There are so many details to today’s prompt, I am going to post it below the poem. Or, you may refer to the prompt as presented by Napowrimo here. My poem was inspired by a freewriting I found in a journal using a Chagall painting as a prompt in Katherine Tandy Brown’s writing workshop. Thank you, Katherine!
Her life is a blue song
& it is no bohemian rhapsody.
A blue angel plays a blue horn
while a blue goat dances to the notes.
Her life had become a blue story &
even her angel played a blue song of sorrow.
Yes, there were moments of yellow—
bright sun, sunflowers, & moments when
honey shimmered liquid gold
on her tongue and bird-trilled down
her throat. Less often moments of red—
roses, passion, & heat on her skin.
Still most days the blue angel
hovered over her daily chores,
over washing the dishes,
over feeding her cat, & over her paying bills.
Blue angel even hovered
over her slightly damp brow
when walking the path to nowhere.
Blue goat by her side followed the
blue notes & Poet Voice lingered
in the clouds as the blue angel blasted
blue notes & lightly blew a gentle chanson
from her golden horn.
Blue goat would frolic to notes
of the brightest blue like
Flannery’s peacocks at her Andalusia farm.
Though he trailed her steps on the path,
as he placed one hooved foot gingerly
in front of the other in a goat dance,
it was so joyful, it almost cheered her—
she whose life is blue song.
But no, she could not be cheered
by the goat’s antics, so she kept on
with her blue story & when
blue notes fell in piles
on the edges of the path,
they were quickly & completely absorbed
by the green blades sprouting from
black earth. Blue angel declares she
will blast her golden horn into the sky
when she whose life is a blue song
sings a sun-soaked song of joy, &
the blue song breaks like a shattered mosaic.
Jacquelyn Markham (4/8/2023)
The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:
1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
Indeed, the most challenging prompt so far!