Cement Shrouds


I used to share a poem on this blog on Sundays, but haven’t done it for ages. Today that will change. Since I’ve been sorting through my old poems in the process of assembling my third poetry book, I’ve been more conscious of my lack of poetry postings. I know poetry seems to offend so many people— I lost a Twitter follower over it. At least, one that I know about who actually told me to quit Tweeting poetry as if I’m going to shape my Twitter life to fit him, ONE follower.

I have been writing quite a bit of minimalist poetry in recent years. Haiku, of course. And Collom lunes. There are two kinds of lunes, both more suitable for school children’s poem writing projects than the haiku, which has a long history and a lot of rules— a haiku is not just counting syllables.

The Collom lune counts words, not syllables, in an 3-5-3 pattern. Learn more about regular lunes and Collom lunes here: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-lune

This seems like a lot of introduction for a tiny little poem, doesn’t it? Anyway, here it is. Duck!

Cement Shrouds

the teacher uses
cement shrouds to keep us
lined up proper


Shared on Poets United

tamburina danco/Fortnight for Freedom day 1


Fortnight for Freedom— a time of fasting and prayer for the restoration of Religious Freedom in the USA.

Poem shared at Poetry Pantry #257 at Poets United (which is not, actually, an English football team).

poem                                                         translation
tamburina danco                              tambourine dance

en la pin-arbaro                                        in the pine woods
la fraulaj tamburinoj                                the unmarried tambourines
dancas kamparan dancon                       dance a country dance
kaj esperas                                                 and hope

sed la fraulaj                                               but the unmarried
tamburoj                                                     drums
vendas drogojn                                          sell drugs
al la pluveroj                                              to the raindrops
kaj tute ne                                                   and don’t at all
rimarkas                                                      notice
la tamburinojn                                           the tambourines


The poem this week is in Esperanto. This was inspired by a suggestion in Sandford Lyne’s Writing Poetry From the Inside Out, that foreign-born poets translate the keywords into their own language. No, I am not a native of the mythical Esperantujo [Esperanto-land] nor is Esperanto my native language. But I love playing with words and I don’t always care what language I get them from.

The Esperanto poem contains a word play that cannot be translated. Esperanto uses a lot of affixes— suffixes and prefixes— to build words. One common affix is -in- which indicated female gender. So— hundo is dog, and hundino is a female dog.

The word for ‘tambourine’ is tamburino, which reminded me that the word for drum is tamburo. One could interpret the word tamburino as ‘female drum’ although the -in- in tamburino has nothing to do with female gender. But I took the interpretation of tamburino as female drum and ran with it.

Esperanto Information: http://www.esperanto.net/info/index_en.html

Free language lessons in Esperanto: http://en.lernu.net/

Fortnight for Freedom


I am a convert to the Catholic faith. (Yes, I know that gay women are supposed to LEAVE the Church, not join it. I’m independent that way.) And so when the Catholic bishops announce an annual period of prayer and fasting for religious freedom, and my Catholic internet buddies participate, I mark the occasion on my blog.

A lot of people don’t get why religious freedom is an issue for Catholics (and others) because many people don’t know what religious freedom is. There have been political figures who’ve called on Catholics and other Christians to change their basic beliefs and replace their Bibles with rewritten versions that conform to the politicians’ core beliefs. And yet they don’t admit that what they are doing erases the traditional concept of religious freedom.

You may agree or disagree with this concept— after all, thoughts are still free, since thoughts are hard to detect and punish. But if you want a little more info on Fortnight for Freedom, here is the link: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/

This blog will be covering the Fortnight for Freedom. I’m hoping to blog each day about it, and also include links to other people’s Fortnight for Freedom blog posts.

