Category Archives: Poems about problems

Bird Chorus

Bird Chorus

Birds perch on countless branches, each a separate bell
ringing out the cadence of stories they must tell.
Around them, eerie silence, for no other sounds compete.
No calls of children playing. No pattering of feet

up and down the pavement. No playing girls and boys,
for all the busy humans, infamous for their noise,
are staying in their houses and no amount of blustering
from their scattered leaders is bound to stop their clustering.

Families draw in closer as friends all fade away
into their particular intentions for the day.
Offices turn cyber. Schools are merely screens.
Mothers sit at kitchen tables, perusing magazines.

Fathers pace on carpets and worry about money.
How are they to make it now that the world’s gone funny?
Now and then, the silence split open by a bell
tolling for the human race who haven’t done too well

at going with the scheme of things. They prefer to take over,
making malls and parking lots out of fields of clover.
Trashing up the landscape. Peppering the tide
with their plastic mountains grown too big to hide.

Is it any wonder how nature responds?
We’ve held her prisoner long enough. She’s sloughing off her bonds.
She’s given us broad hints, but still we do not mind her.
So she’s erasing her mistakes and putting us behind her.

 

Prompt words today are countless branches, amount, eerie, infamous and bell.

High and Dry

High and Dry

Who wouldn’t feel dejected being jilted by their lover?
It’s normal to be feeling that you might never recover.
Yet when it comes to  loving, let me give you this advice.
Too often love’s determined by the rolling of the dice.
It may come up all sevens or it may come up a bust,
but no matter what your luck is, it simply is a must
that every time you meet the jerk who hung you up to dry,
you have to act as though he is just another guy.
Exercise some sangfroid. Act happy and aloof.
I can guarantee it will send him through the roof.

 

Prompt words today are sangfroid, jilted, advice, aloof and recover.

Of course no one would ever jilt any of these irresistible women. This was a photo for a joint art show I did with three friends years ago. The show was titled, “Now Hanging,” thus the photo of the four of us hung up to dry…

Feast and Famine

 

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                     Feast and Famine

 

More is less,
I have heard.
I take another bite of chocolate,
starting more of me.
I keep getting fatter,
tasting delicious
love in my cheeks,
on my tongue.

It nibbles at my teeth.
My dental bills send my dentist to Singapore.
I floss more between my teeth.
I don’t listen
when other people discuss their diets.

It is painful
filling cavities with food.
It gets hard to sit in theaters,
my stomach pressing against my chest.
People ask if I am pregnant.
I say yes.
I am giving birth to more of me.

Meanwhile, I’m a good listener.
People eat my ears up,
take big chunks of them.
I can grow more.
Right now,
this third croissant
is going to my ear.
The next will grow me
more tongue, bigger lips.
When you notice and inquire,
I’m going to tell you stories
that will wind around your skinny waist
like snakes or punk belts,
coil over coil.

This mouth has blistered
in the sun of Africa
in countries now starving.
Well, they were even starving then.
And children sat very close
and learned the words I pointed to.
In the market,
women taught the words
that my mouth needed
to buy their goods.
This is what I bought
in Bati market
on those three hills
where the desert caravans
would wind,
where the high black breasts jutted,
where the scarred faces sought beauty.

In the red dryness,
I bought a silver beaded marriage necklace for myself.
An old woman offered it.
I thought she had done with it, it was such a bargain.
Years later, looking through my photographs,
I saw my necklace on the neck of a young girl––
her bride price purchased for ten dollars.
I never wear it.
It is so beautiful
and I
am growing larger
to feel more ashamed.


I bought also:

lemons, string and wooden beads,
embroidered strips to make a belt of,
Lalibela crosses out of brass,
Shawls as thin as gauze,
a bride dress to be packed away,
camel dung chips for my fire.

On the dead television
in the other room,
some nights they show worlds
that are not strange to me.

Things haven’t changed that much,
 though fewer die now than back then.
I’m not insensitive. I send money
I send money
I send money
but it’s never enough.
What I want to send back
is the necklace.

Too late. That young girl is dead,
buried in a woman forty years older.
I eat for her grandchildren.
I imagine their bellies
swelling with the food I eat for them.
I can hardly ever eat enough.

 

daily life color065

Picture taken at Bati Market, Ethiopia, 1973

 

For the dVerse Poets challengeto write about some hidden part of ourselves–something we would ordinarily not talk about.

Equal to the Challenge?

Equal to the Challenge?

Whereas  the stage of life for folks my age is likely terminal,
the young are at a stage that is best described as germinal.

They boomerang through life, it seems, from one thing to another—
from party girl to partner, to wife and then to mother.

Their progress through this life is one that we have laid the ground for.
Where we have already been is likely where they’re bound for.

Those obstacles that soured us are ones we hope they’ll solve.
I guess that is the means by which humans must evolve.

War, disease and famine, global warming through pollution—
 we set up each problem. Will they create the solution?

Prompt words today are boomerang, terminal, young, sour and progress.

Puzzled

Puzzled

Life is an exquisite puzzle whose pieces do not fit
each and every time that we seek to conquer it.
Its pieces are not shaped ahead. We form them as we go.
No solutions irrefutable. We grow them as we grow.
Caprice may may make life difficult—impossible to match
the present situation to pieces in the batch
cut out when life was scheduled, predictable and set
to lead in a direction where we will never get.
Life is wild and errant. It goes not where we lead.
We think that it’s the flower, but sometimes it’s just seed
that’s sewn in rocky soil that does not heed its growth.
Good fortune and adversity? We need to fit them both
into the picture of our lives. Each has its unique power
to turn what looks impossible into a thriving flower.

My guiding words today were caprice, irrefutable, errant, exquisite and puzzle.

A New World’s Morning

Click on any photo to enlarge all and view as slide series.

 

Ubiquitous networks of  highways crisscross the face of Mother Earth–lines that age her fresh face. Pockmarks of potholes question their durability, whereas Earth lives on, in one form or another.

Dams crack and spill their water freshly across lake beds parched for centuries.
Bones of dinosaurs peek out from eroded banks of clay. Plants spread from potholes in gouged pavement. Somewhere in the arctic ice, the past lies thawing, ready to be reborn.

Who knows but that the
nightfall of mankind may be
a new world’s morning?

 

I don’t know what I did this week.  I seem to have collected prompts from a different week for each prompt site.  Perhaps I’ve been at it too long and should retire. The prompt words  I somehow collected were highway, durable, ubiquitous and morning. The form is for dVerse Poets haibun challenge.

Darn! I now find even the comments and Mr. Linky for dVerse are closed, even though they say they are open all week.  I guess this just isn’t my day, or I am as cracked as the pavement above…..Here are the “wrong” links I used:

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/09/01/fowc-with-fandango-highway/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/08/26/daily-addictions-2018-week-34/durable
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/ubiquitous/
https://dversepoets.com/2018/09/03/haibun-monday-good-morning/

 

Broken Hearted

Heart 3

Broken Hearted

My heart’s not fully functioning. Its working parts are rusted.
With all life’s empty promises it has become encrusted.
Friends tell me it’s been out-of-use and just needs to be dusted,
but so far no one’s come along that I feel can be trusted.
The truth is, it has been too long since I have truly lusted,
and so although they say that my heart’s just unadjusted,
I’m pretty sure the truth of it is that it must be busted.

Fiction, folks.  Really. The prompt word today was encrusted.