NaPoWriMo 2023: Day 8 – My dreams are birds of gold

Today’s resource is “Public Access Poetry,” an online feature from the Poetry Project, presenting digitized audio files of a poetry-themed public-access TV show that aired in New York City in 1977 and 1978. Listen to stalwarts and shining lights of the late-70s NYC “scene” such as Bernadette Mayer, Ron Padgett, Eileen Myles, and more!

And now for our daily (optional) prompt. This is another oldie-but-goodie. I remember being assigned to use it in a college poetry class, and loving the result. It really pushes you to use specific details, and to work on “conducting” the poem as it grows, instead of trying to force the poem to be one thing or another in particular. The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:

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.

Now for my poem – My dreams are birds of gold

My dreams are birds; they fly away as soon as I get close to them
Except for the one time I dreamed of a steppe eagle
I saw myself perched on it even after I woke up
I held onto it's soft, darkish brown plumage 
for fear of dear life 
as it soared upwards in the sky. 

"Where we were going?" I asked, trembling,
But other than a single caw  that could be mistaken for a crow
it made no noise. We flew 
over the Mediterranean sea; I tasted 
the salt on my lips and felt the warm, sticky breeze  over my face

We flew over undulating dunes of sand and the azure blue waters
and it dropped me off the at the pyramids of Egypt
A woody fragrance welcomed me in - a mix of cardamom,
myrrh, mastic and bitter almonds and camel grass.
I stepped in nervously; the scent grew stronger and stronger.

I froze on my tracks - before me was a woman 
in milky white robes that flowed like the river Nile 
with every step she took. 
Her face was as resplendent as the sun in the sky
and the goree* around me. 

"Cleopatra, is that you?" I wanted to ask.
'Welcome, Smiths,' she said before I could, her voice, 
like peaches on a summer's day. She has to be a Goddess, I thought.
"The stones are crumbling each year to gold dust ," her tangerine eyes 
misty.  "Because of global warming." 

"Take what you want. It's yours. You will be Queen one me. 
I am you!" she declared. 
Nei sogni come nell'amore tutto è possibile.'
And when she said it, the heaps of gold around me began to dance
and spread its wings and fly, disappearing before my eyes. All Rights Reserved.

7 responses to “NaPoWriMo 2023: Day 8 – My dreams are birds of gold”

  1. rajkkhoja Avatar

    What a nice write story words use in poem of Dream Birds. Very amazing written in .


  2. kittysverses Avatar

    Wow! Lovely, you weaved a story out of a poem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much. The prompt was hard to crack😃. So, this means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kittysverses Avatar

        Yes, it was hard. You are welcome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Manja Maksimovič Avatar

    Lovely. And more Italian. It’s a sign – you will be back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Oh…I definitely want to be back, Manja. If nothing else, to see you 🙂 Thank you so much for reading. I haven’t been reading because I’m down with the flu. I’m struggling to keep up with the prompts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Manja Maksimovič Avatar

        Ahhh! Too bad. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


Leave a Reply. I love comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: