30/30: day thirty - writing

day thirty prompt: Write a poem employing extended metaphor to illustrate the experience of the last 30 days as you were participating in the challenge.


the brain pregnant with words,
the pen birthing ink
on to the page,
each poem is
a child.

parents are supposed
to love all of their children
and inordinately.
how can I love
each and every poem?
there are so many,
some ugly and unruly,
others I would like
to throw over a cliff
or send down the river in a basket
or whose achilles tendon
I would like to cut.

the ones
with power -
the oysters laden
with pearls -
are rare.

like any good mother,
I claim them all,
nourish them,
let them breathe
each allotted breath,
even those dubbed
a failure to thrive.


30/30: day twenty-nine: paradelle for billy collins

day twenty-nine prompt: Briefly research a poetic form of your choice and write a poem according to the rules of that particular form.

I've decided to do a paradelle, which is a form invented by Billy Collins via his poem 'Paradelle for Susan'.

paradelle for billy collins

you're so smart and funny I can barely stand it.
you're so smart and funny I can barely stand it.
I told my students I want to marry you.
I told my students I want to marry you.
I can barely stand it I want to marry you.
you're so smart and funny I told my students.

you, in your v-neck sweaters.
you, in your v-neck sweaters.
if I can't marry you, I'll marry one of your poems instead.
if I can't marry you, I'll marry one of your poems instead.
instead, if one of your v-neck sweaters I can't marry - you -
your poems I'll marry, you.

I think it is your dead pan humor
I think it is your dead pan humor
that acts like a pick-up line
that acts like a pick-up line
it acts like a pick-up line, I think
that it is dead pan, your humor.

I told my students you in your v-neck sweaters
I can barely stand it - like a pick-up line,
you're so smart and funny, I think if I can't marry you
you, dead, pan, poems, instead.
I'll marry one, it is that acts - your humor.
of your.


30/30: day twenty-eight - birds of a feather

day twenty eight prompt: Visit a virtual art gallery and take a look around until you find a piece that intrigues you. Write a poem inspired by the artwork.

'feather girls' by kelly vivanco   

birds of a feather

you know the saying
about birds of a feather -
I think that is true about us, too.

just think
about all the crazy
karmic intertwining
that we have.

a few years ago
I never would have pictured
our names together.
but now

when I look back
I can't believe
it took this long.


30/30: day twenty-seven - the poem I'd never write

day twenty-seven prompt: Begin with the title "The Poem I'd Never Write." Then, write a poem to accompany that title.

the poem I'd never write

there are so many things
I'd like to say to you

but the words
are stuck somewhere

in the back of my brain,
in the place where

all of the missing memories
are stored.

of all of the poems
I have ever written

none have been for you,
because to give a poem

is a gift -
a gift that I am not sure

you are worthy of.


30/30: day twenty-six - the many lives of letters

day twenty-six prompt: Gather some magazines/catalogs you don't mind cutting up and spend 10 minutes flipping through the magazines/catalogs looking for words/sentences that spark your interest. Cut out the words as you go. When the 10 minutes are up, arrange the words to piece together a cut-up poem.

the many lives of
        outward / inward
can't write no poetry
follow your own path
the writer as witness

cut from a 2004 issue of Poets&Writers


30/30: day twenty-five - pistachio

day twenty-five prompt: Write a poem that includes all of the following words: pistachio, ink, pebble, weather, varnish.


the memory comes back to me
like a flash of lightening -
quick, clear,
too bright to see it entirely -

I am 16,
standing on the corner
of Bleeker Street
with my poetess friends
and our guide.
the weather is clear.
there is a bar,
or maybe a kind of pub,
across the way,
and he tells us
that it is famous
for it's floor -
the varnish
littered with sawdust
and peanut shells.

my ink-stained hands still the same
as that 16 year old girl
standing on some New York street,
I think how
fleeting it all was.
so temporary,
like a pebble
skipping over the water,
my youth.

and I wonder why,
why peanut shells?
my generation,
one of hip-pretention,
would choose a more sophisticated
and expensive nut,
like the pistachio.


30/30: day twenty-four - can't

day twenty-four prompt: Write a poem that's different in some way from anything you've ever written. Take a chance! Be wild!


