Showing posts with label napowrimo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label napowrimo. Show all posts


9 a.m., Universe

It’s a crowded place and lots of stuff’s been happening
– Badger T. Bones

Australia kills 17 sex row riots
Bolivian microphones start up for couple
Colombia landmines title race court over arrest
Damage freed lawyer in well-wishers crowd pledge
Egyptian fuel drives bride in ferry
First glimpse of the Aston Martin tragedy
Germany charged herbal medicine regulations truce
Hot wedding auction treatment
India balcony kisses pick wedding
Jakarta streets still alive
Kult evening dress raid leader guilty
London loves Kate and William
Mexico cartel boss arrests
Nuevo Leon restaurant says welcome
Obama shocked by Chinese human rights
Rafah border clash to permanently seal to open European tornado fighters
Sai Baba cadets extradited
Tripoli witness dying for first kiss as husband and rebels wife
Uganda breaks al-Qaeda suspects
Vile crowd edge up Thai-Cambodia palace
Warsaw show time foundations
Xavier my French red headed OC is ftw
Yukon Territory, Canada error reported
Zealand's Sarah Palin is back

A cocktail from various Internet sources including BBC and Twitter tweets. Confounded, mixed, stylized, rearranged, censored, enhanced, expanded, invented in typical press fashion for day 30 of NaPoWriMo.

Today's task would have been “to write a poem based on a headline – it doesn’t have to be big news – it can be any news at all, from the girl in your town who won a contest for growing a potato that looks like Queen Victoria to the tabloid offering definitive proof that aliens are designing celebrity Oscar gowns.”

Didn't go for the cutesy news stuff so much as for more or less normal random picks from the news chaos in this universe.


Translated from the Hittite

A baby girl was born to Hulsa and Amani
The third year after the barley dearth
A baby girl was born to Hulsa and Amani
And she was preferred by the birds

Amani was so proud of her baby girl
But Hulsa wanted a boy and begrudged her food
Amani gave the baby girl to a sage
And she was still preferred by the birds

A baby boy was born to Hulsa and Amani
The fifth year after the barley dearth
The birds circled above and the liver
Told of things ominous in the future

Hattalippi the sage took good care
Of the girl and taught her many things
How to read the birds’ flight
How to make balms and vanishing creme

The boy fell ill in his eleventh year
The girl knew it from the birds’ flight
The sage sent her off to her family
And she cured her brother with a balm

But then the Assyrians came one year
And no-one in the village was spared
Except the girl and her brother
Because they’d applied her vanishing creme

And the girl and her brother lived alone
In the village for many many years
And they were known all over Hatti lands
For their balms and vanishing creme

Reconstituted and translated from an anonymous Hittite fragment and rendered by L. Blumfeld in condensed form in modern English.

Posted for NaPoWriMo day 29. Today’s task would have been “an act of homophonic translation. In other words, ‘translate’ a poem from a language you don’t know into English, based on how the words look or sound.” This post is different, of course, in that it is not a homophonic but a more or less accurate (i.e. semantically based) translation. However, Hittite is definitely a language I don’t know.

– Iself


The words I don’t like poem

Why can’t I think of
any? It’s not that
they’re all the same
to me. But ever
since yesterday, when
I started thinking
the matter over,
I haven’t come up
with a single one.
Ok, so I don’t tend
to use four-letter
words that often
in poetic mode. (Real
life is different. I do
resort to expletives
regularly where
warranted. And those
warranted situations,
as you know, occur
all too often in
real life.) But now
I’m down here
in what has become
a much longer
poem than I’d
intended, and still
have not thought
of a single word
I hate. Let’s say
I’m like the
benevolent creator –
they’re all my
children – I must
love them all
whether they be
English, German,
Turkish, Malayalam,
Chinese or Urdu.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 28. The task, you guessed it, was “to try writing poems using our least favorite words.”


Oh Jack! Oh Colleen!

Rhenew yr mazn poewr quickly,
theyz wrogte, &
Leet us to improvze u ultimate poewr & hardinegs.

Finagl bonzuses is uh fine bragain
toh buyy outstanding pharzm
at uh thje glowest pirce.

No zmore prescripzhion ise needved
tojh mke shozging fovr amazn poewr withe gus.

(Rearranged and beautified by Iself from original spam)

Posted for day 27 of NaPoWriMo. U quessed it – thje tusk was to yuse spwam & turnh hit inta pwoeteri.

May the amazn poewr be withe all of gus.


