Wednesday, April 1, 2020

National Poetry Month / NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2020


Friends, welcome to a new National Poetry Month! I'm very glad this month to have my old friend, the esteemed poet Thomas Alan Holmes, writing poems with me for NaPoWriMo and Poem-a-Day. We've had a few years where the exigencies of life and work have kept us too busy. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping us sheltering at home, so why not write a few poems? Welcome back, Alan!

To new readers, we look at the daily April prompts put out by Maureen Thorson at NaPoWriMo.net and Robert Lee Brewer in his blog Poetic Asides and write a poem inspired by one or both of the prompts. If that is not working, we may "go rogue," as Alan puts it, writing a poem in our own direction and discretion. Okay, here goes:

Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt for Day One: “write a new world poem. There are new worlds and there are new worlds. You could write a poem about discovery of an actual planet. Or maybe your new world is actually a state of mind.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo first-day prompt: “write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.”


Banner from NaPoWriMo.net

My poem today follows both prompts, using the fib poetic form, based on the Fibonacci sequence — 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 — where each number is the sum of the previous two. In this particular poem, the number of syllables in each line follow Fibonacci, winding up and then winding down and then up, in succession. Trigger warning: it's political.

Mastication

Since
we
all were
one year old,
each and every one
of us has done this without fail.

We have all eaten spaghetti
and meatballs, chicken
and noodles,
jello,
grapes,
bread.

Each
day
we all
had to do
one basic thing: chew.
Flex our jaws and gnash, grind our teeth.

Friends, that's the way we've moved through life:
chewed kindergarten,
grade school and
high school,
work,
love.

Chew,
chew,
and chew
some more. Chew
beautiful sunsets,
both stormy and calm ocean waves.

For me the deaths of my parents,
the slow departures
of lovers,
heartbreaks
and
hope.

But
these
days of
pandemic,
we're asked to chew more,
much more. Now we have to chew

Washington, the orange White House,
coronavirus
briefings full
of dumb
non-
facts,

chewed
up,
barfed out,
pure nonsense,
from a third grader
who is 73 years old.

In November, let's keep in mind
his non-brave new world,
chew, chew, chew,
and spit
him
out.
—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]

Alan also follows both prompts with a Petrarchan sonnet.

Distancing

I open up the blinds and see the hill
outside the basement bedroom, working where
my older son slept as a teen. I stare
into a screen, my classroom now, and will
begin to explicate some texts. I still,
days into these first weeks of working here
and not my office, not the classrooms there
on that abandoned campus, try to fill
this work with care and meaning. I have lost
some undergraduates some weeks before
pandemic protocol. I didn’t reach
them soon enough, and their tuition cost
them not so much that schoolwork mattered more
than anything they thought I could not teach.

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

Thanks for reading, friends. Happy National Poetry month and stay well.

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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