The Beginning of the End – National Poetry Month – April 14th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: 14/30 – April 14th.

The Beginning of the End

There’s a barely visible view
The murky fog nearly obscures everything
There’s a deep window ledge with pottery pieces
Made by my daughter in her preschool class
Her name and the date are written on the back
With a blue sharpie marker
The translucent strawberry curtains are draped to the side

The mood, this setting
Transported me back in time
An eventful night in Spring 2006

I couldn’t sleep
My stomach was bothering me
It felt like something was wrong
The air, the energy was unsettled
The weird feeling lodged in my gut

My stomach gurgling with discomfort
I made my way to the bathroom
As I sat on the toilet
I couldn’t shake this unsettled feeling

That’s when I saw his phone on the edge of the counter
I debated with myself whether or not to pick it up
Whether or not to infringe upon another person’s privacy
The weird feeling that something was not right
Overtook the debate happening in my mind

I opened to the call history
My gut discomfort suddenly worsened

I found hours long calls on his phone,
Dozens per day
Calls with another woman
I began to panic, to sob, my body became numb

I wondered what I had done wrong
What I had done wrong
Had done wrong

I was awake the rest of the night
Analyzing the previous days and months

The next morning I asked him about her
He blew me off, telling me I was being paranoid
I was being a crazy woman
Being a crazy woman
Crazy woman

I thought

That whatever was happening
It was my fault
What had I done wrong
To make this happen?

That was the beginning
The End.

This scene initiated the months of turmoil
The emotional hell
Of trying to figure out why another person
Has done what they did
Has said what they said
Is the way they are

That was the beginning of understanding
I could not let society
The leanings of the community I had aligned with
To dictate what was right or wrong for me

That was the beginning of showing myself grace
The beginnings of understanding
That I had done nothing wrong

That was the beginning
Of the fog lifting
Of clarity
Of knowing

There’s an expansive view
The sun shines with its rays reaching far into the room
Brightening the walls, the corners
Catching and reflecting through the crystals suspended from the top of the window,
Decorating the walls, the ceiling, the floor with rainbow prisms
I can see the Virginia Foothills and Mt Rose
There’s a deep ledge with a cat perch attached to it
There are no curtains

I can see clearly now

Camilla Downs, 2024

**I mixed two ideas. This one – Prompt: Write a poem using this photo as a jumping off point. The other idea from the poetry workshop attending this afternoon. I’ve attached the original prompt photo (second) and one of my own window photos.

Ode to the Plastic Merry Go Round – National Poetry Month – April 9th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #9 for April 9th.

(Camilla and her mom, Patty – Easter 2024)

Ode to the Plastic Merry-Go-Round

Used for wet leaves
Gives lettuce a ride
Round and round

Why do I keep you?

Your designated space
The cabinet above the stove
Left-hand side
Pushed to the back

You have never been
Removed from your home
Above the stove

Why do I keep you?

My mom bought you for me
The second time she’s done this

Those days of minimalism
I got rid of your predecessor
Nothing personal
I got rid of car loads of stuff
My kids told friends their mom
is getting rid of all their things

Why do I keep you?

Mom came for dinner
She asked,
“Where is that salad spinner?”


She buys me another

Why do I keep you?

Just in case
Mom is over for dinner
Looking to take lettuce
For a ride
Camilla Downs 2024

**Prompt: Write a poem about an object you’ve kept for a long time, but rarely use.

Vibing With My Thoughts – National Poetry Month – April 8th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #8 for April 8th.

Vibing With My Thoughts

Gather my thoughts you say?
Scores of racing thoughts
Each vying for attention
Each waving a red flag of urgency

Let’s take a tour
Camilla’s brain tour

ADHD is wild
A persistent flow of thoughts,
Difficult to focus on any one thought
ADHD for damn sure puts the spice in neurospicy

There’s the check with the pharmacy thought
The return the dermatologist call thought
The send those emails and texts thoughts
The did I respond to them? thoughts

The oh, keep stepping outside to view the eclipse thought

I want to write today’s poem
Yes, yes, after I eat
Oh, let me take this call from my co-worker

The distracting thought of pain from
Who knows what

Oh shit, I’ve got to help Thomas with
Their college to do list

What is that person doing outside?
Why are they doing that?