I’m white

I’m bulky
and white
and up in a tree

I’m half-open,
but should
be closed

I’m not as cool
as I used to be

I normally
need juice
to keep my
motor running,
but up here
there’s none

I’ve been
to failure

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 26. The task was to do a “riddle poem – one in which you write from the point of view of an object or person (or about an object and person), and the poem itself forms a giant riddle.” Well, giant it’s not exactly, but a riddle it is. Let’s see if anyone can guess what I’m impersonating here.

As the end of NaPoWriMo is drawing nearer, I’m getting close to feeling poetically exhausted. It’s not that easy to produce poetry on demand. And the demands (the prompts) are often different from what I would normally write on my own. For example, I would not normally write riddles. I might write cryptic or eclectic or enigmatic stuff, but not riddles. Oh well, it’s really my very own decision to take on a prompt or do something else. And some of the prompts have been a lot of fun, and it’s actually been good to venture out and do something I would normally not do.

One thing’s for sure, though: April is definitely not the cruellest month (happy to contradict you, T.S., as always). In fact, it’s one of the cooellest months. Period and amen.


In myself

As usual, I enter the apartment at night. Everything is sepia, as in old sepia photographs, with that old-fashioned, dusty feel. Things are dusty and old-fashioned in the apartment, from the whiskey glass with the dry residue at the bottom to the face-down paperback mystery next to it, the floor lamp with its thin bronze stalk and faded cylindrical shade, the small framed photos on the wall. Who is that? Looks a bit like Hedy Lamarr. And the man with her, smirk on face, hat at rakish angle and cigarette elegantly held in gloved hand? Is that me in a different incarnation?

I find that there’s nothing to do here, nothing that can be done in the short time I have for this apartment. Cleaning it up would take days, so let’s not even get started. I could go on reading the mystery. It’s The Root of his Evil by James M. Cain, and I’m on page sixty apparently. Or is it open to that page only because the spine is broken there? I have no recollection of what the book is about, none whatsoever.

Now’s the time something would happen in a book by Cain or Chandler or Hammett. A car would drive up outside, the phone would ring, or I would discover a set of toes underneath a floor-length curtain, something blunt would hit the back of my head and I’d pass out.

Nothing of the sort. I will remember the visit when I wake up. I will remember having gone back there repeatedly. I will remember that I’ll have to return there. I will remember the apartment with some feeling of guilt, as something I neglect, something I tend to forget, even though I shouldn’t. Only to remember and have to go back, with nothing ever changing in this dusty brown apartment.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 25. The task was to “write an autobiographical poem.” I would call the above an autobiographical prose poem. Autobiographical because it is about a recurrent dream I used to have. A poem because it's more poetic than prose usually is.
I haven't returned to that apartment in a long time. I’ve turned it into reality – I’ve rented a space in a place downtown, nominally to work there, but I’m hardly ever there.

James M. Cain, The Root of his Evil, first published in 1951.



No poem today
on Easter.

At least not so far.
I'm staying with my seester.

– Felix Morgenstern

Posted for NaPoWriMo day 24. The task would have been to "write a bouts-rimes. The bouts-rimes is a sort of poetic parlor game: you write a poem using the rhyming end words from another poem. They’re usually done with sonnets in English. So today I challenge you to write a bouts-rimes sonnet, using the end words from either K. Silem Mohammad’s poem You White White Teatime Teen, which was itself constructed anagrammatically from Shakespeare’s Sonnet VI, or from Robert Frost’s The Silken Tent. So your end words are either:
rage, doom, age, tomb, sighs, breast, thighs, west, mad, blues, plaid, shoes, fail, mail
tent, breeze, relent, ease, pole, heavenward, soul, cord, bound, thought, round, taught, air, aware."
This did not inspire me at all. I read both poems quickly, but neither did anything for me.
As the above silly ditty says, I was at my sister's place in the country for Easter, and I only had time to go online briefly in the morning.

PS: The following transpired after all...

Sonnet written in an hour of poetic darkness

As after midnight I rage,
I feel only doom,
and my age
appears close to the tomb.

Thick sighs
alight from my breast,
not thighs,
you idiot off there in the west.

Call me mad,
give me the blues,
wear preppy plaid,
step on my shoes –

whatever you do, you'll definitely fail
to get any more of my mail.


Not having the atomic pie but selling it

Nuclear power plants are oh so bad
is what German politicians suddenly said
after the Fukushima event in Japan.
But are they bad enough to ban
German exports of such plants
to people in other lands?

