(Drum roll) NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 30)

Today is the final day of NaPo (and of April). Beginning tomorrow (and for May), I plan to read as many NaPo poems done by others as possible. Thus, my posts will slack off a bit.

The month of May has us doing family things, routine medical visits, and a five-day jaunt into the wilds of west Texas (family stuff) for Mother’s Day which is also Julie’s BD this year. It’s a bit special because she was born on Mother’s Day.

May also has Armed Forces Day (20th), our 57th wedding anniversary (27th), an in-person gathering of my writing group, and Memorial Day (29th). That last one is the unofficial threshold of Summer, but also when I try to remind folks that it is about remembrance of the dead.

Todays assigned prompt is to write a palinode, which is a poem written to retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem. I poked fun at football with my first 2023 NaPo poem “Not Only Texas.” To contradict that sentiment, I wrote this poem.

To Be Fair—

Many years ago, as we stood side-by-side on Kyle Field, Billy bluntly said, “Maybe I should have played this game.”

To be fair, or perhaps to favor American football; where dreams are made, others dashed; boys become strong, others injured, sometimes both; it’s our game. Canadians play a little differently. We try to interest Mexicans, Europeans, and the world. Where they call soccer, football.

Football mixes institutions: education, entertainment, music, religion, and groups of civic pride into the practice of honoring people and a game and raising hype to a positive practice. Who knows, maybe God does care who is good, big, fast, skilled, and who wins? About whom prays best?

Life has daily challenges, and who am I to say what the best way is to learn, to survive, to win?

After all, I, too, wanted to score the winning touchdown on Friday night. The Band of big and little Brothers, of life and death, and still—win we will— “The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps” – and we watched, as the band marched and played on, and on so well.

Look both ways to see the good and the bad, the ups and the downs.
Mind the gaps, the clips, and the traps.
And whatever your game, do it as well as you can.
Gig ‘em!

The phrase “The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps” is from Gen Douglas MacArthur’s Duty, Honor, Country speech at West Point, N.Y., May 12, 1962.


Click my grandson’s (in red) pic to watch a very positive video endorsing the good things about the game of football and the song by Kenny Chesney – “The Boys of Fall.”


If that link does not work, thy this:



NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 29)

Today, I was to cook up a poem in two parts. The recipe was supposed to focus on food or a meal. Part of the poem was to season the food as a person, and I was to give it some spoken dialogue.

Boiled versus Fried

  1. First this:

Newlyweds were we,
having moved to above her garage
from over on Waverly Way.

She fixed supper for us,
and I first met up with boiled fucking
okra, AKA, slimy green snot.

It was nineteen hundred and sixty-six;
we were 19; something, like this, well folks,
you just never forget, or forgive.

I’m certain I heard the grassy flavored
seed pods of gumbo thickener sing
eat me raw, you city slicker. We be worldwide.
I wanted to puke. I could’ve just died.
Embarrassed, I mannered-up and sighed.
And I swallowed the snotty lady’s fingers.

Little evil green monsters, till one day…

  1. Then this happened…

A crunchy cousin, nicely coated,
in some restaurant, called theirselves fried okra
provided texture to my tale and it was,
step back, Jack, we gunna treat ya well.

Old John Henry called it all “Okree,”
like old aunty of the Mallow family
with a funny first name
and John seemed to fuss over the food
in a good way, but I passed on boiled,
stewed, raw, or wrinkled. Fried
is the only okra for this damn Yankee.

Look both ways and learn to try, but texture counts.
Mind the gaps, but India grows most okra and now has the most people (not China),
and they must eat a lot of okra over there.


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Fried okra.


NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 28)

It is Yolonda’s birthday. To celebrate with NaPo, I am to write an index poem (me neither). I could use language from any index or invent one. It is kind of an index to parts of her life.

Yo’s Index (chronological)

Arrival in Cisco, 47; Commencement into the World, 64; Abilene Discovery 65; Blissfulness, 66; PA pronouns after laughing in the Chapel, 66; Travels of Ankara, Turkey, 67; War Hymns, Chig-gar-roo-gar-rems, Hullabaloos, Caneck! Caneck! and au revoir Air Force, 68; Hello Number One, 71; Woodville bounce-back, 72; O-1 with you (she’s back), 72; here/there/everywhere, 73; Hello Cowtown, 74; Welcome two to the gene pool, 74; Redneck Mothers, 75; Happy alert Thursday, 76; How much more of this?, 77; She was number three to stroke back Mother’s Day, 78; Goodbye Stranger, 79; Island fever, 80-82; Missed the bus, 83; Rabbit fever, 84; Rancho Swimming, 83-95; Goodbye friends, 86; Ride the Fiesta, 86-92; Shadows of darkness; 90-97; All Hell breaks loose, 96; Heaven sent, 99-01; Hell sent, 02-07; Emerald water/white sand, 12; The three mountains and it’s 50 as we, 15-17; Near Austin City Limits, 18-23.

Look both ways.
It all boils down to a book of life, which requires an index.
Mind the gaps and always remember names and places.
“Okay, but is it a poem?”


