NaPoWriMo 10: The Evolutionary History of Monsters

Written as a response to the dVerse poetry prompt: Monster


When I was little, monsters were
sharp teeth and
matted fur
or slimey green things
with a dozen eyes

When I grew up a bit, monsters were:
slave traders and Hitler,
knife-wielding serial killers,
people who believe in evolution, and
that girl from third period who
called me a lesbian and a brown-noser.

And then monsters were
terrorists and menstrual cramps and
the ungodly urges forcing
me to touch myself when I
knew I shouldn’t

And then
my mother when she
entered my room without knocking
so that I had to close a window full of
things I thought neither of us
should see
but mostly she shouldn’t, not just this second not until
I finished just this one more time

myself for not being any good
at slaying monsters

uncertainty, atheism, the
unfathomable distance between
myself and the other people
sitting at my lunch table


But then–
slave drivers and Hitler,
knife-wielding rapists,
people who don’t believe in evolution, and
that boy who kept pulling out on our dates
because his job named Katie called last minute.

professors with monotone voices
chauvinist bigots
paper deadlines

mental illness


people who wouldn’t stop what they’re
shouting for just one second please and listen to
the words that others are trying to get in edgewise,
who think that it’s fair to dismiss someone’s
entire viewpoint, entire personality, because they
don’t agree with a particular point or trait
and people who use words like they’re
bricks instead of like they’re a skittish colt or
fragmenting grenades or
something that requires half a goddamn second worth of thought

Presently, though…
You know, it’s funny after all the years of hassle,
but I think the current dilemma
is really just trying to decide
whether or not I believe in monsters.

15 comments on “NaPoWriMo 10: The Evolutionary History of Monsters

  1. aka_andrea says:

    It’s hard not to believe in them when they are so clearly everywhere and in everything, it’s just not letting them eclipse everything else. So well done!

  2. brian miller says:

    ha. nice conclusion there in the end…the next to last stanza is tight…and intense…brutal and true…intersting the inclusion of hitler as well…we just finished studying hitler in my history classes i teach…and other dictators…so i think it played a role in my choice of topics…another intriguing aspect is the monster we make of ourselves…in the urges and things that come with puberty…really cool take on the prompt…

  3. paul1510 says:

    Likewise! πŸ˜€

  4. Rowan Taw says:

    Great write. I like the way evolution was seen as a monster, but the whole poem is the evolution of monsters – clever.

  5. Grace says:

    I like the listing of “monsters” from the child to growing up, to being an adult grappling with mental illness and people who don’t listen ~ Do you believe in them ~ I think if you slayed them, then they don’t exist in our head ~ An excellent share ~

  6. Good monster poem! I never think about monsters…but then I monster proofed myself years ago!

  7. Monsters certainly come in many different forms sometimes very hard to see.

  8. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    Monsters are what you make of they, I suspect. But there is certainly plenty of scope for finding them if you look! πŸ™‚

  9. heidi says:

    At first take this is so sad, like monsters are really just sad. But then, there are all these little zings of humor that are so cool! My favorite zings are the lines that say people who believe in evolution are monsters, and yet your poem is the evolutionary history off monsters. Sweet!

    • Hah, thanks. I’m glad people caught and enjoyed those. I will point out one more by putting two stanzas next to each other for comparison:

      1) “When I grew up a bit, monsters were:
      slave traders and Hitler,
      knife-wielding serial killers,
      people who believe in evolution,”

      2) “But then–
      slave drivers and Hitler,
      knife-wielding rapists,
      people who don’t believe in evolution,”

  10. Love this “growing up” cycle as seen through the eyes of seasonal monsters! A very clever piece of writing!

  11. David King says:

    I sort of think you do, you’ve made out an excellent case for. Congrats.

  12. kkkkaty says:

    Great review of the real everyday monsters we deal with that are either hard to overcome or we can’t control….very scary indeed…society has a way of putting these obstacles before us that we have to circumvent or somehow destroy….like your process ..

  13. Linda Rogers says:

    Creative way to write about monsters. So many things in our lives are an expression of ‘monsters.’ Beautiful, soulful writing.

  14. Thanks everyone for all the kind comments. πŸ™‚

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