30 poems in 30 days, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, MoJo! Writers, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo: Week Three

NaPoMo 2011: 15-21

15 Deadline 

This is the day set to stop calculating,
to stop saving for something special.
He’ll never be enough, just a tax
on what’s left of my emotional budget.

16 What Longing Means

Sufre mas el que espera siempre
que aquel que nunca espero a nadie?

[Does he who always waits suffer more
than he who never waits for anyone?]
Pablo Neruda

When we were twenty-five a friend snorted
at the notion of deep love.  She said that if
her fiancé died, maybe mowed down by a car,

in ten years she’d be sad, but not devastated.
“As long as the mortgage is up-to-date…oh,
and my two children are well-fed, of course,

I’ll go on, be fine.”  She had never been madly
in love.  I sighed, said I envied her.  Then words
escaped me: And I feel very, very sorry for you.

17  In the Act

He came in like a monsoon, whining buckets about some chick.

It’s always the same.  She done broke my heart sniffle-sniff,

and now she’s after my money.  Sure, sure, he’d had his share

of tarted-up dames on the side.  That was different, though.

When a woman cheats, it actually means something.  True.

It probably means this whiner adds nothing to the sheets 

but a lotta sweat.  The guy should carry a mop with him.

But I took his money, retained to shoot cheap photographs

of his wife’s cheap affair.  But, the “other man.”  He was

something special.  So I took him instead.  Left those two

cheaters with a full refund and their bigass house in Weston.

18  Not So Fast

I barely budged from the couch, per usual.

Watched half of Massachusetts descend

on Kenmore and Copley Square.  Saw 

the shot heard round the world refired 

on the six o’clock news.  So hard to turn

pages of the free magazines picked up

from various spots all week to prep

for the Monday holiday.  Carbing up on

canned roast beef hash, I flip to an ad

for running shoes or Gatorade or….

Yay, Japan!!!  Nap time.  Again.  

19  The Rest


Oh, the rest of them, lying under sod,

their work all done now.  The sweetness

of resting under their laurels. Tourists walk

over the mossy mouths of them, bones

legendary, some cryptic.  And it’s what

we all want on some level.  Just want

each time to finally get the writing right,

to leave a mark that warrants having

one’s name inked next to a tiny dot

on that map.  For one well-read girl

to become excited on a dreary field trip

for once:  Really, Teacher?!  She’s

buried here?  Oh, where?  She’ll march,

practically run, to the other side

of Mary’s columned gazebo, to where

I’ve left my permanent marker.  There

she’ll sit, legs pressed to her chest,

shaggy-edged, raggedy-paged, 

marked-up book of poems propped

on her knees.  She’ll smile, that very same 

odd smile I had first time my fingers 

traced “Longfellow.” And knowing

that she’s there, I’ll deliberately send 

a shiver through the page.  Just for her. 

Because she had the decency to care.

[“Before I Sleep” prompt]

20 Ran Into Tim in the Square

When I ran into Tim
in the Square, he said,
“Five bucks for a sandwich
over there!”  Really needing
some lunch and a poem,
I bought one, got one free,
then bounced home.

21 Wedding Bells

We were always better in the dark,
whether so heated by fierce debate
that we didn’t bother getting up
to turn on post-dusk artificial lights
or warmed through by the taste
of each other’s steaming tongue-tips.
Now we suffer congregate afternoons
of backyard barbecues with his oh-so
dull boss, my ever-so witty colleague.
Then there’s a ringing in our ears,
all other sounds moot as lips still move
in the fading sun.  All we hear is
a promise, a call that links our arms
in the crowd until one heartbeat
drowns out the sun, drives home
the crowd, and we begin once again
to honeymoon under the stars.

[Prompt: Illumination]

30 poems in 30 days, Arts, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo Poems: Week Two


8 Am I Up Yet?

It’s too early for this,

the furious sounds of hunger

and pure agony dueling

for my belly

as the sun beams obnoxious,


then kicks my back

once I’ve rolled away

from its insulting glare.

Haunting shouldn’t happen

after night.


9  “You’re an adult. You have a life.”*

Sometimes a girl-woman needs a reminder.

Maybe while eating microwaved-for-55-seconds meatballs

for breakfast…off toothpicks, like Cher’s kids in that movie.

DYS shoud’ve showed up long before Bob Hoskins.

No Bobby to cook me Easter ham, so after teaching

a night course, what will I eat for dinner at 11pm?

I’m a big girl now.   Defrosted block of broccoli

with grated cheese?  Wash it down with Sam Adams? 

*Poster on the T** for Cambridge College

**Footnote to footnote:  The Tis the public transportation system in Boston, MA


10 I Get My Best Moves from Rockers

With each bus lunge, I nearly lap a stranger,

words–racing around the solitary track

in my brain that makes room once per year

for relay–knocking me off balance, almost 

onto my cowboy booties.  This passenger

doesn’t look too upset.  Latino dude,

maybe 30, almost getting a free lapdance

from this black velvet stretch of sistah.

Nigerian beads tap together, gypsy blouse

wafts a puff of grapefruit in his face.

He stares at the hipped belt that proclaims

Love in sweetheart pink, black-lined letters.

I’m a rock poet, baby, feel free to watch me

disembark from the ordinary then walk away.


11  Published in MoJo! Issue 9 


12  Soft Apprehension

I feel a soft apprehension in the dark,

a tiny fear at best gripping my chest.

Well, really, it’s the memory of fear.

Then I hear the hollow yet comforting

roar beside me and slide one knee

up and across the hair-covered beast.

