Poetry: Wistful Notes


I was there when it emerged
on our record player
Mom named, Victrola.

Faced battles with
courage, pup-love,
school basement dances
chaperoned by nuns, invaded
by my future.

I miss names like Judy and Denise,
Eleanor Rigby,
Barbara Ann, and Peggy Sue.
And Mary Ann, Marianne, oh, Mary Anne.

Smoke rolled
under sleeves in white tees,
cool as John T’s Greased
pompadour hair.

Tight pants, juke boxes,
hangouts, and rumbles.
Woodies that would pop-up
to say hello and embarrass.

Old-fashioned rock,
older now than ragtime then.
Oh, god. I remember.
That first album cover, long hair
would get me suspended.

The Beatles, the Stones, Dave’s 5, and
Monkeys Saturday mornings.

Magical times.
But the music owned me.

Spoke to my soul,
hot cars, fender skirts, moon hubs,
glass packs.
Hello Vietnam.

Slipped a hand under
smooth 70s soulful jazz.
Loved that shit.
Still do today.
I want it back.


Look both ways for them good ol’ days.
Mind the gaps between the notes.
That’s where the music plays.

Birthday Girl is Sleeping

It’s Yolonda’s birthday, y’all. Here’s my poem for her…


She fills up my senses,
like a fine wine after dinner,
it don’t get no mo’ betta
than this, and a kiss.

She takes care of me
not that I need it, maybe
a little guiding tap, now
and then. Keeps me right.

She tells me that she loves me,
god knows I deserve less,
and what I need to know
and her glowing
septuagenarian happiness.

Fifty-four year in a month
livin’ the dream, they want to know,
how? I really can’t answer.
Truth be known,
she shudda shot my effing ass,
many a year ago.

Happy dyslexic thirty-seventh,
of which ya put up with many
shenanigans galore.
May you and we go
fo’ 54 mo’.


Happy Birthday.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 27)

Day 27 prompt: write a poem in the form of a review of something that isn’t normally reviewed. I reviewed my creativity muse.


The Myth of the Muse

Ideas come.
Mousa, child of Zeus,
sky fairy serving maybes
on Ouija boards of art.

Writing, creative inspiration,
poetry. It’s all work.
“Shoveling shit from
a sitting (or standing) position.”

My muse is not out there,
she’s in here (head, heart, soul,
big toe). This is not
Big Magic. It’s work. A job.

Try. Fail. Repeat. Erasing
is creative writing, drawing,
or painting (crafting). We’re all phonies,
and none of us are. Fear makes waits.

New ideas are borrowed reality.
Read, think, write, and a magic muse
will find life. Punch production clocks,
then make words, pictures, pieces.

I must self-muse: love it or leave it.
Buy the damn lottery ticket.
Go for the interview. Sign up.
“God helps those….” Who makes them?


Look both ways for inspiration
but look within for courage to work.
Mind the gaps for your impostor’s syndrome.

***

Note: quotes are Stephen King (shoveling…), and Dad (God helps…).
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 26)

Day 26 prompt: write a poem using responses to an Almanac Questionnaire of 23 questions as the basis. My 23 responses follow the poem. Additionally, I used the 80s song, Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears, for inspiration. A video of the younger Fears for Tears group also follows the poem. I selected this version for the sights as much as the sounds. There are several other good videos, including a late cover by LORDE, which is very (scary) different.


Welcome to my life
What’s done is done forever
Even my dreams are unreal reality
Rain, colors, pennies, and cats
Distant mountains, local culture, answers
With no questions, lovers and indecisions.
Do I want to rule the world?

Dragon music in the distance
Mixed with drums of tribal nuisance
But the path to take, I cannot decide,
Is beauty in the freedom of my pleasure?
I fear the pain that lasts forever.
Do you want to rule the world?

Is there life atop the steeple?
As walls and halls crumble, AC to DC?
Can I answer her questionnaire?
Welcome to mi vida loca, a happy
blessed by sad. Does anybody
Want to rule the world?

Married to my convolutions, may
Her memory Bern my conscience,
The alley of answers to many questions.
Can responsibility, freedom,
Or love rule the world?

The headline news is like this:
A virus. We’re all basically screwed.
But nothing is good or bad, and
Nothing lasts forever. Of this
I am certain: I do not want
To rule the world.


Look both ways to answer questions.
Mind the gaps.
One poem, twenty-three answers.

