Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #169 (misanthrope)

Click to visit Sammi’s page and see other responses to her prompt.

 


***

Love and hate, two words
once pithy
now made windy by insincerity,
like sorry or mea culpa (my bad)
to keep some false shallow peace.

Apologies mean little as expressing
regret where no fault or damage was done,
ad infinitum. I’m sorry,
but I’m so not sorry.

No, I don’t love that man nor hate that one,
love does not conquer all without wisdom,

or discernment of the scorpion’s sting.
Call me misanthrope if you like,
or cantankerous skeptic.
I like some people, hate others,
present company excepted.

Words with meaning and grace
make life tolerable. Nothing is perfect.

***


Look both ways, into self and judging others.
Mind the gaps of deception.

Poetry: dVerse Poets Pub 8/4/2020 (window)

Today’s dVerse Poet’s Pub prompt for poetics is Looking out the window, provided by Peter Frankis. While the challenge was to take a picture, post it, and write about it. I adjusted time a bit. I used a picture I searched for and found that my wife took of me through a window, 48 years ago. This idea came to me quickly and I could not let it go.


Circa 1972, through front window of house I grew up in.

The Window Behind Me

A window from the parlor to the covered front porch
of my parents’ home, a memory of chewing paint off the sill,
of watching adults sit and talk and wave as neighbors walked by.
For eighteen years, my view of the world outside
where wind blew, rain fell, thunder clapped, people sang,
cars passed and honked. Life beckoned me to the stage,
through that window.

What was I thinking 48 years ago? My young wife and new son
in the window behind me. Our future? Was I talking or listening to
a passerby? Was I thinking of losing that hair as it turned gray?
Four-years military—done! College degree, done! Responsibility
branded me an armed man. Was I up to it? Did I have life,
or had it taken me?

Would the photographer still be my wife after 54 years? Would I have two
more children and would they be in their forties with more kids?
Would I build two careers and retire? Would I write poetry?
I had time. I knew I would live forever. I did not even know what I didn’t know.
Now, I know. Some I wish I didn’t discover. A window from the past
reflecting the future. The present me, right here, right now, today.
I want to say, relax, you’ll be fine.


Look both ways through every window.
Mind the gaps and cracks.

Sammi’s Weekender #166 (hinterland)


Lannan banished him to Marfa, city of minimalist art,
in the hinterlands high-plains desert, a Trans-Pecos cowboy patch
in far west Texas. Controversial, wrangled, and angry (bless his heart),
Bloodaxe English poet Peter Reading endured being sacked

For having gallish cheek, remaining ununiformed 22 years,
being poet, For the municipality’s elderly,
as a mindless weighbridge operator and lover
of fine wine and birds, with gruesomely ironic humor.

Peter and I were born on the same Saturday,
he in Liverpool, I was not.
His revenge – Marfan and Shitheads.


Look both ways for hammering truthful humor
and light romantic comedy.
Mind the gap, said the man to the day tripper.

Poetry: Love Sounds

Thorns are in gardens,
And colors from pretty flowers,
Rose pedal jellies are sweet.

This world of sounds,
Voices heard, long before birth—
Mother, father, sister, brother.

Sounds of nature,
So sweet and quiet,
Some warn of danger,
Others safe passage,
Voices of friends,
A love,
Some grumpy old men.

In time,
Life’s pleasures wane and wither,
Music comes not as before,
Beautiful sounds are
Nothing to waste.

Disallow atrophy
Of lust
For a wondrous life.
Be alert.
Sounds. Enjoy them.
Be aroused
By smiles and touches
Of troubadour drums.

Surround yourself with pleasures.
Hear every note
With silences between.
Waste nothing.
Mind our gifts.

Take care,
my love.
Some things shall not
Always be there.


Look both ways with eyes and ears.
Mind the gaps between notes and words.

Poetry: End Times

You spoke, and I awoke,
yet I fear
the time is near
when the dark depressing truth
of humanity
will take root on its tail
and then devour itself to
end it all
forever. Maybe
that’s our difference.

You claim
god so wants it,
I say let’s ask
him
or her
or it
whatever.


Look both ways.
Because you were alive yesterday does not prove you will be tomorrow.
Mind the gaps in thought and deed.

Sammi’s Weekender: obdurate


Dying to Self

The obdurate lad labeled shallow,
his brooding nature, vengeful plotting,
lacked love, friendship, deep perspective.

