NaPoWriMo Day 28 – Side Effects Include Dizziness, Paranoia

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Side Effects Include Dizziness, Paranoia

I can’t touch it to scratch it,
but today’s different, isn’t it?

It’s like, I know the sun rose
higher like it’s supposed to,

but today felt slightly brighter
than even that, didn’t it?

You felt it too, didn’t you?

Or am I so accustomed to
running from abject darkness
straight towards light-imprisoning void

that when I encounter a
single day without tragedy,

the daily struggle feels
more like a comedy?

Don’t that make your mind nervous?

On rare days like this,
do you find yourself checking on
loved ones; counting, recounting
family and dear friends in hopes
that no one is missing,
or are you normal?

I dunno, man; instead of
notice of another one of
my heroes passing on, I
am getting teasers of new
music from a favorite artist,
and don’t that seem strange to you?

Instead of another black guy
sketched in chalk and demonized,
a powerful, privileged white man
is on the cusp of being held
accountable for treasonous,
inhumane acts, and if you are
like me, aren’t you just waiting
on the other shoe to drop?

Is my heart skipping beats a sign
of hope displacing despair
for the first time in forever,
or should I see a doctor?

Perhaps, for once, this time,
the answer is yes?

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 28 Prompt:

“Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).”

NaPoWriMo Day 28 Prompt

NaPoWriMo Day 27 – Flutterby

Photo by Karina Vorozheeva on Unsplash


Have you ever been
through the looking glass, yourself?
Can it be worth it?

Dull ache of crossing over,
relearning of left from right,
all bold things being equal,

and still, you’ll never
actually catch the dragon?
The unicorn? The flutterby?

Is it better to wait; to
admit that you truly miss
them, gaging the distance from

your side of the glass
where there is still suffering,
rules, just as unjust,

but at least you know
the horizon and beyond
are never meant to be caught?

Anyway, I truly miss you.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 27 Prompt:

“In today’s (optional) prompt, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.”

NaPoWriMo Day 27 Prompt

I didn’t pick a single entry, as reading through most of them put me in a melancholic zone, and I was already pretty bummed-out from my day job to begin with. Let’s just say that the Obscure Sorrows’ body of work inspired me to write this.

NaPoWriMo Day 26 – Banned from the Barbecue for Mansplaining While Grown Women are Talking

Photo by Mizzu Cho from Pexels

Banned from the Barbecue for Mansplaining While Grown Women are Talking

With all disrespect
just shut the fuck up
don’t need your connects
get touched-up, you suck up

you cluck-up on my time?
cock-of-the-walk? oh,
“so witty”, you primetime?

I’ll click-up that block button
like the cock-up on my burner
go head, talk that slick-mutton
and get clapped-back, sack-churner

now you caught in the payback
platoon halt, Mr. Wayback!
turn to salt when you backtrack
ain’t my fault that you lack tact

forget my name and lament
your time, lost, out of turn
reset the game and repent
your crime, never return

in all truth, we don’t fuck with you
and that’s your one and only clue
so don’t press your luck with grown folk
or prepare to duck, tuck or choke

when I cast-out every demon
masquerading as silly jokes
starting with you.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 26, but off-prompt, as writing a parody didn’t move the needle with me. Instead, I wrote from the perspective of a woman reclaiming her time.

NaPoWriMo Day 25 – Ordinary Sunday Morning

Photo by Matthias Groeneveld from Pexels

Ordinary Sunday Morning

a spring storm sputters from the blue,
dancing on bathroom tiles, and I know
as foggy dream yields to hazy reality
you have already answered daybreak
for your Sunday morning shower.

you sigh and coo in blissful oblivion
and doves take flight up my spine.

your hairdryer yawns into action
as you hum a backing tune
while I sing the lead in my head,
lying in our bed, one knee crocked,
staring out the window to horizon as
cotton candy slowly trades
back and forth with blue.

I act as if asleep as you reenter
our bedroom, shadow falling upon me
like the world’s warmest blanket,
failing in your efforts to move silently.

“Stop faking,” you admonish gently,
and despite myself, I lose a snicker.

on occasion of an ordinary
spring Sunday, well before noon,
sneaking a peak, there you were, uncovered,
and upon widening my eyes to drink you in,
every depth, contour, and Venus dimple
of treasures previously beyond conception
came into focus from eastern daybreak.

“What?” you ask through wry grin,
as if you could not possibly know.

but you do know.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 25 Prompt:

“Our prompt for today (optional, as always) is to write an “occasional” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration. And then she followed it up with a poem at the Superbowl (not traditionally an event associated with verse!) The poem you write can be for an occasion in the past or the future, one important to you and your family (a wedding, a birth) or for an occasion in the public eye (the Olympics, perhaps?).”

