Radium Girls: NaPoWriMo

Luminous

shining girls

painting watch dials

tongue-touched brush, delicate, deliberate,

deadly

 

ghosts,

radium apparitions

with bleeding gums,

ulcerated bodies impart knowledge,

afterlife

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Radium Girls work in a factory of the United States Radium Corporation, c.1922, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Day 23, NaPoWriMo. Today’s prompt was to write an elevenie poem.  My double elevenie was inspired by this article .

For Earth, For Earth Day: NaPoWriMo

 

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Sweet spring shines

come flower,

bird, and bee,

squirrel over tree,

a secret song,

pure poetry

must grow, thrive

at peace, but knowing

if my blue earth, a sanctuary

is soon through,

we blossom, berry, bough, follow, too

from sacred garden to prairie brown,

how eden leaves

 

 

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Day 22, NaPoWriMo.  The Magnetic Poetry Oracle was true to the prompt. She gave me an Earth Day Georgic Verse.

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Heroes Who Fly: NaPoWriMo

 “Because of Bessie Coleman, we have overcome that which was worse than racial barriers. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream.”

–Lieutenant William J. Powell

“The air is the only place free from prejudices.”

–Bessie Coleman

 

She saw the sky,

and she wanted to fly

far from the Texas cotton fields

and one-room school

she was smart, nobody’s fool

she wanted to fly,

high amidst the clouds

 

She dared to dream

and so, she schemed

worked and saved and moved away

took flight,

to the City of Light,

a woman of color,

An American in Paris,

her life would have been safe, but duller

if she had stayed at home, somehow smaller,

unable to achieve her American dream

 

Yet once she was trained

could fly up and around,

she was beloved, renowned

for her daring and skill,

for her will

to achieve

despite her gender

despite her race

(though she had stepped from her place)

Queen Bess they called her

as she performed

confronting danger

and perhaps placed a wager

as they sat and cheered

because they knew

knew what she could do

when she saw the sky

and wanted to fly

 

And we need heroes who soar,

to adore,

heroes who persist

heroes who resist

prejudice and hate

to show us it can be done

that evil hasn’t won,

we need heroes who reach for the sky,

who place hope and desire
on their outstretched wings,

who dream a dream,

and fly

 

This is Day 21, NaPoWriMo. I’m off-prompt. Back in January, Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) was featured in a Google Doodle. She was the first woman of African-American descent and the first woman of Native American descent to become a licensed pilot.

 

 

 

 

Following the Rules: NaPoWriMo

 

Every year we’re given the cards to fill out. There are boxes to check, the numbers 1, 2, or 3. In case of disaster, we will either stay at school, be taken to some central location, or our parents will come for us. My mother doesn’t take it seriously. She randomly checks one box or another. But I am a child, and I want my mom. I’m scared my family will be separated. In my sleep, I overhear news about brinkmanship and missiles in Cuba, the Iron Curtain and freedom. In my sleep, I hear my parents argue, hear the word divorce. Dreamworlds and destruction. But I am awake. I am a good child. I calmly kneel with the other children on the linoleum, dusty with playground dirt and tossed-away dreams. Our heads rest against the lockers in the hallway of this Dallas elementary school. No one ever voices the thought: if the bombs are dropped, there will be no escape. We do as we’re told, trusting the adults around us and following the rules. I am a good child. I slowly and carefully tug my dress down so my underwear does not show.

 

Mushroom clouds unfurl

in the desert, blooms of death,

poisonous beauty

warn us, still we play again,

still we keep score, game, set, match

 

 

This is Day 20 of NaPoWriMo. I covered several prompts here. Though it’s not really about games or sports, my haibun does include a sports reference. (Gasps from all who know me.)

