Category Archives: Poetry

Poems in many categories: Loss, NaPoWriMo

Transmogrification

Transmogrification

All our rites of passage wherein we choose a route
different from our life before–a new way that will suit
the person that we will become in the bye and bye—
a way that’s calculated to stump and mystify
those who cannot understand how we might want to switch—
why we have that need to change—to scratch that travel itch.
We scout out new horizons, travel uncharted roads.
Change our occupations, alter our abodes.
Thus does our universe expand and thus, so, do our lives.
In variety perpetual, evolution thrives.

Prompt words for the day are passage, switch, scout and mystify.

Star

photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash. Used with permission.

Star

When asked to elaborate on his fame-plagued life,
he only mentioned family—his folks and kids and wife.
His whole battery of movies went without a mention,
and when they broached the subject, the air grew thick with tension.
“If you only rate yourself by how you earn your keep,”
he said, “you dig a trench that’s wide but isn’t very deep.
My work was just a scribble on the margins of my life.
Those roles I played of other people’s lives, I fear were rife
with violence and sadness, full of passion and its ills,
but they were all fiction just meant to pay the bills.

The story of my life was written out in grocery lists,
outings with my children, that woman that I kissed
at the least two times a day—each morning and each night.
My fame was a reflection of a deeper light.
The true role of my life was one that had nobody writing it,
no director or producer or studio inciting it.
It seems these days that what we seek is just escape and fiction.
We don’t have to live ourselves–a mere contrived depiction
of other people’s lives and thoughts more valid than our own,
preferring fruits of other lives more than the ones we’ve grown.
So though the meaning of my films are constantly debated,
the roles that mattered most to me were ones that I created.”

 

Word prompts today are elaborate, battery, yourself and scribble.

Short Story

Short Story

Have you built a final fortress behind the winding wall
so you need not deal with this crazy world at all?
Is your lofty Shangri-la an adequate escape
from the headlines of the day—the raw world’s rub and scrape?
Have you left behind the saga of this noisy world
to hide out in your quiet cave where you are snugly curled
in your Barclay lounger, an old cat on your lap,
your only excitement rubbing against its nap?

How the needles click and clack as you knit and purl,
remembering small triumphs from when you were a girl.
No need for social intercourse or charity or giving.
Each year you knit out a life that contains less living,
striving for an entity devoid of stress and trouble,
sealed up neat and tidy in your private bubble.
This is really living, you tell yourself each day—
loneliness the only price that you have to pay.

 

Prompt words today were lofty, escape, quiet and saga.

My Weirdest Post Ever. Sorry.

Prodigy

He shook his bag of marbles at me in a jocular fashion.
It seems this childhood game is his secret guilty passion.
He had faith that eventually I would slake his thirst,
in spite of my conviction that marbles is the worst
game ever invented, for you see rampant sciatica
coupled with my daily dependence on Sal Hepatica
made my kneeling difficult, uncomfortable, and
rendered it most difficult, afterwards, to stand.

But his most stubborn diligence in begging for a bout
at last contradicted my reluctance and my doubt.
I picked me out a shooter and commenced to knuckle down—
the fact we played for keepsies occasioning my frown.
But it seems I am a prodigy—most artful with my thumb.
It wasn’t very long until he realized how dumb
it was to introduce me to this game that hurt my ribs
bending low to shoot at his dragonflies and mibs.

First I won his cats eye and then I won his aggie.
And when I won his shooter, I fear I became braggie.
In the end, I won at that game that he called ringer
by making a maneuver that proved to be a zinger.
And my friend the marble shark paid for all his sins
as I emptied out his marble sacks and emptied out his bins.
I left with all his marbles rattling in my tin,
grateful that he’d never ask to play the game again!

Prompt words today are marble, shake, jocular and eventual.

