Scoop

So too bad I’m not ambidextrous because my scooping hand is the same as my writing hand and yowza I’m going to need to build up some tougher tendons for 8 hours of continuous scooping.

In the meantime, I’ll start typing my journal I guess.

Day #12

Inheritance

after Cassandra de Alba

Slivers of soap marking years like tree rings
fused into a pillar;

a collection of clown figurines glowering
over the duct-taped couch;

glass, marble, and plastic eggs
embossed with Florida
and Eloise;

jars caked in ancient dust, a coffee can rattling
baby teeth, yellowed newspapers barking
the end of the war

one day
all of this can be yours

NaPoWriMo Update

So I’ve been writing a lot, but most pieces I’ve been working on are intensely personal. I have elected to leave them off of the internet.

Something I’m doing differently this NaPo around is reading actual books of poetry to supplement my own writing. Matthew Olzmann’s Mezzanines, Kristen Stone’s Domestication Handbook, and Natasha Trethewey’s everything have really helped get my blood pumping.

Day #3

Funeral for Home

Watercolor paper stacked
rough as old hands–
heater grates open
to a desert.

Florence Boulevard smolders
in inch-deep volcano ash–
thick merlot carpet
petrifies like bone.

A ghost kicks dirt
in the basement. Long
hairs drizzle the bathtub.

Hornets lull the dead,
fruit drops and worms feast.

#NaPoWriMo

In preparation for the inception of NaPoWriMo–an intense thirty-day poetry binge for those of us paralyzed by fears of audience, topic, detail, and ourselves–we discuss why anyone would put themselves through the torturous process of writing a bad poem draft every single day. The answer? Lots of wine.

It’s almost April, which means baby animals, Earth Day, sunshine, and poetry.

(If this list isn’t gritty enough for you, try October, month of blindness awareness, pizza, opals, and pagan celebrations.)

April is a good month for poets. We can sit on the porch, wear sunglasses, and write.

Winter gets me into the bad habits of watching lots of (good!) television in my bed, sleeping late, and not writing as much as I would like. This is partially because it is expensive to heat my apartment, so staying in bed is the best warmth option; but it also because everything is the same grey color for three solid months. Grey trees, grey sky, grey asphalt. Grey is lovely, but my poetry relies heavily on color as fodder, fuel for its verse. Consequently, my winter poems are mostly about death and rainstorms.

The response to many months of not-so-brilliant poetics? The 30-day challenge of National Poetry Writing Month (otherwise known as NaPoWriMo). Similar to NaNoWriMo (wherein writers work on a novel draft to polish and wrestle the remaining 11 months), NaPo challenges poetry nerds to write a poem every day in April. Many poets defer to writing several in a sitting, then skipping a day or three (ahem), but the 30-poem challenge remains (that’s a whole chapbook, folks).

These poems don’t have to be complete, or even near complete, or even real poems. Half the time, I end up writing “ugh I hate working at the grocery store before a rainstorm. Everyone is batshit crazy and forgets their canvas bags,” before abandoning my computer in favor of drinking tea and looking out the window. But from this small moment in the time between other things, I begin to consider my myriad food service jobs, making lists of weird customers and co-workers, and remembering stories. I make lists of images, brainstorm titles on the backs of grocery receipts, think in meter.

Poetry is always in the back of my mind, even while I am busy writing consulting, bagging natural groceries, or running errands. With NaPoWriMo, poetry takes a more central space in my brain, becoming an undercurrent, a benevolent riptide of thoughts, pulling and pulling. The fragments that I puzzle together are not unlike seashells: often fragmented, sharp, and duller when dry, but they are poetic bookmarks. As of now, I have 14 scalloped edges of things that may or may not become poems. This is certainly better than nothing.

A side note for the curious: Some NaPoets post their pieces on the internet. I am saving mine for my inevitable collected works.