NaPoWriMo 2019: Reflections

I did it. 30 poems in 30 days. * It’s the most I’ve ever written in one stretch in my life. I didn’t write one poem per day—there were some days I wrote nothing and some days I wrote more than one—and I posted a couple out of order. But I wrote 30 poems in the month of April and each one was in response to the suggested prompts from

I think some of what I wrote was pretty good. Some are clearly dead in the water. Most are somewhere in the middle—the seed of an idea, good to just have something written. The only one I think is really finished is the minimalist poem I wrote for the last day.

At this point, I should turn to revision. Work on the ones I think have potential, scuplt and polish them. But I won’t. I just don’t have the desire to do that work. I take satisfaction in the act of creating a poem but the work of finishing it isn’t something I find rewarding.

So I leave behind a scattered trail of creative but unfinished pieces. I’d say that’s lazy of me but it’s never been my intention to publish, so that’s OK.

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NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 29

Today’s prompt: “a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.” (

Memory of Feeling

I remember the feeling.

I remember:
the sharp inhale,
the racing pulse,
the nervous sweat,
the stuttering tongue,
the locked muscles,
pounding pulse in my ears.

I suppose you would call it fear.
Or awe. Or desire.
All this, muddled and inextricable,
blended to create something

The physiology of ecstasy.

I have an image, clear and certain,
standing before you,
naked for the first time,
my first sight of you:
the hollow of your collar bone,
ragged fingernails bitten to the quick,
legs open,

How we wanted!

My eyes darting here,
then there,
nervously sliding across the landscape
of your body,
not knowing where to rest.

This moment, even more
than what came after
(rapture! wonder!)
etched the experience into
my bones.

I picture you now,
again, and I remember
the feeling.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 27

Today’s prompt: “‘remix’ a Shakespearean sonnet.” (

Sonnet 130: Remix

Sure, she ain’t no beauty:
some may say she’s ugly,
or to be more kind,
she’s plain. But, oh, her mind!

Her hair is just hair,
never silken thread there.
Her breath stinks, her eyes
are dull, but seriously, you guys?

She’s amazeballs! So she’s brash
and loud, and her ‘stach
needs to be shaved every week,
and her knobbly joints creek.

She’s as perfect for me
As ever someone could be.

Continue reading “NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 27”

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 28

Today’s prompt: “try your hand at a meta-poem.” (

This Is Not a Poem

These are not letters
Strung along the page
Communal symbols of sounds

These are not words
Laid out in sequence
Carrying no true meaning

These are not lines
Stacked one atop another
In a stylized cascade

These are not stanzas
Grouping thoughts together
Creating no true structure

This is not a poem
Without structure
Without meaning

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 26

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that uses repetition.” (

Language Lies Languid

Language lies languid on the page,
languid lie the words, the punctuation:
lithesome commas, colons all business,
beckoning em-dashes, brutal full stops.
On the page, they beckon me to amble
through language, languid, eyes arrested
by brobdingnagian words, eliding
unappreciated work horses: conjunctions,
articles, bridges from clause-to-clause,
bridges from concept-to-concept.
Words lie on the page, attention lies
on the words, languid, lithesome, brutal.

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 25

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that:

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses
  • Includes a rhetorical question”


I tried my hand at a two-stanza tanka for this one.

Summer, A Pause

Peaty scent of green
Vision of birds swooping loft
Hidden insects cry
Hot breeze caresses our cheeks
Ripe fruit bursts sunlight on tongues

An immanent pause
Anticipating decline
Slow slide into fall
Can we stop and rest a while?
Can we stay here forever?

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 24

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that … is inspired by a reference book.” (

We Say What We Mean

Does one ameliorate
or alleviate
or lighten?
Differences subtle:
exquistely indirect
but profound.

Words have weighty
not always easily
passable made accessible
only through careful,
and deliberate

We say what we mean.

But perhaps
not always as precisely
as we intend.

Specificity clarifies meaning
but opposes generalization.
Generalization expands meaning
but undermines clarity.

We say what we mean.

But do you understand what I’m saying?


For this poem, I went spelunking through random links on

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 23

Today’s prompt: “write a poem about an animal.” (

Observations of My Dog at Play

She runs, bounds, flies along,
reveling in the freedom of motion,
muscular joy,
paws touching the ground
only in fleeting bursts,
her whole body accordioning—
stretched long,
compressed short,
a cycling dynamo—
the physics of fun,
the speed of play.

To move our bodies through space
as if the simple facts of gravity and contour
were brand new delights.

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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.