NaPoWriMo – Day 30

It’s the final day of this year’s poem-a-day challenge, and as always I feel simultaneously tired and invigorated. Today’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt asked for a poem inspired by a strange fact or historical nugget, while the Poetic Asides final prompt of the month asked for a coming-to-an-end poem. With a little internet exploring of weird facts and Wikipedia pages, I combined the two prompts to make this:

I get it, Frederic Baur

I’m learning
this strange fact ten years after
your death. That you, inventor of
the Pringles potato chip tube, asked
your family to put your ashes in one.
What flavour once lived in there
before you? Was it the bright red one,
iconic, yet housing the ho-hum plain?
Was it the green sour cream and onion,
a peppy shade to brighten up the
evermore? Were you paid well
for your ingenuity, your creativity,
your push to try something new
with the tried and true? Perhaps it’s
warped of me, yes, to think that once
you popped and now you’ve stopped,
but I can tell you this, Mr. Baur, organic
chemist turned food product sage:
I will never again gaze at that cylinder
of salty snacks without thinking of this
outlandish fact, and how  all of us just want
what’s left kept in what remains.

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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).

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 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 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.

NaPoWriMo – Day 15

Just a brief blurt today, in response to the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a poem built around a metaphor. Had to make it a quickie, because I’m still working on my poem for CV2‘s 2 Day Poem Contest (with little over 12 hours to go)  and I’ll be heading to read at this fun Stroll of Poets Magpie Poems chapbook launch later this afternoon.

 

Anxiety

 

A tornado in the dark

twisting

past get-over-its &

future but-what-ifs

into a rapidly rotating

system

of sleep destruction.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 14

Busy with poems this morning! I am participating in CV2‘s 2 day poem contest again this year (fun!) and was also tweaked by this morning’s NaPoWriMo.net prompt to write a dream dictionary entry poem. But, the one I am posting here is a response to the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a “report” poem. It’s almost a found poem based on Species Profile pages listed on the Canadian Government website, and modified with my own sarcasm.

Species At Risk: Status Report

Addition to the registry —

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens
Taxonomy Group: Primate
Range: Global

Threats

Drought, famine, pollution and conflict may impact the entire population in a short period. Greed has been identified as an imminent threat. Stupidity has been noted as an epizootic event.

Federal Protection

The Homo sapien is not currently protected under the federal Species at Risk Act. Parliamentary approval to amend the act has been sought, but is awaiting third reading.

NaPoWriMo – Day 13

Went weird, and steam of consciousness for Friday the 13th. I combined the NaPoWriMo.net prompt asking to upend or change a popular saying, with the Poetic Asides prompt asking for an insect title poem. I settled on the phrase “barking up the wrong tree” and changed it (I don’t know why) to “whispering into a flower’s ear.”  That naturally made me think of bees.

 

The Bees

There have been first-hand reports of bees in the area. Bumbling from one rare patch of exposed, dead grass to the next. Carrying a dusting of post-season snow on their backs. An old woman in line at the grocery store told me she saw one hovering at her window, its oversized eyes fixed on a potted daisy inside. (Her niece sent it to her after the cataracts operation — a total success. Everything looks much sharper now!) The bee, she said, was whispering into the flower’s ear. Reciting an incantation through the glass. Stayed for a full ten minutes, and three more bees gathered at the window. A barbershop quartet of bees, bedecked in their striped suits. All that was missing was the little hats, and wouldn’t that be cute? When their serenade was done, she said, she watched the daisies grow. Green stems stretching up, up. Bright white heads bending toward the grey light of a spring morning masquerading as December. Their yellow centers grinning, because they’d been asked to join the call. An uprising of chutes and flora, persisting despite winter’s insistence. Then, the old women said, a burst of purple through the snow. Then another. A whole crop of crocuses, their petals parting, yearning for the sweet bee kiss.