Poetry: Electable Swine (NaPoWriMo day 24)

My NaPo challenge today was to find a factual article about an animal. I was to be sure it frequently repeated the name of the animal. I was to go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else, either abstract or concrete. Then, I could rearrange and edit the article into a poem.

Since my grandson raises pigs, and my daughter, his mother, loves them, I chose an article about pigs. I replaced pigs with politicians and changed a few other words (like boar to bore) before trimming into a humorous, somewhat insulting, poem. Now I have an urge to read Animal Farm.


Politicians are mammals with stocky bodies,
flat snouts that can move independently
of their heads, small eyes, and large ears.
Intelligent, social animals,
they’re found all over the world.

Politicians come in eight genera.
Sixteen species include wild bores,
wart-poli-hogs, pygmy poli-hogs,
and domestic politicians.
Politician, hog, and bore essentially
describe the same animal,
but there are some distinctions.

A bore is an uncastrated male
domestic politician, but it also means
a wild politician of any gender.
A hog often means a domestic politician.
Politicians are also called swine.

Today, of 2 billion domesticated politicians
on the planet, most are classified as wild bores.
Wild politicians vary in size.
The largest bore is the giant forest hog.

Bores, politicians, and hogs live all over,
except for Antarctica, northern Africa
and far northern Eurasia. Red River hogs,
also called bush politicians, are found in Africa.

All politicians wallow in mud
to help regulate their body temperature
and discourage parasites.

Politicians are “cognitively complex,”
capable of remembering objects,
perceiving time, and navigating environments.
Politicians can be playful.

Politicians communicate with
grunts and squeaks; as they warn
other politicians of approaching danger.
A politicians’ primary defense is speed,
but when cornered, tusks are weapons.


Look both ways in the Animal Farm (yes, that one).
Mind the Orwellian gaps for Democratic Socialists
who believe all animals are equal.

Note: Politicians will eat anything, including people. Farm accordingly.

Poetry: How did it feel? (NaPoWriMo day 23)

This morning, NaPo challenged me to write a poem that responds to another poet’s poem. I chose one titled “Natural History” by Leroy V. Quintana, one of five of his Viet Nam poems featured on PBS. But I could have responded to any, or all, of the five.


How did it feel?
To know you must go to Nam, to maybe die,
or go to jail, or to Canada?
To go there to kill any enemy, VC, NVA, or…?
To be overcome by fear, and to be forced
To kill anything that moved?
You’ve felt such fear I’ve never felt.
Not just some fight or flight twinge,
but big, sweaty, trembling, shit-your-pants fear,
both rational and sometimes crazy,
a fear that never goes away,
fear mixed with phenomenal anger,
when everything slows down, or stops,
where all you see, hear, feel,
smell, or taste wants to kill you, to maim you?
To suck the blood from your body?
And you can only live by killing him first,
or by not fighting, or shooting into the darkness,
or not, for fear of being exposed, or by tossing
grenades, or by friendly artillery fire so near you,
it may kill you? And most of all, how did it feel
to leave your comrades behind, to fly home
to clean clothes, a steak dinner, and
a thankless nation ignoring you,
wishing we’d all just go away? Trying to forget?


Look both ways along the path of a warrior,
that person sacrificed for the good of some system
like Capitalism, Communism, or Catholicism.
Mind the gaps for the fears and tears of real people,
both the living and the dead.

Poetry: Siege by Stone (NaPoWriMo day 22)

The Napo challenge for today was to write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place. The trebuchet, mangonel, or catapult sling was a siege weapon of choice against castles and enemies during the Middle Ages (500 to 1500AD). I like the sound of the word, trebuchet, especially when pronounced in French.

Other rabbit hole excursions while working on this prompt included diaspora literature (poems), mango, metonym, and 7th Century classic poetry compiled by Confucius. But what the Hell? I had all day (sarcasm).


A sling toss of a single stone
When David slew Goliath, made
Profound religious history, in theory.

Rome grew in a millennium,
Then died. Dark times rose
From those civil ashes, a beastly age.

From the hands of naked boys
To the age of sling-shot artillery:
The trebuchet. A French feast of fright.

Stones and bones, living or long dead,
Fodder with missiles from mangonel
Machines to crush citadel and castle walls.

Thunder carriages bring down life
With strikes of slow siege and certain
Pillage, rape, death, and lifelong slavery.

Now ancient artillery, the trebuchet pales
Beside man’s modern tech-machines of death.
Is cold hearted mankind the final stone?


Look both ways to war,
that human endeavor we can’t seem to stop.
Mind the gaps, the sound of peace is often war at rest.

 

Poetry: Single Deed (NaPoWriMo day 21)

On the 21st day of April, Napo challenged me to create of poem like the “creepy” nursery rhyme, “There was a man of double deed.” While the prompt and example did not require rhyme, it felt better for me to pair them, as in the double deed piece. While this is one long poem of nine rhyming couplets, I broke the “how and when” sequence at line eight because the focus of the narrator changed. This dark poem is no nursery rhyme.


