Former family homes, once
Businesses, barns, refuge
From the hot Texas sun
Or driving storms of
Wind and rain.
Suppertimes, nights of dreams,
Homework, plans to plow
Now it’s all abandoned, forgotten,
Seen but unnoticed or ignored
Peppered along the otherwise
Scenic road drives on, once dirt,
Now blacktop paved roads
Memories forgotten or
Buried in nearby family
Unloved by ungrateful
Outsiders who see
Only haunted eyesores, sadness.
A mess to be cleaned up
By the next generation.
Past lives carried into the
Graveyards of the forgotten.
Look both ways and wonder.
Who were they? What were they like? Where are they now?
Pay attention to the message and mind the gaps.
at great cost.
This oasis shades no reality.
only twisted truth.
Each prison is of my making.
I must move on.
I’ll never be free
of my past.
or paranoia will hand me
Look both ways for any port in a storm
but learn to dance in the rain.
Mind the gaps as you seek the road less traveled.
That first romantic kiss.
Nights in the wilderness
sitting by a warm campfire.
A mother’s smile, a daughter’s laugh,
the soft whispering voice of a lover.
Our child’s birth, your son’s success.
The smell of a grandmother’s hug.
That first buzz, never found again.
The gift of a young pet. The sadness
and loneliness of a beloved’s death.
Muffled lonely sounds
on cold snowy nights. My first bike.
A thing well done. Disappointment
overcome and rewarded. A road
less travelled. A baby’s accidental
soft touch. Moments in a lifetime.
Look both ways,
to the future for the young,
to the past for the old.
Mind the gaps but live in today with hope and happiness.
American men and women at war,
fighters. May I call them warriors?
For their military service
we want to thank them.
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.
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.
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.
Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 book, Spoon River Anthology, consists of poetic monologues, each spoken by a dead person buried in the fictional town of Spoon River.
My day eight NaPo prompt/assignment was to read a few of Masters’ poems, then write a poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.
“Good morning America how are ya?” *
I’m J. R. Cash but call me Johnny.
I been a singer ‘n writer of songs all my life.
I wrote poems, too. Not no more though.
Paul and John Carter made a book
sometime after I moved out here.
I made lists of do’s and don’ts,
like who to kiss and who not.
Rockabilly, I walked the line in
more than one ring of fire.
Sue was a joke, Jackson was not. Either way,
I was the man in black, or undertaker was okay.
The Hag caught my San Quentin show. He signed up.
I was inside less than him. Now, I’m back with Jack
on the orange blossom special.
How ‘er my pals from Bitter Tears doing?
Ya know, that Lonesome Dove fellow?
He just hopped on this train.
“And often I say, No more I do it/
But I miss the traveling/And I miss the songs.” **
*From The City of New Orleans written by Steve Goodman, covered by many.
**Quotation from Cash’s poem, “My Song,” in Forever Words: The Unknown Poems.
Notes: ‘Paul’ Muldoon edited Forever Words. ‘John Cater’ Cash is his son. ‘Jack’ refers to his brother who was killed in an accident at a young age. ‘Hag’ refers to Merle Haggard.
Look both ways when you cross memory lane.
Mind the gaps well, or a song you might miss.