Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo 2018, day 30: Just the Facts

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Today’s prompt asks us to create a poem by engaging with a strange fact, or an odd bit of history, or some obscure morsel of trivia.  I tried. Really I did…I read some bits and pieces in all the websites that were linked in the prompt, but nothing really spoke to me, so here I am, just thinking I’m going to write something and call it a poem, because I can!

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FACT: I want to know how long it will take to grieve
FACT: I’m tired today
FACT: I’m waiting for things to change.
FACT: I’m scared they won’t.
FACT: I’m not sure I’ll ever learn to trust again.
FACT: I still have hope.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29: Sylvia Inspires a Crown

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Ah, today’s prompt transported me to the world of Sylvia Plath. I spent some time reading her and loving her, amazed by the depth and the intensity of feeling evoked by her words. Truly masterful were her combinations of sounds and phrasing.  Sometimes as I read them aloud the words became percussive in my ears. For this penultimate day of NaPoWriMo 2018 I chose Plath’s Poem “Elm” as the starting point for my poem.

Here are the first three tercets of Plath’s poem.  I just love them.

Elm

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:

It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.
Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?
Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

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And now here you go with today’s poem:

Crown

I know the bliss of realization, she says.  I know it with my greatest summit.
It is what you dream of.
I do not dream it: I live there.

Is it the galaxy you taste in me,
its completeness?
Or the embodiment of forever, that was your serenity?

Love is pure light.
How you move and sing with it
Feel:  these are its wings:  it rests with you, like an angel.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 21: To Narcissus (With Video!)

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What a timely and fitting prompt from NaPoWriMo today!  The invitation is to play with the myth of Narcissus in some way. I’ve always loved Greek mythology, and the tale of Narcissus alway struck me as sad—dying of unrequited love of self.  But now that my husband is out of the house and I’ve had time to really consider the effects on my mind, body and spirit of living eight years with my husband’s pathological narcissim, the tale has become a lot more personal.  Before I realized the nature of our relationship and how damaging his words and actions were to me and my self-esteem in the course of our marriage, I always thought narcissists were annoyingly self-absorbed people whom we love anyway, because everyone deserves love, and we all exhibit degrees of narcissism now and again.  It’s human nature, isn’t it, after all, to become periodically fixated on one’s self, one’s happiness, one’s life path, and the ways and means we go about achieving what we think we need to be fulfilled?  But then I learned about narcissistic abuse—gaslighting, smear campaigns, isolation, criticism, financial abuse, and it came crashing down on me what I had endured during our time together, always trying to help him be happy, always being told that I was the source of his unhappiness.  I realize that I’ve been traumatized by my time with this man, and I internalized a lot of what he told me.  I’m in the process of unpacking the stories and sifting through my inner landscape to find some ground and some truth about myself. Yes, today’s prompt is timely.  Here goes.

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Poor boy, you fell so deeply in love
with what you believed to be true about yourself,
you wasted away into a dream and died.
The one I thought I knew was a phantom,
haunting the pool that claimed your life.
I tried to save you but you were already dead,
and as real as you seemed, you were just an apparition,
a poltergeist, making lots of noise, breaking things,
howling like a ghoul, frightening me,
recruiting me into this fantasy of living
as you drew me nearer and nearer
to your realm of death.
You nearly took me too,
so invested was I in resurrecting you
that I began to deny my very Self
and all of her needs.
But the spring came, and with it my own resurrection.
I saw my spirit come to life and resist the chains
you attempted to throw around me.
They were just a mirage, like the rest of you;
loud, messy, impressive,
but without any weight or strength,
substanceless, like your love, like your life,
like your work, like all of you.
Rest in peace, fair Narcissus.
I’m going back to the realm of the living now.
I’ll visit you each spring,
lay a flower on your grave,
pay my respects,
but know this:
You cannot hurt me any more.
You are nothing to me now.
Nothing more
than the whispers of wind
that caress my cheek,
reminding me of the long life I have left to live.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 16: Toys of Her Own

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Today we’re asked to write about play.  See the prompt here. This year, I’m noticing I’m consumed by the theme of the decimation of my marriage, and so this is the first thing that came to me as I read the prompt.

