P.M. (for NaPoWriMo, Day 17)

When I say hello
to lamplight
the glowing globe
beside the brick


Under our front window,
is it raining? Is it snowing?

See the drops bounce
and hiss, the flakes
feather the globe

This is four o’clock.
This is five. This is



NaPoWriMo, Day 17 prompt: Write a poem of greeting.


Joke: I Can Owe You the Casbah (for NaPoWriMo, Day 16)

Your pot of soup, Minute Turkey Pimento,
sullies my oily medicine. Croon a tune of
valor, minus crooning on Jericho.
(Joke’s on me, my Rasta Mullasta.)
My hanky seeks any low vista, linty. I am
a hoyden, your pet teen; just cure it, this
sanest hurt I feel. My oily hair. I am your
automaton, your Conestoga wagon.
Tick it off. Have a view. Is it that I owe you
New Orleans? I lay my cone, Two Oaks Sue.
Joke: I can owe you Japan, sure can walk
you there. But our house? Cooking?
Melting? Joke: I can owe you the casbah.
My hanky seeks a pillow’s view.


NaPoWriMo, Day 16 prompt: Write a poem that attempts to phonetically translate another poem that is written in a language you don’t understand.Here is the poem I used. It’s in Finnish, and it’s by Olli Heikkonen. I’ll post a link at Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Check that out, if you haven’t already! It’s a big sharefest that happens every Tuesday p.m.


Chicagoans (for NaPoWriMo, Day 15)

Monk parakeets, green, with grubby baby faces
swing on a birdfeeder in our neighbor’s backyard.
How is it that people live in other places
and think, “Life in the big city must be so hard”?



NaPoWriMo, Day 15 prompt: Write a pantun, a poem with four-line stanzas, with an a-b-a-b rhyme scheme, where each line has 8-12 syllables and the second two lines take a departure from the first two. Got that?


Powers (for NaPoWriMo, Day 14)

“Wonder Twin powers activate,”
I whispered, and then I yelled,
I screamed, over and over, but
Zan could no longer hear me.

We didn’t know we could die.
It had never happened before.
The doctors never knew what
it was, exactly: a heart attack,

a stroke, or just some fatal
mismatch between our bodies
and Earth. None of them came,
the Super Friends, and Gleek

had long since died, of mange
and fatty liver, neither of which
we could cure with any form
of water or animal. I’m alone

now. My powers were never
all that great, to be honest,
and now they’re good for
nothing. Without Zan, I am

only half here, only half alive.
I own a comic book store. I grew
out my hair, but most days,
I pull it back to show my ears.

I don’t know if anyone notices,
but no one ever says, “Jayna,
is that you?” I never hear my
name at all anymore, or our

signature phrase. No one ever
liked us much, anyway; Zan and I
aren’t real heroes, were invented
only for the cartoon, people say,

as if any of us can help the way
we were born. Sometimes I talk
to Zan when I’m lonely and when
there are no customers. I invent

a problem, other than this one
that can never be solved. I call
out a form: “Polar bear!” I can
hear him shout his: “Iceberg!”

But I know it’s just my mind—
and the door of the shop,
rattling in its frame. Even if he
could speak to me, somehow,

it would still be worthless,
I would still be powerless,
not able to activate myself
until he and I can touch.

NaPoWriMo, Day 14 prompt: Write in the persona of a superhero or supervillain.


On Broadway (for NaPoWriMo, Day 13)

You could buy a full-cap wig or
get a weeve, or your ears pierced,
where there’s a barber on duty.

In the window at Rainbow is
the blank, naked white torso
of a child awaiting clothes.

Iyanze Bolat West African Flair
is right next door to Thai Uptown,
fufu competing with papaya salad.

City Sports sells Adidas of every
color and description; a pair or two
might change your life forever.

At Gigio’s, try number 22 out of
the top 25 pizzas in Chicago. If you’re
handicapped, knock on the window.

Cross the slanted street to the Wilson
station, on gang turf. Say hello to the man
who pauses his mop to let you pass.




NaPoWriMo, Day 13 prompt: Take a walk and write about what you see.


Butterfly (for NaPoWriMo, Day 12)

You were not mean, exactly,
but you were petty, and sometimes
this is all that’s required; a certain
businesslike adherence to rules
and procedure is enough to shut
the door when a world, a life
has narrowed down to this one
sharp point. I couldn’t have a
butterfly needle, you said,
because my veins were big,
and butterfly needles are for
small veins, and there wouldn’t be
enough suction for it to go quickly,
and you weren’t about to wait ten
minutes for my blood to fill the vial.
I’m sure I became a little wild then.
I’m sure you saw the rough edges
of panic that I cover pretty well
with politeness and with
numbing cream. I called it what
it was, then, a phobia. You walked
out, without a word or a glance. (Isn’t
there anything that scares you?) You
should know that Tara scoffed when
I told her what you’d said. You should
know that she threw away your vial
and big needle, now unsterile and
unneeded. You should know that
I loved her, would have given her
more blood if she’d asked me to.
By the way, it only took a minute
or so to fill the new vial, even with
the butterfly needle. Tara was
quick, and she was kind;
sometimes this is all
that’s required.



NaPoWriMo, Day 12 prompt: Write a poem that consists of things you’d like to say to a particular person but never would.