Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 13 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2013


April 13 . . . baker's dozen, people! (I've been waiting almost two weeks to say that.)   ;-)

As I'm certain you're aware, some people consider 13 an unlucky number. "Friday the 13th" is thought by many a particularly unlucky combination of day and date. In my hometown of San Francisco, there is no 13th Avenue; between 12th and 14th Avenues lies Funston Avenue. Some buildings around the US have no 13th floor, a fact that led to the name of one of the early psychedelic bands, The 13th Floor Elevators, who had a hit song titled "You're Gonna Miss Me" in 1966, one of my favorite rock songs ever. Not many people know the song features the jug as an instrument, the electric jug.

The 13th Floor Elevators, "You're Gonna Miss Me" (1966)

While fear of the number 13 is widespread enough to have its own clinical designation — triskaidekaphobia (cool, hey?) — some people consider 13 a lucky number. When I was a teenager, a soul station in the San Francisco Bay Area, KDIA (1310 AM), called itself "Lucky 13." According to Wikipedia, "Colgate University [in New York] considers 13 to be a lucky number. They were founded in 1819 by 13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers and 13 articles." And, of course, the American flag has 13 horizontal stripes, representing the 13 original colonies.

Okay, on to poetry. Today, Robert Lee Brewer suggests "a comparison poem. The poem could compare one person with another, or it could compare one thing against itself. Or it could take a comparable direction" (Poetic Asides). For day 13, Maureen Thorson's "(totally optional) prompt . . . is simply to take a walk. Make notes — mental or otherwise — on what you see on your walk, and incorporate these notes into your poem" (NaPoWriMo).

Triskaidekaphobia


13 black cats slink across your path as you stroll
13 ladders leave no room to walk except underneath
13 broken mirrors are shards on a mile of sidewalk

13 gauzy ghosts haunt Room 1313 of the old seedy hotel
13 vampire bats swoop and flock in the drafty ballroom
13 fanged horses rear, crystal hooves slashing toward you

13 zombies stagger and grunt, rotting arms swinging
13 colossal stone warrior statues animate and stalk you
13 tornadoes touch down just outside town all day

13 tsunamis sweep away 13 skyscrapers downtown
13 years of famine and plague afflict the entire earth
13 choirs of angels pour blood over the moon’s face

13 dwarf planets strike the sun, detonating a supernova

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

There are small traces of the two prompts in the poem, I think. It begins with the suggestion of a walk aroud the neighborhood, and I suppose if one compares the different happenings in each line, they grow more and more massive. Mostly, though I was working with the number 13 and various phobias people might exhibit, collected here under the triskaidekaphobia umbrella.

Well, that's all for my baker's dozen. See you tomorrow for the close of National Poetry Month's second week? Please comment below. Ingat, everyone.   ;-)



POEM-A-DAY 2013 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

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