April: National Poetry Month


I have participated in National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) since 2014. I usually work on drafts of poems during the year and post them during April. This year my poetic rationale has been transformed from that of previous years. For 2019 I plan to try to follow some of the prompts, though perhaps not all. I have a hard time putting poems out there that have not been obsessively worked on, so this year will be a change for me. I prefer structured rhymed verse to free verse, but I am going to attempt some less-structured writing this year. Here is my prefatory April poem from 2017:


Name that metaphor (half-assed boating)

Polish the brass on your life preserver

Wring out some meaning for dockside observer:

Moorings are tenuous; life is floating.



New Children’s Lit Goes Out

Young reader’s lit is a lucrative gig;
Feeds slop to learner like waste to a pig.
We love to get them reading.   Ah . . . but what?
Such open-minded offal as would shut
The hallowed sluice of Wisdom in a blink.
Grand waste of authorship, paper and ink
Noble trees pulped, and presses run—for this?
Distasteful tales and messages that miss
By so far they ought never have been told
Let alone color-printed, bound and sold.
Grotesqueries and morbid cultural rot
Raw ugliness (intentional or not)
Drips forth from this modern infantile lit
For any reasonable end unfit.
Behold P.C. fluffery, ethnic vibes
(Half of it scribed by lost Israelite tribes)
Global fables for our brave new deviants
Multi Kulti nonsense; non-experience 
Mafupe’s New Ungwa, Tano Means Five
Sho-Sho Goes the Wira-Wira. Such jive . . .
My, such juvenile literary news
Serving to propagate progressive views:
Tia Fulana, Red Agitator
Grand Dad’s a Genderqueer Instigator . . .
Frida: Surrealist Queen of Misfit Art
Smelly Joe’s Super-Duper Stinky Fart
Pages that dribble like a sneeze-filled rag
Well-pitched witchery, spelled out by some hag:
Diego the Dinosaur Reads Karl Marx
Trani the Modern Mixed-up Kitten Barks;

Volume on volume of frivolous trash
All New York Times-reviewed (for kiddie cash):
Zombies Want Candy, Jimmy Has Three Moms
Snot-fest For Sassy Sue (Special Ed Bombs).
Manga mediocrity, attention-span killers:
Useless mind-wasting library-fillers.
Humpy and Fluffy Hunt for Chocolate Eggs
Barrels of froth (more like the tepid dregs ?)
Squirrel’s Fall Harvest Festival Goes Nuts
Death by a thousand cutesy bookish cuts):
Useless reams of mindless marketed waste
With effete tribute paid to vilest taste
A globalist ghetto hype-o-rama
Party that starts and ends with Obama;
Covers flush with myriad fake awards
Encouraging our failing culture towards
The darkened depths. And who should bear the blame?
Publishers who mutually stroke for fame!
Such propaganda aimed at your child
After being mocked, ought to be reviled.
To hail such shameful writing as diverse
actually serves to achieve the reverse;
revisionists (more like demons than elves)
have loaded your local library shelves.

The smoldering wick of so-called children’s lit,
Foolish lamp of decadent light, unfit
To illuminate or to froth about
Thus wavers, flickers faintly, and goes out.


will soon be the new normal . . .
so drink more soy milk.

Poetic Approaches

This is my fifth year posting a poem per day during April
for National Poetry Writing Month.

I must qualify my participation; I am bringing forth poems already written but never posted publicly.

Once I believed that creative souls produce their most authentic work in a frenzy of inspiration. This is the modern myth of the Artist as oracle or prophet; a being so special she/he just has to get it out there in one inspired spasm. To alter or to edit the art is to make it less authentic; it is spasmodically delivered in finished form (rather like vomiting or excretion). But as I matured poetically and reconsidered things I moved away from this model. I realized that stream-of-consciousness dribbles, spurts, rants and visionary diatribes make for boring art. A different approach to poetry stresses craftsmanship, structure, and goes against the model of Artist as mystically-inspired Other.  It is also message-oriented. I represent this second tendency.

I am not writing one-a-day for April in response to prompts. These are drafts I have been saving for National Poetry Month. I have been reworking, polishing, and finishing these poems for my readers. They have been faithfully and obsessively crafted.

 And remember:
When you own the POETRY

the POETRY owns YOU !



Flaming the Muses: Poetic Pyromania

Haunted by data, hounded by blog-bots, assailed by algorithms, poets have been reduced to human resources, fractionated, monetized and commodified like petrochemical residues of the antediluvian world. In keeping with that metaphor imposed upon us by ourselves, we await a mere spark to begin consuming our own fuel, flaming voraciously into poetic combustion. Through this incendiary process, we liberate the very energy that an unpoetic world seeks to label, quantify and merchandize. Flame, however, cannot be commodified—only intensified, suppressed, or extinguished. Elemental fire may be started by lightning, produced by physical friction, electro-chemical reaction, or started from a pre-existing blaze. Poetry is similar; whether sent from God as a bolt of epiphany, a spontaneous combustion, or as a transposed flame inspired by anterior works, April is our month for playing with metaphysical fire. It is thus that we, as elemental (or just mental) poets, refuse, at all levels (lyrical, cultural, mercantile, geologic, celestial and infernal, etc.) to be co-opted, commodified, and/or in any way politically corrected.

We poetic oilmen and women are the active nihilists of a nihilistic era. We locate promising sites, then we draw up, from below poetic bedrock, raw inspiration. NaPoWriMo allows us to drill deep into the sedimentary layers of poetry and tap into the deposits of lyrical fuel trapped within. Some gets pumped up, some comes gushing spontaneously to the surface in a crude form. It can then be refined to varying degrees of flammability and into differing types of fuel; think diesel versus jet fuel… one will take you further faster, but both are indeed fuel.

As oilmen and women, we pump our precious resource up in raw form from subterranean seas—the remains of lyric flora and fauna of a previous age buried under the silt of an inundation of data-driven global dullness. Through sheer creative will we set these deposits ablaze, to produce, out of the incoherent night that surrounds us, poetic illumination. In the light of our own flame, we cerebrate celebrate the utter uselessness of our artistic product—by continuing to create it, refine it, and then burn it up in a transcendent pyre of irrelevance. Thus, we wage uncompromising war against the powers and principalities of technoid global dominion. Our useless words, unread and unwanted, undermine the process of attempted global conquest by the unpoetic Enemy.