NPWM: Day Twenty-Nine

Swirls of color
Lay rich and thick on her palette
Her brushes wait
Laden with promise and possibility
And before her
Spreads a canvas
Full of nothing
Full of everything
She coaxes meaning
From a mind which knows all these intimately
She bleeds herself onto the canvas
Layers of regret, ambition, hope, anger, euphoria
And when she is done
She has a painting, yes,
But anyone can see
She is the artwork

NPWM: Day Twenty-Eight

I wish you hadn’t broken the night
Everything was good, or at least alright
I would have put my hand in yours
And made some plans
And breathed the summer twilight
Listened to the band under a gazebo strung with lights
But your words laced with bitterness
Couldn’t be unheard
And you started us down a path
I couldn’t turn back from if I tried
You finally held my hand
While I said goodbye
I hardened my heart
And watched as you cried
I felt so old then
So tired, with my dry eyes
And my cool head
And my calm refusal
To let you worship me
I could never ever be
What you thought I was
What you thought you needed
I am broken me
And that’s how I knew
You had never really looked at me
Because you’d never seen my glaring flaws
Or if you saw them
You didn’t believe them
You wouldn’t let me have them
I wonder what would have happened
If you had accepted that I was
A wreck like you
And we had walked into the night
Hand in hand

NPWM: Day Twenty-Seven

Flakes of ash fall like snow
Feather-light, they caress then stick
To my sweat-dampened skin
Waves of heat beat against my closed eyelids
And I see the leaping flames
No matter how tightly I shut my eyes

I taste ashes on my tongue
The flavor of memories
And stolen futures
And bitter dreams
The city burns
The world burns
And I dive into the inferno
For one desperate, grasping chance at

I glow, ignite
I am a flare
The message, clear:
We fight, or we die
I am fuel, and I blaze just

We fight

I hang suspended
Now an after-image
And I can taste it:
Ash, memory
And hope

NPWM: Day Twenty-Six

Born beneath a blood moon
I am my mother’s daughter
Baptized with an ember
And washed in spring water

Raised on a horse’s back
Holding whip and reins
Crowned with the tattoo’s mark
Anointed with inkstains

Trained by the matriarchs
Born to lead a nation
Destiny has laid my path
Placed me in my station

Sometimes I see the birds
Circle o’er the plains
And I also long to rise
Set aside my chains

But I will never show
That I dream of elsewhere
Belonging to my clansmen
I cannot have my own cares

Born beneath a blood moon
Ruthless, strong, and brave
Born to rule my people
I’m really just their slave

NPWM: Day Twenty-Five

Today I made a daisy chain

Well, clover chain, rather

For a five year old girl

She handed me a fistful of clover

Wilting already in the heat

And while she played

I wove the stems together

A daisy chain is an exercise in precision

I made a slit in the end of each stem

With my fingernail

as I did when I was a little girl

with little fingers and little nails

You must be careful

or you’ll break through the stem completely

You just want to make a hole

Slide the next clover stem through the hole

And repeat

Until you have a long chain

Each clover feeding into the next

A garland of fragrance and sticky chlorophyll

As I made the chain

I was a child again

And the sun was younger, purer

The grass sweet and cool

And nothing mattered more

Than not breaking through the stems

And completing a necklace of


NPWM: Day Twenty-Four

This poem is written in response to a friend’s poem. I tried to adopt his style and adapt it for my purposes.

Another year to move further from
The person you were toward the man you’ll become

Another year to start over again
Every hope is tinged with a hue of pain

Another year to create and destroy
Every sorrow carries the seed of joy

A new year to face down the ghosts of your past
To know morning’s coming and night will not last

A year full of mercies renewed every hour
A year to strive on in both weakness and power

Our years are all lived in contradiction
Pain and pleasure, truth and fiction

Regret and hope, taking, giving
In these we find the secrets of living

Trust that not a day has been wasted
As long as you’ve breathed, and walked, and tasted

Embrace both happiness and strife
No one is empty if he hungers for Life

Knowing that all will be redeemed
And nothing will be as it once seemed

Live gloriously and without fear
Knowing you were meant for another year

Happy birthday.

NPWM: Day Twenty-Three


Grey light bleeds in through my window blinds
My room is a hushed twilight
Yet it is no refuge for a restless mind
I struggle for words, images
To offer you
In hopes that you will feel something stirring
In your own heart
Anything of value
As you lie awake in bed
Grey light draped in strips across your upturned face
We are more alike than you think
If I cannot make you feel
As if these poems are your own
Your emotions
Your secrets
Your dreams or nightmares
The words you would have said

Then I am no poet