Poetry: Makin’ My Bed

Retired me. Who cares?
Nothing left to lose.
But I make my bed
almost every day, if I so choose.
That means something,
but I have no idea what or why.

On most days, that’s a lie cuz,
for five decades,
Yolonda did
but when she don’t,
I do
if I can get there
first and I wonder why.

I look at the sheets, covers, and depending
on the time of year, the top bed spread
searching for signs of how I slept that night.
I mean. Who cares? Right?

The pillow goes to the floor, I press a button
to flatten the mat before the sheet is pulled
to the tight top where
it is — only when made.
Like a surgeon
I begin the art
of vanishing lumps and wrinkles.

The Air Force gave me Army lessons
on how to make my bed,
more like a bunk or cot.

Rudely rousted at reveille with
bright lights and loud
everything to fall out into
the dark of early morning
in a few minutes for roll call.

At 18, mom’s boy had to be
all bright and spiffy,
a sharp troop at Dress right,
DRESS, attentive eyes FRONT.
A bed made so tight
two-bits bounced a foot
or gigged in for the weekend,
shining brogans, boots, buttons, and brass.
Our racks trashed.

Who cares? Right? I did then.
I look at my bed now,
no olive drab green wool blanket,
tightly tucked with
no fake pillow
too small for a human head,
no quarter to bounce.

Retired but bed made.
No gigs. Weekends free, still. A made
bed is work of art, a memory,
and if nothing else,
it’s ready for me at the end of this day.

Play Retreat first, then Taps, sleep well,
final Reveille sounds early.

***

Both ways begin with dreams at night,
in the morning it’s high and tight.
Look both ways.
Mind the gaps and the gigs. FALL OUT!


Gig is military slang for demerit. Gigged in means restricted to barracks due to excessive demerits. “Gig ‘em, Aggies!” is not the same gig.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender 135, barricade


Seven-twelve, Forty-one

Sunday. Blessed dullness fenced
by deceptive barricades of ocean’s
water; the sails flotilla, distant bushido,
flying samurai set to slaughter
the honor of death to a sleeping
dragon, killing two thousand and more.

Pride in death over defeated dishonor
slithers and hums into beating hearts
of heroes from hell’s kitchen to honor
as oppressed saves oppressor,
as hours of death’s destruction
delights devils with a world at war.

Zeros screamed as tora roared and
state magazines exploded when the
dragon opened one eye and a bloody
mess of shock and awe was felt
around the globe and demon war
smiled, the angel of peace died.

Two thousand young dead,
two thousand more, thousands
butchered before
the sun set in the west
to a flash of final disgusting rage,
the emperor surrendered
with a whimper laid waste.


Look both ways, to a past of shameful honor and error,
as the future plays reruns.
Mind the gaps for truth of mankind’s inhumanity.

***

Poetry: Up Your Rolex

You know who you are,
driving fast and weaving past
in your European model automobile
costing four to ten times
the worth of my car. I am so
sorry to have used your
private interstate highway

And set my cruise control
a mere smidgen over
the legal speed limit of eighty
fucking statute miles an hour.

I was foolish indeed,
to humbly assume such speed
would suffice to get you
to your Sunday morning
emergency appointment.

Trucks once had their speed limits
for safety. But, no longer. Perhaps
you can have limits removed
for drivers of a Beamer, Audi,
Benz, or a Lex.

Maybe even
your own lane forbidden
to the minions who believe
their thirty-dollar Timex
is as good with time
as your uptown Rolex.

My foolish economy has jaded
my vision since I struggled
to see life your way.

And finally, begging your pardon
one last time.
Fuck you, asshole.

***

Look both ways, these wankers pass on both sides.
Mind the gaps, they’re filled by saps.

Poetry Report: November Poems + Ann’s

I’ve written that the best thing about August is September. Not this year. September brought several personally stressful events into my normally complacent private world. October was a month for healing and action. Gradually, recovery unfolded as those things apparently changed to my favor thanks to the efforts of a few loving people.

