Category Archives: Poetry

Poems in many categories: Loss, NaPoWriMo

Continuing Education

 

Continuing Education

It’s true that school is great for teaching gerunds, nouns and clauses.
Also for the how-to-do’s, the whens and the becauses.
And so I don’t regret my years in university
learning of the human mind and its diversity.

Couplets, sonnets, iambs—their knowledge served me well.
Chaucer took me to Canterbury. Dante? Straight to Hell.
Will Shakespeare gave me standards of wit to try to mimic,
and modern poets formed my taste from  Oliver to Simic.
But where I really found a classroom that appealed to me
was after school was over, when I was finally free.
Backpacking was geography: islands, mainlands, seas,
and I learned my geology rock-hunting on my knees.

I learn a little bit of life from everyone I meet—
the art of speech in barrooms, diplomacy in the street.
Biology from baby birds fallen from the nest
and taught to fly from towel racks, their wings put to the test.

All the art I ever studied simply came from looking—
geometry in midnight skies, chemistry in cooking.
And though the internet gives facts in every form and guise,
It’s life that serves us best because it’s life that makes us wise.

 

The prompt word today is educate. This is a rewrite of a poem written over two years ago.

Exchanging Words on Little Santa Monica

photo by Georgia King


Exchanging Words On Little Santa Monica

There on that city avenue,
I watched you as I sipped my brew.
Not the woman you’d chosen to woo
as you read poetry so true,
so raw, so blunt, so rare and new,
the air around you turned to blue.
Your sad poems caressed and drew
us closer. All that motley crew.

For me, love was a new venue
that night I first set eyes on you,
but there was such a ballyhoo
around you, that you had no clue
that I had joined the retinue
of women waiting in your queue.
But as I left, oh yes, I knew.
My life took on a brighter hue.

And though you were far out of view,
your memory stuck to me like glue.
Thoughts of you both birthed and slew.
Our meeting was long overdue
that night I saw you in the pew—
there to hear the poems I grew
from words carefully chosen and few,
I drew you in by some voodoo.

Perhaps our muses conspired and blew
winds from exotic Xanadu
or Zanzibar or high Peru,
the air around us to imbue,
giving us the selfsame cue:
this is the lover meant for you,
your octoroon and kangaroo,
the heart you’ll break, the fat you’ll chew.

Of all words plucked from life’s rich stew,
the ones that I would never rue.
Never would they ring untrue.
Those words that, though we might redo them,
never could I overdo them.
The words I’d sought my whole life through.
The vow I’d renew and renew.
That one rare thing I’d finally do.

 

The prompt word today is continue. It is the first word I’ve ever found that has a rhyming word that begins with each letter in the alphabet! I discovered this without consulting Google or a rhyming dictionary, which I occasionally have to resort to when a word is especially hard to find enough rhymes for. I found 64 rhyming words. Still haven’t checked any dictionaries. They may have additional ones, but these are mine, all mine! The only rhyme that is repeated is the word “you,”

“The” Words: avenue ballyhoo blew blue boo (boo hoo) brew chew clue crew cue do (doo doo) drew due eschew ew few glue goo grew hew hue imbue issue Jew kangaroo Kew, knew  loo mew moo new  overdo  overdue Peru pew phew poo queue redo renew retinue rue screw shrew slew stew sue through true undo untrue  venue view vindaloo voodoo whew woo Xanadu you zoo

 

The prompt word today is continue.

Rhyming Violation

The prompt word today is rhyme.

 

Rhyming Violation

There is a reason and a rhyme
to the word they chose this time.
For though I am not in my prime
and don’t play tennis, do not climb
or stoop too low to conquer grime,
In any terrain, any clime,
my mind spins like a twirling dime.
If over-rhyming were a crime,
I’d probably be doing time.

 

(If you are a glutton for punishment, yes, you can click on these to enlarge them.)

 

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

Who knew fidelity’s even stance
could be mitigated by circumstance?
That a subtle smile, perchance,
exchanged between you at her advance
would wind up in a swift romance
that flourished in that small expanse
between us and her winsome glance.

Who knew that you would go freelance
when love became our ritual dance?
And that I, still in loving’s trance,
would only learn it later, by chance.
Reading your words, caught twice askance.
First by your death, then grief enhanced
as I suffered loss anew
with this further death of you.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

“Bleach All the Colors” Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge, Aug 12, 2017

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Bleach all the colors from the flowers. Cancel out the sun.
Stay the music. Still the dance. Tell laughter it is done.
She will not walk this way again so all must cease to walk.
Her conversation’s over. The whole world must not talk.
Earth upon its axis should still its constant motion.
The cook must quiet his cooking pots, the chemist trash his potion.
The universe must end itself now that my true love’s dead,
and I lay myself beside her on our wedding bed.

For Cee’s Black and White Challenge: https://ceenphotography.com/2017/08/10/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-take-a-new-photo-or-photos-any-topic/

DVerse Players: “Shade” The Tile Layers

The Tile Layers

 

The Tile Layers

The tile cutter on his knees whistles “Fur Elise—”
five measures over and over—all day with no surcease.
A younger man behind him, in another room,
whistles tunelessly in rhythm as he wields a broom.
Hod carriers laugh and loudly call. Comida will be soon.
One of the youngest sings out a jolly ribald tune.
Their labors hard, their hours long as they hauled and carried,
and yet they have not seemed distressed, back sore, stressed or harried.

As they go to take comida, they move with one assent
as if to be relieved of where their labor time is spent.
Outside my wall they line the curb, their legs stretched in the street
to eat their warm tortillas­­­­––their chiles, beans and meat.
The only time they’re quiet is now their mouths are chewing,
for they are never silent when they are up and doing.
Five minutes and then ten pass as the silence swells around me,
until I feel the magnitude of silence might astound me.

Then one quiet voice is heard, and then another slowly after.
But still no music, calling out, whistling or laughter.
I can imagine well the scene. They’re spread out in the shade,
on their backs just resting in the shadows trees have made.
An hour’s camaraderie, like school kids taking naps,
their ankles crossed, their dusted clothes, their work hats in their laps.
Against their quietness, a motor hums out from afar.
Persistent birdcalls interrupt the tire crunch of a car.

A lawnmower chops at grass below. My clock ticks out the time.
This hour’s quiet interlude is almost sublime.
They must wonder what I do clattering on these keys––
my room cut off from all the dust , but also from the breeze.
The large dog’s bed is in a cage with an open door.
The little dog forsakes his bed to curl up on the floor
nearer the larger, older dog, although he’s sound asleep.
They too prefer to sleep as one, their brotherhood to keep.

An hour passed, the jefe wakes and jostles all his neighbors
who find their voices as they waken to resume their labors.
The gentle scrape of trowels sets the rhythm for
young men shouldering hods of what old men spread on the floor.
The jefe scolds for tiles mismeasured, rails against the waste
of both time and materials lost because of haste.
After the day’s siesta, they work three hours more.
They measure, chip and cut and smooth, then fit and trim each door.

By day’s end, hands are coated, and collars ringed with sweat.
The dust of their day’s labors in their work clothes firmly set.
But folded in each backpack they once rested heads upon
is a fresh change of clothing that later they will don.
Cleaned and pressed, they’ll walk on home unmarked by dust or dirt,
ready for the ladies to admire and to flirt.
For a man’s not made of merely the work that he might do,
and when he leaves his labors, his day begins anew.

Actually, I was imagining the scene described in the poem as the house hushed for an hour after a morning and early afternoon of extreme noise. Diego and Morrie were imprisoned in the small run outside my door but in sight of the front entrance gate all the men had vanished through, tortured by observing all the activity they couldn’t get their paws on, not to mention all those lunches in the back packs.  Then, after I wrote the poem and started to hear a few voices from what seemed to be a direction not anticipated in my poem, I went out to the living room to see the younger members of the crew hunched over their smart phones on my patio, first watching some drama, then talking to what sounded like female voices. One lay stretched out as expected, but by the pool rather than out on the sidewalk. (I had earlier invited them to eat at the patio table and the table in the gazebo, but they had preferred to warm their tortillas in my microwave and then go eat in the street.) My former stereotypes dashed, I then ventured beyond my walls into the street, and there found the older generation living up to former experience and present expectations—asleep in the shade.

This is a reblog of an earlier poem.

 

If you want to play along and write a poem with the word “shade” in it, post it here:  https://dversepoets.com/2017/08/08/seeking-some-shade-today/

Pelicans

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Pelicans

They float upon the gentle swells,
with chins tucked in politely.
Of all the birds, most dignified,
their movements never sprightly.

They look like grumpy butlers
named Oliver or Jeeves
in morning coats of softest gray
with wings tucked in their sleeves.

They may be only scouting
the source of their next meal,
for soon they take off to the air
with energy and zeal.

And soon they’re diving down again,
straight like an arrow shot,
down into the shallows
to see what can be caught.

Bobbing once again,
they lift their bills and then let slide
all that’s in their pouches
to another place inside.

I wonder if the fishes flop
all the long way down,
and this is why the pelicans
then fold their arms and frown?

 Version 2

The prompt today is shallow. This poem is a rewrite of a poem published a few years ago..