Today, I’m challenged to write a dramatic monologue poem. I tried to create specific voices of character that act as both narrators of the poem and participants, which could be acted out by someone reciting it.
He is just there, out of reach for now.
Or is it us? So waiting and watching his stare.
Dare we touch such darkness, or look upon him,
in a time to sample solutions?
To this time we have come, as you and I will have done,
to seek his work in our lives.
The darkness that follows, at times closer or farther,
but always, always there.
We look not to see into his darkness
as he looks upon us with calm eyes
for seeking an inevitable time, when we
feel his welcome breath as a wind of the wise.
With a song he beckons us to release
this pain of our suffering into his care.
This love has been our personal world,
but now we may touch an eternal threshold of peace.
Release me not, but allow you go with me
in search of our final love of his prize.
With pain and regret I feel deep in my bones,
to him, I send you in my despair.
Such shaking a coward deep within me,
I step into our eternal new home.
As we lie here in the dark, and together we sleep,
for a time never again to rise.
My challenging prompt for today was to write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or to otherwise make productive use of my native (and only) language and its ridiculous complexity of spelling and grammar rules, and the unlimited opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.
The good which hailed me
into the knight
on the ruff waives of see
razing my hares of frite
to witch she would flea
aweigh off to the wright
and leaf me only to pea.
Today, I wrote a poem about something “mysterious and spooky!” (As the prompt challenge defined it.) I mused the denied duality of human nature as set forth in the classic Jekyll and Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  by Robert Louis Stevenson. My review of the book ishere.
Not evil I but you
Live with a darkness
of truth denied with
not to Hide mind
what must be true.
Wretched are you
to ask me to see
a truth as part of I.
Created by god
no evil must I be.
False belief is
the sinless soul
of self-righteous evil,
within you disguised
as good and pure.
As Lanyon needed
Jekyll’s truth to see
from Hyde’s reveal,
to accept the two,
both part of you.
There is no light without darkness,
no good without evil,
no truth without lies,
no life without death,
no two without one.
Seek out truth in you,
of more than half,
balance reality or die
from the only good truth
is really a lie.
Look both ways to find evil and good in you. It is your one and only truth.
Mind the gaps of fear and self-deceit, they hide your Hyde.
“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!” Dr. Lanyon’s words and recollection serve as the climax of the story. The question of Dr. Jekyll’s relationship to Mr. Hyde is resolved.
My poetry challenge on this Friday is to write a poem about two things of mine. One was to be a dull thing that I own, why and how I love it. The other was a significant thing I own and what it would mean for me to give away, or to destroy the object?
*** A Prose Poem
Technology is significant. Toenails are dull. We upgrade computers, cell phones, and tablets. We cut toenails and toss them. Sometimes we wonder why we have nails (sometimes I wonder about computers too). Computers get viruses, toenails get fungi. One seems to make my life easier, the other we may paint and glitz up for fashion. One costs hard-earned cash, while the other may be pedi-’d when we mani-, but they were originally free. Toenails are expendable. They can turn black, fall off, and then grow back – sometimes.
While tech stuff may be frustrating, annoying, and expensive, we keep it close. Attached nails I never forget. But I would not go back home to retrieve a nail. Computers never caused me physical pain. I caused my feet anguish which they returned in misery.
Drop my phone in a toilet – get a new one. Drop this toenail in a toilet, I’d get it out, rinse and dry it off and I’d keep it. People joke about me and my toenail in a bottle. But while a painful memory, it’s a life treasure.
No longer a runner, my marathon streak ended at number 15, the Steamtown Marathon. This one was in the New Mexico portion of the Chihuahuan Desert for nine painful, grueling hours. Blisters as big as my feet, pain from self-abuse, all my toenails turned black. Some fell off.
I made stops at medical tents for foot care and to dump all that sand and desert scree from inside my shoes. During the short refreshing rests and pee breaks, I observed more serious casualties. Some turned back and limped or rode a golf cart home, others took the more serious ambulance rides. It was freezing at the start of the race one mile up and a hot high-desert afternoon when I finished. The blessed mountain top view from another thousand feet up brought a slight smile that said now we’re going down there.