I can't.
I will do this
the same way
I do them all.
nothing wild.
nothing dangerous.
ce n'est pas d'avant garde.
and if I am
will suddenly burst
in my brain
like a symasundar
on a humid
easter sunday,
but instead of
rainbows being born
or messiahs coming back from the dead,
I will have
this poem.
and that
is dangerous


30/30: day twenty-three - our body

day twenty-three prompt: Write a seven line poem that begins with "it’s true that fresh air is good for the body" (from Frank O'Hara's poem "Ave Maria") and ends with "this is our body" (from Gary Snyder's "The Bath").

our body

it's true that fresh air is good for the body,
we drink it in, spit it out.
we take for granted this thing the earth gives for free,
no cost, no obligation.
what will be left when there is nothing?
this earth,
this is our body.


30/30: day twenty-two - kites

day twenty-two prompt: Write a poem where each line starts with a letter from your first name (an acrostic). It can be about anything, but it should not be about you or your name.


kites flying overhead,
moving softly in the breeze,
arouse in me the desire to
live free, to think
about flying kites more often.


30/30: day twenty-one - what the what?

day twenty-one prompt: Choose one of the poems you've already written and posted as part of this challenge and re-order it in some way. You could rearrange the lines or stanzas/strophes or even words in a line. Think of it as a puzzle that you are taking apart and putting back together in a new way!

the original poem 'once more with feeling' can be found here.

what the what?

with feeling, once more
when it all comes crashing
when it doesn't crash at all,
I let myself believe
that my plan,
the cycle I repeat until
there is a moment,
is the best plan,
everytime I do it to myself
I remember when
what I know that is best,
who is really in charge,
and then
that what I want
I should get. 


30/30: day twenty - vacation

day twenty prompt: Write a narrative poem detailing a specific childhood memory.


so much of my childhood
is a fuzzy blur -
many memories
they say
this is the thing
the brain does
with trauma.

but this memory,
so clear to me -
my 5th grade teacher,
a favorite - a woman,
of course,
whom I idolized
because I could not
idolize you,
pulled me out into the hallway
after social studies.

she was small in stature -
I may have even been taller than
her by that point -
but she said to me
in words so kind,
so tall,
'is everything ok
at home?
did your mother
tell you I called?
don't worry,
it wasn't bad.
I wanted to tell her you
are doing so well.'

now, in the present,
I imagine you back then
standing in our kitchen,
fumbling with the telephone receiver,
slurring a hello,
a 'yes,
she's a good girl.
yes, she works hard.
who is this again?'

but back then,
so naive, I replied,
'no, she didn't.
she's away right now.
she's on a 28 day

her eyes,
so soft
and understanding -
truly understanding
what I thought
I was hiding,
and she said,
'it's ok.
please know
whatever you need,
I will help you.'

but she
was not


30/30: day nineteen - rubbish

day nineteen prompt: Imagine yourself performing any household task/chore, then write a poem using what you've imagined as an extended metaphor for writing: an Ars Poetica.


when I write,
I take out the trash.
take the lid off of the container,
watch the rubbish
spill over the top -
my finger
touching something
mysterious, wet - 
and I recoil.
pull the bag up,
yank the strings
tie them closed.
drag the poem,
too heavy to lift.
heave it
over the side
of the dumpster.


30/30: day eighteen - wallowing

the day eighteen prompt also calls for rhyming (internally this time, as opposed the the end rhyme for yesterday) and I just refuse to do it. so, here's something from the heart for today...


ok, maybe I am wallowing.
or maybe I am just a miserable person.
sitting comfortably
in my sadness,
sopping in up,
like pancakes
in too much syrup.

or maybe I just know
who I am.
maybe I know who I want to be.
and maybe
just maybe
I am destined
to none of it.

and if I hear
one more time
that happiness
is not my
in this world,
or that I should lament
for nothing,
I will scream.
or break glass.
or jump off a bridge.
or perform
some other
equally dramatic statement.

so please,
leave me here,
or join me
for a moment -
maybe even for tea -
because my misery
loves company,


30/30: day seventeen - breathing room

the prompt for day seventeen asks for a rhyming poem. I don't do rhyming, so I'm going to just go off the cuff...

breathing room

all I want
is breathing room.
space enough
so that
with each inhale
my lungs can
bring my rib cage
up and out.
space enough
to let the breath go
and not feel it slap
me back
in the face.
space enough
around me
to step
with confidence
into anything,
into everything.


