napowrimo

NaPoWriMo Day 26: Sit Down, Shut Up

Sit Down, Shut Up

 

These voices are too loud, less in volume

than their incessant surety. They speak

with the perverse authority sanctioned

by a life I cannot comprehend. See,

their pain, no less valid, is much louder

than the less-told stories could hope to be.

 

Were they born to the pulpit? Do they know

through privilege-glasses what we cannot?

No one ever told them to sit down, shut up

and take notes. People listen when they speak, or shit,

 

but now’s not their turn.


This is an attempt at a curtal sonnet, but I was very lazy about the meter, so it is what it is. I don’t know how well this subject matter is going to come across, if at all, but I feel pretty strongly about people attempting to speak for minorities and had to say a thing today.

 

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NaPoWriMo Day 25: Don’t Write Poems for Me

Don’t Write Poems for Me

 

I could love a boy with scars.

I could kiss the foreheads of ash-skinned demons,

caress the raised tissue of too many deaths,

and yes, I could

love a boy with scars.

 

I could love a boy for his poems.

I could make love to a boy with words

alone, or allow my hand to find his

sure as ink to paper, and yes—

oh how could I not love a boy for his poems?

 

I could love a boy who isn’t mine,

and I could love a boy as only friends

and I could find new definitions for us

but I cannot straddle this chasm

alone, not now that I know.

 

I could love a boy with scars. I could

love a boy for his poems. I could love a boy

who isn’t mine. (I could keep my hands

to myself). I cannot put my love,

this birth-blind puppy, back in the box

 

now that I know he wants to kiss me.

NaPoWriMo Day 24: Intersection of Beauty and Power

He has beautiful hands, this mason.

Dirt and clay cake around his nails.

A white sickle scar, and a handful

of freckles adorn his fingers.

 

The mason lays one brick at a time,

from the first row at my feet:

each individual constellation

in shades of red and earth.

 

The mortar he spreads on

even, and careful. His hands

are thick, and strong, their rivers

highlighted the pallor of mortar.

 

I catch one last glimpse of him,

serene face and careful posture

as he evens a stroke with flourish

and places the final brick to seal me in.

NaPoWriMo Day 22: Where the Wild Things Grow + If a Poet Were a Spider

Where the Wild Things Grow

Into the woods where the wild things grow

trees and vines form mystical patterns.

The feet can carry you far from home

and the mind is always free to roam.

 

The sunlight plays on spider webs,

their precise organization exposed.

Through bramble and blackberry tramp alone

so the mind is free to wander.

 

Where the fences rise and the signs say turn back,

No Trespassing, sit your rump on a stump

and watch the lark flit through tricks.

The mind is always free to roam.

spider threads

+

If a Poet Were a Spider

I live in my artform
catch food with this verse
and need nothing more. 

 

 

NaPoWriMo Day 21: Let’s Whisper Sweet&Sour Everythings

1.

Life is a nearly-new sofa with cat scratches

left on the curb. Well, some days.

I hardly know what I mean but

if it sounds good, must be true.

Do you remember when we found

that beautiful dresser a block form your house?

Of course you do. You carried the too-big body

and I drove the drawers and your boyfriend

talked to me from the back seat in tones I find

forgettable. No, I remember: He was afraid

of the mirror. You love mirrors.

I love mirrors and am afraid of them.

Is it just this town that throws away everything

for a few of us to retrieve treasures

from curbs and dumpsters, or

is it everyone?

 

2.

Yaz, this is my third love poem to you,

and if none of them seem like love poems

that’s because the two of us prefer impossible

crushes, treat our hearts like printing presses

(me more than you) and you’re a wandering landmark.

Maybe my fourth, actually. The darkness

challenges the sunlight for shade

and makes us a breathing space.

 

Do you know, I’ve had maybe three

significant relationships with men. Or boys.

Whichever. Romantic, that is. I fuck or befriend

the rest, or turn them into poems. Well, it’s curious to me

because we’re both a little boy-crazy these days,

some days, and I wonder if that’s my why.

 

In the plaza we’ll hold hands. Did we both use to sing

oftener? We sometimes look normative, more

than I ever expected, me opening the door,

taking your hand, but everyone sees past it.

We’re the queerest fish of all the courts,

strolling past the statue of the Confederate Dead.

I’m leaning over the counter, beside the baked goods,

for a peck on the lips.

 

3.

I cried over my fear of leaving you

when I though I was engaged. Long story.

You know it all, but I don’t know

jack from bull. Did the sun set on my siesta?

Have we been sleeping through potential meetings?

Sometimes I see the pictures of pastimes before

I hear your stories, and I imagine the sound of the wood falling

to your blade.

 

4.

Did you hear me missing you

while nighttime rolled cigarettes out of fossils?

Can we find a phrase to use oftener

than “I miss you”? Does missing

taste like raspberries, ghosts,

or limes, better made into

margaritas? My mom and my best friend

like you, imagine that, so we’re feathered burglars but

I haven’t seen you in a week

and before that I saw my partner in poetic crime,

my friend and best critic, all

rolled into you but I’d like to

fall into you like bubble bath

and it’s been some streaks of

finger-painted oil masterworks of dusk

and midnight since last

I’ve seen my lover.

NaPoWriMo Day 19: Incised Moon

Prompt: the name of a sea shell.

