Poetic License

So the challenges do far…

Well, due to life circumstances, I scrapped the screenwriting challenge. I gotta do it one year though. I just have more poetry than narrative story in my head right now.

But the poetry challenge?! If you have been reading, I’m sure you can see the result. The prompts are a lot of fun and definitely help me stay out of my head too much.

Here’s the thing about poetry though that I’m realizing (at least when I write it). I like my poems to be scrappy and less than perfect. I like when they are simple and yet evocative. I like them to use bold, straightforward words that are about complex things. I don’t like them to be too flowery. And I really don’t want them to take a long time to write.

Not that taking your time and going over things is a bad thing. Like have you ever seen a Hawaiian feather cape or lei? So I intricate! I appreciate so much! To make this lei or cape you need feathers from a certain kind of bird. You don’t just go out and kill a bunch of these birds and take their feathers though. No! You let the birds live. You only take one or two so obviously in a cape of a certain size it’s going to take forever to make a cape like this.

It’s not that I don’t have that kind of patience. I just like to do a little bit sometimes and switch gears. One day I will attempt something longer and that takes years to create.

I’m trying to do my poems in order and sometimes the set-up is more involved. Like the one I’m on now involves other people, so it may be a while until I blast through that one.

I used to feel really sheepish about my poetry because I didn’t really ever learn specifically how to write it. I’m just doing it. Sometimes it comes out reasonable. Then I read like straight-up poets and I’m like WHY DID YOU DO THAT THIS IS SO GOOD MY WORDS ARE POLLUTING SPACE.

And then I’m like 🤷‍♀️ well idk

So I’ve decided it’s fine.

I’m sure the folks getting my posts emailed are like, “So why’s Barbara posting like a whole bunch of poems all today?” I finally got a couple minutes to just go. Does anyone ever listen to drum and bass? Because to me, what it feels like to write poetry, or what I strive for it to feel like is a steady beat with atmospheric blends, warm mids and a sometimes haunting baseline that always makes whatever melody comes out so much bigger than it seems. Far off outer space sounds and glitchy sound effects that sound like glitter and feel like deep sighs of relief.

NOW THAT is what poetry should feel like

(if you ask me)

to be written

whistle on the tracks

high pitched hum

the shake and sway

while my fingers catch letters 

words fly forward like a typewriter punching keys

the page is not as empty as it once was

the music continues 

streaming endlessly 

a beat linked together like the words 

they combine together

form a picture with no picture

form sounds when all is quiet

form a memory etched 

as if in stone

from the steady movement

the thoughts that try to slow down to match pace with the body

the body does what it can to collect it all

turn and translate

offer and experiment 

and the mind gives it a nod

the poetry ushered in

shaped from nothing

yet shaped before it began

to be written

to be released into the world of strangeness

to be given meaning 

and interpreted

twisted over

folding over into itself

until the thing is not a thing any longer

need desire wish to communicate

transcend beyond

into understanding 

ah ha moment of connective tissue

fibers of various lengths binding together 


i see now your implication 

your persuasion, poem

in the spritely joining

perfect combination of alphabet

of ideas

into one piece

that is suddenly gone

making magic 

standing underneath a streetlight

dim artificial glow

rain falls around like glitter

and when the light hits right you are floating within stardust


like a warm blanket 

hugs the sidewalk

barely seen tree outlines lean in close

and whisper good ideas to enact later

i write them down

i go (to myself)

oh that will be good

and i save it

i remember it

so that when it comes to transformation time

i can make magic

and wonder

appear on the page

visualizing purple clouds

seeing the infinite landscape stretched out before me

cloud lines along the distant mountains 

just a scribble on the paper

in purple bleeding ink

soaks into the page and down into where the mountain meets the water

can you see it in double vision?

as something from within your imagination, a picture within the mind

and as a blank page ready to be filled with the etchings

markings that represent a complex situation

state of being



symbols and visualization meet together and form a reality

this is something understood to be real

to be felt and lived and experienced 

a visual picture of the beauty we wish to see

wish to communicate 


and the translate into words

into paintings

which have a life of their own that they contend with


all i want to do is not write

but i can’t help it

what can i say?

my fingers itch

i don’t care if it’s important 

or interesting 

or inspiring

or real

i don’t care about that


it’s as though 

i could be consumed by fire

and then 

maybe then

it would be when the underlying drive


maybe then 

would it fizzle out

and i wouldn’t need to say anything 

forget need

need is like waiting

i can’t wait

the words wouldn’t let me

they’d pile up into pages and pages

overflowing book

get it out!

then maybe the itch would be gone

but it won’t leave

i’m ok with that

and who knows how many words it will take before 

it says

ok now you’re done

words of transformation

powerful thoughts

spinning in the minds 

until they reach the mouth the hands 

they form words that shape

they move

they transform

they take all that bile and hatred

they take it and squeeze it out into something else


the words that become action

become power

become the force that this sticky goo cannot cling to

slides off 

the words that have the power to turn

to shine light

the power to end aggression

they begin with the formulation of thoughts into sound

the sound of a voice

the scribble of a pen

the clacking of keys

they begin inside you

words of the day

here’s something else

here is a set of words to amuse you

to make you smile

they are arranged in a particular order

they sound good backwards 

they look good upside

people get confused and look at you sideways 

words don’t care about space

words do what they want go where they want

sometimes they jump into water

they dive deep down under

words emerge in the sunlight

they rest

they snore

they turn to the side

these ones are pretty clever

they’re ambidextrous 

they forget meaning

they sound it out sometimes

some words are like really cool words

they have so much style 

they have so much grace

words get hot and they gotta cool off

words gotta take a walk

words better not say what they’d like to say

words stew and think of what they’d like to say


what they really mean to say

these words

they have trouble articulating

they think no one will hear them

they don’t know their weight

they don’t know their effect

these words get nervous about the public eye

these words invent places to go

they invent scenarios

these words take it back

they are reflective

they pierce like a moonbeam

they make other words go 

wow will you look at that?

these words find joy

words that laugh

words that laugh at stupid jokes

at puns

words that smile across the page 

these words are heartfelt 

these words are meaningful 

they mean everything 

these are the words of the day