Category Archives: Poetry

Poems in many categories: Loss, NaPoWriMo

World I Cannot Hold Thee

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World I Cannot Hold Thee

The dolphin tail of the wing cuts into the orange sky.
Brilliant deep orange fades to gold with dark islands of clouds
rising like trees above pale blue, medium blue, dark blue fading to black.
A thumbnail moon,
one star bright like a planet just far enough above the horizon
to be set in the darkest shade of blue.
Scenes like this break my heart. I don’t know what to do with them.
I’ve moved to the window seat now,
unable to resist that first flash of orange revealed over the shoulder
of the man who now sits in front of me––
that vivid sunset with no one looking at it
such a waste, yet now here I am, watching yet still wasting it.

I used to feel like this holding my sister’s child––
tiny newborn baby, so beautiful, so in my power.
I wanted to hug him tighter to hold on to this––
to do something to express this feeling
that I knew was vanishing even as it happened.
Yet this fading sunset now flares more brightly than before
as we keep catching up with it, flying west.
It may be that the dolphin wings, jets protruding like fins,
will swim for hours into the orange sea with all of us,
kin inside of her, waiting to be born.
Sleep. Read. Move to the bathrooms and back again
shepherding children––small brown sheep and black sheep,
eyes like berries turned toward windows reflecting back fire.

I want to run to the cockpit to feel orange wrapped around me,
cannot get enough of these colors, want to paint something significant––
colors like vivid embers against ashes, firey colors bleeding into blue
like fire staying alive as it bleeds into ocean and then into deeper ocean.
All of these things that are––what are they for?
Their purpose lost as soon as light has faded into darkness
through that incredible palette that means nothing, but is everything
above us all and under us and in us swelling us,
reminding us to hug the world tighter.
Squeeze life into it or out of it.
Hold it closer, needing no meaning except
being of it, with it, in it, having it in us.
“Oh world I cannot hold thee close enough!”
Understanding that.

The prompt word today is miraculous.

Beauty’s Clutch.

 

Beauty’s Clutch

Life’s a library where we choose
book after book to read and muse
on the truth of each, or how it serves
to amuse us or to calm our nerves.
It starts with storybooks in our youth.
Cinderella’s lovely, her kin uncouth.

The pretty sister we all adore.
The others? Rotten to the core.
We judge by beauty evermore.

As teenagers, our thoughts are filled
with thoughts of hair, complexion, build—
the ways we rank and choose our friends.
For some, this method never ends.
We judge the world by what we see.
At court, the prettiest are set free.

Our dates determined by their cars,
Our peanut butters by their jars,
Our candidates are movie stars.

World is illusion, say the seers,
the thinkers and philosophers.
We cannot know reality
by going just by what we see.
Yet time and time again, we choose
our futures based upon our views.

The “curb appeal” that meets our eye
determines which house we will buy.
The crust is how we choose the pie.

Ted Bundy had a handsome face
that drew young ladies to his embrace.
An arm sling or perhaps a crutch
tricked them into his murderous clutch.
His handsomeness served to distract
till he’d performed his heinous act.

His cover perfect, his act most skilled,
he killed and killed and killed and killed—
lives ruined and ended as he willed.

So crack the book and look inside.
Talk before you choose your bride.
Drive the car before you buy.
Sip the wine and taste the pie.
See what’s inside if you are able.
Don’t go by face or box or label.

Though beauty dulled is less sublime,
scrub the tarnish from the dime.
Looking deeper takes more time.

Don’t choose the cover of a book.
Instead, take care to have a look.
One page nor twenty will not do.
You have the whole book left to view.
Avoid appearances and preening.
Look for truth and look for meaning.

George Eliot coined the adage first.
If for truth you have a thirst,
judging by the cover’s worst.

This  poem was written 3 1/2 years ago, when I’d just started my blog and had very few readers, so I don’t think many  reading my blog today have read it before. The prompt word today is clutch
.

Gremlins (A Teenage Mythology)

Of course none of these teens, who happen to be my nieces and nephew, would ever sneak in after hours!

A Teenage Mythology

A sneeze is how a poltergeist gets outside of you.
At night a different stinky elf sleeps inside each shoe.

Every creaking rafter supports its resident ghost,
and it’s little gremlins who make you burn the toast.

Each night those tricky fairies put snarls in your hair,
while pixies in your sock drawer unsort every pair.

Midnight curtain billows are caused by banshee whistles.
Vampires use your toothbrush and put cooties in its bristles.

Truths all come in singles. It’s lies that come in pairs.
That’s a zombie, not a teenager, sneaking up the stairs.

 

 

Gremlins is the prompt word today. This is a rewrite of a poem written 4 years ago.  Can’t believe that I actually had a poem with “gremlins” in it.  Glad the WordPress search function
has a better memory than I do.

I Keep Your Promise

I Keep Your Promise

Rain beats a riff on the back window
as I drive away from your familiar
promises, like lyrics of a worn-out song.
“Never again,” is made true this time,
my choice instead of your vow.

It’s only truth I take away with me:
torn buttons, bruises, broken dreams.
The empty baby carriage
you’ll find in the spare room,
one more unused space
in a house too rarely
a home.

I was the house
you entered
but never
spread out in—
the rumpus room
battered with misuse—
a refrigerator
filled with carry-out and cartons
with their “use by” dates all lapsed.

I was the melody
to that false chord
you loved to strike,
proud in your outlaw status—
that anchor that held your music to the page.

I see its strains floating after me,
as though that part of you
knows what it will miss
and even now
is trying to be found.

 

The prompt word today is riff.

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.)