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:

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 
intimacy  


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 

exhaustion

i know you’re there,
hiding just out of sight
in the corners of every room
and behind street signs,
watching me as i drive to work,
as i was my face, brush my teeth,
drink my coffee, check my phone
and as i sit in my chair at work,
i feel you creeping up behind me,
your breath caressing
the sensitive flesh of the back of my neck
as you reach around and brush
the the skin around my eyes, stroking
each bag and shadow
until you reach my eyelids
and gently drag them down
holding them there
until all i can see
are the remnants of nightmares
inscribed on their insides


National Poetry Writing Month Day 29: “producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poets, and poems.”

(Meant to post this yesterday, but I fell asleep while writing it.)

this is a list of lists

i have a list of reoccurring nightmares tucked under my pillow
next to a list of first lines for new poems
i’ve been adding to both every morning before sunrise
i have a list of things to do before i turn thirty —
see Hamilton live, go scuba diving, and find my brother —
and a list of things to see before i die —
a clear night sky, the roots of a rainforest, and a Shakespeare’s gravesite —
i have a list of tequila brands i can’t drink anymore
and a shorter list of red wines i actually like
i have a list of things i should buy at the weekly farmers’ market —
radishes, rainbow kale, and green onions —
and a list of what’s cheaper at the supermarket —
tofu, strawberries, and carrots —
i have a list of chores to do this weekend —
wash the pots, clean the cat box, and sweep the floors —
and another of homework to do this week —
a paper on theory to edit, a blog post to write, an article to read —
i have a list of places its safe to park around campus
with all the spots i won’t get towed
i have a list of things that make me shake,
things my therapist calls triggers —
heavy footsteps, slamming doors, hands where they shouldn’t be —
and i have a list of affirmations from my therapist
in the glove box of my car for the days
i want to write lists of everything
wrong with me


National Poetry Writing Month Day 26 Prompt: Repetition

sudden summer thunder

every day is another thunderstorm,
a chorus of ricocheting hail
pinging off my car and window
a cacophonous song,
screeching and screaming

every evening, i pull
the blankets over my head
and squeezed close my eyes
pretending the flashes of lightning
do not exist, that they’re only
passing headlights of cars driving by

by yet they still climb in through the window
even thought i never leave it cracked
and crawls in to bed with me,
until i can smell is rain
and unable to breathe,
i suffocate
on their humidity


National Poetry Writing Month Day 25: Write a poem specific to a season that uses imagery