I love the permission implicit in the NaPoWriMo challenge. The prompts send me spinning in directions that don’t occur to me to go down on my own. There is no time to brood at NaPoWriMo – no hours to incubate a poem, to let it lose first gloss, to amputate and trim and tuck. Once published here, upon this blog, I cannot send my poems to any publication or contest demanding virgin work. The audience is everywhere and no where and both alternatives allow the freedom poetic license promises but contemporary poetic culture does not always deliver. The playground is vast, full of buckets, shovels and sandboxes, slides and swings, puddles and prams, hurt feelings and busted lips, scraped knees and elbows, creepy dudes, over-protective mothers, and sweet-faced nannies to kiss the boo-boos better. It’s a great place to try your hand at anything, with room enough for all…
You always said the Golden Mean, the Middle Way
smacked of compromise and copping out.
Mistaking license for freedom, excess for abundance
you’d rather die than cry, enough! Did it seem
like enough when lesions ran up and down your arms,
or you lay face-down on a hundred filthy floors
or when rooting through a dumpster, right before a dawn
you hadn’t raised your eyes to since forever for an ABC hamburger,
and you almost cried over a full bag of fries?
Or maybe, you’d had enough when Mary Jane slit
her wrists in your bathroom because the baby died of SIPS
and after the ambulance left you screamed yourself hoarse
on the front lawn, shaking your fist at God till neighbors
called police who seeing blood all over your shirt hauled you
downtown and threw your ass in jail overnight, which is where
you had your first hit ’cause cellmates couldn’t stand your whimpering
and bought themselves some cheap peace?
Who knows when enough becomes enough and the world shakes itself
into a new configuration in which wind from a different quarter
blows pink streamers across the morning and you look up
for the first time since forever and finally understand enough.