Slice of Life – Open Write for November

21 November 2023

I had a wonderful time at NCTE, and I want to write more about it later. Here are a few pictures on Instagram, but my slice today are the poems I wrote for Open Write. My Sunday poem includes a strong feeling I had this week.

Saturday, 11/18/23 “Instructions on Being a Dragonfly” with Kim Johnson

Instructions on Healing with Witnesses: A Skinny Poem

Not on a journey. I’m alone.
I’m on a journey; not alone.

Sunday, 11/19/23 “Belonging” with Fran Haley

Kaleidoscopic Encounter

I met someone yesterday
At a conference–
We engaged in
standing in the exhibit hall.
She’s come here from a
South American country
Where she fled to the U.S.
as a refugee.
Her grandfather came there as
A refugee fleeing the Holocaust.
Her name came together,
a perfectly delightful mix of
Spanish, Arabic, and Jewish.
She is a kaleidoscope of
color and light and generosity,
And I am better for having met her.

I’ve come here from
a white-washed history,
a white-washed lineage,
and so much loss of
color and light and generosity.
I’ve come from who knows where,
Except the generic ‘Wales,’
as a child, it was all I was given
when I asked, evidence enough
that we were in the right pot,
melting into America.
I came from who knows when–
not in this century,
or the last,
maybe the one before.

We are all losers
in the myth of white supremacy.
We are not a melting pot,
We are a kaleidoscope.
We will all win, when
We all belong.

Monday, 11/20/23 “Give Me This” with Kim Johnson

On the airplane, Moon followed me home
last night. She wore a hefty grin–
face half full of bright white teeth,
gleaming, she smiled at me
as I peered out through
the darkness. Watched
her dance with
the plane’s

I view
her playful
moves, She reminds
me: we need the dance.
While the Sun brightens far
away, we are left here with
Moon. She transforms: new-, crescent-, half-,
full-faced, while dancing with obstacles.

Tuesday, 11/21/23 “Birdspiration” with Fran Haley

Quail families grow–
Eggs hatch, and precocial chicks
hit the ground running.
Soon, coveys are filled with teens.
How quickly we come of age!

Wednesday, 11/22/23 “Doggerel” with Fran and Kim

There once was a dog named Sonny
Whose lifelong goal was not money
All he wanted was rubs
Castle King he was dubbed
scritch-tingle-scratch of the tummy

4 thoughts on “Slice of Life – Open Write for November

  1. Denise,
    I know that “I want to write more” feeling. But I could not do justice to NCTE today after my long travel day yesterday. I have not written any poems yet this month. I plan to return to the prompts. In a couple days. I could not give my full attention to both writing and commenting on poems and to NCTE and ALAN, but I also need to step away from the poetry group for a while. Of your four poems the first two are my favorite. The journey toward healing speaks to me, and your phrasing in the second poem, particularly the second verse is skillful and powerful.

  2. Your Kaleidoscope poem- wow! the color vs whitewashing- so powerful! I want to share your moon poem with my class- we are learning about the moon and sun and how they impact us.

  3. I just love these lines:
    “…it was all I was given
    when I asked, evidence enough
    that we were in the right pot,
    melting into America.”
    There is so much we unquestioningly accept when we’re young. But none of us is young any more. America is too old to act ignorant, to accept those myths. Powerful poetry, Denise. Keep on your journey. You are NOT alone.

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