How old is old enough?
When did life become so tough?
How much time is yours or mine?
When will come our final chime?
How did life become this game?
When can we end all such pain?
How much loss can we endure?
When it’s over, will we be sure?
What we had for all those years,
How sad for us, all those tears.
What have we left of memories?
Let’s dance to end bad remedies.
What has life given us in the end?
How much love we failed to spend?
Here I am to make my plea.
I am here love, please set me free.
How long are lives strong enough?
Let us know when life gets rough.


Look both ways when the road is blocked.
Life has a beginning, middle, and an end,
but mind the gaps where the unbearable lingers
.

Poetry: Sijo for Two (NaPoWriMo day 20)

The NaPo prompt for day 20 was to write a poem in a traditional Korean poetic form called sijo, in English of course. Sijo is a specific form with a little flexibility unless one wished to exercise poetic license to color outside the lines. Since these are only three lines of 14 to 16 syllables each, I wrote two for Tuesday.


Marvelous Melancholy

I forgot about something important. What being bored feels like.
Oh, how I long for the days when I could do what I wanted.
Now I can’t just up and do, up and go. I mustn’t fall on my ass.

***

A Taste of Tint

Like yellow, it has never been one of my favorite colors.
Did I ever favor any one color over another?
I’m starting to like orange. Never saw a color I didn’t like.


Look both ways. Then smile. Sing a song, “I’m Alive!”
Mind the gaps for forgotten sorrow or the taste of color.

Poetry: Rant (NaPoWriMo day 19)

Today is day 19. I was challenged by NaPoWriMo to write a humorous rant. In this poem, I was licensed to excoriate (I prefer bitch) to my heart’s content. I ranted about ranting.


Let Me Explain

I’ve been okayed to rant.
I should be good at this
cuz lots of practice,
but I need a subject;
like in a poem, something
specific to rant about.

I prefer small audiences
or choirs to preach to,
preferably from my own tribe.
I need to know what I’m
talking about, no random topics
that just piss me off for now;
politics, religion, or both might work.

I should stand. My face will redden.
I need not be near breakables,
like nick-nacks or small animals. I can
frighten cats, small dogs may cower
into a corner, and I need a timer.

Like I’m Italian talking normal,
I need to waive my arms and make
gestures about the size of fish I caught,
or the size of my antagonist’s penis.

If Yolonda is there, she will tell me
to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut.
I’ll claim NaPo permissive prompt status
or poet’s privilege, but she won’t care.
She’s heard it all before.
I’ll call him “needle dick the bug fucker,”
for laughs, then I can sit down and let it all go.


Look both ways, be it a declaration of war,
burying the hatchet, smoking a peace pipe, or opening kimonos.
Mind the gaps because that’s where the trouble starts.

Poetry: Fear of Poetry (NaPoWriMo day 18)

The eighteenth day NaPo challenge was to write a poem based on the title of a chapter, as a prompt, in Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. After reading the “look inside” on Amazon, I bought the book at 4 AM. Then I selected Chapter 51, “Fear of Poetry.”


Fear of Poetry

They say, poems find us.
They say, we cannot teach how to poem
words, to think one, or to write one.
They say, we are not all the same,
but we are all equal, or should be,
simply different I suppose. King
thinks writers (poets) are born.

I fear no rainforest, not electricity,
nor my own subconsciousness;
yet ocean depths, being too high,
or the worst of my fears, being a fool
can imprison me: body, mind, and spirit.

Unlike others, poems came to me ever since
I was forced to memorize “O Captain! My Captain!”
at age 13, long before I understood much of anything.
But I hid my love of it for fear of what
poetry might mean to me. Like repressed memories
or unrequited love, I hid from, ignored what I loved.

Now behind that mental dam of fear is stored
years of unexpressed ME (or is it I?) – poetry.
Only in demonstrative anger
or stoically hidden sorrow did I feel safe.
Since owning that,
since calling myself poet,
then writing and thinking,
I let them out. One poem at a time.


Look both ways to see where it began and where it might end.
Mind the gaps because it’s never to late to be completely you.

Poetry: Dark Moon Rising (NaPoWriMo day 17)

For better or worse, the moon seems to exert a powerful hold on poets. Today, I was challenged to stop fighting the moon. I didn’t know I was, but I was to lean in and accept the moon. I was to know that the moon wants what’s best for me. I was to write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon.


Dark Moon Rising

Today it is waxing crescent,
can be called the drinking moon,
because it wouldn’t spill a drop.

The full moon rising
this month and year,
should be April twenty-sixth,
it’s Spring’s Pink Super-moon,
not pink in color, but calls to a flower.

Tonight, the moon’s brightness
at twenty-four percent,
flying four point eight-two days
of its twenty-nine point five-three
days to orbit the earth
and to do its thing.

Writers love our moon
it anchors our latest story,
choosing when the moon is full
or when it’s gone
and making moon anew.

For the moon of the night
it’s not the sun’s reflection
that makes our moon so bright,
it’s the honest truth of darkness,
the darkness of the night.


Find your way in the darkness, use the moon for light.
But mind the gaps for there are dangers in the night.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #205 (uncanny)

Click image for Sammi’s Blog

Magic Music

Music finds my mood,
picks at my soul
it finds my feelings,
uncannily,
making music mine.
Is our love for sound and music
the saving grace of life?
Or is it our destiny
not to think about it twice?


Listen to the music but look to see it both ways.
The gaps between the notes, a place where angels play.