my body is untouched and untouchable

i sat in the bath for hours tonight, looking at my legs, 
examining the rounded curves of my thighs, 
all scarred and stretch marked, 
tracing over the scratches 
from where the cat launched off my lap yesterday
and from where the mosquito bit me this morning, 
the skin is scabbed
but soft and full of memories 
i traced my knees with my damp fingers, 
drawing shapes with water droplets, 
stars and circles, all gentle things, 
sending beads of water cascading down my shins 
before sliding my hands down the backs of my calves, 
cupping the muscle there, wondering how far they would take me
if i were to leave the constraints of this tub, this home and instead
walk freely, naked through the fields to feel
the whispering touch of the leaves and grasses and flowers on my skin,
those parts of me i’m too afraid to let any person touch

NaPoWriMo Day 9!

The prompt was to write a concrete poem, but I got caught on writing about shapes rather than writing in a shape, whoops.

Spent so long working on my thesis this evening, I almost didn’t get this done today. Whoops! I turn in my full draft tomorrow to my department chair and defend next week. Wish me luck, y’all!

i keep forgetting love doesn’t grow on trees

i’ve been wondering how
to ask you if you love me 
as we drift from kiss to kiss
with a dark recklessness
i keep examining your hands
when we touch with the lights off
memorizing the ridges of your fingertips 
and the scars on your palms
from the history of your life without me
while I wait for you to take mine,
and ask me to walk with you
but i forget you’re not
an arborist or a partner,
you’re just another person 
who doesn’t love me 

Day 8 of NaPoWriMo

Prompt: Use a line or two, or a phrase or even a word that stands out to you from a twitter poetry bot as the seed for your own poem.

I borrowed several lines and phrases from @ruefle_exe, which posts autogenerated text from Mary Ruefle’s poems.

Teaching media literacy during the Covid-19 pandemic

i have my students reading news articles
and analyzing them for biases,

incorrect information, downright lies,
slips of the tongue, words that don’t quite sound right

but i keep sharing everything
on my newsfeed,

clicking the retweet button without
a second thought, sometimes not even reading,

never checking for validity,
too terrified of reality,

too scared of the fact that
someone might lie to me

to benefit themselves
when we’re surrounded by

all these dead and rotting bodies,
noses clogged and maggots crawling

across the hands we’re writing with,
or maybe I should say, lying with

Day 7 of NaPoWriMo! Prompt: a poem based on a news article

I didn’t write about a specific news article but rather the news as a whole.

i fell in love with a birder who did not love me

you told me you were a bird watcher, 
a wanderer in the woods with an eye for

wings fluttering among 
the branches and phone lines

i wonder if you would notice me 
if i became a bird

if i grew a beak and glorious plumage, 
feathers cascading down my bare body 

would you finally see me then, 

catch my eyes still barely human
squinting at you 

from the leaves 
high above your head? 

Day 6 of NaPoWriMo! Today’s prompt: Today’s (optional) prompt is ekphrastic in nature – but rather particular! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights

I didn’t quite do an ekphrastic, but I suppose it could be considered one. I pulled from this portion of the image specifically:

these past three weeks, i’ve been dreaming

i keep sleeping, 
looking in my dreams for 
joy in drops of water, 
reverence of my own skin, 
soft proud things,
a way to escape
my husk of a body, 
all these chemicals and maggots, 
this constellation of death
that keeps me trapped
in this quarantine,
slowly dying
within the same four walls 

Day 4 of NaPoWriMo: Write a poem about a dream

I slept until 2 pm today. Quarantine makes me want to sleep all the time to find a way outside this house, a way out of social distancing.

introducing you to my history of domestic violence

our bodies vibrating and intimate, 
you curl around me, whispering 
of liberating me from these trials
these constant time travels 
back to those years of discomfort, 
raised fists, screaming sounds, ruined
and roughened skin and memories, 
your arms around me, protect me 
from that monster,
that sight that arises behind my eyelids 
at any loud noise, constantly forcing 
me to monitor everything, 
from the crunch of gravel under my feet 
to where i sit when i eat,
you hold me to keep me from evaporating, 
separating my own body into 
disconcerted pieces afraid 
of discovery, afraid of 
future, afraid of infinite 

Day 3 of NaPoWriMo!

