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NaPoWriMo 18 – Rubaiyat Noir

April 18, 2014

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a ruba’i, a Persian form of poetry using a four-line stanza with the rhyme sequence AABA. Multiple stanzas form a rubaiyat. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which you may have read, has 101 stanzas. Mine is, um, somewhat less profound with only three.

I also incorporated today’s #heartsoup prompt (“one silk scarf”), provided on Twitter by @HeartSoupPoems.

Hope you enjoy the dark side….

Rubaiyat Noir

by Jan Brown

A wife’s true love, its memory spilled
With his birthday gift, her breath was stilled
With blackest heart, he stole it back
The one silk scarf with which he killed

His new love turned away from him
Could not abide his violent whim
Terrified that she would talk
Her fate was sealed; he did her in

So now the monster is bereft
His first love and his last love left
This earthly plane for higher bliss
And he in chains, this world and next

NaPoWriMo 17 – Morning Song

April 17, 2014

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem that provides a detailed description of something using at least three of the five senses. It’s recommended that we describe something we encountered or experienced today.

Morning Song

by Jan Brown

morning feels like the aftermath of an assault
surely someone had attacked her knees and hips
while she fitfully slept
perhaps an angry debt collector
a sour-faced enforcer or
a fundraiser for the arthritis foundation
wielding a baseball bat

the acrid odor of stale sweat
another reminder of the night’s
pain and thrashing
gives way to the sweetness
of lavender body wash
doesn’t smell at all like lavender
still it’s delicate and flowery
giving purpose to the wisps of steam
that reorganize the kinks in her tendons

taste buds waken against their will
to the dry minty medication
that melts in her mouth
as advertised
a dozen more pills
to wash down with breakfast
she gives thanks to whichever greek god
created fat-free yogurt
and all the tiny morsels of mango
that lurk at the bottom of the plastic cup

she greets the world outside her window
seasonal colors waiting to be seen
but doesn’t come alive
until she hears the morning’s song
a harmonious cacophony of birds
going about the business of a warm spring day
the rhythm of lawn mowers and leaf blowers
the whistle of the train
the soulful latin jazz refrain
morning’s almost gone
but her song remains



NaPoWriMo 16 – Still Playing Dress-Up

April 17, 2014

The NaPoWriMo prompt for April 16th challenges us to write a poem of ten lines, with each line being a lie. In my case, part of each line is a lie. I think you’ll be able to tell which part….

Still Playing Dress-Up

by Jan Brown

I loved to play dress-up and dance in the attic—a graceful ballerina in white

I wore a pink formal to the junior prom—I was so lissome and lithe

he wore a black tux to the senior prom—we were blissfully happy

I wore blue bell bottoms in the park—we were carefree hippies

though he never inhaled—he experimented with joy

though his father hung himself—he was always a good boy

we nuzzled behind the band shell—we were always chaste

we never dated anyone else—even when he was away

I wore long braids at our wedding—he wasn’t hung over whatsoever

he ruined his tux at the reception—but we lived flawlessly thereafter

NaPoWriMo 15 – Come Away Now!

April 15, 2014

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem in terza rima. This form utilizes a specific structure and rhyme sequence, and is usually written in iambic pentameter.

My poem explains how I felt yesterday upon finding my world once again freezing and covered in snow.

Hey, give me a break, it’s the middle of April! There are supposed to be bunnies and tulips and robins and goldfinches. Not snow!

Come Away Now!

by Jan Brown

There’s no more welcome sign than spring, but now
The frosty winter’s veil of snow repeats
To aggravate our tired souls, but how

Can we abide this insult? Such defeat
This early in the season? Heavens, no!
To which vacation spot shall we retreat?

St. Bart’s? Aruba? Maui? Or Rio?
A great excuse to get away post haste
Or find my lost heart in San Francisco

Come away now, there is no time to waste!

NaPoWriMo 14 – Love or Hate?

April 14, 2014

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem consisting only of questions…except for the last sentence.  Here’s my interpretation:

Love or Hate?

by Jan Brown

When did my sweet, hot love for you turn into wretched hate?

When did my desire for the comfort of your body abate?

When did I become appalled at the sight of your face?

Why does the thought of sex with you make me feel debased?

How long has your whiny voice been grating on my ears?

How long have I been drowning in this tsunami of tears?

What finally convinced me to look for something better?

Could it have been the call from her, or possibly the letter?

Why are you groveling for forgiveness? Did your new love catch on to your game?

Does your slick facade no longer hide the fact that you’re extremely lame?

What makes you think I’d take you back, a man so wicked, so vile?

But please don’t stop begging; your anguished cries and desperate lies can only make me smile!

NaPoWriMo 13 – Kennings

April 13, 2014

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem containing one or more kennings. A kenning is a colorful term or metaphor, a phrase typically made up of two nouns, often hyphenated, to describe another noun.  The use of kennings dates back to old Norse poems and writings that describe mythological characters, battles and other dramatic events. For example, instead of the word “snow,” the term “winter-raiment” might be used. Modern kennings include such phrases as “show-stopper” and “brown-noser”–hardly as colorful as the Norse poets, but you get the idea….


by Jan Brown

my lover was a soul-taker

my love for him
a brain-disabler

his faithlessness
a love-quencher

he was a brilliant

made millions as
a misery-seller

highly skilled as
a kiss-sealer

finally captured, killed
by the grim reaper
(his soul’s keeper)


NaPoWriMo 12 – Happiness is….

April 12, 2014

The National Poetry Writing Month challenge today is to write a “replacement” poem. A replacement poem has elements of a “found poem,” but uses more of the poet’s own words.

We were asked to select a noun representing a tangible item (in my case, I chose “ecosystem”). Then, using found text, replace that word with one representing an intangible quality. I used the Wikipedia entry for “ecosystem,” selected five specific sentences, and replaced “ecosystem” with “happiness.” Then I built the poem around those five statements (five stanzas). I included a few other found phrases from the Wikipedia article as appropriate. I hope you find it meaningful.


Happiness is a community…

we move as many

within the one

undulating, traveling a loop

creating energy

releasing it back to the group


The energy that flows through happiness…

rays of the sun

travel great distances

to nourish and delight

creating love

at the speed of light


Happiness is controlled…

by external events

by internal resources

by the passions of two

creating hope

for me and you


Happiness is subject to periodic disturbances…

shooting stars of fallen dreams

black holes of despair

darkening the skies

creating doubt

with wretched lies


Humans exist and operate within happiness…

a diverse world of wonder

in a constant state of flux

amidst the worst adversity

creating life

requiring faith in you, in me





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