Day 0: Early pigeons

Today’s prompt (for us early bird keeners getting started on NaPoWriMo eve) is to write a poem about a favourite bird. Huge appreciation to Maureen and everyone at for your generous work to engage us in yet another National/Global Poetry Writing Month! Woo hoo!

The open-air

extension to the

elevated train


they’d been








The opening, when it opened, bellowed

space! Approach! Bright lines! The cut, clap, flutter! Real-time digits via pinball satellite!


They’d fortified the rafters with spikes opposing pigeon landing. Also opposing

the flannel-soft diagonal of 8 am sun. Its unmade tousle. Also opposing

the curves rain loves most as it giggles down nylon dome slides. Splash-lands in puddles.


Pigeons are like infants. They grip

the world, feeling deeply.

Genius sensing.

Steely. They wrap


talons around

those spikes and

stand kind of




They are first to the station. They are

so very first they are never not

perched and cooing. They accept

process. The universal graceful

passage of wriggling things

eaten. Pastry pieces. The white

which must flash as





At 5 am sharp come the sanders,

grim jumpsuits, bleary

regrets about ceilings.


Only ever late, this species.

Day 30: Notification

I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem. What’s that? Well, a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion. Haiku are probably the most familiar and traditional form of minimalist poetry, but there are plenty of very short poems out there that do not use the haiku form.

Day 30 prompt from

The link above is fascinating! I learned a lot about micro-level word play and have given it a try in the poem below. Minimalism is not exactly my middle name, so I have tried to squeeze a lot of meanings into a few garbled words.

PS. Since I haven’t yet posted my Day 22 poem about art (because I’m awaiting a response from the artist whose work my poem is based on), I’ve posted a haiku about photography on my Day 22 page:

scell ph owne
is like




like like

not a vacation.

Day 29: Pastel

Today’s prompt from is to write “a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.”

I’m not sure how tranquil a meditation this is, but it’s certainly about emotional dynamics I have experienced myself.

My presence has been pastel at most. Not white, not quite
pearl, but tinted with some quiet colour. Yellow, likely, or
a seeping peach-rose subtle enough to be imagination.

I’ve been hotel wallpaper of this shade. People around
and inside me have trashed the place, stained me with
splashed blue shooters, not tipped the woman who
breaks her back to maintain the space. Looked straight
through her. The way they treat her is not right yet it is not
my place, as wallpaper, to say something. This place is truly
not mine.

When they stay up late, I glow as cozy as I can and hum
imperceptible. They drift off in the wee hours not knowing
they are hearing

Hush you know no better hush you were raised this way hush it’ll change when you’re older hush you only long to impress and belong hush I get it I get it I get it hush never said I was angry hush it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay

I get less sleep than they do and dream that I am shaking
glass-framed prints from my pastel skin and propelling
shards into feather pillows and pouring
screams from
my every

In that dream, which is recurring and mysterious, my foundations
are unstable and my skin rips away and is gunmetal grey
concrete underneath. It scrapes and soon gives way in slabs. I am
collapsing inward and if anyone is in the way,
it is not my place
or capability
to not collapse
for their sake.

In the soft morning light, my off-pearl cross-hatching looks part-golden.

When I see the maid rummaging through trash on the nightstand
hoping for a tip for
half a lunch for her kid, I

just hum imperceptible. Hush.

Day 28: Water seeming stone, and water slow

Today’s challenge from was to write a meta-poem: a poem about poetry. When I first read the prompt, I thought my well might be dried up because I’d already written two poems about poetry; see

I was wrong about that. I latched onto a weird idea late last night and barely slept as a result. Here is what I came up with:

The longer I spend in poetry—
the reading and the writing—
the more the rest of time
strikes me
as water
seeming stone,
from speed.

What I mean is,
have you ever sat at the back
of a motorboat and skidded
your fingers over water
gone solid as the shore?
Watched your fingers
strobe over lake
like the white line of a
highway lane
dashed under
your wrist, out
the window?

Treating water as
a freeway is just
one skim of what
water can do.

Poetry is slow, more like
steering a canoe through
the symmetry and asymmetry
of whirlpools. You drag water
towards its inner self on either side
with biceps getting stronger
from resistance of other water.
Sunlight scribbles its fibs on waves
too fast to be read. A solar language
spills its code over the surface
like a film reel’s 3, 2, 1.
The flashes jostle fast,
but poetry itself is slow.

Poetry is slow, more like
diving off the edge
of the canoe, fully clothed.
Poetry is kelp and grit lodged in
waterlogged wool—and the pull,
the pull, the pull, the pull.
Gradually you will smell
the brine in your bloodline.
If you widen your throat
by gliding increments,
you will survive.
You will breathe out
upward-fleeting crystal balls.
Peer into them now. Soon they will
burst gasping at the surface.
Crystals shatter fast,
but poetry itself is slow.

