Tag Archives: irony

Childish Games: NaPoWriMo 2017, Apr 20


Childish Games

The dominoes go head to toe.
They must line up precisely so.
Why that’s so, we do not know.
It was determined long ago.

Rules of the game were made to last
ages ago, long in the past.
They tell us when to break our line,
when turning sideways is just fine.

Who can play, in perfect order.
How to avoid the table’s border.
When to ride each other’s train,
then when it is forbidden again.

Necessary rules to follow
lest our world turn blank and hollow?
Senseless rules to senseless games,
we line up tokens on boards and frames.

Sometimes the stakes are higher when
the rules, determined by famous men,
turn life and death, each token one
less calculated to end in fun.

All game pieces hidden away,
there to use some other day
when some fool says it’s okay.
Secrecy the rules of play.

Suddenly, the play’s no fun.
We want the gaming to be done.
Put away the games and toys.
It’s time for you to grow up, boys.

The prompt in NaPoWriMo today is to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. Mine was based on the domino game called “Chickenfoot” or “Mexican Train.”  Ironically, in Mexico it is called “Tren Cubano” or “Cuban Train.”  Guess everyone likes to pass the buck.

Centering

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Centering

Many folks are fearing the center will not hold.
Our unity is broken, our future has been sold.
But the ways of nature are complex and manifold.
And when the final stories of mankind have been told,
of how we “bested nature” by trying to break its mold,
when all our quests have ended, both for glory and for gold;
 we won’t be its ending, but just another fold
whose exploits lay beneath the earth, written in the mold—
of how we “tamed” an environment that was too brash and bold,
wrapping it in hydrocarbons, conquering the cold.

The prompt word today was “center.”

  

Stubborn

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Stubborn

Some minds are so locked, they will not open to the touch.
Even “Open Sesame!” will not budge them much.
It seems their former mindsets hold them fast within their clutch,
squeezing off the access of new ideas and such.
Perhaps old ways of thinking have just become a crutch,
until they have that stubbornness oft noted in the Dutch!

I like to think my mind remains open to new thought.
For most of my life, I have been willing to be taught;
but when it comes to bigots, their efforts come to naught.
By the likes of Donald Trump, my attention can’t be bought,
and so I try to keep my ears entirely where he’s not,
for if I have to listen, I soon feel them growing hot.

I know what comes from such a man is likely to be rot,
so when I hear his puffed-up voice, my patience is soon shot.
With me his crass pontificating always comes to naught––
his words with fear and loathing usually fraught.
His hysterics reminiscent of Hitler and Pol Pot
dangle bait before a fish not willing to be caught.

A mind as closed as my mind will not open to his touch.
He never will win ingress with fear tactics and such.
Thank God my former mindsets hold me fast within their clutch,
squeezing off the access of bigotry and such.
Perhaps old ways of thinking have just become my crutch,
or maybe all my stubbornness is just because I’m Dutch!

 

The prompt today was “Open.”

One No Trump: JNW Prompt Generator

Today, in honor of my sixth posting to Jennifer’s site, I decided to take the first six prompts given by her prompt generator and to try to use them all, in order, in a poem, story or essay. What occurred was this short short story. The phrases that were generated were: hurt awareness, fair incident, muddy kitchen, innocent ring, tired reputation, stupid recommendation.

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One No Trump

I wouldn’t say that she was totally disillusioned with life, but she did carry this air of hurt awareness that one unfair incident after another had worked against her best interests in life. She remained stubbornly sure that her choices, if they had worked out, would have led to a glorious life. No one even tried to convince her that her goals and means toward them were destined to fail from the first–not because the plans themselves were not worthy ones, but because she had an innate talent for messing them up.

She started in working diligently to attack the one wrong thing in her life she could most easily alter: her muddy kitchen. When the first giant crashes of thunder had been loosed upon the world, the dogs had set up a tremendous chorus of howls, scratches at the door and barks. She had let them in immediately, not realizing that the little one had been amusing himself in her new flower bed. In their great rush, one had upset the water dish and that combined with Hampton’s muddy paws, had made quick work of her earlier labors in creating a spotless kitchen.

