NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 6)


Day 6 prompt: write a poem from the point of view of one person, animal, or thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous, bizarre triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. After spending too much time searching the five-hundred-year-old hallucination on wood, I decided on one of two snakes from the left panel.


Blame Game

They could have blamed the moon,
or that unicorn, which never existed,
but no. Let’s go low, they said.

Talking creepy crawlers, snakes,
and fruit peddling serpents make
splendid scapegoats. Why not a goat?

We can’t talk, bark, purr, or bleat.
She points to me, he believes her,
and all hell (right panel pun) happens.

Pin it on snakes, they said. Scary,
but defenseless. Look at panel two’s
big party of naked fruit eaters.

We got the rap for all of that. Sinners
should blame monkeys. At least they
look and act like you people.

And what’s with the guy
growing flowers out his arse?
Who does that that? Not us.

So, what do you get? Panel three.
From a diluted old man
with bad acid in his enema.

Time now to get over it.
Past post-medieval art is fine,
slithering snakes are silent.


Look both ways, or with triptychs, three ways.
Mind the gaps, it’s where the story’s told and the pictures fold.

Click for link.

Sammi’s Weekender #144: sculpture


Cowboys look like Cooper, Wayne,
Marvin; or tall, thin Stewart. I seen
movies in the 50’s,
High Noon or Liberty Valance with
great songs.

Not s’posed to look like the sculpture.
The horse is right,
but the cowboy rock sittin’ is short,
round-faced with a big ‘stash and
no gun, holdin’ reins
lest Ol’ Buck runs off spooked.

The wrangler wears chaps and a jacket.
Reality ain’t movies, both’s art though.


Drop your blinders and look both ways.
Mind the gaps for, “The history of mankind is carried on the back of a horse.”


Sammi’s Weekend Prompt

***

A Sip and a Nib

The poet sits and stares,
then doodles and sketches,
wondering where this will lead.

A sip from the cup of wisdom,
a wandering stare looks
through a window, searching
for worldly ineffable words
of brilliant order, expressing
the unspeakable, describing
all indescribable forbidden things.

A pen finds the artist’s hand,
familiar fingers hold its frame
and place the nib upon paper.

It begins: a poet’s search
for perfection and beauty.

***

Look both ways through the window of inspiration.
Mind the gaps for perfect words. 

Sammies Weekend Writing Prompt 122 — Museum

Monet at Kimbell

Not a big fan of Claude,
I wanted the experience
of seeing his original later work
at the Kimbell Art Museum
in Fort Worth.

In Cow Town, I ran
marathons and we danced
at Billy Bob’s near the stockyards,
and went to see Elvis, Marty Robbins,
and two of our three were born there.

A shining light of cowboy culture,
the Kimbell is one of many
attempts to not be Dallas.
DF dubya is nearby and
Cowboys play football in Arlington,

where the Rangers play baseball
and Six Flags (over Texas)
amusement park resides.
But what is most important
is not the museum or foot races,
not the water garden or train station,

what matters most to me about Cow Town
are the memories. The comrades, the friends,
the scandals and the hanky-panky,
the music (up against the wall, redneck mother)
Oh Lord, I knew it all so well.

But gunna miss the Monet.

Look both ways between Dallas and Fort Worth (I love you).
Mind the endless gaps in between.

Fandango’s Provacative Question (FPQ) #35

Fandango’s Question: Do you believe public figures (e.g., politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors) — or anyone, actually — should be judged by today’s standards for their words or actions from decades earlier? Why or why not?

In the Summertime was written by Ray Dorset, of the group Mungo Jerry, in 1970. Some of the lyrics can be questioned for time and morals, but also for culture and interpretation. The song also says, Life’s for living yeah, that’s our philosophy, which I like. A few other questionable verses make the song neither sexist nor racist, in my view. Dorset is a Brit, about four months my senior, and an active Freemason thrice married with six kids and some grands. He wrote the song in ten minutes. (For what it’s worth.)

The more I think about this good person/bad person in light of the times topic, the more it gets wrapped in the philosophical tentacles of my own confusing need for a balanced, fair, and just (maybe perfect) world. Do I have any right or business judging anyone? What shall I make of people like Jefferson Davis? He was wrong as hell in my book, but not in his. He remains a hero to many.

I mentioned this kind of issue in a recent blog where I discussed the artist Jonas Gerard. Comments indicated that we can separate people’s behavior from their art, but in Gerard’s case, there is a petition to remove his art from city property. And it’s not decades old.

Can we separate the good from the bad, or does a tarnished reputation make all the good suddenly bad? Do I declare a song such as Dorset’s or Baby It’s Cold Outside to be evil because of someone’s PC interpretation? Do I get to declare someone’s art, writing, or music null and void after I learn of their human condition, religion, or political views? It happens a lot.

Charles Lindbergh fell from grace following a pro-Nazi Germany speech. A sample of many more: Cosby, O.J., Armstrong, Burr, Nixon, Haggard, Dixie Chicks, and (oops) another one bites the dust. Yesterday, I was reading about Philip Larkin and how his past may have tarnished his work. Does it? Should it?

I like the book/story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because it reminds me that we all have a dark side: that Jekyll was a good man, but Hyde was not, yet they were entities of the same person.

The answer to Fandango’s question is yes; but I’m sorry to say, also no. Yes, because by today’s standards (whatever those are culturally, interpretatively, or historically) are what we use to judge people today (not that we should, but we do). However, can we manage to form an opinion within the context of times past or some other mitigating circumstance?

Looking back on my life, I’m grateful that no nearby microphones were switched on when I said stupid shit; that no tapes or cameras were rolling when I did equally dumb stuff. While I don’t care or worry much about being judged, I prefer my lowest and worst moments be seen for what they were—not my standard, whatever that is or was.

I like learning that past heroes had weaknesses; dark sides mixed in with talent, wisdom, and intelligence. I have no time for idealistic nonsense. Right is right and wrong is wrong, but there are hundreds of grayish shades between. I’m not religious, but approve the idiom let he who is without sin cast the first stone. BTW, the song also advocates drinking and driving, or it seems to. It shouldn’t. So what?

Look both ways.
Beware not to place heroes too high on a pillar, nor allow your imperfect self
the hypocritical luxury of being the Judge, Jury, Executioner for others;
as so many fools before us have done.
Closely mind the gaps that contain closeted skeletons and dark secrets.

***

Pingback: https://fivedotoh.com/2019/08/07/fandangos-provocative-question-35/

How I want to write poetry. And how I don’t.

I can’t always do it. I would never be openly showy or make any form of art before an audience. I don’t think I could. Challenges or prompts during writing group meetings and a few online are the most I can do in social settings where people know me. Other than that, my writing is a solitary effort, although I’m not exactly the poster boy of the garret-imprisoned scribe. I do write in coffee shops, libraries, parks, waiting or dining rooms, and even during my morning walks. But usually I write at this desk on this laptop.

Yet, I have times of emotional outburst writing. At least one reader seems to know or recognize exactly when that happens. I love the experience, and I find satisfaction when I read my scribble after the excitement has passed. If I can let go of something within me, an inner editor, judge, or critic, I like what happens. I feel so free. It’s about emotionally letting go of something.

I don’t listen to music when I read or write. I can only tolerate classical type without being distracted. I am not sure how it would work. I may try it sometime.

In order to give you an example for what I have in mind, I did some research on a well-known artist who I am familiar with. Well, I thought I was. Nothing about the art is independent of the artist—not the form, method, appeal, depth, or reputation.

Jonas Gerard of Ashville, TN, puts on an impressive show. The personal emotion he displays in making his art is the poster for explaining how I sometimes want to write, especially poetry. I have been to his studio, I have talked to him and several of his assistants, and I bought some of his work.

The youtube video below is an example of what I mean (he did a number of these). The vision of personal emotion (fake or real) is inspiring. But, artist or not, apparently old Jonas (he’s 78 or so) has had issues with untoward behavior (sexual harassment, maybe assault) in his past. I never put this guy on a pedestal or thought of him as anything more than a cool modern artist. Yet, I’m disappointed, angry, and confused. Because of what I learned, I considered not writing this piece or posting it.

But this is about me and I agree with what he says in the video about fear.

I want to write with emotional vigor displayed by Jonas Gerard when he paints. I want to let go, as he mentions. I love it when I can let go. It’s the temporary feeling and process I enjoy. The product, like all writing, will outlive the writer.

Look both ways. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.
Mind the gaps but dismiss excuses.

Poetry: Maybe It’s Me

Chairs out behind the pump house,
the backs gone. They’d be about right
in a junk yard. A real find
when I was a kid—
for our club house.

Roofing tiles, black ones; a small
paint roller, slightly used, almost
worthless; long barbeque tongs—
dirty and slightly rusted; large
branch loppers with rusted
head blades; a ball and a dirty
red shop rag; pointless lawn art
(nice try) unfinished, broken, or
toppled over. All placed
helter-skelter and neglected.

Signs of good intentions;
orbs, artful things; lights
that come on at night; a small
one inch plastic skull;

wildflowers of the
post bluebonnet variety,
pretty yellows, reds, pinks,
some with brown eyes in yellow
bonnet-like petals; pine cones
on the ground among the needles.

I’m in a pleasant and lovely—
if very neglected, garden
of my family—

sitting at a plastic picnic bench
with bird shit, some dirt and
a roofing nail, slightly rusted;
I’m where mule ear prickly cactus
grows among mesquite trees
and bushes, thirsty pines or
some variety of xeriscape trees.

A green ornamental frog, fat,
a foot tall and lying back against a tree,
its foot or flipper broken, kind of a
chunky Buddha sort of frog,
neither smiling nor frowning.

Several cats, one dog; weights cuz
strong men live here with her,
the artist who doesn’t do much
art anymore. I don’t know why.

Vacant seats around empty tables
that the cats think are theirs. Lots
of green now with many
colored wildflowers that will
not last—it’s Spring in west
Texas—a tough country
even for horses, cows, dung
beetles, and snakes.

And for people. And
for flowers when it’s hot,
lucky cuz right now it’s not.

Took a break but
I’m back with wine, reading
psycho poems by crazy
poets (and sipping red wine
after I fish all the bugs out)
who delivered some mighty fine
poetry in verses that hurt.

The wind blows a bit of an
easy cool Texas Zepher. Some
long black chimes are hesitantly
singing with chirping birds,
who seem to be bitching
at something—

Maybe it’s the cats.
Maybe it’s me and the wine.

Look all around when in doubt, look both ways, cuz poetry is all about.
Mind gaps lest you step on a frog, a cat, or a big mean dog.