April 2016 Poem-A-Day Challenge


Writing a poem a day can be daunting — some days it’s easy, other days it’s a struggle. But looking back on the month’s output is great reward for all the effort.

April 1

For today’s prompt, write a foolish poem. It’s April Fool’s Day, after all. Let’s loosen up today with a poem in which we’re fools, others are fools, or there’s some kind of prank or tomfoolery happening. Fool around with it a while.

ALL KINDS OF FOOLISH

Am I not? Looking for
what the future holds

in the lines of my palm.
Not thwarted
by my failure, I look

in the dregs of my tea. Everything
stays murky, but one thing I see.

I am all kinds of foolish

April 2

For today’s prompt, write a what he said and/or what she said poem. Maybe he or she said a rumor; maybe he or she gave directions; or maybe he or she said something that made absolutely no sense at all. I don’t know what they said; rather, each poet is tasked with revealing that knowledge.

SOMETHING SAID, SOMETHING UNSAID

There is this rumour, he said
that we are having an affair

Her raised eyebrows
masked the fact
that she couldn’t find
the right words

Don’t you mind, he asked
I wish it were true,
she should have said

But she said nothing,
and they went
their separate ways

April 3

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Three (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Three Blind Hippos,” “Three Muskrats,” “Three’s Company,” “Three Movies Is Too Many for The Hobbit, Peter Jackson (just saying),” and so on.

THREE TIMES

I punched your number,

The first time
My nerve failed me
and I disconnected before
your phone rang

The second time
I let it ring
but hung up before
you could answer

The third time
it rang, and rang
and then went to voicemail

The sound of your voice
made me wish
I hadn’t bothered to call
I should have just
punched you

three times

April 4

For today’s prompt, write a distance poem. As a runner, I automatically think of running when I think distance. But hey, there’s long distance relationships. Or why not get beyond geographic distance and consider distance in terms of time or emotional distance. Or some other interpretation.

SMALL WORLD

It’s a small world

but still too big
to reach you

not so big that
you’re beyond my reach

but too far to reach out
and touch you

though not so far that
I can put you out of my mind

Some distances shrink
yet grow

Measurable but limitless
traversible,
yet unbridgeable

April 5

For today’s prompt, we’ve actually got two prompts (that is, a Two-for-Tuesday prompt). Here we go:

Write an experienced poem. Or…
Write an inexperienced poem. The word “experience” can be applied to a multitude of things and situations. Soo… there’s a lot of possibilities today!

EXPERIENCE/INEXPERIENCE

I put you at the centre of my world
But I didn’t see the edges blur,
never sensed your unwillingness
to play the lead role in my life
Was it just
inexperience?

But if you re-entered my sphere
I would still fall under your spell
knowing it wouldn’t last
Were you always the same, or
is it just
experience?

April 6

For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by art. You can pick your own favorite piece of art if you wish.

(Inspired by Michelangelo’s first painting)Untitled.png

PULLED DOWN

I know you will pull me down
before I soar too high
on feelings so tenuous
they could drift away
on the slightest breeze

You’ve done it so many times
helped by my personal demons
Each time I fought free
of your negativity
but now I am going under

Sometimes, a ripple on the sea
can sink the boat

April 7

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Urban (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Urban Cowboy,” “Urban Warfare,” “Urban Daydreams,” “Urban Living,” and so on.

URBAN RITUAL

eyes till closed
reach out and check

nothing new
on Facebook
Twitter
Whatsapp
Linked In
Instagram
Gmail
Hotmail
Yahoomail

& everything else

time to get on with
the business of living

April 8

For today’s prompt, write a doodle poem. In my mind, I’m thinking of how I like to doodle when I’m talking on the phone or sitting in a meeting. I used to doodle in my classes when I was younger. So for a poem, I’m thinking this could start off as something small that stays small or builds to epic proportions. Doodle around a bit today. If needed, start by describing something close at hand or within your current field of vision.

DOODLES ON MY MIND

Your voice draws doodles
on my mind
loopy swirls full of love
in rainbow colors

The rise and fall
of your dulcet tones
paint vistas
of snow covered mountains
dipping into azure lakes

Your laugh etches
the sparkle of stars
on the ebony of my skin

Even your silences
spins whorls of happiness
on my heart
as I lose myself
in the vision
you conjure up
in just a few
squiggly strokes

April 9

For today’s prompt, write a hide out poem. When I was a kid, we’d build “hide outs,” I guess from our parents or other kids. An assortment of criminals (fictionalized and real) have their hide outs. But maybe there are other hide outs, like a “man cave,” “she shed,” or the local pub. Heck, maybe it’s the library. Give it a thought, and I’m sure you’ll find the right hide out poem for you.

