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Friday, 30 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 30

Today is the last day of (Inter)National Poetry Month and the Read Write Poem NaPoWriMo Challenge. The prompt today is a free day — you are free to use any prompt you have not yet written to from those provided this month, or you can write, and share, whatever you like today.
I really wanted to do the Find a Phrase prompt when it came up, but it coincided with me driving to London, and in the end I settled for something different. So, I'm going to have a go at it now, on this final day of NaPoWriMo for 2010.
With words like codswallop, it’s clear that Read Write Poem member Marie Gauthier means business! Now is not the time to let your NaPoWriMo work ethic slack.

Clichés, idioms, what-have-you. As points of inspiration, you might think they’re dead in the water, but that’s a load of codswallop. Time spent investigating word origins is never time wasted. “Left in the lurch” is one example. Here’s what The Phrase Finder says about it:

There are suggestions that lurch is a noun originating from lych – the Old English word for corpse, which gives the name to the covered lych-gates that adjoin many English churches. The theory goes that jilted brides would be ‘left in the lych (or lurch)’ when the errant bridegroom failed to appear. The lych-gate is where coffins are left when waiting for the clergyman to arrive to conduct a funeral service. Both theories are plausible but there’s no evidence to support either and in fact lych and lurch are unrelated.

For our purposes, it doesn’t matter whether the derivation pans out as true or not. Your inquiries are meant to be catalytic crackers. Surely “lych-gate” stirs an idea or two!

So for today’s prompt, travel a while on The Phrase Finder website until you find the phrase or phrase origin that most interests you.

There are no hard and fast rules. The Phrase Finder has phrases from the Bible, from Shakespeare, phrases coined at sea, something for every taste. Take some notes, do a free-write or three, and see where a little word exploration takes you.

I wanted to use the phrase THE FULL MONTY so here goes:

This could be your
lucky day Mister Butcher,
says the estate agent.

I have a quick cash buyer
for your shop, he wants to
buy the whole lot.

Everything? all of my hats??
asks the Winchester
College hat maker.

Everything! he wants
the whole lot, the business
and the premises too.

Pray tell me who
this mystery person is?
my Great Grandfather asks.

If I were to say,
Master Montague, then I think
you'll know who I mean.

It's nineteen O six,
the day of the independent
is dead I fear.

If Burton's price is
right, I'll sell to him,
he can have the full monty!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 29


You’re almost there, and inspiration for your next to the last NaPoWriMo poem is at your fingertips! D.S. Apfelbaum recalls what William Carlos Williams once wrote, “It is difficult/ to get the news from poems,” but asks, “Who says you can’t get poems from the news?”

For this prompt, choose your favorite newspaper or online news provider. Jot down five to ten headlines that jump out at you and without reading the articles, select elements from each headline to create a new event about which your poem reports.

Alternately, let short-format sections inspire you. Write a poem in the form of an obituary, a personal ad, a classified ad, etc. (Bonus points if you can pull off a poem in the form of a crossword puzzle.)


stumbling blocks
bridges to cross
rivers to ford
fences to climb hurdles to jump
taxes to pay
mouths to feed
idiots to appease
battles to fight wars to win
as we had yesterday...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 28

Today’s prompt is provided by member, Julie Jordan Scott.
Arthur Koestler wrote: “The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition.” Akin to a “sixth sense,” intuition brings pieces together. It gives the gift of heightened awareness.
One single, specific memory I have from a math class comes from the first day of geometry class. I was 15 years old.
The teacher asked “What is intuition?”
I raised my hand — an unusual act for me when math was involved. “Intuition is having a hunch,” I said, “sort of knowing or having an idea of something out of the blue, like without really knowing you somehow know.”
What does this have to do with your life and your poetry?
Take a moment to remember a breakthrough moment in your life or a “freeze-frame” moment from long, long ago. An “a-ha” or an “epiphany” moment or a moment that has a story yet to tell.
Let’s prepare to write a poem using our intuition intentionally today. Write this prompt on your page: “When I remember my “a-ha moment” from my past, I understand the place I am meant to go with my words and poetry today is … ”
Restate the prompt as you free-write and don’t write a poem yet. Instead, go about your business of the day purposefully not writing a poem.
Notice surprising turns of phrases you hear. Listen to people who say things to you that seem especially surprising, lyrics to songs. Eavesdrop intentionally. Wait for at least 2 hours and then write your poem from the words your intuition and your free-writing gave you.
The following something is the little thing I wrote from the above instructions.


