It’s the last day of April, the last day of National Poetry Writing Month, and the final prompt is to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.
come back to me
I know you’re angry
but please put your anger aside
and remember what we’ve had together
and can still have
would it help to know that I’m very sorry
I was wrong
I shouldn’t have done it
shouldn’t have said it
except I was hurt
I wish I could erase the pain I caused you
but when I thought you stopped loving me
I wanted to hurt you too
I was mistaken
but what was I to think
you became so distant
you didn’t talk to me
barely looked at me
I didn’t know what was bothering you
why didn’t you tell me
I wouldn’t have though less of you
I would have shared your struggles
less of a burden when carried by two
but you didn’t give me a chance
so I told you to get out
that I didn’t love you any more
and you left without a word
I had to hear from someone else
that you lost your job
like so many others during this terrible time
we could have made it through
would have made it through together
or call me
I’ll come get you
let me love you again
My grand total for April 2021 is twenty-seven poems. That’s what I like about challenges–they motivate me. That’s not to say that all the poems are great–they’re not. I do like the one above. It might be my favorite of the month. Another one I especially like is The Wedding Cake Knife. My most “liked” poems this month were the one I wrote about my daughter Erin, and Watching the children play in every season, which surprised me, because I considered that a throwaway poem; it felt so uninspired to me. You never know what will touch another human being. Let that be a lesson to me.
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Today’s prompt is to imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. What do you see? What’s going on?
through the bars, I see a lot
full of dusty rusty cars
belonging to the corrections officers
at the end of their shifts
they get to drive away
only to come back again tomorrow
(they’re prisoners too)
the gate slowly moves aside for them
they travel to the end of the driveway
and stop, then turn left or right
they disappear from my sight
nothing else to see
nothing on the other side of the road
just the desert stretching for miles
only two ways to get out of here
serve your time
or in a body bag
even if you could escape
ain't nothing to hide behind
nothing but dirt
Today’s official prompt is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. I came up with a few questions and got stuck. So I checked out Writer’s Digest’s prompt, which is to look over the poems we’ve written so far this month and choose something to rework (remix). The poem I chose to rework also has a lot of questions in it, so I picked some out and added them to what I had already, and I got unstuck. 🙂 Funny how inspiration works.
Where do I go from here?
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
How can I circumnavigate the obstacles that separate me from my goal?
How come you look more beautiful every day?
Will the trash cans ever be emptied?
Will this pandemic ever be over?
How many more days until Christmas?
Will you marry me?
How many more payments until the mortgage is paid off?
Will the circle be unbroken?
Who wrote the book of love?
Who let the dogs out?
What day is it?
Who ate the last piece of cake?
Does this dress make my butt look fat?
How about those Yankees?
How is insisting on your rights (not to wear a mask, not to take a vaccine) loving your neighbor?
Is this how humanity ends?
. . . I was hit by how much I miss having small children in my life. My own five children range in age from 31 to 42. I have no grandchildren. My second teaching career, teaching elementary general music to grades kindergarten through sixth grade, helped fill that void, but I retired seven years ago. I know there are lots of ways I could voluntarily have children in my life again, but it’s just not possible right now.
my arms ache to cradle a dozing infant
my eyes wish to marvel at the perfection of a tiny fingernail
my fingers itch to caress the fuzzy cap of hair soft and smooth as mink
my ears long to hear hearty peals of childish laughter
to share the joy of a surprise peekaboo
my lips desire to kiss the booboos and make them all better
to whisper the words that will heal bruised feelings
when I hear a mother claim she’s bored at home with the kids all day
I want to shout
you don’t know how blessed you are
don’t waste a single moment you have together
how precious they are
to see the world anew from the perspective of a child
to wonder at a pebble or a leaf or a feather
to see the spark of understanding take hold and grow
to witness increasing competence every day
to share life with the one I love more than myself
there’s nothing better
Today’s prompt is to write a parody of a poem. I chose to spoof this one:
Dreams as Idea Source
As a friend to the writer
commend me the Dream.
You will find it can even portend.
It will tease and seduce you
and feed you ice cream
Or lead you into
a dead end.
A writer who dwells on the best-seller list
(the happiest place you can be!)
Says a Dream is the best idea source that exists.
Then, surely, the Dream is the key.
So tell all the writers to sleep with a pad
And a pencil right next to your bed
And capture your Nightmare—
(Or write down your Dreamscape instead.)
Today’s prompt is to write an occasional poem, that is, a poem for an occasion.
To My First Grandchild
I don’t know if I’ll still be alive when you’re born
or even if you will be born
don’t blame your parents
I told them not to have you before they married
I told them having children was a great responsibility
I told them not to have you until they really wanted you
I told them not to have you just because I wanted you
for years I’ve listened to other grandparents
talk about the joy of grandbabies
and wondered if I would ever experience that joy
I have the pleasure of my own five children
(and the sorrow of the three who withered in my womb)
but I long to smell your sweet baby breath
to wonder anew at your tiny perfection
to watch you grow, to discover
how much you are like your parents
and how unlike them you are
if I’m gone before you get here
know I am watching from heaven
loving you and blessing you
Find a factual article about an animal. Make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else. You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.
I chose an article about elephants. I replaced the word “elephants” with . . .
The Secrets of my Childhood
the secrets of my childhood grow tusks
that plow furrows into the soil of my existence
into which I sow the despair of my longing
led by a matriarch, the secrets of my childhood
are organized into complex social structures
that do not allow pathetic creatures like me
the secrets of my childhood tend to live in isolation
and I am forced to dwell in the jungles of regret
hidden from the outside world
the secrets of my childhood need extensive land areas to survive
I forage in the undergrowth for sustenance
there will never be enough
Today’s prompt is to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another.
My poem is inspired by the first stanza of too sweet, by Charles Bukowski.
Supermarket Soap Opera
for years, your daily routine
included a trip to the grocery store
where you knew every clerk by name
for years, I visited the same store
weekly, and knew no one
though they all knew me
but no one ever suspected
the connection between us two—
I finally learned all your
favorite checkers’ names
and mentioned you to them
and they all said, no way;
you couldn’t possibly be
married to that guy
I don’t know why
until the day we walked in together
and said, “see, we told you so”
Today’s prompt is to write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.
originally drafted to promote nuclear disarmament
based on the semaphore signals for N and D
my generation appropriated it to stand
for opposition to the war in Vietnam
it came to be associated with
long hair, love beads, bell bottoms, marijuana
but also with two fingers forming a V
and the general concept of peace
The official prompt for today is to write a poem that uses lines that have a repetitive setup. I’m combining that with the Writer’s Digest prompt, (blank) me.
Make me laugh with your silly jokes
Make me cry with the stories of your past
Make me think with the challenges of your mind
Make me dream with the possibilities of your imagination
Make me long for the next time we’re together
Shock me with suggestions I’ll never take
Embarrass me by pointing out my faults
Embolden me by naming my strengths
Seduce me with your sweet-talking lies
Entertain me so I’ll never leave you