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather: I prefer rain to hot and dry.
Flora: Color variation is good. Green is a favorite.
Architecture: I like old church architecture, both inside and out.
Customs: I’ve never liked shaking hands, I don’t love everyone, and I hug only favorite people.
Mammals/reptiles/fish: I like dogs. I prefer cats. Both are pets. I respect nature, but it’s not safe.
Childhood dream: Hard to say, but I always thought something was not right. Unlimited candy?
Found on the Street: Pennies for luck, treasures no one wants but me.
Export: Wendell Berry prefers local economy. I understand why.
Graffiti: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Lover: Everyone should have at least one.
Conspiracy: There are some, but everything is not.
Dress: no ties, comfort before culture, some sweatpants are nicer than others.
Hometown memory: The distant Poconos.
Notable person: Mom.
Outside your window, you find: Texas
Today’s news headline: The NY Governor is an interesting person. The TX Lt Gov is not.
Scrap from a letter: I wish I still had the letter my father wrote to me.
Animal from a myth: Dragons
Story read to children at night: Once upon a time they lived happily ever after and other lies.
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: the answer to the question.
You walk to the border and hear: music.
What you fear: mean and stupid in the same person.
Picture on your city’s postcard: Coal miners, cactus, and rivers.


NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 20)

Day 20 prompt: write a poem about a handmade/homemade gift.


What Matters

For the man who has everything
or who could, if he would,
make (don’t buy) to please.

Amazon does not have your heart
nor your hand, and Bezos does not
need your money. In the end, it’s you
that is my gift, so keep it simple
and easy. Go underboard, if you’re able.

Spend less. Write or read, sketch or draw,
don’t buy me a book. Read one and tell me
all about it. Write me a four-line poem.
Sketch a joke caricature of me.

Write a note that says you love me,
put on lipstick, kiss the paper, and send it.

What I want from you is a bit
of your time and attention. Just briefly.
From you to me is all that I need.

Here, let me hand you this notebook
and this pen, in the time it would take
for you to scribble a quickie phrase…

I’ll be happier, no internet search required,
a treasure like no other will I have,
and you will feel better too. Trust me.
It’s not that I ask little,
it’s that I want you. I know what matters.


Look both ways and slightly behind.
Be safe. Mind the gaps in your masks.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 19)

Day 19 prompt: write a poem based on a “walking archive.”


The Spring Draw

Spring replaces Winter’s browns and grays
with shades and hues of green, some pinks
and whites in the trees. And more rain,
and wind to help insects spread pollen,
the whole point being new life, hope,
and promises of Summer to come.

Even the trails lay a carpet of green grass,
soft to my steps, comforting. To the sides
more color and tones of red and blue,
orange and proud yellows mixed with white,
every color and shade seems bright.
Both quiet and loud, and deer appear,
rutting passed soon we’ll see fawns running.

I pause often to photograph or admire
this gallery of natural art, walking on my trail,
some path remains, limestone rock
for stepping or tripping as creeks and washes run
wet with rainwater, animal prints in mud,
views obstructed by leaves fresh and green.

There is beauty even in the old dead trunks
of former mighty oaks, with knots and holes,
still standing tall and proud, some down
yielding to stormy winds, the promise still
of awakening even the soil of the Earth.
I sit to rest and to ponder or brood,
to drink and to stare and admire,
and to pity many who have seen
neither tree nor forest, nor felt the happy
heart of a Spring calf.

I walk Texas trails in Spring before
Hell sends Summer to scorch, and it calls
for cream to screen the rays of sun. Before
wet clay turns to dust and water runs rare.
Before the prickly pear cactus turns
its brilliant yellow flower, then to an apple red
bulb, then to a new cactus head. So long
as I am, and I can, out I shall go to treat
my senses to the many glances of nature.

“Me imperturbe, standing at ease in nature.”
Or, at attention, as I want to miss none of it all.


(Quote: credit Walt Whitman)

Always look both ways and all around, up and down.
Mind gaps and ravines in natural beauty if you seek pleasure.

 

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 18)

Day 18 prompt: write a poem that is an ode to life’s small pleasures. I did a semi-sonnet of 14, ten-syllable lines.


Ode to My Pillow

You hold my head up with a pleasing touch
you ask nothing, I take you for granted
dressing you only encased, on a whim
I hold you, or tuck you between my legs,
or force you to support me from behind.
I turn, and show you my boring back side,
throwing you to the floor, replacing you
when you get old and dirty and baggy.
I bend and stuff you, your silence supports.
You hold my tears, each a precious diamond.
In nightmares or pleasant dreams, when I call,
I wake for no reason, I find you there
for me. You bolster my brain, hide my mind.
I sleep with you, and you ask for nothing.


Look both ways to fluff a pillow.
Mind the gaps under your head.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 15)

Day 15 prompt: write a poem inspired by my favorite kind of music.


