NaPoWriMo 2014 is Almost Here!

April brings NaPoWriMo, or as I call it, the month when I throw 30 poems down a well.

Actually, the truth is a little more nuanced than that: I’ve found that it’s possible to get poems published even if they’ve appeared on your blog … IF you first check the guidelines for any statement to the contrary and IF you divulge this sort-of previous publication when you submit. (Editors don’t like surprises.)

Anyway … Starting on April 1, you’ll find a new poem here each day, based on the prompts at the link above. If you’re doing NaPoWriMo, too, please let me know in the comments here, and I’ll make sure to include you on my circuit of blog visits.

And if you are a poetry appreciator but don’t consider yourself to be a poet, I highly recommend NaPoWriMo as a way to try your hand at it. The prompts are challenging but approachable. And while you don’t have to blog your results, if you do take that risk, I bet you’ll find that people are supportive. April seems like a time to try something new, doesn’t it?

See you next month — allllll month long.


Dubiously with surprise (for NaPoWriMo, Day 30)

Dubiously with surprise
to no sad Weed
The Dew reheads it at its work—
In purposeful weakness—
The brunette Savior lingers—
The Moon halts moved
To randomly mark another Night
For a disapproving Mortal.



NaPoWriMo, Day 30 prompt: Take an existing poem (mine is this one by Emily Dickinson — though the copy I worked from had her characteristic dashes and capitalization) and write a line-by-line opposite.

Will link at Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.

On a related note: What happens to this blog now that NaPo is NoMo is that I post a poem here each Tuesday (for OLN, which is each Tuesday p.m.). Between Tuesdays, I often post general musings about writing, poetry contests, publishing, editing, and so on.

I hope that a lot of you who have been visiting lately will continue to follow or drop in from time to time! Thank you so much to all who have liked or commented this month. I enjoyed every single day, and I can’t believe it’s already come to an end. 


Under (for NaPoWriMo, Day 29)


un momentito,


la lune de biscuit,
la luna de biscocho,

una taza de noche
con leche,

café au lait

café au lait,

NaPoWriMo, Day 29 prompt: Write a poem that includes at least five words in another language or languages. I knew I had English, French, and Spanish, but then when I did a final check, I realized I had one more language, too — thanks to a misspelling that I’m leaving in because I like it better that way. Can you spot the word and its language? 


If My Grandmother Had Wheels (for NaPoWriMo, Day 27)

In my blood, I’d go to the men’s room,
the bathroom at Sears, she said.
If pigs had wings, she’d be a streetcar,
she said, and I would have been a bus.

I smile at the Midwestern women. If my aunt
had balls like them, or the pioneer women
crossing the plains, she’d be a bicycle. I would
have been a bus, and we would bottle Paris.

This counterfactual thinking. It is fruitless
to speculate about counterfactual situations.
She’d be my uncle, my aunt; she’d wash
her feet in the sink if we could bottle Paris

and make a ham and cheese sandwich
as respectable Sears matrons flutter
their hands, their support knee-highs,
her feet in the sink. But it is fruitless,

this counterfactual speculation. Fruitless,
my uncle, my aunt, even my grandmother,
though I suspect she has bottled Paris,
wagoned it all the way home.



NaPoWriMo, Day 27 prompt: Take a common expression, do a Google search for its first three words, then skim the first few pages that result, looking for interesting lines and images. I used “If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon,” which apparently, many people know from a Star Trek movie. The second result was, of all things, a poem by Mohja Kahf, some lines of which I’ve borrowed or adapted here.


My Jeoffry (for NaPoWriMo, Day 26)

He is the Living God.

At first glance, his body with elegant quickness
leaps up to catch the blessing.

He rolls.

He begins to consider this:
if they are clean, his paws, himself.

He rolls; he may not be interrupted.
He looks up in quest of his neighbor;
he will kiss her in kindness.

When he takes his dallying,
his business more properly begins.
For he keeps in the night
his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

He counteracts death.
He loves the sun, the Tiger.
(The Angel Tiger.)

