National Poetry Writing Month

Day 1:

A Herald from the Tundra :

The muddy field,

Once covered in the spring-summer prospects of

Farmers and tulip growers,

Now seems to cultivate a strange

Canadian organism from the north:

An undulating sea of geese,

White as the snow of their namesake,

Seeming to sway to a rhythm

Independent from the intense wind

And pelting rain.

A lake of white, occasionally

Breaking formation to let some trickle away,

Others to join,

Graceful flights,

Powerful takeoffs,

Daunting landings,

Merely drops in this ocean of life,

Transplanting a bit of Canadian tundra

To this brown, gray, brown region

Of the Pacific Northwest.

A lone eagle suddenly interjects,

Its singular figure rising from the ground,

And the field erupts,

A coterie of organized chaos

In mesmerizing patterns,

Panicked honks and screams

Permeating the air, seemingly more a

Physical wall than an auditory one.

And slowly the whole group rises,

Bringing their slice

Of tundra to another place on this

Northern Washington island.

Day 2:

Gods of the Andean Sky

An enormous mass of hollow bones,

daggerish beak and talons,

thick black feathers, glistening like the varnished hull

of a mighty zeppelin.

Their wingbeats seem to shake the air,

massive impulses on the

atmosphere that lift their

bodies to stratospheric heights.

Of all of the familiar sights of circling hawks,

eagles, and vultures, like a whirlpool

rising on invisible currents,

Condors place but a fraction to

moving their colossal wingspan:

A single percent of their flight time,

when taking off and near the ground.

Smaller species fly in frantic bursts;

songbirds flit up and down,

thrushes rise and fall rhythmically,

hawks and falcons power through the air like

jackhammers through concrete.

They betray the difficulty, the impossibility

of fighting gravity, lifting themselves

against the force of an entire planet.

The condor need not stoop to such a level,

breaking free of gravity with a few wingbeats to then sail,

unimpeded by the might of the earth.

It is not difficult to imagine where such legends of

thunderbirds, feathered serpents, and avian gods arose;

with the serenity of a cloud,

such monstrous beasts float across the terrain,

their majesty and leisure fitting of a god of the sky.

Day 3:

An Odd Hunter

A serpentine neck atop a rotund body

Of muddy browns, dry-grass tans,

And foggy whites,

Slowly sways back and forth,

Up and down.

Oblivious, or perhaps uncaring,

To the ogling of a nearby human observer

-- silently chuckling marveling

at its absurd unique


and goofy behavior --

As it slowly trots through the water,

One carefully placed foot

following the other, leaving barely a trace,

Gliding as if filled with helium.

I remain simultaneously awed, perturbed, and


by its capacity to swallow rodents whole,

Despite its appearance as a bowling pin atop a ball,

The tall grasses as lane dividers as it slowly

weaves through and about them.

The odd hunter

stands on the moistened edge of a

Slough, uncaring of the unsuspecting jury

just a few dozen feet away,

As it carefully eyes its prize in the water:

A silvery arrow, sitting placidly unaware

Of the threat above it, a set of

Lightning-fast pincers,

Poised to strike.

A sudden lunge

A splash

A quick kill and quicker ingestion

And the hunt is complete,

Its onlooker stunned with

finger just let off the shutter button.

Day 4:

American kestrel on Fir Island, Washington

I am at wit’s end.

My father seems to be as well.

We try again,

And again

And I miss. Again.

And again.

The two of us are in our silver SUV as I beg my camera to bend to my demands (again)

And curse the keenness of this American kestrel

Clad in yellowed whites, rufous reds, faded blues

As it deftly avoids our gaze on the flanking power lines

Of an oft-traveled 50 mile-per-hour road.

Disgruntled, I exit the car,

And get in the backseat,

Following the bird as it jumps from line to line.

My father pulls the SUV back onto the road again,

And I line up the shot, again,

And I miss. Again.

We peel off the main road.

I don a camo jacket, hoping that this kestrel will stay long enough

For me to catch even a hint of its regal appearance.

As I get closer, balancing atop a mound of discarded greenery,

The bird nothing but an outline in the halo of the all-too-exposed sun,

I try, and try.

