Category Archives: poems

Home for the Duration?

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Home for the Duration?

I simply must go shopping. I’ve a plethora of needs.
My soup has gone unsalted and my garden’s full of weeds.
I need whips for my whacker and I need a box of salt.
So if my meals aren’t tasty, you can see it’s not my fault.

The bane of my existence is the branches that have grown
to obscure my lake view and upset my garden’s tone.
When I’m in the hammock, I’m thereby deprived my vista
because I loaned my hedge clippers to my older sista.

It’s easier to buy new ones if I could just go shopping,
but nobody knows when our immurement will be stopping.
Lately what might happen in the future’s arcane knowledge.
I hope that school resumes before my 3-year-old needs college!

Prompt words for today are salty, arcane, vista, plethora and shop.

Creative Calibration

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Image by Oren Atias on Unsplash, used with permission.

Creative Calibration

She was a paragon of beauty. Diminutive perfection.
The persona she constructed an incredible confection.
Each year observance of her birth a full-scale celebration.
Every year, a slight deduction in its calibration.
So I’m afraid it’s true that by the time she passed away
and met her final sunset at the ending of the day,
though sexy in her youth, in her dotage she was hotter,
and if you took her word for it, was younger than her daughter!

Word prompts today are paragon, diminutive, celebration, afraid and sunset.

Rain

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Rain

Gives an excuse
for that bright orange umbrella
and yellow overshoes
toppled over in the hall closet,
yet it is nighttime and I am old.
I lie under blankets on the sofa,
content with its comforting
rat-a-tat
on the plastic skylight
overhead.

It is a friend knocking
insistently,
calling me out to play.

Six years old,
Imprisoned by summer,
we were given occasionally
the refreshing release
of a hard summer rain.
Bare feet splashing,
we raced dry leaf boats
manned by our imaginations
through the caves of culverts,
down to those ultimate puddles
magnificent in their magnitude.

Sixty years later,
I am caught up in the currents
of that sudden rush downwards
and backwards to
a plastic umbrella
abandoned on the sidewalk
as we opened like  flowers.

Rain
hides tears.
Forces growth.
Cleans up our messes
and provides glorious new ones.
Washes away today
and grows tomorrow.

 

For dVerse Poets: Rain

Love’s Meander

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Love’s Meander

In those first months of its success,
when first love starts to evanesce,
we flounder in its first excesses,
never guessing what the stresses
are that love will soon let loose–
when the gander feels the noose
and in his imagination
conjures up a short vacation
wherein he is free to wander
here and there and over yonder
to see what other lovebirds might
desire to feel his loving bite.
Needless to say, his sudden bolt
may give his present love a jolt,
and when he chooses to meander,
what cooks the goose may burn the gander!

Word prompts today are bolt, lovebirds, goose, evanesce and imagination. Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash. Used with permission.

Bunglery at the Ritz Apartments

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Bunglery at the Ritz Apartments

We’re making the assumption that this ritzy part of town
is the perfect place for our next heist to go down.
Jimmy has it in his noggin that we’ve gotta hit the best,
so it should be the penthouse. We should forget all the rest.
But I think he’s a blockhead. We should choose another floor.
Penthouses have alarms in every room, on every door. 
So we settle on the first floor,  but still wind up in jail,
and I’m in here for the long term ’cause I cannot meet my bail.
The docs have sewn up gashes on my arm and my left calf,
but my wounds don’t equal Jimmy’s, not even by a half
And when he pays his own bail, he tells me,”Go to the Devil.”
I forgot folks with the biggest dogs live on the lowest level.

Prompt words for today are settle, block, noggin, heist and assumption.

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash. Used with permission.

Kissing Lessons

Kissing Lessons

How you structure your kisses is boringly normal.
Your lips are too tight and your stance is too formal.
Your lips are all dry and your beard like a cactus.
If you’d like to get anywhere, you’d better practice.

In girl’s locker room buzz, I’ve heard it expressed
you’re least likely to see any female undressed.
You’ve been tagged a poor lover—unexpressive and rigid.
If you were a woman, they’d label you frigid.

The shower wall validates you’re a cold fish,
but perhaps I could help you with this if you wish.
A night on the town with a few margaritas,
watching the tango moves of senoritas.

Then a few shooters and you will be ready
to learn how to render your “kissee” unsteady.
Untense your lip muscles. Relax each shoulder.
As you relax more, your kiss will grow bolder.

Look into her eyes when you are not kissing.
Give her time to regret what she has been missing.
If your kiss seems successful, go up one more rung
and carefully dare to try out some tongue.

No slurping and sucking. She isn’t a sucker.
Try to instill some class in your pucker.
Be soft and be hard, alternating the two,
and  you won’t need me to tell you how to woo!

Prompts for today are normal, express, tagged, validate and structure.

Leavings: NaPoWriMo 4/19 2020

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Leavings

Do I walk the long kilometers of beach
to look for the next shell
or stand stable, like that woman
casting and recasting her hook,
patiently waiting to pull her world in to her?

I’m gathering things
that I’ll collect into stories–
pinning them down to use like words.
Nothing wrong in finding meaning
through a piece of driftwood, a stone or shell.
Objects are only things
we cast our minds against
like images against a screen—
a shadow glimpsed crossing a window shade.

My shadow cast in front of me
is such a different thing
from one I cast behind.
In the first, I am constantly hurrying
to catch up to what I’ll never catch up to.
In the other, I am leaving behind
what I can only keep by walking away from it.

I take this place along with me in clear images–
not as they were, but as my mind has cast them;
so every picture taken of the same moment is different,
each of us seeing it through our unique lens.
We cast these things in bronze or silver-gelatin,
stone, clay or poetry.
A grandma holds out pictures of her children
and her grandchildren. See? Her life’s work.
And then this and this, without further effort on her part.

I share stories of children I don’t know
who gently unwind fishing line from a struggling gull,
of a minefield of jellyfish found on the beach
or other treasures nestled in a pile of kelp.
I find my world in both these findings and departings—
the leaving each morning to go in search of them
the part I find most exhilarating,
perhaps teaching this woman
of the death-themed night-terrors
not to worry,
that leaving is just a new adventure.

People forget and let me slip away
when I would have held on, given any encouragement,
yet fingers, letting go,
flex for that next discovered treasure.

Life is all of us letting go constantly—
taking that next step away from and to.
A white shell. I have left it there
turned over to the brown side,
so someone else can discover it, too.

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to take a walk and collect objects to turn into a poem.

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.