Mentor

Mentor

As an old man, he grew his hair long
and wore it unsecured, flowing white over his shoulders,
hiking it back as he walked with one sure toss of the head.
Few except himself would have judged him anything but superior.
His art, original and finely-crafted, showed him as the rogue he was,
yet he poured over art books piled around his chair—
large books rich in imagery and heavy to lift—
a laborious chore to plow through
page by page for anyone except him,
looking for himself in the pages, perhaps,
or looking for part of what he would become.

She thought he thought too much,
looking for answers in books
instead of in himself.
Religion, philosophy, art—
he searched for solutions
in Swedenborg and Picasso.
Compared his poetry to Sarton, Frost and Whitman
while others compared their art, their words to him.

Every piece he completed, he saw himself in as he created it,
but once done, it was as though he’d lost a part of himself in it
and so he started the search again in metal and wood and stone
larger and heavier each time, risking everything
to build himself ever higher.
Seven feet, then twelve, then eighteen feet—
stretching himself to the heaven
that he sought, also, through books.
Searching for what to be.

Wood, stone, metal, clay, glass, paper, words.
None quite solved the puzzle of himself.
Books on the shelf he read again and again
never had all of the answers.
He went as deep into himself as he could go.
Digging for the words he mined
from the parts of himself he most feared,
he often came up empty-handed,
as though he could not bear to see
all of the truth already revealed
in the pure instinctual lines of his sculpture
and those few fine poems he got out of the way of.

A virile man, he worked his angst out
in the shape of children—ten of them
with three different women—going through women
as he went through plasticine or wood or stone,
leaving crumbled remnants to reconstruct themselves
afterwards, as he built poetry out of their mutual pain.
He moved through the world
as most beautiful things do—unaware of his swath.

I rose from his rubble, missing him but remembering
all he taught. The scrape and cut and vibration of a fine machine,
the shaping with hands, the dip of the mold and deckle,
the power of a 20-ton press, the fine hiss of a torch.
Showing me how to get the beauty out of myself,
he formed that confidence within me that he lacked in himself.
Looking in books for what he already had,
looking in the faces of women for love
he never quite believed in,
he never fully realized that it did exist,

even during his worst rages,
right here in the heart
of one who so long afterwards
tries
to sculpt his essence
through these words.

 

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Here is also a write-up and photo shoot that a gallery owner did of our home and studio during the Santa Cruz Open Studio Tours a few years before we closed down our house and studio to I move to Mexico: http://www.wmgallery.com/cruz/brown.html

And here is another blog I did on him and his art: https://judydykstrabrown.com/tag/bobs-sculpture/

Prompt words today were hike, write, original and superior.

Summer Courtship

Our back yard. Lots of places to hide in yards like this up and down the block, as well as in the deep ditches of the school yard across the street.

Summer Courtship

Those summer nights of hide and seek where we were willing quarry,
our efforts to make curfew were too often dilatory.
Our neighborhood adventures stretched out under the stars—
those shadowed venturings abroad, hiding behind cars,
in barrow pits or hedges, darting through the dark,
avoiding passing car lights and the dog’s insistent bark.
Bigger kids the kingpins of this nightly sequestering,
lying still as death with our fears of capture festering.
That titillating strain of remaining undetected,
somehow in our memories has made us more connected.
How we so consistently lay spread out on the ground
cowering, but secretly hoping to be found
by that special someone who, in our pre-teen flush
even then, in passing, could bring about our blush.
All this search and parrying that we called summer games
very soon would fill our lives called by other names.

 

Prompt words today are strain, kingpin, nightly and dilatory.

Different Strokes


Different Strokes

Life’s not always better when lived within a bubble.
Boring regularity might be traded for trouble
by some who find that firewalls just hold in what is boring.
They prefer the heat of flames—the crackling and the roaring.
They do not stress the cognitive. The sensual’s what rules.
They consider rational thinkers as the fools.
They do not heed the laws of men nor mind the dull world’s censure.
They behold the world as one long and wild adventure.
It takes all types to fill the world—some to become the members

who put out all the fires while the others stir the embers.

 

Prompt words today were firewall, behold, traded for trouble and cognitive.