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.
Following the Poetic Asides prompt today, which asked for a “space” poem. Found it difficult to come up with something cohesive, or even a title. This weird time forces me into a headspace where words don’t come as easily as they might have before. So when they do come, I feel as though they have been hard fought. It gives me appreciation for all the ways creativity works, and doesn’t work. Just another thing this present world is teaching me not to take for granted.
The prompt today asked for a city as the title of the poem. I have purposely been leaving my poems untitled for now, but jammed the necessary info in the first line instead.
Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Capital City. You see the sign announcing you’re there fifteen minutes before the edge of town breaks out of the woods. So many road trips in and out that you became familiar with the trick, but every time driving back, you’d feel that same strange mix of anticipation and annoyance. You are here, but you are not here yet. But then the turn off, the striated chunks of Canadian shield bordering the road as you drive past the car dealerships and fast food restaurants, the three-storey office buildings and that odd lighting store with too many bright chandeliers crowding its window — luxury and opulence so out of place in this straightforward town. The first time you came, you came to stay. To make it count, for your husband’s first big job and your baby’s first weeks of life. You had never even visited, never even seen the house you’d make a home for a year, yet when you pulled into the driveway and saw the old wooden steps and big picture window, you knew the place would fit. Like Cinderella’s slipper made of soft yarn instead of glass. The kind of house, the kind of city, where a family takes root. And how perfect, just across the street, a huge natural park with trees so tall and green, you forgot to miss the sky.