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Mary McCray May 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 27, 2019)

What acceptable audit will you leave
from all your labors and confrontations,
from all the sound and fury
in those moribund board rooms?
The clocks are sluggish with boredom,
the carpets are worn and declining.
What successors will profit from you
past all the centuries and the arteries
evaporating in the light of day,
diminishing and belittled with time;
and all our productive bodies
lie buried, slacking in their tombs?
You are the renter in every office
and own not a penny but the doing.
Prompt: write a Shakespeare remix poem, using one of his sonnet lines, a sonnet word scramble or rewrite one of his ideas. Originating poem: Sonnet IV: plus "10 Shakespeare Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Read"

Did this one on Apr 27 but it got stuck in draft.
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 30, 2019)

Fingers to the brain
400 WPM
Prompt: write a minimalist poem.
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 29, 2019)

At the end, you always remember the beginning,
sleepless sweating and the dread of the new.
It was going into battle through the glass doors,
the receptionist on the front lines, the rounds of names.
There was always the fear of missing something lifesaving,
the cliffs of inevitable failures ahead of you,
the roster of duties and missions you would not be suited for,
the impenetrable maps, the bank of phones with fifty lights,
the script of survival at the skirmish, the awkwardness
in the dying role.

Figuring out your generals and where they stood
from their hilltop proclamations, this little trooper
finally learned the war machine, way too late
to take on the mission with any patriotism,
way too late to be anything more than a soldier
serving out the term. My badge of honor
became what I could not do, my efficient honesties
and the raw willingness to fail.

Maybe this is a mark of a mature conscript,
the luxury of modesty, the last days
of having nothing left to prove.
Prompt: start with a declarative statement and write a powerful emotion reflected in tranquility.
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 28, 2019)

My first job was data entry, with all those awful numbers.
The next ones were flush with time and words were incalculable,
floating out of copiers and stenographers. I hand-wrote them then

in-between walking memos to real, plastic inboxes.
Microsoft changed everything with their windows
in which I could type out my poems. After all,
writing poems looks awfully similar to working.
And instead of office supplies, I began to steal time.

I snuck words in through open windows,
met them in small storage rooms, had conferences
with them at lunch. I sat in ergonomic chairs
while they reclined on the yellow, lined paper.

Sometimes I had to cajole them.
Sometimes they were team players.
Sometimes they were only wanting to gossip.
Sometimes they came out of the mouths of people
standing unawares in front of my desk. Sometimes
they didn’t show up to work, but I couldn’t fire them.

They liked to be fussed over, rearranged.
They wanted to be knit and spaced.
All they wanted was my attention.
And they must have known I would never give them up
for all the money. Because at the end of the day,
when they took their leave, it always sounded good.
Prompt: write a meta, ars poetica poem.
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 26, 2019)

There can only be so many recipes for success.
There can only be so many recipes for meatloaf.
There can only be so many recipes for a hit single.
There can only be so many poems about dogs, breakups and trips to Italy.
There can only be so many biographies about Marilyn Monroe.
There can only be so many blues riffs, jazz interludes, and country songs invoking old cars.
There can only be so many widgets and thingamajigs.
There can only be so many eye creams, lipsticks and color-sensitive shampoos.
There can only be so many plastic bags, trampolines and podcasts.
There can only be so many versions.
I can only tell so many new bosses the ropes.
There can only be so many children’s books.
There can only be so many best-selling mystery authors.
There can only be so many brands of soft drink.
There can only be so many brands of liquor.
There can only be so many brands of water.
There can only be so many window frames, iframes and frames of reference.
There can only be so many fireplace repairmen.
There can only be so many times I redo this correction in this spreadsheet.
There can only be so many creation theories with their evangelists on street corners.
There can only be so many arguments I have with my terrier.
There can only be so many poems.
But no, spreadsheets and billboards proliferate like clover
and hypocrites are as bottomless as all the leaves of forever
and poems and recipes and pop songs are the infinite hives of a trillion bees.
Prompt: write a poem with repetition in the vein of  Joanna Klink’s “Some Feel Rain” or John Pluecker’s “So Many.” Getting this in after 9pm! Limping in to the finish line!
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 25, 2019)

What does it mean to be wise?
What does it mean to mentor?
In a world for the young,
does it mean anything?

Old trees in our autumnal springs,
we’ve been through all the weathers,
wind blowing off our bark skins,
the hot sun burning our green.
into a fragile brown crisp.

Among the hustle and bustle of the leaves
and in the hallways of the woods,
we see you repeating all our mistakes:
little seedlings spreading roots
too fast through the loam
for the feel of the cold earth
on your stringy new toes.

Can you smell the honeysuckle
growing like a blanket around you
and enjoy the buddings
of your first springs?

Your leaves are thirsty and proud,
but consider the perils of social climbing.
You hear frenetic twitters on the roof,
but once you climb you will see
only tar and gravel and broken shingles.

Listen to the clouds instead.
Work hard just to stand tall.
Prompt: write a poem like Keats’ “To Autumn” with a rhetorical question, a references to a season, and incorporating all the senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
Mary McCray Apr 2019
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 24, 2019)

ad·min·is·triv·i·a  (ăd-mĭn′ĭ-strĭv′ē-ə) pl. n.

1. “A term that encompasses all the trivial tasks that management is far too qualified to suffer through.”

2. Why companies should hire up and not out.

3. A practice that smells bad to worker bees.

4. A malady of misunderstanding how trivia can bring down an empire.

syn. A cop out.

origin. middle business-speak from the Marketing era.
Prompt: write a poem inspired by a reference book; dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopedia. Original definition from
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