I Want a New Song

Boom! Old bods holding young hearts,
hot funk, cool punk, a shimmering light
and the smell of colitas up
from green river, in the age of jive
it’s got the same soul.

Play rock & roll at my memorial
and stand her in the doorway when
I join Buddy, Richie, Patsy,
and Jim. Let me hear Ricky
and John, a new wave dance craze.

By my own device, a prisoner here,
I may check out any time,
but I’ll never leave rock & roll.
Bury me in pair of pink sidewinders,
but first, save the last dance for me.

Dance with me, dream of me, dream on;
Dream On! Sing along with me, let music
take me away when it’s raining
and the players are playing,
but I’m still gunna live forever.

I can feel the rain. I’m Alive!
On a hippie trail, my head like a zombie,
stars fading, but I linger on.
I want a rock & roll song.
But there ain’t no use in pretending.


Look both ways, but music is present in my past.
Mind the gaps,
those spaces between the notes.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 11)

Day 11 prompt: write a poem in which one or more flowers take on specific meanings. I wrote three poems, but only posting two.


That Special Flower

Bluebonnets taking over the crushed granite trail.

March is an alarm clock
if you’re a Texas Bluebonnet,
the official flower of that State
everybody knows.
We have pride of place artfully
set in many homes but few yards
of natives and transplants, alike.

By legislative decree, all species
are official, and abundant,
thanks to Lady Bird who said
plant a tree, a bush, or a shrub.
Our blue pedals and white top
mark spring weather as we make
bisexual moves for next year.

We marvel at our neighbor,
Indian Paintbrushes or Blankets
complimentary red and yellow
color of 200 species or more,
as we compete for turf in arid, sandy,
dry soil. It’s Texas, after all.

Crowding where others fear to grow
we push our blue until we turn purple,
near the end of our time, then struggle
and exit the stage for later bloomers.

True Texans must be pictured with
children and pets and flowers all around.
They hunt bluebonnets with cameras,
and drive miles to wait in line,
to see and capture scenes
in the perfect photo or painting,

and they name everything after us.
What’s not the lone star is called
the bluebonnet whatever it is.
It’s nice to be so loved, but our
magical time is brief, yet meaningful.
Here comes the sun of the Texas
Summer following Spring.


Married to Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets mean Yolonda,
and art on our walls, and spares in boxes,
they mean Lady Bird behind so many
wildflowers, like Indian Paintbrush,
or Blankets, they are what early spring is for.
They tell us it’s that time of change.

Close up of Indian Paintbrush seen on my walk.

In Texas, it’s Spring baseball (but not this year)
and bluebonnets and with their blue and white
caps that turn purple (purple bonnets?);
and the red, orange, yellow tease of
200 varieties of Indian whatever wildflowers
that are the first up, pushing their
primary colors quickly into the world,
making seeds to make more flowers for next year.

They mean the toughness of my adopted State,
the arid sandiness and limestonish mix
to be followed in the last few weeks
of spring with more crazy beautiful
flowering weeds, and the colorful,
awesomeness of prickly pear cactus
flowers that remind me of Silvia Plath,
and her poem about Red Poppies, yet to come.

I smile at the flowers, partly because of beauty,
and partly because of what they mean to me;
another season with a new reason, but mostly
because of who they remind me of.


Look both ways but keep your eyes on the road.
Mind the gaps, each one is there for a seed to make a plant.

The mix of early Spring wildflowers.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 9)

Day 9 prompt: write a concrete poem wherein the lines and words are organized into a shape that reflects the theme of the poem. Old, beat up baseballs, covered in electrical tape, were not always spherical either. This must be viewed on the site. Email will not provide the shape.


***

Sandlot baseball,
stickball, wiffleball, were all
for me, when I was a cantankerous lad
of some age without a uniform or cap, and maybe
a black taped ball in hand, air, or a grounder to bounce
just right to smack my face, but no such fear did I ever show,
even though I had bouncing grounders or fliers catch me taking
a peek to home or second, at the runner, and not a catch would I
make, or when batting rocket arm riley wound up to heave a bean
ball shot at me wearing no sissy hard hat or gloves or pads, just me
in the sun on a warm summer day doing things with balls or games,
like burn-out, whatever cleat-less shoes we had worked and we had
no managers, couches, parents, or girlfriends to bother with us. An
old dog chased our ball, swiping it, tearing the tape, and left us to
scavenge for a new old beat-up ball. The dog would not give
ours back. We could not catch one old dog. I recall many
memories of taped balls and bats and days when we
would just play the day away with whatever we
had. That left us with only memories of balls,
old dogs, and names of many games
we played in those dirty
old sandlots.

***


Look both ways, but do not take your eye off the ball.
Mind the gaps but take the longest lead you can safely manage.