Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sayonara Umami

Sayonara Umami

Every day my word prompt takes time away from me.
I lie in bed and write and write sometimes till two or three.
But today they’ve found another part of me to waste,
for now they’re going to take away one aspect of my taste.
Salt or bitter, sweet or sour, are tastes I must maintain.
Umami is the obvious choice that causes the least pain.
They say monosodium glutamate is what creates its savor.
Seaweed, cured fish, aged cheese and meats are what contain its flavor.
(All foods I hate and so at last, I’ll never have to worry
about detecting those weird tastes in saté or in curry.)
No more lurking fish paste. No more furry tongue.
No more adult flavors found revolting by the young.
So for once, dear “Word Prompt,” I shall to you relate
my thanks for taking from my life something I really hate!

The Prompt: Picky Tongues—You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose?

Unruly Punctuation

Unruly Punctuation

When a guy driving a GMC
swoops into line in front of me
and takes the place I meant to park,
I use an !

While the ,’s made for multi-tasking,
in a sentence meant for asking,
there has to be a ?
lest readers be left in the dark.

An ! is fine
when simply put at end-of-line,
too many (quite a fault of mine)
bring out the punctuation narcs
to ban those !!!!!!!!!!

Those abounding in . . .
are labeled punctuation gypsies
because they don’t know when to stop.
So please call in a grammar cop.

I must admit that I am rash
and tend to overuse the .
What’s more, my editor goes crazy
when I forget or just get lazy.
His eyes bug out, his face goes red
when I make use of instead.

The . is the simplest mark.
At sentence end it’s meant to park.
It’s always put where it is best
to let the sentence come to rest,
and no one puts it elsewhere lest
the reader is put to the test
to search from clause to clause to clause
to figure out where he can pause.

When I think of rhymes for ,
only strange words like pajama
are what come to mind—or llama—
or words not to the point, like “mama;”
so I’ll just say the Oxford ,
is like the Tea Party to Obama.
If his (and my) advice is heeded,
it will be clear that they’re not needed!!!

The purpose of the
is as clear as it can be:
Judy’s car or Judy’s house,
Judy’s dog or Judy’s spouse.
Yet, when the pronoun enters in,
it is the biggest grammar sin
to use apostrophes for possession
(although I’ll make this hard confession
that often I, unthinkingly,
will write it’s where it never fits.)
It’s in possession should be its!)
“It’s” only used as a contraction.
(It’s a faction, but not it’s faction.)

I think I may conduct a poll on
: versus ;
Which one separates two clauses,
signaling those longer pauses;
and which one signifies a list?
I’m sure that you have got the gist
of which is which—where each should go
to end this punctuation woe.

( ) mark an aside, much as amight do,
Like “ ”, they’re paired. You always must use two.
Which brings us to the that joins a compound word.
You never put a space in. To do so is absurd.
You should not use it as a dash with spaces on each side.
That is an antique usage that I simply can’t abide.

Yet if you choose to Google some of the rules here,
there will be discrepancies from site to site, I fear.
What I say they’ll question. They’ll support what I must pan.
So I can only say that I’ve accomplished what I can.
In spite of all my studying, despite my dedication—
I find that few agree on rules applied to punctuation!!!!

The Prompt: By the Dots—We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

You might have guessed that the punctuation marks being referred to (but not those merely functional) are meant to be read out as words.  In my original, it was fairly obvious as they were in 20 font in bold so they stood out.  The only way I could find to designate them here was to use boldface and to change their color to blue.  As usual, thanks for reading my entries.  I appreciate your comments and “likes,” always!!! Thanks.  Judy

Bed Head

Bed Head

First thing in the morning, when I’m fresh from dreams,
this is when the new ideas seem to come in streams.
If I want to capture what is in my head,
It’s better if I do not try to leave my bed.
Luckily, my laptop’s always right near by
and so I pull it over and rest it on my thigh.
And lying on my back with pillows ‘neath my neck,
I pull up to my word bank and write a little check.
Spending all my riches stored up in the night,
I write and write and write and write and write and write and write.

The Prompt: Writing Space—Where do you produce your best writing — at your desk, on your phone, at a noisy café? Tell us how the environment affects your creativity

This is a shorty this morning, so read on for a poem posted in the wee hours last night, when a random sentence Skyped to me by a friend created an immediate pingback, (whatever that is.)


