Category Archives: Poems

Human Conditions

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Human Conditions

What some see as a plank, others see as a sliver.
What starts out as a rivulet can swell into a river.
But there is a dead center closer to what’s real—
a place optimists overlook and pessimists overfeel.

Some may have solutions that others find absurd
and as a result, simply let go unheard.
But as we spend time bickering o’er who is right or wrong,
more sinister plans of nature flow rapidly along.

There’s a reason we are labeled as the human “race.”
Most problems exist because we cannot slow our pace.
We speed too quickly forward, not considering the end
of all the natural balances that we choose to bend.

The food we grow is excess and we throw away
forty percent of it, every week and day
while people starve around us. We can’t find a solution
to world hunger, extinct species, global warming or pollution.

Each plastic bag we use is the beginning of a motion
that takes it down that rivulet to river to the ocean
where it will join the others—the flip flops and the dishes
that are killing off our coral and our mollusks and our fishes.

We choke our air and wonder why we cannot breath.
Our youths lack a direction. They question and they seethe.
What choices have we left them as we export all their jobs
and give them all devices that turn them into blobs?

If there were a grand plan for ridding Mother Earth
of every single species that had a use or worth,
I think it would be planned by man and not by evolution.
Increasingly we seem to be mounting a revolution

It’s as though we’re pre-conditioned, as though we have a need
first of all, to bring an end to every other breed,
and then to do ourselves in to restore the motion
of evolution once again. To see what is her notion

of what might work the next time in building a global order
that knows its place in things without straying ‘cross the border.
Perhaps billions of years from now, nature will proudly flout
another scheme for nature that this time will work out!

The prompt words today are dead, center, rivulet and globe. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/rdp-tuesday-dead/
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/10/30/fowc-with-fandango-center/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/agnostic/(actually, rivulet)
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/daily-addictions-2018-week-43/globe

The Pontificator

 

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The Pontificator

His ego is most copious, but alas, also fragile,
for his imagination is something less than agile.
He’s much given to adages that were coined by another:
prolific writers of the past, his preacher or his brother.
He’s not really a plagiarist. He just forgets the fact
that although he might perform it, he didn’t write the act!
His words, all gloss and polish, are lacking in much worth.
They seem to lack a kernel, though provided with much girth.
For all that they sound pretty—refined to a high gloss,
instead of rarest metal, alas, they’re merely dross.

In short, although they’re polished ’til they sparkle, glitter, gleam,
they ramble on without restraint, sadly lacking a theme.

 

The prompt words today are copious, fragile, gloss and theme. Here are the links:

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/rdp-monday-copious
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/09/17/fowc-with-fandango-fragile
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/gloss/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/daily-addictions-2018-week-37/theme

 

Rude Visitor

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This year the rains came early, starting the day after the men came to begin stripping and resurfacing my roofs. The day after they were supposed to remove the skylight, hurricane-force winds and torrential rains made me glad for once, that they had been no-shows. A month later, the repairs are over and we’ve settled into the daily or nightly showers. I am snug in my house and the mountains behind me are covered with a vivid green. Soon water will be shooting in rivers down the arroyos and cobblestone roads that lead down to the lake from my house and every teja will serve as its own channel for individual rios streaming down from my roof into waterfalls that will arc down to the terrace tiles below.

The rainy season
breaks its usual habit.
A rude early guest.

For dVerse Poets.

Cerebral


An Apologia for Poesy

My gardener’s broom goes whisking light
first left, then right, then left, then right
with touch so slight I barely hear
the bristles as they take their bite.

The birds were first up and about,
and then both dogs asked to get out.
Then that broom reminded me
of one more creature left to rout.

I stir myself to go and pee,
sifting the words dreams left in me,
birthing a new poem in my head,
Until it’s written, I’m not free.

Back to bed, I find it best
to go, computer on my chest,
typing words with beat and rhyme
still ensconced in my morning nest.

Searching for ideas and words,
I use the rhythm of the birds
and Pasiano’s sweeping broom
the braying burro, the bleating herds.

Noises fill this busy world
even as I’m safely curled
still abed, my senses all
alert and ready, full unfurled.

I hear the grackle far above,
the insistent cooing of a dove,
as in the kitchen, Yolanda dons
her apron and her rubber glove.

I hear the water’s swirl and flush
the busy whipping of her brush
around each glass I might have left,
careless in my bedtime rush.

Her string mop silent, I barely know
if she’s still here. Or did she go?
I find her in the kitchen still,
arranging glasses, row on row.

It’s back to bed again I trot.
Arranging glasses I am not,
but rather words I nudge and shift
here and there until they’re caught.