It turns its head to squint at me

and it leaves, off into the distance,

my eyes tracking it in place of the camera that I barely have the skills to handle.

I had missed again,

Left to look for my next chance.

Day 5:

Anna’s hummingbird

A lone speck catches my eye,

A bulb sprouted from

A spindly limb of an oft-passed tree,

The hummingbird sits, a totem

Glued to the leafless branch, so

small as to be mistaken as a flower bud, a

bundle of color in the bland

gray of the twilight before

the dawn of a spring infested with disease.

I stop,

Watching inquisitively as this supposed flower bulb

subtly buzzes and chips

With slight flicks of its needlish beak.

And suddenly,

It moves

darting against the

blinding white-gray sky,

Weaving like a leaf

riding a trickling stream

into the sea

of twigs and nascent leaves.

I trace the flitting figure wondrously,

Then continue walking, passing the tree

to my next class.

As I enter the building, I mentally write


On my list of priorities

Day 6:

Red-tailed hawk

A stocky buteo greets me as I crest the asphalt-laden hill.

A raptor with basalt-black talons,

Creamy chest with maple-brown speckles,

Brick-red tail terminating a messy brown backside,

Golden yellow eyes tracing my movement.

As I bring the matte black camera to my glassed eye --

mouth agape,

breath quickened,

skin warmed by the rays of the reddening sun

filtering through the branches and needles of the encroaching evergreen forests--

the windswept hawk cocks its head,

perhaps pondering as to the peculiar nature of this human child.

And it takes off,

Solid as the foundation it offers to my ongoing quest.

Day 7:

Burrowing owl

The fourth of July, and I am pleased.

I proudly scroll through my bounty

Of the day in the back seat of

Our rental car, near a thousand

Digital files that fill my screen

With the likeness of dozens of

Avian subjects, miracles

Of an accidental sea in

The middle of an otherwise-

Ceaseless ocean of sand and dust.

Of them, seven burrowing owls,

Crouched on the edges of ditches,

Hunkered in front of their den, right

Next to a billowing geo-

Thermal plant, a tribute to their

survival in the harsh climate,

And equally harsh humanity.

Independence Day fireworks

Spark sky-borne blossoms, bursts of light

Over a parched desert, seeming

To hang in the dry night air, no

Buildings, trees, or alternative

Disruptions to their short-lived flights.

The eighth owl suddenly crosses,

Momentarily lighting our

Eyes as it intercepts the high

Lights of our bone-white rental car,

Slow enough to identify,

Fast enough to forbid an

Acceptable reaction. The

Owl hits the bumper, falls limp to

The ground. I solemnly lower

The weighty camera. I had

Completed one American

pastime, steeped in love for nature.

And yet, I left the desert one

soul fewer than when I arrived.

Day 8:


A winding river,

a strip of water permeating a land

named in honor of si'áb Si’ahl,

long since tamed

to fuel the industrious dreams

of businessmen, entrepreneurs,

building craft to take to the sky.

A flattened roadway to the Puget,

fueling pathways to the air.

The irony in the pollution,

destruction, decades of dumping industrial waste

into the land’s superior vein, this marine city’s

only river, the single aquatic highway

bringing sub-metropolitan shipping,

commerce, invention

from inland to the rest of the world,

a singular industrialized estuary,

a doorway to the Pacific and relevancy,

a reminder of the lengths by which we go to pursue

a more efficient way to make coin,

heed only paid to the folk

who used it – lived off it, were its namesakes –

in hindsight,

an afterthought as

their villages were burnt

and final residents left to starve

in the early-century winter of a tiny island,

witness to the becomings

of an aviation giant.

Day 9;


I am the unseen fiber,

lacing the forest floor with highways of hyphae,

intertwining the soil with

strands of sinuous cords,

A mile-long staff of fibrous notes.

I am but a part of a network

of tissues and dirt,

A world with the complexity

of a neuronic brain. I possess no leading role,

no resounding solo.

I am a razor-thin rope in a net of living nylon,

yet altogether we create

A polyphonic chorus,

a nebula of life.

Day 10:

Hotel Room

Fans whir with dry fatigue,

Circulating cold desert air,

Like a conveyor belt continually adding

New lengths of rubber,

replacing sections worn by

Usage, people, and time.

