Tag Archives: dVerse Poets

Individuality for dVerse Poets

Individuality

What you want for me to be
subtracts from “I’ to add to “we,”
and yet it does not set me free,
but traps me in normality.

You will not hear me make a plea
for rules of set society.
I simply choose to take the knee
and insist on being me.

For dVerse Poets: Peer Pressure. Image by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Impressionable Dozer

Impressionable Dozer

The whole house is sleeping—the dogs and the cats
on the chair and the sofa and their cushy mats.
Even the air seems stilled in its rush.
I am calmed by its torpor and lulled by its hush.

Although there are labors I know I should do,
I survey my agenda and plan it anew.
It’s hot in my bedroom, but the sofa looks nice.
I go to the kitchen for water and ice.

Then I grab my computer and spread myself out.
With no one to disturb, as there’s no one about,

I may nod off myself before long, but I hope
that I’ll finish this first, but as you can see…..

Nope.

The dVerse Poets prompt today is to write a Quadrille on the topic of sleep. Ironically, just before looking up the prompt, I had just taken the above photos and was thinking of writing about exactly that topic. Thus, this poem that half-fills the bill. Not a quadrille, but I really did fall asleep before finishing it so I should get double points for succumbing that fully to the prompt..

Now, guess where I am headed?

 

Cold

Cold

Furniture leaves stick by stick.
His cold furnishings in the storehouse
while I put away my feelings
one by one.
He suggests we still be friends
while we wait for new friends to happen,
as though he’s drawing closer
as he pulls away.

I keep creeping closer to the truth
that lies
in eyes
cold.
Cold
eyes,
nothing written there.

His hand edges closer
on the seat between us.
Like a deaf-mute,
all communication
in his hands.

But those hands
don’t know all
my languages.

Handless bodies
in El Salvador
might think
my demands on them
less foolish.

My mother’s hands
drumming fingers
while she told a sleepy tale.
I was always in it,
in dark forests where the bears lived,
and although she acted
like she didn’t know it,
I was in the forest, lost,
expecting bears
while only drumming fingers
foretold the presence
of something
cold.

 

For dVerse Poets
To see the prompt, “A Little Repetition,” go HERE.

Unlucky Tens

Unlucky Tens

Who knows if we will die or if we thrive?
If we are meant for Heaven or for Hell?
For though we flourish at full fathoms five,
ten fathoms deep they ring our funeral bell.
Nine penny, ten a penny, roll the dice.
Loan me ten dollars, ’cause I’m feeling hot.
If I roll only once or I roll twice,
will I throw me a snake eyes? I think not.
And ten little Indians never will
pluck a tail feather of a whippoorwill!

 

For dVerse Poets “Ten” Poem We were to write a poem of ten lines with ten syllables per line and an ababcdcd ee rhyme scheme. HERE is the link for that prompt. The link to read other poems for the prompt is given above. Image by Timo Müller on Unsplash.

Fresh Sheets

John Sloan, Sun and Wind on the Roof

The Drying of Sheets in the Wind

When the world seems in a mess and you wax sanctimonious,
railing at the ills of those who make it less harmonious,
remember that life’s curses are only temporary.
When world events eat at your mind and the world feels scary,
remember bed sheets on the line, drying in the sun—
the sound of flapping in the wind as their drying was done.
The smell of bright clean sunlight on each wind-softened fold,

or the cracking of their ice crystals stiffening in the cold.

Remember their warmth around you, fresh from mother’s mangle?
Snapping them out in the air, her bracelets’s harmonious jangle?
Her even movements folding them, then spreading them once more
 for you to slip into your bed as she stood at the door,
storybook in hand for that nightly big procession
through story after story, read in that grand progression
of venturings into a world that seemed so vast and magic,
long before you knew the world to also be so tragic.

Let memories of your mother still be a comfort to you—
with memories of fresh white sheets. And let them both renew you.

 

For dVerse Poets, an Ekphrastic poem.To read more poems written for this prompt, go HERE.

Cold Assurance

Cold Assurance

I’m tired of writing alone in my safe room. I crave the cold mountain and my gasps in the thinner air. The threat of clouds. A bleeding sunset that seeps behind an obscuring peak.The small terrors of things heard but unseen in the dark. The press of stones in my back as I roll over in my sleeping bag. Evidence through sensation that I’m still alive.

