Tag Archive for 'napowrimo 2017'

liberation

final poem of the month!

write a poem about something that happens again and again

i can only do something small
the ripple still reaches the shore

when we meet you are a stranger
but i knew you, and you become beloved

the days are all too heavy
and then we lift together

we need every thing to be different
so we change, change, and change

i thought this was too shattered
but i am whole, we are whole, this is whole

we seek a way through to heaven
we find we each have our own way

duty (assata)

take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

line: “it is our [[duty]] to fight for our freedom”
assata shakur

i imagine her skin
aging precious years in the sun
small cells full of her
she named the task before us
then tucked herself down in the dirt
across a salt sea

i struggle with obligation
run away from it, dancing
how i love my choices
often making questionable ones
just to say
this is my life, these are my moments

but when i hear her poem
whispered, spoken, sung, screamed
it touches the place of dreams
at the root of me
rearranging my life
to love, to protect, our freedom

two feet

Write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse).

do you ever wonder
if that knife of thunder
comes all loud to plunder
your sanity

do you feel so free
when they say you pretty
they say what you can be
pull you under

do you cast your sweet
on the snow white sheet
where your lovers meet
all your desires

can you keep the fire
reaching ever higher
or are you a liar
on two feet

on my tongue

write a poem that explores your sense of taste

a tin cup at my lip,
a copper penny hidden in my cheek
cold water overflowing my mouth
and I’m thirsty
and it’s hot out

a silk scarf coming loose
warm milk in the half light
teeth and nails dragging over
unbroken skin
salty that way

an entire savannah and four legs
the blood of fresh kill
the wind whistling as you dive
dirt and fur
river from the sea

the dew on your tongue
when he’s just behind you
the bliss on your brow when
she steps so near
you only inhale

the moment you cross
the white man’s border
the moment you stand
on your own land
you taste it

detritus

Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

today we uncovered a journal bound with twine
we think it belonged to a child of human origin
based on the shape of the scribbled images
and the curious spelling of words that seem to be in the primocommon language

you can view the reports at your leisure
but the object is too fragile to touch

what we noticed may be a clue
from this absent people
the child was frightened
in the place she went to learn
picture after picture shows her
running from tall figures
in blue uniforms
with weapons

it has been hard to find anything on this abundant planet, anything besides bones to account for sentient life
and if this is the where they ended up
perhaps that is for the best –
no species worth its miracles
terrorizes its young

making tomorrow

write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

the small place
between yesterday and tomorrow
where people who can see futures
whisper to each other
the words to the songs they must sing
to lead the way

the narrow corridor
creaks with every step
people think they can run the path like bulls
but the only way forward is at the pace
of our collective heartbeat
altogether, imperfect, together

the past is turning to dust behind us
we must remember
the future is waiting beyond our anxiety
we must dream
the present is so small
we must fill it with our transformation

(dedicated to michelle, kali, ananda, sha and guppi)

scribble

write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts.

i looked for us
in your margins
we were not there
we could not fit
i scribbled all over the page
we’re here
we’re here
we’re here

black. liberation.

Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is.

black
covers us
every single inch
both within and beyond.
belonging.

liberation
awaits us
down deep inside
where tomorrow bursts forth.
trust.

georgic prince, purple sea

Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.

to care for the black body
gather on either side and ask for nothing
touch the purple flowers, inhale the lavender
remember that a prince walked on dirt here
as well as clouds and water

remember there was a before
before police and jim crow
before migrating north
before prayers in cotton fields
before songs pressed together from strangers’ tongues
before the ocean was a graveyard
before the betrayal and hunting

tell the cow children how beautiful they are
and tell the stars they cannot distract you
from the beauty of the darkness

remember there will be a then
it is moving even now
a river through the soil
that has never seen the sun

be naked in the field
let your spine be naked in daylight
let everyone know
you love the orbit, the chaos
the green, the rolling and rolling hills
that all want to see the sea
and be the waves

press one cheek to the dirt path
then the other
whisper first and then yell
be unintelligible with your wild
loving
be black, and be of the earth
feed your root system

let the medicine be earth
let your flesh become medicine
for all that’s coming

full of blood

write a poem that incorporates overheard speech.

“she was full of blood”

she was pulsing and messy
lying easily to her masters
pretty faced, and wet between the thighs
she survived

she kept forgetting her name
no one could say it anyway
the rhythm of it, twist of tongue
no one knew what it meant

she was full of blood
when she thought of running she felt heavy
how could she carry all this life
far enough and farther, before sunrise