NPR Has Ruined Me

“Think of what is happening in the life of a friend or family member or neighbor right now. The idea is to re-create what someone close to you is experiencing. You might research someone’s illness, or learn more about a city a friend is visiting. Maybe your sister is pregnant and you want to know exactly what happens during childbirth. Focus on another person’s experience, and after answering some of your own questions, try to enter that experience.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”


Okay, I admit I didn’t take this exercise seriously but some of my latest posts have been so serious, I think this break is warranted. I started out with the intent of seriousness. My sister has been married for almost two months, so I figured I’d do a little research on the woes of being a newlywed. The second article I read was this. I realized I wanted to take some of the points and write about Disney Princesses once they reached “happily ever after.” As I started writing, I realized that I was trying to write limericks. This I blame on NPR and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me: The NPR News Quiz.” Anyway, enjoy, and if you can guess the different princesses, leave a comment below.


I was dreaming of finding the one

While singing with friends having fun

It won’t fly with the guy

When with seven dwarfs I do lie

Without change Prince Charming and I will be done.



She left the ocean, her friends and her dad

When he found out he was really quite mad

Now he knows I eat fish

It’s my favorite dish

My father-in-law thinks I’m a cad



I thought being a frog would change him

Instead, things are looking quite grim

He still has his pride

And I take it in stride

But man, what a pain to forgive him.


An Expert on Things I Don’t Know

“Consider something you really don’t know about: You have no idea how you could join the conversation if this came up. Type your topic – string theory, whale migration, Norse mythology – into a search engine, find some interesting or surprising facts, and make a poem out of your new knowledge.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”




A tiny amount

Is all it takes

For an explosion

That can rattle the house

It propels us

To destinations

Known and unknown

Behind the wheel I know

You asleep

Unaware of the tiny explosions

that move

large pieces of metal

and rubber and fabric and flesh

An internal miracle

Passing silent in the night

Questions from a Student

“Rhetorical questions…give you a way to introduce your subject; you can ask the question and then answer it. The uncertainties here won’t be in the questions themselves. You’ll have to let them give way to other surprises and mysteries.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”



Why should I care

that energy is dependent on mass?

I don’t need a scientific equation,

Just go to the gym during freshman P.E.

I know it’s good for me to learn

Things I will forget before

I ever need them.

Why should I go to college

Besides to relearn everything from high school?

But there are some I will never forget

Like the resting heart rate

for a person

Is around 70 beats a minute

But when I rest with you

It’s about 120.

When will you be on my final?

Every day

Past “I do”

Can I Ask You a Question?

“In ‘The Tyger,’ Blake asks a question he can’t really answer. Begin a poem with an important question of your own that you can’t answer. Then, keep asking questions as a way to explore the topic and move the poem forward.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”



How did I get here?

Lying on the linoleum floor

Wishing for an end

Watching my attacker, lover, friend

Suck life from my veins

What am I feeling?

My body is numb.

My heart is numb.

My soul is numb.

Do I want this?

I know I asked for it

The cut that let warmth flow

Did I want his kiss?

A gift: My life borrowed and returned

A promise of more

Will it end?

Sometimes I Scare Myself

Persona is Latin for ‘mask.’ In a persona poem, the ‘I’ is more obviously a character…. In a persona poem, you can become an actor and enter the page as anyone – rock star, grandparent, space alien – and investigate the things that matter most to you.

“Jot down your ideas for creating a persona. You might speak as a comic book hero, a mythological or historical figure…. Whatever persona you choose, infuse it with your own sensibilities, your own urgencies.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”



I have a couple of notes before I share the two poems I wrote. First, if you are a victim of sexual assault of any kind, I suggest not reading any further. I do not want to trigger anything for you or cause you any pain. Second, I do not sympathize with rapists. This wasn’t even the first persona I wanted to write about but I realized that this subject seems to be where the muses seem to be pulling me for the time being.






