Rogue Homilies by Deidre Price

a study of life that smacks of the divine

Tag: National Poetry Month

“The Method to My Madness, or How to Write a Poem” by Deidre Price // 2016 Poem-a-Day Challenge

The Method to My Madness, or How to Write a Poem


For Billy Collins


When a poem starts, I start with I.

I follow I with a certain verb–

steady sureness like I know and I am,

abandon my perhapses,

leave breadcrumb maybes in my margins.


When a poem starts, the speaker finds me,

tries on my every word, losing lipstick to heavily starched syntax

cast off to the dressing room floor of my page.

She leans into the light until it flatters for me,

the best friend standing by, opinions clenched in fists.


I want to see what happens.


I quiet as the show begins and silence my phone.

Language takes the stage–adolescent, unruly

with packed pocketfuls of bribes for candy rhymes.

The I arrives and says this music has to die, then Tybalt

stabs the adverbs like Mark Twain told him to.


I keep my Descartes close because he tells me what I like:

People cannot tell the difference between the dream and the world,

so we can stop pretending in the distance between them–

and the distance between us.


A miniature Anne Sexton descends like Tinkerbell might.

I can see her wires but do not care.

I clap and amen because I believe.


A chorus boos my jokes as critics censor from too many front rows.

I hear them backed by half a dozen echoes of dying fathers.

These voices linger, ruthless, proud, like Lost Boys’.


Suddenly, I become everybody’s mother.


I threaten to turn the poem around so fast their heads spin.

The back seats quiet.

I remember I know all the lines.


Sylvia commiserates

then bakes us pies.



April 2

An idiom is a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. An idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. 

The meaning gets lost over time and what was once a new and interesting expression becomes “old hat.” 

You’ve heard them, “A penny for your thoughts, back to the drawing board, devil’s advocate, just to name a few.”

For today’s prompt, take a popular idiom ( or more than one if you can manage it), and recreate its meaning. Make it fresh again.

Share your idiom poem in the comments, and join us tomorrow for another! 

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Dirty Apples and the Friends Who Eat Them – #NPM15

She wasn’t scared when I inquired about the state of her apples,

red and suspicious instead of delicious,

looking as though they’d been painted to look like mimes,

then wiped clean by a lazy person who may have mumbled,

“oil based” and “impossible,”

my go-to words for laundry and for art.


She said, “I soaked them in vinegar,

heard ten minutes does the trick.

So I soaked them all night.”


The wax gave up and fell,

dried back in new formations.

I swore I could see Dali’s clock on one,

sheet music on another,

a coffee mermaid,

Nietzsche’s moustache,

Doc McStuffins,

math and eggs,

little apples on the apples.


“Peel them!” I said and then waxed on

about big cancer counts in Washington,

how the peel’s the worst part.

I talked dirty dozens and pesticide hauntings,

whispering Monsanto.


“But the fiber!”

“Get organic!”


Another friend made a shoe shine motion on her thigh,

said she doesn’t wash them, just brushes them off knowingly—

like a Disney stepmother who’s already put poison inside.


“We just grab them off the counter.”


My mind limped back through all their kitchens,

IKEA bowls and see-through drawers.


Fear drove my worry to Washington and back,

mulling over seeds and stems, cores and flesh—

so many stovetop ciders—


the cold kind of fear that’ll find me faster than

any apple cancer can.


This poem was written as part of a poem-a-day challenge for National Poetry Month! Write your own and tag #npm15. And leave comments in response! I’d love to hear from you.

The poems that appear as part of this challenge are dirty drafts; they may change with each visit to the site. See you tomorrow!


Deidre, poet in progress

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