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Poetry | NAPOWRIMO 2011

1. Late

We’re always behind in time
I step on your toes and you step on mine
Your arms embrace me
attempt to steady this dance we do
This isn’t just our dance
Its the dance of our ancestors and the one
we’ve watched our parents do
Warm funk and thumping rhythms
vibrating through my chest
I’ve seen my mother’s lips painted red
and her fiery hair curled around her face
while she dances and sipped brown liquors
from juke joint glasses. They loved that way.

You’ve seen your father dictate worlds among
children who called themselves men.
His dance was in leisure and he charmed
the most stoic of women.

We’re late
our past rules this
we step back in time
without ever knowing it.

2. Swan

He told me to fly away
flapping wild and graceful
mimicking birds he’s seen
outside his window

Flamboyant
full of neon colors and flashing light
I laughed on high
But thought in private
silent reminders sitting before me
whispering
“fly away”

3. bad habits

nervous laughter and
lip skinning grins
bad jokes
thump thump thump
and warm armpits
when being close to beauty or power

nail biting while analyzing
and daydreaming while in conversation
loving the wrong men and accepting
less
not offering myself the best
working out the “to do list”
while nipping at the inside of my jaw
oral fixation that never satisfy
and fighting the disappointment in “goodbye”
When will my bad habits die?

4. Long Distance

Many times I’ve dreamed of you
on these train rides
mixed into warm hazy thoughts
of you and some funny thing you said
set against the beat of “faster & faster I should run”
my favorite songs in my headphones
make me happier when I am without you.

I miss
pushing my nose into your soft beard
Your Deep Warmth.
Soft & Hard Valleys of Flesh
And that Voice that rumbles
through your chest into my resting ear

So I create a busy life filled with
obligations to myself
Bulging with focus and determination
While in the distance
you cheer
I want you here
but I settle for there.

5. Haiku for a Hole

feed me sugar laced
confections to mollify me
white like lightening

6. I AM

I can tell you I AM
dripping with unctuous royal purple
and my soul is encompassed with
warm yellows
but I AM full of unkempt love
no one rocked it to sleep
greased it up
or gave it the adoration needed
so I AM the one

The One
who adorned you
with a crown full of sweet
smelling flowers
The One
who kissed your lips
and breathed life into
your hollow lungs
The One
who picked pretty dresses
and held your blushed cheeks

My hands became the chalice
spilling red ribbons into
your mouth.

I AM
born unto you
and you born unto me
and we spend an eternity
learning how we give this love

7. Untitled

Tanisha told me pomegranates
reminded her of wine when
we were 5
slippery mangoes
and cool fleshy grapes
bursting dark red sweetness
onto her white dress.
Mi amiga que yo adoro
lifted me up and taught me
sisterhood in a world full of
slingshots and G.I. Joe
angry khaki
and fiery hot concrete
and cuss words

How could you know what your friendship meant?

Summer in the ghetto is the same as any other
place to a child.
When we mark chalk lines for
hop-scotch
swing our hula hips to an easy
rhythm
Bomb pops melting down
our hands in a sticky red-orange.
We play while
our mothers work
and our fathers swing dice
into the night


8. Nursery Rhyme

Jabari loves to dance
He even battled his Uncle Vance
He danced his heart out
and knew without a doubt
when he ended it with a B-Boy stance

(haha! this was fun! I’m going to be using the writer’s prompts on the website from time to time. At least until I get tired. I like the challenge.)

9.The wardBack SSa Poem

A river of sorrowful sludge
While I could’ve cried myself
between twiggy fingers
Twirling your dry knotted locks
you said to me
Every Pot has It’s Own Lid


(can be read backwards as well)

10. Fantasy and Conversation

Fluttering locusts fly from my mouth
to drown in the warm honey
between our hopes
and indecision

I could shriek
and turn these locusts into gold
speak of babies, our making
our features.
And if the power of my words work
shall I build
or glue what has been broken
In a castle
with quicksand as its foundation

Shall I pray
before my yellow candle
burns white?

