This island is strange and full of noises,
like the toddler who won’t let go,
even though your skin itches and crawls
from too much touch, and you’ve
had none but gauze and gauntlets
for days. And you breathe in
as best you can, shuddering
with the humidity – or the parch –
of a long quarantine. Baffled breath,
tight, throw me a filter, I can’t
hear you between Spotify
and kitchen timers, all ringing
sound and sympathy with the church bells
calling dawn like hotcakes
and I don’t like what you’re asking.
I can’t, I can’t, my rotary of jealousy
swings to the right, heavy with scorn
and guilt. You secret scholarship
and community klatch, I’ll bet
your treasury sings blue like gold,
and silver under wrappings. Succor me
like you mean it, your gleaming tests
of companionship and silence.
Never could I keep the streams
apart, reason this with me, hear
only the harmony, and not the drums
of peaceful sleep. And now, with
silence climbing over me, I’m broken
in a record’s groove, and I can’t
hear you speak from drowning.
Hush, now, don’t you cry, you’re
no Caliban, and I’m no vengeful sprite,
but scratch you in the night – I
want this, I want this salty frigate
out of here. Sew it slowly
from the shore. Needles, you
dry desolate town, I’ll make you a
watery grave, full fathoms five,
stitch you in the hot wind
and tear you apart again
to bury you in desert rock
and sand me down to shivers,
blow me down, blow me down,
brutem fulmen, throw me in the nightwater
like a drunken sailor crying for his mama
and I’ll love you forever, I swear it
like the god I am.
Napowrimo.net gave us a doozy of a prompt for Day Five:
The challenge is to use/do all of the following in the same poem. Of course, if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!
- Begin the poem with a metaphor.
- Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
- Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
- Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
- Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
- Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
- Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
- Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
- Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
- Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
- Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
- Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
- Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
- Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
- Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
- Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
- Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
- Use a phrase from a language other than English.
- Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
- Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
I may or may not have achieved all that – I’m still a little dizzy from the storm.