Being a poet, Growth, NaPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo2018, Personal Experiences, the color of moments

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty Four: Night Blooms Redux

For day twenty-four’s inspiration, I drew on a previous day’s prompt. You could call it the read and answer prompt. Keeping the whole of an already written poem covered, uncover the last line.  Then, answer that last line with your own line. Working your way up the poem from last line to first, repeat that process until you get to the first line of your inspiration/established poem. Your line-answer to the first line will be the last line in your new poem. I quiet like that exercise as it reminds me of action poetry–and it feels good to tap into creative-like-mindedness. Especially when I really like the poem.

Many years ago, I wrote a poem inspired by the print “The Night-Blowing Cereus”. At the time, I asked for feedback from a fellow poet. What he wrote was a gorgeous revision, and almost an entirely new poem. We told the same story, but what he wrote was masterful.

Today, I used his revision poem as my inspiration for a last line/first line exercise. And although, it is one of my favorite poems, I hadn’t read it in a while.  Thus safely keeping my writerly instinct and conscious clear.  First you’ll read his revision poem (forgive me Michael, the line breaks……), and then my NaPoWriMo version to follow

Nyctanthous anthem II
By Michael Aziz
O night absorb
The me of the day,
The salty symptoms of my pain.
O cucullated moon absorb me,
Gather me
In your cloaken folds,
Baptize me in glittering starlight,
Your constellations shuttled
Through my veins,
Brightening my dark prognosis
With the perfect peace of light.
But I will never know peace
Until my body burns
And the ashes of my limbs
Are smudges sealed
On another’s forehead
Absorb me O black blind night,
Absolve me this endless toiling instant
O seasoned star
Lurking in the autumn sky
Like a tiger
Pacing the lines of a village,
Come down to the riverside,
Here by the winding shore,
To quench, to bathe, here
Where my tall flame burns.




Night Blooms Redux

I am but a blank space waiting

I take in air but leave no shadow.

O, trail behind me love

A prowling heart does wait, tending

each still breath with a step.

A far away planet gleams cold,

O, remnant rock remember me

in your vacuous


Take me in, as you.

Too smooth to tell

are oils anointed,

Take on deep onyx as I burn

Until the all of me is malleable.

White now and muffled still

are the starbursts of deprivation.

And deep behind my eyes

are the wanton maps of dreams.

From deep to deep

So that I may shine,

I rest I am folded.

Take me in as you,

O cold and gleaming remnant rock

You are the nacre, you are the scale in my eye.

Prowling with each still,  blinded breath

until the all of me is malleable

Being a poet, children, Comic book Villains, Comic books, Growth, Healing, Humanity, NaPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo2018, Personal Experiences, the color of moments

NaPoWriMo Days 15-17: Retelling of Family Anecdotes, Play, And The Vulnerability Of A Villain

Another post with three days worth of poems. Forgive me in advance for the groan inducing,  day fifteen.

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) follows Gowrishankar’s suggestion that we write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time. It could be the story of the time your Uncle Louis caught a home run ball, the time your Cousin May accidentally brought home a coyote and gave it a bath, thinking it was a stray dog, or something darker (or even sillier).

Day Seventeen

All quiet upstairs

She slipped

Down the stairs 

and into the shadows and shelter 

of the basement

Hot little hands

Heat of the heart running through them

and down into the finger pads 

that magicked over 

castles and castles of  boxes

Card board—smooth and wooly

Found the one

The one she’d secreted in thought

down the stairs to find

Pulled it open with a rustle

Gleaming and nestled

Babies of treasure

The jeweled and preserved excitement of Christmas

all there nested in tissue and waiting

Fragile month of December

Round and glass

Smooth and painted

Handled like a mother’s egg

Life inside

Curious hands shouldn’t hold too long

scolded if touched or turned too long

Found her accomplice stool standing still

Climbed and dropped 

Each one, on the concrete basement floor

a colored crystal explosion

All for her


In this vein, our (optional, as always) prompt for the day asks you to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up (sort of like Calvinball).

Day Sixteen

With the adult world swelling all around them

they fashion child kingdoms

to make sense

of what they see

Capes and tunnels and bands of warriors

Sunset dreaming and flying through trees

Leafy worlds and tiny islands

Heady breathless sweaty leaders atop hills and swing sets and decks

Makes pacts and rules and rule their people

Decrepit sewage drain becomes the promised land

The anthems of play

Mimic, mirror, make different


And now for our prompt (optional, as always). In her interview, Blake suggests writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).

Day Fifteen: The Vulnerability Of A Villain

Morning routine

Cover the hide

Hide behind

the white

The taunts were real bad sometimes

Paint  was his savior

Swiping and covering

Layers of closeness

Closer than anyone wanted to get

The white paint found on sale  was his friend,

and covered for him

Covered him and his gruesome skin

People didn’t care

 to linger too long 

No curious triangle glances

from the eyes

to the mouth

to the chin, that signaled a possible friend

That signaled the soft curiosity of  another human

Just sharp left turns from—

(Repulsed and afraid of)

From the man he sees in the mirror

Fingers hold the tin

Pop the lid

Moist dread

Empty pot

The Joker’s out of makeup


Our (optional, as always) prompt for the day is taken from one of the prompts that Kwoya Fagin Maples suggests in here interview: a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

“Everything means something” she said, pen pausing long enough for her to speak. She looked at me over a pair of reading glasses and a legal pad. The light from the tiffany desk lamp to her left, gleamed yellow across her lap, illuminating the legal pad and her nails as she wrote. She’d offered to review my dreams with me and was writing the details down as I spoke

I’d paused, and hesitated over a detail, deciding out loud whether or not I should include it in the retelling of this dream

I’d been coming weekly for a couple of months

And the more I spoke, the more I realized that I understood quite a lot and quite a little of myself

Without aggrandizing my own state of mind too much, I’ll tell you that delving into your own mind is like a competent sailor plunging into the depths of his beloved sea

On the surface he understands the waves and the wind and the nautical relation from one shore to the next. He can reasonably predict the response of his ship in the presence of any given weather scenario, the strength of his sails, the direction of his vessel and himself according to the map of stars that unfold when night descends

But outside of the bones of his ship, outside  the boughs and the sails, no sextant, no compass, alone in the cold sea water, pale body floating and bobbing at the surface, miles and miles of deep blue below him, he is alone, and entirely new way to navigate will be imagined

His body and mind, the only tools

So I described the tiny detail in the dream that I’d almost skipped over, and she nodded as she wrote, the tip of the cap of her pen bending in air, dipping and tipping, giving ink-shape to the details of my dreams

And as I heard myself speaking, heard my voice giving sound to the details of my dreams, I saw a white and iridescent little fish with the scrunched up face of monster, swim by

2017, action healing, awakening, Being a nurse, Being a poet, Fear, Growth, NaPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo2018, Personal Experiences, seeking, signs, summer, the color of moments, vignettes

NaPoWriMo Day Eleven: The State Of The Union Of Body And Mind