Happy National Poetry Month!


I spent the first day of National Poetry Month the same way I spend the first day of the year: writing. There’s some old superstition that tells me that what I am doing on crucial days of the year is what I will be doing the rest of the years’ days. So I don’t want to make any false moves. Fortunately, April 1 this year is on a Thursday, and I don’t teach on those days.

I slept late, which I am trying not to do too much (but I took a chance because I just felt like it), and I woke up feeling lazy and not wanting to be productive at all. I stayed in my pajamas—which are my favorites, by the way: personally monogrammed Land’s End men’s pjs that are three sizes too big. No, unfortunately, sexy lingerie does not inspire me to write.

The TRULY sexy part is the writing. You didn’t know? You better ask somebody, baby.

I puttered around, ate a late breakfast, and then opened up my moleskine notebook (I have a gajillion and I just love them) and started typing out poems I had written in the middle of the night. I wake up from dreams where poems talk to me and then I write what I need to write, and I roll back over and go to sleep. I call it a “poem quickie.” I told y’all it was sexy–and extremely efficient. (Ok, I’m being slightly naughty here.)

After this happens several times in a row, I let the poems marinate on the page and then I start typing and revising.

I won’t post any of these brand new poems, because chances are they are still crappy and need further revisions. But I will post a poem of mine that was just published in a new journal called Cavalier Literary Couture. Isn’t that a sassy name?

For some reason, I thought I had posted this poem before, but when I went back through my posts, I didn’t find it. So, I hope you enjoy it on this second day of April, the second best month of the year! (February, Black History Month, and March, Women’s History Month are, of course, tied for first place.) And just to make sure my mind is not bad and I am not recycling poems, I will post something else in a few days.

Let the poetry madness begin!

PS My poem is a little tongue in cheek. But, like, not much. I was sort of fed up with the “business” of poetry when I wrote this.

Blues: Contemporary American Poetry

I walk away from my spinster’s
body in the mirror,
this lamb I butchered
in the service of the word.

I could have been an accountant.
I could have pleased my mama.
I could be married with three kids by now—
and no student loan debt.

No one’s pretending that thirty
lines will save us anymore.
Metaphors my workshop gave me,
the fire next time doused in a stream:

Around a bush in New England.
A deer with white-socked feet.
Some rain clouds, some strange sex.
An obscure quote by Voltaire.

These are the blues of a mid-list poet
who’s too scared for a mid-life crisis.
I’m too safe to start things over
and too uppity to chase after men.

I’m too sensitive to drink bad liquor
and too poor to afford the good.
The rest of my precious liver
I’m saving for a special occasion.

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