Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November poem a day challenge

I've almost kept up with the November poem a day prompts. The object of this challenge is to produce and submit a 10-20 page chapbook by the end of December -- so, not all of the November poems need to be included. Here's my first five days' attempts with the prompts.

More will follow.

November PAD 1
For today’s prompt, I want you to write a poem in which you (or something) enters something new. Sound abstract? Some examples: Write a poem in which you travel somewhere new. Or try some new exercise. Or diet. Or hair stylist. Or, well, I’m think you get the idea. And remember: It doesn’t have to be about you. You could, I suppose, write a poem about an insect entering a new phase of development. Or a plant being introduced to a new environment. And so on.

I’m always up for a challenge.
So when promised a point award
for upping my weekly steps total
by 1000, I took it and walked with it,
so to speak.
That meant only 10 minutes more
cardio exercise everyday
for seven days,
a surprisingly small commitment.
But when I finished the week,
successfully upping my total
more than the minimum 1000,
I was tired
and took the next day off.

November PAD 2
For today’s prompt, I want you to write a poem in which you look at something from a different angle. For instance, a chef could go out to eat at a restaurant where he’s not the chef, or a short person can look at the world from the vantage point of a tall person (maybe with the help of stilts or a stool or something). The predator could become the prey. The photographer could become the photographed. And so on and so forth.

Last night I judged a poetry reading.
High school students
showing few nerves
got up, stood at the podium,
and gestured appropriately
as they shared their favorite poems
and talked eloquently about their choices.
Judging a reading isn’t a simple task
especially when a monetary prize is involved.
But it’s so much easier than being judged
for reading poems myself.

November PAD 3
Prompt #1: Write a positive poem. Like how great writing a poem a day through November is. OR
Prompt #2: Write a negative poem. Like how un-great technological hiccups in November are.

Today it’s all bad:
the hair,
the face,
the job,
the boss,
the people on my work team,
the food.
It couldn’t get any
worse than a greasy plate
of chow mein for lunch.
Even after a piece of gum
the greasy taste remains.
So, today is a day to stay cool
and not make any rash decisions.
Just put one finger on the keyboard
at a time and push down
and let it all evolve
as it will.
Though tomorrow bodes to be
just as bad.

November PAD 4
For today's prompt, I want you to take the phrase "Maybe (blank)," replace the (blank) with a word or phrase, and write a poem using that new phrase as your title. Some example titles: "Maybe we really did need a bigger boat," "Maybe next time you'll listen to me," "Maybe never," "Maybe baby," and so on.

Maybe I should drive to Big Sur
instead of going to work.
I would see blue sky and small white clouds
once out of the city
and fog
hovering over the cliffs
as I climb the coast.
I would smell the salt and pine air
and stop and look at the ocean
lapping against the rocks
every few miles or so.
I would not be in a hurry
but once there,
I would immediately
run down the hill to the tubs
relax in a bath
of hot sulfur spring water
and let the stress of work
ease out of me.
And I would never look back.

November PAD 5
For today's prompt, I want you to write a growth poem. This could be psychological or emotional growth, physical growth, or however you'd like to take it. Maybe your poem is about growing hair or growing hungry or growing impatient or...

I’ve decided it’s time to look my age.
I’m done with the dyes and low lights
and all those bottled hair coloring potions.
I’m done with the bluing, the cinnamon, the henna.
I’ve dumped them in the trash.
I’m growing out
my natural gray/silver color.
Slowly, month by month
as the colored ends get trimmed,
more and more
of my true color shows.
Now, the question is,
will I keep it that way
once I’m done with being done
and dye it all over again?

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