POV: Future Step Brother 20 April 2014

4.20.14  NaPoWriMo PROMPT:   Our (optional) prompt. Today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of a member of your family. This can be a good way to try to distance yourself from your own experience, without reaching so far away from your own life that it’s hard to come up with specific, realistic details. But watch out! This type of exercise can also dredge up a lot of feelings. So if you think writing in the voice of your grandfather will be too heavy, maybe try the voice of your four-year-old niece. Four-year-old problems might be a little lighter in scope.


POV:  Future Step Brother

Why doesn’t she leave us alone?

Stupid tagalong girl.

I’ll show her with my BB gun.

I’m a good shot as I stand

on the edge of the  frog pond

where we built the raft.

It was not her idea.

Stupid girl can’t take

yellow frog guts gushing out.

Can’t play marbles with her.

She wins and hides them.

Plays up to my mom

who thinks she’s a nice girl.

Stupid girl with red braids.

Good at mumbly peg too.

Where’s she get that stupid knife?

I hate the dumb girl.

She sleeps with a fake

German Luger

under her pillow.


C.J. Prince



4.19.14  NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  today’s (optional) prmpt. This is a bit silly, but it’s Saturday. I recently got a large illustrated guide to sea shells. There are some pretty wild names for sea shells. Today I challenge you to take a look at the list of actual sea shell names below, and to use one or more of them to write a poem. You poem doesn’t have to be about sea shells at all — just inspired by one or more of the names.

Peruvian Hat
Snout Otter Clam
Strawberry Top
Incised Moon
Sparse Dove
False Cup-and-Saucer
Leather Donax
Shuttlecock Volva
Striped Engina
Tricolor Niso
Triangular Nutmeg
Shoulderblade Sea Cat
Woody Canoebubble
Ghastly Miter
Heavy Bonnet
Tuberculate Emarginula
Lazarus Jewel Box
Unequal Bittersweet
Atlantic Turkey Wing

One never knows where a word will guide you.  Join me.


Unequal Bittersweet Quest


You clam up when I yearn

for dialogue.  What do we do

with this forbidden subject?

Is it just an American thing?

We are culturally unprepared?


We will all do it so why not

scamper along the options road.

Death.  It is our end gift.

Do we want to go with earth

or fire?  Our bone sacks

already sag.  Where do they

want to be?  Liberated

by fire so friends can take

chunks of bone and ashes to toss

over mountain tops and rivers?


Or settled sweetly beneath earth

where roots can bind 

and earthworms rid us of the unnecessary?

Perhaps near a towering cedar

where ravens will sing my name in sunbreaks

and owls will remember me into the night.


It is part of the aging conundrum,

this resting place, the cave that tends

the final inert body. 


Where shall we be, my Love?

Together always in spirit

even if one is earth and the other fire.


C.J. Prince


Ruba’i of Expectation

4.18.14        NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  Our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a ruba’i. What’s that? Well, it’s a Persian form — multipe stanzas in the ruba’i form are a rubaiyat, as in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Basically, a ruba’i is a four-line stanza, with a rhyme scheme of AABA. Robert Frost’s famous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening uses this rhyme scheme. You can write a poem composed of one ruba’i, or try your hand at more, for a rubaiyat. Happy writing!



Ruba’i of Expectation

Always exists with never—

a place without ever—

where change will not die.

Lost to now, I burn with fever.


C.J. Prince


Eostre Bless Us

4.17.14 NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a poem in which you very specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses. So, for example, your poem could carefully describe the smell of something, the taste of something, and the sound of something. It might be helpful to pick things you have actually encountered during your day: a cup of coffee at the office (“burnt, flat, and joylessly acrid”), or a hyacinth in the neighobr’s yard (“riotously curled petals shading violet-lavender-white, against the dark-green glossy-smooth leaves”). Happy writing!


Eostre Bless Us

Waft of incense, a smoky allure of days gone by,

mingles with the dart of garlic simmered.

A suite by Massenet lilts across the room.

The wood burning stove crackles

warding off the chill of wind and rain.


Soft light from shaded lamps

and a dim glow of twilight

through slated windows.

There in that fleeting moment,

our bodies pray through clothing,

soft lips when you return home.


C.J. Prince


Top Ten Prevarications

NaPoWriMo prompt (optional, as always). After yesterday’s form-based prompt, today’s will hopefully be somewhat easier to get into. This prompt is from Daisy Fried, and the basic idea is to write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie. Your lies could be silly, complicated, tricky, or obvious.



Top 10 Prevarications

The earth has too many trees.

Wolves are not part of ecological balance.

There is no wind on planet earth.

Holes in the ozone make it easier to see the stars.

You can bid on a ticket to Mars on ebay.

Fracking is good for the earth.

All television is factual.

Believe everything you hear.

Books are bad for you.

I never lie.


C.J. Prince


Lady of Azurite Calls the Shaman April 15, 2014

Today I discard the prompt from NaPoWriMo because these images came so strongly.  Enjoy!


