Category Archive: April Poem a Day

last one

It’s May, but here’s the last poem for April:

 

4.30

For today’s prompt, write an “after leaving here” poem.

Crawfish

The cans, once cold and crowded
among ice and sweating bottles,
now lay sideways and empty
among the foil, cardboard,
and plastic, and I lean my head
against the glass of your window,
watching the lights freckle
in the rain.

 

Now to choose my top five.

almost done

One more poem to write for the April Poem a Day challenge. Then to select my top 5 to submit for the contest. This is my second time writing a month of poems, but my first time I’ll be submitting. I wouldn’t if I didn’t think I had a chance. I do worry that many of mine have been too short for serious consideration, so I have tried to add a little more length to these last ones.

4.29
For today’s prompt, write an ode. I’m thinking of odes in the more contemporary sense of being a praise poem, though if people want to get all old school with it, then that’s fine too.

Ode to age

The thing no one tells you about getting older
is your parents, who were once young,
once younger than you, had you,
and cars, and money, and time,
these parents shorten, round, thin,
forget, fall, refuse pills, sneak food,
call you when their shows have gone off
and only baseball is on
and tell you the story of how
you at three went to the emergency room
because you lodged a butter bean
up your nose and your screams
made their thirty-year-old hands too shaky
to hold your head back and tweeze.

No one tells you that for each gray hair
of your own, they are losing their own
to widow’s peaks and spotty skin,
and for each wrinkle, your face turns
into theirs, and theirs into their parents
long gone, and for each day,
you stretch your face in the mirror,
count your pores, hide your skin in cream,
they have lived that day plus
the 48 years they had
before you.

 

Continue Reading »

1

PAD catch up

4.22

For today’s prompt, write an “only one in the world” poem. This only one in the world might be a person, an animal, a place, or an object. Think of someone or something unique and write.

New Orleans
just let me
hang
from your limbs
sun bleaching
and swaying
with beads
in the breeze
of streetcars.

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balloons

4.19

Today is a “Two for Tuesday” prompt. In fact, it’s one of my favorite prompts of each challenge. Poets can:

  1. Write a love poem.
  2. Write an anti-love poem.

1.

knot around wrist

In the sand of the big top,
it floats half empty, alone,
its weighted head bobbing
as its strings scratch love letters
to the hands that left it behind.

2.

You

The rush, the waiting,
the lack of space,
the wanting, the silence,
the fullness stretching,
the leaning, the wine,
the giving, the music,
the hiding, the thinning skin,
the traction, the hope,
the feeling like a popped balloon.

1

Yes, I am turning into my parents.

PAD 4.18

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Like (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title to your poem, and write your poem.

Like Deborah

When I hear myself complaining
about the noise of the TV
and checking to see what
you’ve turned the sound to
I have to resist
running to the mirror
to see if I’ve taken on
my mother’s face as well.

***

You tell me, is it true? Am I taking on her face as well?

 

 

 

 

Please, Hammer, don’t hurt em

April Poem a Day continues

For today’s prompt, write a big picture poem. I know these can be difficult to write, because they cover big ideas or emotions or concepts.

Mississippi Sunday, 1990

When his hand grabbed theirs,
they in shock of the contrast crossed
into the church that they and their parents
and their grandparents and neighbors
had never thought to see until he pressed
them into cushioned seats, two brown boys,
their backs facing emptying pews,
as mothers and children went to wait in the car
and fathers and deacons erased the air
around the preacher as they pointed
trembling fingers at their faces,
dark and wet with fear.

 

That poem is based on a story from my friend’s childhood. Seems like churches should be the least segregated places. I’d love to talk to the boys who this happened to and hear about their memories of this day.

2

snapshot and profile PAD 15 & 16

Over halfway with the PAD challenge

4.15

For today’s prompt, write a profile poem. When I think of a profile poem, I’m thinking of social media profiles. Personally, I have one for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other sites like the Writer’s Digest Community website. So you could write a poem that is your own profile, or that of another person (like what would Edgar Allan Poe or Emily Dickinson put in their Facebook profiles). Of course, I’ll accept other takes on the prompt, such as describing a physical profile, or a piece on criminal profiling, etc. As always, the main thing is to write a poem.

Alicia Denai Barnes

Though she sits,
up three flights,
each day at a desk,
in front of a screen,
and types and clicks,
behind a closed door,
and sees no one
except in the other brown
lady, medium tinted skin, older,
who empties the trash,
she must step over
a pile of clothes
that she tried on
and adds to
each morning.

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PAD 12, 13, & 14

Just got back from a work trip to Jackson. Here are the three latest poems I know you’ve been waiting for. I’m putting them in order of my fav:

4.13

For today’s prompt, write a poem that remembers an old relationship. This relationship does not have to be romantic.

Untitled

A fly
with its wings
against the tape
can move
just not
anywhere
it wants
to be.

Continue Reading »

PAD Day 11: Maybe another

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Maybe (blank);” replace the blank with a word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write the poem. Some example titles might be: “Maybe I should’ve read the instructions first,” “Maybe I was wrong,” “Maybe the world is flat,” or whatever else y’all can muster. I admit that my brain is a little exhausted.

 

Maybe another

It’s not that I don’t want to feel
completely
or think
wholly.
It’s that it’s Monday,
and I’ve felt enough,
and I’ve thought too much,
so pass me another.

2

we had to go buy fly tape today

Saturday Day 9: For today’s prompt, write a time of day poem.  In fact, make the title of your poem the time of day.  For instance, “5:54 a.m.,” 2:23 p.m.,” “Midnight,” etc.  Then, write your poem.  Of course, different things happen at different times of day.  So have fun with it.

7:22

Ten minutes longer than it should have been
but the stoplights conspired
and the air laid heavy
and heat melded my soles
to the cement.

 

Sunday Day 10: For today’s prompt, write a never again poem. Maybe you’ll never again fall in love or never again tell a lie. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll never again not write a sestina. (Like that? It’s a double negative.)

Untitled

If this is what comes of open windows,
open doors, and spring,
then never again
will we let the house breathe in
this plague of flies.

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