Poem One:

I have needs I have desires

She wanted it                    then

She just regrets it              now

She didn’t say no

There was no struggle

And it felt so good

Warm wetness all around me

Pulling me

Sucking me

All I did was guide her head to mine

I didn’t even strain

As she sent a shiver

Running from where her lips touched

me up into the deepest parts of my stomach

She shivered too

And I grabbed her hair

her head

Tight knowing we were both met with pleasure

She’s a lying bitch

if she says otherwise

She liked it

I told her so




Poem Two:

We kiss

I run my hands on silk

A gift, a token of love

My hands stroke lightly

But I want more

So I grab


Burning courses through my being

I want I need I will die

without it

She no longer moans under my touch

My hands have turned to claws

Like the arcade machine

Reaching for toys that you can never have

This time

This time I know my claw will come

back full

I don’t hear her

I barely see beyond

My desire for ecstasy

I’m quick

She can’t resist

And I feel heaven kiss

My dick

She struggles

I hold her down

Mother drowning her child

in love

Of course

I don’t care

The price of this drug

I Think But Should I Speak?

“In 1997, Hervé Le Tellier wrote Mille pensées, ‘one thousand thoughts,’ with each line beginning, ‘I think…’ In 2005, Denise Duhamel wrote a book of a thousand and one lines, each beginning, ‘I feel…’ Some of the ‘I feel’s seem to be true of Denise Duhamel, the writer, but others clearly aren’t. Still others are based on wordplay, like a series of alphabetical ‘I feel…’ statements beginning with ‘I feel amorous around angels.’…

“Write an ‘I feel…’ or an ‘I think…’ or an ‘I believe…’ or an ‘I remember…’ poem. Play with the ‘I’ that is you, and the ‘I’ that is not you.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”



I think I’m fantastic

I think my hair needs to be cut

I think chicken is delicious

I think about life force running onto the rug

I think I can use the force

I think about whales filling the room

I think my boyfriend could be taller

I think my job sucks

I think two years is forever

I think time moves too quickly

I think I’m an alien

I think immigrants should be welcomed

I think a wall is a stupid idea

I think I’m way too jumpy

I think about death – mine, yours, his

I think about children filling the house

I think about childbirth – terrifying, amazing, no thank you

I think I forgot how to spell

I think college is too hard

I think I cannot quit

I think life is a joke

I think I can keep laughing at it

Who Am I?

“We all play multiple roles in daily life. You may talk baby talk to your cat and be officious on the phone at work. In one day you may be a student, a mother or father, a lover, a best friend, a customer, a member of a club, a stranger on the street. Exploring these selves – present, past and those you may become – can help you move away from thinking of the ‘I’ in your poem as you yourself, and toward ‘I’ as a character or a version of you.

“Try this exercise: List your various selves, including your (their) hopes and fears….When you’re finished, you’re likely to have titles and subjects for several poems. Then go ahead and speak in the first person, as one of your selves. Use your life as material, to tell some truth. But don’t let your poem be confined by facts.”

-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”




The nerd buried in a book

A quiet, shy girl

Director, choreographer, actor

Ballerina en pointe

Honor role student

Lost with wounds on her arms as a map

Christian who finally hears God’s voice

American in España

Stuck in a cycle of abuse

A statistic

A survivor



Full time college student part time Walmart slave

Grown child in parent’s home

Substitute teacher who loves her kids

Girlfriend waiting for him to pop the question


Future Hopes

Teacher who excites all kids to learn

Adoring wife

Responsible and loving mom

Growing in Christ daily


Future Fears

Unable to escape my past

Tortured by fear and anxiety

Suicide victim on the bathroom floor



I have been reduced

to a number

One in Four

One in Five

One in Six

It’s hard to know

When victims don’t speak up against

A friend


A man bigger, stronger

I didn’t use to be afraid

Now the odds

That I will panic

At my boyfriend’s loving, gentle touch

Is One in Four

One in Five

One in Six