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There wasn’t enough of it in our relationship.
If there had been, we might have stood a chance.
But things got so serious, especially after we became parents.
The sad part is, we really had all we needed,
and the kids showed us every day how to be natural,
lighthearted, taking pleasure in simple things,
finding the joy in every little thing.
We could’ve let them be our teachers,
but we were too busy trying to be adults.
After a time the little boy in you began to tantrum;
he was tired of being ignored.
And you hadn’t done the work of deep listening,
so the feeling of discontent was taken as evidence
of my failings and our inherent incompatibility…
and that’s the story you told.
We’re just not right for each other.
We’ll never be able to make this work
or so you said. Yes, you weren’t willing to change.
That responsibility fell on me.
So the little girl in me said, “OH HELL NO!”
I had done the work of deep listening,
and I took time to honor the voices within.
Out of love for you and because
I was committed to our marriage,
I increased the time spent sorting myself out,
because I knew I’d be a better wife,
lover, mother, friend, and creatrix
if I could understand the currents at work
within me.
But all those things scared the little boy in you.
He called me selfish.  He said I wasn’t a partner.
And after eight years and two beautiful children,
the tantruming little boy said, “ENOUGH!”
So you got out and you played.
First with some friends,
eventually with another woman’s body.
I try to see the innocence,
you entering her
the way you would a playground,
you picking her up
the way you would pick up flowers
and sticks and bugs,
you riding her
the way you would a swing…
But it wasn’t as innocent as all that,
and you lied when I discovered your games,
tried to make me think I was crazy,
tried to make me doubt myself, my intuition.
Now you’ve found a more expensive toy,
a BMW. Is the little boy happy now?
Maybe one day you’ll see that all you really wanted
was to be seen, and heard and held,
to laugh, to run, to be free…
all you wanted was a little play.
I could’ve given you that,
but you thought you needed new toys.
Farewell, little boy.
This little girl has done her homework.
After the dust settles,
you’ll need to go back to school
and work hard to relearn some basic skills—
respect, honor, dignity,
commitment, understanding, empathy.
Meanwhile my little girl
will be having the time of her life.
She’ll be outside running in the open air,
shouting, whooping, dancing, spinning,
playing with friends and new toys of her own.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 14: Dreaming of Seagulls

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In today’s prompt we’re asked to create a dream dictionary-esque interpretation of one or more of the words in this list:

Teacup

Hammer

Seagull

Ballet slipper

Shark

Wobbly table

Dentist

Rowboat

I went with “seagull”. I’m a nature girl, and everything else besides “shark” is something manmade, and didn’t really make my heart leap up and want to crank out a poem.  But seagulls are beautiful.  So I’m going with “seagull”.

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If you dream about seagulls, pay attention:
your psyche is speaking to you and
wants to tell you something.
If the seagull is floating on the surface of the water,
you are content to stay on the surface of consciousness.
Maybe it is time to stick your head under
and take a peek at the depths.
If the seagull is flying above the ocean,
you have broken free of limiting emotions.
Enjoy your new freedom!
If the seagull has become caught in a storm,
look for where in your life you might
be ignoring currents of feeling;
if you don’t address them, they will find you
and create noise and chaos until you do.
If the bird is with other seagulls,
you might consider exploring
a way to process your emotions
within a group setting.
If it cries, it’s time to speak up
about your feelings.
And if it’s eating from
a discarded carton of French fries
in a strip mall parking lot,
it’s time to clear away the litter in your life
and give yourself more healthy nourishment.
Squawk! Squawk!

 

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 11: I Love Life

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Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt instructs us to write “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?’”

It’s strange to contemplate the future
because it doesn’t exist,
and whatever states of being I imagine in it,
when I call them forth,
it will be in this moment now.
But as I visualize my future, this is what I see:
I am happy, healthy, radiant with well-being.
I am in a soul-fulfilling partnership
with a man who loves every fiber of my being.
I do work that is deeply gratifying and pays me well,
and I’m living as my most authentic self,
serving the planet in a big way.
I travel to beautiful places,
bringing my children with me,
that they too might experience the majesty of nature.
I express my creative talents and abilities
in profoundly satisfying ways.
I am nourished in all aspects of my being.
I awaken every day grateful for this life I’ve been given.
I continue to meditate and write every day,
and I spend time in nature
because nature is where I feel most aligned
with the Great Spirit of All Things.
I live in gratitude, cherishing every moment.
I give and receive love with my whole heart.
I breathe deeply and slowly in each moment,
and I sing the praises of the One
who brought me here.
I love life.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 8: Magic Bath

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You know what’s magic?
This is.
This moment is magic.
This moment where he is gone
and he can’t tell me what to do
any longer.
You know what else is magic?
That I can feel my creativity
returning,
rolling on the long waves of my breath,
coming back home to me.
Today I wrote in the morning,
taught in the afternoon,
and played guitar in the evening.
I took a long hot bath, a magic bath,
with candles, crystals, roses, incense,
chocolate, wine,
Music and a willingness to heal.
It doesn’t matter if the piles of our shared life
now are bunched together on the floor
like garbage.
He left them
and I can process them…
the pictures of our togetherness, our happiness…
when will the sadness leave?

