Category Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown poems

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.

 

Future Archaeology

If one day far in the future, someone stumbles upon my old hard drive in a landfill and somehow gets it to work, what would they find? A sort of modern day Dead Sea scroll? Read on:

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Hard Drive

If you long for mystery,
poems, facts and history,
long perambulations
and wild exaggerations,
recipes and letters and
episodes of Homeland,
Elementary, Sherlock, Friends,
a blogging site that never ends,

Emails, YouTube, Facebook notes,
starts of novels, copied quotes,
OkCupid pictures of
possibilities for love,
notes from nice guys, threats from creeps,
notes from guys who play for keeps,
friends who only write when drunk,
chain e-mails, jokes and other junk,

two hundred drafts of my third book,
(each one different, have a look),
kids stories and their illustrations,
the Christmas plans of my relations,
photographs of my whole life—
its happiness and pain and strife—
some successes but also follies,
fireworks, insects, gardens, dollies,

travel snaps and friendly faces,
rooms at home or foreign places,
birds and children, beaches, skies,
the camera lens is true and wise
and not as given to fraud and lies
as writings filtered through the eyes
of one who feels the joys or pains
of what she witnesses, then deigns

to try to change her reader’s mind
to accord with the type or kind
of thoughts she carries deep inside:
pride’s cutting edge, love’s waning tide—
things lovely, funny, jarring, rare.
So read this hard drive if you dare,
but if you fear a life laid bare,
I have one word for you. Beware.

The prompt today was fraud. 

Self Denial

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Self Denial

The mirror that’s in front of me shows very little gut,
and when I look behind me, I can’t even find my butt.
It’s true I am so lithe and slim that I can’t cease my looking,
for self-admiration has replaced the fun of cooking.

Gazing deeply at myself—my mesmerising eyes—
has replaced my fascination with cookies and with pies.
Time spent in the past communing with burgers and fries,
now is spent perusing my waistline and my thighs.

If you want to ask me out to pizza or to pie it,
I cannot follow either plan, in fact I must decry it.
I could not even get a date before this year-long diet,
so if it involves calories, I fear I must deny it.

It’s not that I’m objecting to a bit of her and himming.
It’s just that I prefer activity that is more slimming.
A jog perhaps or calisthenics in the local gym—
something that will keep us both toned and tight and trim?

And afterwards if you should ask me in to have a drink,
the reason that I turn you down is not what you may think.
It’s true that since my bod is fit, I don’t want to abuse it.
The problem is that I’m too tired to ever get to use it!

 

The prompt word was deny. This is a rewrite of a poem written two years ago.  The illustration is from the Internet.

The Sporting Life

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The Sporting Life

I’ve never had much interest in sports played with a ball.
Of games with pucks or shuttlecocks, I have no need at all.
Gym workouts, laps and chin-ups do nothing for me.
I simply have no talent for touching chin to knee.
The body part I work out with is of a different kind.
I like the sort of games requiring exercise of mind.
Dominoes or Mastermind, Bridge or Chess or Scrabble
are aspects of the sporting life discounted by the rabble.
Yet if you want to hold my interest, team sport is absurd.
Just woo me with a domino, a die, a card, a word.
Lay your mind upon the table, dear, I’ll trump it with an ace.
The contact I like in a sport is merely face-to-face.

 

The prompt word today was interest.

The Guardian: A judicial review this week will decide whether it was right for Sport England to have ruled that the card game is not a sport. … “Europe has said [sport has] to be physical, but the International Olympic Committee is prepared to include mind sports. … The IOC, for instance, recognises chess and bridge as sports – the respective federations have applied for them both to be included in the 2020 Olympics;
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/shortcuts/2015/sep/22/a-bridge-too-far-card-game-considered-a-sport

Mind Freeze

Mind Freeze

There is new news all day long, and every single minute,
radio and Internet constantly immerse us in it.
On our televisions, they repeat and repeat
every warlike action, every athletic feat.

We know before their spouses do when politicians slip,
view every starlet’s nightclub spree via a Youtube clip.
Stock market scams and Ponzi schemes and other news that scares
as big guys pick our pockets in order to line theirs.

Sans Blackwater and Monsanto, we would be better off,
but we’d still be deluged by news of Enron and Madoff!
We consult Wikipedia to see what it might say,
keep up with the Kardashians a dozen times a day.

It’s hard enough to keep abreast of those they might be bedding,
let alone to know the date of their most recent wedding.
Who has gained a pound or two or who’s the most hirsute?
This information makes our lives a Trivial Pursuit.

There are so many details that come at us day and night,
filling up our minds until our craniums feel tight.
We’re stuffed with sound bites, news clips and every TV show
until it is inevitable. Something’s got to blow!

No wonder that we can’t remember names of our best friends
or what we came out shopping for or how that movie ends.
We can’t remember song lyrics or what we meant to do.
We came in here for something. Was it scissors, paint or glue?

I am forgetting everything I always used to know.
Every mental process has just gotten kind of slow.
It’s taking me much longer now to ponder each decision—
a factor that the younger folks consider with derision.

Like-aged friends agree with me, for they all feel the same.
They all have minds stuffed just as full, and we know what to blame.
There’s too much information, and like any stuffed-full larder,
to locate things within them gets progressively harder.

If we could sort our minds out the same way that we pack—
putting unimportant stuff way at the very back
and all the more important things in front and at the top,
we wouldn’t have to search our minds and wouldn’t have to stop

to figure out the names of things or places or of folks,
and then we wouldn’t be the brunt of all their aging jokes;
but it seems that we can’t do this so perhaps the answer is
to just turn off the TV news and gossip of show biz.

The scandals and the killings—all the bad things that astound us—
we’d leave behind to concentrate on happenings around us.
We’d notice more the little things in our immediate world:
the spider in the spider web, the bud that’s tightly furled

and notice when it opens, and the dragonfly that’s on it
and take a picture of it, or perhaps construct a sonnet.
See the children who are hungry and instead of our obsessing
on matters where we’re powerless, instead bestow a blessing

on all those things around us where we have the power to act.
When we see whatever needs doing, to take action and react.
Perhaps then all the horrid facts that rise up in the mind
will settle to the bottom and then all of us will find

the keys we’ve lost, our glasses, and remember why we came
into this room and how to recall every person’s name.
And all the time we save we’ll spend on the important things
and feel the sense of purpose helping others always brings.

The world is too much with us with its bad news of all kinds,
and all this information simply freezes up our minds.
Perhaps with much less input, there would be less to astound us
and we could concentrate on what’s important close around us.

 

The prompt word today is athletic. This is a rewrite of a poem written three years ago.