Poetry: Enigmatic Paradigm


Bukowski said
he dedicated much of his life
to avoiding people.
Humanity, he said.
Yet he wrote about people.
So, I assume he failed,
or he lied.

An allegedly unwilling celebrity
bemoaning attention,
lambasting unlively banality,
complaining constantly
about women. His ladies.
Many men, too.

I understand the blessing
of being alone.
I like many fine souls, yet I confess
to not always being kind
(yet not exactly cruel) to
undeserving deplorables.

Hank asks; is he ugly,
unkind (sometimes),
misanthropic, or misogynist?
Some thought so. Maybe he was.
I really don’t know.

Crackpot, with no hope of love?
Bitter and unfair?
Did he put glass in our sandbox?
Was he without morals or mercy?
(Maybe he was.)

Is he my phantom’s mask?
or am I his? Or yours?
What is truth? What love?

I neither know nor care
what most others thought
of Charles Bukowski.
He’s long dead. But
I read and re-read his poetry and prose.
I must have some reason.
Do I want to know my reason?
Do I care?
Or, is this one of those things?
His paradigm, or mine?


Look both ways when considering and discerning humanity.
Mind the gaps. Every day is judgment day.

Sammi’s Weekender #217 (requisite)

Click to go to Sammi’s blog.

Tread At Your Own Risk

American men and women at war,
fighters. May I call them warriors?
For their military service
we want to thank them.
Combatants
share experiences
only they understand.
Only they feel it.

Requisites are hated enemies,
courage, weapons, desire for glory, fear,
comrades, pride; and a cause
to die for, one worth killing for.

There’s more.
Much more.
They carry much.

To fear death, or not? To love
and despise simultaneously?
Is war forever part of humanity?
Are we the only creatures
that kill our own for no reason? Just to kill.
To cause death unnecessarily?
Is that combat?


Look both ways for glory and dishonor.
Mind the gaps between mind, heart, and soul.

 

Poetry: Bloqueo de Escritor


My brain
or is it my mind?
Whatever. It’s rebelling.
Just for today,
as they say in AA.
It will not allow
even a crumb
of creative thought
to come in,
much less,
fall
to the page.

“No, no, no,” it says,
“I will not go!”
As I sit here.
(Ever have this?)
It feels like fear,
but otherwise,
I’m empty
of emotion and purpose.
Where to start?
Much less, any thought
of how to finish.

Just this silence.
The sleep that disallows
doing the exercise,
I’m unprompted
with lines pulled too tight.
I feel stymied
by an overworked
empty whiteness.

Sometimes,
it simply does not
work for me. I’m sorry.
I have ED of the mind.
I should leave.
Take a nap. Wane a bit.
They call it “block.”
I’m sure it’s temporary.
But what a shitty
suffocating feeling.
I feel museless.


Look both ways for the walls of chaos.
Mind the gaps, gasps, and gyps. And this…

“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” – Margaret Chittenden

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: 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: Nature Knows (NaPoWriMo day 16)

The NaPo prompt for Friday, April 16th, was to write a poem using a form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. Skeltonic poems have short lines of three to six words, two or three stressed syllables, and are simple verses. There is no specific length. Lines must rhyme and new rhymes may be introduced. There is no alternating rhyme scheme.


Nature can be dastardly
Random in her apathy
Extending thru the galaxy
Giving freely of catastrophe
With all her immortality
With no kind of partiality
Uncaring of our flattery
In her lavish asexuality
At the center of gravity
Lacking godly spirituality
Devoid of all sentimentality
Guilty of total impartiality
What can I possibly say?
What will save us this day?
As to tragedy we give way
Maybe we should pray
To express our dismay
Of her uncaring touché.


Look both ways, in the blues and thru the grays.
Mind the gaps as there may be traps making all of us saps.

Poetry: War’s Bitterness (NaPoWriMo day 6)

The irony of today’s prompt is that it comes from Holly Lyn Walrath, who wrote of prompts, “…they all suck.” She poses this one as simple.

“Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”

I want to finish this assignment today, so I am amending the prompt slightly.

I have lists of lines (quotes) from books I like. Examples I considered from Bukowski’s poetry book, Love is Dog from Hell, (also the title of one of the poems) include:

  1. “Sissies have a hard life.”
  2. “I never quite understood what it all meant and still don’t.”
  3. “Human relationships aren’t durable.”
  4. “Just drink more beer, more and more beer.”
  5. “An early taste of death is not necessarily a bad thing.”
  6. “Hit that thing/hit it hard.”

I rejected them for a sentence from Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried. The protagonist is referring to his decision to be drafted and go to Viet Nam, rather than flee to Canada.

“I would go to the war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to.”

I used each of these three independent clauses as the title for a quatrain. Then, I wrote the overall title of the combined poem, but I left the original lines.


War’s Bitterness

I would go to the war*—

Not to defend my country
or the Constitution, or our freedom,
or our way of life, to a war
I did not believe in.

I would kill and maybe die*—

Even my own countrymen would
condemn me and others who did
see themselves as defenders, many heroes
who would be wasted in a war they hated.

I was embarrassed not to*—

I cried. I didn’t want to go. I felt
that I had no choice. Could I kill?
Would I be killed or maimed?
Would I ever understand why?


(*Taken from the boat scene while fishing on the Rainy River in the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.)

Look both ways. Feel the pressure. Decide.
Mind the gaps, especially those in your mind.
You’re only a living, fallible human.

Poetry: See No Evil (NaPoWriMo Day 1)

The day one prompt challenged me to write a poem inspired by watching “Seductive Fantasy” by Sun Ra and his Arkestra.

Click link to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX_xh2do3eM


See No Evil

She asked permission to paint her room.
We agreed without knowing anything.
The nineties were pointless trips to nowhere
without boring rhythmic sounds of psychedelia,
like coos of Mexican doves
invading my ears, dulling my brain.

As with straight lines and square corners in nature,
nothing made sense without the age and drugs and booze
opening accepted altered states understood only
by artists who painted strange images upon
home wall canvases in rooms to sleep, to dream.
Unaware of, but fearing, impending nightmarish doom.

Why did monochrome pointlessness happen?
I want to cry. Sometimes die. Because life is a lie.
None of that is possible for the imprisoned people,
unable to see whatever reality there is or isn’t,
when certainty is a soundless death
after a meaningless life of pitiful existence.


Look both ways, but never look back.
Mind the gaps where the music stays.

Sammi’s Weekender (Dire)


From the Universe, I call down a pox upon them.
Dirae with Furiae shall tear their poisonous skin
to feed comrade vultures sitting in shadows of guilt.

Curators of dire curses upon innocents, dealers of death cards,
may shepherds of fools find woeful futures haunted
by those who paid the greatest price to dance with fantasy and lies.


Look both ways seeking answers, but beware
gaps of darkness are where truth is hard and lies come easy.

Sammi’s Weekender (Paradox)

Click to go to Sammi’s blog.

 


A Paradox of Love

How can it be?
They were once lovers intent on solving the riddle of forever.
Time was the mere scent of one, aroused the other
and they clung together like peach and stone.

How can it be as time passed, such love was lost?
How did what was become unthinkable?
When did the passion of love serve up malevolence?
What paradox now leaves two enigmatic lovers
with a secret neither knows?


Look both ways on the road of love.
The past is not the future. The present is not forever.
Mind the gaps for the riddle of discontent.