Tag Archives: from the weird side

Am I doing? How?

How do you do, you asked
You couldn’t have confused me more
Am I doing? How?

So I prepared some answers
just in case
we meet again

I feel like a fish
swimming in water that has been boiled for too long
the temperature is down again
but there’s something missing
I can breathe
but I’m hungry
something is not right
You know what I mean?

In case of embarrassed silence
I have a second answer ready

I am a Lego brick stuck in a Playmobil basket
a make up doll in a garage
I am dice in a card game
a knitting needle in a carpenter’s hand
Same old, same old
You know what I mean?

In case you then move away from me
I have prepared to grab your hand

I’m only joking
I’m doing fine and okay
I’m safe and secure
I’m healthy and whole
I’m up to snuff
Everything is perfect – you know me!

Would you then try to pry your hand away
I’d be lost for words
but I’d have
my knitting needle
a Lego brick
and dice
so in my garage
I’d find out how you’re doing

You know what I mean?

The prompt today was “to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two.”  When I looked at this poem, I realised the line breaks didn’t make me that uncomfortable. I tend to take liberties with those anyway. So I tried other ways to stretch my comfort zone. It’s an uncomfortable poem, and it deserves an extra bit of awkwardness. So I centralised the text. That worked, and even looked good. Not the effect I wanted. So I made my next move… It looks very uncomfortable to me now. I consider my comfort zone stretched. And the form illustrative. But ouch, it hurts!

Yesterday’s prompt turned out many interesting poems. I’d like to highlight A big bang, by rivrvlogr. He choose a poem by Runa Svetlikova, in Dutch. His ‘mistranslation’ catches the magic of the original, without being the same. I can’t explain it, you’d better read it yourself 🙂

If you read Dutch, it’s really interesting to experience the difference between the Dutch version and the translation, as provided at Poetry International Web. Ken included it in his post, so it’s easy to take all of them in in one go and wonder. Or marvel.

Comic books used to be better

An underground pit of hungry crocodiles
becomes aware of Gotham city’s radium supply
and plan to steel the precious metal

Bruce’s girl friend Linda Page
thwarts America’s Victory Plans
via an electronic brain implant

Batman sends his American henchmen
along with a zombie (gagged, and unconscious)

With breath-taking rapidity
the hungry crocodiles prevail
– after a terrific battle

Once upon a time there was a prompt about a story telling poem. I didn’t use it. Then along came a prompt that suggested to write about the taste of satisfaction. I didn’t use it. But when a fairy godmother told me to paint, I did. And then seven little dwarfs suggested I could use wikipedia to write an accompanying poem. I did. You will live happily ever after.

Clinical interview

napo2016button2Enters the doctor, looking like Daddy Cool.
Understanding look. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel?”
I don’t play his game. “Are we talking Aeolian, altered or augmented?”
Sotto voce: “Tests have been standardized so that test-takers are evaluated in a similar way”

I make him switch gender.
She raises her eyebrows: “Subatomic, cellular or human?”
I like her. “Classical Cepheids, D–σ relation or surface brightness fluctuations?”
She could be a sister. A brother. A mother to me. A soul mate. A saviour. A therapist.

I whist and eye her brain.
She yawns. “10 gigohm, I get it. The highest resistor code.
I might play your game. Do you feel mesa, micro or mega agitated?”
Lord Pascal strike me down. How many candelas per square metre can one woman be?

I pluck my eyebrow.
Me: “You’re searching for an order of magnitude?”
She: “Not just anyone can perform a psychological evaluation.”
Meanwhile, I’m wondering – on a scale of 1 to 10: How did I get here?

“Okay”, I say, “which decade?”
One raised eyebrow.
1 hertz

This poem was already in the making when I read today’s prompt: “Today I challenge you to write a “mix-and-match” poem in which you mingle fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words.” #NaPoWriMo day 24

This poem  started with the question “On a scale from 1 to 10…”, which made me wonder which scales exist. It turns out  many more than I know of, and I spent quite some (interesting) time on Wikipedia.

I’ve tried to capture some of the possible dynamics between interviewer and interviewee. The power play the interviewee tries to impose on the conversation. The clinical language/way of thinking versus the thoughts of someone in, well, a different mode.