Ping Hack

Ping Hack

“I don’t know what to make of ping,”
he told me, simply answering
my question of the difference
and, in truth, my inference
that he would know the answer and
as usual would take a hand
in clarifying one time more
what a speed test measures for
and what they had to do with “ping”
and downloading and uploading
and whether one point twenty three
was enough download for me
and whether zero point six seven
would get me into upload heaven
and what this ping stuff had to do
with starts and stops that ruined my view
of films that I had hoped to stream
that only made me want to scream

because they came in fits and starts,
ruining all my favorite parts!
Are they adequate, I asked?
His scorn was only partly masked
as he admitted they weren’t at all.
“And ping?” I asked him this last thing.
and he was quick in answering,
“I don’t know what to make of ping,”

Ping Fact (Addendum)

These numbers are the actual,
although they aren’t the factual
upload feeds
nor download speeds,
for I forgot to disconnect
the VPN and so I wrecked
results of loading speed and ping,
but I was apt in my rhyming

which only goes to show a poet
is not a techie, so now you knowet!


(This is the actual result of my speed test after I turned off the VPN.)

Lick for Lick

Lick for Lick

Ice cream is my weakness—my favorite sort of sweet.
A flavor that I don’t adore is one I’ve yet to meet.

Mandarin orange or licorice, tequila or dill pickle?
I am not true to any of them, for I fear I’m fickle.

When choosing ice cream flavors, it’s impossible to pick.
I simply am incapable of choosing which to lick.

And so I’d like a flavor that has a bit of each:
chocolate and vanilla and a little touch of peach,

strawberry and mango and lime and toffee crunch—
why choose just one flavor when you can have a bunch?

Throw some tangerine in and some pineapple sorbet.
Licorice and banana? Who am I to say nay?

This flavor would be popular with those who cannot choose
whether they prefer the flavor of pickles, fruit or booze.

Though some of you may scoff at it and laugh in your derision,
the name of my new flavor? I call it “Indecision.”

The Prompt: Flavor # 32—A local ice cream parlor invites you to create a new wacky flavor. It needs to channel the very essence of your personality. What’s in it?

It’s a Gas

                        It’s a Gas

I know that I saw it on You Tube
(and I’m sure that it wasn’t a dream)
—a machine that shreds old soda bottles
and melts them to make gasoline.

The machine they were using to make it
was compact—and could possibly be
installed in each house or wherever
you think you might like it to be.

Grocery stores, motels or roadside—
(wherever these bottles collect)
instead of machines set for vending,
would have a machine to inject

with all of the plastic you brought there
and for it you’d get, I deduce,
credit for all of the petrol
the bottles you brought in produce.

Every gas station would honor
these chits that you’d get every day.
You’d make a big saving on gas bills
with bottles you once threw away.

You could save up your old plastic bottles
and toss them right into your trunk
right next to the tools and blankets and flares
and all of the usual junk.

And when you next went for refreshments,
for soda or candy or chips,
you could also deposit your bottles,
’cause your car also needs a few sips.

Daily Prompt: Vending Wishes—Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!

The process I describe here is not fictional. Google “pyrolysis” if you want more information.

June 24th

June 24th

The rain falls
fresh as cucumbers
on cobblestones and tiles,
the dust of summer
washed from crevasses
and curves of stone and clay.

The air is cleansed
of the scent of primavera,
and flamboyant trees
and the whole world
breathes easily again.

Clouds dried up
by sunlight,
the silent birds
are flushed
from their covering leaves
and open in chorus

to the booming crack
of cohetes, splitting the air
in celebration
of Saint John the Baptist
who has baptized all
this day.

The Prompt: Seasonal Scents—S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill, sweaty people on the bus — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?



Groundhogs in Sri Lanka

Groundhogs in Sri Lanka

Groundhog Day (the movie) was frustrating for sure.
When that same day kept happening, there seemed to be no cure.
But this was not reality. It really could not be.
And so to write about it has no appeal for me.

Instead I want to write about something on my mind;
and it, indeed, is something day after day I find.
When I look at my statistics on my blogging site,
I see the countries that have viewed my blog each day and night.

And when I see “Sri Lanka” occur day after day,
I wonder who that person is and what they’d have to say
if they could comment on the words that I have said to them
and wish that I could know a little more of her or him.

So if you read this message and know that it is you
who reads my blog, reveal yourself. Say who you are, please do.
I’ve been to Sri Lanka many years ago and saw
Colombo and the stupas—I viewed them all with awe.

