Tag Archives: napowrimo 2018

Regular Poem: emily dickinson taught me

30 Apr

emily dickinson taught me
a lot of things
but raymond chandler did too

am i dashes and metaphors and birds
or am i stockings and pistols and
birds meaning ladies
of course
and so many metaphors besides

does contemporary fiction promise
the same promises?

i wish i’d taken a course
i wish i were

i read a book recently
film criticism
ten years out of date
distended in a yawning void of new
ideas i sometimes stumble upon

if only i were present
instead of this
of half-formed ideologies
peppered with arcane phrases
in my own circumscribed shit
pretending and avoiding

if only i were connecting and changing
but what
connections might i make
would they be progressive
or regressive
what neurons would be fired
what fires would be kindled

i stick
to my own house
my own life
my own feelings

i stick to
the side steets the diners
the birds and the birds

Regular Poem: I Don’t Read Enough Virginia Woolf to Make a Valid Argument

29 Apr

virginia woolf says it’s a thousand
pities never to say
what one feels

idk ginny

is that a thing anybody
calls virginia woolf?
do i care?

ginny, here’s the thing
i’ve got a room of my own
too many rooms of my own
and too many feelings in each one

i don’t want to say any of them
because i don’t want them in the first place

when i take a notion
to say a feeling
i say it too loud and too stupidly

maybe that’s the point
you’re making ginny
that to say what you feel
is a luxury
often squandered
on people who refuse to listen
and with lips that refuse to be articulate

Regular Poem: Shame Shall Be the Promotion of Fools

28 Apr

feeling stupid
is worse than feeling guilty
but maybe it’s just
a different kind of guilt
a redirected guilt
a pervasive guilt

that both
absolves you and condemns you
is a state of being
a personality trait
instead of honest conviction

you can repent
but you’re still stupid
at the end of the day

fools despise widom and instruction
fools also
despise themselves

Regular Poem: This Maudlin Asshole

27 Apr

this maudlin asshole
is angry at the rolling fog
sighs heavily at a full moon
doesn’t cry even though she wants to

this maudlin asshole
remembers and forgets
is pragmatic enough to know better

but when she looks in her garage(s)
and when she thinks and makes herself not think
of things and feelings past

there is melodrama there

some heightened emotion
best told in black and white

there’s a measure of pretense
in any interaction
a conservation
of private self
even in intimacy

this maudlin asshole
holds back
and calls it
something other than what
it is

it’s fear

this maudlin asshole
gets so
restless and


with her pride and vanity
and notions and fantasies

this maudlin asshole

is judgemental and mean
and romantic and dreamy
and pragmatic and logical
and empathetic and sad
and loves cemeteries and libraries

this maudlin asshole

is me

Regular Poem: creep

26 Apr

we’re all turning into the same


a lot of factors
pull people together
and pull people apart
and there a lot of types of bonds

sometimes that cashier just knows
you’re the right girl
to give her pizza and wine advice

sometimes you know
that dude is going to let you be upset and unload to him
in healing terrible ways

and sometimes
we wind up
wound up
with the exact people
whose clockwork gears
catch on the same knicks

it’s this accidentally perfectly
woven tapestry
of amateur detectives who all
know where each other live
literally but also
what mental spaces are home
and emotional spaces are comfortable
and what weird stuff
are the throw pillows on the sofas of their brains

we start off
different creeps
with our own creepy specialties
one’s the technological–
she facebook stalks, gleans clues from emails, social media, internet, intranet

one’s the covert–
he uncovers conversations whispered other places

and i’m the overt–
driving by with my binoculers,
the roughing someone up in the interrogation room type

but we’re all blending and sharing
standing over people’s shoulders silently
and giving each other looks

some call it a clique
but it’s more a squad a posse
we’ll be rounding up bandits in no time

we don’t share all of ourselves
just the parts that make us work well together
but when you open a vein
it bleeds
and soon there’s more of ourselves
on the table
than we’d realized

and when we try to put it back in
we get some of each other in the mix

we creep into each other
and creep

we’re all turning into the same


Found Poem: LIKE WHAT

25 Apr

Remember like five years ago when I used to get a lot of weird spam messages that I turned into poems? I finally got some worthy spam again! (TBH, a lot of the line breaks are original spambot engineering.)

Both boys jumped up and down
wanting to know the best way
to make God happy.

Nicely, whɑt does God likе??
Lеe added.

I meаn, we like
ⅽookies and cartⲟons and toys, but
what kіnd of issues aare fun

fⲟr God??

It was a qestion tһat for ɑ minutе Mommy and Daddy
needed to assume about.

Ⲟk,? Leе mentioned and then he stopped and thought.

?The very bеst factor aƄout God is ??? hmmmm?????..?
He puzzled

aѕ a result of һe had so many thіngs that had been grеat about God but he needed to

select thе very best one soo he woսld win the gɑme.

?That һe is

aware of everything.