He wakes as my hands press his wrists

to the bedpost, wrapping one with his tie,

the other with my bra.  He growls,

“Uh-oh.  Looks like you got me.”


13 What Was I Thinking?

If this isn’t a wish, it ought to be:

You, annoying as ever yet suddenly

too unusual to pass up.  Me, unusual

as ever, however annoying that is.

Then, there’s the drone of everyone

else.  But we don’t notice them enough

to be unsettled by their nice-nice

ways.  Did we ever really care

whether or not they’d just go or why

they’re here at all?  Well, don’t ask me. 

I just produce fleeting thoughts, never claim

they are, or might grow up to be, true.

[Prompt:  Write for 5 mts. only about something speedy.]


14 Branded for Life

Our mother thought it was dumb to toss perfectly good salt over one’s shoulder.  

Morton’s belonged on the shelf next to Durkees’ black pepper and the Lawry’s 

that made fried egg sandwiches even before Sam and I splatted ketchup on them.

I sprinkle white grains on pre-molded chicken burgers, then add curry powder 

and garlic, wrap them in Saran for tomorrow.  And I text Sam, who gets up early 

to cook his three sons pancakes before school.  I tell him I went into the downpour

to get Fritos to go with my Spaghetti-O’s, just like when we were kids.  Why does 

rain make me feel 6?  I ask.   Sam texts back Cuz it makes me feel 5. 


30 poems in 30 days, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge, Poetry

NaPoMo Poems: Week One

The annual challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Month (NaPoMo).  I’ll post seven at the end of each week.  Enjoy!

1…The Look of My Life

I can stride far enough away
to outwalk his voice,
Sleep late enough
–with all the covers–
to outlove his touch,
And taste so many
sweet treats that make
the salt of him obsolete.
Oh, but the silhouette of him,
alone there against the sun,
That’s what gets me each time.

2  How to Begin Writing Poetry

Begin with haiku.
Simple-looking lines, I know.
It’s all downhill now.

If you’re good enough
The wind will start to follow.
Run. Fill your word-kite.

[A loose take on a Japan tribute prompt]

3  The Bachelor King 

He’s in charge alright
of days and knights,
of jesters and astronomers,
commander of the gardeners
ruling the attendants
to his spleen,
but would he give
his kingdom
for a queen?

[Prompt: king]

 The Real “Reasons”

“La la la la LA la la la…

This sistah is fed the heck up

with scrubbing. Sweeping, tolerating

two trifling-mean half-witches

who’d stomp another woman to ashes

or chop off their own big toe

to get a man and their reasons have no pride.


Oh, maybe they’re right.

Why save it up for the ashes?

And love is great, a castle greater,

maybe someone to talk to

other than doves and squirrels.

I want out—don’t care who I have to

sleep with. I’m longing to love him

just for a night.  Kissing and hugging

and holding him tight…


Too bad Black girls never get

fairy godmothers.

–Oh! Hey, who are you?

How did you get in here anyhow?

‘Scuse me?!  I’m going to the ball!

In a carriage a la pumpkin?

Only a special kinda fool

would believe that!

What are you selling…Avon?

–Whoa!  The room is spinning.

Nice threads. Smashing shoes.

Get it?  Glass slippers?  Smashing-shoes?

No?  You’re kinda strict to be

in the bippity-boppity-boo business.

Fine, I’ll play along.  Let the laundry wait.


Well, here I am at the ball,

dancing with him!

Mmm.  A prince indeed.

What did those chicks

put in my tea?  Now, I’m craving

his body. –Is this real?

Temperatures rising I don’t wanna feel.

I’m in the wrong place–!

Uh-oh!  I’m out of here.

Click, click, click, click, click, click


Stop chasing me, Mr. Perfect!

You only want me ’cause

I’m the one who’s running.

–And he stopped, looked confused,

like he’s never heard “No!” before.

Gave me time to get away,

his voice following, completing

…Please let me love you with all my might!!!


I dreamt, alone in my little hearth bed

until he manned up, figured out

how to find a lady—on one knee.

And,  in the morning when I rise,

no longer feeling hypnotized,

I find reasons, reasons, as his bride.

[Tinkered-with song lyrics from “Reasons” by Earth, Wind & Fire]

Prompt:  Rewrite a fairy tale.  This was a tough assignment for an alumna of the Grad Program in English at Simmons.  Feminist writers have rewritten –and feminist scholars have analyzed hell out of — fairy tales.  What’s left to say?

5  Funny Bones

It’s the stillness of this moment,
not the long-ago actions of making love,
that we treasure now.
Breath to breath and memory to memory,
fully clothed, with two Others
in the room.
These are the tests of love,
but also its marrow,
thinking together of when
our skin couldn’t get close enough
so we rubbed and pressed closer
trying to make our bones touch.
When they did, we fell off the bed.
We both laugh out loud now,
post-coital over after-party chat
that suddenly halts.
My husband shrugs at your girlfriend
as if to judge,
“What are these two fools
giggling about now?”

6  The Third Wheel

There is no reason for me to be here,
a part of extended foreplay as you two
play a maybe dance built for two.
Nasty business to build up the longing
in front of company that loves you well
but sleeps badly alone.  Buy a doll.
Let her pucker up for unrequited pleasure.
That’s what toys and kinky videos are for.
I was manufactured for unconditional love.

7  Spring Outfits

The city is no longer
a curtain of cold frost
that laces over sidewalks.
Now the sun crochets
leafless trees’ branches
onto pavement instead.

[Prompt:  write a poem, 6 lines max, using curtain, cold, frost, lace]