What the hell is that noise?
Takes 15 minutes investigating the noise
This brain cannot deal with random noises
Thoughts are completely derailed

Right, I’m ready to think about publishing that next book

Oh, there are Family Navigation clients
that need my attention

Wow! That’s an amazing cloud
Steps outside to take 10 photos
Of the clouds

Glancing at the plants,
Damn, the plants need water

And what is all over the floor?
I really need to vacuum.

Glances at boxes ready for items
To be returned
Shit. I need to print return labels

Sees a phrase that catches my attention
That would make a great poem
Opens notes to make a reminder of it

Sees another reminder
With unfinished thoughts
Gets distracted for 20 minutes

The bladder adds to the thoughts
It will be ignored no longer
Restroom break
Gets in the bathroom
Remberers for the hundredth time
The sink and counter need cleaned

Hey now, I know this sounds wild
To be sure, it is
I thrive with my hyper active brain
It’s good vibrations

Now imagine three of us in the
Household with the same thing
Makes for some lively conversations
Lively disagreements
I mean, lively conversations

Then there’s the thoughts
That get lost in a hidden fold of the brain
Designated as “The Corner of Lost Thoughts”

I imagine a tiny sign
With the words “enter here”
It’s divided into three sections

One section for thoughts
That will soon be remembered and recovered

Another section for thoughts
That will be remembered months later
This section is more comfortable,
With lots of food and drink
As they’ll be there for a while

The last section is a graveyard
With tiny tombstones engraved with things like,
“Here Lies Thought #222
It was important for 67 seconds
It had a lively life
Trying to get to the front of the thoughts line”
As you might have guessed
This is where thoughts go to die

On the flip side
When I’m working on something
I’m interested in
Something that lights my fire
Excites the hell out of me

I hyper focus
Deep Diving
Wrangling all other thoughts
Moving them into a holding pen
To wait their turn
While I enjoy the dopamine hits
Of working on a thought
Taking it from it’s birth to it’s ending
Giving it wings,
infusing it with knowledge
Releasing it to work its magic

Writing this poem
Any poem
Any writing
Researching something of interest
Taking actions that will
Light a fire under people’s ass
to do their damn jobs

Theses things light me on fire
Beginning with the initial sparks
The fire grows, consuming my attention
Holding my attention
With a tenacity backed and rooted
By the Gods of Tenacity themselves

Gather my thoughts, you say
I adore the way my brain works
And truly love this about myself
It’s a wild, magical ride
Camilla Downs 2024

**Prompt: from Monday Night Poetry host 2Schae: “Let me gather my thoughts”

She is Fire – National Poetry Month – April 7th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: # 7 for April 7th.

She is Fire

I eventually make my way to you

When I quiet myself
Gazing into you
I feel the loving adoration you share

Nothing else exists
Only us

I feel the force of the universe
The power that holds everything together
I remember that I am a part of this cosmic symphony

With you watching over me
I feel the innate freedom
That has always been with me

I feel it rising from my abdomen
Gliding past my lungs
Gathering power
Moving into my esophagus
Sliding to my throat
Coalescing in my voice box
Escaping from my body
As I lift my chin
And howl with the force
Of an ancestral line of strong, fierce women

The thoughts that hold me back
Beat me down
Tell me all sorts of bullshit about myself

Those thoughts
They can be real assholes

Why did you say that?
Why did you do that?
Telling me I’m broken
Telling me people don’t like me
Telling me I’m too weird
Telling me that I share too much
Telling me I’m too open
Telling me I’m not worthy
Telling me I don’t make sense
Telling me I did it wrong
Telling me I did it wrong
Telling me I did it wrong

I’ve come a long way in conquering these thoughts
Just a whisper is all that remains
It’s gotten easier

With you reminding me
I know the force is within me
That force lives within the grooves of my brain
I know this is the way
“The Way” is now tattooed across my heart

I catch those thoughts the second
They invade my space
Reminding myself
That none of that is true

Gazing into you
I can see the path I have traveled
A path decorated with stardust

An expedition of shaking loose
The shit that doesn’t have anything to do with me
Making my way to falling in love
With my weirdness,
My shine
My body
My chaotic fire
My authentic, vulnerable self

Thank you
Camilla Downs 2024

Today’s condensed prompt: Use this image and the image description below as a jumping off point for the poem. (From Ella Peary with @authorspublish)

Dear Mx. Ogir – National Poetry Month – April 6th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #6 for April 6th.

Dear Mx. Ogir,

It is bitterly cold today, with gusts of wind making it difficult to walk. The sun encourages me that warm days will return soon.

