NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 22

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that engages with another art form.” (

On Viewing Michelangelo’s David at 45°

Roughly 45° is all it took
to reduce a symbol of strength
to a pillar of uncertainty.
How unexpected: to see stone
tremble in fear by simply
shifting 45° to the right.

They say the David was meant
to stand outside in a square
on a tall pedestal. That this
perspective is why the proportions
are all wrong. But his disproportions
don’t map neatly onto a upward gaze.

His hand along his leg: too big,
his feet: too large, his head:
too small. Why would a master craftsman,
legendary for his command of chisel
and stone and polish, a man who
breathed life into marble, who

Freed forms from their captivity,
why would a consummate artist
make their David so wrongly?
From the front, one apprehends
strength of stance, surety of
purpose, righteousness of cause.

The too-large feet give solid
footing. The too-big hand holding
the historic stone, exuding power.
His face, side-on, looking to the
horizon, sure and purposeful. This is
a Biblical David, the Goliath slayer.

But walk 45° to the right, to
view him obliquely: his footing now
unsure, his stance twisting, off-
balance, his strong hand hidden from view.
His face, seen full-on: childlike, soft,
brow furrowed, wide eyes filled with fear.

This 45° rotated David is just a boy,
facing his impending doom and defeat
at the hands of a giant. A boy afraid
to do what must be done. This is the fear
that must be overcome each time we face
our obstacles, never sure of victory.


NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 21

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that … incorporates wild, surreal images.” (


If the oceans rise to fill the land,
and the land inverts to swallow the
oceans, and air leaps to the heights
of space, exiting orbit, flying off toward

Saturn, we’ll dance rings around the rings:
those glorious, incandescent, iridescent,
idiosyncratic rings girding the failed
star like a girdle straining to constrain

The rolls of fat around your uncle’s
midsection, holding together while flying
apart, a give-and-take of gravity and
aesthetics, the two-step cha-cha foxtrot of

A dancing Universe, banged out in conflicting
times, as we roll over and over and ’round
and ’round, as we fall to land to sink into
oceans of salt and magma and we come back

again. It’s the cycles, do you see? The
rounds of rings and the ebbing of tides
and the way the land subsumes and eats
itself. From the Biggest of Bangs, to

The smallest of whimpers, the upheavals
and sublimations, the sublime and the
mundane: the Universe shimmies and shines
and we dance along with everything.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 20

Today’s prompt: “write a poem grounded in language as it is spoken.” (

Yard Work

It’s all too easy to mistake
a trash panda for an ROUS
and we can’t tell which birds

Are hawks and which
are falcons. Something to do
with how often they flap?

Or with how pointed their
wing tips are. In any case,
best to keep the small

Yappy rat dogs out of sight:
too easily seen as prey.
The whatchamacallit isn’t

The same as the thingamajig
and never mistake it for
a whatchamathingy. You’d

Best not try to use the
zoopy-zoop to do the job of
the swingy dingus. Nor can

The dingle dangle, nor the
dongle dingle. Why did no one
ever tell me yard work

Was so confusing? Which isn’t
too say yard work is the same
as gardening, which isn’t

The same as tree planting nor
hedge trimming, though all
these go together to make a yard.

A lawn mower, a leaf blower,
a weed wacker, a hacky thwacker.
An ax (or is it axe?) and a hatchet

And an adze and a pickax(e).
The big belly shovel, the long
skinny shovel, the pointy shovel,

The hand trowel. Farrow furrows
and long lines of plants. Blood,
sweat, tears, and lots of curse


NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 19

Today’s prompt: “write an abecedarian poem—a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet.” (


About around this time
but not until later when,
crashing like a meteor,
dust settles around the
edges of reality and a
fall of sun light
greets the day.

How wondrous, then,
is the morning!

Just in time to
keep the birds singing
long into the afternoon,
multitudinous and raucous,
never too late.

Oh, how languorous is the
pulchritude of the afternoon!

Quieting as time
runs slow, winding down,
slipping toward dusk.
Tide and time wait for all
until darkness stills the
vibrancy of mind, pulse, breath.

Wonder and sleep. The
x-y axis of consciousness
yonder the downward slide, the
zone of dreams.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 18

Today’s prompt: “write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.” (

Back Scratcher

I’d get an itch, right in the
small of my back, perfectly
positioned where I couldn’t
reach it. Sharp, insistent,
irresistible. You always
knew: something in the way
I sat, uncomfortable, trying
not to wriggle. You always
scratched it for me. Reaching
over, your playful intuitive
fingers never failed to find
the exact spot that needed
to be scratched, never failed
to know the exact right
amount of pressure to use,
of speed to apply, when to
rely on finger tips and when
to deploy the nails. You told
me you could read the subtlest
of small muscle twitches, that
my body told you what it wanted.
Your playful, nimble fingers
offering deep relief. You always
scratched my itchy back for me.

I bought a back scratcher
today. From the corner drug
store, a cheap metal telescoping
kind. I got an itch, right in the
small of my back, perfectly
positioned where I can’t
reach it.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 17

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that … presents a scene from an unusual point of view.” (

How to Approach

It looks like violence:
teeth exposed,
bared to view.

It feels like aggression:
advancing face-to-face,
direct eye contact.

It sounds like danger:
Loud, high-pitched,
overly excited.

Don’t they know?
You must hide your teeth,
Approach sidelong,
Eyes sliding off each other.

Don’t they know?
Never start with touch,
nor with loud vocalizations,
nor with insistent demands.

It must start with sniffing
and in silence:
cautious contact.

Only when the tail wags
and the mouth pants:
only then do you play.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 15

Today’s prompt: “write your own dramatic monologue.” (



I never know what to say
at these things.

These forced,



My brain:
in isolation so
full of words,

Goes blank.


I talk to myself
near constantly.

Sometimes even
out loud
without realizing.

But here:


I do not
speak on command
orate on cue
ideate under pressure.


How is it
I can talk to

But find it
so difficult
to talk to

[Uncomfortable silence]

Isn’t this all
just too precious?

What a contrived

What an obvious

You should be

The vistas of
my own mind

Are so much more interesting
than this.



This is why
I stay silent.

It’s all too easy
To turn mean.

To growl.
To shout.
To insult.

It’s all deflection.


I never know what
to say.