NaPoWriMo 2022 Day 28 My Trees

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Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash.

Hello again! I can’t believe that there are only two more days of this year’s NaPoWriMo. I’m sad to say the least. Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. Like acrostic poems, concrete poems are a favorite for grade-school writing assignments, so this may not be a first time at the concrete-poem rodeo.

In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. For example, May Swenson’s poem “Women” mimics curves, reinforcing the poem’s references to motion, rocking horses, and even the shape of a woman’s body. George Starbuck’s “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” is – you guessed it – a sonnet in the shape of a potted Christmas tree.

So, my concrete poem proved difficult to post without the shape shifting when previewed via mobile phone or desktop. What you will find is that I have posted an image of my poem for those reading from mobile apps and a regular copy for those reading from a laptop or desktop. Either way you are reading it, I hope you will be able to detect my “tree” form.

Happy reading!

                                                                     My Trees


                                                                   My                                                      childhood
                                                                                                                   memories
                                                         are                                               full     of 
                                                 trees                                         like the
                                          giant                                      willow
                                    who                                      grew 
                          in the                                      middle
                    of the                               little grove 
             of trees                          hidden 
         behind                      the new 
     condo            development
    It was            there that
I dreamed  of spending 
my adult life
chain-smoking 
cigarettes and 
clacking the keys of 
my old typewriter 
as I cranked out
my next best-selling
novel. Then there was 
the colossal oak on the 
playground--the one whose 
ground roots held me like a 
comforting mother as I watched 
the other children run and play 
together from a disassociated 
distance. The oak was my friend—
my best friend—and I loved her.   
In later years, there was the young
sapling who gave its life to save mine.
It happened when the canoe tipped over,
I slipped quietly into the swirling river, and 
I thought I was dead at sixteen--until I spotted 
my father uprooting a small sapling from the bank.
He held the tree across the river and told me to grab on;
It was then I knew I was safe in the strength of the tree and
my father.        Safe in my childhood memories         safe in the arms       of    trees.  

--cjpjordan

Lady Godiva

Thanks to Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian @foodess for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

I haven’t felt much like cooking since Trace went into the hospital, Lizi had emergency surgery, and Uncle E left to stay with her for a bit and help out with Little E.

At first I didn’t want to cook because it was just too hot, and now, it seems I’ve lost my mood altogether. That seems an impossible and improbable situation given what I know about my own love for cooking, but it is absolutely true.

I think life just caught up with me, and I pooped out. What can I say? 🤷🏼‍♀️ It happens to the best of us.

However, my adoration for all things sweet has not abated one iota; so today, I found a prompt based on one of Lauren Russell’s collaborative poetry exercises. The exercise required that I write a poem based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure.

I think perhaps I had as much fun trying to think of a guilty pleasure as I did writing this sultry, smoking hot ode to my true love.

What is your secret guilty pleasure?

lady godiva 

can i taste
your sweet succulence,
your crisp-cookie,
your bark without a bite,
your gooey caramel pull,
your coconut cream,
and your milk chocolate chew
melting in my mouth?

can i taste
your dark chocolate,
your milky way wonder,
your sea salt sprinkles
that tease the tongue?

meet me
in my bed;
slip into
my mouth
and melt away
the sorrows.

meet me
in the dark
where we can
change the world,
or at least
the moment.

last night
your siren song bewitched
and i succumbed.

this morning
i looked both ways
before returning
your golden box
to the cupboard
and slipping silently
back into bed.

—Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What Did You Whisper to the Wind?

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

Today’s prompt was based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. 

The challenge was to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

The Osprey

Today was the day, rising
early to head to the water.
Was that the grasses waving
good morning as we drove by?

Squinting against the sun shining,
who did I hear whistling
high-pitched and clear through the sky?
What bright sparkling caught my eye?

Whose nest was filled with littered bits —
brilliant twig jewels in morning light?
All at once I saw them coming 
fast and furious diving downward flight

orienting with the wind, floating 
on air, streaking like lightning
hunting by high dive, plucking fish
like cherries from the fresh water.

Head buried underwater, tucking
talons back, gripping their wriggling
prey on upward ascent. Tell me,
what do you whisper to the wind?

--A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What is your favorite memory in nature?

Birth of a Poem

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Photo Credit: Thanks to Dewang Gupta @dewang for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/qNlQ5MJWZDg

The prompt for today challenged me to write a poem that recounts a creation myth and so, I thought I’d let you all in on the secret world of creating poems.

You see, each poem has a unique life form. You might think that I create poems, but actually more often than not, they create themselves, the words falling in to place with rhythm and order and beauty.

Writing poetry is an act of passion—writer and poem must come together in love and single-mindedness. I imagine if there were a mystical story of the creation of a poem, it might go something like this.

in the beginning: the birth of a poem

crisp cadence of sound bytes
dancing across the page;
marginal moments light
momentous mysteries
marching on.

letters swirls like atoms
forming ionic bonds.
how i cannot fathom
those molecular fronds
marching on.

yet unknown, the story
tumbles out in stages;
rolling rhymes unfolding,
memories outrageous
marching on.

ideas shift and shape,
pulling without tether
yet binding all the same
bringing us together
marching on.

the joyous pain birthing
small words that time sustains;
rejecting or rejoicing
the simple small refrain
marching on.

—a draft by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

What is your passion? What keeps you marching on?

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 28

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

The prompt for today was to write a poem that poses a series of questions. I didn’t mean for this to end up to be such a serious poem, but somehow it did. Poems tend to write themselves, and they also tend to not be “controllable”; it’s just the way of writing. What’s inside comes out whether we want it to or not.

So many situations are full of moments that most outsiders will never see. We never really know the full life experiences of another person even if we think we know them well. Each person and their life experiences are completely unique to them. No one else on the planet can understand 100% what another person feels, even identical twins or the closest of siblings.

But I can tell you this. Even if you cannot possibly know all the burdens another person carries, you can choose to sit with them in their story. I know from firsthand experience of friends sitting with me, it IS possible.

Most people just want a pair of ears connected to a heart that is truly listening. Most people just want to be heard. So this poem is a good reminder for us to listen to others carefully and respond with empathy when they share. 

How Can This Be True

How can this be true?
     It is, trust me. 

But how is is possible now for her to keep that secret for twenty years? 
     It’s possible.

You mean she didn’t even tell per parents?
     It’s possible, mom.

But why not? Why wouldn’t she tell her own parents?
     It’s complicated. 
Shame and guilt are complicated emotions, mom.
Still, how how is this possibly true? I wonder what her motives are. It’s possible, mom, that her only motive
is to finally speak the truth.
Did you see her on television? She must love attention.
Why didn’t she seek to take care of this earlier in private? Sexual abuse is complex, mom.
When you speak out, people don’t believe you.
The victim is victimized all over again. 
Did you see her face? I don’t believe her.
She looked like she was making it all up.  She looked crushed, mom. Absolutely crushed. And here I am still asking why?
Why would she not tell her parents? I answer, but only in my head this time,
what’s the point in trying to explain?

So I jut out my chin and hold my head a little higher
as I answer only to myself --
“Because she can’t go through the grief twice, mom.
She just can’t.” 

The voice in my head becomes stronger now-- 
“Because I can’t go through the grief twice; I just can’t go through the grief twice, mom.” Why don’t women tell?  Because no one will believe them. No one will believe me. Not even my own mother.

--A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan

Let me know how what you are writing during this National Poetry Writing Month. Drop me a message in the comments section below.