NaPoWriMo Day 21: Our prompt for today is an old favorite – the erasure! This involves taking a pre-existing text and blacking out or erasing words, while leaving the placement of the remaining words intact.

Hells Angels Croppederasure final poem 4,21,15

~Just L (April 21, 2015)

Source: Thompson, Hunter S. Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga. New York: Random House, 1966. Ballantine Books, 1996 (ISBN 0-345-41008-4), p. 5

The Sweet Spot of My Life Trajectory: This I Know

NaPoWriMo Day 20: I challenge to write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favorite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata. Each line can be a separate statement, or you can run them together. The things you “know” of course, might be facts, or they might be a little bit more like beliefs. Hopefully, this prompt will let your poem be grounded in specific facts, while also providing room for more abstract themes and ideas.

 Things I know for certain:
Music and smells evoke forgotten feelings
Breathing is essential to living
Laughing, too
Society does not allow people the time and space to grieve
Forgiveness is a gift to oneself.

Things I think I know:
Entwined fingers are more intimate than tangled bodies
Moving furniture can change one’s perspective
Buying new bedding, too
Crème brulee fixes everything for a moment
Nothing can replace hard copy books on a shelf.

Things I know for real:
I am resilient
I make beautiful children
A loyal friend, too
My grant writing is better than my poetry
I love beyond all reason.

Things I know are the real deal:
The joy of finding a polished rock
Digging in the dirt is requisite to sanity
Praying, too
Being gentle with oneself and others is the real golden rule
Turning 52 I have come into my season.

~Just L (April 20, 2015)

Shades of Grey

NaPoWriMo Day 19: I’d like to challenge you to write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy. Check out this long investigative article on landays for a fascinating look into a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down. You could try to write a single landay – a hard-hitting couplet that shares some secret (or unspoken) truth, or you could try to write a poem that strings multiple landays together like stanzas (maybe something akin to a syllabic ghazal?)

 My sweetheart, who fears matrimony
I shall commit to dress forever in ebony.

~Just L (April 19, 2015)

Photograph: Mourning Dress (detail) (1902–04), black silk crape, black chiffon, black taffeta (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The New York Historical Society, photo by Karin Willis)

It’s Sunny!

 NaPoWriMo Day 18: April eighteenth is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.

Nothing is urgent today.
(This poem should end right here in this way.)
It is sunny!
For Christ’s sake, go play!
You want to stay in and write a poem?
Then don’t say I didn’t warn you, go home
But, you shall miss this glorious Saturday!
(Yes, this is a throw away.)

~Just L (April 18, 2015)


NaPoWriMo Day 17: I want you to try and write a “social media” -style poem. Namecheck all of your friends. Quote from their texts, tweets, FB status updates, twitter accounts, and blog spots, and the back of your cereal box on your breakfast table. The poem is about you and you are about what you say, think, talk, eat. You might end up with a poem that seems bizarrely solipsistic (like the internet itself, maybe?), but there might also be a spark there of something live and fun and present (like the verbal equivalent of a really great animated cat. .gif).

My daughter is funny and a model


My son is serving in the Stan


I am blessed beyond words


And I absolutely adore this man

Adore 1

Sometimes I am brilliant


Or over share my hand

Over share

I care about important causes


My life is never bland.

Not Bland

Perhaps, you too, understand.

~Just L (April 17, 2015)

He Really Gets Me

NaPoWriMo Day 16: I challenge you to write in the form known as the terzanelle. A hybrid of the villanelle and terza rima, terzanelles consist of five three-line stanzas and a concluding quatrain. Lines and rhymes are chained throughout the poem, so that the middle line of each triplet is repeated as the last line of the following triplet (or, for the last triplet, in the concluding quatrain).

He really gets me
A good understanding of what I really want
That is ultimately valuable to me

We can talk for hours and never feel bored
A level of intimacy
A good understanding of what I really want

We can laugh for hours and hours on end
Comfort, trust, and compatibility
A level of intimacy

We already know how to be there for each other
I have shown up to this relationship whole and happy
Comfort, trust, compatibility

I want my contribution to be meaningful and significant
I hope I inspire him to fulfill his deepest aspiration
I have shown up to this relationship whole and happy

Still, I feel better about myself when I am around him
He really gets me
I hope I inspire him to fulfill his deepest aspiration
That is ultimately valuable to me

~Just L (April 16, 2015)

Author’s Note: He has that “extra something” that makes one valuable and rare.

Hopeful Romantic

NaPoWriMo Day 15: I challenge you to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self (i.e. “Dear Poem,” or “what are my quatrains up to?”; “Couplet, come with me . . .”) This might seem a little meta at first, or even kind of cheesy. But it can be a great way of interrogating (or at least, asking polite questions) of your own writing process and the motivations you have for writing, and the motivations you ascribe to your readers.

You, Just L, are hopeless
Hopefully romantic, they say
Attempting to capture the feeling
Or perhaps recreate it?
Inventing phrases that speak of rapture
And failing… Again and again
How many muses (or frogs or men)
Does it take to write a collection?
And still I wonder with each poem I pen
Is it more powerful to hold it in or speak it?
Does love stop your heart or your brain?
How many words are there for sun or rain?
Do I write better when I am blissfully infatuated?
Or does my best work flow from my greatest pain?
Perhaps if I had the courage to let a vein
Ala Thomas Chatterton, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton
Or as the lovers of Percy Bysse Shelley threatened
But alas this hopeful romantic has a confession
Kissing… Oh – that – kissing – thang…
Makes me want to do it all over again!

~Just L (April 15, 2015)

Cocktail Party Conversations: Re-Mixed

NaPoWriMo Day 14: I challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a dialogue. 

She: I believe the only love worth wanting and having is that forever kind.
He: You are incredibly old fashioned for a modern girl.
She: I like old fashioned!
He: I don’t suppose you mean the whisky cocktail?
She: Yes, with a cherry, orange slice and canoodling…
He: You are exactly that: Muddled bitter and sugar.

~Just L (April 14, 2015)

Note: Published as “Mixers 1” in April 2015 Blender of Love digest:

Irresistibly Dangerous

NaPoWriMo Day 13: In keeping with the mysterious quality of the number 13, today I challenge you to write a riddle poem. This poem should describe something without ever naming it. Perhaps each line could be a different metaphor for the same object? Maybe the title of the poem can be the “answer” to the riddle. The result could be a bit like our Day One poems of negation, but the lines don’t need to be expressed in negatives.

It ebbs and flows
And comes and goes
Before one is quite prepared
It comes to nest
Settling in, pushing out the rest

It skips a beat
Midst a burning heat
Some say makes one go insane
Yet nevertheless
Convincingly, nature knows best

Tis just this feeling
So overtly appealing
Like a moth to a flame
A rabbit trail to the birds and the bees
Bringing grown men to their knees

Dizzying by design
Hazy in its reason, or rhyme
Unable to escape its stirring power
It inspires thee and the royal we
Conspiring, prompted by the onset of spring
It compels bad poetry

~Just L (April 13, 2015)


NaPoWriMo Day 12: Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form. Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives. Cut the lines where you see fit and, VOILA! A poem!

 Shiny black, leather, supple, loud, light, fast

Power rumbles beneath my seat

Hugs me in the turns, as I make love to the straight-away

You are in my hands and I am out of control

Or is it in reverse?

Knows my favorite music, and how to blow my hair

With you, I would go anywhere.

~Just L (April 12, 2015)