A Portable Paradise Prom(pt), a Pernessy poetry collection inspired by Roger Robinson’s poem

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The idea for the #ParadiseProject was inspired by Gwendolyn Soper who tweeted a photo of one of the hand-written copies she’d made of Roger Robinson’s iconic poem, “A Portable Paradise,” (which she’d given as gifts to family). Mr. Robinson saw her tweet and replied, “You should write a poem based on it also. Use the framework and add in your own biographical details. Try it!!!”

Gwendolyn took his advice and wrote her own paradise poem. She ultimately guided participants in a Pernessy poetry workshop through the same prom(pt). This collection is the result of that workshop.

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Prestigiatory po-em

to say something
that could have been said
in such a way
that people wonder
if they understand

as they wonder
they come up 
with interpretations
best guesses
and conclude
that was deep
so relatable

to say something that could have been said
in such a way that people

using less words
brings out 


For those who wonder what prestigiatory means: https://www.websters1913.com/words/Prestigiatory

Day 2 of me not participating in #naPoWriMo 🙂

The prompt today invited us to visit HaggardHawks “an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words.” Of course I couldn’t resist. When I was browsing the interesting words I pictured myself writing a very intelligent sounding poem just be be able to use such a beautiful word. I wrote this instead – and afterwards found a word that I could use for the title to make me on prompt.

don’t exist

I don’t exist, yet I have a body, Whose limbs gathered together and called themselves mine? Why? What do they expect of me? If they want to be moved, they’ll be disappointed. I don’t exist, I will not move. If they want to be nourished they’ll be disillusioned. I don’t exist. I won’t act. They may want to be loved. Someone should suggest they’d latch on somewhere else.

What if everything is ruled by limbs? A hostile takeover, aimed at creation? I may not exist, yet they make me do things…

Yesterday met a woman who didn’t exist either. could tell by her eyes. asked her: how do you do? She said don’t. sat on the porch and peed.

Why do they? don’t.

I promised myself to not join #NaPoWriMo this year. I’m too busy. Too tired. So obviously, I didn’t write anything and it’s not inspired by the prompt on https://www.napowrimo.net/day-one-4/.


the ability

to take back in

that which was

dripping out

It’s October again, which means we have #OctPoWriMo going on. I know I won’t be able to write 30 poems this months, and I promise myself to not even try. But each one is more than none! Some of my #OctoberPoetryWritingMonth poems got published in magazines. I’ve collected all published poems in this chapbook, available through Amazon, Kobo and more. I’ll link up later, dinner time now!

A temple without worshippers

My body
a temple without worshippers
a reliquary with no relics
an idol without fans

My brain
a pantheon
home to many gods
always room for one more

My bodymind
temple with many gods
a home for reliquaries
always room for one more relic

My ego
a relic
a worshipper
an idol
a god

a body
a brain
an ego
a human
The Singer of Amun Nany’s Funerary Papyrus, ca. 1050 B.C. Egyptian; Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Third Intermediate Period Papyrus, paint; l. 521.5 cm (206 5/16 in); h. 35 cm (13 3/4 in) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1930 (30.3.31) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/548344

The last day of #NaPoWriMo! The month went by really fast this year. Our prompt for today at napowrimo.net was “to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.””

The Egyptian book of the dead describes how to get to the eternal afterlife. Your heart will be weighed against Maat, embodiment of cosmic order and ethical behavior. Your heart has to be judged “an accurate witness” for the weighing to be valid. Mine is a crude summary – the scroll is over 17 feet or 5 meters long!

The poem was written before I found the art, and before I read the prompt today. I guess you can say it’s about finding yourself. If it gives any direction at all, it’s towards self-examination.

This has been a fabulous National Poetry Writing Month! I enjoyed the community, the prompts, the reading, the writing, the searching for art, all of it. I can’t even imagine how much reading Maureen must have done to come up with her daily choice of featured participants!

I hope to catch up with reading and listening to more of your poems in May. I’m behind with reading a number of you who I try to not miss out on. It’s fair to say that my voluntarily added challenge of picking a work of art from The Met everyday cost a lot of time too.

Ever before



Just be – Marry me

Veit Langenbucher (1587–1631) Musical Clock with Spinet and Organ, ca. 1625 Ebony, various wood and metals, wire, parchment and leather; Overall: 78.1 x 32 x 50 cm (30 3/4 x 12 5/8 x 19 11/16 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 2002 (2002.323 a-f) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/503530
Veit Langenbucher (1587–1631) Musical Clock with Spinet and Organ, ca. 1625 Ebony, various wood and metals, wire, parchment and leather; Overall: 78.1 x 32 x 50 cm (30 3/4 x 12 5/8 x 19 11/16 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 2002 (2002.323 a-f) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/503530

Our prompt at napowrimo.net today: “And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?”

I think the art from The Met is on prompt. Not sure about my poem, but this is what I have for today.


Should I stay – closer
Should I go – closer

To me?
To you?

Should I come – nearer
Should I leave – nearer

To you?
To me?

I will draw – a line
I will paint – a portrait

and you
Title: Approaching Thunder Storm
Artist: Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904)
Date: 1859, Culture: American
Medium: Oil on canvas, Dimensions: 28 x 44in. (71.1 x 111.8cm)
Framed: 42 1/2 × 58 3/8 × 5 in. (108 × 148.3 × 12.7 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Erving Wolf Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Erving Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1975
Accession Number: 1975.160

“Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions.” Thus wrote napowrimo.net. Art found on The Met.

Occhiolism, a professional observer’s opinion

Ahumans are  impractical  unethical  cost-prohibitive  inefficient
to fit  to completely control  to randomly assign
Several  Ahumans  consistently  give  wrong  results

For  Ahumans  to  be  valid  the  experimenter  must  account confounding  factors
Ahumans  are  limited  because  they  lack  statistical  properties
Ahumans  suffer from the possibility of contamination
Ahumans  may  produce  illusory  correlations 
Ahumans  consistently  give  wrong  results
Ahumans  are  prone  to  selection  bias
Ahumans  lack  external  validity

conduct  medical  trials 
provide  a  substandard  treatment
inferences  from  subjective  models  are  unreliable
outcomes  are  observed 
results  are  not  meaningful

conduct  randomized  experiments
produce  ethical  concerns
analyze  the  data  in  light  of  them
present  a positive  result 

By  definition  non-Ahumans  are  quantified,  more  objective  and  therefore,  more  convincing
Title: Eye idol, Period: Middle Uruk
Date: ca. 3700–3500 B.C., Geography: Syria, Tell Brak
Medium: Gypsum alabaster, Dimensions: 2 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 4.2 x 0.6 cm)
Classification: Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line: Gift of The Institute of Archaeology, The University of London, 1951
Accession Number: 51.59.11
Title: Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars
Period: Jemdet Nasr, Date: ca. 3100–2900 B.C.
Geography: Mesopotamia, probably from Uruk (modern Warka)
Culture: Sumerian, Medium: Clay
Dimensions: 2 1/8 × 2 3/8 × 1 5/8 in. (5.4 × 6 × 4.1 cm)
Classification: Clay-Tablets-Inscribed-Seal Impressions
Credit Line: Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1988
Accession Number: 1988.433.1

The prompt today at napowrimo.net was to “write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.” I was fascinated by this entry:


n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.

I didn’t have the time to write a poem though, I was too busy translating this tablet sent to me by a secret messenger carrying the eye idol. #NaPoWriMo day 27 gets my translation of what seems to be a scientific report as my entry today.