This haibun is also for dVerse, Haibun Monday (a few days late) where the prompt was to write about a fear we’ve experienced. And I’ve managed to include all of Secret Keeper’s words in this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Score/Sleep/Free/Calm/Escape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Paradox: NaPoWriMo

 

The portal door opens, and I am here. Before. I look out at this beautiful sun-splashed world. What did they do to it, this planet they called Earth? There is magic here in this moment. I feel it in the sun-steamed breeze. I taste it in the flower-blossomed air. I close my eyes and make a wish. Hoping it works better this time, I spread my wings, pause for one more second to watch the iridescent feathers gleam in the sunlight. Then, I take flight to make first contact—again.

paradox of time,

space bending, moments flowing,

slip-rippling along

ends become beginning points

with magic, wishes, and hope

 

Today is Day 19 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt was to write a creation myth. I suppose this haibun is a sort of re-creation myth, based on some microfiction I wrote a while ago. It’s also possible that I had time paradoxes on my mind from watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager a few nights ago.

This haibun is also for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words for her birthday week are wish and magic, and I wish her heaps of birthday magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach, a Memory: NaPoWriMo

Dimply in the dapply light,

she danced in joy, my little sprite

the sea breeze tossed her springly hair

while seabirds squawckled in the air

she skipped upon the golden sand

till her father took her by the hand,

together they walked to wavy sea

(tumbling, white-capped, spumey sea)

where in a Jersey summer rite,

she jumped right in, such pure delight

 

Day 18, NaPoWriMo. The prompt was to incorporate neologisms, made-up words.

This poem is based on my memory of the first time our older daughter saw the ocean.

Day and Night, Hope 2017: NaPoWriMo

Monday Morning Musings:

“They lived in narrow streets and lanes obscure,

Ghetto and Judenstrass, in mirk and mire;

Taught in the school of patience to endure

The life of anguish and the death of fire.

 

All their lives long, with the unleavened bread

And bitter herbs of exile and its fears,

The wasting famine of the heart they fed,

And slaked its thirst with marah of their tears.”

From, “The Jewish Cemetery at Newport,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, full text with annotations here.

 

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood

And fired the shot heard round the world.

–from “Concord Hymn” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

April came in with showers, dreary and cold

seemingly, spring was stopped, would not unfold

with flowers and green

then, suddenly, it took hold.

 

We took my mother out to lunch

sat on the porch to enjoy the air

watched dogs pull the owners, sniff,

noses in the air, aware

of scents in the air, of food, and treats

of magic there

 

It was a day she thanked us for

to enjoy the sights

(what she can still see)

to have the food

(not her typical fare)

to feel the air

and hear the ducks quack

and the geese honk,

in her ninety-fourth spring,

another voyage around the sun.

 

 

Passover began that night

but in our crazy way,

the family celebration,

(our celebration of family)

was not until five nights later.

Was it just me thinking about freedom

and how Passover seems more relevant this year?

 

My family arrived,

we missed a few,

sisters, a daughter and her wife,

we hug and kissed,

poured the wine, and began,

taking turns reading from a Haggadah

I put together several years ago,

it probably needs to be updated,

but still, one grand-nephew laughed at the jokes,

“Tonight we drink of four glasses of wine—unless you’re driving”

and all took part in the reading of the Passover Play,

 

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rewritten every Passover,

one daughter’s work this year,

with Trump jokes, Hamilton references, and lines about family quirks and neuroses,

 

 

We said,“Dayenu,” and attempted to sing “Go Down Moses”

(not very successfully)

then we ate,

and ate,

and ate some more,

 

 

my great-niece, played her ukulele,

and my daughter sang

(I miss hearing that voice)

and then it was time for dessert,

we took pictures,

 

wrapped up leftovers,

and forgot the Afikomen,

after everyone left,

the cats came out to sniff

noses in the air,

aware of scents in the air,

on the tables

and through the windows,

Was Elijah there?

