NAPOWRIMO Day 18: My Distant Love Appears Unannounced

NAPOWRIMO Day 18: My Distant Love Appears Unannounced

Let her in, she is crying
She wants to get out, but is entangled.

Into the night,
He wandered and played about.

Again, another excuse
My distant love appears unannounced.

I don’t care as my heart is overflowing.

Is he weary of carrying a heavy load?

A few extra pounds never hurt anyone.

Never empty-handed,
My distant love appears unannounced.

The night frost does not freeze him out,

He breaks the chains,
My distant love appears unannounced.

I drink it all in.

He smells like short bread cookies,
Holding back tears, he offers me delicious gifts,
My distant love appears unannounced, foolishly.

I did not intend to make him sad by asking for too much.

He sacrifices himself to offer such gifts
My distant love appears unannounced.

I am starved
Craving naked ebony morsels
Though I have tasted other colors, too.

My woman’s appetite cannot be contained.

I cannot have just one
My distant love appears unannounced.

I am not proper, I have shed all rules.

I am always trying things.
She is crying loudly, unashamed.

A figure emerges from the fog.

Offering a sacrificial feast
My distant love appears unannounced.

~Just L (April 18, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-the-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-the-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

Source Poem:

My Lover Who Lives Far


My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers supper in a bowl made of his breath.

The stew has boiled and I wonder at the cat born from its steam.

The cat is in the bedroom now, mewling. The cat is indecent
and I, who am trying to be tidy, I, who am trying to do things

the proper way, I, who am sick from the shedding, I am undone.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers pastries in a basket spun from his vision.

It is closely woven, the kind of container some women collect.

I have seen these in many colors, but the basket he brings is simple:
only black, only nude. The basket he brings is full of sweet scones
and I eat even the crumbs. As if I’ve not dined for days.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and offers tea made from the liquid he’s crying.

I do not want my lover crying and I am sorry I ever asked for tea.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room pretending
he never cried. He offers tea and cold cakes. The tea is delicious:
spiced like the start of our courtship, honeyed and warm.

I drink every bit of the tea and put aside the rest.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
like a man loving his strength. The lock I replaced
this morning will not keep him away.

My lover, who lives far away, opens the door to my room
and brings me nothing.

Perhaps he has noticed how fat I’ve grown, indulged.

Perhaps he is poor and sick of emptying his store.

It is no matter to me any longer, he has filled me, already, so full.

My lover who is far away opens the door to my room
and tells me he is tired.

I do not ask what he’s tired from for my lover, far away,
has already disappeared.

The blankets are big with his body. The cat, under the covers,
because it is cold out and she is not stupid, mews.

Camille Dungy, “My Lover Who Lives Far” from Smith Blue. Copyright © 2011 by Camille Dungy.  Reprinted by permission of Southern Illinois University Press.

Source: Smith Blue (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011)

NAPOWRIMO Day 17: The Wilsons Were We

NAPOWRIMO Day 17: The Wilsons Were We

The Wilsons were a pious bunch
Built a church the whole family attended
Grandma declared that her kids would never divorce
It seemed this would be the ultimate remorse
We never knew for sure if my grandparents were legally married
But they were together until death did them part
7 children, 19 grandchildren, and greats /great greats still mounting
But there is always a secret in the family tree
One aunt and uncle married each other times three!
And Wilson is not even our real lineage
On a wanted poster was another great great named Peas
So he took the wallet of a dead man
And forever more the Wilsons were we.

~Just L (April 17, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time. It could be the story of the time your Uncle Louis caught a home run ball, the time your Cousin May accidentally brought home a coyote and gave it a bath, thinking it was a stray dog, or something darker (or even sillier).

NAPOWRIMO Day 16: NOTHING is 11 in Scrabble

NAPOWRIMO Day 16: NOTHING is 11 in Scrabble

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary,
To my JO (sweetheart) inscribed inside.

Dog-eared at all the well-loved words;
On the table ready to rule.

The wildly romantic QUIXOTRY; and
QI (chi), best Q word that doesn’t need a U.

Highest score reported on any given day?

Did you know 1/3 of American homes have a Scrabble set,
And half of British? I continue.

You spun the wheeled game board to make a play
NOTHING is 11 in Scrabble.

Laughing and losing balance, I spilled the wine,
The non-slip grid held the liquid in place.

Good thing we have the deluxe edition,
Because nobody likes to drink from the board upside down, you say.

~Just L (April 16, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up (sort of like Calvinball).

NAPOWRIMO Day 15: Agatha Trunchbull’s Secret Garden

NAPOWRIMO Day 15: Agatha Trunchbull’s Secret Garden

Agatha Trunchbull

A large woman who wears her hair in a tight, unforgiving bun;
She terrorizes children, and was glad that she was never a child or had fun.

Her outfit is a bottle-green tight pantsuit adorned with a black belt with a silver buckle;
She became strict on rules; for instance she did not allow girls to have pigtails.

Trunchbull also does not like boys with long hair;
She once threw a girl named Amanda Thripp over the fence by her pigtails, and once put a boy eating Liquorice Allsorts into a terrible fatal state by throwing him out a fifth story window high in the air.

She is harsh, arrogant, psychopathic, and extremely cruel;
An educator and tyrant, and later at Crunchem Hall, the principal.

