just us together for months.”
“I can’t wait,” she said, grateful he was looking at the road instead of her face.
After his train pulled away, she stepped up to the ticket booth.
“One way for whatever gets me the farthest,” she said.
A klutzy accident and unexpected trip to one of my most anxiety-inducing destinations today — the hospital ER — served as inspiration for today’s poems. I tried to incorporate the 30/30 prompt calling for an “anticipation” poem, and the League of Canadian Poets prompt asking for connected haiku.
is the opposite
hum of the air vent
its whirring does not drown out
my pounding pulse
nurse asks for pain scale
but there is no number
we screen fevers
not people, says the nurse
bring purse to x-ray
worn at the edges
like this nurse
tired woman says to daughter
it will be ok
Working from two prompts today: the Writer’s Digest challenge to write a poem including a prime number, and the vague but interesting 30/30 prompt, “tomorrow today.” Apologies for sappiness, but that’s the way I get about my kids.
Our heads are together and I can smell
citrus shampoo in her still-damp hair,
toothpaste on her breath when she tells me
I’m worried about growing up. I know it’s not
so-much the body she inhabits, the lengthening limbs
and widening nose, that brings on this
mental weight, but the bigger world.
The thing I have no explanation for.
The thing I too feel the press of, and understand
that at eleven, she can already sense the
goodness of childhood sullying,
the way a frenzy of expanding bubbles
start to pop and fade the minute the water
stops. Inevitable slide into something new,
that will contain so much greatness, yes,
but also expose harsher truths. Tomorrow things,
seen without sheen or shadow disguise.
I cannot admit
that I too worry about her growing up,
not because I lack faith in her, but because I
know it’s harder to walk once you notice
what you’re carrying. And I want to shoulder it for her
as long as I possibly can.
Today’s poem is still twisting a bit, so I’m not posting, but the prompt has some pretty cool potential. NaPoWriMo.net borrowed this prompt from poet Hoa Nguyen.
First, find a song with which you are familiar – it could be a favorite song of yours, or one that just evokes memories of your past. Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense.
Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer – or wherever you keep loose odds and ends that don’t have a place otherwise. On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to.
Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages.
My poem-in-progress takes notes from my messy drawer, my strange dreams last night and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which was playing in my brain when I woke up.