The prompt over at NaPoWriMo went something like this:
Today’s prompt comes to us from Lillian Hallberg. She challenges us to write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, and writing down titles in order (or rearranging the titles) to create a poem. Some fun images of book spine poems can be found here. If you want to take things a step further, Lillian suggests gathering a list of titles from your shelves (every third or fifth book, perhaps, if you have a lot) and using the titles, as close to the originals as possible, to create a poem that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts.
I love creating book spine poetry. First of all, because I never know what I'll come up with so merely starting with the titles and going from line to line with no predetermined destination sort of feels like an unplanned road trip. Second of all, because I honestly never know where I'll start or end. It's almost like a word puzzle, stringing titles of books together that, before then, really bared no relation.
I have thousands of books, literally. I randomly pulled titles from my chick lit section. I was in too much of a hurry to note the authors. But here are the titles that inspired this poem:
The First Paper Girl of Red Oak, Iowa
Weekend in Paris
Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Burning the Map
Gods in Alabama
Getting Over it
Prayers to the Moon
I really love how this one turned out!
Paper Girl Chronicles
The first paper girl in Red Oak, Iowa
probably could have cared less
about girl anatomy and the
proper sexual terms highlighted
in undergrad biology.
Her outer exterior chill was strong
but lately she's been losing it
to the cum laude crowd.
She's been getting used to silly boys
in hipster suede walking in circles before
lying down next to her string-bean calves.
She's accepted there's two types of
women you can become while climbing
the proverbial socio-economical step-ladder:
the superior woman or the bad girl.
She resolved to be something more,
spent a weekend in Paris where she
burned the map as she thought about
her mother back home with all those
Gods of Alabama praying for
the sins of her daughters soul.
After a bad bender she left the city,
spent three days sleeping with a band
of traveling gypsies on a steel-rail bench
at a state park where no one asked her questions.
The clouds back then were as soft as the
palm of the boys hand who walked
her across the sky, but now she's
going down, down, down into the depths:
she's getting over it, moving on.
Lately she's been drinking coffee elsewhere,
anonymous girl at a table in a cafe just outside
some random pit-stop in a city she
barely remembers the name of.
She's wearing the accident of her past
like a new fad while spreading karma card
readings for the locals, sending prayers to the moon.