Spam Poem

NaPoWiMo - Day 26 - As for today’s prompt, well, Tooth For Truth has reminded me of the fervent and wonderful world of spam-poems. All those horrible emails you get asking whether you would be interested in the enlargement of various parts of your body? Well, they are primordial lingual soups, just waiting for you to extract a carbon here, an adjective there, and create poems.

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Mrs. Sussan Rodaine and Mrs. Rose Manase,
I am in receipt of your personal e-mails
and I send my condolences
upon the deaths of your respective and reputable husbands,
your recent diagnoses of terminal illnesses,
and for your dilemmas regarding
the large sums of money you have on deposit in the
reputable banks referred to in your correspondence.
I must however respectfully decline further contact with you
and the possibility of gaining unimaginable wealth because
as stated in your e-mail
The Bible made us to understand that
blessed is the hand that giveth”.
I wish also to be a giving hand.
This is to inform you that by separate e-mail, on the same day
I received your correspondence, I also received
and email that Ivanka Trump Has A Baby Bump
I am attaching that e-mail to this correspondence
and encourage you to contact Mrs. Trump
in the belief that she will be most benefited
by your generous offers.

Riddle Poem

NaPoWiMo - Day 25 - Today’s prompt – do a riddle poem.  One in which you write from the point of view of an object or person (or about an object and person), and the poem itself forms a giant riddle.

This is a riddle
with a bolt in the middle.
Two pieces secured,
I make many things blurred.
X marks the spot
so follow the dots
as dolls join together
maybe birds of a feather
will lift from the page
or give voice to your rage.

Answer - Scissors

Twenty-eight Years of The Good Life

NaPoWiMo - Day 24 - Today, I challenge you to write an autobiographical poem. This can be just a sketch of an event that happened to you, or you can write one line for every year of your life, with each year sort of reflecting that year in its theme, mood, etc., or you can try writing one stanza for each decade of your life (without worrying about whether you have exactly ten lines per stanza, or matching each line to a particular year). There are as many ways of going about this as there are of you (so, somewhat above 600).

Twenty-eight Years of The Good Life

1962:  Received my only "F", sophomore chemistry’
            Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for his belief in personal freedom;

1964:  Graduated from high school
            began college, with ideals of helping man achieve a better life;

1966: Left school to become a wife (under the threat of suicide);
            learned to fight;

1968:  Erased the fear of labor, became a mother, 7lb. 12oz. dark haired daughter;

1970:  Moved to a dead West Virginia coal town - lost a son on Valentine's Day - listened to midnight radio;

1972:  Mother again, 7lb. 6oz. daughter with red hair, born in the mountains of Maryland - lived for one month in an apartment with two children and no furniture;

1974:  Back in West Virginia, Mother one last time 2lb. 3oz. son with dark body hair - four months of round-trips to the university hospital - this one lived.

1975:  Divorced - got the kids, $33,000.00 in debts, one rocking chair, a car which broke in three weeks and the washer and dryer.

1976:  Started dancing again - sheltered frightened women and children;

1976:  Purchased a house - first child began junior high school - learned about clogged drains;

1983:  Lost one ovary and my appendix - second child began junior high - learned to water ski;

1986:  Became a grandmother in August - dark haired, dark skinned 6lb. 13oz. girl - bought a brand new car;

1989:  Became a wife again - one child and one grandchild left home - memorized the poems of Lucille Clifton;

1990:  Second first wedding anniversary - the redhead will graduate from high school - Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Earth Breeze

NaPoWiMo - Day 23 - Today’s prompt is to write a bouts-rimes. The bouts-rimes is a sort of poetic parlor game: you write a poem using the rhyming end words from another poem. They’re usually done with sonnets in English. So today I challenge you to write a bouts-rimes sonnet, using the end words from either K. Silem Mohammad’s poem You White White Teatime Teen, which was itself constructed anagrammatically from Shakespeare’s The Silken Tent. So your end words are either: rage, doom, age, tomb , sighs, breast, thighs, west, mad, blues, plaid, shoes, fail, mail or tent, breeze, relent, ease, pole, heavenward, soul, cord, bound, thought, round, taught, air, aware.

Earth Breeze

Clouds circle overhead, a heavenly tent,
and all earth becomes a bending breeze.
I lean my ear to hear what’s relevant
to find release and calm and ease.
Nature’s cycles, a divining pole
Points us ever heavenward.
Leads us forward to our soul.
Tied gently with silken cord,
which lets us soar and bound
beyond all human thought
till we can see life in the round
and recall what we’ve been taught
that life is love, invisible as air,
that culls us all to be aware.

Higgledly Piggledly

Day 22  - We are in the waning days of NaPoWriMo. It’s Friday, a day for a fast little poem. And so today I encourage you to write a short, satirical poem. Perhaps a double dactyl, or “higgledly piggledy” poem.

Higgledly, piggledly,
time is so squiggly.
Fall from its cadence
made by mere man
and all of your bosses
will fly through your hands.

