napowrimo 2018

by | Apr 1, 2018

April is here. And it’s #napowrimo according to Thirty poems in thirty days is the challenge.

And if I’m going to succeed, I’ll have to set aside any notion that I’ll write final drafts of anything. Each day, I’ll just reach in, grab a key and see what it unlocks.

Rather than a separate post for each poem, I’ll just update this one post. So if you’re looking on, you can just dog-ear this one page. I’m also sharing in the private Facebook group for Of Ink + Insight. If you’d like to join the group, here’s a link –

Are you with me? Drop a link to your blog or shared document or social media channel in the comments so I can follow along with you.

Let’s begin…


“Enjoy The Little Things”
it says on my coffee cup

“Yes, I will”
I say before taking another sip

the steam rising into my nostrils
the burn against my lip
the yellow glaze inside the cup
the brief glimpse of the bottom
the hand wrapped warming
the resting against my heart



laptop whirs
hazy blue glow on my desk
nest of bills to be paid, waiting
notebooks capturing
riff-raff of middle-aged life

keyboard rattles
chair creaks as I lean back
coffee cup on coaster, waiting
feeding yesses to a next
something out of nothing



She’s a woman with nothing to say
no interesting story to tell
no secret to reveal
no argument to make
no apology to unravel
at your feet

So she writes and writes
about nothing
about naked silence
about splendid stillness
about the breathless, unblinking



I love hating the glowing numerals
at 4:07am, the cat chewing on
a lock of my hair

I love hating to wait for that first cup
of coffee, pacing the kitchen in
that purple terry robe

I love hating the little hairs growing
on my legs and pits, debating a shave while
a stand dripping, shivering naked

I love hating that I have to go
back to work, drive through snow to
spreadsheet all day

I love hating Wednesday
not the beginning or end, but
purgatory of ordinary dread



Just three things:

  1. Inhale
  2. that report is due before lunch, wonder if there’s enough spinach for a breakfast shake, what’s an oligarch exactly, is it time to wash my hair, why is the cat such an asshole while I’m sleeping, did my mother say she was coming THIS weekend, why do people want to shoot children, my cuticles are SO dry, they say it will snow again on Sunday, remember to leave early to put gas in the car, don’t be late, I feel guilty for leaving work early yesterday, I was born ten days before Dr. King was killed, does that mean something, it’s 5:06am, this coffee is getting cold
  3. Exhale



today let’s write a new kind of grocery list

star anise, tarragon, parsnips, acorn squash, bone broth

fill a basket with loveliness

absolutely nothing convenient or frozen

in a plastic tray or microwavable sleeve

bring home something that feels like bounty

then music

not the latest but maybe the oldest

the kind with roots and dirt still clinging to its skin

sing to the cutting board

dance with a cast iron skillet or copper stock pot

wear that vintage gingham apron

wipe hands on it, drip something on it

use pretty plates, two forks

drink water from a wine glass

add flowers to the list

arrange them in an old milk bottle

marry them to the table

good company for a meal



I’m more than you think
not just another middle-aged pudgy woman
with an accounting job and a cat.

I’m more than the beige bungalow
in the middle of the block, hiding
behind an enormous blue spruce.

I’m more than the glasses I need to wear for driving
and the other pair I need for reading food labels
and junk mail pushed through a slot instead of letters.

There are stories I haven’t told
and words I can’t write, maybe never will.
There are stories even I can’t remember,
the small ones that are just sand between the toes,
seemingly unimportant
but whole microcosms
if I could just get close enough.

Fifty years is more than you think
more love affairs, more mistakes,
more household moves, more jobs than you think.

It’s more sadness and disappointment
more heartbreak you thought you could ever handle.
It’s also more hilarious, more fascinating
more beauty than you ever thought possible.

In the end, it may look like your life fits
neatly inside your breathless body.
But it’s so much more than you think.