(Mirrored from the Audre Lorde poem Fantasy and Conversation)


11. Origin

Chin up and furrowed brow
Pink lips
and regal wide hips
The Queen Mother was convinced
of her princess’ weakness
What sort of Queen
bear a limp and broken girl child?

We must give her away..
its too tiring to keep her

So she snipped the tips of her toes
in anticipation of the Prince’s visit.
She must fit every shoe
the knight placed before her
Be everything he could want
because she was made to feel
not good enough for anything

12. Ann
I could swallow all
Your ocean
Split myself red
Part upon demand
Like Moses’ sea
And still be
So thirsty

Something tells me its abnormal
To feel ragged and sparse
Makes me wish
I had not of thrown all of my dolls away.

13. Birthday ShortCake

I bet you didn’t know that
I knew what was eating you.
So I bought that cake
knowing you’ll never love sweets
as much as I do
picked the most plump
sanguine colored berry
pierced with green seeds
dipped in sweet fluff
and covered my fingers
with cake and cream
for you.

Your burnt umber limbs,
wrapped around me

Your skin,
the smell of roses and ashes
clinging to the creases of
the bed sheets

Your hair in my hands
the texture of dew moistened moss
should
all
be
celebrated.

14. Past Aggression

I wished you’d
Lean into me and
tell me those things
instead of tossing
these grenades like Easter eggs
that I find hidden
in the corners of familiar places.
Places we’ve shared sly smiles
and lovers
Places we’ve been
Taken in like like fools to
charlatans
Hypnotized ourselves
into deeper dysfunction.
Lets leave these places be
Let their walls crumble without
the dust filling out lungs and
choking out everything we’ve
made sacred.

Which words are truth?
Which you is You?

15. Post Winter Time Non-Sense

Get warm
so I can walk down Lake Michigan
and dance in the lights
and scents of warm water on green life
Get brown and dance with beers
next to a loud Sox fan.
I just want someone to
hold my hand

One day I’m gonna get out of Chicago
shed 2 layers of skin
and slither into the desert
and just hope a Mexican doesn’t chop
me up into bits and pieces.

16. Oceans

I like this one honest
he’s the kind that paid attention
to his mother and listened
to the beat of her emotions
but not so much that it drowned
him in a womanly fear.
I like men like him.
Grounded in a concrete block of integrity,
but the kind a father builds.
Hard and carved so that
not even the most skillful
of chiselers can crumble
its foundation.
It could be my girlish notions
and love of ‘Say Anything’
that makes me dream this way.
To be Frank
He inspired me to write this poem

17. Good Luck

Mom never believed in superstitions
but during recess
I would search for 4
leaf clovers.
Scouring
the yard alone
in such a unladylike fashion
with my uniform skirt ballooned
over the green grass
searching quietly for good luck.

18. Brain Food

I can’t wait to make
my kitchen smell like
love interpreted into spices
and green peppers
crisp and wet
onions and stuffing.
I want to cook
like all the women
I’ve ever known
with strong hands
with veins like rivers
flowing underneath their skin.
I think these women
put their life into what
they feed babies with
I imagine their blood tastes
like pot liquor
and they breath
heaven into breads.

19. Happy Haiku

Curve into my joy
In tears from laughter and light
I am born again

20. On Beauty

All this time I was searching for God
in him, in you, in them
wrapped up in smokey haze
flannel and endless songs
from the stereo.
Perching those on a throne
only to be disappointed
when the Emperor had no clothes.
I wanted to be rescued from my woes
without even realizing that God is
within me.
It took me too long to see
that when I write
I am giving honor and thanks to the
One who created me.
I’m building worlds
I’m weaving
those soft silk threads of love
and greatness that was given to me.
When I paint it ain’t a coincidence
that the canvas is full of a
life I’ve never known.
These are the things I’ve grown
to know.
And for this I am thankful.