It was news to me

Light was revealed

He had lied to me

How did I not know

After all this time

What can I do now

penny dropped day dawned

She told me on the ‘phone

my greatest fears revealed

As she started to speak

I knew it was my fault

Where have I gone wrong

Of course I trusted him

It’s my fault he takes after me

I should have known better

Flamin’ bloomin’ Nora!


Now everybody knows this song


Day 28 2009


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 27

Carolee Sherwood wonders if you’re running on fumes like she is. She hopes her prompt takes some of the heat off and points your exhausted brain down the path where your 27th poem lies.

Take a word that’s part of you — your name, your birth month, your favorite animal, your guiding principle. Write that word vertically down a page and use the letters to start the lines of a poem. When you’re done, you’ll have an acrostic poem. (Though the prompt could be as simple as “write an acrostic poem,” the word sounds scary this late in the month. This prompt is designed to ease you into the final stretch. Don’t stress too much about the word you choose. NaPoWriMo is just for fun. Are you having fun?)

On blogspot Ian Biro is the pen name of Doktir Nairobi.


Ian Biro
Regurgitated is the pen name
Of Doktir Nairobi


NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 26


It’s getting late in the month, and finishing NaPoWriMo is going to take every bit of resourcefulness you have. Jill Crammond Wickham reminds us about the bits and pieces of poems we may be carrying around.

Today, before you start writing, you need to do some digging. Dig through your backpack, purse or desk drawer and find a scrap of poem written on an old envelope or bank deposit slip. Unearth an old journal or notebook.

Find a poem that you started, or perhaps one you abandoned. Read it through. Highlight the lines or phrases that please you. Do not cross anything out (yet)! You now have two choices: finish the poem or take the parts you like and begin a brand new piece.

If NaPoWriMo has you a little crazy, there is a third option: take the parts you don’t like and use them to inspire a new poem.

The following is from my abandoned pile. It is titled EASY! and sub titled Lemon Squeezy, and it's dated 8/7/97
Slow down,
right down,
pick up the pencil
and re-write what you
just, quote un-quote, wrote.
And what you've
just written, will be
cliche, all right on the night.

Looking at the above reminds me that I took the idea from something I wrote much earlier. I used to jot down silly little sayings that came into my head, and use them as memory aides, I wrote quite a lot of them between 1979 and 1984, many of them were probably paraphrases of quotes I had heard or read elsewhere. This one is dated 3.9.79 in my scruffy notebook.

When you've written
what you wanted to write
re-write what you wrote,
and what you've written,
will be right.

Okay, so what do I like about the above pieces? Not a lot! But here goes:

It would be wrong
to say that everything
you wrote was not right
however spelling mistakes
and grammer aside the best I can
muster is to say that at a stretch you tried.

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 25

This is one I wrote while driving around London, we went to the Thai Temple near Wimbledon Common today. Such a peaceful place.

they say that life is strange
but some things never change
try to flap your wings and fly away

it’s butterfly day
butterfly fly flew
you can fly too

if you really really want to fly
butterfly fly flew
butterfly fly phew…

Day 25 2009

Saturday, 24 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 24

I would have dearly liked to have had time to do the prompt at Read Write Poem today, but alas I have to be elsewhere.


she knows that I know that she’s manipulating me she knows because she knows everything about me she knows that I know that I don’t know how I do the things that I do she knows and she’s got photographs to prove it and witnesses who’ll swear to it and she won’t be happy till she’s got me right where she wants me not that she wants me any more than she wanted that other poor sod who ended up in the same place that she thinks she’s got me going she knows all this and she keeps on calling me she must think that I’m her puppet and that only she can pull my strings but this other girl’s tugging at my heart and begging me to enter her world and she knows that too because she puts the thoughts into my head she puts the words into my mouth she types the sentences that I write she knows that I know that she’s manipulating me she knows because she knows everything about me she knows that I know that I don’t know how I do the things that I do she knows and she’s got photographs to prove it and witnesses who’ll swear to it and she won’t be happy till she’s got me right where she wants me...

Friday, 23 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 23

Read Write Poem member Sage Cohen has a terrific suggestion for today’s poems: Write a poem in which you combine a speaker and an event that normally don’t go together (such as sports broadcasters and poetry writing), as Jay Leeming does in his poem, “Man Writes Poem.”

wOW! sPlaT! How did I get here? KerPow!
"Welcome to Wonderland," said Alice.
KerPlunk! Holy BatMobile! What is this place?
"You must have fallen down the rabbit hole," said Alice.

Where's my BatPhone? Where's my BatMobile gone?
I bet CatWoman had a hand in this!
Suffering tadpoles! How do I get outta here?
"Just defeat the Queen of Hearts," said Alice.

Ain't that the broad that made some tarts?
Blam! She sounds like some kinda poker hand!
I'll need an ace up my sleeve to beat her.
"Quick, drink some of this poison," said Alice.

Bah! You must think I'm the Joker! Or something?
This is darker than a Gotham subway!
PussyGalore! You've got big rats down here!
"That was my Cheshire Cat," said Alice.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 22

I didn't do the prompt at Read Write Poem today as I was driving and couldn't concentrate on all those words in the wordle. I had to write this on the move, so I set myself the task of taking an Oscar Wilde quote, from his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Of course I can't find the actual quote right now, but it's the one about the mediocre poet who published a book of second rate sonnets, you know the one I mean don't you?

She drinks mint tea and lemon verbena
outside in the herb garden, sitting there
the sun blazing, oblivious to him.
He's the one out on the street, selling stuff.

The thickness of a wall but worlds apart.
She sits in her secret garden, writing.
He stands with his back to the wall, barking.
'They're franked and stamped, they're wrapped and packed,' he bawls.

'They're fully gauranteed,' she scribbles down.
"Your Gen-U-ine swiss watches," they both say.
'Made in Hong Kong! Who'll give me a Big Ben?'
He lives the life that she can only pen.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 21


Today’s prompt is from Read Write Poem member Kristen McHenry:

“In ancient times, Persian rug makers were deeply religious and believed that only God could make something perfect. They would deliberately drop in a small faulty stitch, a flaw, into each Persian rug. In doing so, a ‘Persian Flaw’ revealed the rug maker’s devotion to God.” — Karel Weijand

Like many of us, I often struggle with the gremlin of perfectionism. The above quote reminds me that achieving perfection is not my prime directive in life, and that in fact, striving for perfection can be a form of hubris.

Write a poem about flaws and perfection in yourself or in nature or write about how you feel about being imperfect or perfect.

Here are some things you may want to reflect on as you write: Do flaws add beauty to the world? What does it feel like to experience perfection? What is it like to encounter flaws — in our selves, in others, in systems or in objects? As imperfect beings, are we able to adequately judge perfection?

If you’d like, you can try contrasting these both concepts in one poem or just choose the one that you feel most drawn to. There is potential for both perfection and flaws in everything on earth, so there’s no limit to to subject you use to frame your poems.



She is my immortal eternal self,

without her I am nothing.

Back home in Tiny Tree she waits

so patiently for me to return.

How I want to be there with her

every waking hour of every day.

However, I chose to come to time

to be with you in these last days.

Although I am here and she is there,

she is with me, and I with her.

Time and or eternity cannot

separate me from my true love.

She is perfection, in a perfected

realm, I am imperfect still.

She is my goddess of love, she holds

me up and carries me through time.

In eternity she’s my queen, I am her

King, we reign together.

Now, I am here with you, doing the

things that we have chosen to do.

Every spare moment, I choose to spend

time with her in eternity.

Worldly riches can’t buy this kind of

peace, and you too have time to spend.

As we mix faith with imagination,

our imperfection simply melts.

My goddess has a beauty spot

to remind her of her time on earth.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 20

As a child, Jessica GC says she had two heroes: Wonder Woman and her mother. “To me, they were one and the same,” says Jessica. “Both had long dark hair. Both were strikingly beautiful, and both had incredible strength.”
Write a poem in which you to pay tribute to your hero, past or present.
Here are few possibilities for inspiration:
  • What made your childhood hero so special? What traits did you envy? Are super powers involved?
  • Do you have more than one hero? Consider drawing a comparison between them.
  • Honor the everyday heroes among us — the policemen, the fire fighters, the troops — risking their lives everyday.
  • Did your hero ever fall from the pedestal you put him or her on?
  • Maybe you’re the hero you want to write about! Have you ever had a moment when someone has made you feel like a hero? Did you ever save a cat from a burning building? Or maybe it was something as simple as staying up all night with a friend who needed you.
In any case, share with us in your poem what made or makes your hero so deserving of admiration.
I've presented this as a NanoAmerico^ which is an Allen Ginsberg style American Sentence sandwiched between two shorter sentences or statements. You can find other Sandwich poems and micro flash fiction at the American Sandwich game..

As her baby sleeps.
Batty as a fruitcake she writes her novels silently in the dark.
Slowly the penny drops.

Monday, 19 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 19

For today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, Read Write Poem member Rallentanda introduces a word that’s new to many of us: éclat. Online dictionaries (like this one) list several definitions, but it is the etymology that inspires the meaning chosen for today’s prompt. The word éclat is French, and we’re paying attention to its root éclater, “to burst (out), shine.”
For Rallentanda, and us, this means a flash or light bulb moment. Everyone has had one. Things suddenly fall into place (a realization of the truth of the matter).
Often the situation is too painful to address, so you hide it. For example, you suspect your husband is having an affair with your best friend or you suddenly realize where the missing cash went from your wallet all those years ago.
It can even be humorous. You usually wear your best under garments for a visit to the gynecologist, but as you’re ready to strip off you suddenly realize you are wearing your old gardening knickers with all the broken elastic. Try to describe the ensuing feelings of embarrassment and desperate attempts to rectify this situation.
I actually know of someone who tripped and fell on stage at a gala performance. She was so humiliated that she pretended she was having a heart attack (which seemed, to her at the time, the better option).
Your poem should express the emotions that grip you as you experience your ’shock’ moment.
If I talk to you about passing clouds
will you remember where you were that day?
Or need I to remind you of the shroud
clinging to your skin, stinking of decay.

Ebb and flow, you tried to refloat your ship
a raft of broken promises unfurled.
Time and again, until the final blip
the oval shape you craved still left me cold.

Then one day you came back into my life
a brand new you, your yellow teeth now clean.
The pungent stench of death no longer rife,
at last I can see how things might have been.

Your road to Damascus, try as you might
clouded in smoke, until you saw the light!


Sunday, 18 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 18

“I’m cursed. I’m a tiger,” says Read Write Poem member Irene. She’s talking about the Year of the Tiger, and it’s the inspiration for her NaPoWriMo prompt:
The tiger is a creature known to create wildness and tumult. In Chinese superstition, it is not a year to marry or have children. The tiger is too aggressive. It stalks and preys.
Write a poem featuring the cat family, whether big or small.
There are many cat poems that may inspire you. The first poem that comes to mind, William Blake’s “The Tyger,” wonders why such a creature is created in the first place. Did such a creation come from the Devil himself? God will only create a lamb, right?
Ted Hughes wrote about the jaguar, a not-so-distant cousin. I think a jaguar looks even more fearsome. There’s a playful feline quality about the tiger. Not so with a jaguar! It is like black rage. I’ve seen a jaguar in a zoo, pacing endlessly in its cage. Here’s how Hughes wrote it, in “The Jaguar,” “He spins from the bars, but there’s no cage to him” and “his stride is wildernesses of freedom.”
Then there’s the pussy cat. In “Esther’s Tomcat,” also by Hughes, the cat becomes, in a figurative sense, the protagonist, the beleaguered husband. Hughes describes him as “an old rough mat” and reveals, “Continual wars and wives are what/ Have tattered his ears and battered his head.”
Is that enough to go on? Roar! Purr! (You choose.)
Katz dangle marmalade
doorsteps from upstairs
windows on fishing wire.
The backyard bees don’t
give a buzz, but the Kool
Katz still catch the odd wasp.
The city fox is sly, but the
alley cat is king of the cobbles.

