30 Poems in 30 Days – NaPoMo 2015

April 30

And so I Celebrate

Even your breath stirs me
in the thin midnight light.
You turn in your sleep,
your limbs against mine,
your quiet restlessness—
the tension of the day still
being drawn from you.

Tomorrow will be another
attempt to accomplish something,
to produce, to succeed
at something, at anything.

I should sleep too.
But letting this moment slide away,
like your breath from your mouth—
a forgotten dream,
an opportunity gone missing—
pulls me out from
under the mundane

and I hold my breath,
so I can better hear yours.
And I celebrate.

April 29

Leaning Away

She stood on the street,
the longing she has yet to know peering
out of childhood edges
into adulthood.

Her arm crossed over, holding in
her heart, adjusting for balance.

In the background, youth
and innocence lifted firmly atop stilts,
tempting fate to fall
forward

when it should be easing in,
when it has done nothing
but lean her away from the worry-free days
she should have known.

In the foreground,
a little girl she never had the chance to become
stands with her hands on her hips,
scolding the life gone wrong.

April 28

A Situation

Your entry sequence, the first impression, had great curb appeal. There is a difference here between the outdoors and the indoors, A vertical element happens almost immediately, like one room ends and another begins. Along the path—the private space to your front door—there’s pleasure and a missed opportunity; the two extremes, both here, in this secluded space. I’ve been there at least once, an invited guest, like the birds and the squirrels and the sweetly-scented flowers in soft apricot and creamy white, poking up through washtubs and wooden crates, buckets and old boots. You in your warm, sheltered position, trapped by the dark-colored moths, and dead campfire ashes, keeled over in the stagnant air.

A found poem from the following sources:
Baker, Jerry. Giant book of Garden Solutions. American Master Products. 2003.
Morrison, Susan and Rebecca Sweet. Garden Up! Cool Springs Press. Brentwood, TN. 2010.
Bossi, Joy and Karen Bastow. The Incredible Landscape. CFI. Springville, UT. 2012.
Creasy, Rosalind. The Edible Heirloom Garden. Periplus Editions. Boston. 1999.
Newbury, Tim. Planting by Number. The Reader’s Digest Association. London. 2005.

April 27

By Heart

Goodnight Moon sits still
on the closet shelf, tucked away
for safe-keeping, a memory
more than for reading.
It’s once painted corners
worn away—the papery edges
split and ragged.

When you were small,
you’d point a chubby finger
at the red balloon,
the kittens, the mittens,
the mush. You’d want to
turn the pages and recite
the story. You knew it by heart.

April 26

La Malinche

Our own language betrays us,
unable to recreate,
it simplifies existence,
uses only writable symbols,
short in description,
and lacking in meaning.

We must do what we can
to communicate, but
our own language betrays us.
We add hyphens to concatenate,
italics and uppercase, underlines
and boldface, layers
and layers of connotation,

yet, none of this represents
the reality of experience.
Our own language betrays us,
constantly requiring assistance—
metaphors and similes,
imagery and poetry.

We must do what we can
to communicate, conquer
our own La Malinche.

April 25

Ice Removal

There’s nothing colder than a VW bus on a Utah morning in November. Cement-like frost plastered itself to the windshield and the air-cooled motor sat in the back like an old ice-fishing shack out of firewood. I had been meaning to buy an ice-scraper for weeks, improvising with an old library card and ungloved hands was proving problematic. This morning was different, and not only because he had spent the night. The cleared windshield was streaked with remnants of scraped ice dust. I clicked the chrome door handle to let myself in and start warming up the frozen pancake of an engine, and not only had he cleaned each window, but a brand new scraper waited on the front seat—the best kind, with a long, sturdy handle and brush for snow on one side. It was in that moment, I knew I’d never let this man leave me.

