Category Archives: Poems

Sayonara Umami

Since the word prompt today is “bitter,” I’m reposting a poem I wrote three years ago that deals with the subject of the five taste categories: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, (and spicy, which they added even though it isn’t really a taste categoryi: We were to choose which taste we would choose to give u if there were one flavor our tongue would no longer be able to distinguish. Here is my choice:.

Sayonara Umami

Every day my word prompt takes time away from me.
I lie in bed and write and write sometimes till two or three.
But today they’ve found another part of me to waste,
for now they’re going to take away one aspect of my taste.
Salt or bitter, sweet or sour, are tastes I must maintain.
Umami is the obvious choice that causes the least pain.
They say monosodium glutamate is what creates its savor.
Seaweed, cured fish, aged cheese and meats are what contain its flavor.
(These foods I hate and so at last, I’ll never have to worry
about detecting those weird tastes in saté or in curry.)
No more lurking fish paste. No more furry tongue.
No more adult flavors found revolting by the young.
So for once, dear “Word Prompt,” I shall to you relate
my thanks for taking from my life something I really hate!

umami,

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bitter/

Luddite

IMG_3972
jdbphoto2017


Luddite
(Within Reason)

Resurrect the Luddite gene!
Raise the axe! Kill the machine!
Its use is seldom credible
in products that are edible.

A bread machine for making bread?
Ban that idea from your head.
Bread manufactured should be banned.
The nobler loaf is shaped by hand.

Lasagna, too, it is a fact,
is better manually stacked.
Those frozen ones from Costco? Toss ‘em!
For no machine knows how to sauce ‘em!

Torillas handmade pat by pat?
You simply can’t improve on that.
But I admit I’m not that keen
on ones that come from a machine.

South of the border, arts abound
on almost every wall they’re found.
All over town, the artists stand
creating murals there by hand.

Art that’s produced digitally?
It will simply never be
as satisfactory to me
as this handmade artistry.

The stately dome, even and round,
in Mexico is often found.
With bricks, cement and lime and sand—
it’s true that they are made by hand!

I admit that a brick wall
is hardly any view at all.
The only worse thing in a town
is when you find one tumbled down!

But Mexico excels at walls.
Hand-stacked, a stone wall rarely falls.
And they are things of beauty, too,
and add, not detract, from the view.

I find that I can best assuage
my aches with a hands-on massage.
Our massage chair bought for beaucoup bucks?
Truthfully? It really sucks.

And yet, I know that many lean
in preference to the machine.
I must admit, though I am wary,
that certain ones are necessary.

Elevators beat the stairs.
Electric shavers best cut hairs.
(Those signs extolling Burma Shave
belong outside a caveman’s cave.)

And I admit the movie sector
clearly needs its film projector.
Doctors? X-rays. Dentists? Drills.
Pharmacists? Machine-made pills.

And I am sure I’d really balk
If I were forced to always walk,
so cars and trucks would make my list
of machines that should exist.

I could live if forced to brave
this world without my microwave,
but take my Wifi? Don’t you dare!!!
Some things are better sent by air!


I must admit, I had totally forgotten writing this poem, which is about 3 years old.  If you’ve been writing blogs for awhile, I heartily recommend that you go back and read some  from three years ago or older.  You will probably be surprised––like reading something someone else has written.  Or perhaps your memory is better than mine.  At any rate, hope you enjoyed this again if you’ve been following for that long and for the first time if you haven’t.

Three Elevenies: NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 23

 An elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is.

Here are mine:

Minds
collect facts
in your head
for remembering when needed,
perhaps.

Heads
collect hats
that they store
on racks, dreaming of
outings.

Clouds
hoard drops
meant for seedlings
but rain on parades
instead.

Low Pressure Area: NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 17, Nocturne

 

Low Pressure Area

The dogs have crept in
through the unlatched door
and gather, one on each side of my chair,
demanding hands  
meant to be busy with words.
They are insistent—a reminder
that there is life
in the real world as well.

 I scratch ears and bellies and tails.
Whiskers I pulled out of the little dog at the beach,
thinking they were sea urchin spines,
have grown back in again.
They are so foreign in his soft pelt
that I forgive myself for earlier cruelties.

It is an oddity,
having dogs inside the house—
the youngest one still
not quite to be trusted,
yet the comfort of two companions wins out
and they settle as though it is a normal thing.
The wind stirs the areca palms outside my window,
waves them like tattered flags
behind the reflected immovability
of the fragile spiral lamp
reflected in the window glass.

Friends gone.
Just we three.
And it is so dark, so dark.
The fan stirs invisible currents
that seem to comfort us all with their presence—
the hum of the blades
a mantra we share.

Suddenly, this night is different,

as though a new channel
has switched on in my brain—
a new pattern for living,
or perhaps it is just the barometer,
doing whatever barometers do
to lift a mood.

The prompt today is to write a nocturne.

Blind Misfortune

DSC08409Mixed Media collage “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdbphoto


Blind Misfortune

What you blindly get into
in youth can be the end of you.
Those days of passion, counting coup
are never risked when days are few.
The shorter our remaining years,
the greater seem to be our fears.
Thus, old men send the young to war,
forgetting what life’s really for.

They forget love’s throb and ache
and living just for living’s sake––
that need to feel adventure’s thrust––
the drive to do what’s fair and just.
Once passion ebbs, the quest for gold
drives these men turned crass and old.
They give libido other names
as they turn to other games.

Warheads coming now erect,
it seems a waste not to connect
them to their targets, so far away.
It’s only strangers who will pay.
All those enemies of mind,
with no thought of age or kind:
mothers and children meet their ends
and old men never make amends.

They send their own youth off to war
because this is what they’re for.
And young men taught by fantasy
on football field or on TV
are fodder for the greed of those
billionaires in evening clothes.
So the young men blindly go
for reasons that they barely know.

The WordPress prompt word today is blindly.

The Wheel: NaPoWriMo Repetition Poem, WP Daily Prompt

jdbphoto

The (Wh)eel

We sail through life on an even keel,
solving every small ordeal
until one day, it turns surreal
as death slides in like a slippery eel,
our place in nature to firmly seal,
our invulnerability to steal.

It’s true these thoughts were never real,
but still, we feel what we must feel.
In youth, our lives are stainless steel,
Our pains are solved, our wounds all heal.
Then death slips in like a slippery eel—
gives no second chances. Does not deal.

A carnival barker with his spiel,
death lures us with unfettered zeal,
to spin us on the ferris wheel—
all our accomplishments to peel
and all our woe and all our weal
to cast from us, reel after reel.

On a ride that nothing can repeal,
it’s our turn to be nature’s meal.
The surreal now becomes the real,
and we join the universe’s wheel.
The organs keen, the bells all peal
as death slides in like a slippery eel.

 

jdbphoto

The WP Prompt today is “heal,” and the NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem that depends on repetition.

Snap

 

Snap

You flavor my memory with common tastes: Spam and corned beef hash.
You wanted to be the common man, but you were anything but.
The bold aggression and the subtle feminine sweep of what you formed—

beautiful. Your hands never clumsy as they sculpted wood and stone.
Metal bent and melted into beauty at your touch,
and colors lifted the wings you gave them.


I floated, also–– too independent to be formed by you,

but still uplifted that a man like you could love me.
It validated something in me—those hard choices I had made
because I listened to something vivid in myself I had not yet found a name for.
Dreams taught me. And synchronicity.

I had always wanted to be a wanderer­­­­—to try to quench those yearnings
that had haunted my daydreams since I was a child.
I cut the ties that bound and wandered West to find you—stable man
pinned by your wings to obligation all your life.
Instead of pinning me down, you wandered with me.
The gypsy life of making and selling art. The easy camaraderie of that circus life.
The vans and wagons circling every weekend in a different convention center parking lot.
Nights pulled into the woods or by the ocean.
Short nights in transit, parked in neighborhoods where we’d be gone by six.
The song of tires on the road, Dan Bern and Chris Smither. Books on tape.
Pulling quickly off the road to lug a dead tree or a well-formed boulder into the van
or to engineer its route up to the roof,
so we returned home as heavily laden as we had departed—
bowed under by the fresh makings of art.

The texture of our home life was silver dust and wood curls.
Its sounds were the stone saw and the drills and polisher.
The heat of the kiln hours after it had lost its art.
The fine storm spray of the sandblaster,
the whine of drills and whirling dervish of the lathe.
The smell of resin, redwood, stone dust, paint.
The sharp bite of metal. The warm bread smell of cooling fired clay.
Every bit of my life was flavored by what you loved––what I loved, too,
our interests merging so completely that for awhile
we had no separate lives, but one life welded end-to-end.

These remembraces are not organized or filed.
They flutter into my mind like hidden lists blown off tall shelves.
That life now a scrapbook of the past with certain photos plucked out
to be tucked under bedroom mirror rims or carried in wallets.

Snap. You put yourself into my mind.

Snap. Another memory follows,
and I am an old woman replaying her life.
Snap. The creak of the tortilla machine across the street in the early hours.
The loud rush of the surf, the rattling startup of a motorcycle.
The raspberry seed between my teeth,
the scent of the dog’s bath still on my hands,
sand gritting the sheets
and art projects taking over every surface.
Snap. I am me, looking for the next adventure.

 

Below photos snapped a few minutes ago. Proof of the tale.  New projects.
Click on first photo to enlarge and see all photos.

 

 

The prompt today was vivid.