Glued to the page forever more––
be they rich words, be they poor––
nevertheless, these words are mine:
poems, stories, truth or lore.

We are not slothful, lazy, weak
because it’s words we choose to seek
instead of labors more obvious
like plumber or computer geek.

Words’ labors are most harrowing.
Our choice of them needs narrowing
and not unlike the farmer’s sow,
mind’s riches we are farrowing.

So blame us not if others mop
our houses or they trim and crop
our gardens for us as we write.
From morn till night, we never stop.

As poets, we, too,  have this chore:
each day a poem, and what’s more
we never know till morning’s light
what imagination has in store.

As poets, our lives may seem effete––
not much time spent on our feet––
but those feet are busy, still,
tapping out our poem’s beat.

Cerebral though our work may be,
we are not lazy, you and me,
for though we lie in bed all day,
our writing’s labored––­­that’s plain to see!

 

Fandango‘s prompt today is cerebral. This is a rewrite of a poem written for NaPoWriMo four years ago. It is a  ruba’i, a Persian form comprised of a four-line stanza with a rhyme scheme of AABA. Robert Frost’s famous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening uses this rhyme scheme. Multiple stanzas in the ruba’i form are a rubaiyat, as in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

Mentoring Poetry

Since the prompt today is “mentor,”  I am going to send you back in time three years to a poem I wrote about mentoring that I have no memory of having written, so even if you were around way back then, perhaps you’ll be ready to read it again as well.  Here is the link.

 

The prompt today is mentor.

Cruel Question


Cruel Question

It bothers me, I must confess.
What happens to a wedding dress
after it’s had its opening day?
Is it simply packed away?
If so, you’d think once time has passed
they’d finally reappear at last
in church bazaar or resale store
or other places where things of yore
emerge from attic, basement, closet
or other area of deposit.
(In whatever dark place they’ve all lain,
thinking they’ll be used again.)

There should be rooms filled with selections
of these nuptial confections.
Warehouses stuffed full of them,
varied in neckline, cut and hem.
Why do we not see huge barrages
of wedding gowns sold from garages
along with strollers and kiddie toys
cast off by grown up girls and boys?
Surely every aging bride
has a wedding dress inside
a trunk or closet—way up high.
What happens when their wearers die?

Garments of satin or nylon net—
what could be the etiquette
that guides a family in such matters?
If the gown is not in tatters
and worn away by age and mold,
surely it would be resold.
If so, where are the warehouses
where gowns bereft of brides and spouses
lie stockpiled awaiting chances
for other wedding vows and dances?
Where is the wedding gown museum
where we might journey to go to see ’em?

I’ll now chance being thought abrupt,
unsentimental, cold, corrupt
by saying what I have to say.
Do families throw these gowns away?
Buried under hills of trash
is there a wedding veil or sash?
Satin bodices and trains
diminished by decades of rains?
Do gowns once virginally snowy,
and spectacularly showy
now lie buried like their dreams,
slowly decaying at the seams?

These images, you might guess,
seem calculated to depress.
Who wants these pictures in her head
as her wedding vows are said?
This poem is meant for crones like me,
bent of back and stiff of knee,
who’ve run out of memories to ponder
and so must journey over yonder
to the macabre side of pondering
for their mental wandering.
That said, past brides, will you confess
what happened to your wedding dress?

The prompt today is abrupt.

The Wall: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29

The prompt today is to write a poem inspired by a Sylvia Plath poem.  Below the photo is the poem I wrote. The Plath poem I chose that inspired it is given below my poem.

The Wall

I put my hand against the raw stone of the wall
and I can feel it siphoning molecules.
There is a tingling sensation
as they flow out of me.

I try to send some extrasensory
particles along with them
to communicate to me
where they go
and what they encounter there,
but I know that it is futile.

I cannot follow
where these lost parts of me go––
these thoughts, wishes,
aspirations
that I surrender to the wall.

It is not by choice, you know,
that I sit here facing what 
has  been leached out of my life.

I go on living what life I can,
knowing that in time
all of me will finally
flow into the wall.

 I’ve lost so much ambition to it—
and hope and curiosity.

So much of what has kept me engaged in life
has already  gone into that gray world
where I cannot yet follow.

Now I sit here, facing it,
acknowledging my failure
as well as the wall’s exclusivity.
Only my shadow
cast against it
reminds me that
somewhere behind me
there is a sun.

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For NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29.

 

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                              Apprehensions

                                              — by Sylvia Plath

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself —
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.

A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.

This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags —
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pieties.

On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.