NAPO While Social Distancing
Well, I would have never guessed I'd be spending my national poetry month in 2020 in a pandemic, but here we are.
What a perfect time for poetry, though. I'm teaching online, I have nowhere to go, and poetry seems like a nice escape. NAPOing, I'm figuring, might give me some much needed structure, too.
So, in these darkish times, I'll write. I'll be roughly following the Napowrimo.net prompts. But today, my good friend, the talented poet Julieta Corpus was giving a workshop on Facebook Live, so I used her prompt instead. It was to find an object and write about it using the give senses, to give it a magical trait and a human trait. I found a meat mallet in my kitchen drawer, and I figured it would be perfect.
Here's my draft:
Oh, the strange contraptions
Hiding in my kitchen drawers—
A meat tenderizer, a mallet
For pounding the toughest of bits
Into something edible.
Menacing, the heft of it
In the hand, you can tell it wants
To hammer down onto something,
Tear into it with its teeth,
The fists, the belt, the words
That pockmark the psyche.
And I’ll hold this mallet in my hands
As I marinate another steak,
Its cold handle, its heaviness,
And know that I, standing in the kitchen,
Wield the power to bring tenderness
Out of anything, or anyone.
It does the hard work
so the teeth don’t have to.
How many years has this mallet lasted?
Generations. It’s ancient,
It wears the musty scent of the kitchen
Across its metallic shine,
The crumbs, the splatters of oil,
The dish soap baths. If this mallet
Were a human, if this mallet
Were my heart, we’d call it stern
Or strict and praise its ability
To create tenderness
out of the toughest of cuts of steak
The butchers of life deal us.