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

Written as the requested short, satirical poem for NaPoWriMo day 23. Some of the rhymes limp, but what’s a little poetic stumble compared to the big tumble of some nuclear power plants?


What he needed from me I have no idea

The places cats won't go. The climbing out onto the banks. The naked man
in the glaring white gap

Hot black dunes in the air—we slept
the chill of closed eyelids,
not April and the magnolias

The trick is to make it personal:
let silence drill its hole,
sleepily indifferent

– Johannes Beilharz

Collated for NaPoWriMo day 22. The task was to participate in the cento contest organized by Danielle Pafunda (who has been posting her NaPoems over at the Bloof Books website). What’s a cento? It’s a poem composed entirely of lines from other poems.
The above poem is composed entirely of lines tweeted today by Danielle through the twitter feed of the Academy of American Poets.
The authors of the lines I chose are, in the sequence of the appearance of the lines: Anne Carson Nox, Catie Rosemurgy, Medbh McGuckian, Henri Cole, Marina Tsvetaeva, James Schuyler, Khaled Mattawa, Daniel Johnson, William Carlos Williams


A shining

Today you will concentrate on your inner life
(rather than celebrating your outer life),

and you will be celebrating the beauty
that lies in the small, cosmic kernel of life

that is inside you. You will once again
feel the power and flow of inner life

into the world surrounding you, as you
go to work on your inner and outer life.

– Iself (© 2011)

Ghazal written for NaPoWriMo day 21.
Maybe a bit heavy on the inner/outer life stuff and in general, and pale with abstraction, but so be it.
Brought about partially by my daily horoscope, which said, “The day ahead should be a pleasant one, Iself. For the next few days your inner life will interest you more than usual. You may not necessarily become a psychoanalyst, but you will be tempted to seek insight into some of life's more profound motivations. In fact, you become a fervent truth-seeker in all areas of your life. It could be an especially valuable opportunity to learn why you feel so shy and inhibited in public. Perhaps this way you can overcome it.”


Celebrity spotlight & other exiles

For you

“Everything that happens is for the best,”
you said on the way from work last week,
and when I read “I thought of you
with the passion of exile”* this morning
while taking the day's initial piss this
was therefore probably also for the best,
as well as reading my horoscope,
which was asking me if I'd thought
of living in another country, preferably
one where the action is in my field,
instead of going dry in the desert.
Add to that the advertisement for
Catherine Zeta Jones' treatise on a
disorder that is “characterized by
high and low moods” and the
recognition that I also must have
this, except that I used to think
it was fairly normal, it all falls
into place, don't it. Sometimes
I have an inkling that I need to take
life in my own hands instead of
standing by and letting it happen.
But what could I do, about you,
for example, other than exile myself?
“Everything that happens is for
the worst,” it could also be said,
because you can't really tell
the best from the worst, can you,
once it’s happened.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 20 along the lines of “Today’s challenge is to write a poem inspired by something you’ve overheard.”
*I've slightly misquoted this. In The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West, a novel from 1918 which I've been reading for the last two weeks, it actually says “I thought of him with the passion of exile.”
And the title, where did that come from? From this:



She was a metaphor of rouge. Not only did she eat lots
of beets – “iron, you know” – but also felt like this
warm, creamy, beety mass: rouge. Rouge bra, rouge
stockings, rouge pubic hair, rouge curlers, rouge heart,
rouge lungs growing and deflating, rouge earlobes,
rouge soles – “pet me” – rouge milk, rouge Camaro, rouge
grass, rouge dogs, no rouge spiders, rouge smoky kiss
from rouge lips ...

– Johannes Beilharz (© 1981)

Posted for NaPoWriMo day 19. The task was “Pick a color – something you like, something important to you. Red, yellow, whatever. Now, write a poem that uses the color in every or nearly ever line: a hypnotic invocation of the color.” This made me immediately think of the above poem from way back when.

Made known to Writer's Island as usual. Three big cheers to Writer's Island for hosting NaPoWriMo.


Profile of my best friend

He goes out,
drinks with his buddies,
but never gets wasted.

He falls in love regularly
with complicated women
who somehow like him
but never enough.

He works because
he needs the money.
Work gives him structure.

Occasionally he even works well
because he takes pride in what he does.

He expects this to go on and on
until death do him part.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 18. The idea was to do a portrait of someone, which I did.


A dream

For P.

