NaPoWriMo Day 10: Simultaneity

At the same time

The shame of spending so much on a dog
while human children starve and die for lack of care
But what to do? Let the dog go and
donate the funds to a faraway NGO? No.

The dog ate most of a dish towel.
Morning of profuse vomiting,
Trip to the emergency vet
for surgical removal

I think of the dog in her bewilderment
at being in a strange place, still refusing food
though it was her very greed that got her
there to be split from end to end.


Magician: Day 8 NaPoWri Mo 2018


Nothing up my sleeve
but a surprise of hibiscus
blooming beside city streets
red deep to decant the descant
wine of incantation
elusive illusion
source of sorcerer
image of mage
savor of sage
wit from the witch and
light from the wick of the wicked
remove harm from charm
hand quicker than eye
turn David Copperfield back
to a dickens of a child


Coeur d’artichaut, Day 7 NaPoWriMo 2018

The prompt for Day 7 involves the juxtaposition of two layers of identity.

Coeur d’artichaut

She thinks she looks
too ugly. Didn’t used to but now
she was old. Hadn’t always been.
Arrives at party and thinks,
–Here I am–and seeks a familiar face,
finding none, walks toward
artichoke dip and chardonnay
desperately searching
for someone she knows.
Over there! (but talking to
someone else.) She dares not
approach, and slowly shrinks back
toward the artichoke dip.

Dressed in white, belted in black
she arrives at the match,
bows in,
eyes her opponent, and thinks,
–There he is!
–What will he do?
–If he does this,
–I’ll do that.
–I will make him
–do this
–so I can counter
–with that.
And so goes the conversation
to the final bow,
no artichokes in sight.

karate me

Between the Lines, NoPoWriMo day 6

Today’s prompt is to play with line length, and I couldn’t help but make line length a subject.


A line is long as it needs to be so long
as it doesn’t exceed human breath
or short
just enough
to move
the poem
while giving it
white space
enough to breathe.

Abstractions, like helium-filled balloons
must be tied to the concrete
lest meaning escape,
floating off
beyond our grasp.


NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 5: “Translation”

Prompt: Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English translation (maybe cover it up, or cut-and-paste the original into a new document). 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.

Version 2

My fake translation:

Small one small one you are where?
Inside, inside the box.
Silly, silly tell me where?

Small one small one you are where?
Inside I am inside .
You are silly.
Silly, silly where?

Small one, small one you are where?
In the silly box.
Silly why silly?
Why are you in there?

Small one I have found you.
I have always been here.
Silly place for you.
I like it in here.

Small one play with me.
Yes let’s play fetch.

Process note:
As one with professional experience in translation, I found this prompt so much fun! The photo is one I took from my family album, of my actual dog Melvin in search of an actual loved one. The challenge was to find a poem in another language. I wanted one that uses Roman alphabet so I could get a feel for the sound, but since I have a familiarity with several European languages, I can almost always pick out a few words, which would spoil the fun. I looked at several poets who wrote in less commonly spoken languages, but couldn’t find their work in the original. Finally I found one by Yalvaç Ural. He writes children’s poems, so it seemed to fit:

Yalvaç Ural
(Turkey, 1945)


Kedi kedi gibiydi
Köpek, köpek.
Insan, insan gibi.

Kedi kedi gibiydi
Köpek biraz kopek
Biraz insan.
Insan, insan gibi.

Kedi, kedi gibiydi
Köpek insan
Insan hem insan

Kedi tedirgindi.
Köpek umarsiz.
Insan köpekti,
Köpek kimliksiz.

Kedi nankördü.
Çekti gitti.


Now a real translation, by one who speaks Turkish:

Cats were like cats,
Dogs like dogs
And man like man.

Cats were like cats
Dogs a bit like dogs
And a bit like man,
And man was like man.

Cats were like cats
Dogs like man
And man was like
Man and like dogs.

The cats were worried
The dogs did not care
People were dogs
And dogs had no identity.

The cat was ungrateful
It left, just like that.

(No translation credit given. Ahem, it figures. Thankless task.)
I had no idea it was about cats and dogs, honest!

NaPoWriMo Day 4: Power Strip

So today’s prompt was to use concrete images to express an abstract. Guesses as to what abstract is being described?

Power Strip

Not an aggressive burlesque,
but six electrical sockets
chorus lined in a white plastic case
nest of knotted tails snaking from and

to their plugs, Gordian tangles,
lifelines curling over dust of desk,
energy-sucking leeches.
Phone, tablet, laptop, Fitbit

No clocks here.
Time itself subsumed by all
devices and desires
of our own hearts.



Concrete Image

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 2 challenge is point of view work.

Concrete Image

I came to be a respected artist
with works in the High Museum
then I died.

What does energy look like as concrete image?
image OF concrete, rough white slab
with cracks in it, surface not superficial
image ON concrete small hands bumping
chalk along for hopscotch courts
smiley faces and raying suns
pointed houses with crooked windows
the Pont des Arts with its Jocondes
liberties that guide the people.

Graffiti, one graffitus, one graph fetus.
Life springing from spray can
onto concrete, graffiti energy.
What it takes to paint a highway
overpass and not fall or get caught
still painting something real.
Graffiti is–graffiti are–called
both writing and painting.
When they caught me they called it
criminal vandalism. I got off, first

I grew to be a respected artist,
sold my work to the High Museum.
Then inadvertently, I died.


Names for Bands

Not really my thing, but here goes for NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 3…


I’m Not a Robot
Cuppa me
Finding Covfefe
Cilantro Donut

Iguana Powder
Sluggo and the Nancies
Spanks and Beans
Micropower Softpoint

Gumbo Milkshake
Peppermint Militia
Pending Implosion
Applaud the Unwashed

Bull Leave Me

Day 1 is really about a secret

Actually, April 1’s post was just fooling. It was an early bird, so here’s the real April 1, 2018: a secret.


Words words with friends
words for word nerds.
Who knew the siren call?
Better social medium than
food photos on plates
depicting perfect lives
with perfect friends
passing hours
wasted, nothing else done.

Not social, who’s on the
other end? Time thrown
away letters artfully arranged
on virtual board.
Lightning rounds, ever
more speed pushing time
along, giving time away.

Say da secret woid,
divide a hunna dollas.
Groucho on his stool,
cigar alight, begins the game
to find the secret word.