Poetic Resources:

New Poetic Market: Magdalena Lamont: Poetry from the Other Side is an online poetry ‘zine currently accepting submissions. Here is the submission information: http://linalamont.blogspot.com/p/submit-poems-here.html

Facebook page for Sijo Poetry: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sijo-Poetry/392044370990201

Goodreads poetry group Poetry Readers Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/28172-poetry-readers-challenge  Group encourages members to read and review 20 poetry books a year. If you have a poetry book of your own out, you perhaps know how vital it is to get the book reviewed on Goodreads and Amazon.com. This group makes it easier for that to happen.

socks are underwear, after all!

socks are underwear, after all!

eating spaghetti with a cattle prod
the small byzantine child asks
mother may i keep this fish head
it followed me home

& the mother
a neophyte carpet prostitute, says
yes, but only if you
drink your opium
all gone

(c) 1990 Nissa Annakindt

Shared on Poets United‘s Poetry Pantry #256

Back in the day when I and this poem were a lot younger, absurd poems came much easier to me. These days I have to work to be that weird. Back when I first started writing poetry seriously, I submitted a lot of poems to various poetry markets, and was published. This particular poem was published in HEATHENzine’s Aug/Sept 1990 edition.

For a number of years I didn’t submit poems, but I’m starting again. I’m planning to submit a group of poems to Scifikuest, which publishes science fiction and horror themed haiku, sijo and other minimalist forms.

Have you ever submitted poems to a magazine? It’s a good idea to try, I think. Not the big high-level markets like Poetry magazine, but the smaller ones that are more open to beginning and not-yet-published poets. I get a copy of the annual book Poet’s Market every few years. I then check out the web site for each magazine I’m considering submitting to. Sometimes their requirements change or they are not open for submissions during some months.

Poets— do you read poetry books? And do you review them on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads?

It ought to be a given— if you write poetry, you should read the work of other poets, and not just online. Not enough people buy poetry books these days, or read them from libraries. But how can we expect our own poetry to be valued when we don’t show that we value other poet’s work by reading their books?

In the modern world, any poet can self-publish a poetry book or chapbook using CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, and other resources, and you don’t have to pay. But in order to get the books read, poets need to have their book reviewed at places like Amazon.com or Goodreads, and on people’s blogs. There is a group over at Goodreads that helps with that. It’s called Poetry Readers Challenge and group members have a goal of reading and reviewing 20 poetry books a year. I joined the group myself, and hope others will do the same.

And that’s My Poetic Life for this Sunday. How is your own poetic life going?

When the Consolations of God are Small — A Sijo Poem

When the Consolations of God are Small
Job 15:28-29

The wicked dwell in desolate cities
Ready to become heaps
They are what they are
Neither shall their substance continue

But why must I come forth like a flower
Cut down in sight of His holy mountain?


This is a sijo I wrote last year, using a random passage of the Old Testament as a poetry prompt. I used a Korean sijo by Kim Inhu (1510-1560) as a model, and the phrase in the poem ‘They are what they are’ was inspired by a similar line in Kim’s poem. Shared on Poetry Pantry #254 on Poets United

Catsong: for Niki

what if my heart is too long or too tall?
what if my cat is too light or too small?

this calico tabby is mine
no matter that her nails are too sharp

the chill moonlight is mine also
to collect in alabaster jars

Dec. 11, 2012

This sijo was written in honor of my elderly cat, Niki. She lived outdoors until the day she decided she didn’t like the other outdoor cats and insisted on coming into the house.  I used a poem by Shin Heum as a model, and that poem provided some elements, including the moonlight.

I shared this sijo on Poetry Pantry #143. I made the video last night, with the assistance of Niki the cat. I’ve thought for some time that YouTube gives poets a chance to give poetry readings on line, when we can’t manage to do ones in public.


Writing Sijo
The sijo is written in three lines, though in English each of the three lines is usually broken into two, to keep them from being too long. The first line usually states the theme, the second elaborates on it, and the third line contains a twist on the theme, or a resolution. The lines average 14 to 16 syllables, with the poem as a whole having about forty-one to forty-nine.

My method for writing a sijo is this: I copy out one classic Korean sijo (in English translation) and look at it, count the syllables and such. Then I pick something— usually from a book— to inspire my theme, as I did with the Bible passage in the first poem and my cat Niki in the second.

Challenge: write your own sijo poem. Use a random page from the first book to the left of your computer as a poetry prompt.

