Tag Archives: OctPoWriMo2017

Shifting

Caterpillar and ugly duckling
got so fed up with
comments about their looks
they made a pact with each other

Caterpillar spun a cocoon around them both
– impenetrable, unbreakable –
then ugly duckling swallowed him whole

No one would say
they weren’t beautiful
ever again

Their plan failed

The cocoon broke
Ugly duckling crawled out
She had brightly coloured wings
and conspicuous, fluttering flight

The prompt for day 21 of #OctPoWriMo was Nothing reamins the same. Somehow this is where that led me. I might try and draw the fluttering duckling tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I am able. I still long for a drawing to go with one of the earliest poems I wrote. I see the picture in my head, of an old fashioned bath (one of those with legs, words streaming from the tap, colouring the water…

I am lost

I am lost
Can someone please find me?
I was last seen sobbing
on the corner of a street

I know I took a right turn
and a wrong one
Though my tears have dried
My vision stays blurred

I remember a decisive moment
a choice being unmade
Things fogged up after that
I wonder if my tears lied

I am lost now
Can you please find me?
Google maps will lead your way
if you know my coordinates

Substantiation

The house did not witness the murder
It closed its blinds and retreated into the cellar

The sun shone, the birds sang
The wind blew, the bell rang
No one opened the door

A fascinating prompt today on octpowrimo.com: “Everyone went on eating” is the phrase of the day. We’re taking a slightly darker turn here. What is something that has happened that you felt should’ve changed things, but in the end didn’t cause a reaction?

I love it, but I’m not in a headspace where I’m willing to go there. I could not go with the vulnerable bit of the prompt, but I did go with the darker turn bit.

The #metoo conversations are still on my mind. One of the things that struck me yesterday, is that some commenting men were genuinely wondering how they could take the initiative without running the risk of displaying unwanted behaviour, hence being harassing.

It flabbergasted me and worried me. I know a lot of men who do know the difference between showing interest and being harassing. So what do we do with the men who genuinely don’t know how to approach a women in a way that makes her feel appreciated without being threatened?

Dogged

Welcome, my child
I’m glad you came to play
The big bad wolf is muzzled
I couldn’t make him go away

There’s a nice, playful, dr. Seuss related prompt up today. I’m still processing the conversations I’ve had and read about sexual harassment and assault, sparked by the #metoo hashtag. So I’m feeling anything but playful.

Yesterday I did a lot of thinking around definitions of harassement, and when I personally consider something harassment or brush it of – and if that makes sense.

Today the concept of ‘victim’ is on my mind, because I’ve seen so many women say “I don’t feel like a victim”. For me, feeling a victim is feeling powerless. Something I want to avoid as much as I can. So it was easy to think there’s no #metoo for me: I’ve never felt a victim, so nothing happened. I realise it’s the other way around. I’ve had to deal with male behaviour that was out of line, uncalled for, etc. I didn’t feel a victim, but it was wrong all the same.

I do think I told my parents about the anonymous guy who flashed me when I was a teenager. There’s a funny word for it in Dutch: potloodventer (pencil peddler). It wasn’t funny, it was intimidating and it made me feel less safe.

I don’t think I ever told them rumours about my fourth grade teacher at the age of ten. Girls talked about that he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. He never touched me, but I remember slapping him in the face with my upper arm, because his head popped up over my shoulder when I was drawing, sitting down at my school desk.

Yesterday, my brain tried to come up with excuses: maybe he was short sighted and that’s why his face was there? It wasn’t until I tried to picture my son’s teachers (one male, one female) THAT close to his body, uninvited, unexpectedly, that I could CLEARLY see that his face wasn’t supposed to be in a position where I had the possibility (and felt right) in slapping him with my upper arm. Personal space. My personal space.

There are so many thoughts going through my head that I find it hard to be articulate. I’ll just take this subject one day at a time. And take a break when I need one.