I want to write a letter
to my future self
advising me not to take
that left turn
or kiss that guy in the front seat
of his pickup truck.
I want to write because
all the pins tumble into place
and something is unlocked
a gift revealed.
I want to find out what’s in
those dusty crumbling boxes in the attic
the old photos, letters to lost lovers
the shoes worn at some wedding
a long time ago.
I want to write because
ordinary life is not really so ordinary
and I want you and me
to finally agree about that.
I want to show everyone
how a willow beginning to weep
is worthy of beholding
and I want the world
to echo back a soft wow.
I want to write what is unsaid
in the solitude of my life
because I have plenty of questions
and I’d like to try-on some answers
like a pile of summer dresses
at a vintage clothing shop.
I want to write because
I’m fascinated by truth
a worm living deep in the mud
under the dry grass I walk on every day.
Yes let’s go digging for those worms
and then offer them up
to schools of perch
off the end of the dock
or the hopeless toad
living in the window well.
I want to write because
this old house needs an open window
after a long, cold winter
and words floating in
on the back of cut grass
and the neighbor’s blooming lilac bushes.
I want to write because
it yanks me out of naming
what’s good and what’s bad
drops me into a small boat
in the center of a calm lake.



so far so good
the mortgage gets paid
the cat gets her favorite flavor
twice a day
the coffee can
never runs dry
I open my eyes
every morning
another poem
drifts down
like a feather
from the Ash tree
there’s still paper
there’s still ink in the pen
I still breathe in
I still breathe out



she thinks
her hands
look old, skin
thin like tissue
buckling knuckles
blue veins creeping
up to the surface
next to faint brown
markings, marking time
trembling, writing lists
holding what remains



Life doesn’t let you know
how the story will end or
how many chapters are left.
Life lets you argue over breakfast or
say that thing you can’t un-say,
lets you remain oblivious to the timer running down,
ignorant of the things we hold on to for 25 years,
things we won’t ever forget or
forgive or
find peace with.

Yet life lets me find a beautiful old photo of her
and a beautiful old frame to put it in.
Life lets me write a poem about her.
It brings her here and takes her away again.
We pack up her car,
hug on the sidewalk and
life lets me watch her drive away.



Praise for inkpens and plenty of paper and endless poetry and for putting perfection away so beauty can fly free. Praise for courage to write and an ovation for truth. Yes, praise for the truth that waits. The shadowy places where tiny fear scurries about unseen. That spot where a nest of truth hangs on a high limb you can’t see unless you climb or fly. The unopened boxes of memories that are stacked up in the corners of the attic. Praise for yesses and no, for staying open, for not closing down, for leaping even when it feels safer to hold on.






ten inches of snow fell
a ballet of snowblowers
and sidewalk shovelers
a flock of gleeful tots
with snowballs flying

but I take careful notes
from my grey tabby cat
balled up in a basket
near the fireplace
with whiskers twitching

because if you can’t have
springtime in april
a songbird through the screen
you might well have it
in your dreams



five minutes of facebook

balsamic roasted asparagus salad
patagonia bottom turn bikini top
three roads to bliss
the aesthetics of water: how
venice conquered the world
changes in light exposure could
improve shift worker well-being
tune into your depths
wise as serpents
make this: picket pattern
one day only
don’t miss out
limited time offer
hearts on fire
click here



five more minutes of facebook

alarm grew in his inner circle
a quiet exceptional depravity
life is tough
use my proven big idea checklist
big bad voodoo daddy
robot fashion show
play is more than fun
invisible territory of friendship
cow burps are actually a thing
healthy boundaries y’all
how does that make you feel



I need her help
the thought of asking
makes my stomach turn to snakes
I gather my facts
rehearse my lines, a third-rate
actress looking for the lead

She’s helped others
been encouraging, resourceful
there are yesses inside
under the ribs there lies a heart

I enter with faith in my pocket
confidence in my boot
I smile, look her square in the eye
speak my piece

She looks blank, bored
rubs her chin, looks off
into the corner behind me
asks no questions, reveals
empty interest

“I’ll have to think about it.”



Copyright © 2018 Cynthia Berg


  1. angie

    Cyn, I’m so glad I happened upon your site. I am currently giving my life coach fits for not wanting to change (do the “right” non-violating value thing. the struggle is real. your poetry is true.

    • Cyn

      I’m so glad you wandered in! Thank you for following along xoxo


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