Parlor Games: Part 1 – National Poetry Month – April 26th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 26/30 for April 26th

Parlor Games – Part 1

I’m tired
I’m Irritated
I have a toothache
And I’m bloated from the chili
I had for dinner

Pure love is an art form
The artist not even aware they are creating

Reaching the finish line of life having
not said what I feel moved to say,
having not said what needed to be said,
having not experienced all I wish to experience
Is one of my greatest fears

I like it when the coffee cup
handles all face the same way

those who spew forth a steady stream of bullshit,
Like they are truths,
These are traits I deplore in others

Modesty as it relates to behavior,
manner & appearance
is one of the most overrated virtues

Starts with a T
Ends with a D
Has stopped paying
Child support
A whopping $195 a month
He is refusing to follow the law
Pay until child graduates from high school
No matter if they turn 18-years-old before that
Five months behind now
I’m kind of despising you right now

Life motto:
Tell others what you need and want.
I’ve seen only good things
Come from doing this

I am happiest
When I am content
and when those around me
are content

I am happiest when
I’m out for a walk
Listening to music

Raising my two kids alone
witnessing them as adults
being true to themselves
living life on their terms
Minus the shackles of conformity
This is my greatest achievement

Assertiveness —
My most marked characteristic

I dislike loud noises, being talked to
when I’m deep in thought,
or when I’m enjoying silence.

Before I die
I would like to walk the
Camino de Santiago

Camilla Downs, 2024

*Prompt: Write a poem based on the “Proust Questionnaire”.

hullabaloo while sleeping – National Poetry Month – April 25th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 25/30 for April 25th

hullabaloo while sleeping

It was a family gathering
With my Italian step-dad’s
extended family

I think it was Christmas
Everyone was excited
Dozens of conversations happening
All at once

I didn’t think I would have gifts
As it seemed as if no one really knew me

I turned around to find a pile of gifts
Addressed to me
With others urging me to open them

It was loud
Everyone was talking
Everyone was laughing
Did I mention all the pasta dishes?
Loads of pasta

Minutes later alarms were sounding
It was chaos
Everyone was scrambling to get
out of the house

There was a fire in one of the rooms

I did not evacuate
I decided to locate the cause of the fire

My laptop had caught on fire
I kept thinking
Why would my laptop spontaneously combust?
Was I writing too much?

Somehow I put the fire out
My laptop still worked
But some of the keys were melted

Everyone began to calm down
I sat perplexed with a half-melted laptop

It was then that I woke up thinking
What the hell was that all about?

An otherworldly experience
In the comfort of your own bed

Camilla Downs, 2024

Prompt: Write a poem that includes a one-word stanza, anywhere other than at the end. Combined with this one: Prompt: Write a poem about a dream.

you can’t see them – National Poetry Month – April 24th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 24/30 for April 24th

you can’t see them (title from Jericho Brown’s “Lenoir”)

They don’t leave their
hiding places
Unless it’s dark

They hide in cracks and crevices
Behind appliances
Within cabinets and drawers
underneath the covers
Inside shoes

If it’s quiet
You can hear them
Scurrying across surfaces

Dark brown body
Their wings folded onto
The shiny slick back
Multiple thin legs
With a long pair of antennae

You can find them
In abundance
At a fishing camp
In Grande Isle, Louisiana
Inside one of the trailers

If you visit
Be sure to take along
A sleeping bag
One of those that
zips all the way around
You’ll want to zip yourself
Into it when the lights go out

If Aqua Net hairspray is still sold
Take some of that with you too
It’s a formidable weapon
If you go to war with them

Unless you have a strong stomach
I wouldn’t suggest stepping on them
Or squishing them with anything
The popping noise
And squished body
Just may cause you to vomit

When we are no longer
Roaming the earth
I guarantee you
This unpleasant creature will
Outlast the human race

The Louisiana
flying cockroach

Camilla Downs, 2024

*Prompt: Jericho Brown’s poem Lenoir is strong and packed with powerful language. Use one line from this poem as a title.

poem for a mess of a day – National Poetry Month – April 23rd

Prompt: Meme poetry = Found poetry. I created this prompt, sparked by an idea from the poetry workshop I attended recently. I’ve grabbed sections of the memes I’ve saved, smooshing them into a poem along with some of my own words. I have so many, this is my 2nd meme poetry. One more to follow at some point.

Today was crap. I’ve been in crisis mode for most of the day. But I still wanted to create something. Found poetry is perfect for that. Wonky photo to match the wonky day.

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 23/30 for April 23rd

poem for a mess of a day

Moonlight in her eyes

She silently stepped out of the race
Finding her own lane

She’s a soul searcher, deep in thought,
Her eyes telling tales of mysterious adventures

You say she’s pretty
But if Dracula saw her on the streets of Romania
Would they be so mesmerized by her beauty
That they would start writing a bunch of poems
About how much they crave her body and her blood?

There are people who don’t get obsessed easily
And there are those who let things consume their entire soul

Stars in her hair

Hard-wood floors
Tokyo drifting

Friends that leave you feeling more alive
After you’re with them
Are magic in human form

PTSD = Spicy déjà vu

Be a wild one
A room-wrecker
A reality checker
A fire-tongued, fierce leader
Be wild-hearted
A world-changer
Use those skills
To stand up for
Those you love
And perfect strangers

Magic on her lips

Do you ever
Debate with yourself
About keeping a cardboard box
Because it’s a really, really good box

Be unhinged
Wear fancy clothes to the grocery store
Yell things at bugs
Be free

Here’s to unbecoming all the things
We thought we were supposed to be

Camilla Downs, 2024

time eats audacious love – National Poetry Month – April 22nd

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 22/30 for April 22nd

time eats audacious love

By way of the imagination
Guided by the senses
You are an ocean of emotions

You smell like a crisp salty ocean breeze
With just a hint of lemon-coconut scented sunscreen
Fragrances that promise to sweep me away
To a sparsely populated tropical island
Freckled with palm trees

You sound like waves gently lapping the shore
Churning the sand
The susurration of the waves are
Mixed with the faint cry of seagulls
Whispering to me that all is well
In a melodic tone that hypnotizes me

Your delicate touch is like the velvety softness of
Golden beach sand
I can feel the sand kissing my body
sticking to my feet
In between my toes
Underneath my fingernails
And I think there’s sand in my mouth

You taste like a Pina colada
Refreshing and cool
And not too sweet
I already feel slightly buzzed
From the sugar-infused alcohol

When I look at you my shoulders instantly release the
tight connection they are trying to maintain with my ears
I feel my mind relax
Letting go of the jumbled thoughts
That scramble for my attention

You are one of my favorites


You are one of my favorites

Camilla Downs, 2024

**Prompt: Pick a colour. Use the 5 senses to explore and inhabit it.

Aperture of Ardor – National Poetry Month – April 20th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 20/30 for April 20th. (This is one I plan to re-visit to play around with the fonts, spacing, and structure.)

(Camilla’s eyes – 2024)

Aperture of Ardor

Anterior chamber
The front section of the eye’s interior
aqueous humor flows in and out,
providing nourishment to the eye.

It has been said
The eyes are the window to the soul

My eyes are for crying
My eyes are for laughing
My eyes are for smiling

Aqueous humor
The clear watery fluid
in the front of the eyeball.

It has been said
You are the apple of my eye

My eyes are for listening
My eyes are for reading
My eyes are for looking in the mirror

A small, red portion of the corner of the eye
contains modified sebaceous and sweat glands.

It has been said
Have an eye for

My eyes are for listening
My eyes are for reading
My eyes are for looking in the mirror

Clear, dome-shaped surface
covers the front of the eye.

It has been said
A sight for sore eyes

My eyes are for brushing my teeth
My eyes are for walking
My eyes are for driving

The colored part of the eye.
Partly responsible for regulating the amount of light
permitted to enter the eye.

It has been said
An eye for an eye

My eyes are for making eye contact
My eyes are for flirting
My eyes are for telling someone I care about them

Crystalline Lens.
Transparent structure inside the eye
focuses light rays onto the retina.

It has been said
Turn a blind eye

My eyes are for watching movies
My eyes are for working out
My eyes are for absorbing beauty

Opening in the middle of the iris
through which light passes to the back of the eye.

It has been said
I spy with my eye

My eyes are for observing
My eyes are for choosing music
My eyes are for concentrating

Light-sensitive nerve layer
lines the inside of the back of the eye.
senses light
creates impulses that are sent through the optic nerve
to the brain.

It has been said
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

My eyes are for seeing
The sky
The stars
The moon
The time

Suspensory ligament of lens.
Series of fibers
connects the ciliary body of the eye with the lens,
holding it in place.

It has been said
Cry your eyes out

My eyes are for shopping
My eyes are for seeing into the soul of another
My eyes are for another seeing into my soul

Vitreous body.
clear, jelly-like substance
fills the back part of the eye.

It has been said
In the blink of an eye

My eyes range from light to dark brown
With a clearly defined black limbal ring
My eyes are for communicating
My eyes are poetry

Camilla Downs, 2024

**I mixed two prompts together. Prompt: Write a poem with lots of eyes, and this one, write about a part of the body. Any one! Explore all the things about it which you take for granted and the ways in which it brings you joy.**

Eye facts from: Hopkins Medicine


Seven Seven Five – National Poetry Month – April 19th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 19/30 for April 19th.


The first time I visited
You captured my heart and soul
I have never left

Camilla Downs, 2024

Prompt: Area code haiku

Jitney Jungle – National Poetry Month – April 18th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 18/30 for April 18th.

Jitney Jungle

It was my first job
After school

A cashier at the Jungle
Jitney Jungle #19
On McDowell Road
Jackson, Mississippi

— M I crooked letter crooked letter I crooked letter crooked letter I humpback humpback I —

My friend Karen and I
Gave it a theme song

— Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games – Guns N’ Roses —

Customer service was important
Thorough training received —
How to properly bag Make a square inside the bag,
items on bottom,
on top

Best way to great customers
“How are you today?
Did you find everything you needed?”
Being fast at ringing the groceries — encouraged

Excelling at all of the above
Was rewarded
You better believe I received
One of these awards

Regular customers
I knew their name
They knew my name
We knew a bit about each other
These customers waited in my line
Even at times when my lane was longer
Offered to go to another lane
They respond,
“No thanks.”
They want to stay in my lane

Promoted to bookkeeper
Managed the front end
Rented movies
Approved checks
Maintained the returned checks binder

— bounced —

In charge of breaks for cashiers and baggers
Open an extra check stand when needed

Moving the customers through the check-out lanes
Quickly was crucial
Money to cashiers when needed

— Rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies
Stacks of 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, 20’s —

Balanced tills at the end of the night
Ready deposits for the armored truck

Make the

“store is closing in 10 minutes”


Locked the safe
Locked the doors

Some of us became good friends
Some of us were like family

My friend Karen’s house was nearby
The house was never locked
I could stop by anytime
Whether anyone was home or not
Have a nap
Borrow some of Karen’s clothes
Grab a bite to eat

Get off work on a Friday or Saturday night
Start the car

{I had 3 different cars during my four years at the Jungle —
a green convertible fiat
A 1980 dark blue firebird
A 1988 red chevrolet beretta}

Crank the music
Roll down the windows

— before electric —

Put the top down
Roll onto McDowell Road
Time for some cruising
That was THE THING to do

Drive from one end of McDowell Road to the other
Music blaring
See people you know — honk and wave
Turn around in the Sonic parking lot at one end of McDowell Road
Turn around in the bowling alley parking lot at the other end

The time when I made the decision
To leave Mississippi behind
Watch her disappear in my rearview mirror

I headed West,
then north
Landing in Seattle, Washington

— Rains a lot, very green, lots of trees, rains a lot —

My co-workers at The Jungle
Got me a cake
We said our goodbyes
Some tears were shed
Many hugs were shared
A load of photos were taken

I have the photos
They’re in my garage
I have the customer service award pin
It’s in a wooden chest
In my closet

— My Aunt Mary gave me the wooden chest. She gave all her nieces one —

I have my red vest
It’s in a box
In my garage

Memories I cherish
Jitney Jungle #19
McDowell Road
Jackson, Mississippi

Welcome to the Jungle

Camilla Downs, 2024

Prompt: Write a poem set in or about a location most posts don’t devote much attention to. Write a poem about or located in a grocery store.

Love Me Well or Leave Me Alone – National Poetry Month – April 17th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 17/30 for April 17th.

Prompt: Meme poetry = Found poetry. I created this prompt, sparked by an idea from the poetry workshop I attended this past Sunday. I’ve grabbed sections of the memes I’ve saved, smooshing them into a poem along with some of my own words. I have so many, there will be two poems with this method. This was fun!