This was also the school where her niece taught at so she made it her job to hover;
Trunchbull makes weekly visits to Ms. Honey’s classroom and tends to take over.

Putting children into a horrific torture device known as The Chokey was her idea of detention;
A tall, narrow cupboard, filled with broken glass and nails, resembling an iron maiden.

She grew organic fruits and vegetables, creating fresh pressed juice after school;
No one knew this secret about Agatha Trunchbull. (Not even Roald Dahl)

For vegans, carnivores, and everyone in between, they were nutrient-dense, gluten/sugar/dairy-free;
And all juices and broths were packaged in glass to ensure their integrity and safety.

On Saturdays, she delivered her superfood juices to members of the community near and far;
That is, until Harry Wormwood purposely sold her a faulty, shoddy car.

~Just L (April 15, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – In her interview, Sarah Blake suggests writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).

Inspiration provided by:

Villian: Agatha Trunchbull (Matilda)
Author: Roald Dahl
Year: 1988

And, Nourish Noodle & Juice Bar in Eugene, Oregon. I assure you not only does the founder/owner, Jon, make delicious beverages packed with live enzymes and minerals to assist you in achieving your optimal health, he loves children.

NAPOWRIMO Day 14: Dream Fictionary

NAPOWRIMO Day 14: Dream Fictionary


Table (wobbly)

To see a table in your dream represents stability. If the table is wobbly, then it suggests you are dysfunctional, or adding to a dysfunctional family or system. It may also refer to the fact you are a bad carpenter or cook but no one is willing to tell you, or that you are not smart enough to find a matchbook to put under one of the legs. It also implies insecurity.

To dream that you are setting a wobbly table suggests that you don’t like the people you live with very much. It also symbolizes dissatisfaction or health concerns. Perhaps you are laying the groundwork for an evil plan or personal vendetta. It also implies you should call a psychologist about your well-being.


To see a teacup in your dream represents lack of strength. It implies you are too weak to drink coffee or whisky. The cup may also signify that your life is very small or you are a pessimist; otherwise, you would dream about Vente Lattes and Big Gulps. Some believe that a teacup symbolizes love, nurturance and the womb. This is total bullsh*t.

To see a teacup on a wobbly table indicates your feelings of inadequacy and anxieties of being unable to handle a particular situation. It denotes feelings of powerlessness, guilt and/or low self-esteem. To dream that you are reading tea leaves means that you need a real life. Perhaps you feel unqualified as you read this entry, call your psychologist about your well-being.

-next page- Tequila

~Just L (April 14, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write entries for an imaginary dream dictionary. Pick one (or more) of the following words, and write about what it means to dream of these things: Teacup; Hammer; Seagull; Ballet slipper; Shark; Wobbly table; Dentist; Rowboat.

NAPOWRIMO Day 13: I’d give a thousand dollars for you to shut up

NAPOWRIMO Day 13: I’d give a thousand dollars for you to shut up

Don’t tell me what you’re thinking
I don’t need to know everything
About how you don’t like peas
My boyfriend
Or Trump

Don’t tell me what you’re thinking
Let me sit here peacefully
Tossing coins into the pond
Making wishes
Or not

Don’t tell me what you’re thinking
I don’t want your advice
Don’t dare interrupt
My daydream
Or plan

Don’t tell me what you’re thinking
Let me believe you’re intelligent
Don’t remove all doubt
By opening your mouth

Just once let me ask,
Cat got your tongue?

~Just L (April 13, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. For example, if you chose the phrase “A stitch in time saves nine,” you might reverse that into something like: “a broken thread; I’m late, so many lost.” Or “It’s raining cats and dogs” might prompt the phrase “Snakes and lizards evaporate into the sky.”

The idiom “Penny for your thoughts” is the inspiration for my poem.

NAPOWRIMO Day 12: The Evil Tope

NAPOWRIMO Day 12: The Evil Tope (pronounced toe-pay)

There are stop signs that don’t always mean stop, one-way streets that may or may not be one-way, and road signs that make little sense no matter how high your level of Spanish fluency. There are streets filled with slow-moving vehicles, sleeping street dogs, and banyan-type strangler figs enlarged aerial roots extending from the branches to the ground. But amid all of that, there is one aspect of driving in Mexico that must be mastered or all hope is lost: the tope. Failure to respect, and even fear, the tope can be disastrous. The tope is basically a speed bump. But any resemblance between a speed bump in the US and a tope in Mexico is purely coincidental. The US version is designed to slow traffic. It is usually well-marked, almost always painted a contrasting color to the road and located in places where drivers tend to expect them – in front of a school, and not in the middle of an expressway. In Mexico, the tope is intended not to slow traffic but to stop it. It takes on many forms: from a gently sloped bump to a miniature steel barrier designed to send cars hurtling through the air and backseat passengers into the roof. It is often unpainted, blending in perfectly with the road surface and, far too often, not accompanied by any signs.

Carried by thousands of cars
Oil pans and axles

Covered in scars
Reminders of unintended unions
on their nether regions

Topes are, in a word, diabolical. One almost suspects they were installed, not by the roads department, but by car repair firms looking to stir up business.

~Just L (April 12, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. It may be the high sierra, dusty plains, lush rainforest, or a suburbia of tiny, identical houses – but wherever you live, here’s your chance to bring it to life through the charming mix-and-match methodology of haibun.