.NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 23.

cards have sailed
across the sea of baize, 
from the bygone to now.

they have been dealt over
& again. their faces
have dulled,
they do not sail
as before

across the baize
without argument,
leaving a trail of
their blood
in the water

on their way
for there is
no other choice left


Day 23 brings us to a couple of new prompts from NaPoWriMo and Writer’s Digest. They are to write a poem about playing cards of any kind and to write a historic poem. For the card poem, you are to take deck of cards, any cards will do, and you are to shuffle them and pick a card. Start freewriting about the card you choose from there for about five minutes then pick out what you can in order to make a poem. For the latter prompt the poem can be about history of any kind. It can be a landmark event, a historic happening, a particular battle, etc. But I’m sure we can be a good bit more imaginative with both prompts and come up with something unexpected or out of the box.

I used the history prompt loosely and decided the the majority of the world’s lives basically being gambled with over the course of time. It’s like a poker game that the powers that be play, with the citizens of this world being the cards. High stakes make it exciting to keep playing.  I went a little outside of the box but it’s where my mind took me. I hope you all are staying strong! There’s just one week left!


Barrie Phillip Nichol (or bpNichol, as he was commonly known) was a prolific experimental poet whose major body of work was written during the 1960s and 1970s. He was widely known for his hand-drawn and concrete poetry, although he described his art as “borderblur” and worked in a number of mediums, including cartooning, sound poetry and computer texts. He was an avid collaborator and worked with his contemporaries on an wide range of projects, sometimes even inviting readers to send him their own reinterpretation of his texts. In 1970, Nichol received Canada’s highest literary honor, the Governor General’s Award.

He was beloved among his friends and colleagues, and his sudden death at age 44 left many distraught.

In his series “Translating Translating Apollinaire,” Nichols repeatedly reworks a single poem with multiple interpretations. Each poem stands alone as a strong piece, but to read them together in a sequence provides a fascinating glimpse into Nichol’s sense of the plasticity of language, and his expansive creativity. The original version of the poem is rewritten using variations such as replacing words with antonyms from Roget’s Thesaurus, placing each word in the poem in alphabetical order, and replacing words with their meanings taken directly from the dictionary. Read more here and here.

all by  Barrie Phillip Nichol

TTA 4: original version

Icharrus	winging up
Simon the Magician      from Judea    high in a tree, 
everyone	reaching for the sun

                       great towers of stone 
built by the Aztecs, tearing their hearts out 
to offer them, wet and beating

cold wind, Macchu Piccu hiding in the sun 
unfound for centuries

cars whizzing by, sun 
thru trees passing, a dozen 
new wave films, flickering 
on drivers' glasses

flat on their backs in the grass
a dozen bodies slowly turning brown

sun glares off the pages, "soleil
cou coupé", rolls in my window 
flat on my back on the floor 
becoming aware of it 
for an instant

TTA 10: replacing words with synonyms 
Daedalus    air-planing upward,
Simon the Mage    out of Judea     aloft within a timber,
everybody	extending to the orb of day

                 grand turrets of rock 
made by the Aztecs, rending their vitals forth 
to proffer them, moist and pulsating

chill draft, Macchu Piccu concealed by the daystar
not a sign of it for ages

automobiles zipping by, the lamp of day 
penetrating shade trees travelling, twelve 
young vibration motion pictures, fluttering 
on operators' spectacles

recumbent on their dorsums on the lawn
boxcars figures gradually changing tan

the glorious lamp of heaven blares off the folio, "soleil 
cou coop", travels through my casement 
prostrate on my tergum on the deck 
getting to be cognizant of it 
for a moment

TTA 17: acrostic translation
i cannot hear anymore

reason remains unreachable      sullen

would i never gave in, never gave up, praying,
simply, in my own name
to Him
each morning at

i cannot invoke another name

fear rises
open mouthed

Jesu! understand,
deafness erases any hope i gained,
'here' is nowhere around

the remaining essential emotions, 
essential values, everything, really, 
your own nullity exchanged, 
rise eastward against crosses hammered in new ground, 
for our rage,
            the hate every son uncovers.

new grief rends each awareness, 
the tautologies open wide, 
eager reason surprising our false sympathies, 
taunts our numbed eardrums, 
bullies us

i lie, terrified, by your thorned head 
effecting a zone that evil cannot slip thru 
entering a region
no grace that'll hold
       i rise
as Rafael told someone
"ordinary usage teaches them only one fact - FEAR EATS REASON"

to hear everything! 
my waiting eardrums tremble anew, 
nameless delicate breath explodes, 
a terrible inspiration now grips me
             (no truly available ideas (no substance))

could ordinary language display wisdom?
                                       ideation, naming,
demands man's actual control.
can he understand pure ideology's cryptic contortions, 
usurp Heraclitus's instinctual description, 
invent new gnostic inversions, new thots (hopefully), 
extending such unconscious nuances, unwritten novelties, forward - 
outside us? not deaf forever or 
(reacting, collecting examples, new theories) 
utter reasonable idiocies?

examples:     "some careful arguments reveal sympathies" 
                 "words hide in zygal zeugmas"

i name gracefully but.....
yet something's understood!

new thots, half reasoned utterances,
trace real expressions -
Eliot seems passe among such surrealist instances.

nova groupings, a dozen obscure zones explode, 
no nouns escape warping,
                        word avenues, vague, emerge, 
focus, i learn much, seek further luminations, 
i can't know everything

reeling, i now grasp onto nouns, 
deleted references,
                       investigate verbs, 
explore radical syntaxes,
                               glad, laughing, 
all signifiers signified, everything seems, 
finally, language, a theory of nominal tactics, 
Heraclitian expressiveness is renewed, 
but a carnal knowledge scissors it neatly, 
the head explodes,
glittering reason's airy scent seduces a dozen Ovids.

zero entropy

no braincells operative 

didn't i expect such scorn?

language opens worlds, 
little yields to unwilling readers, 
nothing is narcissistically gained.

but reader or writer
no simple unlocking gambit lets another reality exist 
sometimes our false fears terrorize 
hinder even partial acknowledgement
given equal substance some other language emerges 
                 like chaos or unity can 
opens up peripheral elements 
reveals our love
such inconsistencies nag

maybe you wander in narrow deserted offices 
wishing for love, anxious, too overcome, 
numbed, maybe you become aware, 
concerned, know other names things have, 
elemental formulas, linguistic options or 
rehearse banal explanations, 
concealing or masking intense need - grief.

a writer                           a reader
extremes of function in the full operation

reality's a noun
it's not simply the awareness nothing's there.

2 thoughts on “.NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 23.

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