July 4th Travel Blues

This is what happens when I’m stuck on a plane for over an hour, mere feet from the gate, and “Leaving on a Jet Plane” comes on my iPod.

Waiting on a Jet Plane

All my bags are packed.
I’m ready to go.
I’m waitin’ here inside this plane.
I wish they’d let us off and say goodbye.
But the rain is pourin’
the lightning’s bright.
I’m tired of waitin’
I hate to gripe.
Already I’m so antsy
I could die.

So grimace and sighs from me.
Whines about this wait from me.
Hold me up so I can never go.
‘Cause I’m waitin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll get off again.
Oh how I hate to stay.

There’s so many times I’ve checked my phone,
so many times I want to groan.
I tell you now, I wish I brought more books.
Ev’ry loud phone call, I get annoyed.
Ev’ry child’s cry, I’m more annoyed.
When I get off, I’ll give them dirty looks.

So grimace and sighs from me.
Whines about this wait from me.
Hold me up so I can never go.
‘Cause I’m waitin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll get off again.
Oh how I hate to stay.

Now the time has come to leave here.
One more time
let me check my
seat to make sure
I’ll be on my way.
Dream about the sleep to come
when I won’t have to sit on planes,
about the times I won’t have to say:

So grimace and sighs from me.
Whines about this wait from me.
Hold me up so I can never go.
‘Cause I’m waitin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll get off again.
Oh how I hate to stay.

So long, farewell

Day 30: A Farewell Poem

This is certainly an obvious way to end National Poetry Month.

Goodbye, Small Talk

How are you? (Don’t want to know.)
Hate this weather! (It’s called snow.)
Catch the game? (I’d sooner die.)
Favorite music? (Inner sigh.)

I’m so tired. (Go to sleep!)
What’s your income? (What a creep!)
What’s your sign? (You’re such a fool.)
You expecting? (That’s just cruel.)

Twenty Questions

Day 29: Twenty Little Poetry Projects

The prompt for today involves twenty rules for the poem, which you can see on napowrimo.net. This resulted in a supremely bizarre poem.


Writing is liquid thought.
I was born with a full vocabulary.
I watch way words roll off the tongue.
I like to feel their cadences.
Bad spelling reeks;
bad grammar tastes like sawdust.
Too many John Does get lost in Alphabet City.
I encounter a new word in every book I read.

Each day the sun rises, new books are published;
therefore, the sun rising increases publishing.
*!בלגן מה
“Yinz crazy!”**

I’m awakened from my reverie like
sediment settling on the ocean floor.
The unreliable eyes of inspiration
will lead her to hurl letters in frustration.
The letters will express their lack of appreciation,
their ink drying up with my thoughts.

*What a mess/fiasco!
** You all are crazy.


Day 28: A Poem From a News Article
Today’s prompt is to write a poem only using words from a news article. My poem is not what the article is about, but it’s a similar example of ignorance leading to human suffering.


Anti-science advocates are pushing
to remove immunizations,
triggered by fishy information,
destroying childhood safety with scary claims.
Bacteria are pushing to eliminate,
keeping illness invasive,
an explosion of contaminants.
Failure to alter attitudes and educate will kill.

Picture perfect

Day 27: A Poem Inspired by a Photo

I chose the second photo down on napowrimo.net, because it’s currently 88 degrees where I live.


I’ll walk inside your footprints
to keep from slipping.
I don’t know you,
yet I trust your judgment.

It was nice of you to walk ahead
and figure out the best way.
That way, I don’t have to wonder
what lies ahead.

Curtal Chortle

Day 26: A Curtal Sonnet

This is another new form to me. It’s three-quarters of a Petrarchan sonnet, with a first stanza of 6 lines, followed by a second stanza of 4 ½ lines. The rhyme scheme is ABCABC DBCDC.

Fairest of Them All

The sun will not be burning me today.
A lobster will not see me as its kin.
No Icarus or Phaeton will I be.
I can elude the most persistent ray.
I won’t allow the UV waves to win.
I know no sunburn will be marring me.