Not April

NaPoWiMo - Day 21- Today,a special poetry prompt. Poet Danielle Pafunda, has organized a cento contest. What’s a cento? It’s a poem composed entirely of lines from other poems. All day today, Danielle will be tweeting lines from various poems. Use these lines to compose a new poem.

Not April

This is not April and the magnolias
let silence drill its hole.
How fibrous and incidental it seems.
In the glaring white gap
each letter a cameo appearance, each one a treaty,
each one a place where plutonium safely resides,
disappear, emerge, twitch, reverse course,
while all the wild protected liminal woods,
obscenely jewel-toned, obscenely neck-like
implicit with stars in active orbit.
To open your tiny beak-mouth,
that looks as if it would never open.
A hundred times consider what you’ve said
there are sad beds wide enough for planting.

Night Ghazal

NaPoWiMo -
Day 20 - Today, let’s try writing a ghazal.  Ghazals are an ancient Persian poetic form, and they are a good way of trying to let go of prose-like sense when writing poems. Ghazals are composed of couplets – about five to fifteen, so they’re short. But that doesn’t make them easy! The first couplet of a ghazal introduces the theme, which traditionally tends toward longing, erotic or otherwise. Both lines of the first couplet end in the same rhyming word or phrase. Then the second line of each succeeding couplet uses that rhyming word or phrase as well. Traditionally, you’re supposed to include your name, or a veiled reference to it, in the poem.


Amid morning light I yearn for the night,
Creativity and mystery lives for the night.

Others reach to the day, fear what appears black,
but I find comfort as I lean for the night.

Poems, paintings and vision and are small in the day,
yet stay strong and bright, alive for the night.

When will the world awake to these dreams,
which haunt the rose ones who wish for the night?

The earthlings are troubled and restless alone,
Come join in the life which lives for the night!

Overheard In The Ladies Room

NaPoWiMo – Day 19 - Conversation is grist for the poetry mill: overheard conversation especially: Today’s challenge is to write a poem inspired by something you’ve overheard. Maybe it’s some phrase your mother uses a lot. Maybe it’s what the bus conductor said this morning over his loudspeaker

Overheard in the Ladies Room

He has a voice,
you know, that kind of voice
that makes a lady say,
I could do, would do
anything, willingly,
as long as he would talk to me.

He has a face,
you know, the kind of face
that makes a woman say,
I'd shave my legs -
most everyday
up all the way
If only he would...

And smile
he has a smile
that lights his eyes and
makes a body realize
he has been, could be, may be,
up to something you might do
if only he would smile at you.

Red Is My Song

NaPoWiMo - Day 18 - Today’s prompt is an incantatory color poem. Pick a color – something you like, something important to you. Red, yellow, whatever. Now, write a poem that uses the color in every or nearly every line: a hypnotic invocation of the color.

Red Is My Song

Red calls me into morning,
promises sunrise surprise.
Red rocks me into evening
sensual sunset sensations.
Red it the longest wavelength of light
discernible by the human eye.
Red is anger, blood, guilt,
pain, passion, sin.
Red colors my life
lifting upward the pleasure of red.
Red centers my wardrobe
winds me forward always.
Red breakfast and song.
Red movement, music and moments.
Amaranth, auburn,
cardinal, crimson, camelain,
fuchsia, lava,
magenta, maroon, persimmon,
raspberry rose, ruby,
sangria, scarlet,
vermillion and venetian.
Red is my song.

Luzon Bill

NaPoWiMo - Day 17 - Write a portrait poem. Your poetic portrait can be of anyone: and it doesn’t have to cover the whole of someone’s life or try to wrap them up with a bow. It just has to try to give a sense of that person. Any form, any style. On your mark, get set, go!

Luzon Bill

His uniforms were always tailored
and he looked so good on leave,
in a small rural community,
they would sell him bananas without a ration card.
One hundred thirty pounds when he came home,
and no one ever questioned his authority,
yet he never raised his voice.
He cared for both his wife and mother
like it was an honor.
He knew how to treat a woman
and how to raise his girls,
with courage, confidence and poise.
In 1964 he almost won the Abe Lincoln
look-alike contest.
It was the only time anyone ever saw him
without a clean shaven face.
He was a stickler about shoes,
always clean and polished.
Could make a bed better than his wife.
Finished everything he started.
Could fix anything anytime,
cars, motorcycles, wheelbarrows,
a sticky door, a broken heart,
except the ones he left when he died.

Erupting Typewriter

NaPoWiMo - Day 16 - Today’s prompt is a prompt of erasure or, if you like, recombination. Below, reproduce for your perusal is a paragraph from Annie Dillard’s book, The Writing Life. Your mission is to create a poem, either by erasing words from the paragraph, or recombining the words that are already there (you don’t have to use all the words, of course. And you can add new words, if you wish.

“I pulled down the curtains. When I leaned over the typewriter, sparks burnt round holes in my shirt, and fire singed a sleeve. I dragged the rug away from the sparks. In the kitchen I filled a bucket with water and returned to the erupting typewriter. The typewriter did not seem to be flying apart, only erupting. On my face and hands I felt the heat from the caldera. The yellow fire made a fast, roaring noise. The typewriter itself made rumbling, grinding noise; the table pitched. Nothing seemed to require my bucket of water. The table surface was ruined, of course, but not aflame. After twenty minutes or so, the eruption subsided.”