 

Today’s prompt was about magic.  I wrote about baths, because baths are magical.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 7: The Artist Responds

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Hmmm…for some reason I keep hoping that these NaPoWriMo prompts will get easier, but they seem to be getting harder, perhaps because of what is happening in my external world.  But anyway, here goes.  Today’s prompt asked us to write a list of all of the identities  with which we associate ourselves, and then divide that list in two more lists, one list of identities that make us feel powerful and another list of identities that make us feel vulnerable.  Then we write a poem in which an identity from one list is speaking to, or contending with, or challenging an identity from the other list.  What a head game.  Luckily I’m always game to play in my head, so, let’s see what happens.

I wrote my list, and artist and critic were both there.  I figure that this a great place to start.

Critic:
Hey! Me here.
Who do you think you are
getting those art supplies out?
You aren’t any good
and no one cares what you
are trying to create.

Artist:
Oh sweetie, there you go again.
Why do you think you need to be good?
This act of creation is just for you….
you don’t need to impress anyone else,
and especially yourself.
Drop the pressure and radiate your light.
Life is your work of art.
Let your genius shine.
You don’t have to try so hard, friend…
Just relax and let your genius shine.

 

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 6: For Ibuprofen

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We argued about priorities,
the two children, and running errands.
Daughter’s ear hurt
but Son was sleeping,
and I, who used to be Wife,

am just plain tired.

The used to be Husband
had errands to run.
Take them both, he said.
Wake him up, take them both

to the doctor.

I can feel the rage rising up.
He had an affair.
He left us; he left us before he met her.
He left us before we became
Mother and Father.
He left us while I was carrying Daughter
He left us while I was carrying Son
He left us while I tried my best.
He left us when in pain he sought
the embrace of another.

Even when he was here,
even when he said he was committed,

he was always leaving.

The anger burns white hot, distracts
me from the grief that wants to drown.
We argue about prioirites,
the two children, and who is right or wrong.
Now Daughter is sleeping.
I am grateful, so grateful

for ibuprofen.

 

Today’s prompt encouraged us to try something new with our line breaks.  I always go on what looks and feels good in the moment, and there nearly always is a part of me that feels anxious, doubtful and asks, “Am I doing this right?” Luckily for me and my poetic output, there is another part that always shrugs and responds, “Poetic license, baby!”  So all freedom to do whatever the hell I want aside, it’s good to try something new. I enjoyed writing this poem with a different way of breaking the lines, and that’s what matters in the end.

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 5:

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Yerp…I wasn’t sure about today’s prompt, because it is so different from anything I’ve ever done or tried to do, but you know what?  Nothing amazing was ever accomplished from within the comfort bubble, so here goes…

The poem below was written by a Croatian poet, Marijana Radmilović. The photograph came from a search for black and white photos.  I don’t know whom to credit.  If it’s yours, let me know and I’ll credit you.  Thank you.

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SVE OVE GODINE
Žlica kojom smo jeli
naše svakodnevno, a ti joj kradom
otapao dno.
Otkud sada tako pristala.
Neki je čovjek maloprije bio ovdje,
njegovao moje rečenice:
Na ovom mjestu moraš stati
i pokušati sve.
S kakvom ti radošću otvaram vrata.
Prvi put činim za tebe
sigurnu razdaljinu od zdravlja
do bolesti.
Žlica koja se bila zametnula,
liječeno jutro, sve njeno prešućeno.
Smrt ima bijelo, nečisto lice
i dobra nam je, sve ove godine.
THE ONE STANDING
Against the grey sky
it measures time, its slow growth
never seen.
Windy days cry loudly.
Near enough to see but covered in mist
negating its presence, reminiscing:
You move, making all stillness
meaningless.
I wonder at the absurd way
we grow into seasons
and fall as all things must
eventually.
A magical time of brilliant simplicity,
slow motion, still nothing helps.
When the time comes, and one of us falls,
the other will be the one standing.