She washed the mop out in the kitchen sink, creating a second dark ring around the sink. It was the innocent ring—dark black—that paralleled the slightly raised reddish-rust ring a few inches above. It was that red ring that she needed to scrub off before the break of day. It would not do to let anyone see that guilty ring. No matter what her justifications were, the world would not believe her. She had one of those unlikable faces that turned people against her, no matter how reasonable her arguments were. It was too late to alter the frown lines that pulled her lips downward, the darting eyes that said “I am not entirely believable” and the hands that wrung themselves by habit.

It was not, given the record of her entire life, that she did not have an adequate reputation—respected family, charitable acts, donations to the correct causes. It was just that over the years she had started espousing strange causes and slowly her actions had started becoming a bit odd as well. Chasing odd cars down the rows of the Walmart shopping center screaming abuse at their drivers for the sentiments revealed on their bumper stickers. Standing on a corner on Main Street holding up a placard that read “Polluter!” each time a car or truck passed, spewing black smoke.

She called the parents of children she witnessed bullying other children as she sat on a park bench near the school crossing and harangued the parents of large families about zero population growth. She was so scathing in her criticism of her bridge partner when, even though he had opening count himself, he had failed to raise her one trump opening bid, that he’d dropped out of bridge club; and when no one else would consent to be her partner, she, too, had been forced to quit.

So, it wasn’t so much that she had a bad reputation but that she had a tired reputation. She just couldn’t bother with the niceties anymore. She said what she thought—without taking tact into account. Bastards didn’t deserve tact. But even her best friends, the few of them she had left, admitted that her behavior was becoming ever more aggressive and bizarre.

And this is how she came to have that damned second ring in her sink. She knew she never should have gotten into a discussion about politics with anyone in this town, let alone a stupid plumber who lived up to all the stereotypes of plumbers when he knelt down showing his butt crack.  What tipped the balance was the cretin smugness of the plumber as, seeing her Hillary sticker on the fridge, he declared that he was going to vote for Trump just to see the fun that resulted.

This, coupled with the coincidence of his request that she give him the big wrench, had caused her, for that one moment in her life, to act to the full extent of her wishes. She gave him the wrench full force over the back of his head. He then departed this life with no fuss, no struggle, merely sinking forward into a full bow, his forehead against her kitchen floor.

There was a lot of blood, and although it was an unplanned act, she congratulated herself in her choice of locales—the kitchen being the best possible place to get rid of the evidence. That was why she had taken care of the hard job first, digging the new flower bed a good bit deeper, dragging his body out, head in a black garbage bag pulled tight, pouring the quick lime and then covering the body well with soil, planting the bushes that would establish the deepest roots. Putting the ring of flowers around the bushes and raking a solid cover of largish stones over them, fooling herself into believing this would discourage the new terrier’s digging instincts.

So now, taking the pup’s paws into account, she supposed she’d have additional work to do on the flowerbed, too; but her first priority was the blood rings in the sink. Like Lady Macbeth, no matter what she did, those stains held fast. She rued, then, that penurious nature which had caused her not to replace the porous old sink, older than she by far, that held stubbornly on to everything that passed its way–blueberries, coffee. Blood. She scrubbed to no avail.

Looking out the window, she could see where the puppy had uprooted Peony bushes and flowers and ground cover. More work there to complete before sunup. Hours ago, she had called a housekeeping company in another town to ask about the best way to remove bloodstains from a worn porcelain sink. The woman had been no help. “Call a plumber,” she had said,“He should be able to solve your problem!” Stupid recommendation.

https://topicgenerator.wordpress.com/      https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/que-sera-sera/

In the Blood!!!
(Dedicated to Walter Palmer)

Don’t you just love football—the running and the tackling?
The sounds of hamstrings pulling and the crunch of femurs crackling?
We sit up in the bleachers eating hot dogs, drinking beer,
comfortably viewing blood sport—the kind we hold so dear.

Aren’t dogfights lovely–the growling and the whining?
Too bad they aren’t more elite, so we could watch while dining.
So amusing watching canines being dished their due.
Dying is so entertaining when it isn’t you!

Better still are bullfights, though they’re few and far between.
The bull so lithe and dangerous, the matador so lean.
The best part of the sport is that the dying is so slow.
I feel its thrill suffuse me from my head down to my toe.

We adore big game hunting in such exotic lands–
our chance to prove our manliness with our own two hands–
handing over money to those trackers in the know
who guarantee an easy kill with rifle or with bow.

Easy on the hunter, but not the animal,
for just because he’s hit the prey’s not guaranteed to fall.
We get more for our money if he’s hard to track,
and war games are more pleasant when one’s foe doesn’t shoot back!

