NaPoWriMo // Week one

I will be posting my NaPoWriMo first drafts live throughout April. To avoid blowing up my blog, I’m going to just make a weekly post and edit it daily.

I will post tagged links for the previous week on Twitter and Tumblr every Sunday when I start a new post (except 4/1).

I’m rolling my NaPoWriMo contributions into my Camp NaNoWriMo count. If anyone has any questions about either events, let me know. I will be posting Camp NaNoWriMo updates/pep talks every Friday.

Day one // Prompt: write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure


there is a comfort in biting
the tongue pain counter to
greater pains & the taste
of salt & metal & soil good
reason to feel when a heart
becomes stalled & a better
reason to ball up a fist &
with the taste of death on
your lips promise to steal
the breath of the whole damn
world & mean it at least in
the moments before the pain
subsides I mean I’m a good
enough soldier it’s true
easy to fight when
the demons aren’t mine
& so much easier to lose
there is a comfort in bad
bad things in better as a
bitterness as a burn which
spares the heart of it spark
& then night spark & then ash
spark & then & then so much
comfort in the dark, in biting
in a tongue that bleeds &
saying nothing in twice as
many words

Day two // used no prompt, ’cause rebellion


A break in the trees, the face
of the gray slope, drifts of lace,
frail whites of the sky, softly
terrible in their sameness,
softly terrible at the summit,
all hell impersonal — these peaks
we fail to grasp, we pass.

Day three // names


She said his name was Dundus, I leaned back & squinted at the sidewalk through the dusky glass painted with a spasm of lilies, a spell to conjure spring. A letter for him had arrived that morning, she’d found it there under the tree which sighed through winter & in the summer is reputed to dump embryonic apples to be crushed on the sidewalk. She said his name was Dundus, & wasn’t it a spectacular one? She sighed as she pulled a finger through the foam on her latte, blurring the bloom so artfully imposed by the barista. He was young, maybe 21 & he talked about his wife & dog while we stared at scones under glass & nodded, they were nice folks at the cafe, but none of them were called Dundus. We joked, how did we ever go through life named after flowers & trees when we could have been called Dundus? We could have been the bassist in a band. They play anarcho-Christmas-punk but Dundus is really into jazz and he sneaks Monk mp3s into the playlist that lives on the lead singers phone when they’re driving across Montana. He has a tattoo of a falcon on his right shoulder & a lotus flower with an eyeball on his right. Lasers removed the barbed wire because he hasn’t been a ‘bro’ since college. Dundus wears red felt pants and combat boots & the vapor cloud that follows him smells of peppermint. He channels Jon Mess when he screams ‘I wanna ho-ho-hold your hand’ when they cover the Beatles. Dundus has great hair that he buzzes underneath, the rest coils into a knot at the top of his head and flops around when he bangs his head to the music. She laughs & sips her latte, the clouds pass over the sun, the barista tells a story about his honeymoon. But Dundus, what a fine name that is.

Day four // concrete images to describe an abstraction


Inside but out in the open,
a temperature drop &
layer after layer added
only to be peeled away.
When clouds burn &
the water shakes under

the full glare of the morning.
The toil of it, reducing
into particles, into atmosphere.
The air which reeks of water
& so nothing is here nor there,
you’re dry drowning on the shore

layers discarded & suddenly
colder, suddenly shaded by
the arm of an oak bowing toward
the river. It was pushed between
narrow slivers of cloud by the wind
that slices valleys into the water

will & negotiation overruled by
temperament, by passion which
howls up the canyon walls, wearing
the standing dead.

Day five // translate a poem without any linguistic talent


& new beginnings, fresh blooms
glutted on rain & turning back
on their stems like arrows toward
the ground; so many ways to end
pointing down. So many ways
to simply stop.

The well of the unseen sky,
brick clouds, red walls, lines
like veins spreading violets &
pouring the stars into the soil
so many methods to moving bright
things into the earth.

Day six // line breaks

The composure of a queen

Open hand
toward the sky
point of the blade
open throat
welcome mat
her heavy head all gold & rust.

Cloud & home
above so below
point of the blade
as the trees
drowned away
their limbs reaching in the wind.

Echoes gutted, hear her & know,
the carved wings of humanity sigh
burdened under the changing
face of freedom.


Day seven // A portrait of an artist on a bright sidewalk in Canal Winchester, Ohio

The wings of it, unseen & raised in a sky
that is more milk than bluebells,
cackles & feathers, beak & tusk, the clean
lines of Italianate architecture
line a city street in 1939. Was it all over
then? Written & signed in
the straight of his back, the raise of his
hand, small fingers unseen & tipped
against a face more silk than leather,
salute & shade, past & present, the dirty
sidewalk narrowing into the side of an idling
laundry truck…

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