Poetry: Time Will Allow (NaPoWriMo) Day Five

Today’s challenge: write a poem incorporating the villanelle form, lines taken from another text (poem), and/or phrases that oppose each other in some way.

I selected two lines from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (trans. Richard Le Gallienne). I think I wrote sufficiently opposing lines. I tried to do all three.

Time Will Allow

Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday
Our life is our blood, flowing here and now
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!

Darkness does not age, even in the day
Drink and love much as our time will allow
Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday

Yesterday was here, but now goes away
Let us drink our love, ‘neath a shady bough
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!

We kissed our wine, but now it’s gone away
Love is our wilderness, paradise is now
Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday

We are the fruit of gods, sent here to stay
Return again here to me tomorrow
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!

Love us forever, together we pray
Wine and we between, let me show you how
O fools, that after some tomorrow stray!
Heed not tomorrow, heed not yesterday.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/5/2019

Look both ways but live for today. Mind the gaps between the gator’s teeth.

Poetry: Someday (NaPoWriMo) Day Three

Today’s challenge is to write something (a poem) that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. Furthermore, the poem might focus on imagery, sound, emotional content, or all three!

Someday

Single, more than a little confused,
too young to drink legally,
yet old enough to wear a uniform
and to carry a loaded gun and
to kill the right people.

Black and white memories flash
with Kodachrome images of the
the dismal rolling landscape of west Texas,
under cloudless skies loved
by jack rabbits, rattlesnakes, and other natives.

We stood side-by-side watching big silver
eight-engine birds pushing black smoke,
shaking concrete runways and buildings,
and digging into a young man’s bones and his soul,
calling me. “Come son. The sky will be ours.”

Dreamily I said, “I will fly those birds someday.”
His white teeth showed through a friendly grin
of disbelief. I didn’t know how or when,
or maybe I doubted it too. A dream too big?
Marriage and then college, and real life happened.

I let that dream die. My family was my life.
Mom was proud. My aunt bought me my ring.
Then waiting, sitting alone. Again, the sound.
“Come back to us. The skies are ours.”
My call to go where men find glory.

Again, wearing a uniform. Soon, months pass.
Then an officer and a gentleman.
My ups and downs, but then silver wings adorn.
My choices, Phantoms of glory, movers and shakers,
spinners and winners, or an old memory

of my friend’s doubtful smile. My dream.
The twenty-year-old lumbering big jet
called me “son” years back when I stood there
in younger man’s clothes. The sights and the smells,
sounds not so sweet as the memory of that day,

When I told the world and I saw the black smoke,
“Someday I’ll come back and together we’ll fly.”
One day we landed on that west Texas base,
I stood on the same spot as he and I had.
I smiled and said, “Today is my someday.”

©Bill Reynolds, 4/03/2019

‘Check six’ is flyboy for look both ways. The discipline is minding the gaps.

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.

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: Peace Be With You

 

Dark Night Warrior

I love the common, the warm blanket of peace,
the soft whispers of a perfect and quiet day,
the calm of nature, birds, and other people
smiling and loving and happy.

But the Dark Night of thunder and storm,
of lightning and wind and rain excites me.
I feel more alive in a storm than safe
in the banal aspects of a sheltered existence.

My every dream is a warlike challenge
of attacks and kills and fights to a death.
Even mine.
What warrior is content to watch the battle?
Half of me belongs to the night, the dark.

I believe in war, combat, risk, and battle.
Bore me not with stories of contentment.
Challenge me with fear and excitement
before I die from fucking fattened monotony.

© Bill Reynolds, 2/11/2019

Look both ways and ask what kind of existence you want.
The gaps?
Oh yes, there are always the gaps to mind.

Poetry: Unbelief

The greatest sin of unbelief

They tried my soul –
and found it guilty
of the greatest sin,
its unbelief.

There it is
for all to see, the bad is there
all about me, can’t you see?
not rape nor torture or the harm
of murder
none of that is my sin.

I killed no gods or goats
all souls still running free
to come and go,
but my only sin – no god
shall I ever know.

How do I dare
to declare
my mind be free,
and so bare. is it not right there?
show me any god,
then might shall I to care.

Condemn my soul,
if you must. but look at me
and you will I trust
see all I can be,
is humanly free.

The day I die and somewhere lie,
you’ll accuse me as others cry,
not of being bad nor good,
but unlike you,
I just did not believe to be true,
my unbelief in god now flows
through as all my being goes.

©Bill Reynolds   1/28/2019

Look both ways. Mind the gaps.

Essay: Romantic or Realist?

Disclosure on me:

I’ve been told that I’m a sensitive man. Given the smiles and nods around the room, it was intended as a compliment. The unstated enigma was that men normally are not.

I was recently told that I am a romantic (noun) because I’ve written romantic (adjective) poetry. The person who said that was laughing at the time because in her view, that is ironic. She claimed the higher ground of a realist (noun) partly because she was on her third (two bad experiences) marriage. This time to a man who was quite ill, adding to the reality of life.

The poem was about the dreamy desire of a (real) woman who was not in a happy, romantic relationship. It was my interpretation of her romantic dream – how she wanted things to be.

I responded that I accept who and what I am, that one can be both romantic and realist (definitions-dependent), and that a romantic realist is a thing in art, if not in people. Realistic art does not necessarily point to a realist artist. A writer of romance literature or romantic poetry need not hold personal romantic views. But, she was partly correct about me (does not know me well).

