Monthly Archives: April 2014

Thoughts on Writing a Poem a Day

Today marks the end of NaPoWriMo’s challenge to write a poem a day during April. I took the challenge (the poems are here) and I must say I found it oddly liberating.

Mainly, it liberated me from having to fuss too much over any individual poem because I knew tomorrow would offer another opportunity. It became like dipping a bucket in a stream each day. Some days the bucket brought up sparkling, fresh ideas. Other days not so much. But it always brought up something.

I usually think of daily writing more as a habit of prose writers, but I learned that I was simply writing down what flows in the stream in each of us every day and trying to say it honestly with a minimum of fuss or “art” around it. Some poems are obviously better than others, but that isn’t really the point.

If you have never tried this as a poet, I highly recommend it! And you don’t even have to wait until next April.

Fore Peaks

They were always there.
I climbed past them dozens of times, unknowing.

Cut from the massif,
threatening in their way–
alive with guttural voices like wolves.

It took the deepest rain
and drifting skeins of cloud

to make them stand out
and pierce my wretched
wandering mind with wonder.

Parable on Couch Street

A homeless person
sitting on the sidewalk.

Spare change?

Another homeless person walking by
gives the first one a quarter,
then turns to me–

Spare change?

Corporatista Easter

It isn’t that corporations are people,
it’s that people become corporatistas.

Stockholm syndrome is a mild
form of this affliction.

Mind and synapse, instinct and
marrow all turn inside out

until Santa at the company Christmas
party is just that–all bag and no man.

An Ahab in Blood

“Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck. There seemed no sign of common bodily illness about him, nor of the recovery from any. He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has over-runningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them…you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish, like a lightening strike in a tree.”  — Moby Dick

No thing in the flesh
burns more searingly
than this hatred.

It is a hotter fire,
a pain more cutting,
a sorrow more eviscerating–
this diamond pure
rancor and loathing.

And yet –and yet–
it can bring a Fletcher Christian
and his crew out of the maw
o Pitcairn island.

It seems nothing good
in this world
comes without alloy.

The Seance

Once there was a seance that left everyone with a shimmering feeling of being inside on a snowy day.

Even the TV sat up and took notice, stopping its own snowing.

One can be in two places at the same time if you don’t mind being both substance and shadow.

Now the winter won’t let go.
The birds still call each other by their winter names.

They resemble maracas that can’t stop clacking when they are left on the table. Music swallowed by frozen water.

It is still beautiful to see a newborn in the womb, feet askew on the glass skin.

An aquarium fish looks out at you
and asks if we are related.

The Burghers of Calais

Send out six citizens to be slaughtered and we will spare your city!

Stumbling in our nooses and chains, from awed inner light into darkness, resigned in our terror, we went.

But their queen’s unborn child spared us! It would be a bad omen to kill us, it said.

300 years later our spirits froze in the lamplight in front of the sculptor Rodin.

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