NaPoWriMo, Day 4

Diner, possibly located in Liminality, IN

Today’s prompt challenges us to “select a photograph from the perpetually disconcerting @SpaceLiminalBot, and write a poem inspired by one of these odd, in-transition spaces. Will you pick the empty mall food court? The vending machine near the back entrance to the high school gym? The swimming pool at what seems to be M.C. Escher’s alpine retreat? No matter what neglected or eerie space you choose, I hope its oddness tugs at the place in your mind and heart where poems are made.” (Full prompt available here.)

My effort for Day 4 was inspired not so much by one of the images provided by the bot, as by a conversation with my husband during today’s four-hour hike. I asked him if he knew anything about liminality and, as a true anthropologist, he told me that liminality is more of a state than a place, then proceeded to walk me through at least two hours’ worth of anthropological theory. Lots of words and names and dates and titles floated around my head, failing to land, as well as expressions like rites of passage and upended social hierarchy. “Seriously?” I said when he was done. “I’m supposed to write a poem about a liminal space, not… whatever it is that you talked about.” “What,” he laughed, “you think there’s a town in Indiana called Liminality, Indiana?”

Strangely enough, his question provided the last bit of information I needed to sketch the poem below. The image above seemed like a spooky enough locale for this outlandish response to the prompt.

PS–As in past years, most of the poems written this April will remain online for a couple of days, after which they will be replaced by an excerpt, an erasure, or a thoroughly amateurish art piece that will only allow for bits of the original poem to peek through. At least, this is the plan. The reason being that, at some point, in the hopefully not too distant future, these drafts will undergo revision and begin their multiple-year pilgrimage through the slush piles of many a literary journal. So help me, O Muse. (OK, I totally plagiarized my own post scriptum from last year. Why amend something if it’s not broken?)

PPS–The posted poem has expired, but here’s a mouse to keep you company (and a line from my poem as caption). Don’t see the mouse? No big deal. This mouse has dignity and doesn’t really care if it’s seen or unseen. Do come back tomorrow. There are plenty more invisible creatures where the mouse came from.

Things happen there I am not allowed to divulge.

12 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo, Day 4

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  1. Ha! A useful walk. I also consulted the “Oracle” today before I wrote my poem. My question to him was: “How do you call that star… something with nova.” 😀 And I must admit that I’d struggle with the word ‘liminal’ before I read of its meaning, that’s why I needed my prefix. You had it made… A lovely walk, poem, and all this liminality too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny bit of news. I shared with my daughter this whole liminality saga and she was awakened last night at 3am by a sudden urge to write a poem about liminality. Everything is illuminated! Il-limin-ated. No, that doesn’t work.

      Just looked up ‘eliminate.’ Apparently, it has the word ‘limen’ (aka ‘threshold’) in it. ‘Limit’ is related as well. My mind is blown away. 🤯💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chris! You’re right, dangerous is the right word. The one time I went to Las Vegas with the kids, it felt like a punishment. Something to do with too many people, 112 degrees outside, sticky sidewalks, a UFC tournament in town, closed pool in the evening, and absolutely nothing to do for small children. We went on a roller coaster ride where I thought I broke several vertebrae in my neck. The kids were fine. They remember it as a good trip. (??!!)


    1. Thank you so much, Shuku! You’re right, we all have these secret maps we rarely share–unless we do so in writing or painting or singing or dancing or or or… 💜


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