There’s a lot more I could say about this one, but I believe poems should be read rather than explained. So if you want to know more, read it again and see what the next reading brings you 🙂

Prompt not included

random_stupid_silhouette_by_washp-d8sc4glBread fan
Stale mate
Peak ban
Flat rate

Bread dough
Old hoe
No show
Yeast flow

Stale sale
Money low
High speed
Fake tweet

Peak rate
New tan
No show
Ray Ban

Health hazard:
Don’t inhale crisps

I’m a complicated situation
waiting to happen

Day 14 of #NaPoWriMo. I love today’s prompt: And last but not least, our (optional) prompt! Today’s prompt comes to us from TJ Kearney, who invites us to try a seven-line poem called a san san, which means “three three” in Chinese (It’s also a term of art in the game Go). The san san has some things in common with the tritina, including repetition and rhyme. In particular, the san san repeats, three times, each of three terms or images. The seven lines rhyme in the pattern a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d.


I don’t like what I wrote for it. I also don’t like that I don’t want to share what I wrote for it, because I judge it ‘not good enough’. Inner conflict. So I’m sharing what I wrote yesterday evening. It somehow reflects the state of mind I was in.

Image by Washp, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Ask the dust

The gin was conspicuously strewn across the room
leaving no chair free to sit on

The lice on my skull squirmed
thirsty for something else than blood and dandruff

I picked up the ripped bathrobe
soaked with milk and cornflakes

Sirens in the distance
Time to leave
The poets will be here soon

Written for #NaPoWriMo day 18. Using the prompt where you go to the nearest book and pick ten words from page 29 that attract your eye, and the use 7 of them for a poem. I ended up with 8. The book was Ask the dust from John Fante.

May I add that if you like poetry, John Fante is a writer you should really check out? His sentences are incredible.

Second hand

Won’t you lend your lungs to me?
My spare pair just got punctured.

I’ll return them on Friday
together with those flat feet I borrowed.

Would you like me to wash, iron and fold them
or do you prefer to do that yourself?

I’m afraid I spilled some tar and feathers on them
but I’m sure the stains will wear off

Now that we’re on the subject, may I ask:
Could you lend me a hand perhaps?

Written for #NaPoWriMo day 15. My inspiration was the first line of a Townes van Zandt song that I have always loved for its mysteriousness.

The ghost of I’m not good enough

Video available at the bottom of this page, of me performing this poem for the first time

The ghost of I’m not good enough
said he wanted to talk to me

Are you sure, I asked
I’m kind of busy right now

He said he wanted to tell me something
Do I really need to know this, I asked
I’m kind of busy right now

He said it was urgent
Do I really want to know this, I asked
I’m kind of busy right now

The ghost of I’m not good enough nodded

I’m sure, he said
You really need to know this
It’s a matter of life and death
especially if you don’t want to know this

All right, I said,
What’s the matter?

You’re not good enough, he said

I’m kind of busy right now, I said
It’s urgent
I’m sorry, did you say something?

You’re not good enough, he said

I’m sorry, what’s your point, I asked
What does this have to do with my life?
What does it have to do with my death?

I’m not good enough, he said
When you listen, you give me life
If you ignore me, it’s my death

(Written for #NaPoWriMo day 14, I haven’t had a chance to check the prompts yet)

The alchemist

I am the middle ground
between on the one hand
and the other

I am the linking pin
between no way
and of course

I am the assembly station
for good intentions
and bad outcomes

I am the liaison officer
for violent thoughts
and peaceful outcomes

I am the suspension bridge
where the twain
shall never meet

I am the Erlenmeyer
where one and one
will remain
one and one

I am the one
I am the only
I am neither god
nor man

My cauldron is empty
my fire extinguished
eternal youth
will not be yours

Death was killed by Batman

Death is a decoy
Death is a mannequin
Death is the shape of a human

Death is a fictional character
a super villain that appears in comic books

The impact of death extends
beyond its immediate utilitarian function

Death at times wields a scythe
which he uses in addition to violent dancing

Death has a choice
and yet he chooses to prey on innocents

Death is dressed in old clothes
Death is placed in open fields
Death is used to discourage

Death has no idea what fear really is
Death was killed by batman


Based on the day 12 prompt on http://www.NaPoWriMo.net: a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem.