A fool’s world

There is an intimacy in not knowing
How deep the ocean goes
How to repeat patterns of pleasure
Why bodies behave they way they do 

When we ask where our water comes from
How the trees communicate
Why we are alive here, now, at all 
We swim in a soupy teal mystery 
Ears perked, hearts aflutter  
Tricking us into humility 
Fooling us into awe 

Day 6: Youthing

Ever since we met
That one spring
Redbuds beg for my attention
They branch above my head
On a new walking route
Pull my gaze away from billboards
On highway drives 
I think of sprinkling them on salads
But also,
Letting them be - 
Violets dotted on fresh grass
Make my heart as childlike
As a tea party
Youthing me decades
To a place where dandelions
Are wishes
Honeysuckles are candy
The loudest noise is the crunch
Of swiss chard under innocent teeth
Rhododendron bushes become
Nature’s wallpaper and
The largest drama is the battle
Between groundhog and girl
For the last summer strawberry 

Day 5: Lucky

“For today’s challenge, write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment – or one that the poem invites the reader to think of as inappropriate”

The air quality fringes on severe
A brief power-cut flickers  
Elsewhere, family vacations on one of
The largest cruise ships 
To invade the sea 
Luxury spilling into waste off
Small islands

I marvel at the quality of the
Foreign fruits in my mouth:
Slices of perfect guava, creamy custard apple
Tart amla turned to spiced chutney
Sugarcane-sweet chikoo 

Lucky girl laying on her bed of delights
In a backdrop of
Air blackening to velvet shadows
Water tasting of iron muck 

Day 4: Sub-rosa

Today, let’s try writing triolets. A triolet is an eight-line poem. All the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

What secrets do my pink cheeks hide?
My own little body veiled whole 
Under the rosebush, world of play  
What secrets do. My pink cheeks hide
Lush thorns scratch at flesh everyday
To be starved pale, hiding my soul 
What secrets do my pink cheeks hide?
My own little body veiled whole

Day 3: Untitled

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 want to harbor art that freezes 
As I keep quiet
So I yell and try
To destroy both worlds for eternity 

Inspiration from Rumi’s “I want to say words that flame…”

Day 2: Bottled seafoam

Today’s prompt asks you to begin by picking 5-10 words from the following list. Next, write out a question for each word that you’ve selected (e.g., what is seaweed?)


Now for each question, write a one-line answer. Try to make the answer an image, and don’t worry about strict logic. These are surrealist answers, after all!

After you’ve written out your series of questions and answers, place all the answers, without the questions, on a new page. See if you can make a poem of just the answers.

Under the floorboards of your eyelids and the cabinets of your chest 
Bottled teardrops, seafoam and earthy delights 
Sugar-coated guilt-free gumdrop memories of here and later

Heavy blankets don’t often consume the body of the world 
Ask instead what amount of liquid life should gallop down your throat 
Sing it from the bottom of your pelvic floor and let it knock down curtains and walls and fortresses 

The ocean floor reeks of our deepest desires 

Day 1: Too Curious

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they never said you can’t try to write a poem based on a book cover — and that’s your challenge for today! Take a look through Public Domain Review’s article on “The Art of Book Covers.”

An internal signal itches
Me to check my phone
Obtain the answer to the question
Laid out on the table 
I recall the time before smartphones
First landed in our small hands
Before Google was at the tip my pale fingers
Now I can quench my curiosity quick
Attention dividing like a cracked mirror
Did the too curious truly get killed like that
Cunning cat?
I can ask AI to script my replies,
Create this poem
My brain stretches to hold virtual conversations
From sources linked to real lives
With static imprecision 
Settlers land on the pink folds of my brain
Claim it a world undiscovered 
Pierce the flesh with a digital spear
Leaking so much dopamine
I don’t know if I’ve reached heaven or hell 

Day 0: Gold

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that plays with the idea of a “fun fact.” Your fact could actually be fun – or the whole point could be that it’s not fun. Maybe you have a favorite wacky fact already, but if not, Mental Floss’s “Amazing Fact Generator” is here to help!

My hair contains gold 
Thin, invisible traces  
A small fraction among its Sister elements  -  
Say, does the carbon of my lovely locks 
Come from pollutants in the air 
Does the oxygen in my dead ends 
Come from trees 
Does the nitrogen it holds get fixed 
like the Three Sisters’ bean  
Creating an alchemy of sweet golden sustenance?  

When you fall from my scalp 
Should I gather you for a rainy day 
When paper money turns to ash 
And we’re in the streets trading  
Auburn for blonde for black 
Or should we leave it where it lay 
Like the trees in their roots and 
Wait for magic unknown to this 
Hungry world  

Inspiration: https://www.mentalfloss.com/amazingfactgenerator/505068/your-hair-contains-traces-gold

Day 13: Grateful

Today, in honor of the potential luckiness of the number 13, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like the example poem here, joyfully states that “Everything is Going to Be Amazing.” Sometimes, good fortune can seem impossibly distant, but even if you can’t drum up the enthusiasm to write yourself a riotous pep-talk, perhaps you can muse on the possibility of good things coming down the track. As they say, “the sun will come up tomorrow,” and if nothing else, this world offers us the persistent possibility of surprise.

Everything terrifying 
has an eggshell of beauty
Stained in skin is hope
Marrowed deep are chromosomes
Of not just survival, but joy  
Remember the yin and yang 
Of this sweet and sour life
A tornado in the pink of spring
A delightful poem in the mind’s
World wide web of synapses 

Day 11: Desert

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about a very large thing. It could be a mountain or a blue whale or a skyscraper or a planet or the various contenders for the honor of being the Biggest Ball of Twine. Whatever giant thing you choose, I hope this chance to versify in praise of the huge gets your poetic engines humming.

Red sand expands
For miles
Below a saffron sun 
Footprints and car tracks
Disappear in a flurry 
We are the mirage 
the desert seeks with 
Wide hope 

Dizzy with awe
The brain is struck by 
The heat engulfs 
with serpentine 
Like wind