I’m armed with sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
I always shield every inch of skin,
when sitting near a pool or by the sea.
What’s this? I must’ve missed a spot – oh drat!
A touch of hubris in my glee!


But I repeat myself

Day 25: A Poem Using Anaphora

In poetry, anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of each line of verse. A famous example is the chapter of Ecclesiastes immortalized by The Birds in “Turn, Turn, Turn” (“A time to . . .”).


It’s funny how people stop whining about the winter in time to gripe about the summer.
It’s funny how no one likes to wait, but everyone hates being rushed.

It’s funny how kids wish they were older ‘til they wish they were younger.
It’s funny how we think the next generation will ruin everything, yet we’re still here.

It’s funny how you can be anything you want to be, unless no one wants to hire you.
It’s funny how we blame others for our failures but always take credit for our successes.

Building a poem

Day 24: A Poem About Masonry

Apparently, one of the NaPoWriMo participants has been writing poems about nothing but masonry for the past few years. I can’t help but think of a memorable poem from my beloved Very Bad Poetry book: “A Holland Brick” by Wallace Bruce. It really did not belong amongst the dreadful and often unintentionally hilarious poems in the rest of the book. I think the poem only made it in because of the unusual subject matter, like those of the Cheese Poet, James McIntyre.

Arch Nemesis

I’m a broken arch. I scarcely remember being whole.
My remains lay scattered on an almost-forgotten knoll.

The emperor who commissioned me reigns no more.
Forget back-stabbing or plots or evening the score.

The architect who imagined me died with his dreams,
with only ruins left of his life’s work, it seems.

How many thousands walked beneath me before I fell?
Now tourists snap my picture as they stop for a spell.

Swedish fishing

Day 23: A Poem Sounded Out from Another Language
Last year, I quite enjoyed the results of this prompt, which ended up being quite political. This year’s involved a lot of personification. Below my poem, I’ve included the original in Swedish, along with the English translation.

Human boredom has to

Human boredom has to
nag your minutes murkier.
Well, Meddling’s a most sad and hoarse villain.
War vainly comes with paltry daggers,
all disfigured, jagged armor — best fear him.

The terror Death flies, and murky
the anger I can’t lose instigates
or gobbles blurry ulterior victims.
Ache with heart, nag and scratch to render
others for the grave.
Forlorn dead, some scald over hundreds.
I don’t see in Pardon’s veil.

Hör min barndoms hästar

Hör min barndoms hästar
gnägga ur minnets mörker.
Väl medveten om att sådana hörselvillor
är en vanlig åkomma på äldre dagar
undviker jag att närmre besvara dem

de tillhör det flytande mörka
de ingår i tandlossningstiden
när golvet blir alltmera sviktande
och visst hörde jag någon skratta djupt därunder
eller var det gråt
förledande som skogsduvors hoande
i den sena barndomskvällen.

Hear the horses of my childhood

Hear the horses of my childhood
neighing out of the darkness of memory.
Well aware that such auditory hallucinations
are a common occurrence in one’s older days
I avoid replying to them in detail

they belong to the floating darkness
they are part of the age of loosening teeth
when the floor becomes ever more treacherous
and I’m sure I heard someone laughing deep down there
or was it crying
enticing as the cooing of wood-doves
in the late childhood evening.

Doesn’t add up

Day 22: A Children’s Poem

This reminds me of an assignment I had in high school astronomy to explain a concept in a way a child would understand. Naturally, I chose black holes and hand-illustrated a book where Sally Celery and her vegetable friends ventured too close to a black hole (someone’s mouth) and were doomed once they passed the Schwarzchild radius (lips). My teacher managed to lose my book and, to add insult to injury, misplaced it before he graded it. I ended up having to come with a replacement at the last second, a poem about the planets to the tune of the Beatles’ “In My Life,” which I performed in class. Back to the subject at hand, this poem will not be about black holes but a subject I always felt far inferior to English.

Bad Addition

Math, math horrible math.
Words aren’t a problem
unless they’re word problems,
the source of all my wrath.