Lady of Azurite Calls the Shaman


Waves of azurite crash unto shore,

recede leaving seaweed and lace.

Anubis takes my hand.

I follow in a trance

up the mountain through deep foliage,

banana trees, birds of paradise,

hibiscus, riotous tropical abundance.


We stand at the top of a cliff.

I turn east, south, west, north

to see below a miniature landscape.

This is perspective, Anubis says.


Selene shimmers down a slice of light

and transports me to her realm.

We sit on the last visible crescent

of a total lunar eclipse.

She nods at earth spinning

light and dark.  This is perspective.


Sothis glides to my side, takes

my hand and we ride on a broom,

reminding  me she has a sense

of humor.  We surpass the speed

of light and land on Sirius.  I survey

the universe in wonder.

This is perspective, she says.


On the wings of Isis, we circle

the earth on her rainbow wings.

Day and night appear and disappear.

We land again as the waves

flow in and out.  This

Is perspective, she says.


I pick up a seashell.


C.J. Prince




Answers or Hiddenite? 14 April 2014

NaPoWriMo PROM[T:  Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a little something I’m calling “Twenty Questions.” The idea is to write a poem in which every sentence, except for the last one, is in the form of a question. That’s it! It can be as long or short as you like. The questions can be deep and philosophical (‘what is the meaning of life?’) or routine and practical (‘are you going to eat that?’). Or both!



Answers or Hiddenite?

You’re not going to wear that, are you?

Why would you go in the Army?

Excuse me, did you know you have lipstick on your teeth?

You think you know me?

How do you cook forbidden rice?

You forgot to use a condom?

Where do you live?

Can you read the little lines in my eyes?

Wherefore art thou?

When the vegan breathes, what do you smell?

What is between the inhale and exhale?

How do you know when you’re dead?

Why do you want to be buried?

Is the planet dying?

Did you visit the sun in your dream?

Who’s standing on the corner with the big dog?

Do planets reincarnate?

What were you in your last life?

How do you make palak?

Where can you buy fenugreek?

It is 3,863 kilometers or 2,401 miles

from Bellingham to New York City.

C.J. Prince


A Kenning for Her Lily Pads

NaPoWriMo PROMPT:  Our optional prompt for today is to write a poem that contains at least one kenning. Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing. The phrase “whale road,” for example, could be used instead of “sea” or “ocean,” and “sky candle” could be used for “sun.” The kennings used in Nordic sagas eventually got so complex that you basically needed a decoder-ring to figure them out. And Vikings being Vikings, there tended to be an awful lot of kennings for swords, warriors, ships, and gold. But at their best, they are suprising and evocative. I hope you have fun trying to invent your own. 


A Kenning for her Lily Petals

Blessed by the father of the sea thread,

 the gnarled Viking sailed the whale road

in a hardy wave traveler.


He knew his piercing tip would drip battle sweat.

but it was his inner sword that sought

the Scottish maiden by the loch.


She strolled in moonlight,

locks of Sif’s hair cradling shoulders.

In shadow, he watched, yearned.


If only he had Grímnir’s lip-streams

to speak the words to win her.

He listened to the silent bird of night


screech like a witch at work.

The maiden lifted her chin

and called back.


Enchanted now, the Viking stepped forth.

He would win her, not with the iclcle of blood,

but with the breaker of trees at his back.


            C.J. Prince



When Grief Walks Tall 12 April 2014

Today’s  NaPoWriMo (optional) prompt is 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. Here’s a little example that replaces the word “lemon,” in sentences from a Wikipedia article on lemons, with the word “sorrow.”





When Grief Walks Tall

Grief towers skyward with spicy-resinous scented wood,

dimorphic shoots form a framework of  branches,

and short shoots, which carry most of the leaves.

Grief is evergreen and needle-like,

in dense spiral clusters,

bright grass-green or dark green,

glaucous pale blue-green,

maturing to grey-brown.

Grief pollinates in autumn,

waits a year,

disintegrating at maturity

to release the winged seeds.


   C.J. Prince


Twilight, Padden Creek Estuary

Originally posted on Andrew Shattuck McBride, Writer's Blog:

Remnants of this day’s light
draw me toward the estuary.

Low tide, and mudflats cradling
the creek glisten. The waxing moon

is already high in the eastern sky,
casting moonlight. At twilight

Padden Creek is a curving arc
of light. Dusk envelops the east,

grows. I recite the peace prayer
Qué la paz prevalezca en la tierra

May peace prevail on earth.
I step to the railing, flush

a Great Blue Heron from its meal-
time vigil, instantly regret

that my quest for peace has disturbed
the heron’s need for stillness

and peace in fulfilling its hunger.
I interrogate my wishes for peace,

my emerging watchfulness:
can I allow my wishes to disturb

other creatures? Can I learn
a less intrusive watchfulness?

I watch the heron fly north,
marvel at its wingspan, wonder

when it will return to its nest,
if hunger will now limn this night.


Andrew Shattuck…

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