The challenge is reaching the end. There are just a few days left of this April Writers Digest Poem A Day competition. This past week had some strange and a few normal, expected topics. Below are the poems I wrote for days 20 through 26.
How do you fill in the blanks? This could be anything. As I stared down at my notebook at what to write, I decided to write about my notebook, the starting point for all my writing achievements…
PAD Poem # 20 – My Notebook, the Igniter
My pen against the paper,
The device that fuels the spark.
I always begin here first.
My notepad in more romantic,
Than any phone, laptop or screen.
I see my words emerge into print.
The cross-out’s are better than any deletion,
They show the marks of my struggles.
There is no erasing my mistakes.
The ideas flow freely and quickly,
They feel more alive in my notebook.
Letters have character and lines come to life.
I could never abandon my paper,
It has struck by me since age ten
When I wrote my first poem for my school to see.
In this instance nothing immediately sprung to my mind to write about – no clever riddle or illusion related to what a person or thing could be and not be. Instead I finally thought about an article I had read on identity theft and internet trolls. I constantly see negative comments being posted online so this poem was inspired by those cowards who assume false identities.
PAD Poem # 21 – What you are / What you are not
You are a coward and a liar,
A bully who starts a fire.
You are not an honest friend,
Nor a helper who wishes to lend.
You are an intruder upon lives,
Preying on children and unhappy wives.
You are not a real person with a goal,
You are simply an internet troll.
Day 22 was Earth Day so I wasn’t surprised when I saw the topic was “nature.” I woke up and performed my yoga exercise routine. I was thinking about how the moves are named after various parts of nature. I wrote some notes about that and Earth day.
Eventually I took my poem further with how I start my day dreaming about nature. I used my imagination to take my mind to beautiful places when my reality is actually a desk job spent inside without any natural people or substances.
PAD Poem # 22 – Nature vs. Reality
At home in my room, I pause in downward dog pose
Yet I imagine myself in nature’s splendid prose
Clearing all images of fast-paced shopping malls
Instead I sit next to beautiful waterfalls
I pretend my desk is not a cubicle, with no window
I will breathe in fresh air, watching flowers grow
No half-working copy machine sits next door
My mind creates colorful images of the ocean floor
My neighbor isn’t the lazy, gossiping girl
It’s trees, birds and the whole wide world
I flow from warrior to camel to crane
Eyes closed, I picture a garden receiving rain
With dragonflies fluttering and majestic birds flying
A mother comforts the newborn baby who’s crying
Reality jumps in and my yoga DVD comes to an end
I try to smile and face the rat race once again.
No specific point in history came to mind the way I saw many participants choose a specific battle. Instead I thought of a family reading letters of war about a great grandparent. I was partly inspired by a friend’s book I’ve read. I took it from past to modern day and added a fun ending.
PAD Poem # 23 – (History) – Letters from Grandpa
I turn to faded page number three
My daughter snuggled up next to me
We read great grandpa’s letters from war
Painful, vivid stories from lands afar
His crooked handwriting, him being sleep-deprived
As he detailed accounts when half his crew died
Young men with families who didn’t stand a chance
Wounded by the Germans, later fleeing to France
Though his struggles were mostly on foreign soil
The real battle was his inner turmoil
He witnessed terrible sites seen inside the camps
But bravery and heroism won over dear Gramps
For somehow he never lost faith in the cause
He believed in equality and changing the laws
During long days on foot or sneaking around on a boat
He remembered great grandma sharing his root beer float
He would dream of his newborn at home being fed
Later fearing his offspring’s Vietnam battles and bloodshed
As we read the last letter, my child was perplexed
With eyes so big she asked, “What did Gramps do next?”
He shared how greed repeats and generational wars go on
That his final conflict occurred right there on his lawn
Kids were pulling pranks, putting toilet paper in his tree
The soldier in him resurfaced, just like history
He stayed up with a shotgun and built him a fire
Scaring the teenagers real good when he blew holes in their truck tire
No one messes with great grandpa anymore, you can see
His legends live on through his words and family.
On Day 24 the writers prompt was “moment” or “moments“. I figured most people would come up with a beautiful or scary moment. I wanted to share a funny moment, an awkward moment, since I have so much ordinary hilarity in my life.
I remembered a true story I shared on my blog awhile back about having to use the bathroom right after I painted my fingernails one morning before work. The title is smudge-free fingernails and peaceful pottying. It inspired this poem I wrote below.
PAD Poem # 24 – Awkward Moments
Serenity is where I sit
My children dressed and ready for school
With fifteen minutes to spare
They play quietly in the corner
Such a rare, peaceful moment
I decide to paint my fingernails
A lovely shade of mauve
I never give myself beauty or personal attention
I admire my work
My nails look so pretty
Then a feeling hits me
A sudden bubble bursts
An eruption is forming within me
Literally, I need to shit!
My nails are still wet, damn it!
How I can do this without smudging them?
I call my oldest daughter over
Can you please unbutton my pants for me?
She can’t get the zipper
I’m crossing my legs
Holding it in
I yell at her, hurry up, faster!
She is getting anxious
I’m getting frustrated and have to go
Finally I move her hands and do it myself
I unbutton and unzip
I run to the bathroom
I take care of business
At peace again
I look down at my nails
The new color of the day.
For some reason I thought of when I took my first solo trip across the U.S. I traveled from Louisiana to California at age 22 to visit friends from college. I believe it was the trip that made me feel like an independent woman and like the adult I had become. It was an amazing trip and the start to a new life for me.
PAD Poem # 25 – First Solo Trip
Across the U.S., I took my first solo trip
From New Orleans to San Francisco bay
Single and twenty-two, a good combination
I stayed two weeks with college friends in Alameda
I rode public transit for the first time
A bus, a subway and a ferry all in one day
I used maps and asked for directions
It was both nerve-racking and liberating
I stood in Chinatown and felt I was in foreign land
I pretended to be a prisoner in a cell of Alcatraz
I walked along the pier to sounds of fisherman and sea lions
I tasted the most wonderful chocolates at Ghiradelli Square
Some days my friends took me exploring
From an Oakland A’s game to Napa Valley wine tasting
Most days I devised my own expeditions
From street cars to crooked roads, people-watching
Gorgeous Muir Woods to Highway 1 coastlines
I sang Jimmy Buffet tunes out the car window
I felt free, happy and empowered
My whole life stood before me with possibilities
Ten rolls of film taken (before the digital days)
Such great memories, catch phrases and laughter
I knew I was now a woman, a true adult
Beginning my quest for a more purpose-driven life.
Day 26 – the topic for the day was “Shakespeare words” and to use as many Shakespeare-invented words as we could in our poem. Sadly to-be or not-to-be was not on the list. Still I had quite a plethora to choose from and I used ten words from his long list.
PAD Poem # 26 – An Obscene Modern Shakespeare Scene
Last night the crew met up at midnight
Discussed zany stories until the morning’s light
This hob knob they shared turned into a rant
After too many spirits, voices began to pant
Egos were jaded; men were soon puking
Twas obscene to witness these former friends duking
This deafening scuffle was laughable to all the passersby
Such flawed addiction of drink that caused two men to die.
(Shakespeare-invented words used in the poem were:
zany, hob knob, rant, jaded, puking, obscene, deafening, scuffle, laughable, flawed)
That completes this week’s worth of challenges. Now there are only four days left. I am in the home stretch. Come back on Friday to see my last few poems and my final thoughts on the monthly competition. You should continue to “Poem Your Heart Out” today and every day!