Category Archives: Poem

Unwrapped Packages: For “All Wrapped Up”

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Unwrapped Packages

It is the difference between that present handed to you
by a person who says, “It’s only a tie,”
and a package under the tree
squeezed and prodded at—perhaps a corner loosened
or a hole poked in through supposed accidental handling,
pondered like a good detective show.

Who wants these mysteries revealed before their time?
What value in the present whose contents you already know for sure?
The magic of Christmas for some is that faith that the girl,
untouched by human lover, gave birth—and it is that sort of faith
that “saved” the world. If we knew the whole truth of that story
would all it prompted fall into the hole covered all these years by mystery?
The whole world seems to be standing more on what we don’t know
than on what we absolutely know empirically—what we can prove.

And so I look at the picture of my young mother
in her cotton housedress and saddle shoes
holding her baby in front of her in her stroller,
whole contraption, child and carrier,
a foot or two above the ground,
and there is mystery in the reveal.
I do not hear what transpired to cause this pose.
I do not know if my father caught her carrying me
from the porch to sidewalk and said,
“Here, Tootie, turn around,” and snapped the picture,
or whether my older sister planned the pose.
Or whether some movie star was snapped in a similar scene
and my mother and sister, like two conspiring fans,
planned the shot to steal the glamor formerly reserved
for “Photoplay” or “Look” or “Life.”

There would be no reel-to-reel
in any normal person’s life for years.
No movie camera to tell me exactly what my mother was like
or my sister or me before my memory took hold and even then,
my mind’s remembrance
more like reflections in a lake that color and change
depending on the clouds or rain,
distorting the light like moods.
My Aunt Peggy’s house,
always remembered as feeling like
the color chartreuse,
and I will never know why.
That smell of a friend’s house that became associated
with her memory more than any concrete proof of reel-to-reel
or spinning film of movie camera.

I do not know my mother’s voice at thirty.
I did not witness myself since birth
by either sound or sight.
There is a different mystery
to a past caught
in boxes of Kodacolor prints
curling and yellowing in a closet
than one documented like a science experiment
with every event taped and filmed.

Where does the mystery of you reside when you see yourself
so clearly, as others have seen you all along?
What does it leave for you to try to discover?
No tapes.
No film.
No Internet.
No Skype.
No YouTube.
No home movies.
All of our pasts were once wrapped up forever.
Only our fingers poking in the edges.
Only our voices asking,
“What was it like the day when I was born?”
What do you remember about the day when. . . .?

For the All Wrapped Up prompt. This is a rerun of a poem I wrote 5 years ago.

Earth Bound

 

 

Earth Bound

Autumn is myopic—blinded by fallen leaves—
yet under its blindfold, a suppressed serpent heaves.
Winter seeks to placate beneath comforter of snow,
but what the serpent dreams of no mortal mind can know.

Those qualms of lying dormant under the frozen banks
may be released in springtime, when nature earns our thanks
by mopping up the snow flow and pushing out the flowers,
covering the naked limbs with buds and leaves and bowers.

The world so carefully balanced between its two extremes
that each and every moment is much more than it seems.
The coin of life that’s minted by a larger mind
may in microcosm seem to have us in a bind.

That great hand of nature flipping the coin at will.
One side giving birth while the other’s sure to kill.
This irony of opposites that ties us to this ground
is the majesty of nature––both cruel and profound.

Prompt words today are autumn, myopic, placate, qualm and mop.

Payback Rhythms

Payback Rhythms

The rhythm of the world as it tears us all asunder
is of hurricane and fire, rain and wind and thunder.
Fissures, ashes, ruins waterlogged and crumbled—
all advances of mankind his foolishness has tumbled.
What we do to it it does right back to us.
This scientific fact is not so nebulous.

 

Prompt words today are nebulous, fissure, sunder and rhythm. With the exception of the UPI photo of the hurricane, all photos taken by me. Click on any photo to enlarge all. Please give photos a few seconds to load and focus.

Waiting in the Dark

 

Waiting in the Dark

Why are you waiting in the dark
listening to the wind’s sharp bark?
Elsewhere is diversion enough––
Internet and other stuff.
Distraction is the modern mode,
emoticons to speak in code.
Don’t place yourself upon a shelf.
Come take a photo of yourself
and post it on your Facebook wall.
Introspection won’t do at all.
Log onto Tinder and make a date.
Only losers sit and wait.

 

For the dVerse Poets theme of “Waiting.” But, since I missed the post cutoff by 54 minutes, I’ll post it here! 

Information Overload

IMG_1309Information Overload

I garner information in the library from books.
Determine facts from faces––from grimaces and looks,
antagonistic letters and notes pinned up on fridges,
in the garden, piles of dirt and lawn pushed up in ridges.

But all the little signals the world puts out today 
are more complicated than they were in Grandma’s day.
Emails, texts and messages sent us through the air
sometimes are just more than one person’s meant to bear.

In light of all this input, I’m afraid I’m going to snap,
so I think I’ll grant me clemency and go down for a nap.
Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook can’t intrude upon my sleeping.
I’m safe away from “to do” tasks and all the world’s sad weeping.

Sleep gives retreat from telephones and all that information
that’s leading me to bouts of excessive consternation.
It’s the one place left to hide, or so, at first, it seems
until I get there and I have to put up with my dreams!

The prompt words for today are library, clemency, antagonistic, garnered and continued.

Storage

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Storage

I’m not your typical hoarder. I don’t save balls of string.
Five foot stacks of newspapers really aren’t my thing.
Boxes of garage sale items do not line my halls.
Jumbles of castoff treasures do not obscure my walls.

My collection is more upbeat and easier to store.
I have thousands of them and room for plenty more.
And lest you think my hoarding is of objects more absurd,
I’ll tell you my obsession is simply for the “word.”

Those who have collected them all throughout the ages
are lexicographers and scribes, poets, writers, sages.
Sometimes they swirl around my head and leave it in a fog,
so when I run out of room, I store them in this blog.

Words like ships floating around, looking for a moorage—
I simply help them out by arranging for their storage.

 

Got a bit mixed up with my prompts today and used two from yesterday, so here is another poem with additional prompts from today: jumble and upbeat.

Mourning Matins

 

Mourning Matins

Lately,
it is nightbirds

who prematurely voice
the matins of my day.

I keep knocking myself

against hard surfaces

and all my wounds

are in the shapes of hearts.

Anyone more emotional than you
might feel my pain.

This caring for you

is not simple anymore.

I arise too early

and it makes the day too long.

Prompt words for today are simplicity, anyone, emotional, matinal and caring. Also, for dVerse Poets and Bird of the Day.