I did the same event over the next three years as a wiser, more experienced participant. Finished all four New Mexico marathons (and the other 11) walking catawampus supported by ego and a feeling of achievement that defies words. It was more than a high. It hurt so good! That toenail is my reminder. I’m keeping it. You can have this other stuff.
My poetry challenge today is to write a poem of origin. Where am I from geographically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And having come from there, where am I now?
It’s not really a home, but it’s where I am from,
a place and a people from whom I’ve come,
other places they called home were not theirs.
Were they as proud as I, of who they were?
My look, perhaps a taste or a talent; a religion
or a language, this tribe of people like me.
Am I good enough? Were they? My foibles,
both pride and shame cloud my reality,
I don’t know what to feel about who or what I am,
or that I am at all, or who or what they were.
Why does it matter now? Is it because
knowing you is knowing me?
Why should I care? Am I a conduit of genes, maybe
I pass on life, survival, perhaps some weakness?
Who am I? Why am I? Why now? What do I want?
Taste, beauty, mindful intelligence, with durability
all passed from them to me, then to continuous family.
Why am I and what did you want? Life until death?
What is it that I don’t know? Not just life, but
thoughts. What did you think? What did you cling to?
Did your strength or weakness pass to me?
We’re from there, and there, and other places.
The you I’ve never met, secrets you’ve never told,
burdens never experienced, fears not shared,
friends, enemies, jealousies, hatreds that
may have traveled, but then died with you.
So much of what I am flowed from you to me.
Maybe I simply pass on, or maybe I just do.
My challenge today was to write a poem that starts from a regional phrase, particularly one to describe the weather. I am not a native Texan, but my wife and children are. I couldn’t do just one because the Texas culture is overflowing with verbal and cultural clever terms and phrases. The dialects for these (and there are so many more) shift, depending upon which part of the state you are in, and whether you’re in a city, small town, or rural setting. Disclosure, I can talk like this and at times, I do.
Looky o’r yonder,
I could sit still for that,
But she’s in a horn tossin’ mood.
Where y’all from?
It’s so dry Ima spittin’ cotton
Here abouts, it’s drier
than a popcorn fart.
Got all gussied up ta
go shoot out the lights,
but just cuz a chicken got wings,
don’t mean it can fly.
It’s hot, y’all!
Hotter ‘n a two-dollar pistol,
Like a billy goat in a pepper patch.
Yes’m, it’s hotter ‘n blue blazes.
Tomorr’a they’ll be frost on the pumpkin,
cold as my ex-wife’s heart,
I mean, cold as hell
with the furnace gone out.
Ain’t no butt ugly,
we all just sweetness an light.
Lord willin’ and
the creek don’t rise.
Speakin’ of suckin’ hind tit,
how ‘bout them Cowboys?
Y’all oughta be a-smilin’
like a jack-ass eatin’ briars.
Today, I’m supposed to write a list of things, a poem, in the style of Sei Shonagon. I decided that my list will be a poem in a series of lines taken from the lyrics of some of my favorite songs. I let a theme emerge as I quickly selected lines jumping out at me.
I’m glad these prompts are not graded.
Fantasy could never be so giving,
Oh lord, make it shallow so that
there’s no turning back.
Such are promises, all lies and jest.
Live and learn from fools and from
sages still a man hears
what he wants to hear.
Honesty is such a lonely word
when I’m deep inside me,
the road is long with many
a winding turn,
but listen carefully to the sound,
there’s battle lines being drawn,
this rage that lasts a thousand years.
Every form of refuge has its price,
everybody’s got the dues in life to pay.
It’d be easy to add up all the pain,
the dark is too hard to beat.
Everyone goes south every now and then
to forget about life for a while,
strange how the night moves,
with autumn closing in.
Nobody seems to care and you
can’t find the door
when logic and proportion
have fallen sloppy dead
on a cold Nebraska night,
but try to understand, try,
try to understand.
What does it matter?
Nothing really matters to me.