I thought I would just share the instructions from the optional prompt today on the NaPoWriMo website, so folks could have some insight into the composition of today’s poem. I tried to write a line or lines inspired by each item of instruction in chronological order, rather than jumping around, in the hopes that the poem might be more cohesive or comprehensible. I think it fails on both counts. Not as easy as it looks. I chipped away at this damn thing all day and it’s pretty silly, but I gotta say–I like it. Here were the instructions:
- Begin the poem with a metaphor.
- Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
- Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
- Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
- Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
- Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
- Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
- Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
- Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
- Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
- Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
- Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
- Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
- Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
- Write in the future tense, such that that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
- Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
- Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
- Use a phrase from a language other than English.
- Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
- Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
Twenty Little Poetry Projects
Sunshine, medicine I need.
Some honey bees out back just created the world.
Breeze against the skin, greenery abounds, the birds
trill and thrum, nose the fresh cut grass, and the toothpaste
from this morning’s brushing, lingering,
the taste of yellow, lime green moss on the roof
of the noisy wood shed mouth.
Old man Bill Wheeler, as our paths crossed
on Swain Avenue, said, lovely day for a pandemic.
His name wasn’t Bill Wheeler, and it might have
been Risley Avenue, but the rest, what he said, true.
Airline travel is down, as is air pollution.
Completely, utterly, snatched. As I have said,
the Sun also rises, falls,￼￼ and as I have heard others say,
you can’t have your cake and eat it, as the prickly pear
of love fights off the doves of war and the potus slam
dunks the ball for the win! Jarm Dawg says, they
don’t call me Jarm Dawg for nothing.
We will all return in glory, not to judge the living
and the dead, but to put the school house back together.
These old teenagers will once again populate and deck the halls.
This butter has marbles in it, comprenez-vous, n’est pas?
Back to the sun, remember, whispering its sweet, warm gibberish
into skin, green things, the birds, the grass, toothpaste that
starts to taste like whiskey.
Might as well record this one for shits and giggles. That’s not part of the poem, BTW. I wondered out loud and on the page whether or not I would record any of these original things, but this one, I think, might be fun to read out loud and I hope, might be fun to listen to. Enjoy.