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Academy Log: Volta D-20 for poetry.

This is a poetry exercise for anyone in possession of a 20-sided die, it is easily modified for any-sized die for those looking to practice voltas.

Step One. Make a list of twenty things you’ve done over the past week, month, whatever.

Step Two. Make a list of twenty ways you’ve been interrupted over the past week, month, whatever.

Step Three. Roll die to select a task from the first list.

Step Four. Write as much of a poem about that task as you can without ever finishing the poem. How much can you write before you feel stuck or bored or on the verge of going too far?

Step Five. Roll die to select an interruption from the second list.

Step Six. Continue working on poem, “course correcting” for the new direction the interruption takes you, until you feel you’ve reached the poem’s natural conlusion.

Step Seven. Pat yourself on the back for writing a poem with a volta, a.k.a. a turn (very big in Italian sonnets and traditional haikus).

Bonus. I’m going to share a poem I wrote following the above steps. Though I only made the first list and rolled for it twice. 1 to start the poem with “I had an early breakfast” and 14 to turn with by my having made a list of mental health metrics.

I had an early breakfast,
and then another breakfast
at the usual time
because my period started;
bright and early,
you could say,
if you’re not grossed out already;
though, if you are
you needn’t be,
it happens to a lot of people.
Every minute of every day
someone somewhere is menstruating
and in need of additional sustenance
because — apparently —
self-cannibalizing takes a lot out of you,
and it’s impossible to say
which of the two breakfasts
is the most important meal of the day
when skipping either
could lead to tragedy,
like biting someone’s head off;
fairly common when you’re
simultaneously self-cannibalizing
and hungry,
but somehow
the only clue
some people
will pick up
on what’s going on;
having missed
it’s been a year
since you’ve made a meal plan
that involved actual cooking,
and that it’s been five years
since you baked
even one batch of cookies,
yet here you sit
expelling warm-and-gooey death
as you munch your way
through the skull of some nitwit;
and Now
people notice
something’s amiss,
and are making inquiries
from a distance so safe
they will learn
literally nothing useful;
but one of them
will Believe otherwise,
forgetting not to sit
in arm’s reach
a month from now.