Category Archives: Poems

Coronavirus Reflections

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Coronavirus Reflections

Thus cloistered, I grow pensive. What shall I think of next?
Would thinking of the past or future render me less vexed?
My wild garden beckons. The dogs cavort and bicker.
Hummingbird wings vibrate. The swallowtails all flicker
here and there between the flowers each side of the path.
The small dog rolls and scratches. Perhaps he needs a bath.

As I inflict myself upon this wild abandoned scene,

will I disturb them here with my laptop and magazine?
If I lie very still they will barely know I’m here.
The dogs will settle all too soon and shift to lower gear.
Yesterday soon vanishes. Tomorrow goes unplanned.
Only the present holds me. Past and future go unmanned.

Word prompts today are cloistered, pensive, flicker, inflict and wild.

Crystal and Amber

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Crystal and Amber
(For Anmol)

Angel, wherever you fly, may you have a charmed life.
May the scroll of your life coil without kink,
your totems protect you from the cruel wrinkles of life
and those unenlightened creatures who inhabit them.

May you be you without subterfuge.
May you expose your polka dots, no matter how flamboyant.
May the keys you possess open the doors where you want to go
and the scent of your spirit waft out on a welcome breeze.

What is key in you—let it write your story,
and let the stone you were born to guide your way.
Patience. Wisdom. Balance.
Bring to the world what it needs more of.

The part of the world that knows it needs you
prays to whatever God it can believe in
that you be met with
an open hand.

I wrote this poem using the symbolism of this necklace that I made a few years ago. It was written in response to Anmol’s prompt which invites us to write a poem about pride, gender fluidity, sexuality, protest, et al. or to write about the continuing fight for equality and the realization of the aspirations of the marginalised communities.For dVerse Poets

Hisssstory

Hisssstory

He oozed into the room with a sibilant sigh,
scraping up cobwebs as he slithered by.
The risks of survival for this little guy
I must admit would not be very high.
He’d end up on a spit or perhaps in a pie
if it weren’t for one factor, and I’ll tell you why.
This is where all of his courage must lie:
for if he embedded his fangs in your thigh,
you would have to act quickly or else you might die.
That’s why he is joyous though just an inch high,
and why he soars by with a gleam in his eye.

 

In case you are interested in what sort of snake this is, HERE is an earlier post I made about it. Thanks to Forgottenman for reminding me about it.

Prompt words for the day are sibilant, risk,joy, courage and survival.

Fog

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Fog

What draws me to the cabin that beckons through the wood?
I’d take the rail-straight pathway if I only could,
but I have no legs to walk that sidewalk in.
Nor can I see the night around it, black as deepest sin.
I only feel that darkness, for I have no eyes.
I cannot see the pine woods or things in any guise.
I cannot smell the fog that lifts from forest floor.
I cannot see the shaft of light that leads me to its door.
I cannot feel the cushion of bracken or of pine,
for all of these sensations are no longer mine.
The scene they build in memory may not be as it seems,
for what I am remembering may be the stuff of dreams.

 

For What Do You See #31 prompt

Life in the Time of Corona

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If you wonder why this poem is so long and strange, read the prompt at the very bottom and you’ll understand. Not my fault!!

Life in the Time of Corona

It is nothing
but an April morning.
The leg cramp awakened me before the roosters.
A hot shower dissolved the cramp and blasted me awake,
sputtering at first
with air from the unused pipes,
like a voice unused too long.

Isolation “friending” me, along with the dogs,
who were delighted with my longer attention.

Tap tap on the keys into a black morning.
The lonely staccato of dogs in the distance.
Descant of bird voices
and the percussion of the fighting cocks across the road,
the left stage bray of a donkey. 
This far up the hill,
their voices rise like heat,
precursors to the church bells that seem to be in a different time zone this morning.

6:59 and still they haven’t tried to recruit me.
They’ve been trying for 19 years.
The old woman at the christening, shocked when I say I’m not Catholic, moving away an inch or two,
side-eyeing me when I miss a beat at rising and sitting, 
sit in the pew as she kneels on the kneeling bar.

Arms sore from this flat-back typing,
I consider rising.
In bed since the cramp-induced hot shower,
hair damp,
hands like sandpaper from this
Coronavirus obsessive washing,
disinfecting.
My life washed free
of appointments
and friends,
except for trips down the hill to pick up masks,
leave off notes for the illustrations of the book that might get finished thanks to this enforced “Go to your room!” by Mother Nature.

She levels her guns at us, hoping we will listen and fall into line.
Only man creating his own rules.
The world dependent
on the right people making the rules.
There have not been enough right people,
the cuckoo taking over for the owls
and the rowdy mockingbirds taking up his call.  
He sticks his head from his house too often,
repeating the first thing in his head,
stammering like a Swiss clock that needs maintenance.