charcoal grey
lava clad sky
snow black peppery
that’s why
birds don’t fly

 bees are busy
wasps get dizzy
sneezey cheesey
that’s why
they buzz by

fix wing no fly
flap wing no fly
rotary helicopter okay
that’s why
they buzz by

shivery day
grey soupy sky
from geezer country
that’s why
birds don’t fly

Saturday, 17 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 17

Look at you! Writing past the half-way mark! Today, Neil Reid invites us to keep going by writing about the elements:
Let’s be elemental. Fire, earth, water, wind. They touch our lives every day. Choose one that interests you, then take a point of view that is not so much your usual. Observe what interaction you’ve known, or not known, with this element.
You might make it personal or take the element’s point of view (how might humans appear to you from that stance?) or wander where you may. Tell us something about your element that we don’t know.
You’re welcome to make your own rules, and as always, the most important point is simply to write and share, however it comes your way! Have fun!

Written for my Great great great Grandma Mrs Butcher who ran the Turkish Baths

Dehydrated looking for more planets
Planets with water is what they’re after
After all the plants on earth need it too
Too many people are dehydrated

Worlds apart living in the same city
Cities this side of Eden verses them
Them that have clean water and them that don’t
Don’t you know we live in different worlds

Jill complains when the kettle doesn’t boil
Boils a pan of water and makes some steam
Steams the envelope open reads Jacks news
News that he doesn’t need to know thinks Jill

Bathing there tethered by her apron strings
Strung to her mother and her grandmother
Grandmothers grandmother Misses Butcher
Butcher Baker who ran the Turkish bath

Mains water made the difference back then
Then more so than now H2O on tap
Tap the lead pipe and cold water showers
Showers through the home drilled rose from the mains

Half the third world are dying from the drought
Drought where only snakes rattle in the well
Well then who turned the water into wine
Whine all you like but don’t do things by half

Yeah she might be tied to the kitchen sink
Sink or swim a little the water’s wet
Wet behind the ears the dishwasher hums
Hums the hymns of Christendom humbug yeah


Friday, 16 April 2010

NaPoWriMo 2010 Day 16

Read Write Poem member Julie Jordan Scott launches her NaPoWriMo prompt with a quote from Diane Ackerman: “Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.” Julie reports having discovered in her own notes 17 pages on the subject! Here’s the prompt she culled from material she’s collected:
Practicing the art of writing from the sense of smell will open language in a different way than writing from a more “language friendly” sense, like the sense of sight or sound. Because of this, writing that uses a scent prompt evokes visceral, richly experienced poetry.
Scientific fact: Salmon smell their stream of birth from hundreds of miles away. The scent of this particular stream weaves its way to the salmon like a love-call. It rises and falls with the water, its essence calling the ancient connection. The salmon respond to this invitation and make their way back to their spawning ground.
Humans have primitive connections to the sense of smell, as well. It is our most primal sense, especially since the connections between the language centers and smell sensory centers are so few. Our sense of smell is tied to our most ancient selves. Another intriguing fact? Smell is connected closely to our memory centers even though it is distant from our language centers.
Somewhere near where you are sitting is something with a specific smell that will conjure a memory rich with images. Take a moment to find any such object and breathe the scent of it, deeply. It may be as simple as a strand of your hair, a ketchup bottle from the refrigerator, a potholder or a bottle of lotion.
Add to your breath the simple phrase, “I remember” and breathe the scent in again. “I remember.” Free write from “I remember” for at least five minutes, repeating the prompt “I remember” if your writing slows.
Use the seeds from your free writing to write today’s poem.
There's a rotten egg smell in the air this morning and a thin layer of dust on the ground, it's coming from the volcanic erruption in Iceland.
can't sniff up
technology sucks
rotten eggs

terminal decline

geology cools
rocks hot up

volcano errupts

lava flow
sea level rises
ice explodes

air crews are grounded
robocop patrols

cross automatom


greenhouse whiff

dinosaurs return