Facebook page Sijo Poetry: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sijo-Poetry/392044370990201

My new Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4813575.Nissa_Annakindt

becoming a dragonfly


becoming a dragonfly

and this is my life
since becoming a dragonfly i float
in the windows of the nobles to steal
their jewels
which i give to the old priest
who feeds the poor
and gives them rosaries
made with his old bent hands
and Job’s tears

over all of this the emperor
watches and smiles
fearing only the assassination attempts
made by the moon
that is his life
which shines and sparkles
but cannot fly
or find solitude

May 13, 2015
free verse composed using keywords: dragonfly, jewels, emperor, moon
‘Job’s tears’ is a plant whose seeds have been used as rosary beads.

This poem is being shared on Poets United’s Poetry Pantry #252 Please stop by their site to view the other poems.


Recently I purchased a couple of books on how to write poetry. I’ve been writing poetry seriously since 1988, but wanted to expand my knowledge. One of the books I got was Writing Poetry from the Inside Out by Sandford Lyne.  The book has its drawbacks— the author was into ‘spirituality’ in an annoyingly post-Christian way— but it has one useful technique for writing poetry, which is the use of keywords (which I’ve blogged about before.)

This poem is one I wrote using keywords from Lyne’s book. I must admit that, being me, I didn’t use one of the four-keyword groups Lyne provided but did some mix-and-match between groups.

I ended up with two major characters— the poet-become-dragonfly who becomes a jewel thief, and the emperor. The dragonfly has an association with an old and holy priest, while the emperor fears assassination attempts by the moon. (And in my poetic worlds, inanimate objects can assassinate you just as well as anyone else can.)


surly petunia

Since last week I got 2 new downloads of my poetry book ‘surly petunia’ on Smashwords. No sales on Kindle and no reviews either place, though.

surly petunia on Smashwords (free): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480237

surly petunia on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ96EYE

Do YOU have a poetry book available? Please feel free to add one link to it in your comment.

Mother’s Day Poem

LilStrangerShared on Poetry Pantry #251

Mother’s Day Poem

Is not the little fishing hut
fishing hut
fishing hut
Is not the little fishing hut
that swims along the shore

I torched the little fishing hut
fishing hut
fishing hut
I torched the little fishing hut
that now will swim no more

Is not the crumbling cancer truck
cancer truck
cancer truck
Is not the crumbling cancer truck
that dances with a door

I crushed the crumbling cancer truck
cancer truck
cancer truck
I crushed the crumbling cancer truck
that now will dance no more

Is not the dictionary’s child
nary’s child
nary’s child
Is not the dictionary’s child
that holds a can of war

I stabbed the dictionary’s child
nary’s child
nary’s child
I stabbed the dictionary’s child
and then her mother ripped
me into forty-seven bloody chunks.

True story
Don’t mess with mothers

Sep. 25, 2013

About the poem

It’s longer than what I usually write these days when I tend more toward the sijo or haiku form. It uses repetition and rhythm to a much greater extent than I normally do. But the mayhem and absurdity are quite within my usual style. I look on the poem as a tale for mad people to read to their mad children. If they don’t mind the violent bit.

The message the poem sent to me on the issue of poetry-writing is this: don’t ignore the words buzzing around in your head. Write them down! They may be nothing, or they may be the seed to writing a poem that’s interestingly different from what had gone before.

My mother—- she didn’t understand the poem, of course. Though she reads any poem I write and says encouraging things, because that’s what mothers do. And I do need the encouragement. Because no matter how many times I’ve had a successful moment in my writing, I still have this inner feeling that everything I write is dreck (excuse the language) because I’m substandard— a person with Asperger Syndrome, diagnosed late in life (before my correct diagnosis I was diagnosed as ‘having mental problems’ or ‘being a bad, uncooperative child’) who can’t do the things that every normal person can supposedly do. My mom never understood what was wrong with me, until the diagnosis anyway, but she always went out of her way to make me feel I was a person with potential. No matter how illogical that seemed sometimes. So, thanks, mom, & I love you.