That?s actually cool. Meaning he may also help me with
mу homework.?
Larry concluded wіth a proud expression on hiѕ faϲe.

Properly boys,?
Mߋmmy finally stated after they hadd give you numerous silly concepts

of what Goԁ did for fun,

?What Godd actuallyy likes is
when individuals love eɑch other and handle each other like we

do іn our family.?

Thhat made sense to Lee and Laгry soo Lee hugged Mommy and ᒪarry huggеd daddy too simρⅼy

make God happy.

Regular Poem: Lawn Care

24 Apr


Drawn and talk of peace?!

I hate the word as I hate
hell, all Montagues, and


Also, I hate
electric weed-eaters.

I ought to think before I speak.
Just as a lark.
Just try it once or twice
feel how it feels
memorize that feeling until
it’s a sense memory
like fifties ballad chords on the ukulele
that I can play in my sleep.

Just like I ought to try
planning to mow my lawn
making sure I have the implements necessary
in fine working order.

There’s a kid at work
who’s always listening
for the specific dumb loud girl timbre
of my voice
to say just the right crazy thing

so that he can catch it in his butterfly net
as it flits from desensitized ear to desensetized ear
to the little grove of nonsense
where he lives.

So he catches it
and pulls off its wings
and answers it,
just as crazily.

Because that’s the reason he wants my butterflies.
He knows there’s a constant,

I’ve been calling him out on it
lately, and
I ought to listen to my own advice.

I tell him,

Instead of saying that [weird nonsequitor yelled across the room to me],
you could try
saying my name, gaining my attention
and then we could decide
to have a conversation
about something we both enjoy.
I know
you want to connect with me, and I
want to connect with you,
but to connect with someone,
you have to
talk about things
you both know about and
care about.

So the other day,
I said some flippant, flighty thing about hating something or other, and before the words had cooled past the heat of my mouth, he
was saying,

I hate a lot of things! Can I give you
a list of the things I hate?!

And I said,

We both hate a lot of things
That’s why we get along.
But let’s talk about something
more edifying. I apologize
for making you think
about stuff it’s best not to
think about while you’re working.

He tries so hard to joke
to rib
to make fun with
but he’s unpracticed
and wants to practice with me.

we both need the practice.

We need to plan and prune and trim.

I don’t know about his lawn mower,
but mine
at the very least
probably could use a new sparkplug.
And it takes a lot of muscle
to pull start it,
after a few seasons of disuse.

Regular Poem: talking at and talking to and just talking to talk

23 Apr

i have a bad habit
of talking at people
rather than to them
a diatribe rather than a dialogue
a performance rather than
a conversation

funny thing
means something different from
it looks to me that
in the former
the con means against
in the latter
the con means with

i think the verse is the same

but the melody’s different
or maybe the chorus changes

it happens all the time
with and against
talking at or talking to
or talking to talk

she talks at me
every time

i don’t know her boyfriend’s name
he’s only
he and him
because that’s the way
she’s structured the

she draws me in
in medias res
to any weird thing
that’s happened to her

but the funny thing about a
such as this

is the intimacy

it’s assumed
but then
it’s there
for real

and she calls me
not half an hour later
to reiterate her points and also

to invite me
to talk

Regular Poem: Details

22 Apr

the devil’s in them
or so i hear

i dislike them myself

that’s not true

i like the details i like

i’m sure it’s the same for everyone
the same sentiment the different details

don’t ask me dates and figures
ask me colors and facial expressions
phrases and where commas go and why

everyone’s precise in their own way and clumsy in others
i suppose
don’t expect me not to spill drinks
or to practice piano
but i can tell you a heck of a lot of
traffic laws

detailing people’s details they enjoy
is another detail i enjoy

but however detail oriented
people claim to be on their resumes

there’s that study you know

you’re looking for number of passes
and miss the gorilla

looking for some details
and missing others that you didn’t know
might pop up

it’s best to be open to possibilities
and not get so caught up telling people seen is the perfect participle of to see and should be used with an auxiliary verb

then you might miss that they’re saying

i seen that gorilla

and anyway
i still don’t want to talk about
the exact date i will
do that thing i’ve been talking about

i indulge you because i know that’s the kind of detail you like

but please
read the room

Regular Poem: Book Club

21 Apr

i don’t exactly want
to write essays again

or maybe i do

a tiger’s stripes
remain striped
even when she wears a baseball cap

i just want
to talk

theory and analysis and symbols and theme

do i want to prove myself
or do i want to express myself
do i want to live up to some expectation
or do i want to
in words
for a while again

in words with
someone else’s words
thoughts tugging on each other’s sleeves
breathing the same air
becoming a new thought

have someone collect
my thoughts in a little bag
and then later pull one out
and think on it again

place someone else’s words into my antique blender
and pour the mixture into a juice glass
drink it and enjoy it with my fried eggs

read me and i’ll read you and
we’ll read ts eliot together
and think different things about him
and read each other again

it’s exciting
to be excited
don’t be ashamed

Book 'Em, Jan O

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