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National Poetry Month 2020

It’s a worldwide pandemic. All events and physical social interactions have been canceled. The world, in a mighty collaborative sacrifice, has wandered into our collective tombs after bearing our cross of isolation to save the world, and despite what the President would have wished, we will not be emerging by Easter Sunday. All that is left is silence and stillness with no interruption to be found. For the first time in human history since the dawn of the printing press, the writer is now the most evolutionary fit human organism on the planet. This is our time.

Today is the first day of National Poetry Writing Month, also affectionately called #NaPoWriMo, and I am eager to make my yearly contribution. I, as always, invite you, dear reader, to join along. Share your poems and comment with submissions and links. In this time of distance, let’s build bridges. Nay, let us write bridges! Inscribing community through experiences syllabically captured and spread across the presently crumbling internet. As it was last year, all styles of poetry are valid and welcome, though I will once focus on narrative, lyric, and imagery.

30 Poems for 30 Days, Again

  • Avoid the Meadow (4/1/2020) - So, we have to be very careful Lest we like the land become conquered Colonized and gentrified and homogenized Our home has become the gun From which bricks fire like bullets To strike us down You must never rush out on the meadow, Bambi
  • Ever Dystopian (4/2/2020) - Life A privilege of prosperity In a model of supply and demand In which we all demand to live But we all can't stand to give There just isn't enough life to share
  • Aloft (4/3/2020) - Completely wrapped in your embrace A substance just as subtle as a bubble’s empty space Felt but never seen like an emotion In your ocean I am drowning As you take me on your journey aloft.
  • Pitiful Wight (4/4/2020) - O what a luxury it was to be awoken by the sound of silence Long ago when silence was anywhere Its hollow ring soothed my lids ajar Released the dew from my lashes
  • I Knew I Couldn’t Turn Back (4/5/2020) - I knew I couldn’t turn back when the people I harmed on the way weren’t healed yet I knew I couldn’t turn back when the secrets I held weren’t revealed yet I knew I couldn’t turn back when the visions I saw weren’t real yet I knew I couldn’t turn back when the obstacles didn’t make me yield yet
  • Atmosphere (4/6/2020) - The chatter, the gossip, the silent and deafening thoughts The din which became hush As I walked into rooms The change in mood in tone in pressure In atmosphere
  • And Then it Happened (4/7/2020) - And then it happened Like a thief in the night Responding to his early invitation Prophesied to non-believers and their talking-head idols
  • Flock (4/8/2020) - I am not you Nor you I No matter where you fly My flap is mine own
  • Dawn (4/9/2020) - Golden orb of Helios Fire burning furious Cross celestial ledge Horizon edge The Earth is slowly warmed
  • Wounded (4/10/2020) - “Sorry” Is the worst witch doctor remedy Snake oil dripped from forked tongues And venomous fangs It’s a token subtle serpents hiss to women they betray
It will be like this, expect typed and not nearly as elegant

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Oh, and if you want to read last year’s submissions, you can follow the link right over here. See you over the next 30 days!

    Want a Poem? a Prayer? Vows?

    I'm a Poet For Hire

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    I never seem to catch you at the right time
    You’re the cup of coffee that I only sip when hot enough to burn my tongue
    Or cold enough to put me off to the habit all together
    Yet still I am an addict for the alertness you bring me each dawn
    And despite that you are my morning ritual
    You are also the cause of my headaches
    My jitters
    My bitter attraction

    So what if your touch burns my lips
    Or if I find you sour when cool
    Let me have my drug by any means
    Or dare abstain altogether

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    Elegance comes at a price. It is the training of the being from a trauma that has been. The smoothest surfaces are friction conquests of sandpaper onslaughts. The much less graceful yet equally admirable effort of the sander.

    It comes at a steep price. Steep as the majestic slopes of country mountains, risen from earth by fire and worn by water from air. All of the ancient elements are expended of centuries to produce the solemn silence of the hiker in its view.

    The clinking of delicate porcelain cups sound like civilization to me. Beyond the whirring of machines and buzzing of electricity, tea sets offer a sense that we have dominion over the world and that society can work. Industrial engines command the planet’s surface. Computers eliminate the span of miles between cultures. Yet to slowly brew water and leaves, to look another in the eye as you sip staring over delicate porcelain edges, taking time for soft words all while aware that the universe is designed to destroy is. This is civilization. This is Elegance.

