Poetry: Our Place in Line (NaPoWriMo) Day Eighteen

Today, the NaPo lady challenged me to write an elegy of my own. One in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

As far back into childhood I recall,
they say my day, my time, will come.
One day, perhaps quietly
or in some fitful mental agony
it will be my time to die.
But the bell has not
yet tolled for me—
soon enough—
it will.

Every pet, dog or cat,
lightning bug in a jar, turtle
or Easter chick; every snake, worm, or
ant; butterfly or bird, fish
or tarantula , things that flew,
crawled, walked or ran,
or just a sighting in the wild—
they’re all dead now—
I don’t know
what that is—
but they’re gone.

Every childhood friend is dead,
my mother died long after dad,
sisters both gone,
(estranged brother
I don’t know about,
he may outlive me,
if so, let it be).
I won’t know.

Uncles and aunts, one cousin (sort of) all
gone and others I don’t know about,
but they (ones I knew) are dead.
There may be some still doing,
but people of my memories
are past life. And this,
my friend,
is normal.

Some things don’t die, all people do.
Poets die (some never replaced)
but poems don’t.
The two most important
breaths we take,
the first and the last—
all the others
we call living.
That’s life,
Frank.

My sister would telephone,
“Billy” she’d say, “guess who died?”
she said, and then
she’d tell me.

When everyone and everything
I know of has died,
how do I know
who is next in line?
Is it I?
Or is it you?
Not if,
but when!

© Bill Reynolds, 2/18/2019

Know why you look both ways, otherwise, it is simply a meaningless turn of the head.
There will always be gaps but mind them anyway.

Poetry: Poem’s Point of View (NaPoWriMo) Day Seventeen

Today, I’m challenged to write a poem that presents a scene from an unusual point of view.

***

He will not leave me alone. All that touching and feeling me, he tweaks me mercilessly,
and (too often) makes me look like barfed up SpaghettiOs.
It’s embarrassing.
He thinks I am his and that he knows all about me.
He doesn’t.
I know teenagers who know more about me than that old fart.
Others simply see my words or hear my meter while he sees me as his personal art (bitch).
He puts his name on me – how rude is that? He doesn’t get it.

He talks about me (us—there are others) endlessly, influencing his friends
to fool around with me.
Sometimes he gets violent with paper and pen and pushes me around
because he thinks his mental malady will be short-lived. How rude!

He knows so little. He has been writing poetry for fifty-three (long) years.
BFD, right?
When he was young with a hard cock, he ignored me. Thoughts?!
That’s all I got from him. He liked us, but he was ashamed
because I didn’t do much to make him look strong and tough and mean.
I think he is an imposter and so does he.

I am all he does—all he thinks about. He explores me in every embarrassing way,
he sniffs me, touches me, he reads bawdy stories. He acts like I am some sort of trophy bride. And oh, my fucking god!
The limericks! The men who write them must be burning in hell.
I know for a fact that he’d rather a crusty, edgy limerick over a sweet love song poem.

Sometimes he writes me and then loses me.
Rather than be upset, he writes another me.
It’s as though I matter, but I also don’t. Which is it?
What the fuck?
He will never win a damn thing.
He wants to put us in a book and claim us as his own.
Such possessiveness! It’s unacceptable.
We are our own persons, who just happen to be poems.
If we belong to anyone, it is the poetic universe,
but he’ll never understand that.

There are reasons he was as he was,
and more reasons why he is as he is,
but none of that has anything to do with us,
the poems, the words, the lines and rhymes of Our verse.

When he looks at me it is like he is seeing a ghost, a shapeless cloud figure,
wavering without beginning or end,
just flowing shapes in many forms of endless words,
of unknown visions and interpretations.

Oh crap, he is picking up that god damn pointed, sharp pencil.
Soon he will be poking and scratching, adding and removing, or changing—endless changes.

In my next life, I want to be prose. Just a little time on his laptop, maybe one printing and we’re done. At least he knows prose and has been doing it since way back.
This rookie old fart poet will be the end of it all.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/17/2019

Look at all things both ways, male and female, creator and created, toucher and touched, kisser and kissed, poet and poem. Mind the gaps which harbor resentment of the art.

Poetry: The Stock of Love (NaPoWriMo) Day Fifteen

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.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/15/2019

Look both ways to feel the times of birth, love, life, and death.
Mind the gaps in space and time.

Poetry: Searching for Nothing

wandering the halls, pacing, here,
then there, this way and that – in
corridors between over-decorated
rooms of the hopeless romantic lover
and the stark stripped-bare
reality of a stinking nihilist’s
hopeless shit-house of oblivion,
with its dullness and pointless obscurity

looking for answers in pain
where
too many unreal illusions
are at one end,
and silent nothingness
at the other,
just the bitter taste
of death
following me – chasing me

divining into these closets of insanity,
the brutality of life pounding
and raping each victim as one
reaches for love to taste
no eternal bliss or to miss –
eternal silence, quiet, peace.

©Bill Reynolds 3/28/2019

Look both ways. You need to know what’s coming and going.
Look again to mind the gap.

Essay: Rocks Can Speak

When I was a very young lad, one day as I was walking along a well-worn path, I noticed a stone of interesting size and shape. The stone briefly entered my short span of attention, as did many things lying about my undiscovered world at that age. I don’t recall many other details about my surroundings that day, but they no longer matter.

