It’s almost over! Do I write this with happiness or regret? Maybe both. Certainly finding the motivation to write some days this month has been a challenge, but it’s also been a kind of comfort to have a routine, and so many other new poems from others to inspire me.
The final NaPoWriMo.net prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.
How to Get to the Back Deck to Drink Your Coffee
Never assume a short journey is an easy one.
Begin by preparing for diversions — a phone call you
don’t want to answer; the broken glass you’ll have to carefully
pick up, when a too-quick pivot to answer a child calling
from another room results in an elbow knocking last night’s
wine glass from the counter. Allow time for a loud expletive,
then a sigh. Embrace exasperations that end in small relief.
When it seems there is quiet — a gifted moment when no one
remembers you’re there — pour coffee into your favourite mug,
or your favourite right now, one that knows the shape of your hand.
Take soft steps toward your destination. Watch out for
the squeaky spot between the kitchen and the dining room.
Keep your hip clear of the metal chair, pushed back from the table
after someone’s hurried breakfast, now collecting sun
from the bare window. Casting shadow on an unswept floor.
Turn the lock on the deck door cautiously, with one foot out to
the side, that experienced stance to block escape artist cats.
Open only as wide as is needed for you to slip through. Don’t
pause at the threshold, overcome with birdsong or
the welcome wash of cool air. Just get out there. Sit.
And stay. Even after you’re needed on the inside again.
Stay, sipping hot coffee and staring at clouds.
Let a part of you remain.
Today’s 30/30 prompt was simply “skyline.” The NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). I decided, based on my ongoing obsession with the sky and constantly taking photos of it, to combine the two for a super short poem that I could potentially build on later.
5 Questions to Ask The Sky
How does it feel to hold the sun?
Which clouds are the teenagers?
Do you feel less alone after the release of rain?
What’s your favourite song?
Can anything, even blue, really be limitless?
I already wrote a moon poem earlier this month, but to hold true to the poetic stereotype, I have more to say about it. Today I used the 30/30 prompt “concentration moon” to come up with a few quick micros.
on the full face
of a super moon
but still come up
like phases of the moon
wax wan new repeat
when I lose
the day’s light
I try to remember
that it’s yet held
by the moon
Today I used the 30/30 prompt calling for a “Ten Things” poem.
10 things about this morning
There are birds. An entire assembly welcoming the day from the bare lilac bushes outside my bedroom window.
There is sun. Spilling through that window, because some lucky Saturdays it awakens before I do.
There is coffee. No less enjoyed though it’s been made and poured by only me.
There are dishes. Left drying on a rack after another meal spent with people I’m fortunate to make a home with.
There is a table. Awash in morning light, and shadows cast from the chairs we use to make it a gathering place.
There are cats. Greeting me with demand, but also affection. Possibly gratitude.
There is a sweater. Once belonging to my mom. Slipped over shoulders that have yet to carry what she did.
There is a message. From a faraway friend offering small but welcome news.
There are seedlings. In need of water and attention. Patient in their want of a whole garden.
There are words. Waiting to be fished from a mysterious stream that reliably flows, even when I’ve wandered far from its banks.
I really did write a poem today, but I’m not sure it’s fully dressed to face the world, so instead I will post the prompt I used: a 30/30 call to incorporate “constant / transient / permanent” into a poem.
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.
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.