I thought I could hear the wind whispering your name. The clouds reminded me of your beautiful face, your jet black hair. I could picture your dark brown, sultry eyes, with thick eyelashes and the natural black eyeliner circling your eyes. I spotted a patch of pink tulips swaying in the breeze, reminding me of your perfectly pink, cupid’s bow shaped lips with their natural light brown outline.

Do you miss me? What do you miss most?


Dear Mx. Ogir,

On my walk today the sun was shining, the warmth fueled me with energy. The sky was an azure shade, I think maybe Celtic azure, with no clouds. I saw three butterflies, western tiger swallowtails. They are such stunning creatures.

I heard the song that played that day in the car. It was your birthday. I was driving, we were going out to lunch, and then to the museum. Do you remember?

It was a delicious day. We had fun, behaving as if we were teenagers, sneaking kisses and hugs when no one was looking.

I think of you often. Do you think of me?


Camilla Downs, 2024

**Prompt: Write an epistolary poem to your future self, or to someone else, or something else. An epistolary poem is a poem that reads as a letter. They are often titled Dear (name of intended recipient or idea).**

July 9 2015 – National Poetry Month – April 5th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #5 for April 5th.

July 9, 2015

I pulled over to the shoulder of the on-ramp
The one from Neil Road,
getting onto South 395

I got out
Walked to the passenger side
Leaned my butt against the car

Closed my eyes,
took a few deep breaths,
and asked to see the situation differently

I opened my eyes.

On the rocky, dirty ground,
Was a shiny, red jewel heart

There was my answer,
A reminder to respond with love

It was a scorching hot day in July 2015
I was running errands with
my 14-year-old special needs daughter
We stopped by the grocery store

Miscommunication led to a full
Blown aggressive meltdown for Lillian

Grabbing and clawing at me
Pulling my hair

I panicked
Quickly leaving the store
Lillian following behind me
Screaming with the full force
Of her tiny body

Reaching the car
Losing all ability
To think logically

Lillian still in full-blown meltdown mode
I utter the ridiculous words,
“Get into the car if you want a ride home”

I wore a halter top that day
Lillian sits in the back,
behind the driver’s seat

We left the parking lot
Lillian began deeply scratching me
Pulling wads of hair from my head

Stuck in traffic
I could feel the blood dripping down my back
Head throbbing
From the chunks of hair being pulled out

The pain
Birthed intense anger
Lodging in my throat
Urging my tongue
To say something
Defend myself
Rip into this person
Attacking me

The anger flooded my mouth
Rising from my neck
Into my mind
Creating waves in my eyes
Waves that leaked
From the corners

The anger dripped into my chest
Trying to break the dam surrounding my heart
Making it’s way down my legs
Into my feet
Puddling in my toes

The anger moved with a typhoon
Force into my arms
Down to my hands
Into my fingers

Once pulled over
Turning to face Lillian
Hands gripping the headrest
The Anger erupted
My voice raised, my mouth let loose
With a colorful string
Of foul-mouthed words

Leave me the fuck alone
Stop hurting me
I don’t let anyone
Hurt me in this way
Never again

In pain
I knew I must remove myself
From the situation
I got out of the car

No jive talking here
Whatever your beliefs
Some shit aligned in that moment
For when I asked to see this
Fucking uncomfortable, horrible situation differently

I was presented with
This amazing shiny, red heart
In the trashy, dirty on-ramp shoulder
Off Neil Road,
Getting on South 395
In Reno, Nevada
The Biggest Little City
On a scorching, hot summer day
In July 2015.
Camilla Downs 2024

**Prompt: Write a poem about an experience finding something unexpected on the ground.**

Her Hands – National Poetry Month – April 4th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: # 4 for April 4th.

Her Hands

I close my eyes
I’m back in her house
In Richland, Mississippi
Sitting at the kitchen table
Surrounded by delicious smells
With a plate full of home grown food
And a large mason jar of unsweetened iced tea

I remember my mammaw’s hands
Slender, with long bony fingers
Hands that had worked hard

In second grade her mom died
She had to leave school
To be a sharecropper with her dad

This amazing woman knew how
To grow food, have an abundant garden
Always two freezers full of frozen vegetables
And a shed full of fresh canned foods

She used her thumb and index finger
To indicate measurements for baking
I remember asking
What does that mean?
A tablespoon, a 1/2 cup?
She wasn’t sure
She only knew the measurement
Of thumb to index finger

My mammaw was a spit fire of a lady
She spoke her mind
She loved her grand kids
Making sure we were fed and full
Was her guiding light

I admire her
I remember how she lay her left hand across her chest
When sitting at the kitchen table
Talking with me, studying me with
Adoring eyes through her glasses
Thinking about it now
I can see the curiosity,
The tenacity,
The strength behind those eyes

The stories she would tell me
That time I went for a visit
long after I became an adult and moved away
I treasure that week long visit
Talking, learning her history,
Listening, soaking her into my heart and mind

I remember the story she told
Of hitting my grandad upside the head
With a mason jar full of tea
When he told her he was leaving her
For another woman

I guess he got hit so hard he forgot
About the other woman
Perhaps he changed his mind

The memories that flood me
At the sight of a mason jar
Fried green tomatoes
Tomato (“mater”) gravy
Collard greens
Black-eyed peas
Butter beans
The sight of honeysuckle vines
Blackberry bushes
Screen doors
Mud and good spoons

I hear her saying,
“Youngins, shut that door, you gone let flies inside.
Camiller, ah Camiller, don’t be using my good spoons in that mud.”

She was a strong ass woman
Elnor Key Downs
Born in 1919 in Louisiana, Died in 2001 in Mississippi
You, your essence continue to be felt and remembered
by your granddaughter who misses you and your hands.
Camilla Downs 2024

**Prompt: Book title as poem title. I colored outside the lines by changing the book title I liked. Ha!**

The Pooka of Friendships – National Poetry Month – April 3rd

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #3 for April 3rd.

The Pooka of Friendships

Harvey, the 6 foot Pooka, is invisible to most
Only seen by
Those amongst us who
Crave connection
Those who have an
Excruciating hunger for meaningful friendships
Those who feel as if they are missing something
Those who feel there is a hole
in the fabric of their soul

It is a craving that catches in the stomach
Raging a storm
A storm of sadness, and longing
for a special connection with others

A hunger for shared laughter
Shared joy
Shared interests
Shared life moments

A biting hunger
Felt in the stomach
In the heart
In the mind
A craving that spreads
Through the nervous system
Down the arms
Into the hands, the fingers
Crawling it’s way into the mouth
Felt in the tongue, the gums
And the throat
Down the legs, into the knees, the calves
Pooling in the ankles, the feet, and the toes

This is a craving so intense
It spills from the corner of the eyes
Dripping into the air
Floating with a determined purpose
Searching for the one who can satisfy this craving

The 6 foot Pooka hunts these cravings
Searching for those drowning in this hunger
Those who feel like they’ve been locked out of having deep and true friendships

Harvey satiates the hunger of the friendless

Appearing only for those
Whose craving and hunger
Sits with an intensity that threatens to consume them

Harvey stays with their human friends
Til the night closes in
Deep in conversation
Sharing drinks
Sharing laughs
Dancing together
Reminiscing together
Satisfying the hunger

Others look at them as if they’ve lost their mind
They’re right
They have lost their mind
They’ve lost their minds to one another
Sharing thoughts
Like only good friends can do

Their fondness for one another
Escaping from their laughter
Rising into the night sky
Taking a place amongst the twinkling night stars

The 6 foot Pooka
Satisfies this hunger
Keeps their human warm
Stays with them
Until they meet human friends
Creating bonds
Growing deep friendships
With roots that anchor to the soil
Anchoring even further into the core of Earth

This is when
Harvey knows they have served their purpose
The 6 foot Pooka
becomes invisible to the one whose hunger has been satisfied

Harvey begins his hunt anew
Moving on to the next
Starving human
On and on into the future
Back to the past
And back again to the present moments of life.
Camilla Downs 2024

The below is a condensed version of today’s prompt:

Write about hunger, starving for something.

A cryptic with a craving should appear at least once, either literal or metaphor.

See if you can allow the hungry animal in your poem to stand for your own hunger, and in turn, for everyone’s. Write about that hunger so sincerely that it makes very reader hungry for something.

I combined it with another prompt:

Condensed: Write a poem that recounts the plot or part of the plot of a book.

I tend to color outside the lines so I shifted the first prompt to fit what I wanted to write about, and for the second prompt, I wrote about a character in a movie. Can you guess which movie?

Dear Music – National Poetry Month – April 2nd

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. #2 – April 2nd.

