The stuff that comes out a bird's mouth.

Poem 20150420

Day 20 of the #NaPoWriMo challenge and we have come to this:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge to write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favorite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata. Each line can be a separate statement, or you can run them together. The things you “know” of course, might be facts, or they might be a little bit more like beliefs. Hopefully, this prompt will let your poem be grounded in specific facts, while also providing room for more abstract themes and ideas.

Facts? Who needs ’em!

the moon is made of cheese
which is sad for the rabbit
who lives there
he probably wishes it were made of carrots
but maybe not so sad for the princess
who lives there though
she might get tired of cheese all the time
the rabbit will make her rice cakes
gummy and sticky
–they’re bad for old people to eat
on new year’s day
because they’re easy to choke on–
the mochi will be a nice change
from all that cheese
while she’s sitting up there
in her silk robes
looking down and affecting the tides
making people go crazy when she shines
bright and full
–it’s called lunacy–
does she breathe in sharp daggers of moon dust?
does she breathe at all?
she’s kind of a goddess
so if she does breathe
it probably doesn’t tear her lungs into shreds
like it would
i like to look up at her
and her friend the rabbit
and i think
you’re not all alone up there
any more than i am down here
in your light

Poem 20150419b

NOT the Friday Haiku–but it will have to do.

bird still sunshine warm
i carry you to your grave
and pity your silenced song

Poem 20150419

Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo

And for today’s prompt (optional, as always!), I’d like to challenge you to write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy. Check out this long investigative article on landays for a fascinating look into a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down. You could try to write a single landay – a hard-hitting couplet that shares some secret (or unspoken) truth, or you could try to write a poem that strings multiple landays together like stanzas (maybe something akin to a syllabic ghazal?)

As always, a big thank you to NaPoWriMo for giving me something to try that I’ve never done before. It’s like ordering food in a foreign country without a menu, sometimes.

Speaking of syllables, I completely forgot the Friday Haiku.

And I deeply apologize for the poem below.

No, I don’t


you think you know what’s in my pocket
better take a step back, sweets; it might be a rocket.

Poem 20150418

Today’s prompt from #NaPoWriMo:

And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.


there’s that joke
about christ
on the cross
and peter
before he became a saint

and you have to remember
that he just denied that he even knew
three times

it’s important to remember that for
the sake of the joke

so jesus says
–and he’s hanging on the cross, remember–
jesus says, barely audible
and maybe peter is the only one who hears it
“peter,” he says

and that’s all

so peter grabs a ladder
throws it up against the timber
keeping jesus vertical
and climbs
only to have the roman guards
pull him down
and beat the shit out of him

this happens again
and the beating is worse
the second time

but jesus seems insistent
calls to him a third time
and peter
he longs for forgiveness
so he throws the ladder up
and scales it as fast as
his bruised legs
aching ribs
and trembling hands will allow

as the soldiers pull him down
jesus smiles and says
“i can totally see your house from here.”

Poem 20150417

I wasn’t too sure about the prompt from #NaPoWriMo today, so in the end, I subverted it.

From the site:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I want you to try to write a “social media”-style poem. Namecheck all of your friends. Quote from their texts, tweets, FB status updates, twitter accounts, and blogposts, and the back of the cereal box on your breakfast table. The poem is about you and you are about what you say, think, talk, eat. You might end up with a poem that seems bizarrely solipsistic (like the internet itself, maybe?), but there might also be a spark there of something live and fun and present (like the verbal equivalent of a really great animated cat .gif).

hello, is this thing on
i just had to share this picture
with all of my closest friends

i really want to connect
and maybe that person is you

i just wanted to tell everyone how great
everything is going
cause i’m doing great

mood: feeling great
i think i’m coming down with something
does anyone have a good cold remedy?

i just wanted to tell you
that you mean so much
to me
[please retweet]
if i could get a signal boost
i’m sure i could make my funding

i’m not sure how this social thing “works”
but i really want to be friends with you
hashtag connection hashtag touch
is this thing on?

Poem 20150416

Man. Really?

#NaPoWriMo is trying to kill me.

And now for our (as always, optional) prompt! Today, I challenge you to write in the form known as the terzanelle. A hybrid of the villanelle and terza rima, terzanelles consist of five three-line stanzas and a concluding quatrain. Lines and rhymes are chained throughout the poem, so that the middle line of each triplet is repeated as the last line of the following triplet (or, for the last triplet, in the concluding quatrain). The pattern goes like this:
fAFA or fFAA.

You can use any meter or line length, though you may want to try to have all of your lines in the same meter.


there are sounds that the heart makes
not when it pounds and beats in the chest
not when someone reaches in and takes

the last feeling you have as a test
or some kind medieval fealty oath
not when you hide your secrets in a chest

of drawers; there are sounds, both
warm and calm, that only another heart
can hear; a sound that whispers as an oath

is whispered, a sound that is only the start
of other more concrete things; a simple touch,
a hand trickling down like water over a heart

beating soft and slow, secure with such
a gentle fire that there is no need
for any other kind of passion; one touch

one touch is all you need
and you will hear the sounds a heart makes
when it is finally freed
from doubt and a thousand aches

Poem 20150415b

I missed day two of #NaPoWriMo, and also I wasn’t that happy with my dialogue poem of yesterday (here if you want to read it–it’s kind of a downer). But here’s a poem that fulfills the dialogue prompt and also the prompt from day two, which is as follows:

And now, our (as always, optional) prompt, provided to us by NaPoWriMo participant Carla Jones. Today, I challenge you to take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars. You may find inspiration in this website that lists constellations, while also providing information on the myths associated with each one, as well as other salient information. Your poem could be informed by those myths or historical details, by the shapes or names of the constellations, or by childhood memories of seeing them. Any form or style will do.


i say, roll over onto your stomach
pretend you’re going to get a massage
and like those women in the brochures
put your hands under your face
turn your face to the side
and smile

you say, those brochures are bullshit
it feels great after the massage
but during
it hurts like hell
fingers driving into your muscles
trying to split the fibers apart
imagine doing that to a roast
with your bare hands

i say, just do it, and let your hair
cascade down. i want to draw
on the small of your back

you ask, what do you want to draw?
nothing embarrassing
nothing in ink

i say, no, no, i’m just going
to use my finger
i’m going to draw the night sky on your back
in the hollow curve
just above your tailbone
i’ll only include the stars
with better names
sirius, procyon, rigel, and betelgeuse
castor, pollux, and deneb
altair, antares, and arcturus
none of the stars with only letters and numbers
for names
i don’t want designations.
i want them all to have names

you feel my finger tracing a spiral
stopping and dropping a star with each

you say, this is going to take awhile, isn’t it?
why not draw the universe while you’re at it?

i feel you sinking into the bed
the weight of all those stars
pushing you down
you’ve put your hands under your face
your hair spills down and
you turn your face to the side and smile
like the women in those brochures

i’m not that ambitious, i say
adding a thousand more stars
making up names as i go


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