Poets United is a good blog for poets and would-be poets. It has a weekly event on Sundays called The Poetry Pantry. Anyone may put up a link to a poem they’ve blogged on their linky. Then you have the fun of visiting the other poets on the linky list. I try to visit as many as I can on weeks when I participate.

surly petunia: a chapbook of explosively eccentric poetry is available from Amazon.com at 99 cents. It would really help me out if someone would read it and give it a review— even if you only rate it 3 stars or less, that’s fine. I don’t trust those 5-star reviews anyway, it’s usually written by the author’s mother or something. (I’m hoping to get a few Amazon.com sales and at least one review before I publish my next poetry chapbook, which I have started to assemble recently. That one, called Waiting for the Poison Shot, will have a good sampling of my most recent poetry as well as a bonus short story.)

Poets: got a chapbook or poetry book out? You may link to it in your comment. (One link only, please.)

#PoetryPantry 220: socks are underwear, after all

texture_248 surly petunia ebook

I’ve just published a chapbook/e-book called surly petunia, containing 24 of my poems. And so I’m sharing today one of the poems from surly petunia, one that was published in HEATHENzine Aug/Sept 1990. This blog post is for Poetry Pantry #220 on Poets United.

socks are underwear, after all!

eating spaghetti with a cattle prod

the small byzantine child asks

mother may i keep this fish head

it followed me home

& the mother

a neophyte carpet prostitute, says

yes but only if you

drink your opium

all gone


This poem is an example of the ‘bizarre world’ theme that runs throughout much of my poetic output. Does it have a serious, deeper meaning? Maybe. Maybe not. Is the deeper meaning you are finding any relationship to any of the ones I might have had in mind? Probably not. Unless you are weird, like me. (Weird like me— that sound like a great title for a manifesto.)

surly petunia

This chapbook I consider a sampler of my work and so I set the e-book price at Smashwords to free. (The next chapbook won’t be free— it’s all part of my sinister plot to get off SSI disability and have a life.)


It will also be on Kindle, where it will cost 99 cents. (Eventually I think it will be free on Kindle because of price-matching, so if you are low on funds, wait, or else download the epub version from Smashwords and use free software ‘calibre’ to convert it to mobi/Kindle format).

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ96EYE

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NZ96EYE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon India: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00NZ96EYE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

If anyone reading this post is thinking about producing their own book or chapbook at Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing, and you have questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.

Chiron Review

001Three of my poems, juror expend, drastic quotient and Red Cholera Blossoms have been published in issue #97 of Chiron Review.  I’d written to the editor recently because my records stated that three of my poems had been accepted for publication there in 1990, but I never got a contributor’s copy and couldn’t afford to subscribe. He checked his records and found that the poems had not been published, but he invited me to resubmit. I sent 2 of the original poems, and because the third had gotten lost over the years, I included a sijo, Red Cholera Blossoms. All three were accepted! And so I want to encourage all poets and would-be poets out there— don’t be afraid! If a crazy cat lady with Asperger Syndrome can get her poems published in a cool ‘zine like Chiron Review, you can get poems published, too! Just keep writing, submitting, and improving your craft.

E-mail list sign-up

Yes, I have an e-mail list. I’m going to be sending out updates when my books become available.

The form to sign up is at: http://eepurl.com/FN2hr

#PoetryPantry 217: Cry of Cicadas


For Poetry Pantry #217 at Poets United

Cry of Cicadas

cry of cicadas

cover the sounds of the knife

slayer in night fog


9/6/2014 – haiku

5-7-5, autumn season words (cicada, night fog)


OK, maybe I shouldn’t write haiku while I’m watching true crime shows on television. Normally I’m not rigid about the 5-7-5 syllable pattern when I write haiku, since the best haiku in English don’t always do so. I’m also not rigid about including a season word— since some of the early Japanese haiku I’m studying (in English translation) are not so rigid about that.

But in this poem I decided to go more traditional. I do that some times.

This is my method for writing haiku (and sijo) lately. I copy a haiku from a book into my notebook as a model. The book I’m using right now is ‘The Classic Tradition of Haiku’ edited by Faubion Bowers, which is very good since it gives the classic haiku in transliterated Japanese as well as in an English translation. For some of the haiku it gives two different English translations.