Monkey see Monkey don’t

You had a monkey on your back
and a monkey in your bed
One of them was screeching
The other one was scratching

One monkey was hungry
One was fed up
The bad thing about the monkeys
was that they didn’t know when to stop

You, a lion tamer
– a monkey has no roar
You, a rodeo rider
– a monkey has no horns

You, did it
– you changed

Now you’ve got a monkey on a leash
You set the other monkey free
You’ve grown wings on your back
and you party with your fleas

There’s something weird about this poem for me. One moment I like it, and feel it’s meaningful. The other moment I dislike it and feel they are just empty words. Maybe it’s both? Empty words that are meaningful? Meaningful but empty?

Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Today I have the #metoo hashtag on my mind. This is what’s going on:

#MeToo.

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

I expected to see a lot of MeToo posts. A lot. Yet, the number is dauntingly bigger than I expected. I can’t write about that. I’m lost for words.

I’m in awe of the women who are willing to share their experiences to expose this. And I understand every woman who doesn’t want to share her experiences. My heart reaches out to all of you.

Never mind

Most babies in our street were born
I broke free from an egg
The neighbours didn’t mind it much
They just were curious
How will she grow up?

Most children in our street ate from plates
I picked my food from the ground
My parents didn’t mind it much
They just were curious
How will she get a boyfriend this way

Most of my friends went to university
I worked in a slaughter house
My boyfriend didn’t mind it much
He just was curious
How will we ever be able to buy a house?

Most of my babies were born at home
There was one I hatched, at work
My colleagues didn’t mind it much
They were just curious
When will we be allowed to eat it?

#OctPoWriMo day 15

The elephant in the room

The angry elephant in the room
tiptoed towards the escape hatch
His trunk smashed all the china
but he stepped on no one’s toes

No one complained loudly
Why do you wreck my wares?
If you’d have stomped your feet
and kept your trunk to yourself
nothing would have shattered

The sad elephant in the room
held back his tears and swallowed
Being the elephant in the room
never works out
no matter how hard you try

The elephant in the room
starved itself to death
It never complained
It just said sorry
when no one tripped over his vacant skin

The unwanted elephant in the room perished
not a trace of him was left
No one was surprised
it felt lonely

Day 14 of #OctPoWriMo. Today’s prompt is movement and words.

Leave me this way

He’s late again
My imaginary friend
Sitting on a park bench
Waiting for the sun
I wonder why the clouds
Never leave me this way

Being late is his way
Of showing me, again and again
I needn’t be worried by clouds
Each one an imaginary friend
Never blocking the sun
Just aiming for this bench

They are drawn to this bench
Because in their peculiar way
They consider me their sun
And when I escape (again)
Tears, because their friend
Is lost without her clouds

I wonder why the clouds
Don’t just sit on the park bench
Talk to my imaginary friend
Explain that this way, his way
Is not helping me – again
I am waiting for the sun

I doubt if the sun
Hides behind the clouds
On purpose – again
Scared of the park bench
Searching for a way
To connect with my imaginary friend

Not realising my friend
Will never wait for the sun
Will always leave me this way
He befriended the clouds
One time, on a park bench
When I was late again

He’s late again, my imaginary friend
I’m waiting on a park bench, sitting in the sun
I’ve told the clouds to leave me alone today

I’m so excited I tried my hand at a #sestina! It fits today’s prompt I believe, in being inspired by art. When the first song line entered my mind (waiting for the sun, Jethro Tull) several other ones popped up later – my brain works like that. I’ve included all of them I think.

Their are more poems inspired by art or artists on my blog, either music or visual arts. I’ll see if I can find them and link them to this post. I know if you click on ‘song’ in the tag cloud, you can find a number of them.

For perfectionists: I changed the last word of the poem on purpose, outside the rules for a sestina. Poetic liberty 🙂

Chilling

If you wonder why people like cats
you probably never had
whiskers
caress
the small of your back
when you try to pee
peacefully

– Or you have

One of the prompts today was to write about an imaginary friend. I’ve never had one, but for the first time in my life I have a pet who roams through the house. We bought her as a friend for my child, who has no brothers or sisters. I’m glad we did, even though she turns out to be a handful 🙂