The lights put out a warm yellow,

Painting the walls with lukewarm

Colors, the plaster-white coat

Covered in a homely glow.

A tap runs in the room next-door,

A hum emanating from the walls,

Permeating the structure,

Filling the air with ambient noise.

A liminal space, a crossing over,

With the whirring of desert air through

rejuvenating fans; rushing water through

Silverish pipes; warm yellow

Light bathing the walls, furniture,

And inhabitants. A place unremarkably homely,

Yet unwaveringly Different.

Day 11:


Amorphous, supercooled, solid.

America’s national monuments

are contained within,

Like artifacts trapped in time.

I gaze upward from my low vantage point.

The seal of the White House floats midair.

The texture is a cross between frost and sand,

Like a cloud of ice and dust formed two circles and an eagle.

Just below, I gape at the Washington Monument,

An obelisk surrounded by flags.

I turn to look around me, and find myself surrounded.

The Lincoln Memorial, The Capitol, Vietnam.

I look down and see the American Flag,

Bright reds and deep blues blaring through the monochrome world of the glass paperweight.

I look toward the White House,

And see the corner.

The glass paperweight is beginning to crack.

Day 12:

Northeastern forests

With the sun above,

Beaming down, uninterrupted,

A straight path onto the land below,

The forest stands, still.

The browned leaves of autumn dust the ground,

Hesitant to rot in the early spring air

That so teems with life

Even in absence of green.

The rolling hills remain dull brown,

Winter-season vegetation in stark contrast

With the infinite blues and unceasing sun.

The naked branches sway in the wind,

In limbo between dying, death, and life.

Day 13:

Northeast forests revisited

The golden hour arrives,

Sunlight streaming through great lengths of atmosphere,

As the barren branches

Make ample room for the shining rays.

Beams of honey bleed through miles of wood,

Casting lengthy shadows,

Angled and stilted as haphazardly as

The dead leaves litter the forest floor.

Speeding along at highway speeds,

Shining fingers reach in,

Glossing over with rapid pace,

Flickering like a flame

At the end of a long spring day.

Day 14:

Northeastern forests, epilogue

The day closes,

lights leaving even for those residents

of the highest hills.

The forest, deprived of sunlight

sits, calms into the darkening night,

animal life either settling in

or waking to a new world.

In the moonless, clouded night,

the first leaf bud forms.

Day 15:

Korean wetlands

A cormorant,

Lanky water-susceptible fishing bird,

Sits atop a tree in

the midst of a swamp –

Water a faithful blue-green

With silverish reflections across its rippling surface –

Surrounded to one side by endless agriculture

And to the other by high-rise –

Humanities newest claims to the land,

Rotting thirty-year-old public housing

Next to billionaires’ newest

Tall glass facades –

The bird and its home remains,

A patch of blue, brown, and green in protest

Of their invaders, subject to the whim of

Politicians, businessmen, and

Saved only by the few who care enough to fight.

Its slim, tree-bark brown wings stretch out

Toward the hazed sun,

Orange bill slanted upwards in seeming protest.

Yet it stands,

It with its mate and single chalky egg

Placed with care in a nest made of




Built atop a mysterious, plentiful foundation:

A muddied, bent, beaten,

Plastic bottle of Sprite.

Day 16:


Dotting the streets, in various forms of disarray.

Black, blue, white;

Surgical, cloth;

Thick, thin.

The oldest sit in closets,

Pantries, stored for the next surge,

Or hung up to “save” for the newest, most infectious strain.

They inhabit every living space –

First house exits, then public entrances,

Then cars, then pantries for long-term storage,

Then coat pockets,

Then back pockets,

Then the bedroom,

Then the bathroom –

And spill into the streets,

Stomped into the ground and soaked

With days, weeks, months, now years of neglect

As the pandemic rages on

And machines pump out more to match demand

As the world settle into a new normal,

And one more robust industry gains permanence

In our economy, life,


Day 17:

8th Owl revisited (haiku)

Barrel-shaped body

rockets across the ground, but

comes to a dead stop

Day 18:

Wetland Musings

The clouds sit heavy

above the bay, trees, and pebbles.

The wooden platform holding dozens of separate humans,

tapping with booted, shoed, feet,

rocking slightly in the undulating waves of the earth.

