NaPoWriMo Day 28: Looking Glass Menagerie

Looking Glass Menagerie

I am trying to escape the menagerie—
all those selves I hold in front of me
as well as the ones I have let escape.
Those that run ahead—
the ones that are my future selves—
are here, hidden in the portrait that you see.
Domineering, perhaps. But seasoned with
an awareness of what might have produced
all of the parts of myself I try to reign in.
This has produced a certain slowness to connect.
The natural is seasoned with a desire to honor dreams
of what I hope to be. When I look in the mirror,
I see them all: my mother and my grandmother
and my sisters. We demand, are stubborn.
Sometime we are martyrs, stifling tears.
Then suddenly, I pass them by like memories
of nightmares: all the anxiety attacks,
illnesses and heartbreak.
We are all wonderful performers,
using bad luck to fuel good.
The belles of our own ball,
we push back the grim news
of what we fear we really are.
Headstrong, we reach for what we can be.
Utterly addicted to change,
Tony or no Tony,
we are the stars of our own lives.

The prompt today was “to find a news article and to write a poem using (mostly, if not only) words from the article! You can repeat them, splice them, and rearrange them however you like. Although the vocabulary may be “just the facts,” your poem doesn’t have to be — it doesn’t even have to be about the subject of the news article itself.”

With massive tornadoes, politician campaign funding fraud, murder and mayhem being the main stories of the day, I was hard-pressed to find any good news to write about. Finally, I chose a very long theater review in the NY Times which I picked at like a foraging chicken, picking a word here, a word there. Above is the resulting poem.

Here is a link to the NY Times article from which  I drew words : NY Times Article

7 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day 28: Looking Glass Menagerie

    1. grieflessons Post author

      Thanks, Forgottenman. Last year they gave us a similar prompt, asking us to draw words from a poem. Rather foolishly, I chose Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (all 51 pages of it) and ended up working all day on the poem, just posting it before midnight, as I recall. This year I decided to use some restraint.


  1. Dianne Hicks Morrow

    Judy, it continues to amaze me how you create a stunning new poem every day! I especially am moved by this one, so wise about “all those selves” we all have within us. Structure-wise, I’m intrigued to know why you decided to leave your lines left-justified? It works really well, I think.
    Only two poems to go before champagne time… I’ll drink to you from thousands of miles away.


    1. grieflessons Post author

      Hi Dianne. For some reason, this one just wanted to justify itself but not to be so conservative as to swing to the right! Thanks for reading my blog. Has your life slowed down a bit to allow you to write yourself? Hope so…


  2. grieflessons Post author

    P.S. Surprised no one has commented on the “reign in.” I caught the spelling error, then realized I liked the other meaning better so left my true self to “reign.” I love those synchronicities of telling the truth in spite of ourselves.



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