(30/30) Meet Me in the Cellar

I skipped the last prompt from NaPoWriMo and posted this poem from another writing group I belong to.

You’ve been gone
for so many years,
I struggle to remember
how your voice held me.

Even when you yelled,
I could hear love;

it kept the monsters away

it encouraged me to do my homework

it told me to take out the trash.

One day while at a cousin’s house,
I heard a soft tone
meet me in the cellar.

I went

it was you
speaking over white noise
covered in dark.


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(29/30) Disappearance

The prompt for day twenty-nine over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem based on the Sylvia Plath Poetry Project’s calendar, (I chose her poem 
An Appearance) then write a poem that responds or engages with the chosen poem in some way. 

The poem I wrote might not engage or respond to the one I chose, but it definitely uses style elements from it.

The cackling of this blazing cross crumbles me;
symbol of divinity glowing like the devil
bones whispering about brimstone.

From melted lips nouns and adverbs
leak like punctured lungs,
it was Tuesday in my mind: escape.

Ironed and freshly whipped,
torn flesh begs for maggots;
wounds scented with defeat.

I wear death and its darkness
nestled in an unmarked grave,
the ground speaking in noose riddles.

An empire of persecuted blood flows
under abandoned cotton fields;
my body will bathe in it like rain.

O child who hungered for freedom
the north star was a beautiful lie
shining like a slaver’s lantern. 

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(28/30) Reverence

The prompt for day twenty-eight over at NaPoWriMo: draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard.



(27/30) Speaking with Sunrays

The prompt for day twenty-seven at NaPoWriMo: pick a tarot card then write a poem inspired either by the card or the images and ideas associated with it.

Every morning,

I take time to speak with the sun.

We talk about the shadow times

and hiding from brilliance;

how struggle will eat you alive

if you don’t learn how

to starve it.

The child in me knew;

that’s why I kept

him alive.


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(26/30) Skin

The prompt for day twenty-six over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses.

Beauty like a Caribbean sunrise,

scent of cocoa in autumn;

warm like pancakes.

Mouth overdoses on every inch,

goosebumps march loudly in formation

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(25/30) Warning

The prompt for day twenty-five over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that takes the form of a warning label…for yourself.

Objects in this mirror

are older than they appear;

proceed with caution

for silver thoughts

and a silver tongue

may cause your life

to become undone.


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(24/30) Dust

The prompt for day twenty-four over at NaPoWriMo: write a elegy that has a hopefulness to it.

We chased lightning bugs
while picking up empty
shell casings wondering
if the bullets that came
from them ever killed

we had rehearsals
about getting shot;
you would always play dead
from a chest wound, while
I simulated what a head shot
felt like.

Our mothers would be so mad
when we came home with clothes
covered in dust.

The day I heard you were murdered,
all I could think about was
the time we were at your house
and your mom said
y’all can’t wait to go out there
and lie in the dirt

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(23/30) The Sound of Love

The prompt for day twenty-three over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem based in sound.

How many of us
have used the phrase
butterflies in the stomach
when describing the 

feeling of love?

Can you hear them
fluttering over blood
thumping throughout
your body like a Saturday
night dance floor?

Maybe love sounds like
a war between solitude
and surrender


continuous tank tracks
rolling over sanity


birds on a Sunday morning
singing by a lake
near an open bay window
in a cabin where bodies
paint each other with
silken bristles made of
sunlight and sweat;

the swishing of brush strokes
harmonizing like an aquatic choir.

Maybe love sounds like drowning.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly




(22/30) Clockwise

The prompt for day twenty-two over at NaPoWriMo: take a statement of something impossible and then write a poem which the impossible happens. I chose The clock can’t strike thirteen

The clock can’t strike thirteen

but it might have to

for the twelfth hour

feels like it

only has a

few seconds


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(21/30) Comment

The prompt for day twenty-one over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that plays around with the myth of Narcissus.



on your selfies

being beautiful

but I fear my word

is no match compared

to the reflection of

likes you receive 

from your pool of


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(20/30) Payday

The prompt for day twenty over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that involves rebellion in some way

Eff bills,
today I’m rebelling;

if my lights get cut off,
I got candles bamma
is what I’m yelling.

