npm 2013

National Poetry Month, Day 25

Catch a Body

Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell
anybody anything” is a string of words
I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink
to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract
by laser from the ribcage of all of us
who ever believed it, who felt afraid
to miss someone, to be the last one
standing. “Tell everyone everything” is
not exactly right, but I do believe that if
your mother looks radiant in violet
you should tell her, or when a juvenile
sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles
and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes,
you should say so. We are islands all of us,
but we are also boats, our secrets flares,
pyrotechnic devices by which we signal
there’s someone in here we’re still alive!
So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can
rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers,
wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up
a prototype right now, that burning ball
of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything
we dream the morning after, even if we fall
into the sea—we are boats, remember?
We are pirates. We move in nautical miles.
Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys,
the rocket’s red, already the world entire.

-Oliver Bendorf

NPM 2013: 19/30

The day I smelt it,
I wrote all my expectations on slips of paper,
tied them to the legs of doves,
and released them.

I kept trying to get to empty,
but I guess I’m always stuck with myself.

I lit candles with my tears
and soon the whole room smelt of
disappointment.

Angry, ancient tribes of Indian warrior queens
would not let me be.
They danced in my ear screaming
You are not slain!
Stand up and be woman!
I called them all liars and went back to bed.

There are parts of me I can’t put make up.
I can’t dress up
weakness and unnecessary aggression
in pale pink and teal hues.
I can’t make my vagina not a vagina,
but god I hope it’s more than just a pussy.
There is ugly here,
and sooner or later, they all smell it.

There are people in my life
who have pinched my eyeballs purple.
Blurred vision and bruising,
I never know where I’m going.

How do you woman?
How do you Barbie doll and bad bitch?
How do you innocent virgin in the eyes and naughty slut on the mouth?

MG - (National Poetry Month Day 9)

I learned long ago
not to be offended by
the words of children,
whose minds are so cooped up in their own worlds,
that all else is unfathomable.

I tell you now that
your close-mindedness does not equate to passion,
and the hatred you share
is far from confidence.
It is none but cowardly to think that you,
and solely you,
are entitled to being the
best or most of something.

Opening your eyes will not turn your world
into one of far-fetched optimism and
widely spread love,
I can assure you this.
But perhaps what exists outside of your thoughts
is worth taking a look at.

National Poetry Month, Day 28

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things--
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                     Praise Him.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins

NPM 2013: 27/30

When I was younger
my mom would pack my lunch.
She put curry between two slices of bread
and we called it a sandwich.
At lunch that day I endured 20 minutes of laughter
about how bad it smelled
before I threw it away, close to tears.
Years later,
my mom was packing my lunch.
She put Indian spices in pasta 
and we called it delicious.
At lunch that day several people complained about the smell
I laughed at their overly sensitive noses 
and kept eating.

B - (National Poetry Month Day 3)

we spent our days surrounded by cinder block and metal,
but they smelled as sweet as roses to us.
and the screams,
on a constant spinning record,
were nothing more than melodic and
soothing to our decaying ears.

as the symphony continued,
you began to hear the anguish behind the beauty;
see the dreariness of grey
through our delusions of color.

you mustered all you had left
and escaped this jail cell reality,
leaving me alone in what you had deemed hell.
but i refuse to be mad.

after all,
someone has to be around to water the flowers.

National Poetry Month, Day 26

Serenata

The night soaks itself
along the shore of the river
and in Lolita’s breasts
the branches die of love.

The branches die of love.

Naked the night sings
above the bridges of March.
Lolita bathes her body
with salt water and roses.

The branches die of love.

The night of anise and silver
shines over the rooftops.
Silver of streams and mirrors
Anise of your white thighs.

The branches die of love.

-Federico García Lorca