Erupting Typewriter

The yellow fire made rumbling,
grinding noise,
the table pitched.
I dragged the rug away from the sparks,
pulled down the curtains.
Fire singed a sleeve and
burnt round holes in my shirt.
The typewriter did not fly apart.
I felt the heat from the caldera.
My face and hands made a
fast, roaring noise and
required a bucket of water.
After twenty minutes or so,
the eruption subsided.
The muse had left.

Ode To The Cell Phone

NaPoWiMo prompt - Day 15! - Do one of the following: write a poem in the form of a complaint about something that is good or you like, or in the form of a hymn to something that is bad or that you dislike. 

Ode To The Cell Phone

What a pleasure
at the grocery store,
the drive-through,
the bank, the waiting room,
dinner in a fine restaurant,
to know we’re all connected.
A loved one, a dear or casual
friend, the tangled relationship,
never more than a ring away,
Eavesdropping easier now,
a bonus for us writers or voyeurs,
to know the intimate details
of strangers are
dangled everywhere.
Oh, cell phone,
I myself must now
learn to carry you everywhere,
not to leave you
lonely in car,
not to use my voicemail anymore.
To flaunt my life for everyone.
I must learn you’re not a tool.
You now define me
and label me
more that I could ever imagine.

Sonnet On The Fourteenth

NaPoWiMo - Today’s prompt honors the sonnet – that hoary 14-lined favorite of English verse. So your challenge is to write a sonnet. If you want to go for the full-on iambic pentameter , be my guest. But there is quite a tradition, particularly in the 20th century, of sonnets that don’t use iambic pentameter at all, but instead have lines of varying lengths, meters.Try your hand.

Sonnet On The Fourteenth

Where did the morning go?
It began with early bird-song drifting in the window
which soon disappeared as did
traffic on the street and roofers down the block.
Deep in travels I ran
riding on a wave of fiction.
London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Edinberg,
Copenhagen, Germany, and Greece.
Gazing into someone else's life.
Word, sentence, paragraph, chapter.
description, dialogue, monologue,
flowing, flooding the time away.
Now I'm back, too restless for this gentle day.

Jack Kerouac Was Here

NaPoWiMo prompt for day 13:  The five minute poem. Get a kitchen timer, or use your watch, whatever. You are NOT ALLOWED to spend more than five minutes on this poem.  This poem came from a flyer I have saved.

Jack Kerouac Was Here!

Buzzing into town
stumbling round
some lines of smoky haze
then Bob Dylan trailed behind
always showing first
the words to take us home.
Oh, youth
rebellion of peace
and promise
and daisies.
Jack Kerouac was here
but I was somewhere else
lost in a book
not yet knowing booze
or smoke,
lost in the mountains
sounding everywhere
Jack Kerouac was here
and where was I?
Searching Tennyson,
Lightfoot, Chapin, Whitman?
where I might be
when I might be
what I might be?
if Jack Kerouac was here!

Marks Family Feble

NaPoWiMo Assignment Day 12 - Spend a few moments examining an old photograph—a found image, a photo from childhood, an iconic shot from history—and give it a title. Then put the photo aside and write a poem using this title.

Marks Family Fable

All three women on the front row
sport, hats and elegant fur muffs,
their well-appointed clothing and faces
seem not to reflect the days my Mother speaks of.
The two men on the front row attired with vests and ties
under their suits, everyone with button-shoes
peeking from long skirts and trouser legs
The five younger men in the back row
also dressed in suits, white shirts, ties and label pins,
the one younger women in the back row seems
almost out-of-place yet something in her face
reminds me of my Mother’s younger photographs.
On the left and on the right
are two more men, cut from other photos,
pasted, like an after-thought, onto this old yellowed picture.
The one on the left is my grandfather,
vest, tie, label pin, watch chain showing
between open jacket lapels.
This is not the man I remember,
the drawn sunken face and white hair,
peeling apples on the porch swing of an unpainted house,
Yet I wonder, watching this still-life on another day.
Where is the poverty my Mother dwells on?
These are well postured, bright-eyed, proud people.
How much later did the shadow of her recollection
cross these lives?
What is fact and what is fiction?

Under the Milkweek

NaPoWiMo Day 11 Prompt - Write a poem of at least 40 lines that is a single sentence. Hints: try using very short lines, or else a lot of commas, as though you were a Victorian novel.

Under the Milkweed

A breeze
itself down
the ground,
stirs round
wet-nosed deer,
whiskered calico
in the barn and
the short-tailed shrew
for the wide-eyed
eager journey
silky, milky
and feathered
the dusk close,
then down
into darkness,
the coming of rest,
the silence
of possibilities
flying, sighing,
into other worlds,
and you
lying under
the milkweed
into the stillness
of night,
where you
can hear
all dreams.