April 22, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 21: Falling hard

Inspired by the renga form, but much looser.

Landing hard

junkyard filled with cars gone to seed
parts spilled on the ground
coffee in a cardboard cup
teenage boy nods off the sermon on the sermon on the mount
daydreaming about that gal and that one and those two
the immigrant has big plans but a small job
girl with no dollhouse draws blueprints
no rescue for her the king has no son
night was falling it landed hard
the boy’s world three blocks wide but he knew every pebble
liked to sit in doorless cars and pretend to drive away


April 21, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 20: Drifting

Short. At least it’s short.


Walking through the yard
in the dark, I mistake
dandelions for insomniac
morning glories. I bend
down and disillusion
myself. Later, floating
towards sleep, I seem
to stand in a field
of blue flowers
that open to the stars,
as I do.

NaPoWriMo Day 19: Losing place

Another free verse poem. It started out to be a sonnet, but got stubborn.

Losing place

Life is a matter of disappointing oneself
always again. Duplicitous at your desk,
you pretend you know what you’re doing
and patch together something good enough.
You offer up small principles to comfort,
blast the A/C because sweat makes you itch.
You hold back the needed sharp truth
out of squeamishness, only to slash with it
later in a moment of pique. Friends die
you haven’t called. That’s life, but not
for everyone. Some people move
differently through space, people not better
or worse than we, but less concerned with it,
for which I envy them. Where they are is not short
of someplace else.

NaPoWriMo Day 18: Expedited

Thought I’d try a prose poem this time. I know it’s not a story, because a story has a beginning, middle and end.


We were four now in number, and the plains played unwilling host. Hot, dry, ground agape, brittle grass and weeds. We were herded by dust devils. Rain to the south kept pace with us, never moving closer, not sending even a smell of water our way. Vera stumbled, almost fell one step in ten, but trudged on. Ross moved steadily, spine straight, eyes level forward, staring at his own thoughts. Only Maria sweated, the rest already wrung out, only her throat was not too parched for a cicada drone of mumbled curses. I was dizzy, my head and eyeballs hurt from heat and weariness and constant scanning. It was my expedition, my vision of artifice triumphing over nature. I watched for snakes, water, signs. I watched for a hint of change in weather or landscape. I watched for the sun to budge, grant us at least a shadow.

NaPoWriMo Day 17: Half a moment

I’ve decided to post all my NaPoWriMo works here, no matter how bad. I reserve the right to revise before posting, however. Believe it or not, I’ve taken out the worst lines (the “this is how you should feel” lines) from the following.

Half a moment

Like when I’m in the parking lot, fast
food sandwich halfway to my mouth
and a breeze takes away the smell
of diesel and burning grease and brings
earth and grass and is that lilacs
and the chirp of robins and finches
and I see an old couple walk by
and his stubble and her white hair
and unseen feathers and blooms and blades
are closer to me than my skin, part
of me, no, we’re all parts, we all belong to
and the wind changes and I eat my sandwich.

April 17, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 16: a renga sonnet

My attempt at combining the renga and sonnet forms, probably an affront to each.

Damp day

a chill, damp day:
lilac blossoms close

wet cat
hangs on the screen door —
the kettle whistles

cheeks flushed with anger,
they hate in whispers

the full moon
like the blotchy face
of one loved

needle on empty, GPS
searching for satellites

I totter through the packed bar —
where’s the damned bathroom?

NaPoWriMo Day 15: a song lyric

This probably needs another couple of verses, but it’s what I have so far. Not autobiographical.

You’re the one

Could have married that heiress,
jetted around from Sidney to Paris;
and that hippie chick played a mean guitar,
she could have been mine — now she’s a star.
A gymnast, a chef, a sex-crazed punkette,
a doctor, a stripper, a French coquette,
my high school sweetie, an actress or two —
I could have picked any, but I chose you.
I could have had riches, passion, amor,
but you’re the one I settled for.

You’re built like a stick,
you cook out of cans,
your face is average,
the sex is bland.
You quench my fire,
you make me yawn;
I picked you,
and I picked wrong.
I’ve been with better women galore,
but you’re the one I settled for.

April 15, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 14: Diagnosis for the Makers

Yesterday’s poem seems to have left me in a rhyming mood. I might end up with a sonnet or two before the month is over. This isn’t one.

Diagnosis for the Makers

Shelley was a cad.
Clare went mad.
Thomas drank, and so
did E.A. Poe.
Dickinson was a loner,
and Coleridge a stoner.
Villon went to jail.
Keats was frail.
Wordsworth was a bore;
Williams, a whore.
Shakespeare was greedy,
Plath too needy,
Millay tempestuous,
Byron incestuous,
Jeffers a hater,
and Pound a traitor.
Sketchy, all, in soul, heart or head
as I or you. But they’re dead;
what they carved from such rotten wood
lasts, and is good.

April 14, 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 13: On the Crow

A deliberately bad poem (as opposed to my other bad poems).

On the Crow

(by Nathan Lummep)

There’s a bird whose song raises no cheer,
It’s likely to fill the hearer with fear;

With his inky plumes and strutting gait,
He makes people to shudder or hate;

For the crow of sinister form
Gobbles down dead things while they’re still warm.

His ghoulish diet and looks so dark
Make stern death seem even more stark.

Do not loathe the crow! For he
Only plays his role in ecology.

If crows, and maggots, and ants and such
Disdained all slain creatures to touch,

But left them to rot in the sun, then think
How every breeze would start to stink!

So if you meet a crow, kindly greet him.
(I wonder who, when he dies, will eat him?)


NaPoWriMo Day 12: Desire ghazal

A rather abstract one. I use a very loose definition of the ghazal verse form.

Desire Ghazal

The self is a vortex of desire,
self-fed, self-seeking, itself its one desire.

Escape from want, advise the sages,
confessing their own desire.

Who can view a beautiful woman or man
chastely, with no desire?

Purity: numb skin and dry tongue;
virtue withers without desire.

There is in each a thirst and a fountain,
the two bodies of desire.

A pond ringed round with blackbirds:
my soul among its desires.


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