30/30: day sixteen - straight-laced woman

day sixteen prompt: Respond to the poem you posted yesterday (Day 15) with a poem of your own.

straight-laced woman

I wish I was
a loose woman.

crazy in my own right,
but not spontaneous
or dangerous.

a bitch,
but not a
double-barrel shot-gun

more like
a steep-the-tea-to-perfection and/or bitterness,

pull the strings
of my corset tighter.

put the books in
size order.

comment-allez vous?
je ne sais pas!
laissez-moi seul l'enfer!

shut the door behind you,
close the curtains at night.



30/30: day fifteen - 'loose woman' by sandra cisneros

day fifteen prompt: Post a poem (written by someone else) that you love (for any reason).

Loose Woman
~Sandra Cisneros

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lasbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success–
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
¡Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.


30/30: day fourteen - overflowing misty raindrops

day fourteen prompt: Write a bad poem, make it as lousy as you can, do everything wrong, let yourself be awful.

overflowing misty raindrops

we are like the sun
and reflecting off
the clear
held together by the crumbling
of life.
my love for you
a prickly thorn
of a rose
your skin,
your tender
just the
of your shadow
makes me cry,
my tears
misty raindrops.


30/30: day thirteen - youth (two haiku)

day thirteen prompt: Write a poem a child would like.

youth (two haiku)

pick flowers, climb trees.
run through the forest, feel the
wind in your eye lashes.

a man once told me
"you will never be this young
again." he was right.


30/30: day twelve - in the moment (life in six words)

day twelve prompt: Tell your life story in six words.

in the moment (life in six words)



30/30: day eleven - what eighty degrees brings

day eleven prompt: Write a list poem.

what eighty degrees brings

open windows,
dogs barking.
short sleeves,
no sleeves,
naked sock imprinted ankles,
flipflops and/or sandals.
sweaty brow,
sweaty thighs,
wind chimes
in a soft humid breeze,
pounding sun,
with no escape
or best-friend-shading-tree.
outside sidewalk
chalk hopscotch,
jump rope,
hula hoop.
late night hoodlums,
dog walkers.
iced tea,
iced cream.
laying sprawled
beneath a ceiling fan,
a hazy moment
to forget
the depth of winter.


30/30: day ten - once more with feeling

day ten prompt: Pick a one line song lyric to serve as an epigraph to your poem. Then, write the poem to accompany it. The poem need not be directly related to the song.

/oh, these little earthquakes, here we go again. oh, these little earthquakes, doesn't take much to rip us into pieces/
from tori amos' little earthquakes

once more with feeling

I do it to myself everytime.
I let myself believe
that I know what is best,
that my plan
is the best plan,
that what I want
I should get. 
and then
when it all comes crashing
when it doesn't crash at all,
there is a moment
when I remember
who is really in charge,
until I repeat the cycle
once more with feeling.


30/30: day nine - perhaps the worst poem I've ever written

day nine prompt: Quickly jot down four verbs, four adjectives, and four nouns. Write a poem utilizing all 12 words.

I decided that choose the words myself would make it too easy - after all, why wouldn't I choose words that would be easy to work with? so I left up to some friends on facebook...here's what I got:

verbs: swallow/crumble/float/grow
adjectives: small/effervescent/soft/coarse
noun: rose/sock/glass/sister

perhaps the worst poem I've ever writen

like the soft, effervescent
rose grows
or the crumble
of lint from a sock,
or maybe even
the floating
piece of coarse
glass you swallow
to be a sister
is not small.


30/30: day eight - hindsight

day eight prompt: Write a cinquain on a topic of your choice (1st line = 2 syllables, 2nd line = 4 syllables, 3rd line = 6 syllables, 4th line = 8 syllables, 5th (final line) = 2 syllables).


I kick
myself harder
now, knowing what they say
about hindsight being 20/20.
who knew?


