polar bear

Day 17/30: Trying to Stay Afloat by Diana Khoi Nguyen

On April 15, I was relieved that this 30/30 marathon is halfway over--but it still feels like so many more poems to write and I'm starting to worry that I've got not much left inside the well--and I'm feeling so fatigued!

In an effort to boost my morale, I'm determined to think of days 16-30 as starting over again. So instead it's just 1-15 again. I think I'm failing.

Received a text from a close friend letting me know how proud she was of the poems--and that she's been actively reading/following and her little note of support felt so big in my world. Grateful for the encouragement--which is instrumental in keeping my brain on target in its weariness.

Also! Yesterday I finally mustered the energy to write close friends, family, mentors each a letter detailing this challenge--and asking if they'd be interested in showing support by "sponsoring" me. And from the few responses so far--I've been blown away by their generosity, love, care, and belief in me. I'm not going to lie--I was on the verge of tears many times at work yesterday. I'm so grateful to have people who believe in me.

I jokingly told a couple of these friends that I considered them my Gertrude Stein. Gertie! I said. It's true. They are my patrons, and I am gratefully indebted to them.

That and my news yesterday about getting the FAWC summer scholarship (I'm going to Ptown for a week in July! Yesss!!!)

Anyway, long overdue for poem notes:

"The Imp"

  • - Have been wanting to write a Rumpelstiltskin poem for some time now. I have particular empathy for goblins and such creatures.
  • - Was sitting with Louise Glück's "Parable of the Swans" and "Parable of the Hostages"--her voice is incredible, her work infectious.
  • - Totally learned about antler velvet from watching the season premiere of NBC's Hannibal. It's actually quite remarkable. The second ep already seems to be less interesting, but I'm still engaged. Check it out!


  • - Am fairly certain this is not a real title--but it's better than what I had before: something about three polar bears. JB said I couldn't do a Goldilocks story and I told him I wasn't trying to! I think/know he didn't believe me. But seriously--I just wanted to spend the day at work reading about polar bears. They are remarkable creatures!

  • - I'm disappointed in this poem, but you can definitely see my 30/30 efforts petering out here. I wish I could have a mini spa vacation in the middle of this marathon! Whyyyy

credit: Daniel J. Cox

credit: Daniel J. Cox

"Whispering to Geese"

  • - For this wonderful title, I have to give credit to JB--he's been helping me from passing out on my poems this past week. I keep saying that he's doing a 60/30, and he laughs at me. What's so funny?

  • - Does anyone want to go to that place in Spain to see this amazing fenceless geese farm / geese whisperer? Also, I want to eat the best foie gras known to mankind in 2013.

  • - Still sitting with those Glück parables. But add a heavy dose of Mark Levine's first poem from Enola Gay.

"The Start of the Hunt"

  • - My attempt to begin yet another series--this time, based on the unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters. In the back of the book JB got for me from the gift shop--there's a whole section delineating the flora and fauna--everything mapped out. So I borrowed that map/index form and kind of went wild.

  • - To be honest, I think this is a total dud, but I was too exhausted to start over at 10pm. I was hoping for this unicorn series to be generative. I think there's still something salvageable here.

"Parable of the Child"

  • - This one hits much too close to home. And I wasn't intending to write about any of these things. I asked JB for an assignment and he told me to read his favorite Kafka parable, "Before the Law" from The Trial.

  • - He told me to rewrite it in 250 words. Sicko! This task proved difficult in more ways than one.

  • - Watched this Orson Welles take on the parable (so baller).

  • - JB went "Bedient" on this poem and pared it to a nugget. Hello return of the nugget!