NaPoWriMo – Poem #4

soft and velvety
heavy with sweet musk
their scent fills my nostrils
phantom smells
haunting my senses

A rose tattoo
covered her breast,
one lush bloom cresting the cleavage
one long stem dipping into her sternum
was it promise
or warning

Perhaps a tantalizing peak
at the sensuous treasures
bestowed to the worthy,
thoroughly broken man,
she chose

But roses decay
soft petals turn brittle
musky sweetness
becomes sickly,
enough to choke
tender senses

adorned her casket
pale pink and scarlet red
reminiscent of the lush
lively woman resting

Still, the phantom
smell of fresh cut roses
wafts through my memory
and the shriveled rose
revives itself
living brief moments
once more

NaPoWriMo – Poem #3

Into the Underworld

Our chanting leads the Seer
down her path,
winding, we follow.

Worlds on all sides
Like colorful crystal spheres
Microcosms, curious temptations.

To the gates we trod,
an army of seekers,
prodded on by the chant of our guide.

We stop at the entrance. Waiting.
Blind to what lies
beyond the Gate.

The gaping mouth opens to the Seer’s plea.
The undercurrent pulls,
beyond the threshold she goes.

Do not go through the Gate
We were told before our journey,
but it pulls at me,
as if the Underworld beckons.

My feet step forward,
But my heart recoils.
The call is too strong
And it takes all I can muster to fight
the undercurrent –
the pull of the dead.

One might say there is something
beyond for me.
I am not ready.

The Seer speaks.
The guide calls for questions to be answered.
It’s not my time.
The struggle is too great.
The Underworld holds no answers.
No comfort for me.
Not this day.

NaPoWriMo – Poem #2

The dusty glass box
encases a fragile yellow rose.
Dried, curled, and browning with age –
frozen in time.
One turn of the small metal loop
pressed against the base
reveals the difficult strains,
a bittersweet, old tune.

Music pulls forth memories
an awkward fifteen year old girl,
singing in unison with classmates.
Bouncing over dips and bumps in the road
from the back of a darkened school bus.
Laughter frames the memory.
Young girls floating above
green plastic seats as the bumps
launch them higher and higher
into the air. Landing hard.
Painful jolts that run up the spine.
They laughed anyway.

A gentle click,
the music stops and the memory

An odd little trinket,
a birthday gift from my grandparents,
given years after the memory it evokes.
The crinkled golden lettering proclaiming
“Happy Golden Birthday”
has grown fragile and I wonder if a fingernail
might scrape it away.

I turn to my partner.
“Am I a bad granddaughter if I decide to give this away?”
He looks at the glass –
not unlike the magical rose
from the Beauty and the Beast
stories – and shrugs.
“I don’t know. I don’t have a hard time letting things go.”

He hasn’t answered the question,
at least not the one I asked.
I stare through the grime at the rose,
play the music once more.
It isn’t a useful item.
Not one that is visited often.
Yet, its creation was well thought out.
A gift given with love and planning.
Still…its memories remain on a neglected shelf,
heavy with the dust of time passing.

I do have a hard time letting things go.
They are not simply things.
They are memory capsules.
Perhaps forgotten, but memories all the same.
Yet, shouldn’t we let go of old memories to make
room for new ones?
When do memories trap us and prevent
us from moving forward?

Too often,
I hold on too tightly,
for too long.

Placing the old gift into a box marked for Goodwill,
I trace the golden words,
hum the old tune to myself,
and leave this memory behind.

NaPoWriMo – Poem #1

And the record skips.

Angry words spew forth from your bitter tongue.
I feel as if we’ve played this tune before.
Dropped a dirty quarter in the jukebox,
pressed the button for a tender love song –
yet somehow ended up with death metal hate.

You rail at me like that angry German man
from a band I don’t understand, but you enjoy.
The verse is altered, but the refrain is the same.
I can’t help but wonder if we will ever make it
beyond the middle of this album.

The first song is beautiful, kind and full of love.
The second song is patient and understanding,
but a little unsure. The third song is strained,
falling a bit off key. The fourth is where it ends.

And the record skips.
The kindness breaks, the soft words turn hard.
The lyrics jumble as the needle scrapes and jumps tracks.

The album begins again.
Each time around the needle makes more scratches.
Irreversible damage to songs that once were beautiful.
Now, garbled and unclear. I can’t help but wonder,
when will your anger make our album
too broken to play?

Put another quarter in, the needle drops.

NaPoWriMo – April 2018

In the month of April, the Academy of American Poets urges us to celebrate National Poetry Month – a unique invention that they instituted in 1996. They even provide us with 30 potential ways to celebrate. These include anything from learning to write poetry, to reading poetry, to buying poetry books.

30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

As for me, I’ve been an avid supporter of NaNoWriMo for many years. For those who still may not be familiar – that’s National Novel Writing Month. It originally began as an annual event in November which encouraged writers of all talents and experience to come together, commit to a project, and churn out at least 50,000 words by month’s end. To be fair, that is quite a feat for those of us with limited time on our hands and I’m a rare completionist, but a regular participant.

Over the years, NaNoWriMo has expanded its offerings to include 2 camps in the spring and summer months, as well as a youth program and a script writing program. These offer more flexibility than the rigid 50k commitment in November, which I can definitely appreciate. In recent years, I’ve also discovered a splinter group that calls themselves NaPoWriMo – if you haven’t guessed, that’s National Poetry Writing Month. They’ve claimed the month of April as a time to commit to writing one poem a day for the entire month. This seems like a beautiful way to celebrate National Poetry Month. Plus, it’s less daunting for someone like me. I can commit to one poem a day a lot easier than I can commit to 1,667 words a day.

So, here goes…I have a few days to make up, but I’ll be posting each of the 30 poems here throughout the month. Good, bad, or otherwise!