21. Storms

Beautiful blue Billie with her
Her candied-apple lips singing
about the stormy weather &
breathing notes into
warm dark spots.
Lovers damp bodies pressed
against one another. Scents
mingling sweat and rose perfumes
black coal and earth.
And heels scraping warped
wooden floor boards.
In momentary escape
and lustful prayer
I watched her sing
while her brown skin shone
under a bright light
the beauty her mouth birthed
the soul and pain
of tasting strange fruit
plucked

22. Double Dactyls

Higgledy piggledy
Donald Trump
With his crispy white muff
Stirring the ‘birthers’ into a frenzy
Anything for money, money, money.
Covetousness
I wonder if its a gift
or are we cursed.

Today’s prompt was to write a Double Dacty or Higgledy piggledy poem. Which is just a fun little satirical piece. Fun and I made myself laugh.

23. Bout-Rimes

Around my heart I’ve built a sturdy tent
At night when the biting winter breeze
Has turned it all to a slick, icy relent
I protect my love’s key at ease
And its supportive central ebony pole
At its acme cloudy and heavenward
Say prayers for my unruly soul
And its connected leather braided cord
Beware for suitors tugging at its bound
By countless looped ties of love and thought
If I tell them “Dont come a ’round”
Its only what a generation of matriarchs taught
Fill my raspy lungs with clean air & be aware

Today’s prompt was to write a bouts-rimes.
The bouts-rimes is a sort of poetic parlor game: you write a poem using the rhyming end words from another poem. They’re usually done with sonnets in English. Its constructed anagrammatically from Shakespeare’s Sonnet VI, or from Robert Frost’s The Silken Tent. So my end words are :

tent, breeze, relent, ease, pole, heavenward, soul, cord, bound, thought, round, taught, air, aware.

24. Autobiography

She looked up in shock
infant cries echoing the white halls
sweat and pain brought upon her
by Eve’s seductive ways.
She smiled into a sheath.
Her first and only baby girl.

Speed Racer, dusty footballs
and grimy white leather gym shoes
encircling raggedy dolls, plastic tea
cups and pink lacy curtains.
Drinking sweet warm things
in hopes of finding my voice.

Bundles of books and wonderful words
lost in time and love
A dream emerges
Keep her safe and hidden
under the bed, in boxes
developed in observation and
immature emotions

Love me. Love me.
Just find me in you.

25. Riddle

I’m a riddle in three words
An event that is quite grand
Little girls all over the world
dream of this never-never land
British accents, dainty tea cups
white cake and a big dress
This is the most important nuptials
since Mary wed Joe
in order to keep from being called a ho’

::
Today’s prompt was to do a riddle poem – one in which you write from the point of view of an object or person (or about an object and person), and the poem itself forms a giant riddle.

Answer: The Royal Wedding

26. Spam Poem

Respiratory Risks for my Zoloft member
Live Hot Locals befriend my hiring care
O’ Where
Is my Thankful Daily Reminder
I search my Swag Bag
for Premium Business Cards
But its so hard
swimming in this Dish a Network of cells
Phone my love to say “Hi”

27. Song To Jesus (For Sean N.)

Your singing sounds like a wounded hyena
that we all must endure
for gas prices are so high
we just sit, look and sigh

‘They Call me Bruce’ protected you from harm
and you sang your heart out even when alarmed
Oh! Ye Old Wrench!
Why must you torture us with your sounds
That man was madder than hungry hell hounds
This is your fault!
Fighting and cussin’ on the train
You only pretended to be dumb
Ain’t shit wrong with your brain.

You sang Asian Gospel songs for Jesus so loud
Enough noise to stir an angry crowd
When asked to be quiet
you pretended not to know English
But when the shit hit the fan it was a quick switch
You Trouble Maker! Take The Blame!
Thanks to Youtube,
your are now thrust into fame.

This is an inside joke between a friend and I. But to let you in on it check out this video http://youtu.be/pO3hNjYCtwc

28. ENTRE O CERTO E O ERRADO
Enter O Certain Errands

Quiet olden practices
Taunts coils over me
Cease camping for corrections
Cease serious rudimentary, so tragic

Never-ending protruding promises
May you join me?
Talk outside those decision my love.
What searches makes me care?

Remember a life above
An impossible moment unfolds
A precipice designed inside

What is the resolution, the math
entered into certainty, divided and multiplied
More persistent than the dawn
Our destiny perfected into eternity

This prompt was to “translate” a poem from a language you don’t know into English, based on how the words look or sound.

