So in three days time National Poetry Writing Month begins. A month where all manner of writers, from professionals to amateurs, take to writing every day throughout the entirety of April.
When I first saw this movement a few years ago I thought the people doing it were in insane. One poem? Every day? For a whole MONTH?! Can’t be done, I thought. It would drive me bananas, I thought some more. Where’s my lighter gone, I asked aloud, to the no-one that shared the room with me.
It’s a really great thing to do, especially if you can get involved with a community and share what you are doing with peers. There are a multitude of websites that will post prompts and starter points to help guide you through the challenge. I was going to do it last year but, with work being plain awful and my fondness for making excuses for not being productive, I gave it a miss.
Towards the back end of last year I told myself I would take part in it this April, knowing that I probably wouldn’t be feeling better in myself for at least pretending like I had that sort of intention. Like most things I try to plan out, I honestly think I would not have gotten round to doing it.
I’m really looking forward to it starting next week. I’m genuinely concerned that the poems I have been writing for this over the last few weeks have been absolutely dire. Not even worth the pixels they take up on the screen. I think that taking part in NaPoWriMo will bring a little inspiration to my work again.
There is, however, a problem with this too. Now, after writing at least one poem a day since the 1st January, writing at least 87 poems since the start of the year, I think the people who are only doing it for April are lazy bastards! Only one month in which you are doing a poem a day? Come on, pull your fingers out! I jest of course.
I do not. Here is a poem. It’s my stab at a Bukowski-type low-life poem.
‘Don’t get sick on the floor’
she told me twice as I hunched
over the toilet in the glow of the hallway
light. The glitter of sequins on
her dressing gown across my back
groped the shadows
as another bout hit the ceramic.
I unsteadily stood and turned on the tap,
forcing my head under for a messy slurp
before returning to the bedroom,
falling onto the cheap mattress next to her.
‘Is there someone behind me?’
I asked her, the pungent paranoia
had finally hit. She told me there wasn’t but
I knew she was lying. I slowly packed my tobacco
into the gown’s pocket and edged my way
around the room to the door.
I took the first drag of a flared rolly
as unwelcome 3am breezes blew open
the gown to reveal my boxer shorts.
That’s when Thompson walked past,
Heineken in hand with a lit cigarette
in tucked into the band of his
fedora. ‘Good night?’ he asked twice.
I really wasn’t sure but thought
as I took the third in what could only
be four drags this roll would allow.
‘This girl loves pink. And horses.
She had two hot dogs when I
saw her in the takeaway. Fucks like
a spinning top.’
He nodded sagely in my direction
though maybe not at what I had said.
‘Fancy a beer?’ was his reply, twice.
I let the fire door close behind me, wrapped
the gown around my waist properly
and headed with Thompson to the union.
Tonight I also partly took part in a brilliant hash-tag on Twitter called #PoemCrawl From what I understood of it, one person was giving regular poetry prompts and a whole menagerie of poets – for I think that is the collective noun – sat writing poetry all night and drinking. I can’t think of anything better! Here are some of the poems I did.
Prompt: Behind these eyes.
Behind these eyes
galvanise. What was I saying?
behind these eyes
lies nothing, you surmise.
Prompt: Only begun.
It’s only begun
to show its potential,
Supervolcanoes, twisters and all.
Telling us to fuck off.
Prompt: Selfish words.
Selfish words are curt.
Keeping what they know