I did not win the lottery, but I began to relax. November was the best of the three months—not exactly perfect, but the worries from two months earlier seemed controlled. I’ll take it.

Thanksgiving Day is the traditional time our immediate family gathers. It is our time. Indeed, we had a house full, but I put in my notice for next year. We’re too old for that shit. It was fun and we are all grateful for how things have turned out so far. But there are people out there trying to make a living fixin’ turkey, giblet gravy, cranberry whatever, and all that stuff. I should help.

This poem was written about me writing a poem each day by a friend from my writers’ group. After Ann, who I like to call Barbara Ann (not her real name – long story: Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann and the Beach Boys), read it during one of our poetry sessions. I requested, and she gave me, permission to post it here.

One Poem A Day?
By Ann Bordelon

“A poem a day?” That’s quite a task!
I say that’s wa-a-a-a-ay too much to ask.
One a week might be realistic,
But one a day is too optimistic.
They don’t have to rhyme, you say,
But still, one every single day?
There aren’t that many words in my brain,
I’ll run out in a month, what a strain.
Please tell me that this is a sort of a joke
And the reality is that you misspoke.
Instead of “one poem a day” you meant,
“One poem a week is what we should invent.”

Thanks, Ann. Wonderful poem. I’m honored.

I don’t know if I could cut back to less than one poem a day, much less to one a week. On this coming New Year’s Eve, I will complete my mission of composing at least one poem each day during 2019. After that, who knows?

The titles/topics of the daily poems I wrote during November were:

  1. Dying Dignity
  2. Ineffable
  3. First Reading
  4. Finding Treasure
  5. Poets are Dying
  6. Editing
  7. Don’t Bite Me
  8. Natural Brutality
  9. Liminal
  10. Some Cussing Required
  11. Precious and Rare Days
  12. To PC or not to PC, a Question
  13. Thoughts
  14. Imagined Solutions
  15. Muse Berries
  16. Draconian
  17. Up Your Rolex
  18. My Colorado Morning
  19. Extraordinary Knowing
  20. Lie to Me
  21. Dear Deer
  22. The Gap is Gray
  23. I Hear You Died
  24. The Final Week
  25. My Twilight Swim
  26. Ignorance is not Bliss
  27. Expectations
  28. Cowboys 2.0
  29. Body Gremlins
  30. Morphology

As we enter the last month of the year, I look both ways—to future months
as I wonder what’s next with a curious fantasy about the advent
of a new time and age. I think about past months
with more satisfaction than I’m entitled.
I shall mind the gaps in my life, one day at a time.

Sammi’s Weekender – ‘morphology’ in 37

So I titled this Morphology. Click for her blog page, rules, etc.

 


Morphology

We are corrupted sons and daughters,
DNA mutated zygotes of morphological mystery,
victims of copy and editing errors
peppered by pinpoint mutation mistakes
riddled with repeated chromosome
rearrangement. We are human GMOs
hopelessly mutating and morphing,
naturally.


Look both ways, inside and out, for wonders and miseries of life.
Mind the evolutionary gaps in dividing cells.

Essay: Why Mind the Gap?

Who said, “We’ll leave the light on for you?” Most adult Americans probably know who (Tom Bodett) and why (Motel 6 ad). It’s a famous advertising end tag.

I don’t advertise, sell, or profit from either of my blog sites. But I do use the static intro taglines feature of WordPress themes for both blogs. You can’t see the intro tagline on Our Literary Journey because this page is a clean and sanitized theme. While the menu icon brings up more info, it does not display the tag line (Driveling twaddle by an old flapdoodle). Maybe I should create something less self-effacing.

However, the intro tagline is front and center on the Dispassionate Doubt theme. I do not use an end tag there; usually it’s just a relevant meme or quotation.

On September 4, 2016, a few months after I started Our Literary Journey, I began using the Look both ways end tagline. I change it slightly each time to relate to the post. Seven weeks later, on October 21st, I added a second end tag, Mind the Gap (or gaps), also changeable.

Both end tags are philosophically metaphorical phrases for living life—staying alive and healthy. They suggest considering all sides (pro and con), hearing people out, looking for answers (or for questions), discerning danger, being careful and taking risk, learning and remembering lessons, and trying new and different things. Although, consistency and longevity are credible virtues.

Over the years, I’ve become more aware of the word gap (retail clothing notwithstanding) and how we use it. For a three-letter, one-syllable word, it can mean so many different things. To the degree that gap is synonymous with crack, I find much meaning in Cohen’s song verse.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen, lyrics from his song, Anthem

Gap has several definitions. It could be a break in a barrier (such as a wall, hedge, or line of military defense), an assailable position, a mountain pass or ravine, a separation in space or an incomplete or deficient area. A gap can be a break in continuity, a hiatus, lack of balance, or a disparity such as the gap between imports and exports. It could mean a wide difference in character or attitude, such as the generation gap, or a problem caused by some disparity such as a communication or credibility gap.

Mind the gap comes from the warning on the British Underground/subway. So, when I say mind the gap or gaps, it is a cautionary plea to protect oneself. It is also a suggestion to be careful and pay attention to your environment, particularly what you might not see. Yet, it is more than that. There are gaps in our knowledge, gaps in scientific explanations, gaps or figurative holes in our lives, or maybe gaps growing in our relationships. There is even a god of the gaps.

In my opinion, the biggest gap is between human imagination and reality.

This TEDx talk is about minding the gap. It’s what sparked me to write this post.

And yes, look both ways, into your imagination and toward reality.
And mind the gaps, those eternal infernal spaces
where the light gets in and shines upon mystery.

Poetry: Fortuna Redux (road trip home)

I woke about eight to hit the road early.
First morning routines of granola and coffee,
then chores of pack and load, load some more.
We drove to the gate, I opened and closed,
to keep the horses corralled inside fences.
Drove to the interstate, soon in traffic—
Sweetwater bound.

Missed the turn at Sweetwater, drove on to
Abilene for brunch and a pit stop, then headed for
secondary roads through towns with cool names
like Rising Star (3 miles north of Falling Star Ranch),
somebody loves irony as much as me,
there’s Cross Plains, a Nix, Comanche
(like the Indian tribe), Bangs, and Indian Creek,
many gaps; Buffalo Gap, Indian Gap, Salt Gap,
and Mercer’s Gap plus more; also a Cross Cut and
a town named Cut and Shoot is out there somewhere,
and a Burnet not like the Carol, but cuz it’s Texas
pronounced Burn-it, as they say ‘learn it, dern it’.

We drove through Zepher, a nice town name, too small for me,
and Lampasas; saw signs for Stink Creek and Noodle Mound Road.
I was headed for Round Rock, named for a round rock
in Bushy Creek, there’s a Woman Hollering
Creek somewhere near San Antonio.

We saw ranches and cows, pump jacks and
by the hundreds those big white wind generators
for electricity. We saw goats and their
donkey protectors. Why do small towns
or family-named cemeteries have directional
signs along the road? Don’t the people know
where to go? For genealogists I supposed.

The drive was uneventful except for the on and off,
never the same, gentle rain which kept me changing the
intermittent windshield wiper setting.

Yolonda was chief music DJ.
She did some gettin’ down with BTO,
and even played Abba a while. All in all,
it was a good trip.

It’s nice to be home.
Fortuna Redux one more time.

Look both ways, add front back and sideways while driving.
Enjoy the music with the beat of wipers, but mind the gaps,
Buffalo, Indian, or Salt.

**Other Texas towns with interesting names are Loco, Bug Tussle, Nimrod, Uncertain, North Zulch, Ding Dong, and Nameless. There are also an Old Dime Box and a New Dime Box, and while PA has Intercourse, Texas has a Climax. Click here for more Texasisms.