Most of this is because people attach my writing to my persona (or vice versa), which is okay, but what I write is not always me and certainly not about me. Often, I write about the world and people or things I see. In this case, my poem was about someone I knew who is struggling with life and her circumstance – her dreams and desires, perhaps pushed beyond the limits of practical reality.

Once bitten, twice shy

I believe that we learn best from the most painful lessons of life. We recall shocking or painful times well, if not always accurately. For my age group, it might be when JFK, RFK, or MLK were shot, among others. I suspect that the lady judging me formed her view because of her personal life experiences. That’s fair enough. But given the number of times I have found myself speaking in defense of reality and things as they truly are, a true romantic I am not.

The paradox

I haven’t posted about the paradox of love in a long time. I’m uncertain and struggle with what to say and how to say it. What will people say or think? I worry less about my writing and more about the subject or content. I sometimes wonder if I wrote about crime (I haven’t) if the FBI would show up at my door with a search warrant. But let’s give this a go even if I admit to the romantic leanings of a realist with both feet planted in the real world.

How long is long enough to love someone? In both quantity and time, “I love you now and I will forever (time), to the moon and back (quantity).” Is one day or night all there is? Is 20, 30, or 50 years enough? My mother died about 30 years ago, but I still love her. I’ve been married over 50 years, and my wife and I love each other.

I write about the Paradox of Love, loosely basing some of what I say on a book of the same title by Pascal Bruckner. I add my observations and limited experiences (in the worldly sense mostly, but I love many people, most seem to love me back). There is no shortage of material on this topic, many experts, and hundreds of ways to look at it.

The paradox to me is when love is added to the learning mix of life, painful lessons do not seem to stick. For some, the devastation from damage where love is involved is virtually unrecoverable. Yet, I have seen many times when the paradox of love allows us to move on with life and with love. Once again, “I love you forever…we love each other….” For me, that is the paradox. The human relationship quandary. However, as with the lady who labelled me a romantic, we may move on with less romantic naivety.

The human condition

Yet, love is forever until one of us blinks, looks away, wants more, samples greener pastures, or simply decides it’s over. Then all bets are off. Forever isn’t quite so long as we thought, right? None of that for better or worse shit, it must always be better and continually improving. Bore me and you’re gone. Then there is the ubiquitous found someone else. I admit to being dramatic here, but I’ve seen ugly romantic breakups and divorces. I could add friendships, but I am focusing on romantic love. What makes it work so well for many, yet repeatedly fails for others? Why?

I get it. The human condition is imperfect, and these things happen. People in love can, and do, fall in love with others. How many times do we love before we spend a lifetime with someone? Some people are polyamorous (one is not enough – a blog for next time).

Rarely is it okay with the other person to act on this. And if we do act on it, often all the shit in hell piles into the manure spreader and is sent flying (shit storm). On the bright side, without all the misery involved with love, over half of country music’s best crying in yer beer tunes would have never been sung. That’s also true for much R&R, R&B, and opera. I enjoy romantic comedy, but there’s room for tragedy in my mind. And is pain not the best teacher?

Free love – by the book

In his book, Bruckner describes the 1960s liberation movement (mostly civil rights, anti-war, and feminism) as a time of “free love” (especially within hippy groups but certainly not for all). No commitments, openness and a willingness to share even the most intimate and sexual experiences with others. That still goes on, I suppose, but without all the publicity of post-1950s drama.

Many good things came from the movements of the 60s: improved equality (woman, people of color, others), better human rights, music, long hair, care for the environment, and others. But the oxymoron idea of free love was not one of them – fortunately, according to Bruckner and me.

Free and open sex is just that. And love is also just that, meaning it is neither open nor free (e.g., she/he is mine). While I can’t speak for anyone else, and certain groups (religious, LGBTQ, cultural) may see or experience this differently, the romantic love two people may share could be about the most powerful emotional human force we possess. But, (and my idea of the paradox is) it is also among the most destructive.

All my exes live in Texas

A friend of mine who had been married several times, looked at me one day and informed me that her latest husband told her that he no longer wished to be married. Obviously shaken, she further confided that she had never loved him. I didn’t ask her (or him) if he felt the same way.

After the divorce ball was rolling along, he asked to reconcile (meaning he’d been dumped). She declined, which pissed him off, and it was not a nice, amicable divorce after that. The third thing she told me was that she was sure that she was not good at marriage. A difficult time followed for her, but that was mostly recovering from financial and ego damage. In time, she survived both and eventually remarried a guy after a long partnership (News update. I recently learned they divorced, and she is engaged to a new man).

Which are you?

To love and to be loved are wonderful things. Romantic me. To love often may also be wonderful. To be the couple in my poem is indeed romantic, but is also realistically feasible. Yet, to love comes with great risk and personal vulnerability. Remember, even the realist was on her third marriage. What is this human condition I call the paradox of love?

My original post on the paradox of love was over a year ago. It is more about the book than my thoughts. Read it by clicking here. You can read the poem that started this by clicking here.

Look both ways in romance and reality.
Be especially mindful of gaps in romance and real world relationships.
Live and learn, love and learn. Risk love, always.

 

Note: paradox synonyms; contradiction, contradiction in terms, self-contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity; oxymoron; conflict, anomaly; enigma, puzzle, mystery, conundrum, dichotomy, and incongruity.