NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 8)

Day 8 prompt: Use a portion of a poem from a twitter bot as seed (inspiration) to write a poem.


Confession: I dislike the words twitter, tweet, and bot. It’s getting late. I need a poem. I’ve read nearly all of Anne Carson’s “The Glass Essay” searching. I considered her “Where does unbelief begin?” and discovered her phrase, “That was the night that centered Heaven and Hell,” which I may use later. I pondered Richard Siken’s words, “Let’s admit, without apology, what we do to each other” and “This has nothing to do with faith but is still a good question.” I did the perusal work of reviewing several twitter bots. Nothing worked.

Then, as I was re-reading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried (1990), I found it. I try to do “optional” prompts. I hope I semi-followed the elective prompt with a twist.

My poem is based on a scene from O’Brien’s book, specifically from the chapter, “On the Rainy River.” Tim writes of sitting in a small boat 20 yards from Canada while facing his inner dilemma of doing what he thinks is morally right and what his family and most people (at the time) thought he should do: to accept his draft notice and fight in the Viet Nam War.


The Embarrassment of Tears

It was a moral freeze,
part hallucination, he supposed,
as paralysis took his heart,
a tightness he wants me to feel.

He could swim but he saw them,
a blind poet scribbling notes, people,
his past and his future, and mine.

His conscience lost the battle in a war
it could not win. He would do it.

He would go to the war –
he would kill, and maybe die
because he was embarrassed
not to. That was the thing.

And so, he sat in the boat,
and he cried, but he did not die.
Not a happy ending, his war,
his book, our war. He went to the war.

He was a coward, he claims,
because he stuffed it for them,
for their love, which he carried then,
and carries today. I disagree.

He asks me, and you,
would you cry? The scene jerks
my tears, not for Tim, or the war,
but for me. I was not in his boat.


Sit in your boat and look both ways, to Canada or to home.
Mind the gaps, there may a book or a poem in them.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 7)


Day 7 Prompt: write a poem based on a news article. Google picked this as news specifically for my interests.


Virtual Virus, Viral Irony

And Kitty O’Meara stayed home
and penned a poem in prose
pointing to how people passed
pandemic days in curious ways.

And social media, as it does,
became that bastion of fiction
for misattributed news fact,
poet, author, and blogger,

Catherine M. O’Meara of 2020,
became Kathleen O’Mara
of 1918, 1919, and 1869,
later reprinted as Spanish Flu.

And Miss Kitty made news
with viral views, Snopes,
as they do, corrected
for credit, as credit was due.

Had time been April,
and I wrote a poem about
my newsworthy piece,
as another pandemic poet,

wrote a poem
about a poet who wrote a poem,
about an illness, healing,
and people in the news – hope.


Look both ways reading or watching news.
Even a rare gem can fall into the gaps between fact and fiction.

Click here to link with Kitty’s blog.

Sammi’s Weekender #151: Keepsake


It says,
“Sambo.Richards, Duck Pond, PA”
(northeast of Scranton)
on a keepsake;
a dog tag probably,
all the d’s are backwards.
It was my mother’s,
and I have others. Some
were my grandfather’s
who was quite the handyman.
I never knew Sambo,
nor my grandfather.
But I knew Mom.


Looking both ways,
keepsakes are memories,
sometimes not our own.
Mind the gaps. History is there.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 2)

Day 2 prompt: Write a poem about a place (i.e., a house, store, school, or office). How ‘bout a bar?


Packy’s

Sorry to say it’s gone now,
Packy Lenahan’s bar.
Packy too. Kids may age,
Patty and Maureen Keating,
lived in the same attached building.
I forget the people’s names
in the apartment above Packy’s.

It was on the corner of Madison street,
where friends Jimmy, June, and nine more lived,
and my grandpop had lived before I was born,
and Butler street where we lived.

Packy’s, some thirty yards west of
my bedroom window,
was where they drank and smoked,
and where they played games and ate food
until well past my bed time.

Inside to the right a huge mahogany bar
had big high mirrors, stacked whisky bottles, and beer taps.
I learned shuffleboard to the left,
and my first dart board was on the back wall,
left of some stairs up to the dining room
with tables and chairs, a kitchen and
toilets were to the right.

Few stools were at the bar, but it had real,
often used, brass spittoons on the dirty,
cigarette-burn stained, wood floor where beer
was often spilled and seldom mopped
under high ceilings with fans on long poles.

The back door was mostly for exiting,
or entering when closed (but not really),
on Sundays after church or after last call,
always unlocked after knocking.

There was a piano,
and a smell of stale beer
and staler smoke, and a juke box
back in the dining room
where I sometimes played,
but bar spittoons always intrigued me,
men spat, often missing, one of the things
they only did at Packy’s.

Many nights I laid in bed and listened to them
talking or singing and being loud, having fun
at Packy’s. Sometimes fighting
after Packy threw them out and I wanted
to go see who got clobbered
with a brass spittoon off the floor.


You can see Packy’s door and window over my Dad’s right shoulder (circa 1948)

Look both ways cuz it’s not always what you think.
Mind the gaps and don’t trip over spittoon.

Click for link to web page

 

 

 

Poetry:


Tomorrow begins national poetry writing month (NaPoWriMo) when we write, and in some cases post, a poem each day. I try to write to the daily (optional) prompts, but any poem each day works. If you’re interested, click the button for the link.

Click for the link, or it’s napowrimo.net

This Happens

I’ve noticed something.
Some days all art
hangs straight while
clocks show correct time.

It is a pleasant 73-degrees
with just the right number
and location of clouds.

Do you have those days
when everything
is exactly
as it’s supposed to be?

Clothing is properly hung,
in the closet, color coordinated
and ready; my sock drawer
needs no reorganizing.

The dishwasher is correctly loaded
and organized properly. All settings
are as we like
and software
is all the latest version.

Fonts and images
match everyone’s taste.

Have you ever noticed
on some days, nobody
needs your advice,
assistance,
or repair services?


Look both ways even in the twilight zone.
Mind the gaps.
You know they’re there.


 

Poetry: Deep Cuts


I’ve noticed within you
dormant dark ironic
meanness which,
aroused by stress,
fueled with fear,
ushers in you a strife
emblazoned with virulent rancor,
etched with vitriol and venomous
words more harmful than
some source
of your frantic painful sputum.

You strike
like a cornered dog
or captured snake seeking vengeance
without sense of reason, cause, or goal,

neither coherent illumination nor purpose
tempers or dulls your slashing fangs.

Let lost conscience be not your guide,
nor grief and guilt become your
warrant.

Count to ten. Then count again.
Nothing can be unsaid,
unheard, or unfelt.


Look both ways when emotions rise.
Seek the mindful gaps of calmness and search for love.

Poetry: Pluvio Penchant

What is all I love about rain?
It’s raining now.

It’s not the same as how we feel
good
on warm sunny days.

I’m happy and cheerful—

I like it cold, not frozen,
more of a dry,
on the rocks,
with salt, kind-a guy.

But wet and cold?
I love my friends
but that gets old.
And they don’t mix well.

On cloudy rainy days
no thunder do I favor,
lightening to be avoided.

Pluvio-happiness is
meditative bliss—
a sense of comfort,
of peace
when rains purge-clean
the air.

I’d dance in the rain,
some warm summer day
just to sweeten my life.

I like the sun, but it’s true,
rain is also fun.

Look both ways on rainy days. Mind the gaps for sweet variety.