Admire From Afar

NaPoWriMo Day 8: It’s Friday, and writing poems isn’t easy! So let’s give ourselves a break with a simple prompt today. Poets have been writing about flowers since, oh, the dawn of time. So today, I challenge you to add your own poem to this long tradition, by finding a flower, and versifying in its honor. Happy writing!

The Stargazer lily, oh how it pleases
But please remove the stamen
As it gives me the sneezes

I understand Stargazers are toxic to the cat
Vomiting, lethargy, kidney failure, and even death
A bit like drinking too much, so don’t do that

Humans report headaches, nausea and nasal congestion
Given the negatives of this particular stinky lilium
The Stargazer is like a beautiful, bitchy, bitter woman

Admire from afar.

~Just L (April 8, 2016)

One Cannot Attempt or Invent Perfection

NaPoWriMo Day 7: Our prompt for Day Seven comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us all to write a tritina. The tritina is a shorter cousin to the sestina, involving three, three-line stanzas, and a final concluding line. Three “end words” are used to conclude the lines of each stanza, in a set pattern of ABC, CAB, BCA, and all three end words appear together in the final line.

Walking to the rooftop it was the view she had long imagined
In her wildest dreams this expanse of warmth she could not invent
Once she wore a lipstick that was the closest attempt

She wanted to freeze this moment, inhaling deeply as an attempt
Once she exhaled the present would pass away she imagined
Instead there was a gift only God could invent

Strong arms held her, “If there wasn’t a you, you I’d have to invent”
He whispered in a low voice in an earnest attempt
Indeed the scene before her was all she had imagined

Perfection in the present moment, rather than a feeble attempt to invent the lesser imagined.

~Just L (April 7, 2016)

Skinny Bitch

NaPoWriMo Day 6: Today, I challenge you to write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general. Or it could simply be a poem relating an incident that involves food, like David Ignatow’s “The Bagel”. Still not convinced? Perhaps these thirteen food poems will give you some inspiration. Happy writing!

I am what’s known as a “skinny bitch.”

I eat what I want: Pizza; butter; sour patch kids.

But not usually mixed.

~Just L (April 6, 2016)

The Legend of Antirrhinum

NaPoWriMo Day 5: April is a time for planting things. At any rate, I’ve recently been paging through seed catalogs, many of which feature “heirloom” seeds with fabulous names. Consider the “Old Ivory Egg” tomato, the “Ozark Razorback” or “Fast Lady” cow-pea, “Neal’s Paymaster” dent corn, or the “Tongues of Fire” bush bean. Today, I challenge you to spend some time looking at the names of heirloom plants, and write a poem that takes its inspiration from, or incorporates the name of, one or more of these garden rarities. To help you out, here are links to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the Baker Creek Seed Company. Also, here’s a hint – tomatoes seem to be prime territory for elaborate names. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something to plant in your garden! Happy writing!

She knows all too well this reeling
A witness to the moment they sparked
He doesn’t see that she’s aware
He only feels torn, uncertain

He knows the hand he’s dealing
Every time he goes out into the dark
She doesn’t see him go anywhere
But she’s familiar with this leaving

She knows his attempt at concealing
Avoiding what to her appears stark
He doesn’t see his heart’s lain bare
His Antirrhinum exterior – fascinating

~Just L (April 5, 2016)

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum) is derived from the Greek words “anti,” meaning like, and “rhin,” meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon’s botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-shaped flower. It’s said that the common name for this colorful flower comes from the snap it makes when the sides of the “dragon’s mouth” are gently squeezed.

Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a person appear fascinating and cordial, and in the language of flowers, snapdragons are said to represent both deception and presumption (perhaps tied to the notion of concealment). Its positive connotations include graciousness and strength.


But the Distance

NaPoWriMo Day 4: In his poem “The Wasteland,” T.S. Eliot famously declared that “April is the cruelest month.” But is it? I’d have thought February. Today I challenge you to write a poem in which you explore what you think is the cruelest month, and why. Perhaps it’s September, because kids have to go back to school. Or January, because the holidays are over and now you’re up to your neck in snow. Or maybe it’s a month most people wouldn’t think of (like April), but which you think of because of something that’s happened in your life. Happy (or, if not happy, not-too-cruel) writing!

March is the cruelest month

Though I never thought so before

Unless the reason one could say

Spring had yet to sprung

As it often rains in Oregon

Or waiting for my April birthday

To celebrate me with fierce insistence

While this March I enjoyed the sun

Took a trip to Mexico and had a little fun

My love was so far away

It was not the miles so much

But the distance

~Just L (April 4, 2016)

A Motley Portrait

Motley Crue_07.22.15NaPoWriMo Day 2: Today, I challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a family portrait. You could write, for example, a stanza for each member of your family. You could also find an actual snapshot of your family and write a poem about it, spending a little bit of time on each person in the picture. You don’t need to observe any particular form or meter. Happy writing!

A pre-concert photo that captures my heart
Left to right annotated
My nephew and his wife relocated
My son back from the Stan
His love reunited with her big man
My other nephew and his fiancé
Who made the trip from afar
My daughter, the bright shining star
My rock star of a man, my sweetheart true
And me in my Chuck-Ts
Wearing a smile as big as the rip in my jeans
The Final Tour, July 22, 2015

~Just L (April 2, 2016)

Parting Lips

NaPoWriMo Day 1: Today, I challenge you to write a lune. This is a sort of English-language haiku. While the haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count, the lune is a three-line poem with a 5-3-5 syllable count. There’s also a variant based on word-count, instead of syllable count, where the poem still has three lines, but the first line has five words, the second line has three words, and the third line has five words again. Either kind will do, and you can write a one-lune poem, or write a poem consisting of multiple stanzas of lunes. Happy writing!


Kiss me forever

Before dawn

Or last time ever

~Just L (April 1, 2016)