Theft & Influence (April 13 & 14)

I spent more time than usual on the NaPoWriMo prompt for Monday. I did not follow the instructions, which involved writing a non-apology, but I did write a poem that engages with the idea of theft.

More precisely, I wrote a poem that consists solely of sentences and phrases I stole from Gabe’s April project: writing 30 single sitting flash fiction pieces. Sometimes he uses the daily NaPoWriMo prompt as an inspiration; sometimes he finds inspiration from conversations we’ve been having. Sometimes he just pulls something small and devastating from the depths of his mind. Then he posts them to the internet, for anyone to see or, in my case, steal.

To write the following poem, I took at least one line or phrase from every story he had posted by the end of the day on April 13th. He has kept the pace so far, so I had 13 flash fictions to plunder. And I am not going to apologize, so in a way I did follow the instructions for yesterday’s prompt after all.


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt challenged us to reflect on our poetic influences, and I got really caught up in the idea of mapping out my influences, and then I got really caught up in the idea of making a really beautiful map, and the next thing I knew it was 2:45 a.m. The map below does not yet document all my influences and their relationships, but it does capture all the reflection on influence I have done tonight. It also captures my response to this prompt, so feel free to click on the mindmap below. You can use the white (safely) gloved hand to move around the map. That’s it. That’s the poem.


Easter Weekend (April 11 & 12)

Although I have been keeping up with the daily NaPoWriMo prompts, I decided not to write any blog posts over Easter Weekend. Easter celebrates a resurrection (Roman Catholics would say the resurrection), but we cannot rise from the dead without first experiencing grief and loss. The pope spoke about resisting regret and sorrow during his Easter Vigil sermon, and I have also been reflecting on mourning over the past few days. My close friend’s elderly mother died early Saturday morning; L’s mother was 92 and living in an assisted care facility, far away and under quarantine. They tried to say goodbye over FaceTime. I cannot even imagine.

Later on Saturday, I learned that my mom, stepdad, and (favorite) aunt all contracted COVID-19 on a trip they took together in early March. My mom lives on the other side of the country, and my siblings and I quickly realized how difficult it has become to care for someone remotely. Even a simple gesture like having groceries delivered has become nearly impossible. Our family is lucky in that our loved ones seem to be moving toward recovery, but in reality, no one can say for certain what recovery looks like. We can only hope it looks like what we see.

Anyway, thoughts were somber on Saturday, and I decided to interpret the prompt for Day 11 in a very literal way. I used the language of flowers to write a condolence letter for L. You can read it below and try to translate it yourself using this glossary. Or you can read my translation here.

11April2020_CondolencesThe NaPoWriMo prompt for Sunday allowed me to experiment with a poetic form I had never encountered before: the triolet. It felt like something invented by rich people with too much time on their hands, but it appears to have been invented in medieval times, so probably an ambitious (and impoverished) artist came up with the idea. I don’t really know what to say about the poem I wrote other than I read a lot of science fiction and fairy tales. Also, like, be careful where you keep your baby. Goblins will switch places with it in a heartbeat.

12April2020_TrioletToday’s weather is dark and stormy, and I have been listening to the playlist I made during Hurricane Sandy. It would be perfect if the song “Sandy” from Grease was still available on Spotify.

9 April 2020

I am so intrigued by today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo! It invites us to make our poem more concrete by forming it into a shape that reflects its theme. I spent a lot of time reading Windowboxing by Kirsten Kaschock, the poet mentioned in today’s NaPoWriMo post, and I am now officially obsessed with her/her work and the portmanteau. Sadly, I could not figure out a way to make my poem concrete in the way I wanted to, so instead I made it virtual af by using Canva to form my poem into an Instagram post.

That’s the poem I made (for the gram), and it looks nothing like what I pictured when I first read the prompt. I wanted to find a way to create the shape of my poem with its actual text, the way my friend Jessica does with some of her handwritten poems (example below). But I wanted to do this digitally because I don’t have any interesting paper in the house. I played around with a couple different design tools, but this task definitely falls outside my current skill set. Someday, maybe.


Today I listened to Under the Pink (1994, yo) by Tori Amos while I worked on this poem-post. In college, my favorite song from this album was “Pretty Good Year,” but now I think “Past the Mission” is my favorite.