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NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 9: You Are What You Carry On Your Person

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Difficulty Level 1/5

Your task today is to pick your own pocket and turn it into a poem. Empty out your: pockets, wallet, purse, backpack, glove compartment, trunk, or whatever you use to contain all your stuff as you're on the go. This is what Sarah has in her substitute-teacher-on-the-go bag:

the contents of my messenger bag

the contents of my messenger bag

This is the poem Sarah wrote based on all that stuff:

Making myself at home in other people's spaces

I hope to never open a stranger's
desk drawer even if it's just to find a pencil/ a pen/ an eraser
for a student/ a hall pass/ I hope to not
spill my coffee on a desk blotter/ to clean it up
if I do/ whether there are paper towels in the classroom
or not/ I hope I am warm/ why are these classrooms
so cold/ one classroom was so cold I had back
spasms for weeks from shivering inside my
jacket for hours/ I hope I look like a
professional/a grownup whose lipstick isn't
bleeding/ whose fingernails aren't raggedy/
framed by dry cuticles/ angry hangnails/ I hope
I get my some reading in/ I hope I read
poems/ poems/ poems/ poetic prose/ maybe
an interview with a poet/ I write/ make lists/ check off
to-do tasks/ plan a new project/ teach
the kids/ collect the papers/ take the attendance/ leave
some notes/ hope there's a job where the desk is
mine/the students are mine/ the lessons are
mine/ the room is home

So, how do you make your stuff into a poem? Consider the following questions: What do all these things say about you? Why are they so important that you have to carry them with you? What is your favorite thing you carry and why? What is the most random thing you carry and why is it in your pocket/wallet/purse/backpack/trunk? Write your poem, and if you're feeling ambitious, take a picture of your stuff, too. Check out the What's In Your Bag Tumblr for photographic inspiration. 

Bonus Level Up, Difficulty Level 3/5: Write a poem about the stuff you carry in your wallet/purse/backpack/glove compartment/trunk/etc. and include some conspicuous rhymes and/or alliteration

Send us your poems, and photos if you've got them, for possible publication on this here blog. As ever, we're at

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