my salad days – National Poetry Month – April 30th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 30/30 for April 30th – YES!!! I did it! 30 days, 30 poems!

(I want to work on this one more, but I wanted to get one posted for the last day of poetry month!)

my salad days

It is one of my favorite scents

When the thick, sweet
Scent enters my nostrils
I get a dopamine hit to the brain
sending me back to my childhood

Summer days spent
Outside all day playing
Riding bikes
Climbing my Aunt Mary’s plumb trees
Plucking yellow and purple plums,
sitting on a tree limb to eat them
Not too many
Or you’d have to run to the bathroom

Remembering the time I jumped
from the trampoline
Landing in a gigantic bed of fire ants

My Aunt Mary
Rushed me in the house
Tore off my clothes
Immersing me in a bathtub of cold water
Fire ant bites
HURT

Remembering the times
Helping my pappaw mow lawns
All the grandkids had to take turns helping him
It was hard work in that oppressive Mississippi heat
He always paid us for our help
Me and my cousin, Stephanie
Would walk to the tote-sum
Taking our time choosing penny candy
We’d leave with a good size bag of
Glorious sugar loaded treats

Remembering that time
My pappaw let me try
Some of his chewing tobacco
When I tell you I spit that shit
Out so fast
Nasty stuff!

It is one of my favorite scents

Honeysuckle

It reminds me of childhood summer days

Camilla Downs, 2024

Prompt: Think about your favourite scent. Write a poem depicting the things and activities it reminds you of.

do not drink me – National Poetry Month – April 29th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 29/30 for April 29th

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 and some song titles.

do not drink me

You can miss something,
But not want it back

It takes more than inches
to reach a woman’s soul

Don’t try to explain yourself to idiots
You’re not the fuckface whisperer.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
Why do you tell me lies?

Growing up in an unstable household
Means believing there’s something unlovable about you
Means seeking attention
Means oversharing with people you barely know
Means daydreaming of scenarios of people caring about you

Healing from things no one ever apologized for

Vacations are cool
But have you ever stayed home in
your comfy clothes and not spoken
to anyone for a week

Sometimes I wear my boogie shoes
To the grocery store
And I get down on it

Have you noticed that some people
get offended when you aren’t ashamed of
things they were taught to be ashamed of,
resenting you for not caring what
everybody thinks?

Normalize being okay with letting people
think whatever they want about you

New way to reply to emails
“Go away, never contact me again”

When I was in second grade
I lost my favorite pair of earrings
In the ditch at school
While waiting for my parent to pick me up

I was devastated
Crying until my eyes were so puffy
I could hardly see

Red ladybug earrings
with black spots
and a gold back

The distance you kept during my struggle
I’ll need to to double it during my success

If the vibes get weird
Move on
This is the end
of forced conversations
Friendships
Relationships
Attention
Love
If it’s forced
It’s not worth it

Don’t mistake kind people for doormats
They’ve seen a lot
Been through even more
When pushed
They will demonstrate the emotional strength
They’re capable of

Let’s raise our glass
to being born this way

Settling for trash people is over
Being alone is approximately 7,000,000
times better than sitting here
questioning your self worth because some
fucking loser doesn’t know how to respond to a text

Be done with spending too much time
analyzing the emotionally unavailable person
Walk away

Some people be like
You have good energy
Hold up
Let me get my straw

I didn’t know what I was in for
When I let go
Of the stories
And said,
YES.

Camilla Downs, 2024

ode to opulence – National Poetry Month – April 28th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 28/30 for April 28th

ode to opulence

What are the real luxuries in life? Long walks and good books.
Slow mornings sipping coffee while listening to birds singing.
The ability to freely express myself, the best of all.

Camilla Downs, 2024

Prompt: Write a sijo poem (three lines, each averaging 14-16 syllables).

Parlor Games: Part 2 – National Poetry Month – April 27th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 27/30 for April 27th

Parlor Games – Part 2

Perfect happiness
is being able to relax into life
Not needing to figure out on a daily basis
how to buy food, pay rent, purchase necessities
While also being a full-time single parent
To two kids with varying degrees of special needs

Everyone who knows me
Knows that I love to share hugs

Being attracted to those
who are not a good fit for me,
My ability to easily settle for less than I deserve —
These are traits in myself I do not like

I’m a punctilious person
I pay attention to details
I like information
I enjoy solving predicaments,
Reaching resolution,
Finding answers

One of my greatest
extravagances is
flavorful,
nutritious,
satisfying,
food and drink

My upper arms
My inner thighs
My stomach
I’m grateful to all of you
But I dislike y’all

That is amazing
Love this
Love that
Love it
Fuck
Shit
Words and phrases I overuse

Gen X
oozes from my feral pores
Leaving a trail of neon
Pink footprints
And the scent of strawberry lip gloss
Coating the air —
This, I treasure

The greatest loves of my life
Knowledge
Art —
Books
Poetry
Music
Paintings
Photography
My two kids —
Thomas Arthur
Lillian Paige
Myself —
and little Camilla

I am happiest when I am home
Sitting in a favorite spot
Reading
Writing
Watching

I am happiest when
I’m with like-minded folks
Who want me there with them
Who appreciate me

If I were to come back as
Something else after I die —
Honeysuckle

Trust
communication
intimacy —
I most value in friendships

Some of my early parenting choices
One of my greatest regrets

When it is time for me to die
I want simply to have a knowing that
my time has come to an end
with enough time to say goodbye to friends and family,
I’d like to peacefully drift to sleep,
never to wake again.

Camilla Downs, 2024

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

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

Liars,
manipulators,
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
Dancing

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?
Ha!

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?

Dreams
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

Revolting
Vile
Vile
Vile
Icky
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

Cats
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
Yourself
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

Teal
T
E
A
L
Teal

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

Caruncle.
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

Cornea.
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

Iris.
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

Pupil.
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

Retina.
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
Sunsets
Beaches
Oceans
Clouds
Colors
Birds
Cats
Trees
Flowers
Butterflies
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

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/anatomy-of-the-eye