April 24

Notes from Owl Bar’s Diary, Sundance, UT—April 26, 2015

I’d say I can call this home
though it’s far from my birthplace—
this quiet human watering hole
often rests until afternoon,
when skiers wander in to get soaked
with their thirsty throats
and clunking boots,
bending an elbow
‘til they’re full as a ticks.
All these flannel-mouthed folks
are fine enough, but don’t hold
a candle to my outlaw roots.
My Irish oak first left Ireland
when Butch Cassidy sent for me
all those years ago. The gang
was good to me, kept me
oiled and in apple pie order.
I was just a shave tail then,
thought they’d never leave me,
but outlaws will be outlaws
and gunshots in Bolivia meant
I’d never see Butch again.
Time got away from me
and before I knew it, some
crazed biker joint gave me
a quick lick and a promise.
I stood helpless as a wallflower,
covered in shag carpet and
plastic countertop. I guess
you could say this place
saved me from certain death—
took me in, dressed me in my best
bib and tucker, polished up
each mirror and gave me
back my pride.

April 23

Wooden Breath

I believe in remnants,
hushed fragments,
fabric weaved into hair and skin,
the scent of retention
and the texture of time.

I believe in essence,
forgiven bitterness,
underlying a shimmering glaze,
the tender touch of loyalty
and the lip of reality.

I believe in spectacle,
loud debacles,
tragedy and comedy disguised
beneath the masked face,
a public and foolish embrace.

I believe in the façade,
it’s wooden breath
and darting veneer eyes,
the camouflage of disquiet,
the conscience ignorant.

April 22

Seeing the Whole

I’ve hugged the present, kept it close—
a child of the future, an elderly past,
not allowing it to drift into position,
where I can see it standing whole
rather than too nearsighted for my vision.
If I let go, will it be a disappointment?

April 21

Facebook Activist

How nice that you can share a post
from safety behind your screens,
but do you act when given the most
important, in-person opportunities.

April 20

Ballad of Loss

Mortality has no mercy
for lovers, no matter when they meet,
how little they take for granted,
nor how passionate or complete.

Mortality has no mercy,
even to the most unexpecting
and may send a brutal reality,
so unfair and unrelenting.

Mortality has no mercy
and contests all who find love,
no matter how undeserving,
there is nothing that can be done.

Mortality has no mercy
upon lovers, both young and old,
unyielding, such loss is nothing
but a horrible lesson learned.

April 19

Dandelion Days

Seeds break free,
pushed forward by child’s breath
and catch a bird’s wing
or warm air rising
to the sun.
Sprouting, yet steady feet,
take carefree strides along
the edge of the forest.

April 18

The Future is Humming

Future generations are a byproduct
of what we’re passing on—we’re creating
the hospitality of the planet. We’re creating

what we’re calling progress. The steps
that will grow a lot of men and women.
We’re creating a whole lot of folks—12 million

by 2020, 3 million over the past year.
We’re adding them ten times faster.
We’re going to try to build on the progress

that’s already been made. We’ve got to be relentless,
create a steady stream. Parts of the globe are humming,
making sure we are able to get the job done.

–Found in the transcript for President Barack Obama’s speech at Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Friday April 3, 2015 on clean energy jobs.

April 17

The Current State of Smallness

Cut into a geometric skyline,
backlit quadrangles reflect human
invention, washed across water
below evening’s aura.

Tiny souls walk behind the glass
and embrace their livelihood,
conceptualize the present—
a palimpsest of the past.

Once, there were robust plains
waiting here beneath the wind,
bending grass tops and cattails
to touch the water’s edge.

April 16

The Next State

“To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war. To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace.” –Pope John Paul II on his visit to Hiroshima at the Peace Memorial Park, Feb. 25, 1981

Every moment becomes
the past in an instant.
Our hands ache with despair,

the inability for reparation.
The unimaginable loss of thousands
imprinted into a copper etching.

The wax melted onto the surface
of subsistence. Curls of copper
burr into engraved cities

and the crosshatching of civilizations.
The ink of history seethes
into grooves, awaiting impression.

This is the first state.

