I just stumbled upon the awesomeness of NaPoWriMo. Similarly to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write every day for a month. However, in this case, the “Po” is short for “poetry,” and the objective is simple: a new poem every day. Whew! No room for procrastination with this one, scrambling at the end of the month to fulfill a quota. That is the best, and worst, news for a writer. It’s the freedom and pressure to start writing immediately. “To create a masterpiece, we must first make a mess on the page,” my writing teachers kept trying to convince us. I think it sort of worked, but that nagging “this is garbage” voice in the back of our minds still tries to hold us back from working on our art. That, or sometimes it’s actually someone trying to break through your “artist fog” and asking you to take out the trash. (This is one of the best excuses to avoid chores at any given time.) Ha. Do you see how I am procrastinating with bad jokes? 😉
I’m really excited for this challenge because poetry is essential to me–not just as a writer, not just as a reader, but as a person, too. Poetry has always been my best (and most challenging) way of expressing myself. I feel it has the great potential for catharsis or even therapy. Sometimes, all you need to do to solve a problem is to dress it up in pretty words and look at it from a different angle–to confront it on the page in front of you–and then the pressure of a conclusion propels you into a solution.
In addition, I’m one of those really annoying people who thinks in poetry. If you pay attention, my sentences are often in iambic pentameter. A tip-off of this may be awkward rhythm or surrounding people giving that look like, “Who talks like that anymore?”
It helps when I add in archaic language. My poetry teacher forced me to retire “Hark!” in my sonnets…and I think he might have been right. Hey, I can’t help that I grew up reading primarily Victorian/Romantic era literature! The speech patterns subsequently implanted themselves. 😉
Anyway, in true writer fashion, the day is almost over by the time I have ended up uploading this post! But there’s still time! Without further ado, I present my brand-new poem, “Tiana.” As my Twitter followers have already seen, I met a woman on Sunday that I just had to write about before I could resume my drive home. Here is her poem.
By: Amanda K. Fowler
Tiana is wearing false lashes,
Teased blond hair and makeup
A veil of her age
When she talks about why she loves it here,
A gas station on the edge of nowhere
That she has to run out and explain to people how to use.
“We’re one of the very last,”
She says, beaming,
Pointing like a beauty queen
With manicured nails
To the vintage gas pumps.
She tells me how it reminds her of home:
They used to have these when she was a girl in California,
She says, wistfully,
Her eyes 2000 miles away.
They are a test, she says,
Because people could come and steal
But no one does.
And suddenly I love
That she feels at home
Here, of all places,
Surrounded by Midwestern corn farms,
Watching people on the edge of town
Going out into the world,
But this gas station
Is her anchor to the past,
To oranges and sunshine
And old-fashioned decorum.
I see it in sepia,
But to her,
It is brilliant.