HIDE OUT TILL YOU ARE READY

Hide out in my eyes
I will draw a veil of lashes
to keep you safe
and when you find the courage
to venture out
I will let you go

Hide out in my heart
Soothed by the steady beat
you can face your fears
and when you find the strength
to overcome them
I will let you go

Hide out in my arms
a cocoon of warmth
will keep the cold at bay
and when you find the will
to cope with life
I will let you go

April 10

For today’s prompt, pick an emotion, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “Happy,” “Sad,” “Angry,” or well, there’s a universe of emotions out there.

UNFULFILLED

You are the sun
to my earth
but one eclipsed
So I don’t feel the warmth
of your rays

You are the sun
to my earth
but it is always night
So your light never
shines on me

You are the sun
to my earth
but shrouded by clouds
So your sparkle is hidden
from my sight

You are the sun
out of my reach
but if you show yourself
I will worship you
from afar

April 11

For today’s prompt, write a defensive poem. The first thing that springs to my mind is getting defensive about an accusation, which may or may not be true. The next thing I think about might be people or animals defending themselves. Or defense in sports. Or defense in the court room. Or well, there’s a lot to defend in this world.

DEFENCES DOWN

Your tears
break through
every wall I erect
Wash away
every vestige of anger
I can summon
revive my parched heart
ending the drought of emotions

Your laughter
pierces the darkness
surrounding me
like the summer sun
banishing winter’s gloom
Bubbly iridescence
vanquishing gloomy thoughts
like a fresh spring breeze

When it comes to you
all my defences
are always down

April 12

For today’s prompt, take on one (or both) of the following prompts:

Write a serious poem. Or…
Write a silly poem.

NOT EASY

Big red nose
makes kids laugh
Funny costume
has them in splits
Bumbling, tumbling,
playing the fool
It’s a show
that’s a hit

But the curtain falls
and silence reigns
Suddenly, the jokes
sound cheesy
All that is left
is emptiness
Seriously, being silly
is not easy

April 13

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Last (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Last Word,” “Last Card Catalog,” “Lasting Impression,” “Last Train to Duluth,” and so on.

LAST MOMENTS

As the last moments
of your life ticked by

I watched, helpless
as imperceptible breaths
whispered through your frail form

And I remembered you

As you used to be
Your smile rippling across your face
Your gentle hands stroking my hair
Your silvery voice singing a lullaby

As the tears flowed unchecked
my heart filled with gratitude
and I found the courage to let you go
because I knew

You would never leave me

April 14

For today’s prompt, write a time out poem. There are moments in my life that I wish I could take a time out. For instance, it would’ve been nice earlier this year when I had pneumonia, but life and work keeps chugging along. But there’s always a chance to take time outs in poetry if you dare. So dare to write a time out poem (or two) today.

TAKE A STEP BACK

Your silence shreds my nerves
I see our relationship scattering
like the confetti they threw at our wedding
My confidence disintegrates
the way the fireworks you surprised me with
faded after lighting up the sky
My anger doesn’t budge you
my tears leave you unmoved
Our strained bond a black hole
that threatens to swallow me

Perhaps I should step back
put some distance between us
Then we will know
if the chasm can be bridged

April 15

For today’s prompt, write a poem with at least four of the following eight words:

flat
ring
lavish
vessel
paper
blacklist
gaudy
tooth

DESIRE

Your arms a ring
around my trembling form
the flat of your fiery hand
on my paper thin skin

my body a vessel
filled with the gaudy desire
your lips lavish on me

Why should I care
if toothless critics
frown on our ardor
or if the world were to
blacklist us

April 16

For today’s prompt, write a poem about (or at) a food establishment. You could pick on a chain like Taco Bell or McDonald’s, sure, but maybe there’s a local favorite–or some special dive. Heck, maybe that place where you took your first date or got your first job.

THAT PLACE

Dingy walls, makeshift tables
a slightly furtive air
permeated the space —
no walls that would qualify it
to be called a room
Why the seedy joint
instead of a classy restaurant,
I wondered
Were you ashamed
to be seen with me?

