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.

 

Poetry: Silence is no Coward

I am strong, but I am tired, Stephen, tired of always having to be the strong one, of always having to do the right thing.” Brenda Joyce, An Impossible Attraction


I’m not always much of anything.
I’ve been an old white man for a long time,
a branded stereotype with good teeth
and a bad attitude,

apparently not supposed to ask for
some things, cuz I am old and white.

It’s okay. Perhaps they’re fucking right.
Equality is in, unless you happen to be
old…
white…
and have what’s left of an old hard on.

Others were (and still are) treated like shit
by white guys. Nazis were, are, white,
male; no fucking idea how old fits.

Some old men are idiots, non-millennial
impotent bastards who hate everyone,
and everything, especially women.
Stereotyped, hairless shit heads
with nothing to do
but make mankind worse.

It’s a tough world, but we can try
to make it better each day.
To make it last.

©Bill Reynolds, 6/13/2019

Look and listen both ways for real equality. At least, don’t be unkind.
Mind the gaps like lifelines with stories to tell.

Why Two things?

Almost everyone wants
to be a writer, claims
Clive James.

I am two things:
an old man of a type or
a kind, and I am
a writer of some sort.

But I
am not of the almost
or even most who
want to be. It is
what I am.
An identity.

Some things I do
because I must –
I eat, shower,
shit and shave –
walk about and I
swim. I take pills
and shots of various
kinds in odd places
like my right ear
or part of my derriere.

I read because I
must, but also
because I want to
just for pleasure.

Why do I write?
I don’t have to,
but it’s like I
need to. If I
don’t, I’ll become
impacted with
words. My muse
may stop visiting
and my mind will
go and I will die
from constipation
of expression.

So, I write this shit
and it feels good.
The old man part is okay
but can’t say it feels as good.

Look both ways at the buffet of life, sample it all.
Mind the gaps to find a treasure of pleasure.

Poetry: It’s Not For Everybody. Is it?

I almost never wanted this – to be a writer,
but I write, I drink too,
seldom too much
anymore.

That’s not discipline or pride,
it’s from bein’ too fuckin’ old.
Thinking of words, I write them and then
I point, and I say, “Hey look, I’m a writer.”

Quite certain that of the many who
thought they had taught me English
as an academic subject, who gave me
perhaps deserved grades without motive
with one exception, may groan in their graves.

A good man, Thornton looked at me, “Why
are you even here?” I think he knew.

School was mostly bull shit. I learned little,
but it was still involuntary servitude crap
I never wanted to do again. Not like that.
Even college.

Today, I might not kill them,
but they might think I would. Back then,
I thought I needed them. Now I know.
One or two might scare a bit. Maybe.

A few. Very few. Assholes are not
educated out of it. But I write.
Look at me.

I think I always liked it (writing that is),
but nobody ever (till years later)
said that I was good at it. Maybe Thornton
hinted. Even Miff W. said, “You know,
college is not for everybody.”

Maybe not Miffy baby, but it was for me.
Surprised? Don’t be. You motivated me.

Look both ways, maybe with some bitterness and sarcasm.
Find motivation in the gaps.

Poetry: A Place for Weeds

Jim was watering his experiment
for his ag doctorate, Grasses of the Brazos.
The good ol’ country boy let his smile show
when I observed and laughed at him
for making a big deal out of a bunch of weeds.
They were not flowers or cash crop plants.

Jim said, without looking at me,
“a weed is just a plant out of place.”

Over fifty years now. Where did they go?
I remember Jim
and his greenhouse full of weeds at A&M,
we’d go spray water on them weeds daily.
Later Jim would defend his dissertation about
Brazos Valley dirt and river bank weeds.
Doctor Jim was a dirt man, agronomist.
Just a plant out of place.

Jim got his Ph and D in dirt.
Then, he moved away to California;
who with his high-pitched, out yonder,
Texas drawl, old Jim
was decreed Doc Jim, the good-old-boy
from Meridian, Texas.
In his own way, he became
a plant out of place.

Many times, I have been a weed,
a person out of place,
or so I felt.
I needed to be in a different place,
to feel unweedly,
wanted by anyone,
or not. Was I where I belonged?
Or, was I just another plant
out of place?

Was I
in the place I was supposed to be?
Bloom where you’re planted,
that’s what they say.
Weeds need to grow everywhere,
but it is nice to find your space.

No longer, am I,
a plant out of place.

©Bill Reynolds, 5/23/2019

Look both ways crossing but look all around for misplaced plants and people.
Mind the gaps, weeds grow there.

Poetry: Linguistic Serengeti Maps (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-four

Today’s poetry prompt is to write a poem inspired by a reference book.

Today, I learned what I am.
I’m a Stan, no longer a mere fan,
I’m a Stan—the man.

Normal words
help me each day, also
clever and unusual, obscure (and obscene),
preposterous; the strange,
curious, and lovely lexicon.
In a word: troublesome!

Secretly, I hide in a closet
(or bathroom) where I read
books — about words,
of their history, called etymology;
how to say them, and maybe see
an idiom for future reference.
The meaning of words, the lexemes.

Every word has its morphology,
its synonymy family and
antagonistic antonymy gangs.
Some are humorous, others so literal,
I like snarky things and even
the devil has his own dictionary.

Semantics are arguable,
but without words there is
nothing to say, to communicate
we’d have to find another way.
Do words grow in semantic fields?

My blessing upon the wordies,
the lexophiles, logophiles,
lingua-(and lingo) philes, also
called word buffs.

A poet without a word is like
a seashell without an ocean,
a cow without a patty,
a day without a sun.

© Bill Reynolds (word-Stan) 4/22/2019

Mine. Raven printed on page out of dictionary.

Front to back, or look both ways, books about words have much to say.
Mind the gaps or stick in some adjectives.

Poetry: A Good Pain (NaPoWriMo) Day Twelve

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.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/12/2019

Look both ways. Our greatest achievements will always be
the most difficult and painful.
Mind the gaps, wear good shoes, and take care of your feet.
Your nails look great!

All turned black, three fell off.