During a pre-COVID-19 trip with my Mom and nieces, I gave us a writing prompt in the morning (write a poem about something that is ‘not’). We all wrote our own poems then shared them over dinner the same evening. The variety of form and seeing how each person interpreted the prompt was a wonderful experience.
The photo is mine, of a cicada resting on its old exoskeleton and waiting for the fluids to move through its new body sufficiently to fly. How eerie to sit on one’s old, hollow self, being and not-being at once.
Now, in the throes of a global pandemic, this topic is itself eerily apropos.
Poems About Not
Something that is not
Is not, I snot, snot
So if it’s not
It can’t be bought
So it must be rot
Hot rot, hot pot, naught, naught
Naughty, naughty girl
For assigning something that is not!
This is not a living
This is not comfort
This is not normal
This is not the right colour
This is the feeling of fire ants
crawling on you
And the tomato splatter on thine skin
This is not fun
This is not joyous
Hot welts rise up from one smooth surface
Moving slowly like a sloth
And taking ice baths like a polar bear
This is a sunburn
Not a disease
Don’t be a pussy.
It is not
It is not a snail though its shelter is a shell,
It is not an arachnid though it scuttles like spider,
It is not attractive, though Jordge would call it adorable,
It is not able to swim but is reliant on the sea,
It is not a grumpy recluse as its name would indicate,
It is not hard, though it uses a shell to protect its soft pink body,
It is not huge the he who holds his own with little serrated saws for hands.
For it is in fact just a little hermit crab.
The sloth climbs quickly
but he is a conundrum,
moves both slow and fast.
Ticos are relaxed;
their government loves red tape.
Pura vida or…?
Macaws are beauties,
also noisy and squawky—
appealing and not.