You sat in the far corner
your back to the wall
as if you were hiding
from the world
You caught my eye
your smile an apology, I thought,
for picking the imperfect place
It made me feel a shade better

It was a lovely evening
even though the cheap wine
sped to my head
I laughed a little too much
spoke a smidgen too fast
When we parted
I almost kissed you
and went home in a happy daze

We never met again

I pass by “that place” sometimes
It still makes my heart ache

April 17

Today is International Haiku Poetry Day! For today’s prompt, write a haiku. Simple as that. Or well, if you’d prefer, write a poem about haiku; I’ve done this before. So that’s an option too.

OVERFLOWING

Heavy clouds hold rain,
my eyes brim with tears. Shall
we cry together?

Skies shed their burden
my tears dammed in weary eyes.
When will monsoon come?

Storm passes, unveils
blue sky, reflected in my
eyes. Overflowing

April 18

For today’s prompt, write an office poem. Maybe this is related to your work, but maybe this is a poem at a dentist’s office, doctor’s office, bank office, office in a car factory, or some other type of office.

ALL THE WAITING

Waiting. Always the waiting.

Watching the hands of the clock tick away yet another hour of my life.

Or what’s left of it.

An hour I could have spent
chasing chimeras with my child.
Discussing dreams with my friend.
Making magic with my lover.

Yet, here I sit, and wait, as the numbers flash red on black.

Never mine.

I want it to be my turn.
But I shy away from what awaits within.

It’s always the waiting that kills,
inch by excruciating inch.

Finally, it ends.
“There’s nothing to worry about.”

I am too worn out to rejoice.
Or realise, my life, held hostage,
has just been returned to me.

Thank you, doctor.

April 19

For today’s prompt, take on one (or both) of the following prompts: Write a cool poem. Or… Write a uncool poem.

UNCOOL

She tried. Oh, she did.

Stilettos and silk
Salmon and escargot

She did everything
But everything
was never enough

So she went back to

Shorts and slippers
Burgers and Coke

Cool.

April 20

For today’s prompt, write a poem of what goes unsaid. Maybe it’s unrequited love, a hidden contempt, spoiler to the most recent TV show or blockbuster movie. Whatever goes unsaid, maybe write it instead.

UNSAID

So many times
I have said
the words
I wanted
you to hear
but never when
you were here

And when you were
I never said them
So you never heard
what I wanted to say
and the words…

they remain unsaid

April 21

For today’s prompt, write a poem that responds (or somehow communicates) with another poem. You can respond to any poem.

In response to If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

HOW CAN YOU FORGET

How can you forget
if you never remembered
that girl whose hair
wished to curl around your heart
Whose eyes would follow you
as far as you could go

Your eyes were set
on a distant shore
and you never looked back
But your roots, planted
in her heart, curled around her soul

She still stands there today
And if you return
she will curl her arms around you
Her lips will make you remember
the love you never knew you forgot

April 22

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Star (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Star-struck,” “Star Man,” “Star Wars Prequels Aren’t Star Wars Movies,” “Starter Set,” “Stark Raving Mad,” and so on.

STARS

Fingers of the night
ink the sky
in an ebony velvet
sprinkle silver specks
gently draw a veil
over the moon …

and millions
of shining slivers
adorn heaven’s cloak
in a sparkling symphony

STAR GONE

His voice soothed my pain
His words dressed my wounds
His music touched my soul

He didn’t know me
yet he wrote my life
into his songs

Now he’s gone
Who will mend my heart
when it breaks?

April 23

For today’s prompt, write a footwear poem. A poem about shoes, flip flops, socks, slippers, flippers, boots, pumps, and so on. If you’d prefer not to dedicate a poem to your footwear, just mention footwear somewhere in the poem. That’s right; your hi-tops don’t have to be the star, and it’s totally cool if somebody’s clogs play a minor role in the poem.

THOSE FEET

Her tiny feet once fit in your palm
Then she took her first tottering steps
You bought her squeaky shoes and chased her
as she scampered away from you
She splashed her way through muddy puddles
And you scrubbed white school shoes clean
When she begged you for her first pair of heels
You made her promise to run a mile in sneakers
Strapped sandals clung to her prom-going feet
as she sashayed out the door with her date
Now you lay out her ivory satin stilettos
she will walk down the aisle in tomorrow
and wrap the little white booties
you knitted her a lifetime ago
Hoping one day
her daughter will wear them too

BARE THEIR SOLES

If Toes could Peep
And Gladiators Converse
If Slip-ons could Flip-Flop
And Monks went Dockside
If Mules wore Clogs
And met Mary Janes In Mocassins
If Pumps ran into Kitten Heels
And Espadrilles Slingbacked
If Ankle saw Knee and Thigh
Would the boots say Ugg?
If Stilettos waited on Platforms
to go to Oxfords and have Wedges

Would feet tire of it all
and bare their soles?

April 24

For today’s prompt, write a poem in which something is lost and then regained. Maybe a relationship is lost and then regained, or a special keepsake. Maybe it was stolen and won back. Or maybe it was in your possession the whole time, but you just didn’t know it.

RESURRECTION

A splinter embedded
in flesh grown weak
wouldn’t let me give up
It pricked the ballooning
sense of loss
deflated the helplessness
From somewhere among the ruins
of a dying relationship
flickered a defiant spark of hope
resurrecting minute
by painful minute
a new bond from
the ashes of the old

April 25

For today’s prompt, write an exercise poem. The poem could be about a specific exercise, or it could just incorporate exercising into the poem. Or it could be dedicated to a piece of exercise equipment–so an ode to an elliptical machine or those hand grippers or something. Of course, not every exercise is physical; there are military exercises, mental exercises, and so on.

MARATHON

At first I ran to escape your thoughts
foolishly thinking  I could outrun them
But no matter how far I went
or how many different routes I took
you were always there at the end
waiting to repossess my mind

I still run
Though I no longer look to escape
Now I embrace the thoughts
I once ran from

One day I will run a marathon

April 26

For today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompt:

Write a love poem. Or…
Write an anti-love poem.

LOVE, OR SOMETHING MORE

Perhaps it was not love.
Is that why you never saw the way
my eyes trailed in your wake,
like wispy clouds drifting across an azure sky.

Everyone else did.

Is that why you never heard
my heart beat louder
than the thunder crashing through the sky
when you were near.

Everyone else did.

Is that why you never noticed
the breathlessness of a hot, still summer’s day
in my voice when I dared
to speak to you.

Everyone else did.

Perhaps it was not love.
Perhaps it was more.
But whatever it was, still is.

April 27

For today’s prompt, write a take off poem. Take off work for you admin assistants out there (and any other workers). Take off a runway–for those of you who like to fly. Take off from a dangerous or weird situation–or maybe even a comfortable one. Or maybe you have a completely different take off of a “take off” poem.

TAKE IT OFF

Let’s take off the masks
we wear
shed the skin
we inhabit
discard the affectations
we assume
drop the veneer that
chokes us
shatter the shell
within which
we hide our true selves

Let’s see each other
as we were meant to be

April 28

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Important (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles could include: “Important Documents,” “Important: Read Before Assembling,” “Important People,” and so on.

IMPORTANT DREAMS

Remember when we had nothing
but dreams to build our life on
based on promises
that were the pillars
on which our love rested —

honesty
loyalty
respect
trust

One by one
they have all crumbled
under the weight
of expectations that perhaps
became unreasonable
dividing our dreams
into yours and mine
leading us along
diverging paths
bringing us to this fork
where we must
pause and ponder
on whether it is too late
to resurrect those
important dreams
we once dreamed together

April 29

For today’s prompt, write a haphazard poem. The poem itself could be haphazardly put together, I suppose. But it could also be about a haphazard situation. Or whatever haphazard thing you can bend the poem into.

CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT

On the 10pm train home
(Sway and rattle)
Coaxing a tired mind to think
(Next station: Promenade)
Tired faces, blank gazes
(Please mind the platform gap)
Day’s toil drives some to drink
(Alight here to transfer to the east west line)
Almost missed my stop
(Next train in seven minutes)
Trudge up the stairs
(Please use the lift if you are feeling unwell)
Some wait alone, others in pairs
(No eating or drinking on platform)
Drag your weary body into the carriage
(Due to a track fault ahead, this train will be delayed)
Finally home, the day ends
(Doors are closing)

April 30

For today’s prompt, write a dead end poem. Of course, I was thinking in terms of the challenge, but a dead end can literally mean the end of a person’s life, a dead end road, a dead end job, dead end mortgage, and so on. Take the phrase “dead end” and apply it to a noun, and the possibilities are nearly endless.

IN THE DREGS

Hope rationed
in teaspoons
sweetens
life’s cup of tea

faith the milk
added in dashes
to lighten
the sorrows

until you run out of both

then grief
boils over
the brew
turns bitter

You reach
a dead end
in the dregs
of the murky liquid

© 2016 Uma Venkatraman ~ All Rights Reserved
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