Recipe for Cooking a Poem (ii)

She who dares, wins

and yet there are rivulets of fever in my tights

a sigh like crescendo, spiralling like sunset into the dusk.

Wooing like cavaliers on horseback into some horizon

while a warm rainstorm stills a beaconlit summer dream.

I wake you with the heady scent of violets

place a tiny bouquet under your nose.

I imagine you taste like psychotropic desert earth.


Rumi wandered the Egyptian sands once like in my just-dream.

But real cavaliers don’t come on horseback, they steal in

unannounced through the back door and carry you away.


There’s no use pretending taffeta is for ball gowns

but check it, fam, this one’s silk and I got it down the market.

Should you discover you were not invited to the ball after all

you must gatecrash it like there’s no tomorrow 

for it’s true, there may be no tomorrow.


Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit.

The aching abyss of the underworld trembles without you knowing

still the sky lifts you into its arms tonight.

Make no sudden clasp of thunder, instead

be still like the moon on the dark side of winter.


Sunra was no god, just a wing-ed metamorphed animagus

who will one day call upon Isis to salt the earth again.

The oblivious sphinx is none the wiser, never has been, is not all-knowing.


Whoever thought summers this hot could turn coffee into wine?


Fuego y metales calientes de mil canciones.


My book half-plundered flew away into the dawn

for the river ran northward after last night’s crescendo 

and the wooing cavalier lay spent like a trail-blazed star.


© N Nazir 2021

Shared for dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Mish (I’m a bit late to the party).

* * *

Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit. – the fellow is either mad or he is composing verses (Latin).

Fuego y metales calientes de mil canciones – fire and hot metals of a thousand songs (Spanish – a lyric from an Ojos de Brujo song).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com



*I created this poem using a random list of instructions taken from an old NaPoWriMo prompt from 2020. I found it to be quite a freeing stream of writing experiment. I highly recommend it; it’s quite unexpected what you manage to pluck from your subconscious given such a concise list. This was my second attempt (my first one was odd even for me).

I have included the list of instructions below in case you wanted to try it.

1) Begin the poem with a metaphor.

2) Say something specific but utterly preposterous.

3) Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.

4) Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).

5) Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.

6) Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.

7) Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.

8) Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.

9) Use an example of false cause-effect logic.

10) Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).

11) Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”

12) Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.

13) Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”

14) Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.

15) Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.

16) Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.

17) Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.

18) Use a phrase from a language other than English.

19) Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).

20) Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

How to Make a Great Work of Art

First, you must cook up some fitting concept then decide on your medium. For example…

You may acquire a large blank canvas. Somewhere in the white expanse, smudge a thumb print of paint then declare it finished. Entitle the piece “Wanderer in a Sea of Fog.”

Get a large cardboard box. Rough it up a bit. Place it in the centre of the gallery space. Entitle the piece “Home Sweet Home.”

Bring your pet chinchilla (or chihuahua or cat or goat, etc.) to the gallery space and just hang out on the floor somewhere. If anyone asks, tell them you are doing a performance piece exploring the relationship between man and beast.

Hang a large curtain above an exit door somewhere in the gallery. Entitle the piece “The Final Curtain.”

Throw an inordinate amount of paint at an enormous canvas whilst paying no heed if it also goes all over the surrounding walls and ceiling. Call the piece “Chaos Theory.”

Acquire a large plastic blow-up animal, for example, a pig, and blow it up. Hang it suspended somewhere in the gallery space. Entitle the piece “The Physical Impossibility of Flight in the Mind of Someone at the Mercy of Gravity.” Underneath don’t write your name, write Damian Hirst.

Sit in the gallery space with your guitar and play as badly as you want for as long as you can with an empty cap placed somewhere in front of you. Do this earnestly and see if gallery visitors give you any money or come and watch assuming you are doing a performance piece. Do this until security moves you on. Even if the gallery disapprove, this makes the work more notorious, and in itself it becomes a protest piece against the elitist nature of the art world.

Failing the above, do a Banksy and bring in your own framed painting and hang it on an unsuspecting piece of wall until someone notices.

image from abcinflatables.co.uk

© N Nazir 2021

NaPoWriMo Prompt: to write a poem as a series of directions describing how to get to a particular place.

My poem is more a series of instructions advising the aspiring artist on how to create a great work of art.

http://www.napowrimo.net

My Poem Flew Out the Window

Earth Meets Water, digital photograph, © N Nazir 2020

I can see the poems through the window
to the other worlds
hours into the future
hours into the past
burning in funeral pyres
air thick with ash 
dead bones, once-loved
(they were just here a moment ago)
(standing right here)

These poems sound like wailing.

