NaPoWriMo – Day 13 (Familiar Phrase)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: We challenge you to write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. 

Idiom: Close, but No Cigar

A story hangs on your shoulders,
thick in the air.
The words catch at your fingertips,
you know the story is there.

Percolating, circulating, accelerating—
Until,

There is a spark,
that ignites the stick,
that writes the story,
that sets the paper on fire.

Idiom: To Hit Rock Bottom

The only bottom I’m reachin’
Is in this bottle I’m drinkin’
And I’m thinkin’
That’s not what you’re meanin’

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NaPoWriMo – Day 12 (Haibun)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt: We’d like to challenge you to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. 

I am entirely outside my comfort zone with this NaPoWriMo challenge, but this prompt in particular had me sweating! I had to Google “haibun” and then “haiku” to even understand this prompt. However, I wanted to at least try it so here we go!

Where wild meets west, the vast sky turns into a real-life painting of mountains burning purples, blues, yellows, reds, and oranges twice a day; a prosaic production. Stars sprinkle the same sky at night, until you crick your neck trying to count them all. On the hottest days, it smells like melting asphalt. But on others, it smells like dusty earth giving rise to life—Javelinas chortling while grazing prickly pear. Rattlesnakes coiling and hissing. Rabbits hopscotching across rocks speckled brown. Lizards darting between low-lying, crackly bushes. Cacti standing guard, arms outstretched, as if offering you a hug.

Here, in the valley, there is space to stretch out. There is fresh air to breathe and time to breathe it. The days are warm and long; the kind of days you want to cozy up to until you fall into a sweet slumber with:

Dreamcatchers hanging
above, snaring bad dreams to
dissolve in the sun.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 11 (Future)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: Write a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

Your tears, will create an ocean,
in which you will want to stay,
but your strength, will build a boat,
to sail away.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 10 (Simultaneity)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: We’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.

I bounced down the stairs carefree,
one morning around 8:30,
to find no one where they’d normally be.

My brother watching news on TV.
My mom in the kitchen calling Aunt Rosie (in New York City).
My dad pacing angrily,
The newscaster talking about a tragedy.

Then I see, the twin towers fall,
and nothing is the same at all.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 8 (Mysterious)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is: Write a poem in which mysterious and magical things occur. Your poem could take the form of a spell, for example, or simply describe an event that can’t be understood literally.

This poem is inspired by stories about a haunted house in my hometown.

Broken toys,
litter the floor.
A young voice,
asks for his green dinosaur,
and a child’s pale face peeks through the door,
just like the night before.
Giggling, whispered conversations are overheard in the halls,
and brown crayon drawings cover the walls.
And yet, no child lives here at all.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 7 (Identity)

Woohoo made it through week one of National Writing Poetry Month (NaPoWriMo)! I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience so far. Although it is challenging to share poems I think I otherwise would have left as unpublished drafts, putting myself out there has allowed me to connect more with others. I’ve also loved seeing all the different ways everyone responds to the prompts, definitely inspiring. I am forever grateful for all the great interactions I’ve had so far by participating in this challenge!

Anyway, today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is: Write out a list of all of your different layers of identity. These are all ways you could be described or lenses you could be viewed through. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list.

I liked today’s prompt. In writing my lists, I realized that much of what makes me feel “powerful” also makes me feel “vulnerable” and vice versa. Anyway here’s my drafty draft take on the prompt, focusing mostly on my “identities” as an editor at work and as a generally anxious person:

I edit, I type, I rewrite,
I catch, typos that almost look wright right,
Passive voice,
Wrong word choice,
Misconnections,
Bad directions,
Out-of-order sections,
Too long of lines,
and phrases used too many times.

They say
I “have an eye for error,”
“A skilled repairer,” I “make thoughts clearer,”
“A revisor of letters,” I “make drafts better,”
“A great communicator, translator, parer…”

But my doubts are always greater,
Did I make the right call?
Did I improve anything at all?
As my stomach fills with knots,
I’ll wish, I could put a period to my thoughts.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 6 (Line Breaks)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: We’d like to challenge you to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. 

I really had fun with this prompt! I’ve already got other poems swirling in my head so it definitely got me inspired.

Hope.
Is like catnip on a rope.

It,
dangling,
    swinging,
nearly being.

You,
wanting,
    snatching,
    almost catching.

But,
It.
Is.
Always.
In.
Someone.
Else’s.
Hands.

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NaPoWriMo – Day 5 (Photo/Language)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: We’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own.

I picked a poem by Italian author Dario de Judicibus since I am Italian! Despite the neat combination of the beautiful photo and words, nothing totally original came to me. I ended up reworking a poem I wrote previously that I thought jibed well with the photo and Italian poem.

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ALBA

Il cielo è un acquarello
di pallidi rosa e persi azzurri
mentre il vento scivola
tra l’umido verde brillare nel sole
a rapire dall’aria
un fresco odore di vita
e portarlo al mio cuore.

LEAVES

Loving you is as easy
as the breeze
rustling through the leaves
touching you and me
Like leaves in the fall,
we pick each other off
floating lost.

NaPoWriMo – Day 4 (Abstract)

Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: We challenge you to write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. Adjectives are fine too! 

I don’t feel I really accomplished the “concrete” nouns, but unfortunately, I don’t have more time to work on this piece! Hoping to play with this more at a later date to get it more descriptive.

Panic

Wide eyes, hypnotized,
relentless butterflies,
twisted hands, tongue-tied,
soothing lies, gun-shy.
Jumping veins,
and thought trains,
dragging chains,
with my remains.

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