Every moment becomes
the past in an instant.
One divergent force, an impression

so high-pressure, the plate
can no longer produce
a distinct replica—

the hollows disfigured, the edges
distressed. It takes years of work
to repeat the process, to resurface.

This is the second state.

We are stationed here in copper,
in dark ruts and muddy ink.
We are the products pressed

onto paper, products of all
that came before us, products
of passion and of pain,

products of art and wisdom
and learning and of the other,
the not-knowing,

and the witnessing of all
this through individual experience.
The impression is lasting.

This is the next state.

April 15

Pinched-skinny

unthinking bull offspring
belly way of living
breast-giver
you are god
driven by lust
the deepest
night she creates
as mother blind
alleys capacious bosom
mother’s will
drill her body seething
vat of milk
I put flowers
on stolen samosas
even the flies were fat
bear motherhood
large round breasts
countless beings
a whim in mind or body
astrological almanac
greedy crow take
your wife female ritual
beggar-pickpocket-hooker
pinched-skinny flaming
devotion raised a hue
and a cry better
human material matters

–Found in the “Breast-giver” by Mahasveta Devi. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Breast Stories: 38-45. Print.

April 14 

When Unheard

There is no silence; life itself has sound.
There is motion in all living systems.
There is no stillness; ev’ry pulse resounds.

In human science, silence is unknown,
even anechoic, stop and listen—
there is no silence. Life itself has sound.

Only deafened ears can avoid it now—
the movement of all our nervous systems.
There is no stillness; ev’ry pulse resounds.

Climb in the quiet chamber; lock it down.
You can hear two sounds, high and low, and then
there is no silence. Life itself has sound.

Even if unheard, noise will still compound
until there is no life, no existence.
There is no silence; life itself has sound.
There is no stillness; ev’ry pulse resounds.

April 13

Heaven’s eye dilates
as the sun’s corona glows
behind the eclipse.

April 12

The Sweetest Thing

These moments collect like a jar of sweets—
a jar that’s perched upon the window sill.
The feeder dangling outside hosts the light
and tiny guests that sip its nectar, red
as morning glints its surface. Rays refract
from glass to window, glass to jar, to arch
in prism—spectrum angles bright display.
The wax paper wrapped thoughts twist on the ends
as hummingbirds peeking inside to see
and wondering what each one may contain.
The sweetest things are moments savored, kept
in waiting, flavors revealed again. Taste
the present moment. Bits of taffy stick
to teeth reminding me of simple joys.
The nectar droplets must be just as sweet,
the little birds recall their sweetest things.

April 11

Whoever said freckles are angel kisses was wrong

I’m a horrible liar.
This is why it’s hard for me to keep secrets.
I mean, I can resist the urge to say them out loud,
but I can’t deny that I know nothing.

This is why it’s hard for me to keep secrets.
A lie is like sunburn on my cheeks,
grit in my eye, and pepper on my tongue.
A lie is an electric fence to the touch.

A lie is like sunburn on my cheeks.
Count my freckles. They are the scars of lies.
I draw lines to connect them, to remember the
grit in my eye, and pepper on my tongue.

Count my freckles. They are the scars of lies.
I mean, I can resist the urge to say them out loud,
but those I’ve told left me permanently marked.
I’m a horrible liar.

April 10

Exposé

It starts
as a hush
from lip
to ear,
leaning in,
hand-cupped
and hidden,
from secret
to shared,
from closed
to open—
the only
secrets are
those
unknown.

April 9

Pull

As I turned,
the corner
of the bookshelf
leaned in to collide
with my forehead.

I cursed aloud and
rubbed the already
lumping indent
near my temple.

I’d like to think
it is some sort of sign,
the universe motioning,
urging me to pull

a book of poems
from the shelf. I hesitate,
stare at the bindings,
the many unread pages,

ordered from Amazon
on a whim, or rummaged
from a bin at good will.
I turned to leave the room,
empty-handed again.

April 8

Evening Realizations

A cheap bottle of table wine,
I finish it off by myself,

my husband sound asleep
on the sofa in front of the T.V.

