Category Archives: poems

Metallica

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For NaPoWriMo Day 7, the prompt is to choose a news headline as the topic for a poem. Here is the news report I chose to write about: “Researchers Discover Faraway Planet Where the Rain is Made of Iron.” I guess you might call this an ironic poem?

Metallica

Use your cook pots for umbrellas, ‘cuz it’s raining iron rain.
I don’t mind heavy metal, but as weather? It’s insane.
The drumming is excessive, and if you can’t take the pain,
you don’t want to be caught out singing in the rain.

If you plan on going wading, I’d have another think,
for the puddles that you’re ogling seem to be full of zinc.
When it snows, most of the snowflakes have crystals made of lead—
not a pleasing prospect when they’re falling on your head.

Oceans full of copper, bronze and steel and tin
may be the place you have to die for to be in.
Silver hills and valleys, rivers made of gold
are all that’s left now that our nature’s all been sold.

Does tungsten please your taste buds? Can you eat the golden calf?
With no leather, those bronze slippers aren’t as comfortable by half.
Aluminum for cooking, some folks think can’t be beat,
but what you use for cooking you cannot also eat!

Now they’ve fracked away our water and melted polar ice,
Mother Nature thinks a world of metal would be nice.
So put away your appetites, for food will be passé
once the plants and animals have all been put away.

Say thank you to our rulers. Say thank you very much
for their self-serving decisions and their Midas touch.
Some of us saw this coming but the others did not see
They were too busy getting their news from Fox TV!!!

Oh dear. I said I wasn’t going to write another political poem. Well, the prompts made me do it. Once again.

6:30 A.M. Vicarious Pleasures: NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 5

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6:30 A.M. Vicarious Pleasures

My day is a guest who arrives too early,
starting the party without me to the insistent drumbeat
of a distant all-night party not yet over.

Its music sketches a portrait of my distant past:
wild nights, the sharp bite of tequila,
casual passion draped across my back.

Kukla the girl cat’s clever claws push me from my bed. 
Other than her insistent cries for desayuno,
this new day written across my life
comes with invisible directions. 

It smells like fresh-blooming plumeria
and tastes like Nescafé with Coffee-Mate and stevia.

It is too tame, this safe life with so many hand-washings
that they rise to my tongue and foam as I speak to myself in the mirror,
keeping six feet of distance even with myself
as I wait for the arrival and my capture
by this distant threat creeping ever closer.

Sangre de Cristo,” mutters Jesus the water vendor,
taking his own name in both vein and vain as he
reminds me to keep my distance—
La señora, no matter how generous a tipper, now a threat.
I sweep his footsteps from the doorway,
set them on fire and gather their ashes for a poem.

The birds sing their way into my verses,
as does the snake that lies coiled in my kitchen sink.
I taste the language of all of them,
real life as surreal as any dream—
this world a wasp nest,
each of us sealed up in our individual cell.

Without a life, I write one for myself.
You are invited to join it here on my sanitary screen.
Make your rejoinders more clever than Alexa’s or Siri’s,
so I can dispense with the both of them.
Imagine me touching your words I cannot hear,
and make them less sharp than what you might be feeling.


A stream of family music from below
flows up the mountainside to pool in my ears.
I breathe the perfume of that family.
I savor its taste—tamarind, lime and salt,

the homeyness of bland tortillas—
and hope they are kept safe there.

I’m combining six prompts today. The five word prompts today are clever, portrait, distant, capture and arrival. I’m combining them with the NaPoWriMo Day 5 prompt which includes 20 explicit directions. To read other poems written to this prompt, go HERE.

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

Wild Oats

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Wild Oats

What he is up to, nobody knows.
He bought a new sports car and wears flashy clothes,
but all his good judgment seems to have died.

He’s capricious and willful and daffy and snide.

The smile on his face seems lacking inside.
If he’s passing by and you ask for a ride,
he’ll go off on a tangent and then leave you stranded
with no idea of where you have landed.

I thought midlife crisis was only in books,
but judging by clothes and behavior and looks,
it’s something he’s caught, albeit quite late,
for if humans were stamped with an expiry date,

I think you would find his nearly expired.
He should be feeble and mostly retired,

but instead, he’s determined to have a new life
minus perspicacity,  minus his wife.

Not one can tell him what’s fun in one’s forties—
the boozing, carousing and other wild sorties—
Can be lethal at eighty, for it’s the truth
that youthful behavior’s best done in one’s youth!

 

Prompt words today are daffy, tangent, complete, caprice and ride. Photo used for illustrative purposes only. 

Belated Wishes

Belated Wishes

My greetings on your birthday, I admit are most belated,
but I hope my guilt in this can be expiated.
I toiled to construct a card, wording it in rhyme,
and then invoked winged Mercury to present it in time.
(I’d addressed it with a flourish and signed it in gold ink.
The card was of a purple hue. The envelope was pink.)

