Set in Concrete
Set in Concrete
Your poetry’s great, both gripping and fragile—
your style of delivery skillful and agile.
Swathed in your gear both sexy and hip,
you have the whole crowd within your cool grip.
Those reticent types who came thinking they’d jeer
are slapping their knees and crying in their beer.
Skillful at words and for sure in your prime,
you’re our favorite reciter of meter and rhyme.
External episodes are thrilling
but may not be half so chilling
as other splendors that reside
within ourselves—so deep inside
that they may be unmapable
because they are not palpable
to anyone except ourselves.
They’re mysteries that science delves
by means of psychotherapy.
They seek the treasures that may be
hidden in us, but so deep
we think they’re secrets that we keep.
It’s where we go in poetry—
exploring places we can’t see
unless we voice them lingually.
or maybe more
a closing door
walking the floor
all is empty
space and time
or words sublime
creak and groan
listening all alone
roof top rafter
the morning after
no regrets sold
the story told
no man’s barriers
love note carriers
This is a true story. Today while cleaning and organizing my art studio, I found a bag with old notes from my husband in it. Included was this message found typed out on my computer a few months after he died. The kittens loved to walk over the keys and I had heard Talulah or Annie do so the night before. What came out was gobbledygook with “once a wife no regrets sold.” typed out in the middle of it. For nineteen years, I’ve been trying to figure out what the “sold” was about unless it was that we’d put our house up for sale and bought one in Mexico three weeks before my husband died. This message was received as I lay on the floor on an inflatable mattress in the bedroom of the house we would have shared in Mexico. Nope. No regrets, ever, concerning the move to Mexico, but it took me 8 years to stop feeling married.
This is Annie about 16 years later, perhaps remembering her one successful message on those keys she walked over so many times in the 19 years she shared here with me. She was just a kitten in the time period this poem describes.
The day 10 prompt for NaPoWriMo is to write a haynaku. Six word stanzas with lines of 1, then 2, then 3 words.
I’m not your typical hoarder. I don’t save balls of string.
Five foot stacks of newspapers really aren’t my thing.
Boxes of garage sale items do not line my halls.
Jumbles of castoff treasures do not obscure my walls.
My collection is more upbeat and easier to store.
I have thousands of them and room for plenty more.
And lest you think my hoarding is of objects more absurd,
I’ll tell you my obsession is simply for the “word.”
Those who have collected them all throughout the ages
are lexicographers and scribes, poets, writers, sages.
Sometimes they swirl around my head and leave it in a fog,
so when I run out of room, I store them in this blog.
Words like ships floating around, looking for a moorage—
I simply help them out by arranging for their storage.
To win a beauty pageant is a kinky dream.
You want to be the biggest fish in a manmade stream.
You’ll be closely examined both for charm and beauty,
then questioned for your aptitude in fulfilling your duty
at shopping malls and other places where you’ll be on view
displaying what fine work your folks did creating you.
That you’re a lovely model is not up to debate.
What an excellent product they managed to create!
Compared to all the others, you simply glow and shine.
You have that extra element we find hard to define.
Is it a special need to please or is it blind ambition?
Or did you simply need the cash for your college tuition?
We rather hope it is the last prompting your pageantry,
so after one year on the runway, you’ll be able to break free
to live a normal life down here, milling with the crowd,
for when you’re up there, special, hobnobbing’s not allowed.
Jostled by the hoi polloi, your royal crown might tilt,
or there is a danger it might be revealed as gilt.
Not a thing of value. Just a pretty piece of junk.
A perfect metaphor all of this “glamor” to debunk.
Beauty is as beauty does the adage tries to tell us,
yet who we are is not the thing that pageants use to sell us.
You are a perfect object standing up there on a shelf,
made to please our eyes and ears. Not to please yourself.
Indeed, you’re slim and lovely. Your smile has its charm.
You simply look enchanting there on the emcee’s arm.
You will be fluffed and feted and put out on display.
It won’t be free, this privilege that you have won today.
But remember, please, when you’ve done all you’re told to do
that you will come down off that stage and simply live as you.
The prompt words are free, dream, pageant and kinky.
The dVerse Poets prompt today is to take something we’ve written on September 11 of another year and to take a word or idea from that piece and write a new piece. Here is my Sept. 11 essay from 2015 that I am going to draw from. There is a link at the bottom of that post that will bring you back to the poem I’ve written today based on that post from three years ago. Wow. Complicated. Here is my present-day poem based on the word “handwritten.”
Panned by Hand
Words slowly written out by hand
will in future years be panned
as much as petroglyphs in stone
carved out by flint or sharpened bone
are an anathema today,
now that we have a simpler way
to write with pencil or with pen.
Will kids remember way back then
when moms and grandmothers and dads
wrote out notes on legal pads,
or will they only go to see ’em
in a history museum?
Cell phones don’t run out of ink,
spew words as fast as you can think,
don’t use up paper, wood or lead,
just use up gigabytes instead.
Thus handwriting’s a bygone art—
i’s carefully dotted with a heart,
those flourishes at ends of lines—
those curlicues and hearts and vines
scribbled in the margins? Vanished.
All our doodlings soon banished.
It is the truth that progress brings
technology to replace things
dear to our hearts we thought would be
carried on by progeny.
But, alas, it is not so.
Typewriters were the first to go,
then cursive followed recently,
and soon I’m sure the powers that be
will decide all writing’s out,
and soon technology will tout
communication via brain
and then my friends, once more again
the means we’ve used to share our thought
will be outmoded, no longer taught
by school or university.
