NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 8

Photo Credit: Mana Nabavian

Well then.

Today’s prompt was a doozy and a good one for Saturday. After running around all day, I wrote in snippets here and there, so if things seem disjointed, you’ll at least understand the reason why.

The prompt was another oldie-but-goodie. It really pushes you to use specific details, and to work on “conducting” the poem as it grows, instead of trying to force the poem to be one thing or another in particular. The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. Here is the list of the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem. Whew! And I’m here to tell you it’s not nothing to attempt this particular prompt.

Here are the instructions:

1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

Below is my attempt at following this prompt. Enjoy!


Wisdom is a window
that opens a crack
only to shatters into shards—
the sound like bells
calling me to rise.

My hand reaches
to brush away the mess
only to feel the sharp bits pierce my skin. Thinking back,
I realize the beauty of wonder

lived in her smile,
and Virginia was her name
but her singing, oh yes,
her singing! Her singing
was the color of sunshine.

I remember how she looked
like the moon and drank water
from her hands. Every morning she woke with a headache
caused by her flat feet and smize

But her speech,(yes,her speech!)
tasted like spicy honey,
especially when she leaned
out the window and hollered,
“Flaming emmets!”

The sudden shifting of love
caused her to hate them on sight,
but it was her lips that bellowed
bright with the dull ache
felt deep in her gut.

The bird escaped mere moments
before the clouds collapsed
and Miss J made her escape.
Some day, yes some day,
some day she will be free

to follow the fertile flight
of her futile fancy. Until then.
“Sånt är livet när kjolen
är randig”—that’s life
when the skirt is striped.

The window of wisdom
opens with ignorance
while the monkey whispers lies
about how freedom and fear
walk arm in arm.

—Carla Jeanne

2 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 8

  1. Just between you and me, this went straight to my heart. I can’t even put into words how i have been feeling and you just did it. Thank you for sharing your incredible insights with us and for me this was an arrow straight to the heart (in a good way)
    Because caring for someone you have been to Hell and back with is not at all easy. But in moments like this I can take a break and “feel”. I love you Carla ! I really hope we can meet soon and hug ❤️😘

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