Prompt: First, make a list of ten words. You can generate this list however you’d like – pull a book  off the shelf and find ten words you like, name ten things you can see from where you’re sitting, etc. Now, for each word, use Rhymezone to identify two to four similar-sounding or rhyming words. For example, if my word is “salt,” my similar words might be “belt,” “silt,” “sailed,” and “sell-out.”

Once you’ve assembled your complete list, work on writing a poem using your new “word bank.” You don’t have to use every word, of course, but try to play as much with sound as possible, repeating  sounds and echoing back to others using your rhyming and similar words.

My word bank: I asked Daniel to pick 10 numbers under 200 and then I picked random words from the corresponding page numbers closest book – Hyperbole and a Half.

pg. 187 – infinite  = infant, intimate, infamy 
pg. 4 – future = fewer, feature, fuel, few 
pg. 79 – vibrating = evaporating, liberating, operating, separating 
pg. 42 – ruined  = roughened, ruin, rend 
pg. 182 – discomfort = disconcert, discovered, descant, discount 
pg. 11 – cancel = council, castle, conceal 
pg. 22 – sit = set, site, sight, soot 
pg. 44 – monster = minister, master, monitor, mentor 
pg. 7 – time travel = trial, gravel, trifle, tree hill 

Golden Boy Coffee Co.

when you turn left on N. Elm St. from 380,
there’s a coffee shop shoved
on to the end of a strip mall on your right

where the parking lot’s been covered
by a green tarp like fake grass and picnic benches
for lounging during summertime margarita sales

a tiny place, crowded and cluttered
with bright yellow couches
and grad students with computers

where it smells like home,
like espresso brewing, like
cookies baking in the oven

where the barista will pour you
another drip coffee that
coats your tongue,

lulling you into forgetting
that time exists
before you even order

Day 2 of National Poetry Writing Month: write a poem about a specific place —  a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. 

So, of course I had to write about my all time favorite coffee shop. Please consider donating to their Go Fund Me during these difficult times.

when your nerve pain flares up, try one of these:

the white pain cream in the pink tupperware container on the second shelf in the upstairs bathroom, the CBD oil an ex bought on the shelf below, the apple cider vinegar for shots like that college roommate recommended on the middle shelf of pantry that’s a little too tall, the epsom salts, lavender scented, under the upstairs sink, the prescription pain killers stolen from a different ex downstairs, the heating pad under the couch, hopefully unplugged, the half empty bottle of red wine on top of the fridge, the chocolate from the gas station still open on the kitchen counter, the six pack of beer in the fridge behind the empty take out containers, the unfilled refill prescriptions for medicines that didn’t work, the vials of essential oils an old friend mailed in the downstairs medicine cabinet, the advertisement for the essential oils that that friend is selling on the desk upstairs, the ibuprofen pills lingering in the bottom of the backpack amongst textbooks and pencils, the number for that doctor a friend recommended on the fridge door hung with a magnet, the number for another doctor another friend recommended stashed under the junk mail in the tv stand’s middle drawer, the number for a different doctor a different friend recommended in the pocket of the laptop bag on the couch, the number of yet another doctor a stranger in the grocery store  recommended on the nightstand, the insurance card that doesn’t cover any of those doctors in the wallet on the kitchen table, another bottle of Tylenol on the dresser next to the mirror and collection of necklaces that never get put away, the half empty bottle of white wine next to the dishes that never get put away, the recommendation of a home remedy from a friend in the text messages on the cellphone resting on the bathroom counter, the recommendation of a different home remedy from a well meaning stranger in the inbox on the computer, the other numbing lotion on the back of the toilet next to the candle that’s supposed to smell like pine trees and make you forget all of this 

Day 1 of NaPoWriMo: Write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances.

My metaphor was I suppose trying to soothe nerve pain and all the weird ways and things I’ve done or currently have and do.