Category Archives: Poem

Another Sunset

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Another Sunset

This bald
 horizon line,
teeth of far-off cliffs.
 
An orange that  hurts, it is so bright—
the face of the sunset
makes its daily pilgrimage.

Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Today, facing the hard stone 
of an offshore outcropping.

We, the tender-hearted,
wait for you each evening.
We line our hearts up for you. 

Over here, I’m the girl
In red sequins at the front,
waiting for your black velvet brother.

 

WOW #8.  The purpose of this prompt is to white out words in a given passage or poem to create your own piece. I added a few words as well to make the poem mine. Here is the original:

 

February Elegy by Mary Jo Bang
© Mary Jo Bang

This bald year, frozen now in February.
This cold day winging over the ugly
Imperfect horizon line,
So often a teeth line of ten buildings.
A red flag flapping
In the wind. An orange curtain is noon.
It all hurts her eyes. This curtain is so bright.
Here is what is noticeably true: sight.
The face that looks back from the side
Of the butter knife.
A torn-bread awkwardness.
The mind makes its daily pilgrimage
Through riff-raff moments. Then,
Back into the caprice case to dream
In a circle, a pony goes round.
The circle’s association: There’s a center
To almost everything but never
Any certainty. Nothing is
More malleable than a moment. We were
Only yesterday breathing in a sea.
Some summer sun
Asked us over and over we went. The sand was hot.
We were only yesterday tender hearted
Waiting. To be something.
A spring. And then someone says, Sit down,
We have a heart for you to forget. A mind to suffer
With. So, experience. So, the circus tent.
You, over there, you be the girl
In red sequins on the front of a card selling love.
You, over there, you, in black satin.
You be the Maiden’s Mister Death.

Label Machine

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Label Machine

Pure rayon or crepe de chine?
Trust the labelling machine.
It for sure will have it right
and easily can solve your plight
when you have that puzzling quandary
over what to call your laundry.
It’s easy.  You are simply able
to look inside and read the label.

With people, it is not the same.
Labelling may unfairly blame
someone of a certain hue
for something they would never do.
You may as well class cleft of chin
as a mark of sloth or sin
as to choose one’s place of birth
as a determiner of their worth.

It’s clear we’ve failed our populace
when we see how many of us
trust bigotry and generalization
to determine policies of  nation.
“Give us your tired and your poor”
has been swept right out the door.
The symbol of what’s free and fair
now stands forlorn with empty stare.

Behold: the Statue of Liberty—
a symbol of hypocrisy.

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The prompt today was label, one of those maddeningly short and simple words in the English language that I have had to repeatedly look up to make sure I’ve spelled it correctly.  “Lable” just looks right to me!!!!

The Emperor of Chocolate

                                                                             image from internet

The Emperor of Chocolate

I am the emperor of chocolate. I conquer every bar.
I can detect its presence in wrappings or in jar.
When there’s no chocolate to be found, I simply can’t abide it.
I can find it anywhere—wherever you might hide it.
My tendency toward chocolate is a tale I hate to tell;
but I cannot help it, for it’s congenital.
My mother abused substances—namely, Russell Stover.
She could not close the box lid until eating them was over.

She couldn’t resist chocolates, though she was not a glutton
when it came to other foods like hamburgers or mutton.
She received a box of chocolates on every holiday—
on her birthday and for Christmas, and for sure on Mother’s Day.
When it came to appreciation, my mother never failed them,
for when it came to chocolates, she always just inhaled them.
One time my dad decided that he would have some fun.
He bought my mom some chocolates to dole out one-by-one.

He hid them underneath the cushion of a chair
to give her one piece daily, but she knew that they were there.
She ate the whole box in two days. It really was disgraceful.
Every time I saw her, it seemed she had a face full.
Only with my father did she manage to save face,
For she bought chocolate-covered cherries and put one in the place
of every chocolate she stole. My father never knew.
She was not tempted by the cherries—a taste she could eschew.

My father always thought he’d pulled one over on my mother,
although I’ve always known that the true jokester was another.
When the box was only cherries, and he offered them to her,
she’d say, “I’ll save it for later,” or sometimes she’d  demur.
To resist chocolate cherries, she was fully able,
and I was fully loyal to preserving mother’s fable.
That’s how my addiction was learned at Mother’s knee,
because the chocolate-covered cherries? She gave them all to me.

The prompt today is conquer.

Zit Solution

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Zit Solution

It was a tiny pimple in the middle of my chin,
but it seemed most massive to me way back then.
A zit the day before the prom seemed a tragedy
insurmountable to a teenager like me.
I squeezed it and I worried it. With Clearasil I topped it.
Still I couldn’t leave it, and eventually, I popped it,
put toothpaste on and alcohol and dabbed it with foundation;
but still it wouldn’t go away, to my great consternation.

I put a band-aid on it, but that just made it worse.
And when my dad insisted that we had to rehearse
my two-step, since I’d never danced with boys before,
I backed myself right down the hall and headed out the door.
He caught me on the porch and assumed a dancing stance,
telling me he had to be sure that I could dance.
We two-stepped to the railing and two-stepped back again,
executing dancing the way he had back when.

And when he danced me through the door and back down the hall,
He said, “You’re a good dancer! You aren’t bad at all.”
Dad whispered at my door that night, just before I dozed,
“Mom had a pimple on her chin the night that I proposed.
Of all girls on the dance floor, you will be the rage.
When the prom queen’s introduced and standing on the stage,
it will be you that everyone’s looking at for sure.
They won’t be noticing your pimple. It’s your smile that is the cure.”

The prompt word was massive.

Unnatural Ending

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Unnatural Ending

What if we always chose to do
what our instinct told us to?
Perhaps by holding it at bay,
it’s reason that leads us astray.
When we leave our natural self behind,
it seems to get us in a bind,
inventing things I fear will tend
to bring about our eventual end—
like nuclear bombs and autos and
devices getting out of hand.
Our instinct prompts us to have enough
while minds lead us to other stuff
like avarice, gluttony, greed
wherein we want more than we need.
If mankind descended from Adam’s loin,
its end began with the first coin
stamped out in gold or other metal
better used for plow or kettle.
That granting of a value to
what we couldn’t wear or drink or chew
gave birth to what we are today—
ready to blow it all away.

The prompt word today was instinct.

Romancing the Muse

The Not Yet Dead Poets Society new Anthology is now available on Amazon.

Here is a link: https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Muse-Selected-Poems-Chapalas/dp/1540749967/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1488924021&sr=8-2&keywords=kenneth+salzmann

Leftovers

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Leftovers

New words fly at me in a swarm.
They do not mean to do me harm,
but still I feel beaten and battered.
They might feel they haven’t mattered
if I do not use them all,
and yet I feel the beach’s call.
The dog is clamoring to be fed
while I am writing this instead.

The guilt of it cuts like a knife.

I’ve got to go and have a life!
I save the words already used,
and lest the others feel abused,
I leave them on the page as well
to tell the stories they might tell
If I had the time to use them.
I hope you’ll take time to peruse them:

fife  strife excel tell bell yell cell

The prompt today was swarm.