Monday, April 20, 2020

Day 20 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2020


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “write an isolation poem. For many, this is a very real and present subject. And for me, I’ve found that social distancing and staying at home has actually made it harder for me to find the isolation my introverted soul needs to recharge—so I actually wake up before anyone else to get a little alone time. But isolation existed before COVID-19 as well. So there are plenty of ways to dive into this one.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “write a poem about a handmade or homemade gift that you have received. It could be a friendship bracelet made for you by a grade-school classmate, an itchy sweater from your Aunt Louisa, a plateful of cinnamon toast from your grandmother, a mix-tape from an old girlfriend. And whatever gift you choose, we wish you happy writing!”


My poem today is in tanka prose, writing from both prompts simultaneously.

Quarantine Time

Trapped at home during this time of coronavirus sheltering-in-place, I came
upon a present my daughter Amelia Blue made for me in December 2002,
when she was 11: a handmade “Christmas Memory Book,” with a remembrance
for each Yuletide she could recall, going back to when she was 3 years old in
1994. Each page featured an envelope marked with the year, containing a
handwritten memory on a card. The memory from 20 years ago reads:
2000
This was the year Amanda gave Melina and I a beautiful
dollhouse. I remember that I got my Diva Star, Summer,
I screamed when I opened it! I also got personalized pencils
and a gel pen from Mrs. Nyweide my 4th grade teacher!
The letter i in the word Diva was dotted with a star. All the memories in the
eight envelopes comprise beautiful snapshots of Amelia’s childhood and of
our life together.

                                            Self-isolation
                                            brings on self-exploration:
                                            my daughter’s hand-drawn
                                            Christmas gift, age 11,
                                            a sweet, lovely time machine.

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

  
Photos of Amelia's "Christmas Memory Book": the cover and the 2000 page,
with the envelope closed, and then with the card inside the envelope shown.
(Click on any of the three images to see a magnified version, readable.)

Alan's keeping it simple today: blank verse, both prompts.

Shortbread

She makes two kinds of cookies that I love,
and both are shortbread; one is made with tea
and looks somewhere between fern green or sage,
the other has the faintest taste of cinnamon.
We call the green ones “Shrek” because they don’t
keep cookie-cutter shapes at all, grotesque
but good, the other she calls lembas bread,
what elves prepare in Tolkien books, and so
she finds some magic in her baking, puts
the lie to that old saying—it is not
the stomach, it’s the daughter, shortest route.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Sweet poem today, Alan (says the father of five). 

I have a bonus poem again today, another installment in my aswang novella-in-poems. (More on that project here.) This is set in late 1937, while Clara is pregnant with Malcolm. She has been putting a lot of pressure on Santiago to turn away from his aswang urges. This poem is inspired by the NaPoWriMo prompt about a handmade gift, and it is in the form of two curtal sonnets, the first spoken by Clara and the second by Santiago.

The Crib

        — Clara —

I don’t know how Tiyago got narra wood
here in San Francisco, the national tree
of the Philippines, used in native healing

of tumors. For days now, Tiyago would
get up at the crack of dawn, and plane three-
inch-wide long bars, sawing and hammering

until sunset. Finally it was done,
a crib for the baby, shipshape boat we three
will sail into the destiny we’re making.
So proud of Tiyago, able now to shun
                                his aswang craving.

        — Santiago —

I know this carpentering makes Clara
happy, thinking I’m finally becoming
human, no longer a shapeshifting aswang.

How can I be anything else? This narra
wood is always narra wood and nothing
can turn it into balsa. I’m just aswang.

For her sake, I pretend I’m not, but I live
for the chase under the hard bright moon, hunting
men. Even with the baby coming, aswang
is all I am. Clara, I give you this crib.
                                But I’m still aswang.

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

Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. To comment, look for a red line below that starts Posted by, then click once on the word comments in that line. If you don’t find the word “comments” in that line, then look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


NaPoWriMo / PAD 2020 • Pick a day:
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2 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

Loved the pieve about your daughter - and these aswang poems are blowing me away! I can't wait to see the finished product.

Vince Gotera said...

Thanks, Bruce. Sorry commenting back so late. I didn't see this until today.




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