For NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 19 Prompt: write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even give directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem. I used bold text to show you which words I lifted from the prose to create the poem that follows.
This prompt plays out like a deconstructed haibun, using free verse rather than a tanka or haiku/senryu. It also reminds me of doing “black/white out” poetry. At any rate it is a fun way to create a poem. This is my day in day out. Wrote this little break out on my lunch break…back to the grind in 3-2-1.
I spend my daylight hours in a cubicle under a dropped ceiling fitted with fluorescent lights. There is a vent above my head that grinds and blows intermittently throughout the day. I believe that the stale air blasting is laced with dust and black mold from the shadowy crawl spaces in the upper mezzanine partly because I burst into coughing and sneezing fits when the HVAC system kicks in. I heard that the company decided not to do a mold sweep of the building because it didn’t fit in with their ever shrinking budget. Such is life in corporate America where the shareholders and executives are king and the workers are paupers, slaving day in and day out, pinching pennies from the company’s bulging profits. I would likely go crazy, perhaps I’m already a bit mad, if it were not for the floor to ceiling picture windows that flank the outer wall of my cube. At least I can glance out briefly, when my nose is not buried in a spreadsheet and watch the world drift by. It’s a small perk that makes coming to work at dawn and leaving at dusk, bearable. Sometimes, when I dream at night, I dream of dusty gray cubicles but sometimes I dream in color.
daylight in a cubicle fitted
with fluorescent lights,
stale air laced with dust and
black mold burst, coughing,
sneezing mold sweep,
ever shrinking is life, where workers
slaving day in and day out, pinching
pennies, go crazy. windows flank
the outer wall. I glance out
briefly, watch the world drift;
sometimes, when I dream
I dream in color.