Day nine, and going with a prompt that keeps me in line. NaPoWriMo.net suggests trying the nonet! A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, and so on until you get to the last line, which has just one syllable. I had a hard time finding a subject, so went with the action I always seem to take whenever there’s a form that calls for counting.
I have been a day ahead all week, not on my poems, but in my mind. But today actually is Friday.
Had to get the poem done early, because of other things that have to be done, so it’s short again. If I had more time (or when I do!) I would try the NaPoWriMo prompt calling for poets to name your alter-ego, and then describe him/her in detail. Then write in your alter-ego’s voice. Maybe your alter-ego is a streetwise detective, or a superhero, or a very small goldfinch. It sounds fun and creative.
Instead I’ve gone with the 30/30 prompt “roadside distraction,” which is also the title of the poem.
Today there were two prompts to choose from: “message in a bottle” or write an acrostic poem where each line starts with a word that, when read down, reads as its own line of original or classic poetry, or a headline, etc.
I had energy to do short poems for both (or maybe I was just procrastinating…).
The first, a “message in a bottle” micro:
message in a bottle
is an easier word
to say than accept
And the second, with war and atrocity so heavy on my mind, I wrote an acrostic (below) that takes title and line inspiration from “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke, which you can read here.
In Some Corner of a Foreign Field
If there is one benefit of war, to the snarling wounds of those who are caught,
I can’t see it. I will never forget her hand, edge of the photograph cutting off what
should be grasping a hot latte, or brushing her son’s hair before school. Thriving. To
die is always our fate, but not like this. No one should. When I can’t
think about it anymore — (she was wearing a watch, a wedding band) — can’t have
only these images of life stilled, stopped, in
this most horrifying way, I turn up my music, sweep the floor, make a list
of everything I need on my weekly grocery run, wallow in some life of
me that seems, now, utterly selfish and necessary.
Today I chose to go with the 30/30 prompt “borderline.” I tried my hand at a short acrostic, both because I am a bit busy today, and because I was a little stuck. Sometimes working with the constraints of a form is exactly what I need to get something written.
Today I tried to blend two prompts, the first being “another word for salvation” and the second being to write a poem in the form of a prompt. Intriguing, right? The example given was by Mathias Svalina, who posts his surrealist prompt poems on Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.
I am absolutely wild about this style of poem, and wish mine had turned out half as cool as his are, but I will share it anyway:
In your notebook, with a black pen, write three words that remind you of salvation.
Say them out loud.
Tear them from the book, crumple or fold the paper, and offer it to the wind.
Place your hand on your chest and feel
it rise, as you suck a portion of that wind deep into your lungs.
Think of the taste of an orange.
Your eyes are shut, but you know there is sunlight because it is not completely dark.
Not even in here.
Think of the first time you made someone’s face blush with playful embarrassment or
lust. Remember the first time it happened to you. If the memories match, you can hold
on longer to that breath. If they don’t, you can too.
Think of the sound of a closing door.
Count backward from four as you release what you’re holding.
For this year’s poem-a-day challenge, I’m following the 30/30 prompts and writing with my local poetry group, Stroll of Poets.
Today’s prompt comes from Robert Hass’s prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.
I write a lot of prose poetry, so I was excited about this prompt, and it came out rather quickly compared to some poems. I’ve tentatively titled it “It Doesn’t Even Sting” and my one line to share is:
Later, at home, when you’re peeling potatoes for supper, their skins sliding off in elegant curls, falling on your cutting board, you’ll think of the spot again.