NaPoWriMo Prompt for April 16, 2017

April 15, 2017

DAY 16  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Sunday, April 16, 2017


“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”

― W.H. Auden

Welcome to the last half of the NaPoWriMo challenge.

Today’s prompt was suggested by Brendan McBreen –


Pick a random line from a book of poetry, write the opposite of this line.

Use the opposite as your first line and the random line as your last and write the poem between.


“It is always fatal to have music or poetry interrupted.”

― George Eliot

“So where’s YOUR poem Mr. NaPoWriMo poetry man?”

Okay.. I barely started the prompt challenge poem.  I did however write during Robert Lashley’s wonderful workshop.  I’ll catch up tomorrow.

Keep Writingnothing-is-written-in-stone- pixabay


NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 15, 2017

April 14, 2017

DAY 15  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Saturday, April 15, 2017


“Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It’s the crack cocaine of the literary world.”

Jasper Fforde


We are at the halfway point!   How are you doing?  Able to write a poem every day or every other day?   If you are just joining the NaPoWriMo – welcome.


Find about more  About NaPoWriMo here

Reminders-    Helping me again this year with prompts is Brendan McBreen  a member of the Striped Water Poets group in Auburn Washington  I am quite overwhelmed with the work of running a brand new independent new and gently used bookstore in Kirkland, Washington (609 Market St.) called BookTree.   So, thankfully Brendan sent over lots of suggestions.    Brendan’s website is here.


BookTree on Facebook   (Please LIKE and Follow the page).

If you are in the Kirkland/Seattle/Western Washington area, there are several events of interest occurring at the bookstore. On April 15th, Robert Lashley will be leading a free workshop and later in the evening reading some poems from his newest collection Up South.  We’ll also have an open mic.  Third Saturday PoetryIsEverything at BookTree.  

Award-winning writer-poet-publisher Paul Hunter will be visiting BookTree with his brand new book on April 22nd!  Hunter Facebook Event Page


Day 15 NaPoWriMo Prompt


Erasure.   Take a magazine article, essay or text of more than 1500 words (yes you can use a few pages from a book) and eliminate words, leaving behind your poem.  You’ll want to transform the text into something completely different than what it is by doing this.    You can fudge just a little bit by adding a few modifiers and connecting words if absolutely needed (the, and) but keep the words in the order they would be in the article.  We aren’t rearranging the words, or borrowing words and phrases to reassemble into a (cut-out) poem (William Burroughs style)…we are creating an erasure poem.   Some always ask… is this really a thing?  A way people ‘write’ poetry?   It is indeed… and it does take patience, skill and some craft to do it very well.  You can create a meter or even rhyme if you want… though don’t be tempted to change word order around…. (if you need to change a tense…add an ‘ed’ or ‘s’…I think that’s okay… some don’t… so it’s up to you).   Have at it NaPoWriMo-ers…..


“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”

Edgar Allan Poe


Brendan suggested using 6 names of fish in a political poem for Prompt 13.


I had less than 20 minutes to write something…  used 9 fish names.



By Christopher J. Jarmick


The entire school of marbled groupers *, protested

“The Callorhinchidae** have changed the rules.”

The Harelip sucker, Hatchetfish, and Humuhumunukunukuapua’a  shrugged.

“You forced the nuclear option.”

Senators  Gibberfish, Prickleback, and Bonytongue,

rushed out of the chamber vowing revenge shouting,

“Send in the clownfish!”


*The marbled grouper (Dermatolepis inermis) is a species of fish in the family Serranidae. Other common names include donkey fish, mutton hamlet, rockhind, and sicklefish grouper.

**  Callorhinchidae, a family of marine fish also known as elephant sharks or plough-nose chimaeras


Keep Writing!

booktree talia sketch


NaPoWriMo prompt for April 14th 2017

April 13, 2017

DAY 14  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Friday, April 14, 2017

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken

Before the years can make it wise.”

Sara Teasdale

Yep… getting close to the half-way point.

The 14th NaPoWriMo prompt as suggested by Brendan McBreen –

Revisit a faerie tale character, put them in a bar, now write a poem.



“Still, what I want in my life

is to be willing

to be dazzled—

to cast aside the weight of facts


and maybe even

to float a little

above this difficult world.”

Mary Oliver


Prompt 12 suggested you pick a favorite film director or film series and write about it in a way that isn’t obvious or straightforward.

Here’s my poem:


Waters of Altman

By Christopher J. Jarmick


Joel McCrea has a dream.

He’ll capture and tame a wild black stallion

and start the ranch he’s dreamed about.

He’ll give up the life of a nomadic cowboy

and being part of cattle drives

and take a young man under his wing.

You could see it as a metaphor

if you wanted to think too much

but it’s a Western.

an older Western,

decades before McCabe;

a man who needed to elevate himself

into wealth and power,

by playing to settlers vices.

Almost a good plan

before Mrs. Miller played him

because she understood

men whose ego and bark

was no match for focus

and purpose.

