The enemy within

The enemy within
strikes one
a homerun

I take a mirror
to strike back

The enemy within
hits home

I smash the mirror
and paint a self portrait
of my brain

The prompt at was to write a poem that engages with one of the other arts. I’m away all day, but found this one. Not in my notebook this time, but in my wallet, written on a receipt.

Face up

I blushed
when I read
the tattoo on his face

It said

If you’re reading this
you’re not reading me
get outta my f

Day 20. The prompt at was to use spoken language.

I was late in posting yesterday, because I was working on something special: a collaboration with Shuku, a fellow participant. I’d love for you to check it out!

The bones speak

She always wore long sleeves 

On the hottest of days.

Nothing to see here, she always said
Don’t worry. I’m fine.

Soundproof sleeves

woven by her mother

with threads of silence

no whisper leaked through

The X-rays tell a different tale:

Of old fractures, of injuries
Hidden beneath layers of flesh and fear.

The loom

an heirloom

it made no sound

only the wood was dented

Stripped of skin, defleshed to mere skeleton

Her life lays bare on a cold slab
Exposed like dead-white maggots
Fat, wriggling, reluctantly pulled out
From hollow eye sockets full of hell.

The warp thread tension

was nonadjustable

the weft thread

often broke

A chip here. A groove there.

Violence records itself in bone.
We can be read by those
Who decipher death
Who study the language of cruelty.
We do not give up our secrets easily.


a chip here

a groove there

random pattern

clink, clatter

clack, clank


Nothing to see here, she always said
We know
We know
The bones always know.

Rattle, click

hem stitch

Yay, a collaboration between Shuku and me, based on her poem for day 17. It’s off prompt for today, but it has influences of a number of the other prompts. It’s a very busy day today, so I can’t look up which ones.


The hunger lounge

The preparations are finished I think

There’s a sofa on the left
where the coffee goes
(there’s room for cappuccinos, espressos, lattes and americanos)

A sofa on the right
where the sugar goes
(cake, cookies, chocolate, candy – we call it the C-section)

A sofa in the middle
with a ‘grease’ tag
(that’s where the crisps sit, the fried food, the melted butter)

There’s more:
a recliner for alcohol
a stool for nuts
on the sides you’ll find
a closet for compliments
and drawers for connections

The hunger lounge has everything
– everything but guests;
no matter what I ingest
it remains empty

I’m aching for a party
but there’s no one there

Today’s prompt at was introduced with this sentence: “Our optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief.”


Me, the people

They think buildings can’t read, but I read the signs of the times better than they do

I watched his hungry eyes read my letters and the reply, written on his face
It said “I want you”, and he wanted it all: my power, my people, my standing, my history
Somehow he knew I could change the future
He rejoiced when I burnt down but I didn’t mind – I knew he was doomed
I could read the signs even before his hidden hand started shaking

Did you know I had babies ? I didn’t deliver them but they were mine for a while
I knew I’d be theirs in the future, just as they were mine now

They think buildings can’t read, but I read the signs of the times better than they do
When my mother was torn apart, I didn’t worry, I knew she would heal
When I lay in ruins I didn’t worry, I knew she’d help me recover

They think buildings can’t read, but I read the signs of the times better than they did
Now here I stand, unwrapped, offering a 360-degree view to those who register
I can still change the future, but you don’t read the signs

Today’s prompt at was “to write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view”. As a former historian, I wondered if there was something historic I wanted to write about. Human history provided slightly too muc choice… I narrowed it down by chosing a topic I’ve used before, but from a different perspective.

First we take Berlin describes the fire in the German Reichstag building from the perspective of the arsonist – but I didn’t choose the Dutch communist who was accused of doing it. Today I decided to use the perspective of the building as a starting point.

I’m late in posting today. I happily blame the fact my day 16 poem was the featured poem today at my favourite #NaPoWriMo website! I celebrated by reading and commenting a lot – one of the great things about poetry month for me is always the connections we form by sharing our words with each other. Thank you all for reading, and thank you all for writing!

Plans for tonight

1) To be abducted by aliens
2) To invent a wireless power bank for people
3) To spill all the bitterness I’ve bottled up from past lives
4) To kick in a double glazed window
5) To pretend I don’t think
6) To double kick in a glazed window
7) To spill all the bottles of bitter I have from past lives
8) To invent a powerless wire bank for people
9) To abduct an alien
10) To make plans for tonight

The prompt at Today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.