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.

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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. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem.

I used Sarah Kay’s poem ‘The Moves’ for this prompt but I’ve not been strict about using the bit of paper as I can feel myself flagging a bit and by the time I’d found one I’d probably just want to take a nap instead of writing a poem. Either way, I hope you like it.

 

NaPoWriMo Day Three – Fan Letter

I was really uncertain about today’s NaPoWriMo prompt. I’ve never really written a fan letter, never mind one in the form of a poem. It took me a while to even pick a person that I wanted to write about. In the end I came up with three people, Neil Gaiman [one of my all time favourite writers], Sarah Kay [an amazing spoken word poet], and Lilly Singh otherwise known as Superwoman [comedian, YouTuber and all round spreader of joy]. These are the three people who’s videos, articles and bodies of work I turn to when I’m stuck for inspiration or just having a bad day. Therefore, if I was going to write a fan letter to anyone, it had to be them. A bit of a long one I’m afraid but it could really be split into three.

I. Neil Gaiman

I stumbled into your writing on a Saturday.

Whitchurch, W H Smiths,

the only bookshop in the town at that time

and a hardback copy of ‘The Graveyard Book’

just there on the shelf.

I had never heard of you.

I picked the book partly because it didn’t fit

with the rest in the shop,

a little bit odd in comparison,

and I knew I had to own a copy.

I haven’t stopped reading you since.

When I decided I wanted to write for more than fun

I turned to your interviews on YouTube

looking for advice.

You have never let other put you into a box.

There are stories long and short,

for young and old.

A Neil Gaiman book is a Neil Gaiman book

because it says so

not because it reads so.

I realised then I didn’t have to pick

between the things I love.

II. Sarah Kay

University introduced me to spoken word.

I learnt that poems could be lifted off the page.

You had this way with words,

a way at looking at the world,

a mastery of phrase I wanted for myself.

I go back and listen to your poems

when my own

get stuck somewhere in the back of my throat.

I choose random pages from your book

and just start reading.

I learnt to loosen my style,

worry less about how it went down

and more about what it said.

I learnt another way of writing poems.

III. Lilly Singh

‘A Trip To Unicorn Island’

is on my GooglePlay wishlist

and I subscribe

to both your channels.

I have this obsession with your motivation

and as a result

I’ve become a far more productive person.

You are funny and kind and best of all

somewhat insane.

You do not feel the need to explain yourself

or bow to any expectations.

You work hard and encourage other people

to do just the same.

If we ever meet,

I’d love to buy you a cup of tea

because sometimes I think,

the only reason by book is even half-way done,

is because of how much

your positivity inspires me.

The Women I Come From

1.

The women I come from

learnt how to thicken their skin.

How to tan it, and beat it,

until inch by inch

it covers all those soft spots

we might have thought to share.

 

2.

The women I come from

never learnt how to bow their backs

so far that vertebrae fossilise

into constant arches

that creak beneath the weight

of someone else’s moral compass.

3.

The women I come from

learnt how to carry their secrets close.

How to tuck away their thoughts

into deeper shadows

until the faces we painted on

become the only ones we knew how to wear.

4.

The women I come from

have hearts cocooned in armour.

They are riddles without answers

twisted into people.

They are worriers, and they are lovers

and they are more fragile then they act

when they take all of what they are

and entrust it, to someone else.

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I was a bit at loss for which poem I was going to chose to write a response to for tonight DVerse Poetics. In the end I chose ‘Dragons’ by Sarah Kay, one of my favourite poets, and a poem that I find a lot of myself in when I read it.

My favourite bit of her poem is:

Me – I was not born with enough fuel. My anger often melts into sadness, it will just disintegrate into shame or fear, my clenched teeth release into chatter.

I come from a family that very much takes the ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ approach to life. In some ways it’s a fairly good ethos as it has encouraged me to stay calm in stressful situations and I don’t collapse into hysterics in the face of an emergency. Emotions get bottled up until the practical side of things is out of the way. I get it from my mother, who gets it from her mother. Out of the three of us I’m possibly the most outwardly emotional person and some of that perhaps comes from my love of writing since you have to make use of emotion when writing.

I had a couple of busy days so I’m now going to try and get through a few of the other DVerse Poets’ entries. I haven’t had chance to read through many of the poems from yesterday’s DVerse Event either so I’ll try and get through as many as I can tonight and tomorrow.

As always I love to hear what you’re thinking so feel free to leave a comment if you want. Other than that, happy writing and goodnight.