baya sings (19/30)

prompt: write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy…a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down.

my mother says i am all sacred
she whispers this into the blanket that holds me warm

my mother loves the sound of my voice
she follows me with her eyes while i dance in the dust

she tells me that she loves only me
but i see her watch my mother in the field with awe

she says that i am a miracle
but i think the magic is her love which made my life

she begs the gods of obsidian,
whom she created, to carry my heart in their mouths

i’m not afraid of my mothers’ love
emotion overflows memory, fhangda bursts the shell

there is no tomorrow (18/30)

Prompt: And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.

queen aya writes by the sick bed after queen e— begins to heal.

the only journey
on this small planet
with this intimate horizon
is from life
up to the edge of death
to the place where we think
there is no tomorrow
and the journey from that moment
to dawn

the journey happened
when i loosed baya from my body
and my blood
my heart
wanted to go with her

that journey happened
when i knew e— could
no longer hear me
and i wanted to crawl
through the dark corridors of her
to tell her of home

i needed no why
it was the only way

the sun comes from those two faces
mirrors of light
all that i will ever be
my only tomorrows

the beautiful bruise (17/30)

going off prompt again today.

e— was incoherent
laying in the midst of
a bloody sheet
there was nothing to waste
it was her own blood
and she would be fine
she was, first, a queen

e— was a singular bruise
a target in the linens
saying to the ceiling that she loved me
calling for me through
the crisis of her body
the crisis of my turning away

e— was so lovely
that was the thing they couldn’t take
from my memory or the world:
the illogical consideration
of her architecture
the warmth and solid ground of her presence

e— was going to live
and i lay down beside her
in that vulnerability
with chips of rare ice for her forehead
fermented ginger for her mouth
apologies she couldn’t comprehend

she could never be a stranger to me
the love was a constant presence
it needed no context
that was the lesson in her vulnerability
that was the way i returned to her

Invasion (16/30)

no prompt today. just went through an unexpected medical experience last night and wondered what it would be like to survive such a thing on obsidian.

when the planetians arrived, obsidian’s population grew from 3 to 800 people. each task of society belonged to a small set of focused people. aya and e—, privately at odds but publicly acclaimed, soon found themselves holding a place in the history of the planet, but not able to find a place for their love in the future. still the future is irresistible. e— writes about this distinction the first time she gets sick.

in the middle of a moment
i found myself suddenly doubled over
holding the edges of the known world
to counter the chaos at my root

i need saving
i was beyond independence
i needed others

i crawled to the door
i whimpered
i prayed to deities of the dark and shadows

and everyone responded
and there was no small talk
but endless laughter against the pain
the end of my torture was the entire task of
those who watched over me
i was no longer alone in a brief future
fearful in the whale’s belly

i was no longer
Aya’s complex broken heart
or my own
i was of a people who would live
holding tight to each other

i would live without aya
i would live far from baya
i would live soft with tenderness
and i would live without apology

that was the promise of obsidian

tell me of love (15/30)

prompt: write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self (i.e. “Dear Poem,”)

queen aya sits alone, surrounded by her historical poems in the obsidian creation archives.

everyone says i loved her
a possibility shifting love

that because of her
i created paired space travel
sending lovers to new worlds
‘let sacred connection create the window for life to enter’

and ours the most vibrant
and ours made obsidian home

and i feel nothing

poems, tell me of my love

how i could feel her
even when she slipped into the dark
how is that possible?

i recognize my cadence
but the passion is a stranger
why would i choose to forget
this naked ease i sang of

what happened to us here
floating on this sweet rock
that i turned away?

that i chose this loneliness?

say no more (14/30)

prompt: write a poem that takes the form of a dialogue.

what follows is isolated from
e—‘s memories shortly before aya’s mind sweep.

is baya asleep
there’s something to say

she sleeps, she wakes,
it does not matter

my beloved
i cannot give you my life

did i swallow your soul…
and will you stop touching me?

my love never fills you
you want my mystery, my obsession

you hold me like a stone holds water
wasn’t i beautiful just then?

let me always love you
we are more than our bodies

but i can’t look at you every day
and you don’t long for me

then let’s stop looking at each other
through the lens of what we were

i have no other view
than this stark vantage of heart

but you don’t see me
you watch some fantasy, memoir

say no more.
i won’t be without you.
there’s no one else for you in this space or time.

say no more.
let’s be strangers, comrades.
tomorrow is baya’s. not yours. not mine.