He has a serpent, which
will not do destruction
without provocation.

For a blessing at the departure
from Egypt, every family had
one cat at least in the bag.

Love is the quickest
point of gravity
he knows.

There is nothing sweeter
than his life. He is poor.

I bless the name, Jeoffry,
the divine spirit, complete,
exceeding pure in what it wants.

He can carry a stick,
waggle, jump, catch
the hypocrite afraid
in very pernicious land.

His ears, they sting from
the passing quickness of
electricity. Light. Fire.

Electrical fire from heaven blessed him tho he cannot fly.

His motions are,
more than all the measures,
the music for life.

He can.



NaPoWriMo, Day 26 prompt: Write an erasure poem, which is where you take an existing poem and remove many of its words. For bonus points, you leave spaces where the erased words used to be. But WordPress hates long, strange lines, and I kind of like it this way. I started with For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry, by Christopher Smart, which I’ve loved for a long time. 


Ballad of the Ryukin (for NaPoWriMo, Day 25)

Scarlet ruled the watery deep,
a thirty-gallon tank.
His eyes stayed open during sleep;
he ate whatever sank.

His name was better for a girl;
how we mistook him then.
The truth put us in quite a whirl:
more rooster, he, than hen.

His fin he bore just like a sail.
Our boldest fish by far—
and once we knew that he was male,
we sometimes called him Scar!



NaPoWriMo, Day 25 prompt: Write a ballad. I challenged myself and used (I think) the traditional ballad form. That’s why this is short — couldn’t sustain it for very long. 🙂 Also, I’m happy to report that Scarlet the ryukin (a type of fancy goldfish) is still with us — this just worked better in past tense.


Vacancy in Vinyl (for NaPoWriMo, Day 24)

I will not cavil over calamari, ham.
Chic in acrylic on my lanai, I alarm a chary larva.
To charm is a cinch, via manic, miry vim.
A rich man may ram my aviary. (In a van?)
I mail the cynical vicar—“Hi ya!” and a racy hymn.
(Chancy.) Calm, calm. His car will jar my china soon.


NaPoWriMo, Day 24 prompt: Write a self portrait using words that can be found in your name. Fun with an anagram generator! Here it is again, with the anagram words in bold:

I will not cavil over calamari, ham.
Chic in acrylic on my lanai, I alarm a chary larva.
To charm is a cinch, via manic, miry vim.
A rich man may ram my aviary. (In a van?)
I mail the cynical vicar—Hi ya!” and a racy hymn.
(Chancy.) Calm, calm. His car will jar my china soon.


Wishful Thinking (for NaPoWriMo, Day 23)

Arise, my muddled monkey mind!
Do something useful with yourself.
No more distractions will you find;
arise, my muddled monkey mind.
No more delays of any kind—
get back to work, you impish elf.
Arise, my muddled monkey mind.
Do something useful with yourself!



NaPoWriMo, Day 23 prompt: Write a triolet (aka, the form challenge that almost killed me … but it didn’t, so I guess it made me stronger?). Will link for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Check it out, if you haven’t already.


Earthbound (for NaPoWriMo, Day 22)

Weren’t we supposed to be
living on Venus by now, or the moon—
everything enclosed, climate-controlled,
rational? Wasn’t I supposed to be wearing
something in neoprene, high-collared
(though tight across my breasts), having
scientific, yet sex-infused discussions
with men? (We would address each other
as “Dr. So-and-So,” reverting to first names
in moments of passion, high tension. What
happened to that plan?) Where are the pellets,
the ones I was supposed to eat? The capsules,
I mean, to replace all that ridiculous food.
So many resources, for something so
temporary. So much time spent managing
something so crazy, so untenable, this planet.
Earth. We should have known it would
never let us leave. Even now—with
tsunamis, superstorms, melting ice,
all the rest—even now, it sends up
its tender shoots, waves its
cloud arms, says,
“Stay. Stay.



NaPoWriMo, Day 22 prompt: Write an Earth Day poem.