The elephants in Kandy, the tea fields on the way,
the little inn called “Bird’s Nest” where we slept at end of day.
We climbed Anuradhapura, we stood beneath the tree
where Buddha sat 2,000 years ago. (How can this be?)

You probably weren’t born then so I’m sure we didn’t meet;
or as a babe in arms, perhaps you passed me in the street.
But nineteen sixty-seven (or was it sixty-eight?)
is very long ago and so I’m sure it’s not my fate

to reconnect with anyone I might have met back then
and it is not important what happened way back when.
To me, it is more vital to know what’s happening now,
and that is why a day or so ago I made a vow.

I mention this thing only to try to drive you to
share a little bit of what it might be to be you.
I’ve told you all my secrets, kept nothing back in shame;
so dear Sri Lanka viewer, please at least reveal your name!

 The Prompt: Groundhog Week—If you could relive the past week, would you? Would you change anything?



Lush Night

Lush Night

Remember that delicious
walking, arms linked,
down the middle
of the gravel road
in your pajamas
at five in the morning
when you were twelve?
That first slumber party
in your safe small town
when you all stayed up all night
for the first time in your lives?
That eerie first sight
of the sun coming up
when your head had never hit a pillow
since it went down?

And then you knew for the first time
the delicious pleasures
of being a night owl—
of finding time
that everyone else was wasting
through dreams.

And you have been
an aficionado of night
ever since.
All of your term papers
and exams studied for
at the last minute,
all night long.
Books written, poems written
mostly in the dark
while towns and cities around you slept.
That power of having all of your time for yourself
with not a chance of phones ringing.
Some magic happening
once you had the world to yourself
so ever afterwards
you have survived
on as little sleep as possible.

During your party years,
dancing and drinking till three,
then going for breakfast with the single crowd
and driving straight to school at six.
You were invulnerable.

Even married,
sneaking out of bed once he’d fallen asleep
and working in your basement studio all night long,
sometimes sneaking back to bed before he awakened,
at other times caught.
“It’s nine in the morning! Have you been up all night again?”
Feeling that little terror, like a vampire caught by light.

Then at 54, with no more husband,
no more job necessary,
with a new country and a new studio
above ground,
guilty pleasures no longer needed to be hidden—
watching light after light go out
as you sat piecing art together
in your studio—until suddenly,
light after light went on again
so you were going to bed
as your neighbor was arising
to start his day.

Then, improbably, at 62, internet romance
entered your midnight-and-after world.
Every night serenaded to sleep
from 1500 miles away
by an equally night-addicted lover bard
at two or three or four a.m.—
or whenever pillow talk led to it.

Skype became your love letters
and your trysting spot
now and then all day long;
but still, night better swaddled
that intimate invisible union
through the dark air
that has always been magic for you,
but which now joins instead of
sending you into the single space
where you unite with that within you
which you keep separate from the world.

At night, united or alone,
you know exactly what it is you want
and live it,
with no world
to lead you elsewhere.


The Prompt: Sleepy Time. More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?


Jock Balk

Jock Balk

I’ve never climbed a mountain.
I don’t dive in the sea.
Sports are simply pastimes
that don’t agree with me.

I cannot bat or pitch or catch.
A baseball skill I lack;
and when I tried at tetherball,
it hit me in the back.

I flinched and ducked, then stood back up,
tried once more for the ball;
but when I missed, got hit again
and took another fall.

I ski a lot upon my back
and when I swim I sink.
The water I can handle well
is in my kitchen sink.

In grade school when we played those games
involving run and chase,
I was the last one chosen;
for I never won a race.

I did not shine at tennis,
nor at volleyball.
When it comes to doing sport,
I find I’ve flunked them all.

Bowling, golf and badminton,
croquet and racquetballing
are talents I just don’t possess.
They simply aren’t my calling.

I fear I lack the focus
to hit balls with stick or hand.
To me, it’s hocus-pocus.
I’d rather join the band.

In games that take sports prowess,
my teammates rave and rant
that I do not play kick-the-can,
but rather, kick-I-can’t.

Some people lacking talent,
coordination, speed—
simply choose spectator sports
to fill their sportly need.

But I don’t like watching football,
your soccer or your hockey;
and when it comes to horse racing,
I neither bet nor jockey.

I admit, at sports I am
the worst you’ve ever seen.
So stop expecting more of me.
I simply lack the gene!!

 The Prompt: Team USA is playing today in the soccer World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any funny/harrowing/interesting memories from a sporting event you attended, participated in, or watched?