A bad dream arisen
from distortion,
not quite the truth,
having been left
with incorrect
impressions not
corrected on
purpose. It took
on surprising
proportions as a
animal assaulting
me, like Tipu
Sultan’s tiger
the English soldier.
Such fierceness
my feelings must
have. Perhaps
not for you.
About you –
about you and me,
about being goaded
and lied to.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo, day 17. Actually, today's task would have been to reduce a passage from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, but I could not get into it, try as I might. (I tried 4 versions, calling them Curtain calls / Exercises in elimination and conversion.) But I still had the remnants of a dream to chew on, and they went into the poem above. Last night I found out, more or less by chance, that someone I care about has been dishonest with me, telling me things about herself that are not true, the greatest puzzle being the reason for this dishonesty.

Tippoos's Tiger – a life-size 18th century automaton on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.



to the liquid which
pounces down on us, drenching
to the very bone.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo on day 16. Today, the task was to "celebrate that yin yang quality – the eternal twinning of opposites by doing one of the following: write a poem in the form of a complaint about something that is good or you like, or in the form of a hymn to something that is bad or that you dislike. A rant about blue skies, an encomium to rainy days. A curt dismissal of strawberries or beach vacations; a paean to Brussels sprouts, or waiting rooms."
Well, each of these ideas could have set off my creative forces, but rain was first – so there!
Not to worry, though; I'll probably rant about strawberries on the beach very soon.


Laura and Petrarch

A dissonant character sonnet

Deprive him of thrive,
the rugged barbarian,
let her be more alive,
the tender vegetarian.

Let him moan
frustration from shore to shore,
let her groan
with a need for more.

Let him become a little listless,
isolated on a remote isle,
let her develop some bristles
to make him walk the extra mile.

Let those deeds all be done
and soon they’ll be one.

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

For day 15 of NaPoWriMo, the task was to write a sonnet. Well, here is mine, with claptrap rhyme and full of helpful suggestions for an ancient couple.

Since I was asked: The rhyme scheme used here follows the Shakespearean or English sonnet, while the meter does not.


Five minutes for no-one

It's grey out there,
and that nicely
coincides with the grey
zone inside me.
It's been a lot like that
after waking up,
it takes me time
to again slip into the world
after the absence of sleep,
the tie to another world,
which seems to have
become rather dull
as I mostly don't dream
any more. I used to
write for someone,
but even that has stopped.
I might drive to work
with her in half an hour,
but not even that
has been decided.
We are that spontaneous.
So let this be a
spontaneous day –
hey, I've got enough
hair on my head
to pull myself
out of the grey.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for day 14 of NaPoWriMo in about 5 minutes, as suggested.


Big, square and

black and
floppy. Stuck
in a big toaster-
like thing that made grinding noises.

– Iself

Written for NaPoWriMo day 13 on the subject of nostalgia. Can there be nostalgia for 8-inch floppy disks? I suppose there can be, as this fibonacci proclaims.


Blues in D

Woke up
this morning,
had to clean
the place
before leaving
for work
so the cleaning
lady would have
a clean slate
to work from,
raced through
the joint
to remove
items of clothing
and make
piles of scattered
papers neater,
started the PC
to find that
wants me
to translate
a 30-line poem
into Spanish,
and how much
would that cost,
well it's a good
the question of
being poetic
in Spanish,
I felt like giving
in sight unseen
and for a price
you can't refuse,
hoping the poem
would have a lot of
blood-red corazones
in it.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 12. The task was to write a 40-line poem in a single sentence, possibly something sounding a bit Victorian. Well, this one ended up sounding more Berrigansian than Victorian, but so be it. The title came last, and out of nowhere. But wait – isn't it the title of somebody's* song?

*It is indeed ... "Blues in D" by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, performed here by Nick Cave and Jenni Muldauer:


The picture of little J.B. in a prospect of machinery

An orange disk shines a beam on a shred of past –
exposing the new sawmill being set up after 1960's fire,
exposing the boss’ little boy.

Is he a nuisance in the way of the workers there?
He’s around 4 or 5,
he watches and interacts,
not always fully comprehending,
not always being able to separate joke and reality.

One day he stands with his back to the gap surrounding the big saw,
a bit too close, takes one step back,
and whoosh goes down his first big flight
onto a springy bed of sawdust,
with the grown men scrambling down there
to see if he’s alive, if he’s all right.

He is all right, he’s still alive, he holds the memory
and now switches off the beam.

– Iself (© 2011)

A straight, artless mirror image of John Ashbery’s The picture of little J.A. in a prospect of flowers for NaPoWriMo day 11.