I’m tired of
paying taxes too

Uncle Sam,
you ain’t make the cut;

I’m holding on to all
my dollars, waving them
joints in your face
like whuuuuut???!!!

This payday
shall be mine,
to hell with
setting money aside
for rent,

come 1st
of the month
landlord gonna
be in his feelings

because all
this here money
is getting spent.

is about to be
a thing of the past,

that excel spreadsheet
and my savings account
can both kiss my ass…

sets are about
to be liquid fo’ sho’

Main Source
on my paycheck;

and this here cash
is looking at the front door,

going to
the airport
flight is booked,

responsible adult
in me, curled up
in a corner somewhere
acting all shook.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly 



(19/30) Stopping Distance

The prompt for day nineteen over at NaPoWriMo: write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story then erase words from the paragraph to create a poem

One Friday night, early Saturday morning while heading to my part-time weekend job, I saw a car accident. In my mind, I knew the way the driver slammed on brakes to avoid running the red light was going to cause someone to run into the back of her and sure enough, a car with little to no stopping distance did just that. Part of me wanted to go over and make sure everybody was okay, but the part of me that was running late said put your damn foot on the gas and get the hell out of there for we ain’t got time to be checking on no one. 

One Friday night, early Saturday morning while heading to my part-time weekend job, I saw a car accident. In my mind, I knew the way the driver slammed on brakes to avoid running the red light was going to cause someone to run into the back of her and sure enough, a car with little to no stopping distance did just that. Part of me wanted to go over and make sure everybody was okay, but the part of me that was running late said put your damn foot on the gas and get the hell out of there for we ain’t got time to be checking on no one.


(18/30) Shreds

The prompt for day eighteen over at NaPoWriMo: find a poem, use a piece a paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem…I used a poem by Stanley Kunitz entitled The Portrait <--- (click here for original poem)

(The lines I added are in italics)

My mother never forgave my father
cursed his name with every unused breath
for killing himself,

leaving us
especially at such an awkward time
before my arrival
and in a public park,
of all places
that spring
in April
when I was waiting to be born
and waiting to meet him.

She locked his name
away forever
in her deepest cabinet
shrunken, cowering
and would not let him out,
no matter what was right
though I could hear him thumping
like my heart through my clothes.

When I came down from the attic
weary from reminiscing,
with the pastel portrait in my hand
fingertips grasping memories
of a long-lipped stranger
whose face mirrored mine
with a brave moustache
stubble, resembling 40 grit sandpaper
and deep brown level eyes,
the color of earth and magic

she ripped it into shreds
pieces failing like misshapen snowflakes
without a single word
she drew back
and slapped me hard
time echoing the pain.

In my sixty-fourth year
my face remembers
I can feel my cheek
still burning
my skin is melting.



(17/30) We Will Always Be Here For You

The prompt for day seventeen over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem re-telling a family anecdote that has stuck with you over time


Parents say 
they would like
to die before
their children;

mines were no different.

It was so confusing
hearing, we will always
be here for you
in with we’re not going
to always be around

When they died,
part of me cursed
them for lying and
bringing about a
self-fulfilling prophecy.

It wasn’t until
one cold Saturday
afternoon in my

sifting through
old photos and memories,

did I finally understand
what they meant.


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(16/30) Rules For Dating In The 21st Century

The prompt for day sixteen over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that features the idea of play. It can be a poem about a sport or game, or about people who play or are playing a game; it can even be a poem in the form of rules for a sport or game…

Rule 1: Realize dating is being repackaged under the name hook-up

Rule 2: Texting is standard operating procedure

Rule 3: Be careful; vulnerability can get your heart torn to pieces

Rule 4: When participating in a LDR, if the person doesn’t real time video chat with you in the beginning, see episodes of Catfish

Rule 5:  Stay out of DM’s because screenshots will be your downfall

Rule 6: An offer to feed someone can spark endless possibilities

Rule 7: Not being afraid to get dressed up for a date can lead to more dates

Rule 8: Be imaginative

Rule 9: Be kind because life is already cruel enough

Rule 10: Don’t let stank breath hijack your evening

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(15/30) What My Grandma Left Behind

I skipped the NaPoWriMo prompt for day fifteen and used a prompt from another group instead.