Dear Music

I love you
Let me try to tell you
Just how very much I love you

You make me feel like I can do anything,
be anything, have anything
You move me
You inspire me

I am Gen X
I cannot separate myself from you
You are my soul mate

As a young girl I dreamed of dancing,
Of being a Rockette
And that has never left me,
Watching Solid Gold and Soul Train
Every Saturday
I have felt your touch in every fiber of my being

The instruments
The lyrics
The musician behind it all
The atmosphere created when these come together
Lifts me

Your vibes help me to remember
Your groove gets me high on life

You console me
You stream into my ears
Enlightening me from head to toe

You are magical and mystical
You help me travel back in time

I’m 9 years old
With my record player
With my 45 of “Hang on Sloopy”
In the living room
With all the blankets we owned
Building forts

I’m 15 years old
Living in Houma, Louisiana
In school at Oaklawn Junior High
I’m anxious, I’ve got butterflies in my stomach
I’m trying out for the drill team
I’m chosen
I’m a Tarponette now
I’m performing for the school pep rallies
I’m performing with the school band during football half-times
I’m marching and dancing in the parade during Mardi Gras

I’m 22 years old
Living in Seattle, Washington
Hitting the dance clubs
Every weekend, being wild
Dancing til the early morning

I’m in Reno
Back in the 12 years of financial struggle
Raising my kids alone
Having dance parties with my kids
Listening to music while I cook dinner
The three of us dancing in the living room

I’m taking them on adventures
Listening to music in the car
Adventures of driving to the park
Driving to Geiger Way Lookout
Driving to get dollar ice cream cones

You have meant the world to me
You gave me life
You gave me hope
You helped me cope
You kept me in touch with myself

You take hold of my hand
You give me love
You give me peace
You comfort me
You wrap me in your delicious embrace
You are always there for me

You bring tears
You bring a smile
You bring laughter
You light up my life
You mean so very much to me

At this point in my life
I let myself be moved by you no matter where I am
I don’t care who sees our overt display of love

I am the one you see dancing and singing in the car
I am the one you see dancing down the grocery store aisle
I am the one you see dancing while she’s out for walk

For, my love, I can no longer hide the way I feel about you
I want the world to know how fucking much I love you
You are gorgeous
You are handsome
You are sexy
You give and give of yourself,
Never asking for anything in return
You treat me like a goddess
You speak to me like no one ever has

Thank you for everything, music

Forever yours,

Camilla Downs 2024

What is Poetry – National Poetry Month – April 1st

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Poem: #1 for April 1st

What is poetry?

Poetry is the feel of the breeze
as it brushes against your skin,
through your hair

It’s the soft touch of another
as they hold your hand,
press their lips against yours

It’s the loving hug of another
Two warm bodies pressed together
Letting them both know they are loved

It’s the sounds of the birdsong,
the song of the crickets,
the purrs of a beloved cat

Poetry is the words of another
Felt in the depths of your soul

Poetry is
The words that move you
Words that take you by the hand and heart
Words that bring a smile or a laugh
Words that take your breath away
Words that enter your heart and
exit your body through the liquid love of your eyes,

Poetry is the blood that drips
From the wounds of brokenness
Poetry is fertilizer
From the shit show of life
Poetry is the forest that grows
From the fire of a burned heart
Poetry is the flower garden
That grows from the love of another

Poetry is art
Poetry is soft
Poetry is harsh
Poetry is funny
Poetry is sad
Poetry speaks all languages
Poetry reaches across
Man made borders
Drifting from the page and mouth
To the eyes and ears
Of those who open themselves
To receive what is offered

Poetry is the the language of the broken hearted
It’s the language of love, activism, advocacy
It’s the language of nature, soaked into our souls,
mixed with our experiences,
and released from our body through words.

Poetry is art
Poetry is pain
Poetry is love
Poetry is a path to sharing,
feeling and healing

Poetry is an unbreakable golden thread of sunshine
That connects us, binds us
And let’s us know we’re not alone

Poetry is home
Poetry is fast
Poetry is slow

Poetry is alive
The heartbeat of the human race
Thumping in tune with the passing of time slipping through our fingers
Poetry is magic
Poetry is witchy

Poetry is not in a hurry
Poetry lets it all go
Poetry is powerful

Poetry extracts the pain, the love,
the advocacy, the activism
From the mind, the heart, the mouth
Pouring and releasing it into the winds of time
To work it’s witchy magic
On all who read or hear it.

Poetry makes my heart beat faster
Poetry makes my lower stomach tingle
Poetry makes everything else melt away
Poetry is the absolute fucking best!

Camilla Downs 2024