Well, another April has come and gone, and this year I managed to crank out 41 poems in 31 days. (I'm counting the "warm-up" poem I wrote on March 31.) As usual, most of them were free-verse, but I also wrote a sonnet, a triolet, an abecedarian, a sea shanty, a haiku, two tanka, a "pan-ku" (a form I created), a hay(na)ku and two hay(na)ku "chains,", and five rhyming quatrain poems. It was also a rather interactive month for me on the writing blogs I follow: Maureen at NaPoWriMo featured my April 14 poem (see below) as well as citing my full-length poetry book The Bungalow of Colorful Aging, and Robert at Write Better Poetry used my prompt idea on my birthday, April 27.
Also, as usual, I will share what I think are my best poems of the month. Here's my "top ten":
[Day 2 (NaPoWriMo prompt only): write a question based on each of 5 to 10 words in a word bank, and then answer each question with a one-line response, using surrealistic imagery if possible. Then remove the questions and write a poem using only your answers. I chose not to remove the questions because I liked that result better.]
for bridges, cars and monuments
to victims in our bloody town.
I dreamt the guns were melted. Down
the chute they went. "We will not drown
in grief or hate." This covenant
I dreamt. The guns were melted down
for bridges, cars and monuments.
I spring out of bed at seven a.m.
My feet blur into a circular swirl of speed,
and I take off with horizontal motion lines, a cloud of dust,
and a ricochet sound behind me.
Metal pans clatter in the kitchen. She is covered in flour.
Some of it rubs off on me when we kiss good morning.
She tastes like flour too. I hear the pastel morning outside,
but I feel red, as in fired up, action-loaded for a busy day,
Indiana Jones in Egypt.
I want to do the Times crossword.
What's an eight-letter word for "lazy?"
This puzzle is on fleek.
If I finish it in ten minutes, the world will be a better place.
My kids say "on fleek" but they also say , "Dad, you're not woke."
My assignment is housework, and I wield that filthy vacuum
like a deadly weapon, wet mop in my other hand,
and bounce off the walls like a Superball.
"El Tornado" will make this dump sparkle in no time!
Our guests will need sunglasses to visit!
House Beautiful will plead to put us on the cover!
I'm the Down-and-dirty Cleaner!
This place will be so polished it will never be soiled again!
I am the Luchador of Housekeeping!
Dust bunnies beg me for mercy!
Steam escapes from my ears, and I hit the wall, flattened
like Wile E. Coyote on that painted-on tunnel.
Those two young things caught in a wedding pose
had no idea what curve balls life would throw
at them, the storms and sun, the weed and rose.
They owned ten cars, and each one had to go
through potholes, black ice, snow, and rocky climbs.
But there was smooth, straight highway too. Along
the way, four boys had jumped aboard, and times
became more interesting. Some things went wrong
but many more went right. And now we've reached
this peak where we look down and survey all
we have accomplished, challenges we've breached,
the glue of love to fix us when we'd fall.
Some days we feel young; some days, decades old.
We've gone through paper, silver, up to gold.
They fuck you up, the IRS,
They're cruel, and arbitrary too.
They leave your life all in a mess,
And save some extra strife for you.
But they have fucked up everyone
With unfair rules and rigid regs,
They audit you, and when they're done
You can't afford a dozen eggs.
This monetary misery
Will deepen like a seismic fault,
A rich, sadistic history
For any agent worth his salt.
my grandmother's peppermint
From a cutting in her yard
thriving for twenty five years
it's crowded my back garden
fifteen years after she's died
and little purple flowers
when we pinch off the leaves
fragrant oil on our fingers
when it's used in our kitchen
the calming fresh aroma
it keeps giving and giving
will probably outlive me
shot on Park
kiss his wounds
on the concrete
her sister's shoulder
to this guncalypse
on her lawn
I always want to visit,
your curves and your hills
and world's softest skin: five stars
I dreamt I gave you flowers
but I didn't know how to pronounce
those little cousins of petunias
a million trailing bells, a riot of
variegated in violet, yellow,
blue, pink and white and
a carnival in a hanging pot
and I bought enough to fill your
And I bought enough to fill your bedroom
and you had so many we decided
to share them all over
and we hung them from lampposts and trees
and a tall man standing on the
and we waltzed down the middle
of the street to the song of
and we said the word over and
until we got it
until it became
until it became
and when I woke I went
straight to the garden shop
bought the biggest, most vibrant
basket of calibrachoa I could
and the man at the counter smiled
at me because when I said it
it sounded like
or, If You Don't Know Where You're Going...
For my birthday,
my dad gave me a GPS
for my chariot.
"Your sense of direction
is atrocious, son," he said.
"Last week they complained
that the sun came up at 3 a.m.
Hauling that big hot yellow ball
through the sky is a chore,
Yeah, there's the constellations,
but I can't tell Orion
from Ursa Major, and the gods
are constantly putting up new ones.
And then there are
the Kitty Cats of Despair.
I know they never made it
into Edith Hamilton,
but they are deadlier than the Sirens.
Those adorable kittens
will pull you off the celestial road
faster than you can say,
"Tie me to the mast."
More troublesome than Tribbles,
(I watch a lot of mortal TV)
as slow as quicksand,
those evil mountains of fur
will drown you in cuddles.
The other day they almost caught me
when I got off too soon at Thermopylae,
distracted by their song:
"...any road will get you there,
any road will get you there,
any road will get you there...."