Napo 6, Napo 7, and TIL!
Howdy from San Antonio! There I am, giving my reading at my induction to the Texas Institute of Letters. Last night, I read my poems beneath the stars in La Villita to a crowd of supportive and inspirational writers. It was amazing. My former professor, Steve Schneider, was also inducted into the organization, along with another talented poet whom I just met, Sheryl Luna. Last night was the poets' ceremony. This morning, we had a delightful breakfast and a ceremony for the children and young adult authors. Tonight, the main event will take place, a banquet at The Menger Hotel. Needless to say, I've been busy.
Fortunately, I had written one "extra" poem on April 1st, so I'm counting that as my poem for yesterday. I'll paste an excerpt of it below. At some point soon, it will be posted on This City is a Poem in its entirety.
And today, I slipped away from the festivities into my hotel room for some much needed peace, quiet, and reflection. And a nap. And some writing. So, below, I'll share my NAPO 6 and 7.
Napo 6 (Excerpt)
You can’t escape the Texas sky,
the outstretched arms of the horizon,
always looming just beyond:
in Houston, where the buildings tower
over everything and scrape
the surface of her skin, in Marfa,
where at dusk, she shimmers lovely
in a gown of stars, reveals
bits of mystery by night
that make you realize how small
you worries are, and in the valley,
where heaven sings a morning chorus,
filled with trilling kisskadees,
and loudly squawking flocks of grackles.
Today's prompt was to write about a number. I wrote about 31 because that's my age. This poem is still really rough, but I think I arrive somewhere interesting. I like the idea of comparing days to coins, and I think that's a metaphor I'll continue to develop as I revise and rework this poem.
Poem for the number 31
I am thirty, plus one.
Always, plus one.
That plus sign reminding me
Of the equation we’re taught,
The equation within our flesh
Of addition, not subtraction
From the world.
What will I add?
A month doesn’t get any longer
Than thirty-one days.
It may be the end
of a sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet May,
Or the termination of a painful September.
One foot in youth, one foot in middle-age,
I spend my days responsibly and recklessly at once.
Sometimes, I finger hours in my pocket,
Careful where to spend each one,
And, when filled with love, I toss them
Like pennies into the fountain of youth,
And laugh when they sink to the bottom
Like tiny disappointments of a wish
That doesn’t come true in the way you expect.
At thirty-one, my body keeps up
Its charade of immortality.
Each morning, I’m blessed to rise.
Each night, I’m blessed to lie
My body down before the darkness,
A sacrifice of time in exchange
For another day. At thirty-one,
My ovaries take another gamble,
Throw the dice on the craps board,
Bet it all because there’s nothing left
To lose. They roll, reveal their face,
And I moan at the red results, again,
Again, again, again, again. At thirty-one,
I’ve been through this before. At thirty-one,
I’ll go through it again, in another month
Of a womb as empty as a drifter’s pocket
And a heart as full as a drifter’s dream,
And I’ll keep searching for the day,
The month, the year when my life
Will change, when I’ll win that jackpot
And hold the sweetest riches in my arms,
The warm weight heavier than gold
Or cash or anything else at thirty-one
I dream about when I close my eyes.
Today, I’m thirty-one. I’m young
Enough to dream. I’m old enough
To lie awake and wonder.