Category Archives: Poetry

Poems in many categories: Loss, NaPoWriMo

Lekythos (Flash 55)


Lekythos

When the shape of this poem fell naturally into the shape of a jar, I was intrigued to find that the lekythos was used both for oil to annoint the bride and the dead, and so it naturally supported the theme of my poem.

The assignment was to write a poem of exactly 55 words on the theme “extremely close” or “worlds apart.”  This poem reflects all three criteria.

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Time Rush

Time Rush

Although I’d love to pause and take the time
to create an adequate rhyme,
Alas, I must get on the road
to drive back to my own abode.

The piles surround me. I must go.
But, alas, I’m moving slow.
With a car to finish loading,
I’ve developed a sense of foreboding.

When I’m Skyped by my best friend,
I know my luck is at an end.
Yes, my planning most precise
would have turned out very nice

except for one fact I forgot.
Now in a time-crunch I am caught.
The cause of all my frantic ravings?
Forgot to switch to Daylight Savings!

 

It’s true.  Mexico changes at a different time than the rest of North America.  Although I thought I’d be checking out precisely at 11 a.m., it seems that the time will be noon.  But, the fridge is cleaned, floor swept, Morrie precautions removed, except for his long lead that has rusted shut around the post.  Oh woe.  Bye for now.  I’m off to the road.

The prompt today was “pause.”

Passing Through

Passing Through

Do not jostle for your places, for you’re fully in our view.
We have the V.I.P. seats here in your cosmic zoo.
Perhaps you sense our presence, but there’s nothing you can do
to see us for it’s set up so we’re only viewing you.

We see who you turn into each time you’re born anew.
One lifetime you’re a Muslim, and another you’re a Jew—
your choice of birth determined by your placement in the queue.
It’s purely arbitrary which person will be you.

You might become the very thing that now you most eschew,
but there’s no one to object to. There’s no one you can sue,
for the world that you’re reborn to was made by folks like you,
and the life you’ve made for who you’ll be might be a life you’ll rue.

This revelation should not come out of the blue.
It’s one that’s often explained by the mystic or guru.
If you love this lifetime where the cat’s meow is you,
please hold onto your passport, for you’re only passing through.

 

The prompt today is passport.

Good Fortune

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Good Fortune

How lucky I’ve been in the bad luck I’ve had,
for no matter how dangerous, life-threatening, bad,
I’ve always come out both alive and still kicking
whenever my life chose to give me a licking.

The prompt word today is luck.

Romancing the Muse

The Not Yet Dead Poets Society new Anthology is now available on Amazon.

Here is a link: https://www.amazon.com/Romancing-Muse-Selected-Poems-Chapalas/dp/1540749967/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1488924021&sr=8-2&keywords=kenneth+salzmann

Rhythm Method

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(The poem I’ve written below is based on the “Five Principles for Getting through the Trump Years,” given by Alice Walker in her speech at a reading in La Manzanilla, Mexico two nights ago on February 20, 2017. I was fortunate enough to be at that reading where she and four other excellent writers also talked about subjugation, prejudice, inequality, poverty and the importance of kindness, open-mindedness, acceptance and education in bringing our country to a better level of fairness to all.  I’ll talk about some of the other poets and storytellers who told their tales in a later post; but for today, and since it fit in with today’s prompt, here is my take on Ms. Walker’s wonderful talk.)

Rhythm Method

You’ve got to listen to the beat.
Shake your booty, pound your feet.
If you want to survive the day,
the rhythm method is the way.
It’s been said by smarter folks than I
that it’s the way that we’ll get by
in times we think we won’t survive—
the way we stay fully alive
in spite of voters who were hazy
and voted in a man who’s crazy.

Instead of listening to his bleat,

until the time of his defeat,
first and foremost, kindness will
help us to swallow this bitter pill.
A close connection with nature might
help us stay strong in the fight.
Respect for all those elders who
just might be another hue:

native tribes or Africans
brought unwillingly as hands
to shore up our economy
and build a country for you and me
while they paid the awful fee
in poverty and slavery.
It’s time to set our people free!

Gratitude for human life,
both theirs and ours, will allay strife.
In times like these, less than enhancing,
“Hard times demand furious dancing!”
One wiser and more in the groove
than I am, says that we must “Move!”
James Cleveland sang “This too shall pass,”
Turn on his music and move your ass.

Thousands of people dance along
this wonderful old gospel song
in her mind’s eye and I agree.
While we are waiting, you and me,
for enough others to see the light
and step in line to wage the fight,
we have to keep the joy in us
in spite of this unholy fuss
that seeks to keep us frightened and
prisoners in our native land.

Instead of knives and swords and guns,
defeat the tyrant with jokes and puns.
Comedians will save the day
and keep us laughing on the way.
But in the mean time, move your feet.
Feel the rhythm. Feel the beat.
If this nation has a chance,
perhaps we’ll find it in the dance.

The quotations above are all from Alice Walker’s talk. In prose form, here again are her five principles for getting through the Trump years (or hopefully, months.)

1. Kindness, which can keep us going through these unkind times.

2. A close connection with nature.

3. Respect for our oldest biological ancestors including native Americans (specifically those at Standing Rock), Africans  (who survived the fierce physical brutality of slavery) and Europeans such as John Brown and Susan B. Anthony.

4.  ‘Move!  Hard times demand furious dancing.’ Reverend James Cleveland sang, “This too shall pass.”  Get a recording of it and dance to it! She has an image of thousands of people dancing to this wonderful gospel song.

5. Maintain gratitude for human life.

She ended by relating the importance of meditation, which she described as a means “to rediscover the blue sky that is our mind,” and by stating that one way we can overcome the constant bad news with which our oppressors drug us is to learn the bad news first from comedians. This, perhaps, is one way for us to get through this dark period in our history.

The prompt today was rhythmic.

Sunset at Cambry Woods

 

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Sunset at Cambry Woods

In the forest, wild and lush,
hear the music of the thrush
break the stillness of the brush.
If else disturbs it, make it hush,
for we have fled the world’s mad crush
with all its craziness and rush
that grinds sensation into mush,
distilling it as mindless slush.
The world flares up, the clouds are plush
as we see all its bloodshed flush
into the sunset’s subtle blush.

The prompt today was lush.