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Saturday, April 16, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day #16: Belly Dancing in Toronto Aubade

Welcome to day #16. For today's prompt I wanted to try my hand at an aubade again since I loved writing one last year for one of the prompts. What is an aubade? An aubade is a poem about night and things that happen at night until the dawn. I had fun with this prompt today:

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers. Happy writing!

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather: Sunny and cold
Flora: Daffodils
Architecture: Victorian
Customs: Eating duck poutine at hockey and baseball games.
Mammals/reptiles/fish: Cats, sea turtles, jellyfish.
Childhood dream: To travel the world.
Found on the Street: loonie.
Export: Maple syrup.
Graffiti: Bees, butterflies, abstract art found on Spadina and Queen Street.
Conspiracy: Construction between Jane Station and Bathurst was planned to disrupt the weekend.
Dress: Punk.
Hometown memory: Meeting people from all over the world.
Notable person: Drake.
Outside your window, you find: A terrace overlooking the park.
Today’s news headline: Rescuers rush to save trapped residents as Japan quakes kill 32.
Scrap from a letter: Information about Ripley’s Aquarium
Animal from a myth: Unicorn
Story read to children at night: 1000 Nights.
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Restaurants
You walk to the border and hear: People being halted.
What you fear: Nothing.
Picture on your city’s postcard: CN Tower.

Belly Dancing Aubade

Pinks and oranges are a precursor to stars,
yet the colours welcome me as I ascend
to Yonge Street from the steel underground.

For April, it is chilly and my breath freezes,
I am early—track work prevented me
from going home, getting changed, coming back:

though my afternoon out went longer than expected,
I am thankful for forgiveness and the warmer afternoon.
Yet, the underground is shut down between Jane and Bathurst;

to take a bus back to Indian Grove, I’d be late,
but now I am early and the pink sky sings to me
as the graffiti walls welcome me to the city,

pausing for a moment or two, my camera ready
before darkness cloaks the meticulous details
of histories and stories of everyone in this city.

Toronto comes alive as the stars dot the sky,
the CN Tower lights the beautiful skyline;
guiding people home from a night of belly dancing…

I sigh and think of my own story as I see the Moroccan arches,
remembering the first time I belly danced five years earlier
as I was learning how to speak and write in Arabic.

This world slowly becoming mine, I am led to my seat
with Moroccan mint tea, couscous and fish tangine;
ouds and drums and strings begin to mark the beat

as genies sway and dance in a smoky darkness,
a comfortable darkness with much energy—
shaking their hips and breasts, everyone enchanted.

And out of the darkness, I am called to them,
I begin to dance and sway myself, they are my teachers
showing me how to shake and move rhythmically

to the lyrics and beat, I shake my breasts;
it's a little embarrassing, I have the hip action
as we dance to the soulful melodies among the stars.


  1. Reading this almost made me want to belly dance (almost) haha

    1. It's so much fun! In May I'm going to post about my Canada trip. I've been working on NaPoWriMo and my book lately.