Poetry Report: October Poems

Even if I was bad at math (I’m not), with 61 days remaining this year, I have written more than 300 poems during 2019, beginning with my commitment on New Year’s Day. Writing at least one poem each day has been more of a learning experience than I expected. Originally, I thought it would be difficult but fun, and it has been, but I wondered if I could manage it every day for a whole year.

An unintentional consequence has been that I read much more poetry and I’ve bought more poetry books this year than ever. I’ve also become comfortable trying to write a poem about anything at any time. Sometimes I have no idea where it will go—I just sit down and write. A poem happens (no claims for first draft quality).

I’ve written around the clock. With my pen or laptop at my fingertips, I have composed poems during the wee hours after midnight, before dawn and at sunrise, before and after breakfast, at mid-morning with coffee, while dropping crumbs of my lunch onto my poesy, before and after dinner and while drinking wine or coffee (sometimes too much).

I’ve written them in the car as Yolonda drove, in coffee shops (alone or with groups), at meetings, on my back porch, in other people’s back or front yards, in my daughter’s kitchen, and in every room of our house except the garage and bathrooms (but I should, right?). Using sights or happenings for prompts, I composed while cooling my heels in waiting or examination rooms, while sitting, standing, or on the lie. I have composed mental poems that are never written down, but they don’t count.

Except when I use prompts, like Sammi’s weekender, at writer’s group meetings, or during NaPoWriMo in April, topics are virtually random thoughts or events. Billy Collins even wrote a poem about people telling him there’s a poem in that. I try to write as soon as a thought occurs to me.

I’ve now happily welcomed poetry as the biggest part of my writing life, with encouragement from friends, family, readers, and other poets/writers.

The titles of the 31 poems I wrote each day during October were:

  1. Hard Times Were Had by Us
  2. Shots and Jabs
  3. Choose Your Role
  4. Old Feelings
  5. I Need an Answer
  6. Haven
  7. We’re Number Two
  8. Old Man in My House
  9. Music in Me
  10. CSL (Clive Staples Lewis)
  11. Projects
  12. Irreplaceable Love
  13. Relief Strategy
  14. Too Much
  15. Fallen Pride
  16. Debatable
  17. Art in Us
  18. Your Own
  19. Where Goes the Candlelight?
  20. Aurora
  21. Oldies
  22. Risk & Danger = Life
  23. My Lucky Tree
  24. I could have been a Poet
  25. Road Trip Pits
  26. Saturday at Dawn
  27. The Sunday Marathon
  28. On Raising Teens
  29. Fortuna Redux
  30. It’s All Just Stuff
  31. Times Around

Trust no one.
Look both ways on one-way streets.
Mind the gaps with a skeptic’s crown.

Poetry: Eight is Number One

October is my favorite month
after September, until
it is November, which then
becomes my favorite month
before December. Then,
January changes everything and
I begin to dread July—

Which is when I start to yearn
for October again and
I look at the calendar and
I’m fixin’ to bitch about
the miserable Texas heat,

When my wife asks me where
I would like to go and
I answer, anywhere with
air conditioning, or where
it is October and she says,
it’s October now and
91 degrees outside.

I decide to go look
at the thermostat and to
think about Thanksgiving,
a good economy, and global
warming. She refuses to
live where it is cold.

Look both ways, but time is unidirectional
and never stops, until it does.
Gaps in time are cosmic to the mind.

Sammies Weekend Writing Prompt 122 — Museum

Monet at Kimbell

Not a big fan of Claude,
I wanted the experience
of seeing his original later work
at the Kimbell Art Museum
in Fort Worth.

In Cow Town, I ran
marathons and we danced
at Billy Bob’s near the stockyards,
and went to see Elvis, Marty Robbins,
and two of our three were born there.

A shining light of cowboy culture,
the Kimbell is one of many
attempts to not be Dallas.
DF dubya is nearby and
Cowboys play football in Arlington,

where the Rangers play baseball
and Six Flags (over Texas)
amusement park resides.
But what is most important
is not the museum or foot races,
not the water garden or train station,

what matters most to me about Cow Town
are the memories. The comrades, the friends,
the scandals and the hanky-panky,
the music (up against the wall, redneck mother)
Oh Lord, I knew it all so well.

But gunna miss the Monet.

Look both ways between Dallas and Fort Worth (I love you).
Mind the endless gaps in between.

Poetry: August (Augustus)

Gaius Octavius Thurinus—
Augustus Caesar, got the hot one.
What a shitty deal.