But what kind of Western

was this? Accurate period

detail and Leonard Cohen

and metaphors that were

actually meant to be


It would happen again,

to Chandler’s Long Goodbye

a film that put 1970s Los Angeles in a

time capsule instantly

pretending it was dancing

with the hard-boiled detective

genre of the late 40s, and then there was

the comedy-drama about

addiction – gambling (California Split), establishing

not in plot or story but in minutiae, in

pieces of dialogue and movement

and fluid characterizations that

flow and blend like tributaries

into an ocean.


Think Mash, or Nashville or Shortcuts, Gosford Park,

Prairie Home Companion, the plot almost

deconstructed in service to the minutiae.

Leaving us with sketches of lives, real like

Vincent and Theo, exaggerated as in Last Honor,

purposefully fictionalized as in The Player, or in

the emotional dreams of 3 Women.


A reflection in glass, a life, the stars

A gun, a death, the end of the race

‘And the screen talks of the waters of Altman

It’s the end of the game, the end of the rain,

“it’s the joy in your heart”.



Keep Writing!


robert altman


NaPoWriMo Prompt for April 13, 2017

April 12, 2017

DAY 13  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Thursday, April 13, 2017


“You fit into me

like a hook into an eye

a fish hook

an open eye”

Margaret Atwood

Welcome to lucky day 13 of NaPoWriMo.   Poets around the world are writing a poem each and every day of April.   Some of us are posting writing prompts to challenge others.  However you approach the exercise of writing a poem every day, it can help you to write something you would never have written otherwise.   I think that’s a good thing.

This Saturday there’s a free workshop (at 4:30 pm) and then later a reading and open mid (6:15 to 8:00 p.m.) with Robert Lashley  at BookTree in Kirkland.  Click on this for details :  3rd Saturday Workshop & Reading at BookTree Event Page 

Day 13 Prompt

Today’s prompt was suggested by Brendan McBreen

Use the names of six different fish in a poem about politics.



“I went down to the river,

I set down on the bank.

I tried to think but couldn’t,

So I jumped in and sank.”

Langston Hughes


Prompt 11 for NaPoWriMo suggested you re-write a poem you admire by a famous poet.

Here’s the poem I wrote:


An Orange with Two Tiny Thumbs

(inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Bird With Two Right Wings )

By Christopher J. Jarmick

And now our President

an orange with two tiny thumbs

tweets on his fancy phone; Sad! Lies! Bad!

– -while we try to keep our sanity

through each breaking news story,

as if it really mattered what the big Orange T

Tweets, or what the Conway double talks or the Spiceman denies

(Everybody is lying, you idiot).

While this mogul with tiny thumbs

tweets on , his favorite Fox plays nearby.

And now he thinks Ted is lying.

And now its Crooked Hillary’s fault.

And now Obama and fake news.

And he keeps changing the plot of the story.

And now it’s the left wingers, and now the hard right

And now the fake news wringers with perfect straight teeth.


We can even see him through the curtain

playing with his phone

promoting the bigoted liar

to be boss of the judges;

picking the climate change denier

to be in charge of the environment;

making the famous doctor who once drove by a ghetto

in charge of urban housing and development

(it’s easier than brain surgery after all).

Now guess who is in charge of crucial international diplomacy?

Why it’s Vladimir’s favorite oil Executive of course, who else?

And all this happens while we just sit

on our couches in front of TV’s that spy on us

flipping from reality New Jersey, Atlanta and Beverly Hills housewives,

to human sharks, to survivors, to celebrity apprentices

and sometimes we even watch the sexually harassed

long-legged blondes playing referee

with ex- government employees now being paid

to mock debate how the  tiny thumb tweets

will make America Great Again.


On Banon, On Kushner, On Priebus and

Goldmanite Sach’o’shits,

with Spicer, with Ryan, with Generals

and precious Ivanka,

Tweet away, dash away all

and to all

a gold golf club and long red tie

made in J’ina —

which rhymes with Vagina

with a G for Government City

which sometimes is in Florida, sometimes D.C.

but that trouble isn’t for the big Orange T

who watches out for his fantastic family,

no, this big T is trouble for you

and trouble for me,

and spells out our

manifest destiny.


Which means

Dear Virginia,

the clean coal

Santa slips

into your stocking

is providing jobs

to some Hillbillies

until the one percenters

realize that robots

can do it cheaper.

And King Orange T junior, the second

fills up the moats

that surrounds his palace, you see

with the blood of a billion



Keep Writing!

Margaret Atwood cc Library Thing   Atwood


NaPoWriMo Prompt for April 12, 2017

April 11, 2017

DAY 12  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Wednesday, April 12, 2017


“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.”

Edgar Allan Poe


And here we are at Day 12 of NaPoWriMo.  One of my other passions is movies.


Prompt for Day 12-


Pick a favorite film director or film series and figure out a way to write about it that isn’t obvious or straightforward.



“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

Leonard Cohen


Prompt 10  suggested by Brendan McBreen was to take the Bad poem you wrote on Day 8 and

“shove it in a blender, rearrange the lines or fragments of lines and create a new poem. Try to add nothing and use all of the source poem if you can.”  Whew… quite the challenge.  I left several articles (as, a, the) out of the blender poem, but used the words without adding others.