30/30: day seven - how I am not a like tree

day seven prompt: Take a walk until you find a tree you identify with, then write a poem using the tree as a metaphor for yourself or your life.

how I am not like a tree

when the wind blows,
though your leaves
are disturbed,
you bend
with the gust,
not against it.


30/30: day six - poemist

day six prompt: Write a poem of any length incorporating every word from your latest FB status update.

I'm cheating and using my last two:


I go into it
most of the time
feeling totally unprepared,
that I have done this
dozens of times before.
just speak from the heart -
tell them
that poems,
and poetry,
are my life -
that no matter what
I always come back
to the poems
and the poems
always bring me back
to me.
and then
one of them
calls poets
and I think,
not optimist
or pessimist
or realist,


30/30: day five - north carolina memory

day five prompt: Write a three-line poem about lemons without using the following words: lemon, yellow, round, fruit, citrus, tart, juicy, peel, and sour.

north carolina memory

holding the wedge gently against the top of her mouth,
she takes the deepest of breaths,
its scent, she tells me, is the only relief.


30/30: day four - restless

day four prompt: Write a haiku (a three line poem where the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third line has 5 syllables). Haikus are often about nature, but yours can be about anything.

I really couldn't decide, so I have two.

restless (1)

like the wind over
water makes waves, your tiny
soul thrashes, restless.

restless (2)

I wish I could soothe
the ache in your tiny soul,
thrashing restlessly.


30/30 day three: page eight

day three prompt: Find the nearest book (of any kind). Turn to page 8. Use the first ten full words on the page in a poem. You may use them in any order, anywhere in the poem.

 'as you will discover as you read this book, when [...]'
{from Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Marc Weissbluth}

page eight

as you will discover
as you read this book,
the universe implodes
you will be the only
one left

as you will discover
as you read this book,
push comes to shove
we are all

as you will discover
as you read this book,
the clock strikes
no one
turns into a pumpkin.

as you will discover
as you read this book,
falls apart
go buy
some glue.

30/30: day two - small poem

day two prompt: Who was the last person you texted? Write a five line poem to that person.

small poem

you sit across the room from me now, back turned,
playing games with our daughter -
who would have thought
seven years ago
that this moment would exist.

a note about 30/30

soooooo thanks Write Bloody for being super lame! or maybe I just misunderstood - but they made it seem like they were going to give a prompt for every day of the month. so I waited all day yesterday and nada! nothing! zilcho! wtf?! I wasn't slacking, I promise - and then when I was laying in bed last night thinking about it, I realized I should have just written something - anything - so I wouldn't be behind. but by then I was trapped by my nursing baby, so that wasn't going to happen.

anywho, I searched a bit and the poetry foundation has a 30/30 page on facebook. their prompt for day one is different, but I'm going to just leave the one I have because I love it so much. but from here on out I'll be doing their 30/30 prompts... and for today I'll do numbers two and three... just to catch up.


30/30: day one - /fool/

good day and good morning and happy poetry month! in honor of this grand occasion, Write Bloody Publishing is doing a 30/30 challenge - 30 poems in 30 days. every day one of the Write Bloody authors will give a writing prompt and the mission is to write a poem in response... what fun! so I'm going to go for it. I hope I can do all 30 days and not slack. so here's today's prompt courtesy of Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz:

Everyone’s past is filled with fools: the shallow, the mean, the self-centered, the petty, the vain, the cruel, the willfully stupid. It being April’s Fools Day, it’s time to celebrate them. Write a poem where you present a gift to a specific selection of Fools from your past. Each gift should perfect fit with the fool — be detailed & specific in your descriptions, and grand in your presentation of your gifts for them. Kill ‘em with kindness.

I don't think my poem totally follows the guidelines - but I don't care. I'm just loving the process!

*     *     *


I was a baby fool
toddler fool
elementary fool
awkward pre-pubescent fool
angry angst-filled teenager fool
won't-listen-to-anybody-know-it-all college fool
a fool in love
a fallen-out-of-love fool
a new love fool
a twenty-something fool
a pregnant fool
a mother fool
an I-wish-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now-fool,
now, a wiser fool - 
ready to pass it on,
run faster,
hand the baton
to the next fool.