The owl generator - NaPoWriMo Poem 11 (prompt - write a poem that includes five words from the NaPoWriMo.net list for day 20)
The owl generator absconded.
Upwind, a squandered clove
miraculously given to a dunderhead
by a cyclops, grew, like a willow.
The owl generator was mercurial.
One day, demanding seaweed,
mind in the gutter, refusing
to generate its owls. The next?
Its abilities were nonpareil.
An artillery of owls flew out
like salt from a cellar, curling into the air
owl egos with their rodomontade.
The owl generator is elusive, now
since its disappearance (twice),
its a ghost of its former self. It sulks
eats cheese, and generates cowbirds.
I want to feed it truffles, help it
to become less svelte. We’d escape
to Quahog, but by aeroplane:
sea travel makes it billious.
(I used all of the words instead of five, and wrote something of a nonsense poem).
One amazing pie - NaPoWriMo Poem 10 (no prompt)
I shape the crust from plain flour
a microwaved lump of butter or marg
plonked into the bowl, flaked with my fingers,
seasoned, a bit of iced water and it coagulates.
Rolled out, again, again, thinned and spread
thinned and spread again, again, flour snowing
from a sieve to the table, the rolling pin, the dough;
the base sits in the tin, the top awaiting instructions.
What goes in it? Potatoes, peeled, boiled,
quartered, squashed. Gravy, a real effort.
Stock boiled down from bones, from old veg
cornflour added, stirred with care over heat.
I chuck in some meat if I’ve some,
chop a carrot, lob it all in, then the top, lowered
carefully, to cover the filling, and pinched
around the sides. Glazed with milk.
It cooks. While it cooks, I push up my sleeves
run a sink of suds, wash the pots, the crocks
the props, the trickster tells, so that all you see
is one amazing pie, piece of cake.
The kind of kind - NaPoWriMo Poem 8 (prompt: write a personal ad)
The kind of kind
Loud with a laugh like a badly plumbed pipe,
chubby with a grab of plump, podgy flesh,
opinionated cause-caring single
Mum of one, seeks lady, or chap, for love.
I like slow walks round the park (don’t we all?),
Doctor Who from black and white until now,
lounging around in ridiculous frocks
reading long poems aloud to the cats.
And you? You will be, above all else, kind:
the kind of kind that knows when not to tell
the obvious joke that presents itself.
The rest, as they say, is all up to you.
Pairing - NaPoWriMo Poem 7 (prompt: write a poem starting and ending in and)
and if I find one more odd sock lying around
you never pair them and then you lose them
and it’s me who has to pair them you never
and you, you never make an effort these days
you turned up to meet me in my worn jumper
and my mates must have thought what must they have thought
and I’m sick of you going out and you never come back
when you say, I wait, window open, watching the trees
sway, I think, he’s dead, and your phone’s never on
and you always laugh too loud, like an animal
a blush crawls up my face from my neck and
that’s why I say, use your indoor voice, for the love of
and you always put me down with a quip, a joke,
in front of your friends, family, they laugh, I am shrunk
I am the joke and it is their braying that stings
and you eat too much, our landlord won’t allow us
to renovate the flat for the mobility cart you’ll need
if you keep expanding, like a dying star before it shrinks
and you’re not my dad, you’re not meant to treat me
like a child, you wouldn’t treat a child like this, you wouldn’t
widen your mouth and let your bright red shouts out
this all started with socks, I’m not pairing my socks, I’ve never
paired my socks, I’m not starting now. You want me to
do everything, and more besides, and then, and
Infect - NaPoWriMo poem six - no prompt
Bread rises. Juice becomes wine,
beer, cider, bubbling dirtily in its barrel.
Yoghurts live, promising to be good.
Marmite delights or causes dislike
with shrivelled-by-salt extracts of yeast.
And I walk with a wrinkled up nose
and a pained gait, until it goes.
Clean sheets: NaPoWriMo poem 5, no prompt
Pegging out my boyfriend’s shirts I felt the cotton
of one of them smooth in my fingers
and remembered the sheets you and I bought;
Egyptian cotton, white, a bugger to iron.
I’d iron them in our bedroom upstairs
you’d be watching re-runs of something downstairs
I’d take my time, respraying them with water
and going heavy on the starch, the scent lingering.
I got pregnant on those sheets. You, duty done
would go straight back downstairs as I propped my hips up
on a pillow, encased in cotton, staring
at the white ceiling. Each night for just three weeks.
When I left you kept them, those best sheets;
I took the tatty ones that I’d brought with me
from my girlhood bedroom, and gave them a new home
a basic, sensible mattress, where I slept alone or with our son.
The wind is busy today and has already dried
the shirts my boyfriend tells me he doesn’t leave
for me to wash, he’s not that kind of man, he wouldn’t
expect that of me. I unpeg them and bring them inside.
Kites - NaPoWriMo poem 4 (no prompt)
This weather still has an edge to it
the wind in my hand feels soft and warm
but the lobes of my ears are still cut
with cold like paper.
I taught my son to make a paper plane.
His fingers fudged the folds; his face sank
when it wouldn’t fly. I took it off him
a quick pinch and a smooth and it went.
At the top of the park the wind was everywhere.
Last year, kite fliers had harnessed it.
Now, empty, because of the cold. “Next time
we’ll bring your kite.” Next time.
NaPoWriMo - catch up and update
I’m dreadfully behind on NaPoWriMo. And other things, too, but the poem a day is the thing that’ll be hardest to catch up with.
I dithered this morning as to whether to abandon the project all together but decided that no, I shan’t; instead, I’ll write two poems a day for the rest of the month (or, you know, whatever is needed).
I love doing the NaPoWriMo prompts, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch up with the prompts I’ve missed, so with that in mind, I’ll start doing the current prompts, but for the catch-up poem, I’ll write one without a prompt, unless I’m really, really stuck!
Sea shanty (NaPoWriMo poem 3. Prompt: write a sea shanty)
Oh, the gulls make a noise like kaw, kaw, kaw
and the salt makes my dry hands sore, sore, sore
and the sound of the sea goes from shush to roar
in the time the sail falls to the scrubbed deck floor.
Oh, my hands might burn on the rope, rope, rope
and at times I curse “I can’t cope, cope, cope”
but there’s no time to consider, no time to mope
when your life’s in the hands of the crew, and hope.
So let’s sail from the east to the west, west, west
and let pride push your heart through your chest, chest, chest
for we’re the Mersey Ferries crew, and God knows we’re the best!
(I made up the bit about us scrubbing decks, and the rest.)
Lies to children (NaPoWriMo poem 2. Prompt: Lies)
Lies to Children
There are only five senses (you reach
your hand up to mine and I stretch
my arm down and neither of us looks, but
touching occurs, that expected shock).
You can be anything you want to be
(my perished pockets won’t contain
the coins for you to be a university student;
also, you can’t be a king or a god).
I will always love you (one day my heart
will stop, and my ashes floating on the tension
of the the Mersey will be incapable of feelings
or verbs). I will, I promise it, always.