Here’s my poem:


Ah.. Fantastic!

by  Christopher J. Jarmick


The moon sunk like a bad poem I loved.

I realize, watching good sunsets matter.


Storm clouds rolling  through my  writing                   .                                                                                                                should be rotten and cliche enough;

a dull puddle of bad metaphor on a

mediocre T.V. show.


Cake broke;

no matter.


A pitiful stone heart,

dozen of difficult almosts

write in the rain.

It probably wasn’t a half Phillips screw

on the roadside

in a half moon eye I didn’t see.


Hard heart lumps blame you for

these poems – all gravy in the end.


Through the ever after and I wasn’t happy.

Old poor me adored you.

Somewhere I look at the end,

Blame again wasn’t enough.

It’s a kill with my heart

I know.

(The damn burn in June,

all over the spoon bent as

the things we wrote,

I know.)

I don’t blame you even now.


Bad, I know,

and it’s all over

But still, I write it out

I probably don’t mean it intentionally.


I fell so. . .


Keep Writing!


Edgar edgar allan poe pixabay


NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 11, 2017

April 10, 2017

DAY 11  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Tuesday, April 11, 2017

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

Emily Dickinson

Welcome to the 11th day of NaPoWriMo.  It’s never too late to join the NaPoWriMo challenge.  Enjoy.

Prompt 11 for NaPoWriMo

Take a poem you admire by a famous poet and re-write it.  Pay homage to its style, honor its theme, its tone but don’t just write a parody of the original poem – honor it.  Tell us what the poem is.


“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”

Charles Darwin


Here’s the poem I wrote to the 9th Prompt which was NOT suggested by Brendan McBreen…but rather my own suggestion which was to write a denial poem.


Not a ‘To Tell The Truth’ Poem

By Christopher J. Jarmick

It would be easy to convince you

it wasn’t true;

too many coincidences.,

How does it happen

that two people could be in

the same place,

doing almost the same thing

at the same time

and not have met each other

or even known each other?

I could tell you about most of the people

I saw in the large night club that night,

but not everyone.

There was lots of noise,

dark corners,

so it would seem believable,


that we never saw each


We probably did bump into

each other,

might have even mumbled

excuse me to each other,

but we didn’t look at each other,

didn’t realize we had met.

So maybe subconsciously,

I thought there was something

familiar about the woman at the coffee shop

a few days later.

I noticed her.

I didn’t talk to her.

But a few days later

at the grocery store

I did see her, did talk to her,

and we decided to have a cup of coffee

and talk.

She thought I was familiar too.

It was her friend, several weeks later,

who insisted the first time we met

was when we bumped into each other

at the night club.

She said she saw it,

but we didn’t remember this at all.

It happened, said the friend,

before the fight broke out,

And didn’t I have something to do

with that fight?

We denied seeing each other in the nightclub,

I denied having anything to do with the fight.

But the friend was sure

I was like most men,

a liar.

And maybe a seed of doubt

was planted

about who I was,

that doomed the new relationship,

I won’t ever know.


Keep Writing!

Emily Dickinson

emily dickinson 1848 pd wiki


NaPoWrimo Prompt for April 10, 2017

April 9, 2017

DAY 10  – NaPoWriMo Prompt for  Monday, April 10, 2017


“I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.”

Walt Whitman


Welcome to Day 10.  One third of NaPoWriMo is now done.  Hopefully you’re creating a new habit of writing each and every day, and challenging yourself  to write something you never would have thought of writing.  It’s a good thing to experiment, to diversify, to try new things.

DAY 10 Prompt

A few days ago the prompt from Brendan McBreen was to write a Bad poem.  Well now Brendan suggests the following for today’s prompt (and just let him try to deny it!):

Brendan writes:  Now take your bad poem, and shove it in a blender, rearrange the lines or fragments of lines and create a new poem. Try to add nothing and use all of the source poem if you can.


Latest Blog Post From Brendan with Prompt Poems he has written.


“Once, poets were magicians. Poets were strong, stronger than warriors or kings — stronger than old hapless gods. And they will be strong once again.”

Greg Bear


The Prompt for Day 8  as suggested by Brendan was to write a bad poem

Here’s what I wrote:


Intentionally Rotten

by  Christopher J. Jarmick


I suppose writing a bad poem

should be almost as difficult as

writing a good poem.

But then I look at the moon

through the rolling storm clouds

and realize it’s a matter of

sinking like a stone

a mediocre write

into a lumpy gravy

puddle of roadside kill

with cliché and dull metaphor.

You broke my heart.

Cake out in the rain

I loved and adored you

probably do it all over again

though in the end it wasn’t enough,

no happy ever after

no watching sunsets

or even bad T.V.

I fell so hard

I wrote dozens of

poor pitiful me poems

(and I’m old enough to know better)

and yet still can’t bring

myself to burn the damn things.

I don’t blame you

more than I blame myself,

but somewhere in the half and half

we didn’t see eye to eye.

I ask why…


So sure.

moon, June

bent spoon,




Ah… screw it.

(and I don’t mean with a Philips).


Keep Writing!