April 30th – Music

I DID IT! Enjoy my last poem for the month. So stoked that I actually made it all the way to the end ^_^. Here’s the swansong of my NaPoWriMo challenge:

Orchestra of A Dying Body

Here, the restless drum –
beating out his heartbeat
in erratic infarctions;
in the haywire countdown.
And here, the brass sounds
sharp as needle points.
Each defibrillator charge
becomes a series of
crescendos in this;

the undoing – the deflation
of us into a solemn strings
piece. This is how silence
happens; gradually –
a horde of conductors
call time on keeping
the music alive.

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Challenge 30 – Finale

So, the final challenge is here. After thirty days of trials and tribulations, we come to it at last. As a fond farewell, my challenge to you all this final day is to do with music. So picture a scene or a moment in time and essentially put it to music. For instance, the leaves turning colour in autumn as an aria and you describe how the music moves and lifts through that moment in time.

Good Luck!

JT

April 29th – Memory

The prompt was fairly self-evident so I chose to basically commemorate a decent round of golf and drinking afterwards. Enjoy:

18

I remember the way the willow branches
brushed against skin in a kindly way;
as though it were the teasing touch of a lover.

I remember how the sound of enamel
on steel as it’s struck was like the pounding
of a fresh chalk against a paving stone.

I remember how the wind swirled
and fell through the summer air as though
it were dying for it’s chosen art.

I remember how the taste of
oranges was sweeter than dew in
the uncut grasses beneath the copse.

I remember the elation at
the rattling; the sinking of ball into
cup after wayward adventures.

I remember the taste of victory; an explosion
of malt – hints of wood-smoke burning
their way down my throat.

Challenge 29

Poet and artist Joe Brainard is probably best remembers for his book-length poem/memoir, I Remember. The book consists of a series of statements, all beginning with the phrase “I remember.” Here are a few examples:

I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.

I remember how much I cried seeing South Pacific (the movie) three times.

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

The specific, sometimes mundane and sometimes zany details of the things Brainard remembers builds up over the course of the book, until you have a good deal of empathy and sympathy for this somewhat odd person that you really feel you’ve gotten to know.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue. Happy writing!

April 28th – Tweet Poetry

It does amaze me how easy it is to get political in such a short form. I decided to take a dig at the government on their decision not to accept a load of child refugees for no defensible reason. Enjoy:

Saviour

Rows of rags and small bodies –
crying out for shelter; left stranded
to watch boats set sail.
Union Jack offers a
mocking wave in return.

Challenge 28

Not long to go and with not much time left it’s time to look at short forms. When I say short, I do mean miniscule. For today’s challenge, try and write a poem in 140 characters or less. Yep, that’s right – a tweet length poem. It’s a fun format and interesting to play around with so have fun!

Good Luck!

JT

April 27th -Long Lines

An interesting one today, seeing as how I can’t usually write long lines to save my damn life. It actually made me think about how I’m writing and how I probably need to diversify my style a little bit. So here’s my attempt:

LDR

You say good morning as the clock chimes midnight.
I’m starting work as you’re clocking off for the day.
This distance, darling, is us personified –
too far apart to touch but touched by him
across miles, through the frenzy of pixels and
pictures on computer screens.
Skype dates are our forte; left longing by our
dear friends distance and loneliness.
Time is inconsistent. Long nights are long days
and vice versa and the words on this page
are for us. For you. For the empty space
in our bed; built for one, used by two.
There may come a point where we can co-exist,
cohesion of rings to fingers but for now it is
this; the icons of internet sites flashing
another “I miss you” message.

Challenge 27

Today’s prompt comes to us from Megan Pattie, who points us to the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who increasingly writes using very long lines. Carson has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. So today, Megan and I collectively challenge you to write a poem with very long lines. You can aim for seventeen syllables, but that’s just a rough guide. If you’re having trouble buying into the concept of long lines, maybe this essay on Whitman’s infamously leggy verse will convince you of their merits.

Happy writing!

JT

April 26th – Call & Response

So this isn’t the first time I’ve written a poem like this. If you cast your mind back to the Almanac Questionnaire challenge, I did something similar then. This one, however, comes from a series of Catechisms I’ve been writing in my spare time based on some of the ludicrous questions I’ve been asked since coming out. Enjoy:

Who Hurt You?
I fell and scarred myself countless times

Who hurt you?
Sticks. Stones. Words, words, words…

Who hurt you?
A hailstorm of childish fists

Who hurt you?
She pinned me down. Silenced my “no” with a kiss.

Who hurt you?
I grew up believing I was defective

Who hurt you?
They set fire to the rainbow flag

Who hurt you?
Everyone smiles as they twist a knife into your back.

Challenge 26

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea shanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea shanty example:

Haul on the bowline, our bully ship’s a rolling,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darlin’,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

The call can be longer than the response, or vice versa. But think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience. Happy writing!

JT