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A Sense of Entitlement



Today is the last day of Poetry Month. I wrote a poem every day as part of National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo.

I don’t usually write poetry—for good reason—but I thought it would be fun to stretch my brain in a different way.  The exercise turned out to be a welcome antidote during a month punctuated by sadness and bad news—the anniversary of my mother’s death, unhappy bulletins from family and friends about a cancer diagnosis, a mother’s sudden death, the loss of a sibling, a cherished pet gone.

Sally Charette, whose wonderful writing and photography appear on her blog, Any Given Sundry, told me about NaPoWriMo. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. So thank you, Sally!

For two or three weeks before NaPoWriMo began on April 1, I started to collect potential poem titles. They came from snippets of conversation I overheard, questions from students, headlines that startled me or that I misread (as in “Flash Mops”), books I was reading—even a barb from someone I once considered well-meaning.

I won’t inflict my poetry on you, but here are the titles:

Ahmed Refuses to Shake My Hand: The Reenactments

Are Southern Death Row Inmates More Polite?


Cumberland Gap

Don’t Come Back Here

Dusty Classroom

Elderly Flash Mops

Fifteenth Anniversary of Viagra

Finding Dad on eBay

Forward and Backward Banjo Rolls

Found Pansies

Gone Ten Years

Handpainted Roses

Hotel Stationery

I’ve Missed My Calling

Ingrid Betancourt

Is the Government Evil?

Lipitor Lawsuits

Message from Unknown Caller

My Platysma Has Separated

Necco Wafers

Punk Bands I Intend to Form

Rwanda Forgiveness

Stealing Brazil Nuts

Tavern on the Green

TB Test

They Waiting for You

We Talked About It, Remember?

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

You Gave Up Your Career



About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

7 responses »

  1. Julietta Appleton

    Ha! Love them! I came up with a concept at a writing workshop: Free range minds.

    Loved and appreciated your advice, and will start unlocking tomorrow. If you recall much of this was already written in 1997, so I will just have to weed out. As it were. 😉


  2. Oh, what a great idea! I love the idea of collecting the titles first. I was seriously sidetracked during April, and didn’t hold up my end of the bargain.

    I think I’ll have my own NaPoJuMo in June, it being a bit late to start on May.

    Thanks for the terrific idea for titles/prompts!

    • Sally, Collecting the titles is fun. Easier than actually writing the poems, too. A friend and I have a longstanding joke about punk band names — we file away phrases and intend to get the band going and make it big one day ;-).


    I would love to read your NECCO poem! Is it posted anywhere?

    • Hi Melody, Since you asked, here it is:

      Necco Wafers

      Communion in a waxed paper tube
      Peppery violet,
      Pink pepsin
      Perfect yellow suns
      My favorite,
      dusty black licorice spheres
      A sacramental assortment
      Each wafer a small ceremony


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