Poetry is slow, more like the
ages of open-palmed patience
it takes to gain intimacy
with water. Molecules are skittish,
so handle them only softly, and
show up when you say you will
each day. Wait. When you see
your fingers wrinkle with old age
and oversoak, that’s a sign
you are doing it right. Water
has ventured into you at
your very tips. Suddenly you start
to wonder who is waiting for whom:
are you the water part, greeting your
land companion? You have always been
mainly water, and now you feel it,
and now you greet with patience
and knowing the water
in others. And they in you.
The wondering dawns fast,
but poetry itself is slow.

Poetry is slow, so if you
sink for a time into
its underwater/one-with-water realm,
you may need to sprint for the bus
under stones of speeding rain,
40 minutes late for some land thing.
When you collapse into your seat,
be slow enough to notice
any riders with eyes
rising from books,
inner fish splashing
languid light from
their irises
into yours.

Day 27: My love is as a fever

I’d like to challenge you to “remix” a Shakespearean sonnet. Here’s all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can pick a line you like and use it as the genesis for a new poem. Or make a “word bank” out of a sonnet, and try to build a new poem using the same words (or mostly the same words) as are in the poem. Or you could try to write a new poem that expresses the same idea as one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, like “hey baby, this poem will make you immortal” (Sonnet XVIII) or “I’m really bad at saying I love you but maybe if I look at you adoringly, you’ll understand what I mean” (Sonnet XXIII).

Day 27 prompt from

I have attempted a contemporary reworking of Sonnet 147, keeping the first line exactly as it is in the original and changing only a couple of words in the second line. The rest is new, as you’ll be able to tell! You can see the original here:

My love is as a fever, longing still
for that which keeps reloading the disease.
The flame of Tinder o’erpowers my will;
I scroll, re-read your profile with unease.
I scrutinize your smile for any sign
of your ambivalence about our split.
You’ve listed dealbreakers. These cross the line:
possessive, needy, jealous. Am I it?
To check, I open Instagram, review
our short romance’s poignant gallery.
Was my devotion so unkind to you
that you saw fit, on Facebook, to block me?
I Google Image Search you, and screenshot
more fuel to keep my five-year fever hot.

Day 26: Reps

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a word, or phrase. You can even repeat an image, perhaps slightly changing or enlarging it from stanza to stanza, to alter its meaning. There are (perhaps paradoxically) infinite possibilities in repetition. 

Day 26 prompt from

At Fitness World, the free weights space sprawls,

beats and ripples like heat on the highway. 

Reps to gain.
Reps to make pain not pain. 
Reps to face a threshold.
Reps to grow some skin.
Reps to grow a pair. 
Reps to grow one body part. 
Reps to shrink another part.
Reps to pay penance. 
Reps to look in the mirror and smile.
Reps to like it.
Reps to stand it. 
Reps to not smash it. 
Reps to keep shards at bay.
Reps to smash the patriarchy.
Reps to catcall convincingly. 
Reps to win against the state. 
Reps to walk home late. 
Reps to bash back. 
Reps to bash harder. 
Reps to recover. 
Reps to rewind. 
Reps to relax. 
Reps to go elsewhere. 
Reps to go numb to the touch. 
Reps to rumble like a machine gun.
Reps to go numb like a machine gun.
Reps to struggle up from rock bottom. 
Reps to make a comeback.
Reps to have your back. 
Reps to make you mine.
Reps to turn back time.
Reps to leave childhood behind. 
Reps to prove them wrong. 
Reps to be better.
Reps to belong. 
Reps to fortify the ribs. 
Reps to build a dam.
Reps to turn liquid into power.

Rest rest rest rest rest rest rest rest

(Adam’s apple bobbing heartlike over water)

Beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat


Day 25: Hang you up the most

I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is specific to a season, uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell), and includes a rhetorical question (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”).

Day 25 prompt from

Between any two days in April hangs just the finest film of sunshine. 

A backlit bedsheet flaps light-damp on the line,

its long-bleached rosebuds seeming sun-kissed and revived.

A moth with membraned petal wings pursues the sun, too white.

I keep awakening far too early. Is this why?

My cocoon cracks green over daybreak’s squinting divide.

One leg stays larval, straining against its sheet.

Through blackout drapes, a dew-crushed smell shakes morning into me.

Between any two months of April hangs a familiar angle of light.

In another April, we sweetened and stained our sheets with berry wine.

Now I stare through cotton into sun and still spot violet flaring in the sky.

I still hear Ella on repeat. I used to loop her voice low and wise

about spring and sonnets and a kiss that can wake flowers and trees,

not hearing her sing love is just a ghost. Now translucent April visits me.