Saturday, April 24, 2021

Day 24 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2021


Robert Lee Brewer’s Poem-a-Day prompt: “[W]rite a question poem. There are a few different ways to come at this one. First, make the title of your poem a question and use the poem to answer it. Or make the title the answer and the poem the question. Or end your poem on a question.”

Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like 'sadness' or 'my heart,' or something more concrete, like 'the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.' You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.”


Alan worked exclusively with the NaPoWriMo prompt. He told me, "I could have forced this effort to fit Brewer, but it would have hurt it."



P O E M   R E M O V E D

while being submitted for publication.

 

Please come back later. The poem may
return at some time in the future.

Thank you!

 


Like Alan, I also worked only with the NaPoWriMo prompt today. And again, like Alan, I feel my poem would not have worked as well with questions.

They Had Some Rifles
— after Joy Harjo
They had some rifles.
They had rifles who shone steel-gray in the sun.
They had rifles who hid themselves in deep night.
They had rifles who had one eye like a locomotive.
They had rifles who were the light at the end of the tunnel.

They had rifles who laughed too much.
They had rifles who stayed quiet in the back of the truck cab.
They had rifles who had some rifles.
They had rifles who had many, many rifles.

They had some rifles.

They had rifles who refused to fire.
They had rifles who would fire till the cows came home.
They had rifles who jammed in the sand.
They had rifles who never jammed and were always ready for judgment day.
They had rifles who loved magazines jammed hard inside.
They had rifles who preferred empty magazines and dreamed of the light.

They had rifles who cried in their beer.
They had rifles who said they weren't afraid.
They had rifles who lied.
They had rifles who told the truth and liked high-rises.
They had rifles who lived in glass houses.
They had rifles who threw rocks at glass houses.

They had some rifles.

They had rifles who called themselves "rifle."
They had rifles who called themselves "skeet" and kept their pull secret.
They had rifles who had no serial numbers.
They had rifles who had the longest serial numbers.
They had rifles who waited for buyback.
They had rifles who waited for automatic fire.

They had some rifles.

They had some rifles they adored.
They had some rifles they abhorred.

These were the same rifles.

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


I'd like to apologize to Joy Harjo here. Some lines are uncomfortably close to her wording in "She Had Some Horses." Although my poem is not strictly a parody, the "rule" in writing parody that text lifted from the original is not plagiarism will surely also apply here. I think the close wording in this case is a compliment to Harjo and her meaning.


Friends, won’t you comment, please? Love to know what you’re thinking. Thanks!

Ingat, everyone.   


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3 comments:

Bruce Niedt said...

The power of anaphora. Pretty intense stuff - well-done.
Reminds me of a poem I wrote in Marge Piercy's workshop several years ago called "When the Ghosts Came". I actually combined the prompts today and stayed with NaPoWriMo's animal theme. Check it out.

Vince Gotera said...

Bruce ... were you already familiar with the Joy Harjo original?

Bruce Niedt said...

Yes, I think I have read it before. In fact, looking at it again, I think it might have been an inspiration for the poem I mentioned before, "When the Ghosts Came."




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