Ah, I hate to do it. But I think it’s for the best.
I am proud to have made it to April 20th; given the momentous shift my life (our lives) has taken in the last month and a half, I am incredibly and sincerely proud of anyone who has continued to create, especially for themselves, for the sheer purpose of creating, and I include myself in that; I’ve not produced the greatest work of my life during the past twenty days, but I’ve created something every day, and I have a lot of raw material to work and rework and build off of.
All this to say, I’m dropping both challenges, both A-to-Z and NaPoWriMo.
I’m planning on continuing drawing, painting, and writing, but I’ve opted to also take on several other projects that, with the addition of parenting/homeschooling and maintaining a household, is making the challenges a burden rather than a fun creative exercise. I still have several ideas I’d brainstormed for upcoming songs (from A-to-Z) that I want to follow through with — it just won’t be on the work-a-day schedule.
Good luck to those still seeing this through, and I wish you all a successful final ten days.
The night after the funeral, I walked
Still naked and damp from the shower
Through the hallways of my house.
I lingered in the doorways like a ghost,
Shadows settling like dust in the corners
And crevices of each room.
I moved through darkened rooms by touch,
Trailing my fingers along planes and angles,
The familiar geometry of my life,
Stopping to trace the curves
of my mother’s mantel clock,
The strange organic prickle of succulents,
The skin-soft leather of our old loveseat
Where she sat, heartbeat-warm, alive,
Less than a week ago;
The sweet peach note of her perfume
Lingers like a sharp exhale
Every time I fluff the pillows.
My fingers twitch instinctively
Against the cool ivory keys of the piano,
Striking one lingering, discordant note.
It’s strange how much the same
This world remains, I think,
Without her in it.
Her fingerprints still mark the edge
Of the glass-topped coffee table;
Her slippers tucked under her chair.
These are the remnants of a life,
This is what we leave behind. I wander,
A ghost. An orphan in my own home.
Prompt Day Nineteen: Based loosely on the idea given by the prompt of a “walking archive.”
It was ritual;
Rising long before the sun,
Winter sky still dark;
(Black to purple to pink)
Until golden light
Flooded the kitchen.
There was magic in the first sip,
On the kitchen bench,
The newsprint, dark and pungent,
Staining my fingers black.
The smell of coffee
Like a promise to myself;
“Today will be okay.”
Prompt Day Eighteen: As ode to something mundane; an example given was a cup of coffee, so here we are.
Inside your heart, he says
Are flowers, one for each person
I imagine his heart is a grove
Alight with blossoms;
Every stranger on the street
I have never known someone
So eager to love,
His soul a fertile landscape,
Sometimes I think the soil
Of my heart is deficient;
How many buds, drooping,
How many leaves curling in
But somewhere in my heart
rooted deep and stretching
It’s magnificent inflorescence
To be warmed by the sun
Is a flower the exact shade of aster
As my son’s eyes.
I think no flower
Has ever known a more attentive gardener,
Has ever been more well-loved,
Or more beautiful.
Day Seventeen: I asked my son, again, what I should write about.
“That’s broad. What kind of love?”
The idea of heart flowers is actually something he came up with when he was four; I absolutely love the idea, and this is not really a worthy use of the concept, I don’t think, but I hope to return to it sometime.
The blank page beckons
(By turns taunting and tempting)
Urging idle hands
To work in earnest.
I pick up pen, put it down;
Flip to a fresh page
For a new fresh start;
How my mind loathes a blank page,
How its purity
How shameful to sully it
I pick up the pen,
And, by and by, the words come.
Are they the right words?
Maybe the right words
Are nothing more or less than
The ones that you write
Day Sixteen: Off-prompt. I asked my son what i should write about, and his answer was “poetry.”
Strangeness on strangeness;
Why should his life make sense now
Amidst such chaos?
And if he’s honest
(Which is how he prides himself)
It’s not unwelcome
There’s a comfort in his warmth,
In the way his hands
Gently graze his knee,
Settle on his back to sooth,
Brush back errant hair.
And there’s a comfort
Knowing nothing could shake him
Like their lips meeting.
Life is so damn strange.
(But thrilling in it’s strangeness).
He closes his eyes.
Lips soft against his,
The scent of wood smoke and pine
And warmth inside him.
Life’s so goddamned strange.
Or, his life. Their lives. (Their life?)
He can live with that.
Day Fifteen Prompt: Off-prompt ’cause I’ve got a new OTP and I’m bad at traditional fanfic but great at channeling schmoop into gen poetry that makes people feel like they are definitely not quite in on the joke. Literally all I’m gonna say about that for now.
Swathes of verdant green
The rich brown-earth smell of soil
Turned by practiced hands
How my mother stooped
Spade and trowel at the ready
Knees stained from damp earth
How she held the bulbs
(mother affirming mother)
Reverent as a prayer
And the way she pulled
Fragrant soil around them
Gathered like family
We’d watch mid-day skies
For the tell-tall darkening
Harkening the rain
How my mother stood
Silhouetted in the door
Watching as it fell
Day Fourteen Prompt: I believe it was about theft?? Off-prompt, either way. I have semi-sub-consciously (and now consciously) written most of my poems this month in haiku stanzas, which works well for the time constraints I’m under, but also I’m considering keeping it up, with more care and consideration, once the challenge is officially over.
With windows open
The breathless whisper of leaves
Carries through cool air
The porch light beckons
Sallow moths, beating pale wings
To rattle the screen
Day Thirteen Prompt: Off-prompt. Thought about waking up at my sister’s house in the middle of the night after a drunken night out. This was pre-kids for both of us, so the house was generally quiet except for one or two familiar sounds.
Waking to birdsong;
Diaphanous afternoon sunlight,
Budding leaves gold.
At my birdfeeder.
Days grow warm.
I stay inside.
Prompt Day Ten: I used the prompt to write a hay(na)ku, a poem of three lines with a one-word incremental growth in each line. This is a hay(na)ku sonnet. Also, if I seem to write a lot of tangentially quarantine-based poetry, I hope you’ll understand.
There are some flowers they say that bloom only at night.
Yours lips are flowers whose petal open only at night.
Your fingers press softly into the flesh of my throat.
Bruises, like garlands of bellflower, adorn my neck tonight.
You pick flowers for their beauty, not caring that this kills them.
You braid my hair, weave in fragrant jasmine that bloomed just tonight.
In the morning, you weave me a crown of daffodils and say I’m your queen.
A diadem limp and browning, withering fast in the summer heat tonight.
Sometimes I pluck petals from daisies and ask if you love me.
You tell me I’m yours, but that doesn’t seem to answer the question tonight.
Spring and summer make promises that fall and winter can never keep.
I reach for you hand, but you pull away. I feel a chill in the air, tonight.
Prompt Day Nine: Off-prompt. I wrote a ghazal instead. Also, didn’t post it yesterday, my bad. Things were a little crazy.