The 365 Poetry Project
One poem a day for a full year. Think I’ll make it?
I’ve had enough of liars-
jokers, clever poets, and satirists-
skirting around what they mean
by proclaiming what they don’t.
Hiding behind a grey screen,
treading water in the middle
of two extremes
and murking it up with their sass;
it isn’t so funny to me.
For would the world not be better off
if all wore visibly their intent,
and made completely known their
point of view?
I haven’t time for deciphering,
unfurling riddles and hypothesizing
whether a no is really a no,
or a deceitfully disguised yes.
I find no fun in figuring
and believe that everyone ought
to aspire to be taken straightforwardly-
to be an honest and genuine man-
to be an honest man
You’d think we all gave our lives to be here-
retired early in a condo on the beach
after decades of shoveling horrible snows,
the way we carry on.
We trump out our fanciest pea coats
for three weeks of December discomfort,
grumbling and wiping the dust off
the red part of the thermostat.
But most of us don’t know it, never got
the heart-thrill of thawing something frozen,
never suffered through the negatives
to earn that blessed warmth.
But I have had my fill of swimming pools,
tans I have no use for, ugly flip-flops,
because I know there is no sweat
like the sweat under fleece-
the maddening contradiction of fear and joy
that accompanies a blizzard, wondering whether
we’ll wake alive or dead
in the morning.
Today begins a month-long project that most of my writer friends are obsessing about, and that most of my non-writer friends are completely unaware of: National Novel Writing Month, lovingly shortened to NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write a novel of 50,000 words or more in 30 days. (I know you’re doing the math so I’ll spare you the trouble: that’s about 1700 words per day just to make the minimum word count… yikes.)The whole project is supposed to be this uplifting, self-challenging exercise that not only tests your capabilities and willpower, but motivates you to create something you wouldn’t otherwise have had the gumption to complete. Plus, since there’s a whole bunch of other people doing it at the same time, you’ve got this expansive community of writers to hold hands and sing Kumbayah with (or beat your heads on your desks in unison, whatever the case may be.)
As the clock has wound down to NaNoWriMo’s commencement today, lately I’ve heard numerous excited friends hailing its perks and trying to convince me to participate. I thought about it, honestly I did give it a good once-over, but I’ve come to the conclusion that no, I ain’t doin’ it.
Now immediately I know some of you are gasping or scoffing or making some sort of choking noise, I can tell (because yeah, I’m in your computer screen, deal with it.) But before you deal out a swift judgment about my literary merit, allow me to explain.
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo because I don’t need to. If the point is to push/torture yourself into tackling a huge project or to stretch the limits of what you think you’re capable of, I’m already doing that, trust me. My 365 Poetry Project marches ever on, in which I somehow squeeze in enough time to write and publish one poem a day for a full year, the only rule being that I have to be proud of whatever I end up releasing to the public. Believe me, it ain’t easy. I write through my lunch breaks, or in the car, or at restaurant tables surrounded by quasi-offended friends who haven’t yet decided whether it’s mostly amusing or mostly annoying. I wake up in the morning thinking about poetry, scan billboards and boring paperwork for inspiration, cancel dates if I’m not finished yet, and go to sleep thinking about tomorrow’s poem. In short, writing already runs my life. You’ll have to excuse me if the idea of pushing myself any further makes me laugh and want to jump out the window.