Bird language fills the very early dark morning air.
So I want to move to the hammock—
bare butt as I am.
Braving mosquitos
and the early morning awakening of my neighbors.
I imagine

welt marks from the knitted fabric of the hammock,
scratch marks from Morrie leaping into the hammock after me.
No. The time for nude swinging is twenty years past
and not probable even then.
So a long robe fills my imagination,
but I do not go.

My fingers beat tattoos on the keyboard,
searching for names for the bird dialogues I am hearing.
The trilling runs of a piccolo, bassoon of the downhill donkeys, discord of a dog’s three short barks and howl, running down the scale. My house is still asleep.
Water not yet gushing from the pipes into the pool,
hot and steaming in the cool morning air.

“Go back to sleep,” that part of my lazy brain directs.
“Do the assignment,” my dutiful persona contradicts.
It is rare that the dogs do not detect my thoughts and call for kibble
within seconds of my awakening and thinking of them.
They do not stir.
Traffic noise of trucks on the carretera a mile below.

I hang on this mountain,
depending on gravity
and my house’s firm foundations.
The hard rock that resists that sliding
down the mountainside where eight years ago
it came tumbling down on either side of my house,
leaving me safe.
Since then the penance has been
cracks in the wall by the stairs
leading down from my upstairs casita.

Twenty minutes already?
My story still untold, unlocated, even.
The dark being permeated by light.
Scarlet ribbons start to flow.
The sky as I open the drapes
flooding in to me
on early morning colors.
The pale puce of the morning sky to the north.
The whistle of the whistle bird. Chirp of the chirper,
Mexico crow of the rooster..
ER ere r er without the cockle and the doo.

Where is my family?
My animal alarm clocks?
The cats stay silent in their bed in the garage,
not demanding entrance.
The dogs, mere feet away, curled in the room I built for them.
How do I feel about this forced isolation?
A relief as sorts.
Permission to do what I’ve been adding to the list for the past year:

The mural painted around the front door?
After 11 years, Jesus called asking to do the job,
all of his other commissions cancelled
as gringos flooded back to the states
like rats deserting a sinking ship,
Yet, ironically, it
seems to be America that is sinking.

Mexico bobs along on the internet and phone calls of friends asking what I need. 
Yolanda, breaking into the house to clean after a month,
bans me to the studio while she does so.
Appears the next day to clean the studio,
telling me to stay in the house,
even though I have paid her for two months
and told her to stay home.
Said I would pay as long as
anyone but the president of the USA directs.
Using his words as a rapids to avoid
during this whole rush of directives,
demands,
questions,
contradictions.
The world is being deflected off its course
by a fool supported by bigger fools,
because they have to be smarter than him and yet let their pockets replace their brains and hearts.

The big dog awakens and strolls nonchalantly past my open drapes.
A higher-pitched donkey bray.
Birds quieting into a caesura.
Where are my woodpeckers,
my early morning alarm clocks?
Every day, they awaken me,
except for
when a stiffening and locking
somewhere in some limb awakens me first.
Both alarm clocks
from different sorts of limbs.

Fix the dishwasher
Make the peanut butter cookies you bought ingredients for a week ago
Finish typing up and formatting the storybook and get the illustration corrections to Isidro
Finish the Africa book
Finish the NaPoWriMo poem
Finish the prompt poem
Publish the flower prompt photo
Abandon my bed in search of hand lotion
Feed the animals
Thyroid pill
Half hour timer
Other pills and smoothie.

The time ran out five minutes ago, 
yet still I go on trying to meet all the directives.
That night on main street
in a small neighboring town in South Dakota.
Two cars pulled up driver’s window to driver’s window.
The chat.
The moving to one car.
The first kiss, ever, in this world.
The whole world changing. 
That one rebellious action
leading to a moving out into the world that never stopped.
Leading eventually to Mexico
and this morning following directions
into this avalanche of words.
Stones of unsorted sizes.
One layer covering the layer before it.
Instructions lost at the bottom of the pile.
I stop.
Ponder. 
Stop.

Yellow. Orange. Fuchsia.
My day reasserts itself.
I go back in search of it.
The weather outside is the ordinary  perfect April weather.
The weather inside is a hurricane of sneezes.
The plumeria is blooming.
My desk chair, my hammock and my pool
call out to me in that order.
Type.
Exercise.
Swing.

Anything
leaks
around
red
mornings

checking out
lazy
or
customary
kinesis.

STOP!!!!!

 

Below is the NaPoWriMo Day 25 prompt today that led to this poem, so don’t blame me. Phew:

A writing prompt toward the present tense, a meditation in everyday language, that makes room for small noticing and our most spacious perceptions.

For writing: please see the following suggestions and have them ready for a free write, selecting and using those that further your present tense engagement. Write for at least twenty minutes. You can return to this prompt and write through it numerous more times, to infinity.

  • Bring your perspective and verbs back to the present tense, even when addressing memory
  • Seek the “unforced flow of words”
  • Introduce all of the things that you might ordinarily deem incidental or too small for consideration
  • Include quoted speech (overheard, announced, in dialogue, as song lyrics)
  • Build your lines with associative accumulation (parataxis), move with your attentions
  • Introduce a swerve or observation that serves as interjection, non-sequitur
  • Include at least four colours
  • Animate the landscape or nearby object, imbue it with expressiveness of action or address
  • Include perceptions of the weather without, perceptions of weather within
  • Use a noun as verb that is typically not used that way (anthimeria): “white freaked with red”
  • Introduce the occasional 3- and 4-word sentence.
  • “Let’s make a list”: include a list of things you love
  • Did you remember to ask questions?
  • Include a hemistich line: a line made-up of two halves, of equivalent beats, hinged on a silent beat (caesura): “The world is all cut-outs then—and slip or step steadily down”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, begin again by penning a sentence that begins with the word “And…”

Keep writing: if you get stuck, repeat a word or phrase you wrote earlier and build

Keep writing: if you get stuck, perform an instant acrostic—look up and find a short word and use the letters from seeds to generate language (ex.: I performed an instant acrostic on the word “sky” to arrive at the phrase “said ‘Kill yesterday’”; see fragment of the poem drawn from “Mulberry Mess” in Red Juice below.

 

When the World Turns Upside Down

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When the World Turns Upside Down

When the world turns upside down, I’ll have to stand on air.
My heels will be over my knees, my knees over my hair.
Will the water stay in place or just come tumbling down
to fill up where the sky is now—where formerly was town?
Will gravity act just the same or will it pull us up?
How will it work when Grandpa tries to fill his coffee cup?
Will balls bounce up or down and will skiers ski uphill?
How will grandma’s old gray cat stay on the windowsill?
May I suggest the world stay just as it is instead?
It’s just too complicated standing on your head!

For: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/03/10/photo-challenge-306/

Extended Family

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Extended Family

My furry raider sloshed through rain
out to the barn and back again,
but next trip was a passenger
his human cuddled close to her
so both could view the transient
new mother so intently bent
over her bounty, newly born
this blustery, rainy, wind-swept morn.

One more thing born that rainy day
around three homeless ones that lay
snuggled down within the hay
protected from the weather’s fray—
a sense of family between
an old male cat, once feral, mean—
who had been taken in himself
and these three waifs, curled on a shelf
within that barn where I’d found him.
Now both of us discovered them
and that day welcomed them, all three
to our extended family.

Prompt words today are raiderslosh, transient, bounty, and passenger.

Damning Science

Damning Science

Wisdom newly learned or tribal,
from Koran or Scroll or Bible
demarcates a line between
what shouldn’t or what should be seen
or said or listened to or done.
No matter how seemingly fun,
some things cannot be integrated.
No masterpiece is tolerated
if banned by the censor’s tool.
Thus do bigots thrive and rule
spouting truths long since belied—
asserting them as bonafide.


These half-truths to reason’s sorrow
may dictate how we live tomorrow—
our whole world screwed up by some fools
who bend the laws to their own rules,
spouting words skewed to their favor,
creating slogans dullards savor.
There is one rule for what the zealots shout.
After you have heard them out,
use your good sense to judge the acts
of those determining the facts.
Use your powers of reason to test
those who rule at our behest.

Prompt words today are masterpiece, tribal, integrated and demarcate

Christmas Spirit

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Christmas Spirit

Covering the Christmas tree, decking every door,
Excessive seasonality suffuses my decor.

Embellishments without cannot reflect what’s in.
Too often Xmas cheer’s bound up in what has been. 
If a helping hand could decorate my heart,
then the celebration perhaps could have a start. 

 

For the dVerse Poets Quadrille prompt: Spirit.

Split

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Split

They gather round the pool for a glass of wine—
their voices soft as butter with a continental whine.
Their conversation heady. She’s finally arrived,
running from that castoff life that she barely survived.

She changes personalities according to her whim.
She became a baroness the moment she met him.
Tonight in the wine bar, perhaps she’ll be a waif.
In such low localities, a title isn’t safe.

The fantasies of childhood have certainly paid off.
One day she is a Renoir, the next she’s a Van Gogh.
One face follows another with a costume change.
Her various identities show an extensive range.

Being so many people is her brand of fun.
You’d call her a chameleon if you knew more than one.
But she is very careful. One identity per friend.
She saves her next identity for those met round the bend.

 

Prompt words today are butterheadyglasspool.*This poem was not written about the girl in the photo. I love this photo I took of my niece and although I felt the image worked to illustrate the poem, it is not illustrative of her personality.