In some cases writing the classic haiku just serves as a warm-up. In other cases, it’s an influence. Here is the Japanese haiku that served as a model for this poem:

yet even in the sun’s own land

anyone who lives will suffer

Iio Sogi, 1421-1502


I think I detect some slight influence in the mood, but actually the greater influence in this haiku was the list of season-words for autumn in ‘The Haiku Handbook’ by William J. Higginson— which is the best book I’ve found so far on haiku, I’d urge any poet to add the book to their personal library. Not to mention the English teachers and the homeschooling moms.

Poets United is a great way to meet other poets from around the world.

Poets United is a great way to meet other poets from around the world.

My poetry books

I have been working on organizing my poems into a master Scrivener (writing software) file, and also have started a Scrivener project for my next poetry book, ‘Waiting For The Poison Shot’.

I’m also doing a revised edition of my first poetry book, ‘Where The Opium Cactus Grows’. I am revising some poems, and restoring others to an earlier form. I’m adding some bonus material such as my short story ‘The Dust Mouse’. There will also be a preview of ‘Waiting For The Poison Shot’ that will include at least 10 of the poems set aside for that work.


I have a Facebook author page, Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie & cat person. If you have a FB author page or poetry page, perhaps you could stop by my page and let me know about yours, so I can like yours?


I have visited 22 other Poetry Pantry blogs so far this Sunday (10:36 am). I dare ya to go to  Poetry Pantry #217 at Poets United and beat that record.

On the Creation of Found Poetry

Kitten Umberto making her first escape from the kitten box

Kitten Umberto making her first escape from the kitten box

On the Creation of Found Poetry
a sijo

In a dismal pile are found
stray words from many sources

thrown in a blender, tortured with forks
and aged six years in wooden casks

then inscribed by persian slave
calligraphers upon the floor


This poem was included in my poetry book ‘Where the Opium Cactus Grows’. This post has been shared on Poets United’s Poetry Pantry #209

OK, this is a poem in one method, (sijo) describing another type of poetry altogether. It was one of my earliest sijo attempts that seemed to work out to my satisfaction. I particularly like the part about the poem being ‘aged six years in wooden casks’. I don’t actually age my poems and other writings six years, but I do like to put them aside to ‘age’ and then re-evaluate them.

Found Poetry and Me

While I have been using some degree of found poetry in my work almost since the beginning, pure found poetry from a single source has a stench of plagiarism about it. Like alleged found poet Hart Seely, who wrote a found poetry book where the single source was the press releases of Donald Rumsfeld arranged in poem-like lines. It seems to be common to use alleged found poetry of this sort to express hatred and contempt for another person whose political views you don’t like. Personally I think hating someone for being a Republican or a Democrat isn’t any nobler than hating someone for being a Jew or a Black person— but maybe that’s just me. Wikipedia: Found Poetry

What I use in my own work is not pure found poetry, but one which uses found elements from several sources. While I often select the material almost at random, it is my work in arranging the words, in rejecting some lines and keeping others, that makes such a poem mine and not the work of others. I also incorporate lines of more ordinary poetry created by me to link the found lines together.

In an internet source that explains how to do found poetry in a dreary school classroom setting, it recommends finding a theme as a step in the work. WRONG! Theme-stuff is how you end up with Hart Seely publishing a poetry book of a hated public figure’s words. Deciding themes at that point turns the work from poetry to you preaching your opinion at people.

The theme of my works incorporating found poetry are in part suggested by my original found lines. I suppose my subconscious mind may be working on the theme issue but my conscious mind is busy looking at the words and combinations of words, seeking out words/combinations with a strong impact, powerful images, interesting sound combinations, or just stuff that’s funny or weird enough to please me.

Knowing the true theme usually comes after I’ve lived with the poem long enough to see new things in it. And if a reader of the poem sees an entirely different theme, that’s good too.

That’s my poetry stuff for the week. Maybe next time I’ll post a poem that uses the found poetry technique instead of one that just talks about it.