    You brought the tray my way and invited me to sip and speak as your poured my share. Your motions were calculated years in advance. Eyes followed fingers, which moved as if they stroked a harp. Arms kept near as your waist turned to extend reach. Slowly, of course. I watched found the same mountain edges. From a distance I could traverse with a fore-finger you cast a shadow on the horizon. And I was a weary hiker in my most solemn moment.

    What trade did you make to move as you did? And with whom did the transaction take place? How were you ever so wealthy as to afford being as elegant as you were the moments I fell in love?

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    I spoke my soul into being

    I spoke my soul into being with sealed lips
    With words as loud as the hush of cool earth
    commanded my name to be pronounced by the sunset
    And it screamed shimmering syllables across a countryside where I lay

    Sovereignty over all things was granted to me by the blades of grass
    The true kings of the world
    And the wildfire curtsied before me and asked to be my bride

    Before a court of stars we wed and consecrated our love
    And they twinkled

    I have never said a word that wasn’t also at least two
    Nor a sentence that was any more than silence
    My secrets are vaulted in my heart’s womb
    So that when I lay myself down upon the sky
    I shall not betray our relations

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    Guardian of the Threshold

    The beast stood a giantess
    With obsidian skin
    Her eyes looked over the threshold
    Paying no respect to my dignity
    As still as stone I became
    Moved to motionlessness by the violation
    She perched to rise higher
    And I still startled yet unstirred
    Felt my form shrink
    I was not ready
    I’m not ready to cross this threshold
    To feel the granule of my purity
    Stripped of all the recognizable me
    I will leave and I will return
    On the day that I am the beast

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    Bright Like the Day

    Life is bright
    Bright like the day
    And the day is sometimes hot
    Sometimes it burns to be alive
    I carry non-existence as my parasol
    Enough meaninglessness to stand in the shadow of-
    To remind me that the pressure
    The resistance
    The gravity
    A reality
    Which are all both bright and hot
    Do not penetrate the objective bigness of the planet
    Let alone our galaxy whose edges we shall never breach
    Life is bright
    Bright like the day

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    Act of God

    The official document called it an Act of God
    Which says a lot to our relationship with the divine

    My white walls becoming black
    My black sofa growing a shade of grey
    I’m reminded that yin yang means balance

    Nature mingling with where I once nurtured myself
    Drafting and dripping in through a gaping, draping ceiling
    I come close to understanding how Job must have felt

    And balanced is the farthest from how I feel
    I feel the scales tipping over against my favor

    Wind, rain, and mold have won this battle
    Leaving the victims
    Myself and the oak that sits at 28 degrees
    Her canopy a makeshift thatched-roof that keeps out the sun and nothing else

    I no longer understand the phrase “to storm out”
    All that was sudden has been my adrenaline
    Six days of warning
    Four days of road closure
    Nine days of waiting
    I wish money would storm out on me with such sluggish notice
    But the storm is still here
    The only one out is me

    And the oak, still struggling to nestle it’s way more fully into my home
    But both have a signed death warrant
    And I have nothing, save my health
    But you can’t live in your health
    Nor store your books atop it
    Nor hang your coat upon it

    This is not the act of God I prayed for

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    Leadership begs for leaders
    On bended knees with clasped hands
    Leadership prays for companions
    Because leadership itself does not lead
    Leadership supports
    Leadership empowers the empowerer
    Leadership abhors arrogance
    And spits at the feet of the prideful
    Leadership stands behind the commander
    Leadership stands beside the hero
    Leadership stands miles ahead of the conqueror
    And yet still it is a warrior
    Because leadership must battle itself
    And will never concede defeat, merely retreat
    Leadership will not die a martyr
    But leadership is a prince who lives as a pauper
    Leadership is humble
    And prostrate, leadership pleads
    For leaders
    For those who would find a lost cause and bring it home

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    Sometimes there is nothing more honest than pretend
    Sometimes the costume peels away the facade
    At times my natural smile it’s more like makeup
    And I find that my proper speech is make-believe
    It is in those moments that I wear the mask of my true countenance
    That I run home to the privacy of my four walls
    That I play the role of the person the world asks not to see
    And so I walk as a fake me in the real world
    Relegating myself to fantasy