I suck in August, I don’t want to face it.
The heat has gotten banal, too much sun,
too damn hot for the effort of having fun.

Into a whiny puss I turn, give me
the wonder of AC. Make three-digit days
go away. The days and nights just wrap

me into a victim swallowed by the fangs
of the most miserable month of the year.
The best thing about August is September
which is the ninth month, but means seventh.
All my favorite months
have wrong unimaginative
Latin number names.

As seasons transition look both ways and love it, if you can.
Mind the gaps. They may be a Roman mistake.

Poetry: Edible Confession

Did homework, still had questions.
I noted the downstairs medical dispensary
but took stairs up to the recreational second floor,
where a kind young man tried to not
embarrass me with age and ignorance.

As we chatted he looked over my license
to be sure this old man was over 21,
not some state guy hired to sneak past
and get them punished for not checking me out.
He directed me through an open door

into a room with two ATMs for cash,
(purchase is cash only)
a long glass counter like a jewelry case was
staffed by attractive young ladies (and men)
I like to call bud-istas, and behind them
more cases with low drawers full of products to sell.

Around the room more glass cases displayed
all forms of product, much that looked
identical to others but with different fun names
from the Indica and Sativa families:
Grape Ape, Obama Kush, Alaskan
Thunder Fuck, Dirty Girl and Berry White,
all with varied chemical content on signage.

It reminded me of brewery tap room menus
that display the ABV and IBU or SRM; only these
reflected the type and quality of cannabis so patrons
know what they will soon consume.

Unlike taprooms, off premise consumption
is a must. Then it was like going to confession
when one of the bud-estas smiled
and offered to help me figure it out.

Forgive me Sister for I have sinned. This is my first confession. I been booze drunk on my ass, said and done incredibly stupid shit, driven drunk, and picked bar fights I couldn’t win. I’ve sucked tobacco smoke from cigarettes, pipes, cigars; and chewed the leaves. I ignorantly supported foolish laws that prevented others from doing this. My greatest sin: I’ve never used pot in any form. Now humbled before you, I beg your advice and assistance. What is all this stuff?

She called an older male assistant,
closer to my age, to aid my ignorance.
Thirty minutes later I knew
what this marijuana stuff was:
THC, CBD, and all that.
(oils, vapers, creams, grinders, and papers)
Particularly the edibles.

He told me it would take over an hour
for the edible effects to top out,
like drinking a glass of wine, only
the buzz would last through the evening.

I now say it’s more like two glasses,
properly stoned at two hours,
and semi-hosed for the evening.
But cogently sociable. Namaste.

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state
with legal recreational ganja use, give it a go
if ya never have (unless yer a Fed, need CDL, or military).
But look both ways, bring cash, and smile for the camera.
Mind the gaps and do your homework.

Poetry: Kitchen Visits

Growing up, it was foreign land—
to me, yet, it was favored by all,
a magic kingdom of food and warmth,
a homework headquarters.

It had a coal stove for heat and
cooking. Mom (sometimes Dad) did laundry
there with a wringer machine filled and emptied by hose,
when new to the tribe, I was bathed in that sink,
perhaps after laundry and dishes were done.

Later in life it was (and still is) wife’s land.
Maybe it’s sexist, but barefoot in
the kitchen was her idea.
Actually, it was all her house
where we all lived. At home,
it was where the core of many lives
transpired—in the kitchen.
Meetings, parties, family dinners,
games and puzzles, some business.
It was our mother-ship’s headquarters.

When between jobs, I was given
the helm of house to navigate;
cooking, cleaning, laundry,
paying bills, and giving some homework
help. Dropping off, picking up,
taking to kid’s thingies. For a dad,
I believe I made a passable mom.

But the jury remains out.
Now those kids are gone
to their own kitchens,
it’s still the same in our lovely
(if mostly empty) nest. It’s her kitchen,
somewhere in the middle of
Texas. I don’t really
cook but would like to. I am the
dish washer, maybe replaced now
by a newer and quieter, a younger one
with fingerprint proof silver skin.

No man has ever been murdered
while doing the dishes.
Perhaps I
should be worried and observant,
or apply for the position of official
dishwasher loader and unloader.

It’s not my kitchen and it never will be.
Perhaps the laundry room?
Household poet laureate is a good job,
I eat well, and the beer is cold.

Look both ways, near and far.
There will always be gaps, in love and lust,
but in the kitchen, it’s Mom we trust.