NaPoWriMo, Day 6

Photo by Kirstin Drew via Unsplash


Today’ prompt, “which comes from Holly Lyn Walrath, is pretty simple. As she explains it here: “Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.” (Full prompt available here.)

One of my favorite books is Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. I reread it a few months back and already miss being ensconced in it. While searching for an illustration for this post, I came across the website of Lima-based artist Karina Puente. I hesitate to use her art on my website without permission, but wholeheartedly recommend checking out her Invisible Cities series. It’s a mesmerizing, intricate art project that does justice to Calvino’s book. I’ll keep going back to see what other cities pop up on her page. Meantime, the photo I’ve chosen to accompany today’s poem echoes its ending and is as strong a memento mori as they come.

Here’s the sentence I chose from the Invisible Cities, which provided a temporary title to the effort below: “There is no language without deceit.


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 are several creatures to keep you company (and a line from my poem as caption). I see a mother and child by the sea, with an elephant and a rooster floating nearby. What do you see?

Language has gone downriver to drink from the sea.

19 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo, Day 6

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  1. Love this. The repetition makes me feel the relentlessness and inescapability of language and also the linear paths of meaning-making with language getting tangled (maybe because they have grown so long!). I loved [quote deleted by RI] – such a bold and and unexpected choice! I’m glad you said yes to that impulse. And then it leads to [quote deleted by RI] which is brilliant. Interesting that we both went in a heavy and surreal direction on words and naming today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for another lovely close reading, Alana–and yes, I feel like there are always instances of synchronicity when writing together! We get them a lot in our Pernessy Poets workshop. As for this piece, I’m glad the repetition is effective. Obviously, it needs a lot of revision but I’m glad it’s out, so that I can work with it. I’ve been turning that Calvino line over in my head for at least a decade.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible poem, surioara! Stunning images stirring the heart and soul. They will stay with me for a while – [quote deleted by RI]
    The beginning and the end of the poem had me kneeling to the holiness of your words. Thank you 🙏🏽 ❤️🐝🌻

    Liked by 1 person

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