That was the first time a stone was not just another rock lying among other random bits of littered scree. Certainly, similar discoveries have occurred thousands of times throughout my life while walking, running, hiking, exploring, or just hanging out (thinking or not). This was a simple event that works as my metaphor for many other life events involving discovery, reason, and doing.

The rock was just lying there among others, perhaps for a thousand years or more. I wasn’t yet thinking in geological or historical terms. Stones have served many purposes after they were formed millions, perhaps billions, of years ago. There it was on the ground with others just where my eye located it. It had probably been moved around in one fashion or another over the centuries. I had no way of knowing, nor did I care. Even before approaching it, I was mentally making my I saw it first claim.

Living organic things come and go. Almost all life forms have appeared for a time and then were gone. Over 99 percent of life is extinct. Some rocks may contain fossilized records of past lives, but most are just inorganic minerals. I was not the only child who saw rocks, sticks, or other items as things naturally intended to be thrown about. Getting the right rock and throwing it brings a feeling of success. Skipping rocks on water is a universal rite of passage.

Looking around at the organic things today, I realize that most are less than 100 years old, and less than 50 in current forms. The complexities of the laws of thermodynamics (physics) change things, but we only see the now.

Neither I nor the stone said anything, Rocks don’t talk or hear in the animal sense. But nature can speak to us through both organic living things and through inanimate objects, such as rocks and fossils.

As I moved, the rock played its role as a lifeless stone like billions of similar objects covering the surface of the Earth. Rocks are infinitely expert at going with the flow. River rocks spend so much time tumbling in the roll of water they lose their edge and become rounded. The rock I saw did not sparkle, twinkle, or do anything spectacular. But I saw it. I squatted and half bent over so I could pick it up with my hand. That was many years ago.

More recently, I picked up another rock – my first in years. I carefully examined it, top, bottom, and all sides. One learns that by picking things up, especially rocks, one must carefully examine the item to ensure it is a lone stone, and not one littered with objectionable attachments. It must be just the boy, or now the man, an old man, and the rock with no another surprises.

While I didn’t bother to analyze it, the rock was local Austin limestone, or chalk rock, which is said to have formed in the window of 100 to 200-million years ago. It didn’t matter, and at the time, what I was looking at was just an old rock. Or was it?

Ideas are like stones. Once you pick one up, you must examine it, and only then decide what to do with it. As with stones, I have dropped ideas, put them in my pocket for later pondering, or threw them. When throwing ideas or stones, one must distinguish between discarding, sharing, or targeting. The first is simply throwing it away or back to where it came from. The second is communing by tossing it to someone else. But the third is capturing the idea or stone for our own creative purposes. Like rocks, ideas can speak to us. We just need to listen.

Look both ways for material and ideas. That’s what creativity is all about.
Toss some back to the gods, share some with others, or use them within your own art.
Mind the gaps. Look there for those hidden gems.

Like rocks, ideas may be too big.

Poetry: March

Since March was the first month of the new year in ancient Rome, some historians believe the Romans named March after Mars, their god of war.

Time for a poem – warning ADULT LANGUAGE. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. (Now you’re really curious, right?)

Man of March

Kiss me goodbye said Winter,
his eyes a-twinkle and a
guilty smirk, we find the
month of a Roman god, of
the lion and lamb, the
time of dancing transition
from the hard cock of cold
mister Winter to a soft sweet-
smelling moist pussy of
Spring, when even the
fucking pear look lovely
dressed with flowers and
the promise of new life
born of Spring, before
the Dragon swoops down
with heat and fire after
April, the last of the Kind
before October’s dance
(at 73) of fest and feast.
Hello, March, Man of
Venus and Lover
of Spring’s Pleasures!

©Bill Reynolds 3/4/2019

The best time to look both ways is when we are between the times. Mind the gap.

Poetry: How it was

 

we were wine drunk in a sad state
rain fell softly, our feet bare in tall grass
we discovered and devoured everything
it was a time, I wish we could go back to

a place that no longer exists
nothing is the same
we are not the same
like rain runs off an old tin roof

we did our best
we were all winging it
without a book of instructions
we loved and tried and cried

sickness taught us about mortality
and of time
of right and of wrong
of a balance of life based on mystery

life gave us as much as we took
we were brittle, we were broken
we looked deep to encompass pain
to draw a circle around it and around us

the circle around us, that was grace,
I, just a boy, you, a girl, we
to each other, every boy and girl
we had ever had and lost

we wanted to leave, to not exist,
to go leaving no tracks or marks
to be forgotten and not followed,
we yearned only for us to be

we wondered how to live
for ourselves and for life and
because we believed
in each other as one spirit

we wanted to see the sky,
to go home, but how ?
we did not think past us
over our shipwrecked lives

everything was falling and not falling
the next toehold in life was
sore tired hearts and bodies
of the children we were, we are

we lost, unsure of what was real
we didn’t know what to do or to write
or to say or to ask, to only feel a sad
liberating acceptance of a deeper sadness

we were stripped of a dignity in life
of all things tried and failed
all the love we’re ever given
can be invoked long after it’s gone

I’m here
we are here
in this moment, this place, a time
when once there was this: us.

©Bill Reynolds 1/21/2019

Look both ways, but love the past we’ve lost to the cosmos.
Those gaps are gone, sadly.