But I fear this faithful messenger shows the effects of gout
which has curtailed the usual speed with which he gets about.
He had to take a taxi, which developed a flat.
So then he had to hitchhike to get to where you’re at.
Your doorbell is defective and your neighbor wasn’t in,
and by then I fear that his resolve was growing  thin.

He sat upon your doorstep, but it seems you never came.
So it is your own tardiness, it seems, that is to blame.
As the midnight hour approached he finally gave up.
He found a little pub where he thought that he would sup.
He put your card upon the counter. It was there that he misplaced it
along with the good wishes with which this friend had graced it.

By the time he had informed me of his failure at this task,
I fear your day had ended, so what I now must ask
is that you don’t feel slighted by your real card’s surrogate—
the fact that it is Hallmark and the fact that it is late.
This card can’t compete with the first one I created,
but you share the guilt, friend, for the fact that it’s belated!!!

Prompts today are flourish, address, belated, invoke and speed.

Black Sheep

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Black Sheep

Your baseball cap conspicuous among the Easter hats,
you intersperse beatitudes with sounds of batting stats,
and when you are not muttering, you whistle or you hum.
Everywhere we’ve gone, you have stuck out like a sore thumb.

I try to introduce you to acquaintances or friends,
but your chatter never ceases. Your prattle never ends.
These one-end conversations are getting rather dry.
We cannot get a word in, so in time we do not try.

Last year you kidnapped Grandpa and took him to a bar,
then left him in an upstairs room—teeth floating in a jar.
Once we had reclaimed him, we gave thanks that you had vanished,
and this note is just to tell you we’ve decided you are banished.

You’ve embarrassed us at Christmases, at Easters and Thanksgivings,
so we have decided that we have certain misgivings
regarding future visits. In short, we hope you’ll never
seek to reattach past family ties we hereby sever!

Prompt words today are sound, carriage, conspicuous and baseball.

Escape from the Day Spa

 

Photo by Adrian Motroc on Unsplash, used with permission

Escape from the Day Spa

Our hair is neatly coiffed and our fingernails are lacquered,
but they’ve been at us for hours and, frankly, I am knackered.
They’ve elevated eyebrows and plucked chin hairs at random.
Two people worked an hour, massaging me in tandem.

This day trip to the beauty spa once seemed a good idea,
but I’ve found it as annoying as a junket to Ikea.
Everything goes on and on. There simply is too much.
First there’s this and this and this and then there’s such and such.

And though it’s meant to calm me, I find I’m feeling goaded.
When it comes to things and services, I’m simply overloaded.
“I know” I tell my friend, “I should be finding it relaxing,
but I feel the opposite. I find the process taxing!”

I need to steer us out of here before she finds another
way for them to soak us or to pluck or curl or smother.
Before this spa day started, she’d assured me it was fun,
but now its time for me to declare that it is done!!!

I need a gin and tonic and perhaps a wild dance
to loosen all the hairpins and give my hair a chance
to escape the close confinement of gel and goop and spray.
I’m tense with relaxation. I need wildness in my day!

Give me a seedy roadhouse and some honky tonk guitar.
Some cowboys with their cowboy boots propped up against the bar.
Some line dances and two-steps to work up a little sweat,
and I’ll be about as relaxed as I’m ever going to get.

IMG_1017jdb photo of the Mint Bar, Sheridan, Wyoming

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Prompt words today are trip, knackered, random, elevate and steer.

Interlopers

Click on first photo to enlarge all.

“I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.”     —Robert Brault

Interlopers

They watch the clock, waiting for dark,
impatient for their All-souls lark.
Small ghosts and goblins screech and moan,
their ghastly act to finely hone.
“Eye of newt and toe of frog,”
Mother prompts, as off they jog—
little witches in Walmart capes
with itchy tags upon their napes.

Meanwhile, other ghastly things
soar in on brooms, flap in on wings.
They’ve found that yearly secret door
under the earth, under the floor,
and creaked it open. Joining the flood
who lust for treats, they lust for blood.
Who among us might ace the task
of sorting countenance from mask?

That little vampire, newly gone—
was his blood real or painted on?
“Double double toil and trouble,
cauldron boil and cauldron bubble.”
Were those lines recently rehearsed
or are these witches instead well-versed
in brewing up a recipe
of wing of gnat and eye of bee?

Which ghoulies real and which ones playing?
Which ones begging? Which ones preying?
What other night of any year
do we open doors, devoid of fear
for such strange beings? Who thinks of this—
Hershey’s kisses or vampire’s kiss?
A silly poem. When small ghosts boo, they
offer no real threat. Or do they?

 

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Prompts for today are the secret door, adage, screech, treat and clock. Since one of the prompt words was “adage,” rather than use the actual word in the poem, I used a quote (an adage of sorts) by Robert Brault as inspiration for this poem.