Madame President

Madame President

I am young
I am she, barely thirty-three
I am born of brown faces
In a land of other races
A space without fences
I am queen
I am gay
I am here to begin my career
I am out in the crowd
Loud, queer and proud
Vowed to sustain ground
I am fierce
I am home
At the thrown of a ship that I steer
Where I now make my residence
Tethered with hesitance
In a house white with presidents
I am here

Since Day 20 of the NaPoWriMo challenge is about rebellion, I think it only fitting that I am writing the Day 20 poem on Day 21. The challenge for Day 20 is to write a poem that involves rebellion in some way. The speaker or subject of the poem could defy a rule or stricture that’s been placed on them.

Self Destruct

To the oceans my waste
In the lakes caste my spittle
To my father god of river
I offer rituals of litter
Soil fresh and still chaste
I befoul just a little
For my reflection I quiver
In waters I have bittered
Mother tears in dismay
Careless spawn, moral cripple
I the obsessive self-giver
Of love meant for better

Welcome to Day 21 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge. The challenge for today is to challenge to today to be based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. Since today is Earth Day it makes sense to me to weave in how narcissism has taken its toll on our planet.


challenging to watch
waiting for a decision
waiting to come up for air
as one year blends to the next
the way it is
to stand for what becomes normal
fighting but not worth saving
no one is happy
climbing the walls
escape the disaster
just grab and run
is that right?
run for your life
with only what you throw in car
and your car
and get away

It’s Day 19 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge. Today the challenge is to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

Miles at My Side

When next we meet, farewell we shall not say
Whether sleet or storm or blue of sun scorched day
I too would stay beside you every step
My fellow traveler, my heart’s desire you kept

That place, that night when I could run no more
Encouraged by your traveling friend support
Kind words dug deep in sharing hard fast truth
And silence while they settled yet unsoothed
That night all light was stricken from the sky
Was I night blind, my friends kind words the guide
This trail we chose a blackened cold highway
You, my friend, at my side did stay

That hill, that peak that I could not bear climb
A frosted ribbon ascending snow ridge line
In dance, like Spring, you bound to meet the grade
A jubilation playful game you made
Uphill, up swell of joy my hand you claimed
Whose eager ease fanned my dimming flame?
Making light of night’s rough darkened sea
My friend who ran one hundred miles with me

It’s Day 18 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge and the prompt for today is to first, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem.

The original poem I used is A Mile With Me by Henry Van Dyke. This poem is for Sara who ran every step of the Umstead 100 with me.

Cajun Crabbing

First time foreigners, y’all
Let’s take a ride
Uncle Buck crows pumped full of pride
He hops in the truck
Trouble Dog at his side
Down the road, y’all
He cries out fried eyed
Pack some beers and snacks
Let’s pass by the shop
Grab the line and the traps
Some fish heads too
We’ll boil tonight, aight?
Four, five traps, we’ll catch a few
This here’s the bayou
He points out the glass
Grey pelican and pirogue slough
Watch the loose planks
Buck says with a grin
Watch the nails and the muck
Watch the KAR O SEEN
How you say, CreO SEEN
You don’t want no tar baby foot
Watch, ya’ll, watch and look
Heads in the traps, toss ‘em over the dock
Now ya’ll hand me a beer and y’all toss one back
Watch the traps, watch and wait
Watch your step, aight?
For blues we try to, look here over the side
Kerplunk in the bayou, Uncle Buck disappears
A Cajun style gumbo made of
hat and his beer
No blues for the pot, not a pincher to boil
Just Uncle Buck’s pride and truck full of chuckles

Happy Day 17 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge. Today’s challenge is to write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time. It could be the story of the time your Uncle Louis caught a home run ball, the time your Cousin May accidentally brought home a coyote and gave it a bath, thinking it was a stray dog, or something darker (or even sillier).

Big Bad Bronchitis

“Little pig, little pig”
Through the wheeze
And the breeze
Where his voice should have been

“Let me in,” with a choke
“Let me in” with chagrin
Sounded more like a plea
A deep cough in his throat

“I will huff, I dare say”
“I will puff” bent in half
“I will find my inhaler”
But the pig only laughed

Just a house made of straw
A piggy pig hairy chin
Surely a wolf with some asthma
Could blow it all in

So he took a deep breath
With all that he could
Held for one moment
Then he blew and blew good

Not a whisp or a whimper
Stirred from the straw house
Leaving no porky chop dinner
For a wolf with no Albuterol douse


A little late for Day 15 of the NaPoWriMo Challenge, but here we go. Yesterday’s prompt was to write a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).

Half Wit Laces

running is stupid
the cold seeps deep
into the bones
it snows
a hundred miles
is a dumb idea
gut bombs bloat
blisters form
ultra-distance runs
are ultra-wrong
in shadow nights
visions stir
so run for fun
stay on roads
don’t let babies
set trail goals


Happy Monday. Welcome to Day 16 of the NaPoWriMo challenge. Today’s challenge is to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up.
Having just completed Umstead 100 I’m reminded of the thoughts that stream through my head in the middle of the night at about mile 75. At those moments it’s challenging to remind myself that running is fun.