Category Archives: Poem

Brave New World

Brave New World

We must be brave to face a world
where so much pain has been unfurled,
such scathing words, such vitriol
that we’ve already built the wall
that separates brother from brother,
that keeps us all from one another.

Too many guns and too much hate
until we fear that it’s too late
to ever form a world united.
Too many creeds have been recited
based on fear and hate and greed
instead of what we really need.

True bravery is based on giving—
assisting others in their living.
Where is the leader with a belief
that there’s a way to bring relief?
One able to bring unity
to build a world community.

The prompt today was brave.

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.

Burnt Offering

Version 2

In some cultures, loyalty extends far beyond the fair or rational, but no one controls what happens after tradition is satisfied:

Burnt Offering
(The Virtuous Wife)

This suttee

is easier to bear with eyes closed.

She falls upon his burning pyre,

puts out his flame,

grateful for short rituals.

The pyre,

the bone,

ashes on the sheets.

He cannot touch her.

She is air.

She floats his breath.

She tracks his carbon

down the hall.

She walks

out to the Avenue,

wearing  sheerest black

with nothing but a cauldron underneath.

Her fire.

She picks a stranger

dusted by the road,

leans him against

shadows

in  the tall grass,

spills her steam,

lifts into

penumbra

above shaded hill.

The prompt today was loyal.

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. 

Ocean Koan II

 

Ocean Koan

The dolphins ride in on the music,
but why did they come here?
Did they seek to lend their harmonies
to a new music most queer?
Did they soar in on its melody,
come  in on a riff,
drawn by its dissonant whistle—
a mere beckoning whiff?

Whatever the dolphins are hearing,
whatever they’re trying to reach,
we do not know their language
as they strand themselves on our beach.
Perhaps we divert them with towers
that speak in a tongue their own,
and though it’s not our intention,
our messages form a koan

that they are driven to answer
as we’re drawn to outer space,
pulled to find our others
in an alien clime and place.
We believe we are harmless and loving,
at peace with their watered dreams;
when in truth we are drying their world up—
ripping it at the seams.

We send out the signals to pull them
to where they should not be,
like fairytales told to children
that draw them to our knee—
backs to the seaward window,
ears sealed to their keening tones
as the dolphins swimming landward
pave our beaches with their bones.

The prompt today was believe. As I am trying to get a book together, I’ve found an excellent way to meld these efforts with my blog.  As the prompts come in, I look for an older poem written to the same prompt and spend the time editing it rather than writing a new poem. This one has changed a good deal.  If you want to see the original, go here. Let me know if you like the original better.