Love Me Well or Leave Me Alone

I be in my own lil world
You need a wrist band to get in here

You don’t have to be crazy to be my friend
I’ll train you

I speak in movie quotes
Song lyrics
And sarcasm

I gave myself permission last week
to never make sense again

I laugh at inappropriate times
I cry when I feel like crying
I usually say whatever comes to mind

I’ve dug deep
Asking myself why I am the way I am
Why I do the things I do
It has been, still is,
A ton of work
But it’s helping me thrive

Being neurospciy
Is a wild-ass ride
I’ve decided to embrace it
Have fun with it
And enjoy the ride

I have a limited amount of time
Left on this planet,
I’m not gonna spend it being
A watered down version of myself
Just so people can like me

For those who have contempt
I turn the volume up even louder

I recover out loud
To give voice to all who
Still suffer in silence

I can be in the house an entire weekend
Without wanting to go out
But I love going out to socialize

I can be a social person
But don’t always like to deal with people in groups

Noise easily distracts me,
But I am one loud woman

Why do I attract people with
The emotional intelligence and maturity
Of a coffee table?
Or those who seem to think
Manipulation and lying are some sort of art forms
To be mastered?

“We knew each other in a past life”
Isn’t cute to me anymore
I’m remembering why I stopped
Fucking around with you in 1911

I play with the fire of my own truth
I will burn for the things I love

Those tattoos will be on you forever
I hope so cause this shit hurt
And it’s expensive

Nothing refreshes my memory
Of what I need at the grocery store
Like coming home from the grocery store

My personality mix —
A needy 5-year-old who can’t control their emotions
A teenage rebel making poor life decisions
And an 90-year-old who’s tired and needs to sit and do nothing

I’m at the stage where I stay out of arguments
Even if you say 4+4 = 10,
You’re right
Have fun with that

Sorry I didn’t text you back for a month
Darkness overtook me
I strayed out of thought and time
Stars wheeled overhead
We had an eclipse
Every day was as long as the life age of earth
But I’m good
How are you?

Might fuck around,
Do silly, frivolous things
That make me happy
And become the version of myself
I’ve dreamed about

I am teaching myself to be as a child
Looking another in the eye
Declaring, “this game is no longer fun”
And so I stop playing it
Without guilt
And walk away

I will not be explaining myself

Due to not wanting to,
I will not be.

Camilla Downs, 2024

Have You Ever Discovered Treasure – National Poetry Month – April 16th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Halfway there! Today’s poem: 16/30 for April 16th.

Have You Ever Discovered Treasure?

The year was 2014
I was struggling
I was sad
I felt stuck, felt trapped
I felt without direction
I didn’t know how to support myself, my two kids
I desperately needed and sought answers

During this time
I had a profound dream

My two deceased grandmothers had a starring role in this dream
Estelle Eady Mann
Elnor Key Downs

In my dream
They lived together
I was extremely happy to see them
We sat enjoying each other’s company
I caught them up with my life

We began to go from room to room
Looking for treasures
Treasures that belonged to each one of them
Treasures that had been lost

There seemed an urgency to our searching
Something was about to happen
Unsuccessfully we searched the house
Attempting to locate these treasures
It felt like we searched for hours

When nearly all hope was lost
I discovered a hidden room in the house
Galvanized and relieved
The three of us entered the hidden room
Surrounding us were the lost treasures

My grandmothers knowingly stood before me
Sharing a message

This room represents you, Camilla
You are searching outside of yourself
For answers
for direction
For knowing your why
We want you to know
You are the treasure
Everything you need is within you

In that moment I woke from the dream
I was visibly touched by this profound dream
By my grandmothers visiting me
I immediately got out of bed
To capture this dream in my journal
I did not want to forget any details

It was an intense dream
Helping me to relax into the present moment
Helping me to release a shit load of worrying
It helped me to keep going
Helped me to keep going
Keep going

This dream was vivid
It seemed real
I had never had a dream like this
I have not had a dream like this since

My two amazing, strong, tenacious
Grandmothers rescued me that night
They entered my dreams
Took me by the hand
Guiding me to the treasure for which I had been searching

Estelle Eady Mann
Elnor Key Downs

Thank you for your help during that time
Thank you for continuing to enter my thoughts when I need it most.
Thank you
Thank you

Camilla Downs, 2024