NaPoWriMo 2013 #1

I started NaPoWriMo by accident: I think I found it through Twitter on April 2nd. Flustered because I was late, I immediately jumped in without thinking twice about it (not that there was much to think about), and I’m glad I did.

Since I started a day later, my first poem was titled NaPoWriMo 2013 #2. I’d like to bring things full circle, and call this one NaPoWriMo 2013 #1, thereby completing the goal of writing 30 poems in 30 days.

Dear NaPoWriMo

Dear NaPoWriMo,
To paraphrase Orson Welles,
“Without limits there cannot be art.”
Well, with thirty poems in thirty days,
I dipped my toes in that misty haze
With intensity, the perfect start
To writing Poetry. And under her spell
I am a poet now, when previously ’twas not so.

Several nights of half dozing in front of a blank white screen
Trying to get the perfect rhyme (or something close)
Getting in touch with that part of me unseen
That part which usually emerged with prose

Caution and doubt thrown to the wind
Only words and images entertained
If one didn’t work, it didn’t matter at all
What only mattered was continuing the chain.

Poetry is a universal language
Regardless of what one actually speaks
See: Found In Translation
Which is basically Flemish with English tweaks

The novice poet that I am, only 30 days of age
I was elevated to a joyful state
Upon being highlighted on the NaPoWriMo Official Page
For a poem I didn’t even think was great.

A lesson I’ve learnt,
Not just about poems, but generally
Is that art is a tricky thing,
You never know what people will like
What you might, they might not
They might even like a blob of snot
On a background of soothing black
So why worry about their opinions? They’re not facts.
Writers don’t write to please and for praise
Although the latter helps, a lot.

So thank you NaPoWriMo,
You’ve blasted open a door
Blazed a new path for me to tread
Provided a novel creative bread
I hope to gobble for eons and eons more.

Will I see you again? Oh, most definitely
It’s the least I can do, for a love of poetry
Is a love for epiphany
A love for straightforward brevity
For wordplay and levity
And imagination and creativity
And everything else in between.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
When I gave NaPoWriMo a sincere try,
And that has made all the difference.

Yours eternally,
Nikhil Venkatesa


‘O Citizen! You Citizen!’

Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite.

I don’t really understand this, but in the spirit of Dead Poets Society, here’s my spin on Walt Whitman. The original is here.

O Citizen! You Citizen! your fearless trip is not done, The ship has not suffered any harm,
the commonplace thing we sought is still out there, The port is far, the bells you don’t hear, the animals all morose,
While eyes ignore the wobbly keel, the vessel lighthearted and timid; But O heart! heart! heart!
O the clotting torrent of red, Where off the deck your Citizen stands, Upright warm and alive.
O Citizen! your Citizen! fall down and ignore the bells; Fall down- for me the flag is hung- for
me the bugle lulls,

For me dried flowers and ribbonless wreaths- for me the waters
For me he fails to call, the stiff soldier, his blank face staring;
There Citizen! wretched son!
That arm over my head!
It isn’t some reality that off the deck,
I’ve not stood warm and alive.

Your Citizen answers, her lips glowing and trembling,
Your mother feels your arm, a pulse and will,
The ship floats unsafe and loud, its voyage open and not done,
To fearless trip the loser ship goes out without object won;
Morose O shores, and hold O bells!
But You with exuberant pace,
Walk the deck your Citizen stands,
Upright warm and alive.

Attribution: In assenza – Conspicuously absent by gualtiero, CC-BY-SA-2.0

Chennai Summer

Arigato, mon ami!
It’s that time of the year
When sweat trickles down my belly
And the Sun scorches and sears,
The moment I step outside my room,
Hotter than the winds of Barsoom.

When cold showers are necessary
Morning, afternoon and night
When I’m forced to drink my coffee cold
And keep hot liquids out of my sight
Have you ever experienced a Chennai summer,
Where even shadows are dispelled with light?
Tans are temporary, short-lived bummers
Chennai makes black skin a permanent sight.

The heat permeates through the skin
And quickly boils the blood
Soon, the River of Sweat begins
And escalates into a flood
Absolving me of all my sins,
Turning my shirt wet and thin
Releasing an odor wicked and foul
Making the people around me howl
In pain, in their unwarranted subjection,
To a punishment they didn’t deserve
Unable to make explicit their objections
Protecting politeness with fervent verve.
Apologies for the digression,
Of no purpose did it serve.

Summer, when omelettes can be cooked on the road
And days are longer than usual,
I spend most of the time in AC abodes
And the Sun and I constantly duel.

Mangoes and Watermelons
Oranges and Pineapples
Are primarily what I eat
As cool respite from the heat

If you close your eyes and listen closely
You can hear, even feel the sound
Of the solar waves pulsating slowly
Enveloping everyone all around

I pity business executives in suits
And every single husband and wife to be
The men who dress up as 6 foot bunnies
With extra thick floppy ears to boot

The Sun burns through clouds
That previously acted as minor shrouds…

All this talk of heat makes me thirsty
And so I shall abruptly go,
Sayonara, mon amigo!

Attribution: Summer Evening by Andrew, CC-BY-SA-2.0

(NaPoWriMo 2013 #29)


Sounds, start
Nudge, nudge, nudge
Turn, turn, turn other way
Adjust, straighten
Clear! (whew)
Now first
98.3 FM
Exit, indicate left
Empty, move
Volume increase
Engine roar
Stupid old man
Engine off
Turn again
Engine coughs,
Then growls
Bike overtake
Check mirrors
Engine roar
Ahead clear
Press harder
50, 60
Mirrors: nothing
Enjoy music
Skid, screech, stop
Mirror: blood, bones
Shift to first
Bye bye.

Attribution: Car toy by Marius Iordache

(NaPoWriMo 2013 #28)

The Cookie Monster

Here’s a guest poem from Cookie Monster on his most favorite love. If you like it, try to show it in the comments!

Vanilla, lime, pistachio,
Hazelnut and cream,
Fresh out of the oven
And delicious with steam.

Some Anzac and some brandy snap,
Butter pecan if you please.
Fetch me all the shortbread,
I shall guzzle it with ease

Chocolate chip, single and double,
And some oatmeal raisin too.
Some with cashew and some with almonds
They’re all for me to chew!

Plain butter oozing richness
Some bran cookies dunked in milk
All vanish into my mouth
And melt inside like silk.

Cookies for lunch and dinner
And for breakfast and for tea
You may eat up all the veggies
But every cookie is for me!

Attribution: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies by kimberlykv, CC-BY-2.0