NaPoWriMo 6 – Song of the City

National Poetry Writing Month continues….

The sixth challenge of the month is to simply look out the window, write down the things you see (nouns), the colors you see (adjectives), and the things you see happening (verbs). Then mix and match the nouns, adjectives and verbs as you write your poem.

As I wrote down what I saw, I filled the page with columns of words. But it wasn’t what I saw that impressed me. What had the greatest impact was what I heard. The usual sounds of early spring are particularly lovely after such a frigid winter, both the sounds of nature and the sounds of actual human beings enjoying the outdoors for the first time in months. Also, I live near a train station, so that’s pretty noisy! My neighbor is doing some work on the house, which adds hammering, scraping, talking, occasionally shouting and a variety of energetic music.

All of these wonderful sounds prompted me to adjust the challenge a bit. Here is the result:

Song of the City

by Jan Brown

in the urban landscape

life teems

in the crevice

like grass peeking through the sidewalk

color spills

over the surface

like graffiti on the side of a train

smells waft

from the edges

like hot dogs at a baseball game

but sound crashes

in the center

demanding attention

permeates the air

reaches up

and touches the sky

reaches down

and touches our souls

the roar of machinery

the strike of the hammer

the squealing of brakes

the chatter of squirrels

the song of the sparrow

the whine of the train

the voice of the rapper

the joy of the dancer

the chant of the cheerleader

the beat of the music

the melody of laughter

the crunch of the gravel

the soft moan of lovers

the song of the city

the music of life



NaPoWriMo 2 – It’s Not the Day

National Poetry Writing Month continues….

The second NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem based on a random quote from literature provided by The Bibliomancy Oracle.  The “oracle” provided me with the following gem:

it is a lack of faith makes the days

(those joyed and those


so very long and waiting.


from “Radio” by Stephanie Barber


As I thought about this quote, I had a very strong response. I realized that it’s not my faith that is lacking, and it’s not my days that are  “so very long and waiting.”


It’s Not the Day

by Jan Brown

it’s not the morning

that is agonizing

it’s not the noonday sun

that sears me

it’s not the rainy afternoon

nor the prescient dusk

not even the chilly evening

with frozen diet dinner and wine

it’s not the day

that steals my joy

it’s the night

the screaming night

it’s the pain

winding through the bedroom

like a hunger

seeking to be sated

it’s the heavy lidded eyes

not allowed to close

it’s the medicated brain

separated from its bliss

it’s not the day

that steals my joy

it’s the night

the too long night


April is also Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). One of the things that can shorten a long night of sleeplessness and pain is the right music, and for me, that music is usually jazz. “Joy and Pain” is an upbeat song and one of my favorites–performed by Simply Red at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  There is also a quieter, instrumental version on the Smooth Jazz All Stars album that is perfect for bedtime 🙂


National Poetry Writing Month

April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)!!!

The goal of the project is to write 30 poems in 30 days. National Poetry Writing Month started on Tuesday and I, being perennially late, started writing on Thursday. Now I am finally caught up! I will be posting to the blog as time permits.

To learn how to participate, or to read the poetry of other participants, visit the official website by clicking the NaPoWriMo 2014 button in the sidebar to the right.

For the first few days, I have followed the prompts as given and found them both enlightening and enjoyable. I learned something new from each one. The first challenge was to write a poem about a myth or legend, the only stipulation being that it not relate to Greek or Roman mythology, because so much has already been written on those subjects. For my subject, I chose an ancient Japanese goddess, Amaterasu.

Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun

by Jan Brown

she paints the heavens

with her siblings

shines her light

on nieces and nephews

bringing life to these islands

the wide span

of our floating world

she warms the earth

with her effervescence

sparkling rays of light

long tendrils touching

tiny hands and hearts

the gentle waves

of our floating world

she reaches the depths

of the ocean floor

in dwindling light

in deepest water

nourishing and dazzling

the teeming life

of our floating world


Grieving the Lush Life

autumn leaves, languid

no longer blessed

by a lush life of green

crunchy and dry

permanently thirsty


aging leaves, weightless

buffeted by the merest of breezes

floating without direction

I try to catch them

paste them back on the branch


stubborn leaves, dangling

holding on to a near-bare bough

clinging to the life they knew

then flying into my hands

too weak to keep them safe

Dancing girl

Beyond the Event Horizon

death stood on my chest
lungs and fluids burned
I closed my eyes
through darkened lids
I watched my world implode
screamed silently
without air
sliding into a black hole
no way back


limbs, useless
flailing, grasping
stretched to oblivion
elastic that will never snap
echoes of DNA strands
splitting apart
hurtling shapelessly
through the jet stream
moment by moment


molecules dissipating
melding with the darkness
and memories of light
that body, that woman, is gone
the kernel that remains
is but a seed spewed out
onto the hard, cracked earth
of another planet
waiting for the rain

black hole - image credit NASA-JPL Caltech

Awkward Angel

I am still yearning for a guardian angel (hence my Twitter handle, @yearningangel). But I fear that she is much like me — lacking the ease of mobility, balance and physical grace. Even with these challenges, I think she will try her best to reach me.

Purple Angel - Image by Kerri McClellan -

Peter fitted me with numinous wings,

glowing from shoulder to shin.


they weighed me down!

I fell back to earth again.

I landed softly as the dew,

but still my body’s weak.


I cannot fly to you now.

I hope that you can seek

me in your dreams.

I’ll come on mended wing.


the message may be jumbled.

Can you hear me sing?

No Time

Hourglass time clock with sand - by gl0ck-Fotolia

too many days go by
too many nights fly
past me
before I realize
what we have

all the long years go
all the strong winds flow
through me
before I recognize
who you are

no time
left to know you
no time
left to tell you
no time

not enough time to say
not enough in the days
we have left
before you recognize
what we are

too many mornings come
too many evenings gone
time to remember
what we had

Love is Blind

Saturday’s NaPoWriMo challenge was to select a common proverb and plug it in to a search engine. Then review the first few pages of results, jot down any words of interest that are found there, and use those words as inspiration and source material for a poem.

I chose the old adage, “Love is blind,” because it applies so well to my youthful choices. 

I guess I have no excuse for any such choices that I may or may not have made later in life. Hmmm….

Once again, I was also inspired by one of Hilary Blackwood’s charming pieces.

 The Decision

I see, I hear

but long for touch

I mourn my losses

but not too much

I long for summer

but melt in sun

I fear the winter

but not this one

I feel love flowing

but not through me

how dangerous

to love, to see

Self Portrait

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to plug one’s name into an anagram generator and, using those words, write a self portrait.  Over two thousand words were generated! I only used 17 of them…then added a few of my own.

self portrait





once a rebel with elan

entering the now

this world, this crazy orb

like a wet, wild newborn

now a loner

wan and worn

bent and torn

in need of renewal

a jolt, a jab

a mystical brew

to be reborn

or take her final bow


Day 18 – National Poetry Month

The challenge is to write a poem that begins and ends with the same word. I was inspired by the Maori love song that was was sung in the parliamentary chamber when the New Zealand legislature passed a bill redefining marriage to include marriage between gay couples.

A link to the YouTube video appears below my poem.

sing–I beckon you

with open arms

open your heart

and your mouth

defend love

affirm it

shout it to the sky

and let the heavens ring

as you sing