All these minor titillations just a prelude to
the main event and the most major way of counting coup.
Once all the good old boys are finding life is just a bore,
they round up all the younger men and send them off to war.

See how the valiant struggle, see their stripes and purple hearts–
apt pay for missing arms and legs and other blown off parts.
Lucky to be home at last and lucky to be living–
the products of that blood sport that just somehow keeps on giving.


R.I.P. Cecil and the numerous humans
who have shed blood in unnecessary wars.
This post is 
in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Game of Groans.” Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever.

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6 A.M.

A vividly red 6 A.M. glares out from an electric alarm clock on the side table of the bed.

“Carol!  Wake up! Do you know what time it is?”
“Not really.”
“Well, maybe if you opened your eyes, you could see the clock!”
“Mmmm. Hmmmm.”

He gives her a gentle swat on the bottom.

“C.mon, get up! I’m going for a shower so I won’t be here to nag at you.  You gotta get up now!”

The sound of his bare feet  leaving the room.  A door opens and shuts. Sound of a shower and an electric razor.  Then, he enters the bedroom from the adjoining bathroom, tucking in his shirt.

“Carol!  It’s time to get up! You’re running late!”

“What time is it?”
“Open your eyes and you’ll see!  C’mon. Open your eyes and here, I’ll help you scooch around and put your feet on the ground.  Now sit up.  And open your eyes!!”
(gentle snore)
“C’mon.  Right now!  Open your eyes.  If you don’t hold yourself up, I’m gonna let you fall down. So I’m letting loose, Carol.  Sit up on your own or you’ll fall down!”

There is a slight and muffled percussion sound as she falls backwards on the bed.

Dammit, Carol.
Okay. This is it.  I’m tired of your shit. I’m just going to let you stay in bed and miss a day of work without calling in.  You’ll lose your job and there goes the Hawaiian vacation!”
“Mmmmm.”
“Brad and Janet will be there, and Chet and Tina.  Pina coladas, sunburn, sand in their toes, hula lessons and moonlit walks on the beach–and we’ll both miss it all because you’ll be unemployed and we won’t be able to afford it.  Carol!  Get the hell out of bed!!!  Open your eyes and get up!”
“Mmmmmm. Hmmmmmm.”
OK!  That’s it. I’m giving up!  I’m going to work now. I’ll stop and get breakfast at Shorty’s on the way.  You’ve made your bed and you can lie in it–literally!!”

Sound of a door slamming, car revving and driving away. Carol slides her feet back up on the bed and pulls the covers over her head.  Gentle snoring sounds.

Seven O’clock.  Phone ringing.  Carol reaches out to her bedside table and answers it.

“Hello?”
“Hi Carol.”

“Who is this?”
“This is your mother-in-law, dear. May I speak to Robert?”
“Who?”
“Your husband, dear. My son.”

Carol reaches out beside her, pats the bed.

“He’s not in bed, Roberta.  Try calling his cell phone and perhaps he’ll pick up from down below.  We had a late night last night and I’m sleeping in.”
“Okay, dear, sorry to disturb you.”

Sound of a phone being put back in the cradle. Almost immediate gentle snores. Twenty miles away, in early morning traffic, the gentle brrrrrrr of a cellphone is heard.

“Hello?”
“Hello, Robert, where are you?”
“I’m on the road, Mom, about to pull into Shorty’s for a fast breakfast. What’s up?”
“You went to breakfast without Carol?”
“No, I’m on my way to work.  Carol decided not to go in today.”

Silence from the other end of the phone.

“Mom, are you still there?  What did you call me for?”
“Well, dear, I’m just wondering why you are going in to work on a Saturday, and why you didn’t call your dad to call off your golf game if you’ve decided to work instead!”

Sound of brakes screeching as Robert turns off at an exit and drives over the overpass to reverse directions.


(For an earlier response to this same prompt, go HERE.)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Groupthink.” Write a dialogue between two or three people other than yourself.

 

The Prompt Becomes Itself

The prompt: Curve Balls—When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?

The Prompt Becomes Itself

Every prompt I’ve bumped into
has been a task I’ve jumped into,
but today’s I fear has trumped me,
for I find that it has stumped me!
In short, I find this prompt to be
a self-fulfilling prophesy!!!!!