napowrimo poem 12: transcendence/bird

prompt is a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem.

tangible noun: bird
intangible noun: transcendence

fright, passivity,
mourning, and beauty
are interwoven
with transcendence

transcendence has many vocalizations
it is the rarest warbler
oft perceived as a monster
recovered from near-extinction

considered sacred
thought of as thief
symbol of virtue
harbinger of war

female transcendence is muted
tho we migrate great distances,
defend our territory a whole season
camouflage provided by our plumage

we scavenge or mate…
among many socially monogamous species,
extra-pair copulation (infidelity) is common
…we are anomalous

this relationship is mutualistic,
cooperative honey-gathering
and we are the honeyguides
we are transcendence, deified

napowrimo poem 11: drunk in love

prompt: write about wine-and-love.

there there blurred morning
pouring too soon through
that sliver of window
and onto the mussed bed

hush please whisper

my night eyes north stars for you
now ink an early face
your mouth so soft, bruised
and pressed upon

murmurs to my neck

we knocked the stemmed glasses
from the table’s edge
you sweep up the shards
from the floor, laughing

we need no words

in the light, you are my intoxication
you the spinning room
the rose d’anjou
on my lips

now drink me again

napowrimo poem 10: Here Now

prompt: write your own advertisement-poem.

this was a challenging one, there isn’t much i like to pitch or sell. but i have lately been convinced of the value of landing completely in the present moment and letting it unveil everything. so here’s a pitch for here and now.

this Here Now
is the only place we know
we offer up parched cupped hands
take all we can
slip our scarce time into the slot
watch our tears come down and
so much laughter

this Here Now
is a subtle taste, oh let it grow
let us offer up our flesh hearts
feel all we can
let this hour press life through us
let us revel in this moment
now, and after

napowrimo poem 9: a song of song titles

prompt: take any random song play list (Spotify) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem.

my song titles:
nirvana (sam smith)
who you are (jessie j)
lost queen (pharrell)
brand new (pharrell with justin timberlake)
i’ve told you now (sam smith)

i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

vs 1:
really i am in my own world
you in yours
yours which i could never know

and i’ve told you so much
i’ve told you now
that i could never let go

enough to explain how i can feel
this and that
how i can feel the ego

1st bridge:
and every single thought
and the ancestors
and the memories
and i can feel forgiveness
and i can feel boundaries
and i can feel myself
a lost queen

and i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be

vs 2:
and maybe you are the prince
of some erotic city
because i blush when i write of you

how can i feel such nirvana
at your fingers
i am the record, you know what to do

whorls and whorls and whorls meet whorls
the epic scape of sounds
makes dreams come true

2nd bridge:
and you know where it is best
i repeat best i repeat
i am the record and you know best
i repeat i repeat
where it is best
best best best best
until i feel brand new

(and/no) i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

3rd bridge:
until i’m crawling across the wood
until i’m seeking your scent
until i hunt you down like a stranger
a clairvoyant
a voyeur

(cause/no) i don’t know who you are
but i adore you
i loved who you were
and who you will be (x2)

napowrimo poem 8: rewrite of audre lorde’s now

prompt: rewrite a famous poem, giving it your own spin. i selected audre lorde’s Now as the poem to rewrite, because i am foolish and ambitious.

Woman power
Black power
Human power
always feeling
my heart beats
as my eyes open
as my hands move
as my mouth speaks

I am
are you


my magic
black magic
human magic
always dreaming
my heart’s next pulse
as i lean back onto ancestors
as i arch forward into vision
as my mouth sings

i am
are we


birthing is divine work (doula reflections)

i got to be a doula this past weekend. i do this work rarely, for loved ones. well…sort of rarely, as i think of all of my work as having elements of doula in there – seeing power in others, calling forth intuition, supporting, listening, turning people towards each other.

but then there is the very tangible specific thing of being a doula to a person full of a child that must come out of the body.

i won’t tell the story of this birth, it is the parents’ story, but i’ll share my reflections.

i love the dynamic between people who have loved each other for a long time and are bringing life into the world. there is a preciousness, a knowing of each other. so much is allowed in the process, and so much happens in their looks, nuanced by years.

in every birth i have witnessed, there is the full breadth of human emotion and behavior available – the fear, doubt, pain, rage, love, exhaustion, hope, sacrifice. and with the actual person through whom the life is coming, there is the deeper calm, up under the pain, that breaks through every time. each time i see it i am amazed at the letting go of the past, even the very immediate past, and realizing the only way through is forward.

