Made in USA

April 25
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “…write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself!”

Made in USA

Should not be used for assembling Ikea furniture,
electric wiring or as a plumbing aid. Ever.
Device has no practical use.

Warning: may cause drowsiness when asked about poetry.
Warning: may contain nuts.

Explosive.

Do not stick in formal dinners: risk of inappropriate
behavior, facial expressions and posture.
For best results, insert in lobster bake by the sea.

Caution: Hot!
Handle with care.
Do not use while sleeping; risk of bodily harm.

Requires special handling.
Wash in warm bubbly water or soak in alpine thermal baths;
if stubborn, follow with coconut oil massage.
Warning: Slippery when wet.
Or when smothered in coconut oil.

Warning: falls in love daily.
Requires daily maintenance.

Do not iron; wrinkles are a natural part of the product.
Contents may have settled with time and transportation.

Vomiting may occur if improperly installed in moving vehicles.
No reading in moving vehicles — including maps, GPS
devices or favorite book.
Proceed with caution.
Vomit bag collection included.

Do not agitate when sipping Saint Jean de Bébian.
Keep glass full to max.
Do not expose to direct sunlight when hungover.

Keep out of reach of negativity, dullards and violence.
Expose to good food, writing, and comedy on a regular basis.
Requires patience and attention.
Prone to spontaneous waterworks – complete with nose drip –
or laughter, while administrating exams, walking dog, at red lights
doing Kegels, during dental treatments, or grocery shopping.
Caution: wear ear protection for belly laughs. Have tissues handy.

Limited warranty: some parts irreplaceable.
However, with proper care and maintenance,
this product comes with a lifetime guarantee of satisfaction.

Elegy for the Prisoners in My Study

April 24
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “…write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it.”

The concept of this poem came from the guilt that haunts me for spending so much time reading and writing in my study. I wrote the first draft of it to the tune of commuters rushing by my window one harried morning last winter. This poem is dedicated to Jean-François Boquet for nourishing the prisoners in my study – and for his kind understanding of the warden’s dilemma.

Elegy for the Prisoners in My Study

To get to my desk, I shuffle across parquet
made of pine trees who once swayed their days away
in faraway forests before they were stripped
naked, sliced up and slapped with varnish.

To sit at my desk, I plunk into a wicker chair
whose reeds once shilly-shallied in the breeze
somewhere balmy before they were ripped up and
water-boarded until they’d conform into appropriate shape.

To write on my desk, my glass desk, sand stretched
some sunny expanse tickled by wild waves before
it was kidnapped and cremated into transparent flatness
on which I put pencil to paper. Paper. Pencil. More trees…

I’ve taken many prisoners to create poetry.
May the trees, and reeds, and sand forgive me.
May I honor them each time I forge my way through
this forest to sit by the shore in the reeds and write.

by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Uncle Alfred

April 23
Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo: write “…a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language…”

 Uncle Alfred

I sat on the far side of his bench.
He jumped up and bowed, How do you do.
 
I’m Sir Alfred of Pernessy Park.
But you can call me Uncle Alfred.
 
I’d find him herding squirrels round the park
or in a happy parade, marching and playing

the cymbals with his hands in his shoes.
He’d hypnotize daisies, offer me tea from

acorn caps. Once, I asked him where he slept.
He said, Curled with pearls in oyster shells.

He’d put on pollen lipstick, sit perfectly
still on his bench with pursed his lips,

wait for hummingbird kisses.
He always greeted me as the Queen and

bade me fond farewellsas broken-hearted Hamlet.
And, above all, be true to yourself. 

The last time, Uncle Alfred offered me
a whistle-bouquet of the longest and thickest

blades of grass he could find that afternoon.
If ever you need your Uncle Alfred, just pick
 
one to stretch taut between your thumbs,
put your lips together and blow.
 
Deep in need, I went to his bench this evening,
with the perfect blade for a whistle.

No amount sound brought him round; the squirrels
shuddered. Humming birds poked at empty acorn caps.
by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Why Pigs Fly

April 22
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “…to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens…”
The sun can’t rise in the west.
A circle can’t have corners.
Pigs can’t fly.
The clock can’t strike thirteen.
The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.
A mouse can’t eat an elephant. 

Pigs can’t fly.

There once was a pig who could fly.
Right through the sky he would go.
This pig flew by ground
right into our town
and not once did he stub his toe;
it wasn’t quite right
to take off in flight —
the runways were always too low.
 
The clock can’t strike thirteen.