 

The next morning,

I saw the moon,

her dark half

not quite hidden

darkness and light

opposites,

black and white

good and evil,

April’s changeable moods

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Moon at dawn

In the newspaper,

I read about the new Museum of the American Revolution

to open on April 19th,

the anniversary of the Battles at Lexington and Concord

the shots heard round the world,

it’s the anniversary, too, of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising,

1943,

lasting for almost a month

captive Jews,

desperate,

fighting for their lives

fighting for freedom

 

The first American president,

a slaveholder,

led an army,

fighting for freedom,

he met with the enslaved poet

while he was still a general,

after she had written poetry in his honor,

as president, he met with leaders of the Touro synagogue

in Rhode Island, championing the Bill of Rights

and freedom of religion

 

Another poet would visit that same synagogue in the next century,

he’d write strangely prescient lines of ghettos, starving, and fire,

would write of the Passover meal with its bitter herbs and salty tears

in the twenty-first century,

we would still think of that time,

of all those times,

we thought war would be over

dip spring greens into salty water,

oh brave, new world—

 

We laugh, eat, drink, and sing at Passover,

holding evil at bay,

the table,

charmed circle,

is filled with more non-Jews than Jews,

and more non-believers

than believers,

 

Around us

(Do you hear them?

Do you see them in the shadows?)

ghosts from the past,

echoes,

ghosts of memories,

memories held like ghosts,

flitting at the edge of consciousness

dancing in a ring,

(they all fall down)

ancestors, known and unknown,

the blood of slaves,

the blood of the lamb,

the blood of men, women, and children who cry

who die,

even now

 

My family,

crazy like the April weather,

how I love you,

and love is love is love is love is love

and so, we love,

even as the ghosts hover,

just beyond us

hidden,

the dark side of the moon,

and we laugh,

and we eat,

and we hope

 

 

This is Day 17 of NaPoWriMo. Today’s prompt is to write a nocturne. Perhaps I’ve written half a nocturne.

I am honored to be today’s featured poet for the poem I posted yesterday, “If Only.”

 

 

If Only: NaPoWriMo

 

I sometimes write a letter in my head,

“Dear Dad,” I think,

have you heard, did you see, what do you think–

or perhaps a phone call,

like when I called to tell him I was pregnant,

standing in the kitchen of that apartment in Woodbury,

the first floor of a house,

shaded by oak trees,

old enough to have seen

its former glory,

before multiple pairs, young couples

who, like the seasons,

moved in and moved on,

but that day,

door and windows open

the summer

was warm with promise,

(or so I remember it),

nature—and I–bursting with life,

he tried to speak,

but couldn’t,

overcome,

his voice caught,

words tangled in salty threads of joy.

The baby is grown now,

and so is her sister,

they only got to know him for a short while,

he didn’t own a computer,

died before phones were smart,

but I amuse myself imagining him ranting on social media,

calling out the swamp monsters,

and adding heart emojis to photos of children and pets.

“Dear Dad,” I think

I’d love to talk to you again.

 

Day 16 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt was to write a letter.

 

 

 

 

Joy Smiles: NaPoWriMo

 

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Window to a secret universe,

perfume of coffee & caramel

brilliant colors, velvet words, day & night,

heart & desire remembered,

it is here time

it is eternity

breathing magic,

joy smiles

 

This is Day 15 of NaPoWriMo. We’re halfway through, so the prompt was to write about something in the middle. This is more of in-between than middle, but I love the ideas that the Magnetic Poetry Oracle gave me today, and I won’t have time to write another one today.

Rocks, Rivers, and Stars: NaPoWriMo

 

 

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Delaware River, National Park, NJ 

I stand at the river and watch the small waves break against the rocks, feel the ancient tidal rhythm. Hear its’ call. You dwelled here once, it says. I pick up a stone from the beach, rolling it about in my hand. Its’ hard surface is worn smooth by the water that has kissed it softly, repeatedly over time. Created thousands of years ago by heat, water, and air, this stone has journeyed along the river, till I, born of heat, too, and composed of water and minerals, worn by time, softened by kisses, pick it up.

 

World born in fire,

stellar dust swirls, drifts, and falls,

carried in our genes

speckles of cosmic magic

in my eyes gazing at you

 

This is Day 14 of NaPoWriMo. I’m off prompt today. I’ve written a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge instead. The prompt words were hard and soft.