Mere ESP will surely be
worked out so we need only blink
to transmit all that we might think.
Imagine, then, the problems caused
by thoughts inadequately paused.
Words penned in ink can be crossed out,
or crumpled up and then tossed out.
Not so words received as we think them—
flirtings known before we wink them.
So long, subtlety and tact.
Hello, naked glaring fact.
No thoughts scrawled or written with care.
All meaning caught in truth’s harsh glare.
The truth is, friends, that each advance
may neither further nor enhance.
Some advancement only fetters.
All in all, I prefer letters!
Here is the link to dVerse Poets Tuesday Poetics in case you want to see what others did with this prompt: https://dversepoets.com/2018/09/11/poetics-on-a-loop/
I write notes three times weekly in my limping Spanish for Yolanda, not because I won’t see her, but because I probably won’t remember by then what I need to tell her. She has asked me to order more vacuum cleaner bags from the states. I use the words I know, and tonight the word for vacuum has escaped my memory. So I leave this note on the kitchen island, taped to a filter I’ve found in the laundry room:
“Is this the bag for the machine for clean the floor?”
Es este la bolsa para la machina para limpiar el piso?
Then, taped to the stove top:
I’m sorry, Yolanda, but a potato broke in my oven and it is very bad! I worked for one hour and a half but it is still bad now.”
Lo siento, Yolanda, pero una papa romper in…
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My dad in a slower mode of conveyance.
My father on vacation was robotic in his thrust.
His modus operandi was to get there or to bust—
another hundred miles or so before we stopped to sup,
and we rarely got a room before the moon was up!
When he hit the highway, he became another man.
No mere roadside attraction could deflect his driving plan.
In those days of two-lane traffic and a speed limit of fifty,
he thought five hundred miles a day sounded rather nifty.
Fathers prone to threaten, who hit and rage and cuss
are, I fear, too often too ubiquitous.
But this was not my father. Rage was not his style.
He simply had addictions to mile after mile!
My dad was generous and fun. He told a story well,
but to take a trip with him was nothing short of Hell.
His proclivity to “get there,” I fear was never curable,
and so family vacations were just barely endurable!
My sisters and I with my dad. He didn’t usually look this grim!
The prompt words today are highway, durable, robot and ubiquitous. Here are the links:
Compulsion to Rhyme II
By now you’ve read my oeuvre once or twice before.
It’s bulging out of file cases, stacked upon the floor.
It’s quickly filling up my blog and straying to the media.
Soon I fear I must compose my own encyclopedia.
It started out a habit but soon became compulsion.
My housecleaner surveys my poems with undisguised revulsion.
Spiders live within the files, cats use them for their beds,
so they serve grander purposes than cluttering up heads.
Perhaps someone could stop me with a cudgel or a gun,
but lacking that, I fear that when my final poem is done,
my heirs will have to market my oeuvre by the ton.
The prompt today was oeuvre. In case you’ve never encountered the word without its buddies hors and d’, used alone, oeuvre means the works of a painter, composer or author, regarded collectively.
The Tin Man Talks to His Creator
I’m just a “thing” made out of metal,
stovepipe legs, my head a kettle.
When it rains, I rust apart
and so expose my lack of heart.
It is no mystery, no riddle
that I’m empty in the middle.
Some say a heart is of no use.
It is a trap. It is a noose.
It is an organ of abuse,
at best of times, merely a truce
in the battle of the sexes
between them and all their exes.
They say, “When born without a heart,
there’s nothing there to tear apart!”
Yet still I feel that all that pain
would not, could not, be in vain.
I’d bear the sadness for the start
of love that I’d feel with a heart.
And so, I pine and wish and stew
that I might be born anew
with a beating corazon
so I’d not feel so alone,
and though I would be made of tin,
that living heart that pulsed within
would let me feel at last what they
take for granted every day.
What care I that I fall to dust
if I could love before I rust?
Once more, I pray to my creator,
to that great procrastinator.
I ask again to have a heart—
what I’ve asked for from the start.
I say, “The pain, without a doubt,
can’t be worse than going without.”
Then that Great Tinsmith in the sky
looks me firmly in the eye
so the truth I cannot miss
as he gently tells me this:
“A heart’s not something I can bestow.
It is a thing you have to grow.”
Forgottenman says I should tell you what I told him about this poem. I actually wrote it after midnight while sitting outside in what might loosely be called my hot tub. Since the night was quite cold and the water had been sitting for two days, it was something less than hot, even less than lukewarm. I was writing on lined paper using a flashlight with a magnetic bottom that stuck to the metal bench beside the tub. (I sent Forgottenman photos of my crumpled, water-dotted original manuscript and he insisted I post it on my blog. If you are curious, see it HERE.) Once started, I didn’t want to stop so tonight I really did suffer for my art! I believe I finally couldn’t take it anymore and the last few lines were written inside. I was driven by the fact that the last two pieces I’ve written for dVerse were not accepted because although I started them before the deadline, by the time they were finished, the Mr. Linky would not accept them as the deadline had just closed. So this time, I was superstitious and wanted to get finished in time. Luckily, this time it worked. One day I need to figure out just how long the submission period is. I am terrible about such things.
Public Domain Illustration. The prompt was to write a poem about one of Dorothy’s three traveling companions from The Wizard of Oz. For dVerse Poets.