Category Archives: Sickness

against all advice

NaPoWriMo 2021 Button with white background
NaPoWriMo 2021 Button with black background


salt-swooped, enticed

from the dark deep lake of his eyes

washed up on your shore

left there

balanced on a blade of his hair


you take a second chance at his skin

which has the look of tin 

left out in a recent storm

yet glinting

dangerous as a virus starting 

fished from his mouth


an unfamiliar curl of dull light like

a line of syllable struck on an infinite yet vacant sky

sickles you in its soiled embrace

he circles in again

patient like a surgeon

from a distant planet


you gulp you rumble yet fail

to notice sap that blooms and spills

ecstatic from his ruinous touch

that acts like a compliment, but isn’t so



you wilt you mumble

as he picks his teeth

larger than easter island monuments

as you swoon

sucked clean as a puckered scar

flapping there, un-speeched

beached on remnant happiness

no-one else gets


this vice is your 




not a haiku


NaPoWriMo day 24

 Hard-boiled detective novels are known for their use of vivid similes, often with an ironic or sarcastic tone. Novelist Raymond Chandler is particularly adept at these. Here are a few from his novels:

  • A few locks of dry, white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.
  • Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
  • From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.
  • She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.
  • He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to channel your inner gumshoe, and write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. Feel free to use just one, or try to go for broke and stuff your poem with similes till it’s . . . as dense as bread baked by a plumber, as round as the eyes of a girl who wants you to think she’s never heard such language, and as easy to miss as a brass band in a cathedral.


NaPoWriMo 2021 Button with white background


my thoughts are over used

rutted and butted and puttered over


mulling and churning and chewing over


all details and entrails assailed over

and over and over thinking thinking

drinking and drowning down in

mess of haze-maze crazed

worry-boned alone-ness


it’s fair to say

my thoughts are worn-to-thin

fair-to-middling — overmused

knocking the stuffings of my noggin-chocking nights

no respite in sight; unlit — confused


whirl pooled in a floating world

misted twisted pensées swirl and curl

miserly, relentless, restless, gutted

i rise from sleep to sleep perchance but

just to think again again again again

my wearied brain is drained thus

in vain though

i own it

i know it

i think

i think

i think

therefore i am?

here? there? no? where?

it’s fair to say


overmused : worn out form thinking too much


today’s challenge is to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words. Will you choose a word like “aprosexia,” which means “an inability to concentrate”? Or maybe something like “greenout,” which is “the relief a person who has worked or lived in a snowy area for a long time feels on seeing something fresh and green for the first time”? 

I chose, of course, without overthinking the possibilities, overmused

WORD OF THE YEAR 2021: overmused 33%

(adj.) worn out from thinking too much

It’s fair to say we probably all had a lot on our minds in 2021, which makes this superb seventeenth-century coinage the perfect choice for Word of the Year. To overmuse is to overthink, or to contemplate too much—so if you’re feeling overmused, then you’re utterly exhausted from endlessly thinking, worrying, and mulling things over.



not a haiku


no photographic evidence

Napowrimo day 24


I’ve come back to check on a baby one, not long birthed. Just after dusk I’m lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled sufferings, their hearts swaying quietly. I’m always amazed at their numbers. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot scathing on the bent backs of the exposed sufferings. Some of them are able to shelter, but i hear them.

Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three of the largest of them. A fourth hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the suffering tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her skin.

My second to latest suffering is four years and two months old, still a toddler as sufferings go. This one wears the spiked chain because she tends to kick. I keeps her on the spiked shackle only during the day and takes it off at night. But it’s night now.

I ask on this nighttime visit, why her chain is still on but there is no answer.

I check on the latest one I left here, make sure it’s still here.

I come at night, when no one can see I’m gone to the place where I left them all. I come during the day, when I can get away.


definitely not a haiku


Link to the original article. Elephants


Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.

Hung outside in, Kitchen

NaPoWriMo day 5


Hammered! Into copper-tongued clarity nothing

______matters, does it? Stuffed! Into cotton mouth

answers bluest call, shatters juices more from apple cored.

_____I wince. Panting quietly, my idiotic grin incised.

I can’t remember a taste as metallic as this

_____wishbone ( aptly gnawed) between teeth and trees and faith, passing

flowers have some honey, so does sun, and

_____isn’t that enough? Listen! This is just what

the bees whisper to breezy Spring’s

_____hips, thighs drunk, heavy, rippling, fizzing on

estrogenic tides. Sniffles caught on hazel twigs, drained and skinned.

_____Sorry! I lift my head and toes from this mess, taking intricate

steps. I lift kettle and cauldron down

_____gently, without much clack, fire quietly electricity, lightning cracks,

dying for some scalding liquid sympathy. Sun comes in

____at my waist, pouring pats on porcelain vase on table centre

My mind wanders out the window and teacup

_____strikes formica, gruffly asks a spoon to dance.

When has a morning been dressed as flayed as

_____this? Smashed passion for mama’s cooking, damp dents

in pillows, twisted patterned sheets…….dissipates……

_____The storm inside abates, beaten in syrupy circles

washed out in sea flakes and oat cakes

____a string of fresh laundry strung outside.


not a haiku

April 5, 2021


This prompt challenges you to find a poem, and then write a new poem that has the shape of the original, and in which every line starts with the first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem. If I used Roethke’s poem as my model, for example, the first line would start with “I,” the second line with “W,” and the third line with “A.” And I would try to make all my lines neither super-short nor overlong, but have about ten syllables. I would also have my poem take the form of four, seven-line stanzas. I have found this prompt particularly inspiring when I use a base poem that mixes long and short lines, or stanzas of different lengths. Any poem will do as a jumping-off point, but if you’re having trouble finding one, perhaps you might consider Mary Szybist’s “We Think We Do Not Have Medieval Eyes” or for something shorter, Natalie Shapero’s “Pennsylvania.”


Here is the poem that chose me…

Here Are Some Thorns, Splinters, Fishbones


Home for a pan-fried mackerel dinner, 

           my mother watches my chopsticks stumble

around the 가시. Full after a few bites,

           I remember a story. When I was a baby 

I choked on a fishbone at my grandparents’ house. My dad 

           wasn’t there. They yelled at my mother 

for not inspecting each flaky bit of fish I put 

           in my clumsy mouth, not teaching me 

the maneuvering of spiky slivers with my tongue, 

           how to place the needles next to my plate, 

extract white meat clean. Ever since, she peels and holds 

           skeletons above our meal—fossils before me.

Still, I am bad at pulling bone from fish, cutting

           skin from pears, which means I’ll never 

get married. But what about the nights where my mouth 

           drips with SunGold kiwi, looking over 

at my love, my lips smacking unabashedly.

           Me cupping the furry layer in my palm, and you 

standing over the sink eating it whole. 

           What would our mothers say? We laugh while I tell you

the story of how once, a splinter burrowed 

           into the meat of my thumb, and I kept it there for weeks.

Told my parents the splinter came out on its own

           while I hoped my body would absorb the slender spear

and disappear the 가시 painlessly.