The comfort of light,
but no form without shadow.
Nature’s cruel truth.

A Cold Mountain Haibun for dVerse Poets
Go HERE to read the prompt.

Nothing but the Truth!!! For dVerse Poets

If Nothing but the Truth Was Possible

Your child is not as charming as you think he is.
Perhaps if you just said, “No!” to him now and then?

I’m allergic to dogs. Could you get your St. Bernard off my lap, please,
and lock him out of the room where we’re sitting?

As much as I enjoyed the first hundred of your family photos,
could we perhaps move on to conversation of a less familial theme?

My husband has seen enough of your cleavage for one evening. Could you cage them?

Your poem’s triteness is only equaled by its misspellings.

I can see why you would want to be a swinger. Someone as gross as you are
should not expect his wife to shoulder all the responsibility.

Walmart art does not really count as a collection.

Whether your rocks are cubic zirconium or diamonds, they are still ugly!!!

When people back away from you, there’s a good chance
they don’t want you to advance on them again.

A good way to check for bad breath is to lick your wrist.

Have you ever wondered why only beautiful women want you to ask them to dance?

If you expect things in Mexico to be just like they were in the U.S., please remember
that there is a country just north of the border that is the U.S.!! Why don’t you go there?

No I am not ill. I’ve just spent two years starving myself and spent a fortune
on appetite suppressants. Couldn’t you just tell me I look fabulous?

Be honest now. Would you ever have thought to eat raw fish if it weren’t all the rage?

Your life depends on telling the truth. Do you you really, truly enjoy opera?

Just what is it you find enchanting about Paris? Oh, right. It must be the friendly people!

 

The adage I chose as inspiration for my poem was, “The truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

Image by Brett Jordan on Unsplash. To see more poems based on adages, go HERE.
And HERE
is a link to the prompt itself.

Saint Valentine Speaks the Truth for Once

St. Valentine Speaks the Truth for Once

Yesterday,
before he caught the plane for Guaymas,
the lacquer heart box
I was going to fill with fudge for him
was still empty.
I stuffed it
with bought cookies
and tucked them in his bag,
not food for much.
Any love I might have felt
somehow got left out at the last minute.
He was hurrying to catch the plane.
There wasn’t time to do things properly.

But today it feels like things were done just right.
Loving him has always felt this empty.
Our hollows we filled from the very first
with fresh tortillas, warmed with butter on the grill,
chocolate truffles,
cookies from the corner doughnut shop.
Real cookies. One would make a breakfast
or a midnight meal
in bed, before the lights went out.
First the bed lamp,
then the t.v. screen.

His third wife didn’t like to cuddle,
but I made up for that.
In return, he gave it almost all.
But what he saves his mouth for,
I can’t guess.
I even gave up smoking for a year.
Still, no kisses.

I took up writing poems
about early loves, all kisses.
I thought their poetry
more satisfying
than he was in the dark.
We bought more cookies,
bags of them.
We kept nuts on the bedside table.
Hershey Kisses, one after the other,
are almost foreplay.

When he comes,
it’s only a sound.
A tiger growl.
I listen. Once, I laughed.
I just can’t believe he feels that much,
because when we love, if you can call it that,
I never seem to be along with him.

Once, in those first weeks
when I was just about to call the whole thing off,
he said to stare into his eyes.
For minutes, I looked into him
and I saw all the men of myths
I’d tried for years to find.
I thought he knew then
what I’d seen in him,
or maybe it was just the grass.
Metaphysics always seem more real
after the pipe is passed.

Really, I still believe what was in his eyes once
when he stopped,
but I can’t love him anymore
from memory.
I’ve tried so often
in the years since then
to enter his eyes again–
to take him with me,
gathering selves.
He’s never followed.
Not once.
Maybe I need to look into a mirror
closer
at myself.
My eyes.
Maybe God is buried there as well.

In the evening
after business meetings,
in the bar,
I can imagine eyes like mine
on barstools or in clusters
at the tables
over Margaritas.
Fresh eyes
willing to look into his
and believe
that love might grow.

I’ve dressed him well.
Other women always comment on how he looks–
cute in his Jaguar hats, brown corduroy and tweed.
I’ve thrown away his plain white undershirts.
Old man shirts, we always called them,
his kids and I.
Even though I never taste him from the collar up,
I take great satisfaction in the decorating
of the rest of him.
Like cookies to taste, his gentleman’s clothes to watch,
him in them, walking toward me
and away from me.
Not stopping much,
at least not long.

If I could keep up with him,
he would be glad to have me there,
but I like to stop along the way.
The picnic breakfast on the ocean cliffs
near Rosarita,
his hand and mouth for just five minutes.
I need these stopping places
that he gives up in his hurry
to be somewhere else.

All his family
and my family
and my friends
think the fault is his.
The many times I’ve asked him to move out, they’ve understood.
They all recall the crucial times he hasn’t been here.
They see me as weak when I let him stay
another week, a month, a year,
waiting for things to be right in his bank account.

But I’m aware of what they can’t know.
I was glad for him when he took pleasure with a growl.
The pleasure that I took from it
is how the magic women must have felt
after a successful incantation
breathed
for the traveler
who sought them out and crossed their palms with silver
for a spell.

His family
and my family
and my friends
do not understand
that this is what is left in this for me—
this thin crust just before its crumbling.

For, though it’s definite that Cupid’s arrow missed the heart
on the cover of the Valentine he left for me
before he flew to Guaymas,
It’s also true
that inside the card
he called me
friend.

 

This is a poem written in 1985 that I’ve been doing some work on, but I still don’t feel like the ending stanzas are right. Actually, in real life, I asked him out to lunch, gave him this poem to read and he moved out the next day. All he said after reading it was something like, “God, you just tell the brutal naked truth!!!!” A year and a half later, I married one of the great loves of my life. Happy Ending.

For dVerse Poet’s: Valentine’s Day

Memory Walk

Memory Walk

Holding onto old-time love.
Fits like a glove.
Keeps repeating.
My heart beating.

What’s wrong with trying once again?
Go where we’ve been
Repeat old fun
that’s come undone.

Photos fall from hidden folder.
Getting older,
I put away
the bygone day.

For dVerse Poets Minute Poem

The elements of the Minute Poem are:

1. narrative poetry.
2. a 12 line poem made up of 3 quatrains. (3 of 4-line stanzas)
3. syllabic, 8-4-4-4   8-4-4-4   8-4-4-4 (First line has 8 syllables of each stanza.  Remaining lines has 4 syllables in each stanza)
4. rhymed, rhyme scheme of aabb ccdd eeff.
5. description of a finished event (preferably something done is 60 seconds).

A Skin of Me All the Way Down, For dVerse Poets, Jan 26, 2022

 

A Skin of Me All the Way Down

“There is a human wildness held beneath the skin.”- Arts, Jim Harrison

I leave a skin of me all the way down,
shedding my body 
like petals of a flower
as I go down
through hard edges
I scrape against,
leaving parts of me
against the walls
as I fall down
into the place
where blood runs together
into a bowl which breaks
and spills into earth
which sinks down
into space which is a hole that is
the middle of a world falling down.

My dust falls after me
as I fall
down
to the horizon
of my center­­—
that hard stone
whose discovery

 is our purpose
 for going down.

The edge of me
is almost gone
from falling down.

My center,
clean pip stone,
hangs from a stem
caught in the beak of a
mockingbird that’s cawing, “Up.”

Motes on the dust of its wings
pull me up
while I still want to be down.

The bird with my mother’s hands
pulls me up,
voice from a dream
of childhood,
calling,”Judy”
and pulling me up.

Up through the walls
of the world which
puts my skin back.
Away from the parts of me
left on the floor 
 that are not coming up.

Wings beat me up,
pulling my layers
back over and
around me,
pulling my life
back up to me—

the spelling bees
and the recipe
for rhubarb jam
and our secret
family pattern for
cutout May baskets
and car payments—

all the skin of of me coming up
along with accordion music
 and  geometry,

and I rise up
through the dust
of chalkboard erasers
beaten on the school fire escape
and broken tea sets
and mud pies
and the stillborn calf
and taxes.

Let me go back down,
I plead,
but still, I rise.

Wings pull me up
and the bird holds
my invisible wrappings
in its beak
by the string
that ties me to the up,

and though I chew at it
and rip it with the hands
I’ve grown back rising up,

and though I cry out
for my release,
the sun rises,
and
I rise up
with it,
a part of me
still pleading,
“Let me fall down.”

 

For dVerse poets, we were to write a poem based on a line from  Jim Harrison. Go HERE to read more poems written to this prompt.