When I press the power button
all is still in this quiet nook

of a house on the canyon bench,
where deer wander into

back yards like rattlesnakes
creeping beneath rocks,

where vertigo mountains
creak the bend in my neck

as I squint to see where crest
meets dusk, and quail will squawk

like ooga horns come morning,
always waking me too soon.

April 7

A Poetic Address

Poetry is my abode. More than just a home, it welcomes me with words. It takes my umbrella and jacket and brings me brandy at the day’s end. Each poem is an old rotary phone, dialed in to my senses, just a verse away from a connection. The stanzas call to my inner ear to release static and clear confusion. And when the walls swell and the doors and shutters give way, I call myself a poet—like a clock radio, noting the time, sounding an alarm, and broadcasting to other addresses.

April 6

A Provo Poet

There once was a Provo poet,
who wrote a limerick though
she didn’t want to.
When asked, she said, “I’d be perfectly content
if I never have to write a limerick again.”

April 5

Broken Bridges

You will recognize me
by the bent bridge of my nose,
the way it juts from my brow
and slopes toward my lips.

You won’t want to notice
the bridge in my mouth—
the artificially sculpted tooth
filling a once empty space.

You will listen when the bridge
of my violin snaps out of place
from the pressure and pull
of the strings and my bow.

You will miss the release of the
bridge in the music, when
the twenty-fourth bar arrives,
but the instrument has gone silent.

You will walk into the mist
along the rotting, wooden slats
on the bridge in the forest,
at great risk to find me.

You won’t.

April 4

The Name Must Change

Before you were born, I knew I loved you. Then, you were my daughter.
Of course I loved you, selfishly loved you—you, were an annex of me.

I gave you a name, again selfishly. I named you with words which were a
reflection of me, not what I thought you would be, or wanted you to become.

I’d like to say I regret it, the egotism of child-bearing, the eagerness of making
more of me to go around, the willingness to force you out as though you only

came from me, from the darkness of my insides, into the daylight of my outsides,
the place I called home and would keep you to grow you, to become like me, to be

me. It was midnight when the first contractions came, a week later
than expected, an echoing pain in my low back, a tenseness in my abdomen.

I counted the seconds between each ache, trying to distinguish the beginning
and ending. It was morning when you arrived, different than expected.

You were not the daughter I’d attached myself to, and yes, this was my first parental
lesson. Not only are you a person, individual and unmolded, you are my son.

April 3

Rainstorm

The Rain sauntered skyward,
dropped its weight into a cloud
and kicked off her boots.

This was as good a spot as any
for a little R&R. All this precipitation
nonsense had the Rain feeling

inconspicuous, as if any minute
she might fall apart and scatter
into the landscape.

She was on vacation for Christ’s sake.
Planned recreation, shopped
for just the right swimming suit

to hide the bulge and boost
the breast. Surely, some blustery
storm would try to pick her up.

What else should a little, innocent
girl expect? In her bright yellow
slicker and rubber boots.

It was then some surly updraft
put a damper on the holiday
and dumped her

out onto the tulips below.

April 2

Bruised

Heavy, ruffling
owls with hunched yellow
scowls hide in our ears.
The bird screams
of turtles swimming.
Their shells hitting
our noses. Smell through
the alcohol and herbs,
the tobacco. Swimming
about to rub our bruises.
Climb up to hear
the monkey begin
the story. Repeating it,
the monkey words flapped
loose inside brain.
The eaters bring
the monkey. The end—
it’s neck—the end
of the pole. Screaming
hands are tied.

–Found in The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. Random House, Inc. NY. 1975. Pg. 91. Print.

April 1

Arm the Homeless

A coalition in Columbus
is collecting donations,
funding for firearms
to arm the homeless.

They aim to train them
on safety and select them
based on need, mental
and emotional stability.

The media is wild with
attention, interviews
and mass manipulation.
What is the social value?

Should the 2nd amendment
be limited to the those
with permanent addresses?
Maybe, but this is a hoax.

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