Click here to see the pure f-ing magic.


NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 27)

Today I was prompted to write a poem titled “The (blank) of (blank).” The first blank was to be a kind of plant or animal, the second blank an abstract noun.

The poem was to have at least one simile that plays on double meanings or otherwise doesn’t make “sense,” and describe things or beings from very different times or places as co-existing in the same space.

The Dove of Independence,
The Dove of Resistance

Are you Texan, Mexican, Mourning
or just a dove? Like a pigeon, a bird,
or an easy mark?

A Vlad target in late fall, even some of
the white wing clan; are you game
on those special occasions?

Does the cooing help you or me
make peace from your innocuous innocence
or your purity? Do you pacify or fight on?

Maybe a little less like white wing
and more like Blackhawk to win the war.
Can we deal with that winning pair?

Love conquers all, but right now
they need some hard ass, bald eagle, boom-boom.
May art like Palance be their winning war dance.

Or can VZ in the UKry find a winning way,
and stand up with humor to the wounded bear.
There’s no independence without resistance.

Look both ways at peace through conflict.
Mind the gaps but win the damn war.

Click on the meme for the NaPo page and more poetry.

Maybe I was a bit heavy with this prompt, but here is the story of Blackhawk and the white winged dove.


NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 26)

My final hump-day task for NaPo is to write a portrait poem that focuses on the subject’s name. While most of these prompts lean to nice and light, I am still on prompt with some shade.

This could have been a self-portrait, that of a family member or friend, or of a famous person. I went with a famous person.

The Best

Cahhleigh, what cha doin’?
was how your Brit ‘not-boyfriend’
Rolling Stones fronter,
Mick Jagger said Carly.
It was a hot song that burns today.

You tell about a father of two
girls who wanted a boy: Carl.
After you, he had Peter
but lost his wife, Andrea,
to Peter’s man, your discovery.
He lost his business, then, slowly his life.
And he never showed you enough
love. But you loved him anyway.
Carly Elisabeth Simon—

third daughter, sister, mother, wife twice,
writer of children’s books and memoirs
and songs and music
for movies. Singer. Guitarist. Pianist.
Not Carl. Carly!
As many who followed were
likewise named, proudly, Carly.

The tragedies and mistakes,
the stammers and stuttering,
the anxiety and performing issues
(you call not exactly stage freight)
the loss of all loves except your children
and many fans, we are all
hanging on and enjoying the days
that remain. Indeed, nobody does it better.

That forever smile, the eyes, hair, sometimes now, hats.
Shoeless often you sang out loud. A sexy lady of seventy-nine
and an inspiration of times, to us you seem just fine.

Look both ways.
The poor are not more or less guilty of being born into a place and world than the rich.
We were not asked.
Mind the gaps without judging the trouble they cause.
Often, we cannot overcome it, so we deal with it.


Just click this button and it’s magic.


You knew this would be here, right?

NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 25)

Today I was prompted to compose a love poem with three required aspects. It must name at least one flower (the Texas state flower is the bluebonnet, and they love them), contain one parenthetical statement, and have some
unusual line (like this)

This Love

This love of ours
like bluebonnets flower
in Spring flashing brilliance
of blue, purple, white, red,
and like it knew,
maroon (if you look close)
in April then waning to green
by May. Yet,

This love of ours
thrives with
life—stronger after hard
wet Winter passes. The
flower gone
the plant lives like
our love. Fruitful.

Reliable. Dependable. This love of ours, like no
other’s (spreading, seen, felt)
cannot be trampled or destroyed (though some have tried).

Look both ways, forgive but do not forget,
let love be seen with eyes of envy.
Mind the gaps,
but don’t let them be more than
a seam on a garment, a patch in a road, or a lone weed in a glorious garden.


Photo by me.


Click this button for the NaPo page and more free poems.

NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 24)

One week to go. Then poetry month and the NaPo challenge conclude.

Today we are to write a poetic review of something that isn’t normally reviewed. Define normal. Define review. I did a little rabbit hole hunting for things that should not be, but are reviewed. One guy reviewed life, and I thought it was great. I wrote a humorous epistolary poem.

Dear God,

I’ve tested this free soul
every day of my long life (thank you).
I understand this review
will be kept confidential.

First, my old soul has not aged well.
Mold and fungus are all over it.
What is it supposed to do again?
It seems to be useless like my appendix,
wisdom teeth, and nipples.
It’s just easier to remove.

How can I write a QA review
if no one knows what it is
supposed to do? One lady said that you
use it to keep score. Another said,
“you’ll find out soon enough.”
I felt threatened but don’t know why.

When I took it out, I noticed
feeling lighter with less guilt.
Is that normal for a soulless man?
I don’t see this part lasting
for the full length of eternity.

I’ve lost the receipt, the warranty,
maintenance records, and instructions.
Satan low balled me then refused to buy it.
The local body shop won’t touch it.

To be honest, this OEM soul
seems mighty worn out considering
it will not move and does absolutely nothing.
And what about soul music
and soul food? Is there more than
one kind, or is it a lot number thing?

