Category Archives: Poem

Full Volume

(Click on first photo to enlarge all.)

 

Full Volume

I hear my neighbor’s fighting cocks crow into the night,
expressing their readiness for tomorrow’s fight.
There are always noises cutting through the dark.
I hear the donkey’s braying and the dog’s loud bark.

Some neighborhood weekend party goes on ’til four or five,
expressing at great volume that they’re glad to be alive.
The singing and the music and the fireworks exploding
that sometimes make me feel as though my head may be imploding.

The church bells in the village every quarter hour declaring,
trucks advancing street by street, loudspeakers rudely blaring.
One truck selling vegetables, another selling gas,
shouting out their wares to everyone they pass.

Others selling water or cooking oil or soap,
scrub brushes or sponges, plastic buckets or rope—
Motorcycles without mufflers roaring down the street
revving up their motors for every friend they meet.

Bandas in the plaza play at a decibel
that I swear could raise the bats straight up out of Hell.
Mexico isn’t subtle. It’s bright and bold and proud.
That’s why for everything in Mexico, the volume’s turned up LOUD!!!!

 

 

The prompt word was volume.

Ragtag Hattie

jdbphoto

 

Ragtag Hattie

Though her clothes are old and ratty,
her cast-off hats tattered and gnatty,
and her aroma eau de catty,
still her style is somewhat natty.
She has a certain savoir faire,
a childlike, careless stylish air.
Silk scarves and clanking jewelry
devoid of runway foolery.

Diaphanous and parachutey,
silk nightgowns might do double duty
as ballgowns were she ever asked
to functions one arrives at masked
in Dior dresses  or black tie.
In lieu of that, she’ll just get by
strolling the streets in finery
gained from her dumpster minery.

Onlookers may think her batty—
clothes so rumpled, hair so matty.
all of her gloriously tatty—
her ballet slippers so pitter-patty
scuffling through the city streets,
greeting everyone she meets.

She is a fixture in our town
with a certain wide renown.
Pointed out to visiting friends,
her unique presence somehow lends
a flavor to the streets she walks.
She does not mind the stares and gawks.

Until one day she is not there—
her birdlike plumage, strange and rare
flown to a runway far above–
a blown-off hat, a single glove
left on the stairway where she fell—
to become this legend that I tell.

 

 

The prompt today is natty.

Dressed to Kill

Dressed to Kill

Ladies have loved a uniform
since writing was in cuniform.
They’ve flirted with each man they’ve met
with shoulders garbed in epaulet.
No telling what the reason may be
why every serviceman they see
with stripes and bars upon his chest
is the man they like the best.

A Scottish guardsman who’s well-built
may show his legs off in a kilt,
whereas an Arab man who’s urban
struts his stuff beneath a turban.
Cops on their beats and Maitre d’s
have all the ladies that they please
when they don the prescribed clothes
in which they are assigned to pose.

Some women even make a grab
for guys they see in olive drab.
Ushers in jackets and in gloves
have been known to find new loves
in their darkened theater aisles
as they exercise their wiles
escorting with a liveried arm
those special ladies they seek to charm.

German gents who seek attention,
it’s hardly necessary to mention,
when they’re wanting to be chosen,
don a pair of lederhosen.
And sailors find they rarely lose out 
when they get their navy blues out.
It’s true a full-regalia’d guy
is sure to catch the feminine eye.

Be it a robe or regimental,
there’s simply something elemental
about a man who’s dressed to kill—
for women cannot get their fill
of a gentleman in monkey suit.
Unsuited men just can’t refute
that they suffer real regrets
that that man in epaulets
gets all the women that he gets!

The prompt today was “uniform.”  (image of Barney Fife from internet.)

I Hear the Distant Music

 

I Hear the Distant Music

The midnight bells toll languidly—their sequence slightly varied
to tell the stories of the hours—or those soon to be buried.
Behind them swells the music of a local band.
On the platform in the plaza, for hours more they’ll stand
pumping out their music to the crowds who gather there.
After their days of heavy labor, these hours are without care.

The oom pah pah of distant music stirs my curtains like the wind—
the notes, first stiffly marching, change their minds to dip and bend.
The banda tunes a bit off-key, loud in their origin,
by the time they lift to me are strained out soft and thin.
Living miles above the town, I’m spared soreness of ears
as from assonant cacophony, the music shifts its gears.

What I hear is joyfulness far into the night.
The music meant to call to action releases its bite
and becomes a happy background as I slip into dreams.
Others have not given up on the day it seems.
Behind my lids I see them–lovers in their clenches,
grandmothers slowly nodding as they watch them from the benches.

It may be that daylight hours are for labor and for strife,
but far into the the morning hours, the village lives its life
in the night-shadowed plaza, far below where I
shift upon my pillow, content to simply lie
listening to the village—all the stories that it tells.
The laughter and the music and the tolling of the bells.

(In Mexico, church bells are a sort of village clock.  They toll the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour, but also announce church services and deaths.)

Today’s word was “distant.”

Lazy Bones

Lazy Bones

The greater portion of the day
had already passed away
by the time she raised her head
and deigned to quit her lonely bed.
She fed the cat and fed the dog,
then hit the button and fed her blog.
The words poured out like kibble, then
she went back to bed again!
It’s true she is a lazy bones,
ignoring doorbells, texts and phones
until it is her choice to rise
to face the possible surprise
that the night might still present—
wondering where the daylight went.
‘”Here sleeps,” her epitaph  will say,
“one who slept her life away.”

In case you are wondering,

(This is not me. I’m up at eight
to answer pounding on my gate.
It is my alter-ego, perhaps—
that side of me that I let lapse—
that draws me into daylight naps
and tempts me to ignore the phone.
That asks for afternoons alone.)

 

The prompt today was portion.

Deep Voice

Retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdb photo

 

Deep Voice

How do the lessons go when the student is the teacher, too?
That deep self writes clues in poetry
using a dream world to reveal the truths of day.

I trace its verity around my mind—
a well-known pattern
that has worn a groove I can’t escape.

Still hoping for a new ending, I pace the same old trail.
They are a fantasy, my hopes,
I must be taught the facts in Braille.

 

 

 

The prompt word today was trace.

On a Candelmas Afternoon

On a Candelmas Afternoon

A woman with a white umbrella
strolls the empty plaza,
meeting the long-skirted bead vendor
who makes her hourly crossing from the beach,
her tray still heavy  after five hours of trudging under the sweating sun.

Palm shadows of a lazy afternoon
brush over, but do not disturb
the sleeping dog who fills the pavement
in front of “Abarrotes Gloria.”

Under its dusty awning on a bench
meant for  customers notably absent,

through one imperceptibly cracked-open eye,
the sleep-nodding senora watches for
anyone to stir the calm of this mid-afternoon.

That eye opening wider
as two young men on loud motorcycles
circle the plaza in Izod shirts
from the used clothing booth of the mercado,
leaving a tree-shaking breeze
that filters through shadows
to stir the fine hairs on her arm.

 

 

okcforgottenman pointed out that this poem reminds him of Nanci Griffith’s song “On Grafton Street.” Since it is one of my favorites, too, I’ve asked him to add a link to it here.