Baya (13/30)

Prompt: write a riddle.

i tried to but mostly i just wanted to tell the birth of baya (bay-yah), the first child born to women, the first child of obsidian. composed of stardust from a new solar system.

the reason my back bends
the sweet longing that wakes me from dreams
the seed that bursts into jungle
the miracle amongst miracles between us

why she runs towards strangers
why i run away

my little and fully formed alien
my heart, with her own desires
born hovering in air
turning to fly home to the breast
screaming her name at us

a star beam taking us future

the first time i saw obsidian [planetian memoir] (12/30)

Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form.

Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives.

came up the dark side of our new home

a world blown from green glass and tar

sharp edges, mountains pricking stars

it made me feel so alone/

her black face looked at a blushing moon

beacon called us from starburst sand

violet ocean turned the eastern horizon

we landed at long night’s end/

every direction was grandiose

long low valleys full of tiny black gems

two of our kind walked out to meet us

two who we’d counted as dead, gone/

only one smiled when they offered their hands

she was child-swollen in absence of man

these had survived this impossible beauty

this was the prophesied land/

they never explained why they hadn’t sent notice

they never explained all their silence

the longer i live in this exquisite blackness

the deeper i understand

upon being discovered (11/30)

just finished my 8th event in five days and today’s official prompt feels too hard for me but i do have a poem.

this is from aya’s last journal, which e— hid before aya could have it destroyed, and kept in spite of the edict to release the queen’s non-poetic memories.

she’s not speaking to me

the ship appeared
on the seventh cycle of night
a stain spreading on our
vermillion moon

i hadn’t turned off the trace
we hadn’t agreed
i’d left us beacon, calling

she’s furious
she says i don’t love
not the way she does

she says i’ve broken her

she’ll forgive me –
what she asked was too selfish
to make this planet our island
to live until we died?

and what of our miracle child?
to leave them
in some ultimate solitary cell
afloat in the fulness?

there is room on obsidian
we can still live our lives
our eternal duet

we can hold ourselves apart

she says they will reel us in
to their experiment of
building a world

seeing the mote there
steadily blotting out the
small and molten moon
i had a moment’s doubt

could the rest of our days
be this isolated pleasure
the unknown of only each other
the sweetest living i’ve known

what kind of love
makes us forsake our people?
it would be better not to love
than to become so myopic

she will forgive me.

i told her we were to mean
more to history than
a pile of bones amongst
glowrocks on the edge of
a baby solar system

she said
bones that know joy
are never alone

principles of obsidian, a new world (10/30)

write an abecedarian poem – a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet.

when other people came to the planet that queens aya and e— had discovered, there was a need to name it, and to name the ways of the place. e— chose the name obsidian, both because that’s how the planet appeared when approached on its night side, and because she wanted to glorify blackness at every location in the creation of the new world. aya thought it sounded pretty and increased the chance of dragons coming, though she couldn’t explain why.

together they developed principles for the newcomers, which have of course shifted over the years. these are found original carvings on the trees along the central xyst, further expanded from e—‘s teaching memories.


(there is an) abundance beyond capital (that) deepens evolution

(there is a rush of) freedom (that) generates (fullness of the) heart

(when we are) interdependent (our) justice (is) kinetic

love (is a no more or less than a miraculous) mirror neuron

orgasmic pleasure quickens revolution

quiet (reflection cultivates and) releases self-wonder

(the dynamic practice of) totality (allows us to truly) understand variance (in ourselves and the galaxies)

(we must often) wander (the) xysts (to feel it all, and return to) zen