The cold-hearted brutish Devil Dog
sought glory in death, salvation through agony,
shadows to kill without meaning or purpose.

Death and destruction his insensate shield,
as he was, he couldn’t survive
in this world at peace with love.

Curses of sympathy and empathy
mysteriously hatched humanity into his soul.
The old poet sleeps feeling thoughts of emotion.


Look both ways for the glory of Beowulf.
Mind the gaps in hidden emotions,
lest the beast of Cain’s progeny kill the stoic.

Poetry: Everything Changes

I wrote two poems for Sammi’s weekender. I posted the first one Saturday. This is the second.


Everything Changes

Into a kaleidoscope
of passion we creep,
from stumbling blocks
to steppingstones,
we eventually leap
mortared passages,
segues of
unplanned journeys,
everything changes.


Look both ways to see all parts of life.
Mind the gaps where trouble may lurk.

 

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 28)

Day 28 prompt: describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem.


Noreen got Married

Circa 1899, a row of ten two-story homes were built. On the second floor of the third house down from Madison Street, toward Washington, we had four bedrooms, and one bathroom like the other nine, faux-fronted; leaky, flat, black-tar roofed, wood construction row, or block homes, in local vernacular. Now townhomes go up for sale.

Mom & Dad had a front bedroom. Danny was ten and had the other. Down the hall Shirley, about 14, had a room to the right, next to the one small bathroom. The largest room was Noreen’s, who was twenty. I cribbed in my parent’s room.

The house to the left had 11 (9 kids, mostly girls). To the right, a multi-generational family group of about eight, depending on who died or committed suicide. We were a lucky few.

I got Danny’s room when Noreen married and moved three blocks away, and Danny moved to hers. I recall feeling special. My own room, one size up from the bathroom, but mine. And a bed. No crib.

My room had a window but no closet. A chest for things and a small brown metal cabinet. I recall the room larger than it is. I don’t recall the wallpaper. Dad used a steamer to remove it. He painted over bare plaster and lath walls with textured green or blue paint that scratched if you rubbed against it.

Each second-floor room had one lightbulb hanging down in the center with a pull-chain. The only wall switches were push-buttons in the hall stairway, dining room, and going down into the cold, wet, filthy cellar. Electricity was an afterthought.

Rooms had capped, stubbed, pipes sticking out of a wall from when gas was used for lighting. Stubs were convenient to hang things but were live gas lines.

Wood plank floors were covered with linoleum in designs and colors I forget, but all showed traces of wear and the plank flooring beneath. Each ended about a foot from walls.

My room was directly over our living room, or parlor as they liked to call it. It had a vent for heat from a nineteenth century, coal-fired furnace in the dirt-floored cellar.

An old, unused chimney stuck out from my west wall. That prevented my bed from being against the wall, thus leaving a gap on one side, a place to hide magazines and things I did not want Mom to see. They were not nudes or porn, but risqué enough for me as I recall. I never told the priest in confession about the hiding place or what I stashed there.

The street was close below my window and Packy’s saloon was only two houses up, making noise a constant when my window was open, only a bit less loud when not. After we got TV, I’d fall asleep listening to the music of Perry Mason or whatever they watched.

When Danny finally left for the Marines, I moved to the back bedroom – a rite of passage. It had a door to the outside used to sneak out at night until I got caught. But my first bedroom has many stories, some remembered, most forgotten, many denied. It was a big deal in my life, until it wasn’t.


Look both ways in houses with more past than future.
Mind the gaps for cold drafts and loose boards.

Birthday Girl is Sleeping

It’s Yolonda’s birthday, y’all. Here’s my poem for her…


She fills up my senses,
like a fine wine after dinner,
it don’t get no mo’ betta
than this, and a kiss.

She takes care of me
not that I need it, maybe
a little guiding tap, now
and then. Keeps me right.

She tells me that she loves me,
god knows I deserve less,
and what I need to know
and her glowing
septuagenarian happiness.

Fifty-four year in a month
livin’ the dream, they want to know,
how? I really can’t answer.
Truth be known,
she shudda shot my effing ass,
many a year ago.

Happy dyslexic thirty-seventh,
of which ya put up with many
shenanigans galore.
May you and we go
fo’ 54 mo’.


Happy Birthday.