NaPoWriMo, Day Whatever (Day 14 for Everybody Else): A List Poem

One of the things I’m enjoying most about participating in  NaPoWriMo–in addition to generating a bunch of new poems–is crossing paths with so many other poets who are busily scurrying around the Web this month. One new e-acquaintance I’ve made is with Los Angeles poet Danielle Mitchell at Cult.Bomb, “a blast of contemporary letters assembled to emphasize literary news, discoveries, oddities, events, ideas, and damn fine writing.”

To get going on today’s poem, I followed one of her writing prompts, which borrows the structure of Richard Jackson’s list poem “Ten Things.”  I had a lot of fun generating lines according to the specific, well thought-out steps Danielle Mitchell provides, and what I ended up with is either weirdly irreverent, or reverently weird. You decide:


Jesus loves me, this I’m pretty sure of.
Also, that he will mess me up if I cross him.
And after, peace me back down.

It’s true that he will bring to justice those responsible,
especially himself.
Maybe he came down here just to share the contents

of his vast pocket of lonely.
Maybe he wanted to wear a body unbearable in all
its knowing. Or maybe not,

since in April, even the fir trees raise their green
middle fingers to the sky.
It’s lucky I noticed this in time.

O, the beautiful miles sprint and wheel–
how many times can a universe spin
without wobbling?

Meanwhile, the birch trees are knocking
each other up right here in the park.
That doesn’t matter to most, but my nose

is embarrassed.
The difference is something else.
The difference is that God is good,

and apparently he is doing this for my own.
Meanwhile, I wonder who let the money out.
Again and again, I marvel at the green.


10 comments on “NaPoWriMo, Day Whatever (Day 14 for Everybody Else): A List Poem

  1. Jennifer, I love this! How fun!

    Perhaps, “Reverently Irreverent”?

    “But my nose / is embarrassed” ~ 🙂

    Sincerely, and all the best, Andy

  2. dmpoetry says:

    Jennifer! I really enjoyed this piece, like, a lot. Especially,
    “since in April, even the fir trees raise their green
    middle fingers to the sky.
    It’s lucky I noticed this in time.”
    haha, I can’t help it–those lines were a suprise. A good surprise.

    It’s been great e-connecting with you too. Viva National Poetry Month!

    Stay tuned I’m doing another prompt this week. It will be on zuihitsu!

  3. I love this! It doesn’t read like a list poem, where you’re overly conscious of that structure. It really works well on its own. I especially like the third stanza.

    • Many thanks, Marilyn! Yes, that’s one of the things I appreciate about the prompt–and the Richard Jackson poem it’s based on: it doesn’t *read* like a list. I may be trying more like this in pursuit of advanced quirkiness. Cheers to you!

  4. sonofwalt says:

    This is delightful and excellent. Wow, so many great lines. Really, really well done.

  5. […] now, to atone for the smart-assery of my Jesus poem from yesterday, here’s a little something quiet and […]

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