The light stays low, dreary, moody in the low clouds.

The birds flit between trees against the gray-white clouds.

And the sun, hidden behind water vapor,

shines down on a white paradise, hiding

a wetter, greener, bluer one.

Day 19:

Circling the azure blue skies,

dotting it with dark browns and blacks

of long feathers, scaly legs,

fleshy bald heads.

Uncommon in the northwestern skies,

found only in the desert east,

making news among those circles fortunate enough

to witness their broad wings in the skies,

majestic as if they were the wind itself.

And yet here, in the skies above the northeast,

they become as common as the next,

single individuals as common as road markers

as we travel west to east, south to north,

or groups of four above an equestrian camp,

we can only begin to think:

"how awfully commonplace you are"

Day 20:

Cloudy Seattle

Bringing in the daylight

the new sun sits behind the clouds,

a muted day once more in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet another cloudy day.

The day before brought out the sun, a deep blue

emblazoned across the sky,

embedded into the retinas

of tired eyes.

Day 21:

Pileated woodpecker

A flaming crest of deep red,

black and white stripes lining

a triangular head atop

a stocky body.

Its feathered body braced vertically

against a hollowed, rotting tree,

the wood breaking away as if styrofoam.

The soft drilling noises bounce through the forest.

And reach the ears of one watcher,

intently viewing through the bent glass of a

large matte black camera.

Day 22:

3 AM

The morning sun is still a ways off.

the moon would be out

and a screen glows blue and white

as the student makes final additions to an unfinished paper.

Perhaps working diligently, perhaps not

but toiling into the unholy hours,

lit by the low LCDs of a small monitor,

surely there are better ways

to spend a Sunday morning.

Day 23:



Perhaps a bit of a meaningless term,

something that happens every perceivable moment

and even more common, disposable

when a few clicks and button depressions

may create the next Big Thing,

the one to shake the world.

Or perhaps, sit, unnoticed in the annals of the largest repository ever devised,

seen only by the eyes of one.

Day 24:

Salton Sea Trip

We sit in an air-conditioned car,

stark white paint with the light brown of the desert

streaking across its tires, sides.

The desert remains, peaceful, surrounded

by low, sloping mountains covered in beige shrubbery and

brown sands,

populated by the denizens that

refuse to come out

with the sun hanging high in the air,

beaming down with oppressive glee

in the airy blue, whispy-clouded


The oven-air, pressing down with

light brutality,

hangs throughout the air.

Once at its zenith, the sun

starts its onerous descent.

Day 25:

Kaua'i Landscape

Light streaks through the checkered sky,

bright sun creating pockets of saturated blues,

separated by thick bundles of rain pouring down

with unrepentant excitement as they scatter

the long-fingered hands of the sun,

blanketing the green-coated,

wrinkled landscape of Kaua'i

in long bows of multicolored rain.

Day 26:

A box of wood sits


unremarkable in a shallow ravine.

assembled in a factory,

modified with cardboard, screws, and care,

it sits, just too late in the season,

waiting a tardy tenant.

Day 27:

The Boat Seen During A Bird Collision Survey

Rachel Carson,

mother of the environment movement,

who sacrificed so to indict the pesticide industry,

so intent on ruining the woman

who sought to bring their poisons

to justice, to

save lives humans and avian alike.

In bird-loving Seattle,

her legacy sits in the minds of two passer-bys,

pointing and gawking at a docked yacht.

Day 28:

Bird Box Has Been Installed After A Year of Delay

The bird box, screwed on

to a tree, unattended.

fur covers the floor.

Day 29:

Poetry Month

I sit in front of my computer,

hands hovering above the keyboard,

an oval-shaped spot polished to a sheen

on the space key, from incessant clicking,

textured letter keys smoothed

to a uniform plastic,

unsure what to write, again.

What new idea to jot down,

to create.

Day 30:

Thanks for reading

I watch the map,

gray on gray,

a humble reminder of the tiny space

I take on the largest information center

ever created.

And yet, with my tiny audience

all drawn in over a few weeks,

fifteen random users from across the world

(Mumbai, Seattle, Montreal, Albion)

all gathered to click on this link

to the ramblings of one anonymous teenager