National Poetry Month Challenge

Inspired by Unthinkable podcast episode "Just Ship It," I decided to set a National Poetry Month challenge for myself. One poem every week day. I'll update this blog with new poems every now and then, so I have an archive of all the poems at the end.

4/21 ONE IN FOUR
*Trigger Warning

An argument instigates
A misunderstanding
Fueled by liquor
and bitter impotence


A challenge
I didn’t see it his way
I didn’t see it coming
The gauntlet thrown

I am facedown
Like a slap, like a shot
Choking on the sheets
We’ve shared

His weight
Crushing my resistance
His hands
Willing my submission

For a moment, a breath
I am stunned -- paralyzed prey
An eternal second
An unspent scream

Then, muscle memory kicked in:

Waking up
There is a boy I knew, I loved
Inside my bed
Inside of me

And the smell of alcohol
From his sweat
And my breath
Filling the room

A miasma of shame
and guilt
and defense
We never spoke of it

What happened
Had happened before:

Nervous, new lover
Fumblings
Moving together
Toward our destination

A barrier, broken
Between us
And I stepped back
From the precipice

I said the word, the magic word

But he was racing
Far ahead, across a chasm
My consent forgotten
in that distance

Afterward, he cried
And I consoled him

I kick
Back into the present
I fight
For all the times I didn’t

He stumbles under my rage
Falls to the floor
Hands up, weeping
Defenseless.
4/19 ASKING FOR IT

Here I stand,
asking for it.

I am not a girl -
a woman.
And I am asking for it.

By it,
I mean a paycheck
equal to that dude's.
Commensurate
to the work I do.
It's not too much to ask.

I am
asking for it.

And by it,
I mean respect.
Recognition
that the length of my skirt
- or my size of my thighs
underneath -
is not an invitataion.
For your consideration
of my body
and what it needs to do
for you.
Nobody asked you.

I am
asking for it.

It is the thing we all strive for,
what women continue to fight for,
what we have sacrificed
and died for.
It is what we pray for,
over the heads
of our daughters.
And what we cry out for,
when we speak
against our fathers.

I am done asking for it.

I will create it. I will take it.
It was never yours to give.

*ASKING FOR IT took me two days to finish. It came to me while I was out walking the dogs Tuesday afternoon. I rolled some of the rhymes around in my head all day, then wrote the whole thing Wednesday morning. 

4/17 OF QUEENS AND RABBITS

Shadows bleed out, strangle the day.
In the downs, the yearlings hunt for early cowslip.
But, beware the red rabbit queen of Inlay.

She walks the shadows, and there she stays.
In her wake, black thistles bloom, as blood does drip.
Her shadow bleeds out, strangles the day.

Run, yearlings. You are soft, tender prey
Caught in her game. Her teeth nip, her claws rip.
Beware the red rabbit queen of Inlay.

A moonless night, the mothers wail and bay.
At the burrow's entrance, her voice will slip
Among the shadows. Yearlings bleed out; die before day.
Beware the red rabbit queen of Inlay.


4/13 BEE DREAMS

Dreams of drones and queens
A rupture, an ecstasy
O, this little death


4/12 HONOR "FOREVER"

Early morning light
The silence cracked
A rifle shot
A bison’s life
And the blood flows
As the grass grows
In the Dakota lands
Brave children sing
Of life, and honor, and rights
Against an army, they stand
And the sirens blow
Where the waters flow
The warden preferred open hate
For words will never brand him
Better to be at war
And know his enemy’s face
And the distance grows
As the wind blows

From many nations, they come
From many people, one
A shared belief – we do as we have always done
For as long as the grass grows
And the wind blows
And the water flows


4/11 TRIBUTE
So much depends
upon

the placement of
his hands

bathed in red
and blue

at the highway
median


4/10 PHP LOVE

We fell in love
instantly, over
the flexible arrays
of our language,
and the positions
of our coffee mugs.


4/7 HANGRY

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm so freaking hungry
I may just eat you!

(They can't all be winners!)


4/6 THE WOMAN IN THE MIRROR

I recognize
my green eyes
tucked like sparrow eggs
within a nest of crow's feet.

I know my smile
and the echoes its frequency
has left behind.

This is my face --
a little girl alive with wonder
a woman so like her mother

Both present, both treasured
in this living, changing space.


4/5 LIMERICK FOR THE SUBURBAN WITCH

She reads the future in teacups,
and calls her five children her "pups."
Dancing naked by moonlight,
she makes quite a sight.
The neighbors wish that she'd cover up!

4/4 NUDIE MAG
Flesh for sale: Fresh, cheap!
Glossy, yielding, lifeless. Like
pressed, flattened flowers.
4/3 FOR MY HUSBAND
Blue eyes, an ocean
Of time, distance, memories.
Dive deep. Submerged, breathe.

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