Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown poems

The Silence of the Iambs

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The Silence of the Iambs

Anapests sing lullabies while dactyls gallop on.
Trochees beat a drum beat that’s heard hither and yon,
but raindrops speak in iambs, dripping from the eaves
as the torrent lessens and cups itself in leaves.
All the small feet hushed now, we can fall asleep.
We can find our dreams inside a silence that’s so deep.

 

The title, by the way, is talking about iambs, not lambs.  Hard to tell when it is capitalized.

The loud rhythms of the unseasonal rain that awakened me so early this morning have ceased, leaving only the faint drip of water off the eaves. This poem may be one that only another poet could appreciate, but for those of you who aren’t poets and who didn’t pay attention in your lit class, it is about metrical feet—the syllable rhythms within a poem and even within our everyday speech and nature itself.  A trochee (the rhythm of a native American drumbeat replicated in the poem “Hiawatha”) is an accented or long syllable followed by a short one. An iamb is the rhythm in the English we speak every day––a short syllable followed by a long one. An anapest is the rhythm of a lullaby. (short short long) whereas a dactyl (the rhythm of a horse’s gallop) is its opposite (long short short).

 

The prompt today is silent.

“Gorge”ous


“Gorge”ous

Everyone is cognizant that
runway models gone to fat
will very promptly get the axe
for appetite control grown lax.

Alas, it is a tragic truth
that larger forms are viewed uncouth.
Plus-sized is not viewed as “in,”
within a world that’s based on thin.

Designers never seem to feel
that models who enjoy a meal
do their fashions adequate
justice in the hips and butt.

Their hungry models  stroll and strut
with tiny waist and taut-stretched gut,
looking very lank and lean
and also just a little mean.

No doubt from hunger––their daily fate.
While as we watch, those overweight
have found a way to compensate.
We gain revenge by chocolate!

For the WordPress Daily Prompt: Gorge.

Lush Night (Erasure Poem for dVerse Poets)

 

Lush Night

That delicious
middle
of the gravel road.
Safe sun coming up.
The first time
pleasures
of a night owl—
finding time
everyone else was wasting
on dreams.

An aficionado of night
ever since.
Poems written
in the dark
while cities slept.

Time for yourself
with magic happening.
Ever afterwards,
you have survived
on as little sleep as possible.

Party years,
dancing and drinking until three,
then breakfast with the single crowd
and driving straight to school at six.
Invulnerable.

Even married,
sneaking out of bed
to your basement studio
all night long,
back to bed before he awakened,
feeling that little terror,
like a vampire caught by light.

At 54, with no more husband,
above ground,
no longer hidden,
watching light go out
as you sat piecing art—
until suddenly,
impossibly,
light after light went on again
so you were going to bed
as your neighbor was arising
to start his day.

Romance at 62
entered your midnight afterworld.
Serenaded by a night-addicted lover bard,
Skype your love letters
and your trysting spot.
Night that intimate invisible union
through the magic
which now joins you
in that single space
within you
you keep separate
from the world.

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

This poem was written to a prompt by dVerse Poets. The idea is to take a found poem and to erase parts to create a new poem.  I used my own poem, Lush Night. This is what it looked like before the erasures:

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 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,
impossibly,
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.

 

 

World Like a White Stomach

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Painting and photo by jdb

World like a White Stomach, Red Optional

My world does not move in circles
like your world.
It is so small I stand above it, head in space,
while a two-colored rainbow stretches in my wake—
its straight line an echo
of my unbent trajectory into the cosmos.

Three navels has my world
for the three births it delivers me to:
into this world, into myself and out of it.

Each is an adventure more easily seen
in a surreal world where things
do not behave.
Fish swim out of  water.
Birds more commonly walk.

In the distance is the mystery
of different worlds.
What if we were born next time
to a different universe?

Stop and go.
The green of earth.
The red that’s not our only option
as we look away, searching
for the countless worlds beyond.

 

 

This is an extensive rewrite of a poem I wrote and posted three years ago. The prompt today was surreal.

Risky Business

Risky Business

 How have you found your way into my dreams,
ripping my comfort apart at the seams?
I thought I’d escaped to back rooms of my self
but still I find thoughts of you stacked on a shelf
carefully obscured both in front and above
by other less perilous memories of love.

You walk nonchalantly into the room
that I have just cleared with a cloth and a broom
of other dangers and sadnesses not
knowing that I have been once again caught.
Now I hide out behind walls at the back
where all of my worst fears reside in a stack.

Cowering here as you stride through the place
that your very presence has turned dark and base.
How could I have loved such a frightening soul,
the box of my heart turned into a bowl
with all of my secrets and weakness revealed—
things that I now know I should have kept sealed?

There you sit quietly, perched on a chair,
one hand on the desk top, one hand on your hair
writing cruel words—I know about me.
I ease my way over, hoping to see,
but the paper is empty, your ink has turned clear
making improbable all that I fear.

As now I remember that I let you in,
forgetting all else in the charm of your grin.
The joy of your hand as it guided me sure
across the dance floor—all that allure
that kept me involved in the surface of you
overlooking the risks as most of us do.

If I’d had an x-ray taken of you
when our romance was shiny and new
I might have seen sooner your dangerous zone
and taken a detour and left you alone.
And perhaps now my dreams would be placid and calm
so I’d sleep without worry, sleep without qualm.

I might not have moved off to the edge of the world,
might still have been sleeping, never unfurled.
Perhaps it’s these dangers that make us let go
of all of the comforts of worlds that we know
and send us out elsewhere to discover a self
we’d have never found sitting safe on a shelf.

 

This again is a rewrite of a poem written three years ago. The prompt word today was risky.

2:39 A.M.: Insomnia

Insomnia

I’m lying awake when I should be snoring,
but falling asleep is simply too boring.
Lying here quiet with nothing to do
with nothing to listen to, nothing to view
just makes me restless, unable to snooze.
I need some amusement, a snifter of booze—
something to make me forget to recall
that falling asleep’s not the end of it all.
I cannot help but resent this time wasted
when things could be written or looked at or tasted
instead of just lying inert in my bed
with my eyes shut but images filling my head
that tend to confuse and to fill and encumber
this time that good sense says should be spent in slumber.

In the Soup

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In the Soup

Definition: in trouble, as in “I’m in the soup with the boss.”

Without fear, we’d be in traction with braces head to toe––
Each day a speed infraction from refusing to go slow.
We’d fall off tipping ladders and land upon our heads
or go to sleep with adders sleeping in our beds.

We wouldn’t have good sense about where we ought to go.
Our decisions would be faulty––our thought processes slow.
We’d wind up in the jungle sleeping on the ground
hoping for each bungle a solution might be found.

An expert on this topic, I’ve been in many a stew.
But luckily, I chose to act, so “done to” turned to “do”
as in the past I came too near to kidnapping and rape,
and luckily by conquering fear, I found means of escape.

After graduating college, I became a bum;
but now I can acknowledge that I was often dumb,
with fearlessness  often what got me into trouble—
need for adventure softening the rub of danger’s stubble.

Traveling to foreign regions, I was so naive
that my mistakes were legion, so now I do believe
it’s crazy to be fearless. Now even I succumb.
In caution I am peerless––finding fearlessness is dumb!

 

This is a rewrite of an earlier poem. The prompt today was succumb.