What My Grandma Left Behind:

The aroma of chicken
frying in a cast 

iron skillet;

welt marks 

from talking
slick and 


stories about 

walking 20 miles 
one way to school;

hugs that made 

me forget about 
the boogieman 
under my bed.

Spade lessons.

Tunk whuppings.

House coat modeling
and gossiping 

from the front 

An assortment 

of Sunday church 

her sisters;

her grandchildren;


© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(14/30) Teacup

The prompt for day fourteen over at NaPoWriMo: write an imaginary dream dictionary entry for one or more of the following words:
Teacup, Hammer, Seagull, Ballet slipper, Shark, Wobbly table, Dentist, Rowboat

Teacup: /ˈtēˌkəp/ noun

To dream of a tea cup
is to have a nightmare
about the sunken place;

slave lullabies drowning
in blood from the middle 

passage, chains and cotton
scented with Earl Grey.

You may wake up
with the after taste
of southern plantation
on your tongue;

stay calm,

wipe the sweat
from your mind
and read
Wretched Of The Earth.

© 2018 Abruvanmedsly



(13/30) Hashtag

The prompt for day thirteen over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase or phrases get up-ended.

Death comes at you slow

when life is dim

shots backfire

DM’s dull


you stay sleep.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(12/30) Around The Way

The prompt for day twelve over at NaPoWriMo: write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live…

Every morning, an exodus of working class folk make their way through sunlit backstreets and side alleys where the ghost of crack vials dwell. Veteran ex-drug dealers and rehabbed junkies stand out on a stoop trading war stories while telling kids lumbering pass them to stay in school. The trees whisper about how many cars they will cover with pollen while cherry blossoms kamikaze sidewalks. A woman with ancestral hips saunters down the block; summer is just a sway away.


sunrise greets routines
springtime comes to life at 8AM;
hips forecast future.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(11/30) Bleak

The prompt for day eleven over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that addresses the future, answering the questions What does y(our) future provide? What is your future state of mind?

Dear Future,

I made a plan to meet you years ago;

penned you love letters and postcards
even when I couldn’t afford
paper to write on.

I cling to the idea
that you’re just a day away
but after twenty plus years
of romanticizing what it would
be like to finally meet you,
I’m at the point of giving up.

The thought of you has been
replaced with chip implantation,
mass genocide of the poor
and apocalyptic world war.

Part of me will always be 
with you on that beach like 
I envisioned but reality
is here now with 

outstretched arms
and a bosom full of fear
whispering in my ear
about plan B.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(10/30) Insomnia: Act IV

The prompt for day 10 over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem of simultaneity in which multiple things are happening at once.

Moonlight crawls

up the wall;

settling of the house,

a macabre soundtrack.

Incessant whirling of

a refrigerator motor;

buzz saw to the brain.

The thunderous beating of my heart

burst through muscle and bone

like Ripley’s Nemesis.

Eyeballs flirt with

every shadow movement;

sight now a whore.

Skin, the temperature of an

August night in DC;

I feel myself sticking to the bed,

perspiration has become glue.

The ceiling looks down at me;

I swear it is laughing.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(9/30) Micro Tendencies

The prompt for day nine over at NaPoWriMo was we to write a poem in which something big and something small come together

I am a microbe
dancing on a speck
of time;

a grain of sand
trying to escape

the beach;

a dust mite
welcoming breezes 

from an open window;

infinitesimal acting 

like infinity.

My shrunken life
dreams like a star
walking hand & hand

with void.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(8/30) Pages

The prompt for day eight over at NaPoWriMo was to write a poem in which mysterious and magical things occur. The poem could take the form of a spell, for example, or simply describe an event that can’t be understood literally

I once poured words
into pages like
blood on an altar;

recited incantations
until my throat became
a talisman.