 

Incised Moon

 

The rats have been nibbling

at the moon again. Their bites

seem to be expanding. Their little

distended bellies, under a layer

of fine pale fur, feel nothing but hunger.

 

The rats have been biting through

the moon’s bones. They blend in,

white as asteroid face, only pink tails

and red gleams of eyes. Bone dust

coats their lungs.

 

The rats have gnawed through the moon, for

the first time, and the will have a long way to fall.

The rats teethed on the moon, fine-dined

on the moon, and the moon will drink

their broken bones and patch wounds with rat pelts.

NaPoWriMo Day 16: Please Don’t Wash My Mouth with Soap

Please Don’t Wash My Mouth with Soap

 

Two wrongs make a left, and two lefts

make a right, washing the slate clean.

Hearts break even as the backs of wooden chairs

in a living room brawl. Frida Kahlo

left her mother in a house come compost heap.

I know all about it, because everyone cared more

about her mother than her looking glass marriage.

We artists are society’s snake-shed skin.

We are on display, the jewels to show

maharaja’s wealth and pope’s piety.

Image

Drafts 1 & 2 of “Please Don’t Wash My Mouth with Soap”

 

Prompt: ten lines of lies. In case it’s not obvious, I know nothing significant about Frida’s relationship with her mother, and the living room brawl was actually a partial reference to Zelda and Scott. I first noticed when I was studying Dylan Thomas and, inevitably, his wife Caitlin, the cultural fascination with, and my personal interest in, these artistic unions rife with extramarital affairs and sometimes violence.

NaPoWriMo Day 15: I Fall in Love Like a Beggar with a Magic Lamp

I Fall in Love Like a Beggar with a Magic Lamp

 

My heart is a jumble of disconnected electric cables.

My cock is an orchid dressed as a carnation.

My heart is an ornate bedtime book of fables.

 

Or my heart is a box labeled “Donations.”

My body is denim and shredded silk for black-tie.

A February-frozen empty bus station.

 

Would it be better then to say, to lie,

that my heart is simply an aching heart?

My heart and my cock are more alive

 

than they’ve been in months. They start

climbing like school children,

carefree, to see how high and far

 

they can go, jumping into the river

for the savory-sweet of a win,

for the splash of cold water.

 

Loving for the sake of a prick beneath the skin,

for the exultation of the wind-whistle and the fall,

to feel something, the splinter I dug out with a safety pin.

 

And the rest of me, the rest of me crawl-

ing into adulthood, into spending money

to pay bills first, into the banal

 

sanctuary of self-care and safety.

Let’s say my heart is a gopher tortoise.

Let’s say my heart is a field of poppy

 

watching wildfire swallow neighbors.

Let’s say my genitals are buzzards

hovering beneath cloud cover.

 

My body is a branch in the sky’s gust of breath

contemplating riding the wind to the moon

but too fond of the trunk, dependent on the earth.

 

My heart is a yellow balloon:

he doesn’t know how fragile he is,

but I do.

Dark branches in a cloudy sky.


 

Prompt: terza rima. This is, more or less, a terza rima, if you keep in mind that I’m fond of slant rhyme and decided that any sort of syllable counting was completely optional. I also seem to have become fond of long titles as of this morning. Also, I wrote like three other poems that I decided could not possibly work with the rhyme scheme before I came the this one, so there. Only 24 minutes past midnight.

NaPoWriMo Day 14: Anything is a Weapon When You’re Scared

Prompt: 20 questions (or however many questions)


 

Anything is a Weapon When You’re Scared

 

Which portion of the fence

did you sit on? Was it before

the place it crosses with the barbed wire,

to keep in the cows on the other side, or after?

 

Where, precisely, does it hurt?

Do you feel a dull ache

or a sharp piercing sensation?

 

Have you ever been north of the border?

Does it really matter which border I mean?

Have you ever gone north, or east,

just to see how far the land would take you

before it too gave into the salt water?

 

Do you hear the fishes singing?

Do you see the birds swimming?

Do the ants in their hills

know your secret name?

 

Have you travelled the underbelly of the road?

Did the wind whisper or did it howl

on the day the plaster fell

from the barrel of the sky?

Did you look up to see how we aimed,

and how we fired, without a thought,

when we had never before known

our planet as a weapon?

 

Can you say ah for me?

Where, exactly, does it hurt?

Do you have a girlfriend? A boyfriend?

Why do you look so much older

than you say you are, then?

Why do you look so much younger

than the age when you will understand?

 

Can you lift your arms? Can you safely

extend your heart? Is it a dull ache

or a piercing sensation?


 

NaPoWriMo Day 13: When Building Without Building

Prompt: make up kennings. Harder than I thought it would be, not as hard as I feared. I’d like to try this more often.


 

When Building Without Building

 

Above us stretches blue thought’s road.

Below, scraped elbows and aching shoulders

recline in the Earth’s fur, against

limbs of fallen guardians

(each ring the story of an age)

dragged into a corner to hold comrades

around the fire as the night falls

and bruises her knees.

Air sea turns to charcoal,

her darting fishes held fixed

above the clouds.

Heart-sap heats hard and heavy

thrumming through palms,

quickening in the blood engine.

No one is here but the thoughts,

but the ghosts, all flying away

to join the star parade.