All posts filed under: NaPoWriMo 2018

NaPoWriMo – Day Eighteen : Faded

Sometimes I don’t know I’ve left until I’m gone. It’s a choreography I learnt by accident, aware that the ghost of me is still sitting somewhere, that you might have noticed I’ve only remained in part. Fading out is a tricky habit to break, there’s no pattern to the way my limbs leave so I let myself go along with the easiness of it all. My toes already bare on another floor, I’m sure I must have left a clue somewhere that I was always waiting for the road to turn off. First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. …

NaPoWriMo – Day Seventeen : A Job Half-Done

If you don’t want to be asked to do something again, make an awful job of it the first time round. That was the lesson my father’s father apparently taught him when it came to household chores. It was the reason that his attempt on the lawn, a job normally reserved to my mother, has to be redone once he’d relinquished hold of the mower and she’d had chance to evaluate the outcome. It was similar to my Grandfather’s paint job of the kitchen in my Dad’s childhood home. The instructions were to leave two inches of each wall below the ceiling unpainted, so my Grandmother could do the edges with a hand she clearer believed to be steadier than the one she left her commands to. The result, was two inches of paint, on ceiling and wall each, while the rest of the room remained untouched. When my father pointed out that he didn’t think that’s what his mother meant Granddad responded with ‘Never you mind, I know what I’m doing,’ and besides the …

NaPoWriMo – Day Sixteen: Checkmate

  We were handed the chessboard without any instructions. Did not know Queen from Rook, or Bishop from Knight. We clustered our pieces on opposing corners, unaware that the aim was to take the other one out, to claim their colours as our own, capture the King. take a crown from the body only to reset the pieces and begin again. Instead we skimmed each other, slipped between the checkered tiles to the grey land beyond. I remember the first time you touched me, how the world shuddered as I fell. I learnt the meaning of captured, what it was to be conquered and still I came back to loose myself each time we played because defeat was so much better than anything else I could find. “write a poem that prominently features the idea of play”

NaPoWriMo – Day Fifteen: Bluebeard’s Wife

It was not cold enough to keep her whole when Spring sprung anew to curdle her soul, so he wept just like the castle walls as they shed their sorrows at the thaw and the ice around her heart did melt as much as any love she’d ever felt when confronted with his face and gait so apposed to the words he’d carefully placed in letters crafted on cold summer nights in rooms empty of laughter, or of life. Now she lay among her sisters past, flowers sullied, bloomed all too fast, victim to the warming months where little for her condition could be done except to watch her cheeks give way, her skeleton to rise beneath layers of decay, and press his lips to white of her throat when all that remained was spinal column and bone. I might have gone a little off target with today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation and is revealed to be human (but still evil)”. I’m not sure I managed …

NaPoWriMo – Day Fourteen : Dream Boy

There’s no entry for teacup, just a page break between ‘Tea’ and ‘Teapot’ with the warning that partaking brings about little good. You sit there, in the blank spot, hands laid over mine as we pass mug from here to there, oblivious to the noose in the words above us. You had little truck with hocum and the sorts. Spun horoscopes to confetti, threw them out like bones onto dust where I read them wrong despite closing my eyes even as they landed. Odds in your favor always, not mine. I still trace my palms for hints of you, a branch of my lifeline strung out across my wrist in line with a pulse still beating past an end. You are not there, nor during the night despite the dot to dot of new constelations each time the day dies and I dream of stars in someone else’s sky. The omens are none, which could be bad or maybe good. I’m relying on books that don’t hold these sort of answers.  

NaPoWriMo – Day Thirteen: The Weakness Links

When we wrought this ship from iron, we made an anchor out of clay, strung it with broken links like paperclips, lowered it down below the ocean spray, certain that it would snap, would shatter, break, or fail, that we would sink and slip away before the anchor fell. Instead it found a mooring, held fast against the waves, and we were forced to realise this might not be a matter of days, or months or even years, this could string on for life and this tether made of paperclips might prove to be just right. I’ve tried to play around with rhyme in this catch up poem for yesterday’s NaPoWriMo prompt so I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it’s worked. I don’t normally like trying to work rhyme into poems because it too often feels forced by the poets and the poem becomes about the rhyme scheme rather than the story. Therefore, honest, constructive criticism will be greatly valued. Also, in case you missed it. The phrase I picked to go with …

NaPoWriMo – Day Twelve: Crewe

Lined up like tin soldiers, the railway houses don’t change much. Those narrow, red faces with wide eyes that keep watch on the crisscross of streets, their pockets of green tucked away with their tangles of washing-lines, and wooden sheds squeezed in between the weed clotted fences. It’s the sort of place where noise bounces down avenues and lands in a garden not its own. Music might be just as easily from a park you cannot see for grey roof tiles, as the radio downstairs. Wind carries laughter further than static. The train line plays hide-and-seek between the buildings. Always behind the next fence, darting beneath your feet, slinking away between the mishmash of warehouses not yet reclaimed for renewal. In the same way your nervous systems fizzles beneath your skin, the tracks hum and rattle from corner to corner. In the thunder of carriages the words loose themselves. The statement, ‘I was here first, this is my town, I am the heart, the life giver, the cradle it crawled from to sprawl its way …

NaPoWriMo – Day Eleven : Leavers’ Dreams

Between the leavers books and last day photos, where we stand pressed tight against each other arms locked over rib-cages and shoulders with smiles showing every tooth and crease at the edges of of eyes, we threw our ten year plans out like helicopter seeds, their swirling fragile bodies caught up in our whirlwinds so desperate to flee the school gates to escape to the world lying beyond where we would become doctors, architects, teachers, opera singers, engineers, artists, and writers, because thirty was a long way away and we were all more than capable of closing the distance between what we were and who we wanted to be. Five years in at the halfway mark I’m still spinning stories for strangers who know my name and my words but little more than that. Plans of conquering my third novel by the time I such and such have turned to let’s just get this one finished for god’s sake please, some time between the steps I’m climbing one accountancy exam at a time and the …

NaPoWriMo – Day Ten: Around Town

George’s paper ends somewhere before the sports section. Instead he finds the kitchen table still set for breakfast, his wife’s hips wedged between cooker and counter as she swipes for the pepper in a cupboard he looked in once in search of a meter when the gas man came calling three years back.   Down the road the lad are out, pushbikes and trousers in socks with grease marks on calves, as the milkman makes his rounds, two streets shy of his bed and the man he’s come home to for the past twenty years, no matter what their families said.   Behind the local is the lorry loading empties from the night before, when Josie and Keith picked a date and each other, and the pub turned to party as the village poured out of their homes to drink dry the bar with the excuse of a reason to celebrate.   Edna will make comment on the noise through her window of metal kegs on cobbled lanes to the man half her age with …

NaPoWriMo – Day Nine: The Elephant Ant

You were the elephant in the room apparently. The black seething mass of storm clouds clustered over this house keeping daylight out and darkness in.   Each room creaking under the pressure of keeping you contained when every corner was filled to bursting and the foundations heaved and the windows splintered and even the roof tiles popped free one by one in the hopes you could be bled away.   You covered everything past, present, future. Who could have blamed me for those days I molded the mattress to the shape of a collapsing spine, when it was your weight cursing every vertabrea, turning my duvet to lead.   Your collapse was so much slower, a reluctance I’d failed to show when my strength shed like snake skin and you took it for your own, as a reminder that you couldn’t be vanquished, only temporarily tamed.   Recently, you fit inside a matchbox. The size of an ant, I carry you from place to place in pocket or purse, near enough to feel you scurrie …