I chose this poem found on Poemas de Amore.
Yes, I am fully aware that this poem makes no sense.

29. In The News: Massive storms and tornadoes killed at least 173 people across five Southern states, with Alabama …

Grandmother is a Birmingham tornado
A whirlwind of endurance and independence
planted in a small, quiet backyard
where sweet fig trees grow and tomatoes
ripen from blushing orange moons
to grown, plump juicy fruits.

My mother’s land
bulging and broken
pink and beige stones
and splintered homes
a sad but colorful composition
laid across the canvas

Who will put the cameras on
the poor people who haven’t
eaten since their tiny homes lifted
into the sky and landed
in a pitiful heap?
People like me
remain unseen
but not unheard.

Today’s prompt was to write a poem based on a headline.
I used this http://abcnews.go.com/US/massive-tornado-hits-alabama-storms-leave-16-dead/story?id=13465028 as my inspiration.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7364394n#ixzz1KyAMv98p

30. Amphitrite / Ἀμφιτρίτη Speaks

These starfish are my sisters
the eels my brothers
and the crabs my cousins
This ocean became my family
A blanket to comfort me
in my sleep
Dolphin kissed me at night
and traveled with me into
my dreams

And then we met
Your strength more
intoxicating than Dionysus’ kisses
Your love became the
fluid in my veins

And now
Your lies wet me with remorse

You got that bitch sleeping in my
water bed
Eating on my crab cousins
for dinner
and bathing in my hot tub

My tongue
that is my shark
will make her bleed.

Yay! I’ve reached my goal. I made it to 30 poems!! *Throws confetti!*
The last prompt was to write the updated Greek myth poem. My job was to retell a greek myth with modern trappings.

I wrote about Amphitrite, who became the goddess of the sea after her marriage to Poseidon. They had 3 children together but she found out that he was cheating on her with some nymph. (lol)

Many thanks to NaPoWriMo for this challenge. I couldn’t have done it without you!

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14 responses to “Poetry | NAPOWRIMO 2011

  1. trE

    April 4, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Swan and Late are my two picks in this series. They were strongly written & full of vivid imagery. Dope, Val.

     
    • valbee

      April 4, 2011 at 3:40 am

      Thanks Tre!
      I love yours too. Im wondering if I should have done the same thing you did by creating an entirely different blog for NaPoWriMo.

       
  2. jeanne

    April 5, 2011 at 1:39 am

    I enjoy your poetry. thanks.

     
    • valbee

      April 5, 2011 at 4:10 am

      thank you Jeanne!

       
  3. trE

    April 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I really like “Untitled,” it reminds me of one of my narrative poems about childhood. The language in that piece made me reflect back to summers spent in New York. Great work, Val.

     
    • valbee

      April 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      Thanks! I came up with it from the site’s writer’s prompt. I was sitting trying to think of what to write about when I didnt even know they gave prompts.
      It was challenging but fun too. I may give it another go tonight.

       
  4. Brenda

    April 9, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I like these poems, Val, and can see resonance in our styles. So glad you came by today, I’ll add your blog to my Google Reader so I can keep up with your posts.

    Can’t say which poem I like best. They seem part of the same reflective hours and are interconnected in a myriad of ways. A interwoven love story.

     
  5. trE

    April 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    “Which words are true? Which You is you?” Val, you’re killing it, lady! Especially with this one…

     
    • Valerie

      April 17, 2011 at 12:05 am

      🙂
      Thanks Love!
      its getting harder though. ..

       
  6. Jingle

    April 26, 2011 at 2:14 am

    amazing collections.
    keep it up.

     
    • valbee

      April 30, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Thank you. I had to catch up but I made it. I appreciate the comments.

       
  7. Sean N aka DJ Tyriq Stiles

    April 30, 2011 at 1:22 am

    i LOVE #27. hahaha LOVE it!

     
  8. Alma Tee

    May 2, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Bravo!!! Val, I truly enjoyed reading your entire poetry collections.

     

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