Swiss clockmakers’ clocks strike thirteen
at midnight in digital dreams.

The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.

Nowanights, lost stars
twinkle north, south, east, AND west
thanks to GPS.

 

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Capricious Narcissus

April 21
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt “… is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way.”
As luck would have it, Luna and I found a narcissus in the garden this morning…

LunaNarcissus
BEFORE

Capricious Narcissus

Just this morning, I found him plunked
right in the middle of a dandelion party
rocking my blackberry patch out back.

Kneeled weeding, between the sprawl
of it all, I heard a meek screech,
Nooo! Please! Not meeeee! Luna heard it, too.

She sniffed and stared. In retrospect, to be fair,
I suppose, that, maybe Luna, really-truly, you
could say, actually, technically, found him first.

Anyway, I was the fool who waved away the
masses to get to him. After such a wild night,
the sudden rush of spring light mummed him.

He said nothing to me when I revealed his presence
but Luna’s ears pricked up; he only had words for her
and she, eyes for him. In she leaned for a whiff.

I’d just been used in a ruse to get to her; I cannot
blame him. And, normally, I would never blame lovely
Luna for anything at all. But her muzzle nuzzled him.

Right. in. front. of. moi. I plopped down, right on
the spot to consider a plot. When the PDA didn’t stop,
when Luna tilted her head for a lick, I plucked him.

NARCISSE
AFTER (NB: no water in vase)

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Maple Syrple

April 20
NaPoWriMo’s prompt: “…Notley advocates for a poet to ‘maintain a state of disobedience against … everything.’ By this she means remaining open to all forms, all subjects, and not becoming beholden to ‘usual’ methods for writing.…write a poem that involves rebellion in some way….”
This has been one. fun. morning. The first rebellious poem I remember encountering was written by Candy Paulsen Masters in my autograph book many decades ago:

Roses are Red.
Violets are purple.
Sugar is sweet
and so is maple syrple.

That’s impossible to beat, but here are two attempts:

  1.  “Car Rot in Field” to rebel against the content of “Star Light, Star Bright”. Of course.
  2.  “Itsy’s Mystification” meta to rebel against the traditional format AND content of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”. What else?

1. “Car Rot in Field,” to rebel against the content of the traditional children’s nursery rhyme, Star Light, Star Bright” by Anonymous

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

Car Rot in Field, Elizabeth Boquet

Car spite, car blight
Cursed car within my sight
In my dismay, I bitch my plight:
Have a blitz hit you tonight!

2. Meta “Itsy Bitsy” is a senryū stack (or, at least, a 5-7-5 syllabic format) (No. Not “snack.” STACK! ew gross) to rebel against the traditional format and content of “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” because my Itsy lives on and is not ditzy in the slightest. 

Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Anonymous

The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

Itsy’s Mysitification, a senryu stack, in 5,7,5 syllabic format

mystified itsy
climbs right up that water spout
every single rain

bit by bitsy bit
she rises despite downpours
welcomes the challenge

faces come what may
day after dark rainy day
lifts herself above

to find clarity
from a different point of view
make sense of it all

like the poet who
daily puts pen to paper
to find a reason

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018

Scarification

April 19
NaPoWriMo’s prompt: “…write a paragraph that briefly … describes the scene outside your window…use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem….”

6:37 AM, 19 April 2018

It’s a beautiful day here, today in Le Mont-sur-Lausanne. A perfect day to scarify, if you believe in that sort of thing. My neighbors do. I don’t. I’d never even heard of the word “scarification” until I moved here. And it turned out to be just like it sounds: scary. The idea is to destroy your yard in the spring — right when it’s thriving with primrose, clover, and buttercups and the bees are buzzing to birdsong. Scrape it all up. This is your chance to rake those leaves left last fall. You then stare at dirt while you wait for a wall-to-wall green rug to appear. Rather than rant on and on and on, let me show you a patch of my lawn as it is, right at this very moment. Maybe then I’ll manage a poem.

 Pernessy19April2018My lawn, barely awake. (Yes, the both of us.)

 Scarification

Our house has a yard
with withered leaves —
or so they seem.
They fell last fall,
all the way down,
to Earth’s browning ground.

I can’t believe
it’s the same old thing
every spring
for erstwhile green leaves
of branches that once swayed
and gave last summer’s shade.

Will we never learn?
What might seem withered,
from Elysium slithered
out of the grips of Nymphs.
Such nutritious gifts from far beyond!
Yet on we rake, on and on and on…

Written by Elizabeth Boquet, April 2018