i love the skin to skin moment, the hungry way a parent touches and looks at a baby who was just inside the body, and is now on top of it, covered in all the substances of life. and the baby, screaming at the incomprehensible space around it, needing to hear through all the noise that familiar drumbeat of heart that has been the whole dark world for over nine months.

the tenderness i feel for the parents and the babies is good for me. i am a virgo, i can be impatient and judgmental with humans. to see then that there is this foundation of experience we all share, that we came into the world tiny, vulnerable and perfect…it is restorative. and to remember we were all created by people who knew some things and didn’t know others, and there is no right way to create and sustain life. but there are many many right ways to love.

grateful to scott and emily for letting me be a part of their miracle.

napowrimo poem 7: a love poem for home

prompt: write a love poem . . . but the object of the poem should be inanimate.

you know the way to hold love
your southern face
pours golden light
onto the hard wood
over the altars set up for healing
for release
for seeking and finding the self

you know the way to hold love
the small corners you offer
for the dark embrace
the clean line of sight
from the bed to the front window
so there is a together in apartness
or how
in the heart of everything
there is the kitchen
where the lovers will pass each other
touching the smalls of backs
kissing the backs of necks
offering sustenance
in any sort of silence

you know the way to hold love
even when no love is home
when frida, nina, octavia and the moon
watch the emptiness
you make the memories fill you up
you savor the whispers
with the ancestors up in the ceiling
you echo the goodness
so it is a blessing to enter
yes even in the winter
you know the way to hold love

napowrimo poem 6: Detroit out my window

Prompt: Take a good look outside your window. Spend a minute or so jotting down all the nouns you see outside. Tree. Car. Bus. Dog. Then spend a minute or so writing down all the colors you see. Finally, think about taking place outside. Is the wind blowing? “Blow.” Is someone walking their dog? “Walk.” Spend a minute or so writing down these verbs. Now you’ve got a whole list of words from which to build a poem, mixing and matching as you go. 

There’s a wild lonely pitbull
And three battle spotted cats
At war under our violet porch
Over which spare shadowed pear trees
Promise to burst mantis, brighter than
Any grey gutted streetlamp

An ocean blue and half wrecked car
creeps around deep black potholes
And steaming portals, open
Between faded blood brick buildings where
Blinded windows expose automated dreams
Of a different era

And all the winter ghosts fill up again with life
Spreading the pink cheeks and belly laughter
of spring after a vortex
Brave bare arms and ashy black calves come out
We grieved a long season; now we are
Reaching for the massive sky

napowrimo poem 5: golden shovel of ‘let it cut more deep’

prompt: write a golden shovel. find a poem you love, and write a new poem where the last word of each line is from the poem you love such that it can be read in whole by reading the last words in order.

the poem i am golden shovelling:

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly.
let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
as few human or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
has made my eyes so soft
my voice so tender
my need of god
absolutely clear.

the spirits Don’t
speak to me of surrender.
they ask me, what is your
terror of loneliness,
that quiets you so,
stagnates so quickly.

i argue: this a heart’s let,
containing inside it
the places we were cut
when we reached for more
when we opened that deep.

they say you can’t Let
love wither inside. it
would blossom, it would ferment,
turn life to a pleasure and
grow a newish season
from within you.

but…i am steady as
the ocean’s song, only a few
chords off now. so human.
i didn’t resist or
try to break even
with the divine.
i swallowed the ingredients
for magic, as only the faithful can.

they insist there is Something
through what is missing,
a place to get lost in
beyond the gates of my
wild and bordered heart
which shudder tonight.

what the too soon past has
left is a clay made
with the quick tears of my
childish eyes,
the dust (red brown, so
precious, even soft),
the prayers of all my
lives left in my voice
with the memories so
close and tender

but they know. they know of my
newborn known need.
they undulate songs of
a dark and growing god
a changer who loves me absolutely
who makes my faith so clear.

napowrimo poem 4: lune form

prompt: write a lune. a lune is the american haiku form, based on word count, not syllables. three words, five words, three words.

doula poem/song:

baby, come down
the way is open wide
we wait, awed

mama gone round
mama bringing you the sky
mama working hard

you are needed
you are all the miracles
you are loved

cosmic little dust
shimmering new star first lit
you are gorgeous