Click – another window
these poems are at odds
a parliament of poems, dissonant
distant, jarring
nothing rhymes but the steps are out
it’s all disharmony
the poems don’t agree
they butt heads
this verse is not truly free
all poetic form has scarpered through the wind-

Click – and we’re in the lilac apartment
friendship utopia in the city that never sleeps
(friends in your twenties poems)
in the open-plan dream apartment
so open the audience is there too
and Joey didn’t get the audition
and Ross and Rachel are will-they-or-won’t-they-ing
and Chandler wants to break up with Janice
and now they’re in Central Perk sitting on that sofa
that’s always somehow reserved for them
and Phoebe’s flirting with a man across the room
and Monica’s laughing with her
(checking out all the cute guys poems)
and Günther is making eyes at Rachel-

Click – it’s been the coldest April on record says the weather man
nay, another typical April that came dressed in sunlight
but chill, still chill around the edges, some cold arctic air
with poems from ghosts of remembrance past
(and a backdrop of wailing and funeral pyres)
still it should warm up next week as the days are getting longer
(and the ensuing silence is smoke-stricken)
though we can expect some showers today
(and the dead are not at peace, my friend, no they’re not)
so don’t get your barbecues ready just yet-

Click – shut the window.
I go out.  I take my viewfinder 
in search of a nice tree somewhere.

© N Nazir 2021

NaPoWriMo Prompt: to write a poem describing a scene you witness through a window.

http://www.napowrimo.net

What’s Love Got to Do With it?

Untitled, digital photograph, © N Nazir 2020

Why do crabs walk sideways?

If whales, with their monumental beautiful brains and singularly extraordinary perception, could tell us everything they know, what would they tell us?

Why was Orpheus and Eurydice’s love doomed when their only crime was to love?

What if love is not the answer?

What if God and the Devil do exist and God chose Lucifer as the most talented at teaching humankind the hardest lessons, to be the keeper of the balance of power, to all the more pour light into the world? What if Lucifer wants to love but is forbidden?

Why does the truth hurt? And when it does, is it a good pain because the truth is absolute? Is truth absolute? What is a good pain?

Why do continents separate soul mates? If we are no longer allowed to travel for the sake of the planet’s survival, how do we meet our soul mates then?

Why, after it has rained, do I always step on that one paving slab that sends water shooting up my leg?

Why do people hate spiders when all they did was exist?

How often have you experienced zielschmerz?

Why does kindness make people cry?

Why have I never read Vonnegut? Why does everyone say you have to read Vonnegut? What is the big deal with Vonnegut?

Is it possible for a true artist to become a successful businessperson without compromising the authenticity of their art?

Do all poets experience ambedo?

Why are some people destined to be alone? Is destiny an unstoppable force or always a choice, or both?

When was the last time you experienced an ecstatic shock?

Why are clichés a bad thing?

Why does writing always make me feel better?

© N Nazir 2021

NaPoWriMo Prompt: to write a poem that poses a series of questions. I have also done yesterday’s belated prompt by including three concepts from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

ambedo: n. a kind of melancholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details – raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee – briefly soaking in the experience of being alive, an act that is done purely for its own sake.

ecstatic shock: n. the surge of energy upon catching a glance from someone you like—a thrill that starts in your stomach, arcs up through your lungs and flashes into a spontaneous smile—which scrambles your ungrounded circuits and tempts you to chase that feeling with a kite and a key.

Zielschmerz: n. the exhilarating dread of finally pursuing a lifelong dream, which requires you to put your true abilities out there to be tested on the open savannah, no longer protected inside the terrarium of hopes and delusions that you created in kindergarten and kept sealed as long as you could, only to break in case of emergency.

http://www.napowrimo.net


An Ekphrastic Poem

Blue with shadow and horns
slink-standing here, there
nobody knows it sings lullabies
that it scorns the norm
came drip-shaped in tardy form.
Call it a show piece
leave it out to dry.

Slip into a patois twang
make no orderly tongue of it
for who is to say
the world is not a chinchilla
or a beaver moon
or a kingdom in a stone.
This bluuuu has horns and a staff
and a sun grey shadow like a cat.
Whistle and it comes
pats you on the knee for a paw fight.

Some simple seeker
searches soul somewhere
in plains far from here
in the bough of a branch
in the trough of a cow dung
in the pillow of a small shell
left in the burrow of a herd
of soldier ants.

Report to duty
or don’t, it doesn’t matter.
The wilful remove the sanguine
and the mastery of time
remains nebulous
in the crook of your heart you swim
little nothings and soft comings
in the bed of your own making.

© N Nazir 2021

Portrait of God (from the Mutant Kings Series), oil, dirt & wax on canvas, Julian Schnabel, 1981 (photo taken from Met online gallery)

There didn’t appear to be a NaPoWriMo prompt today so I refer to one I missed, the very first one of the month.  To pick a piece of art from the online galleries of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and pen a poem in response to it.

I chose Portrait of God (from the Mutant Kings Series), 1981, by Julian Schnabel, who is probably more famous for his broken crockery paintings.  I liked the simplicity of this piece.  It reminded me of a minotaur.

I’ve no idea what my poem means.  I just went stream.

Thank you for stopping by ☀️

http://www.napowrimo.net