NaPoWriMo Day 25 Prompt

NaPoWriMo Day 24 – Profile of Nihirizumu-no-Kage

Photo by joey Zhou on Unsplash

Profile of Nihirizumu-no-Kage

My creative spirit is
a large cat-like creature native to
Africa and central Iran.

In her natural spirit form, her soul is
the fastest land, air, and multi-
dimensional animal, and as such,
she has several adaptations for speed,
including a light build, long thin legs,
a long tail, and occasionally,

when at resonance with her partner
and confidant, she sprouts the most
beautiful wings the color of every
sunset ever seen by man.

Her head is small, rounded, with an
occasional mane of soul energy which
resembles evaporating obsidian.

She has a short snout and black tear-like
facial streaks, which change colors in
relation to her emotional state
and level of artistic fulfilment.

Her coat is typically tawny peach to
creamy pink or pale magenta and is
mostly covered with multivariately-
spaced, multicolored spots, which also
change pigment and texture, often
containing galaxies of their own,

each birthing and dying on the whim of
an examined or ignored idea.

Her name is Nihirizumu-no-Kage,
though she has never spoken it,
nor will she respond to it,
but if I fail to invoke her whole name
every time, she vanishes in a huff.

While an informal partner of mine,
she is never subservient or tame.

If anything, she recognizes me as
a subspecies of her and is often
bemused by my efforts to
hunt down new concepts alone.

While she leads a nomadic life searching
for her own prey, occasionally our efforts
achieve a resonance where I impress her
enough to lend me her power.

As she hunts by sight and I by inner-light,
she is diurnal to my nocturnal nature,
therefore we tend to peak together
during dawn and dusk.  

My creative spirit is threatened by
several factors such as time-space
habitat loss, conflict with capitalistic
concepts like conventional wisdom and
day-jobs, poaching and other types of
plagiarism, and high susceptibility
to diseases and eroded confidence.

Nihirizumu-no-Kage is ailing,
considered as Vulnerable on the
Global Creative Sprit List,
but I have faith in her.

She always finds her way back.

Unrelated to the poem (unless you count the alter-ego thing). R.I.P. Shock G/Humpty Hump

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 24 Prompt:

“Today’s (optional) prompt is a fun one. Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.”

NaPoWriMo Day 24 Prompt

While I struggled a bit with the editing, this one was fun. I’ve written about this topic before here and here, but this is the first time I tried describing her in a zoological nature. Hope I didn’t piss her off with this! (Oh, and I used the Wikipedia entry for Cheetah as my base article.)

NaPoWriMo Day 23 – So You Still Wanna Know About That Dream

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

So You Still Wanna Know About That Dream

where we never knew how to let go

with all Midnight Plains a playground
we crammed into each other’s airspace
as if we’d implode from any separation
licking our past from our lips
compressing present between thighs
hearing the future grunt from our core

soaked in milky-way sky and malbec  
unlocking French on flannel sheets
Great Divide traversed before dawn
and dew drops kissed our skin

we writhed, undeterred by chill of fog

we wore our own tropical high
melting Olympic glaciers upon release

us furious lovers; us selfish givers

when I awoke, tangled in your absence
wisdom made for poor company.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 23 Prompt:

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.”

NaPoWriMo Day 23 Prompt

I responded to “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman.

NaPoWriMo Day 22 – On Losing One’s Virginity

Photo by Michael Prewett on Unsplash

On Losing One’s Virginity

Why it’s called deflowering
transcends imagination
groping upon irony.

Days after sweet seventeenth
I gifted her my flower
grinding artlessly in darkness.

A year earlier, she yielded hers
to her soulmate, who promptly
snatched his soul back afterwards.

I cannot say I blame him, as
no magic burst from novice fumbling;
only visceral urgency, dread,

unfathomable yearning, learning
new ways to move, to remain still,
to apologize while still inside

while eyes are still locked, still
one sticky organism with two
muddled minds; an anti-flower.

Deflowering propagandists should
seed new gardens with more accuracy;
first time is slapstick humor at best,

but if both get the joke and laugh
there may be a second time, and yes,
that will be hilariously awful too.

But the third time you may feel petals,
gifting and regifting back and forth
trading an unending source of flowers,

and therefore, the very term we use
 – this so-called “deflowering” – has not
and never will make a lick of sense.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day22 Prompt: We’re examining “the strength of metonymy in poetry” today.

“…I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.”