I watched poetry transform
into my defense against the dark arts;

fingertips are now shamans.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly

Finding Forrester Trailer


(7/30) Fight Club

The prompt for day seven over at NaPoWriMo: create a list of your different layers of identity then write a poem where the powerful and vulnerable parts of you interacts with each other

The dreamer in me
constantly argues
with the pragmatist.
The loner steps
in but is drowned out
by the extrovert.

The leader fist fights
with the writer;

the uncle picks them 
up off the floor.

The traveler kicks the
homebody in the throat;

the comedian dies
from laughter.

Everybody loves
being a Washingtonian
but hates the traffic
and high ass cost
of living here.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly


(6/30) Walking Away

The prompt for day six over at NaPoWriMo was to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. It could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two.

I never
forgave myself
for demolishing
the future I built

        money and time
        spent like
        shell casings

during war.

I carried the bricks all
the way from childhood

        calluses remember

I still feel how hot
and bright the sun was
the day I walked away
from the thing I loved most

        feet mimicked concrete

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly 



(5/30) Git Ya Own Damn Grits

I skipped the NaPoWriMo prompt for today and instead shared this piece I wrote a few weeks ago...

I sho’ do like the way you make grits

became nails on a chalkboard
every time he uttered that
phrase from his mouth.

She tolerated it for the cause'
because cooking, cleaning and
taking care of brown skinned
children was a revolutionary

ya dig?

Reiterating this
is how he continually slid
his dominance down her throat,
until she starting choking on
the bitter taste.

We all got a place in this fight
and yours is definitely in the
kitchen sista soul

She knows her fingers are
capable of the same amount
of trigger pull it takes to turn
a pig into crispy bacon;

aching for a chance to
be on the front lines
but he throws her an apron
reciting that hated line;

now him and Al Green have something in common.

© 2018 abruvanamedsly



(4/30) Four

The prompt for day four over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that is about something abstract which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. 

Life before you, an afterthought;

blood now bustles through chest
with downtown lunch energy.

Every moment an observation,
every heartbeat, a beginner percussionist;
we slow time down to snail.

We breathe heavy under skies
of coal and silver light;

we drive a fast car
through Santa Ana wind.

We picnic beneath airport flights,
we make morning songs with our skin;

we worship four letters;
the rest of the alphabet becomes arthritic.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(3/30) Post Production

Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo is writing a list poem in which all the items are made-up names. If band names don’t inspire, how about a list of titles for romantic novels? Or new television cop dramas? They can be as over-the-top as you like…

The Hatemongers
sing lead while
the Originators 
are forced to do
background vocals;

the Illegals are
hidden in the mix;

Welcomed Immigrants
are allowed to jazz
up the track just
as long as they
aren’t Arab or Black.

Koreatown doesn’t really
dig the sound but knows
Russkiy Batruskiy is already
working on a remix.

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(2/30) Caricature

The prompt for day two over at NaPoWriMo: write a poem that plays with voice. The point is just to play with who is speaking to who and how…

I am a zombie 

in living skin,
the color of plague;
my presence is scourge
but still I smile wide 

like a pickaninny to protect
massah’s psychological safety.

You ever look in the mirror
and see nothing but shackles
and lips and blood
and whip marks?

Can you feel the ghost
of plantation horrors
crawling behind your eyes?

One never knows
the pain another goes
through or how much
anguish can hide behind

clenched teeth imprisoning
the rage of ten thousand

© 2018 Abruvanamedsly



(1/30) Pleasure Principle

Welp NaPoWriMo2018 is up and running. Today’s challenge: write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure. It could be eating too many cookies, or bad movies, or the time you told your sister she could totally brush her teeth with soap. It’s up to you. This was an easy choice…

It’s no secret

I like to sleep;

hell, I stay posting about

it every single week.

I do it at work,

I do it at my house;

invite me to your crib,

I’ll do it on your couch.

I’d sleep for a thousand years,

cryogenic or under a tree;

awaken on a Sunday, stretch 

out my arms then yell:

Rip Van Winkle ain’t got

shyt on me

© 2018 abruvanamedsly