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The Invasion – #poetry #napowrimo

April 10, 2016


Prompt: Today’s prompt comes to us from Lillian Hallberg. She challenges us to write a “book spine” poem.

The Invasion

When the Martians came
our grief collected in sand dunes
oceans vast, and along filthy streets
carved in glass and stone

Out in the open
the travelers were tasered down
made a mockery by the stone-faced aliens
How dare they attempt to escape!

All of us, family and friends
set sail; the awful rowing toward God
left us dry, parched and devoid
of all human expression, except silence

Silence seeped into our bones
any day, we were sure the ships of earth
would defeat the invading armies of Red Mars
we just needed to be silent and calm, waiting

Months passed, and all the selves I was
became rambling fools
I held nightly talks with the moon king
begged him to save us

I was elected the Speaker for the Dead
and the memory painter
for in my insanity, only I
could remember Earth as she once was

Finally, the signal came
we defeated the Martians, sent them scattering
on the road back home
Earth laid in ruins, devastated and lost

We rebuilt our cities, under milk wood and ash
reset Earth back to her rightful throne
and in the room of the just born
we replenished the souls lost from war

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.


The Titles and Authors used in this Book Spine poem:

  • The Martians by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Grief (poems and versions of poems) by Stephen Berg
  • Out in the Open (poems) by Margaret Gibson
  • The Travelers by Keith Wayne McCoy
  • All of Us (the collected poems) by Raymond Carver
  • The Awful Rowing Toward God (poems) by Anne Sexton
  • Dry (a memoir) by Augusten Burroughs
  • The Ships of Earth by Orson Scott Card
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • All the Selves I Was (poems) by Michele Roberts
  • Talks with the Moon King (poems) by Mitchell Hall
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Ruins by Orson Scott Card
  • Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
  • In the Room of the Just Born (poems) by Tom O’Grady



  1. Months passed, and all the selves I was became rambling fools A very pregnant thought! Nice job.

  2. I love that you used so many poetry collections in this. Very nice story.

    • Thank you, Linda.. my book collection consists of mostly poetry books and science fiction novels.. that’s why they ended up in the Book Spine poem *laughs* I could have used my Kindle.. that’s where I keep most general novels at.. maybe next time!

  3. Well done! You’ve written a book of books!

  4. Wow! This is definitely what I call “Beyond the Spine Poetry.” You’ve weaved these titles in so well with your own narrative. I was totally caught up in this. I especially love the last two lines! Excellent. (It’s been really interesting to read what folks did with the prompt!).

    • Thank you, Lillian 🙂 I am so glad you enjoyed my poem… it was so much fun to write and I loved being able to use both my poetry books and science fiction novels and still make some sense of it *laughs* I need to expand my reading though, I think 😀

  5. Book spine, well spun. 🙂

  6. Cool idea and poem!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. NaPoWriMo – Day 10 – “Soul Music The Colour Of Magic” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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