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.

NAPOWRIMO Day 11: Wisdom from 100 Years of Living Out Loud

NAPOWRIMO Day 11: Wisdom from 100 Years of Living Out Loud

Today, April 11, 2063 is my 100th birthday.

I am a tapestry of all of the interests, interesting and not-so-interesting fragments of my 100-year journey. I love my life – God, family, friends, food, fashion, travel, music – yet, I courageously embrace the questions in my heart. As Rainer Maria Rilke advises, “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves…”

In spite of the challenges presented to me over the years, I continue to love and leap as if I have no history or scars. Perhaps it is why this is inked on my side: “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of. (Though the words of Blaise Pascal are a little larger than they once were.) Call it courageous or foolish. I like “plucky” which I have been called a time or two in my life.

I understand, own, acknowledge, appreciate, and express all of who I am (both the light and the dark). I am a writer and a hopeful romantic, and believe as Francois de La Rochefoucauld, “We pardon to the extent that we love.” This has kept me gracious, and keeps me from becoming old AND bitter. (As I have been known to admonish women of every age – Bitterness destroys beauty.)

I firmly believe that – at my stage in life – holding hurt(s) and hope concomitantly in one’s heart is not only possible, it is essential to living a life with purpose – one that encourages and inspires others. In spite of encounters with sh*tty humans, I have been vigilant about not allowing anyone to steal my joy. At age 100, I am still adamant about creating my own adventure. And, I know in that way that you know that you know one can be exquisitely happy and full while facing extraordinary difficulties. It is just not that simple.

Every day I embrace becoming more of who I really am. It is a process: We can’t become “authentic” in the same way we can earn a degree or accomplish a financial goal. Authenticity – like love, health, courage, awareness, patience, and more – is an ideal we aspire to and is something we must practice in the moment-by-moment, day-by-day experiences of life. Our ability to be real can and will deepen as we move through our journey of life, if we’re conscious about it. (Excerpted from Mike Robbins book, “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.”)

Do not be afraid to open doors, or more importantly, close them. I wish I had closed some sooner. As I age, I am more careful to choose what nourishes my soul, and I am not so afraid to leave behind what does not. Sometimes a leap of faith is our only transportation. I wish I had learned this 70 years ago.

The journey is worth taking. Even when it makes others uncomfortable. In fact, especially so.

So, just for today, I am fearlessly honest about myself and with others, I speak my truth, and I live my life in a way that is true for me. I have given all with sincerity; entirely with integrity, and mostly full of grace. Sometimes I (figuratively and literally) fall on my face.

I strongly encourage you to choose love each and every day, become the poet of your own authentic life, be kinder than necessary in each moment. Know without a doubt that forgiveness is above all the greatest gift to yourself. Be present, dream big always, and never ever lose faith.

I pray at the end of my days that it may be said, “She really lived.”


the two men from great
grandfather’s stories,

they really lived?


they really lived.”

(From the closing scene of the movie, “Secondhand Lions.”)

And, she loved beyond measure!

(Note: If by chance you are finding this letter after arriving in the future in a time machine, I hope that you will be ever changing and growing in both boldness and graciousness. I pray that you grow wiser and more compassionate with each passing year, and every day you find small yet sacred ways to become a little more you as you were always designed to be. And for the record, when you say “yes” you are saying “no” to something also. I have learned too often, as women, we are not appropriately guarding our time and our own heart. Start now.)

~Just L (April 11, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions “What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind? If you are a citizen of the “union” that is your body, what is your future “state of the union” address?”

NAPOWRIMO Day 10: In The Garden

NAPOWRIMO Day 10: In The Garden

I sit at Our Lady of the Garden Chapel in the Vallarta Botanical Gardens watching an orange butterfly kiss an orange Zinnia as if they were meant to meet there.

Two young lovers walk starcrossed among the chocolate plants and cacti, across the stone Bridge of Dreams, which was completed last year, wandering in the garden, without a care.

Sipping my Hibiscus water, I spot a humming bird dancing among the purple Foxgloves as an iguana looks on from the branch of a giant fig tree high in the air.

Engrossed in each other, among the Mexican native orchids, bromeliads, carnivorous plants, and a host of other botanical delights to fascinate, the lovers are unaware.

~Just L (April 10, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem of simultaneity, in which multiple things are happening at once.

NAPOWRIMO Day 9: Hidden Beach in Banderas Bay

NAPOWRIMO Day 9: Hidden Beach In Banderas Bay

My daughter visited me in Puerto Vallarta today. She is 27-years-old, 5′ 6″, a size two, largely beautiful in every way.

We sailed to the Marietta’s small hidden beach in the Banderas Bay. We saw grey whales breaching and blowing their spout, and dolphins wanting to play.

~Just L (April 9,  2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem in which something big and something small come together.

NAPOWRIMO Day 7: I Blow It Also

NAPOWRIMO Day 7: I Blow It Also

I do not blame you for your emotional state. I, too, feel strongly. It is what makes me both powerful and relatable. You need not be ashamed about having a difficult time dealing with your emotions. You are not holding anyone but yourself responsible. You are so kind and genuine. Of course, you feel deeply! Everyone has a bad day. This does not define you. I feel honored that you look to me for strength and wisdom, but know sometimes I blow it also.

~Just L (April 7, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a list of all of your different layers of identity. These are all ways you could be described or lenses you could be viewed through. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list.

NAPOWRIMO Day 5: Little Portraits of Everyday Life

NAPOWRIMO Day 5:  Little Portraits of Everyday Life

Altar in Yelapa, México

Give us little portraits of everyday life. Let our prayers transcend the world. Light us and the fire will rise to the heavens. We arrive at your altar. At your beckoning. We arrive at your masterful feet. At that place that is no longer of the world. Where the everyday and the sacred kiss each other. We join our hands together as if they contain some kind of power. Give us a glimpse of an extraordinary life. Give us a vision of the divine.

~Just L (April 5, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know. Ignore any accompanying English translation. Now start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.