NaPoWriMo Day22 Prompt

NaPoWriMo Day 21 – Where Sorrows Mingle

Photo by travis blessing from Pexels

Where Sorrows Mingle

At the center lives a villain
centered as hero of his odyssey
in the center of a storm
centered upon ages of disaster
taking center stage in succession.

In the center cries a youngin’
centered as debris, liability
shoved from center to the margins
centered upon lies till they ring true
as the center is blazed away.

In the center burns his sorrow
centered as engine of his fury
menacing grin, disarming, off-center,
belying fang as centerpiece,
his sawtooth pierces, center-mass.

At the center lives a villain
centering his assets, he wields cyclones
centerpiece of pending doom
his center, broiled into nothing
at the center, sorrows will mingle.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 21 Prompt:

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like this one, uses lines that have a repetitive set-up.”

NaPoWriMo Day 21 Prompt

Done, and done! (See what I did there?) 

NaPoWriMo Day 19 – Cacophony of Conventional Wisdom

Photo by Nicholas Kusuma on Unsplash

Cacophony of Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom
 – my brashest, least-favorite oxymoron –
blares at unseemly decibels
saturating all possible outcomes
with the loudest of laziest hindsights

suggesting through simplistic screeches
that all rules are to be obeyed
and never scrutinized,
“don’t do the crime if
you can’t do the time”
and other nonsensical violations
against critical thought,

since whoever conjured such
banal ideas must have to
cram day and night
studying from rote books of
trite cliches and empty platitudes,
burning both ends of the candle,

giving one-hundred and ten percent
in an all-or-nothing
nice-guys-finish-last campaign
just to be considered slightly above
average dimwits who think
about the box as an actual box
when thinking outside of said box,

completely oblivious to his
actual boxed-in nature, and no,

I’m not calling those types vapid,
obtuse, or hilariously freed from
reason and accountability – for
I do not enjoy stating that which
can be so easily observed
by anyone familiar with
the scientific method – I’m just

asking those braying hyenas
and jackasses to pipe-down a moment
so the rest of us can
hear ourselves think.

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 19 Prompt:

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a humorous rant. In this poem, you may excoriate to your heart’s content all the things that get on your nerves. Perhaps it’s people who tailgate when driving, or don’t put the caps back on pens after they use them. Or the raccoons who get into your garbage cans. For inspiration, perhaps you might look to this list of Shakespearean insults. Or, for all of you who grew up on cartoons from the 1980s, perhaps this compendium of Skeletor’s Best Insults might provide some insight.”

NaPoWriMo Day 19 Prompt

I struggled a bit with this one. I had to keep my thoughts abstract because whenever I leaned into concrete and specific ideas, I found myself writing recklessly about things that could cause me problems if the wrong person read them, and conventional wisdom told me to play it safe, which made me really pissed at conventional wisdom for a few minutes, and I hate it when a poet or artist overexplains their art, especially via long, run-on sentences, don’t you?

Anyway, that’s how this particular sausage was made.

NaPoWriMo Day 18 – Derivative

Photo by Luis del Río from Pexels


New vines of first bloom
give flora budding footholds for fauna,
wrenching the wheel from
man’s myopic grip

as drab warehouses again vanish
behind newly greening thickets,

spring reclaiming west ridge
between the people
and their stockpile of things,

illusion of balance
slowly restored once more,

save for incessant warning chimes
of cargo trucks backing in
to be filled or voided,

a sound mimicked by various birds
to spook predators into fearing man
and his stuff’s imminent, lethal
encroachment, and I am unsure

if nature is adaptive,
derivative, or prophetic,
but acoustically, it sounds better
when the birds drive the trucks.  

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 18 Prompt:

‘This one comes to us from Stephanie Malley, who challenges us to write a poem based on the title of one of the chpaters from Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. The book’s  table of contents can be viewed using Amazon’s “Look inside” feature. Will you choose “the poem squash?” or perhaps “grocery weeping” or “the blue socks”? If none of the 60 rather wonderful chapter titles here inspire you, perhaps a chapter title from a favorite book would do? For example, the photo on my personal twitter account is a shot of a chapter title from a P.G. Wodehouse novel — the chapter title being “Sensational Occurrence at a Poetry Reading.”’

NaPoWriMo Day 18 Prompt

I chose “Derivative” which is the title of the seventh chapter of the novel Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee. I chose it because I’m actively reading it and I found the coincidental irony of this choice too kooky to pass up. I mean, that’s literally the chapter where my bookmark now lies.

P.S. – I’m currently still reading it, so don’t tell me what happens next, ok?