Basically, my overall review and feedback
is that if this thing has a purpose,
please advise, and I will test accordingly.
Otherwise, I’m sure your QA department
can provide further information.



Look both ways when reading reviews.
At the extremes, they’re often emotional nonsense.
Mind the gaps when someone tries to explain useless parts.


Click on the NaPo 2023 button to see the challenge and to read more poems (not all are on prompt).

NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 23)

On the fourth Sunday of April 2023, we’ve been granted the opportunity to write a poem composed of numbered sections. Each section was to be in dialogue with the others, like a song where a different person sings each verse, giving a different point of view.

Additionally, the setting was to be specific, ideally a place where we once spent much time, but no longer do.

I used parts of The Age of Anxiety: A baroque Eclogue by W. H. Auden for methodological examples and guidance. Auden used several techniques in his book-length poem. One was identity tags (“Emble was thinking, Now Rosetta says, Malin says” … or sings, or Auden simply names the character) for who was speaking or thinking. He also explained places or set moods in prose. However, he did not use numbered sections. I must (mine is not to reason why). I have spared us both the book’s advantage of a 49-page introduction.

The Masque of Nave
(“’oh, heaven help me’ she prayed, to be decorative and to do right.” R. Firbank, The Flower beneath the Foot)

      1. He recalled to me…

I sat, stood, and kneeled in the back-most pew
of the bright, modern, incensed church nave.
Why was I there? What did I want?

      1. Jack later said…

I don’t believe all this makes sense, celibacy
without a cause, trans faces reality, real versus
what you think this place can do for you.

      1. Elle complained…

Not a wretch am I, and exactly from what
do any of us need savin’? They will come
if you feed them, and the music isn’t too bad.

      1. Adam looked and talked…

I could live like this, with some of you.
Hungry for your touch. I can show you
the way to find heaven on earth, in church.

      1. Then Ted said…

I will let you, if you allow me. We need
secrets to keep. This place smells, but
however it is, let me be part of it.

      1. Maddie told us…

Ted and Adam can play their sick game
without us in hell to help them; they are
blind and will never see time go so slow.

      1. I recalled…

This is not the place for us above it all.
No one will find a way or feel the fall.
What matters most is how we lived.

      1. And Jack repeated…

What you sense is not the house of God,
but the way to be seen as safe or good,
none here will go farther than the end.

      1. And I said to Jack and Judy…

Ted and Adam are alone and now dead;
you’ll both soon go to join them there;
the end patiently waits. But it always comes.

Look both ways into the good and the evil.
Even the snake only wants to be left alone.
Mind the gaps in all relationships.
People worships for reasons unknown,
often even to them.


Just click on the damn button.

Note: I did not use Roman numerals. WP did that on its own when I indented the poem. But they work okay, right?

NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 22)

For this Earth Day, also a Saturday, I was to select an Emily Dickinson poem and change it by removing dashes and line breaks. I was then to add my own breaks as well as to add, remove, or change words. Basically, I was to make a Dickinson poem mine.

As I read various versions of her many poems, I learned that others over the years have taken license to make changes to the point that I cannot determine original forms or words. In the case of one book I have, an entire stanza of a poem was either added by one or deleted by the other.

Because today is Earth Day, I chose a Dickinson poem that relates to nature: “The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants” – (1350); or XXV, page 97, in my copy of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (intro and notes by Rachel Wetzsteon). Generally, Dickinson did not title her poems, thus the numbers.

Bill’s Magic Trifle

The Liberty Mushroom is
the elf of plants at evening,
but not at morning, in its truffled magic hut
it stopped upon a spot as if it always hesitated.
Yet, its whole life is shorter
than a snake’s delay
and faster than the strike.

It’s its vegetation’s juggler,
the ever-changing nature is like a bubble
on the ground or floating to the trees.

I feel as if the grass was pleased as I
to have it grow in and among her blades of
scion of Summer’s circumspect.

If Nature had a more supple face
or she could pick a favorite fairy;
if Nature had an apostate fungus
the lowly liberty cap mushroom would be him!
And a favorite ‘shroom among us.

Look both ways because then is not now.
Mind the gaps left by migration and imagination.
Happy Earth Day.


Click on the NaPo 2023 button to see the challenge and to read more poems (not all are on prompt).


Hallucinogenic common magic mushrooms

NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 21)

My assignment (okay, prompt) for today was to choose a word from a list of 14, then to use that abstract noun to title a poem with short lines containing one or more invented words. I chose calm.

I recall
from long ago
Dad saying
“If you don’t
stop crying
I’ll give you
to cry about.”

That worked
as well as
“calm down.”

He never did.
I had plenty
of reasons
to cry.

I should have

Mom said
I was being
she meant emotional
or dramatic
or histrionic,
or noncalm,
or theatratic.

Now I’m calm,
laid back,
easy going.

Now it seems
I should inflate
my former

Look both ways in a world flooded with emotions, actors, and lies.
Mind the gaps trying to find the facts.
Play your role.


Click on the NaPo 2023 button to see the challenge and to read more poems (not all are on prompt).

Not so calm: