Having descended recently
from progenitors, through
many millennia, I am tethered
to an inseverable past, a chain
of evolutionary becoming me;
this “I” is very much of that,
of then, literally of them.
Subject to the will of nature,
this intense soulful belonging,
universal humanity, who taught me
to walk, run, eat; to pee,
and to talk. Into the wonderous wild,
not benign, to risk danger, to
create art, to live as human
now, to feel art in my nature.
Look both ways and live for today.
But we are products of a past not our own.
Mind the gaps for more questions than there are answers.
in the smiles of others,
in visions of those we love,
people we care about,
that is where truest,
most honest, happiness thrives.
To see such dancing zest is to feel
the same in my bones, heart, and mind;
while tears of delight run down
my cheeks. When babies laugh.
Hope laden felicity. Even
an old man simply must smile.
To sing and dance
with those we love most,
to see and hear them rise
in rebirth to life’s glorious days,
to overcome fears and sadness
that come with what we call
our human condition.
How strange, that we may
give or receive no greater gift,
no higher prize,
no nourishing of the spirit,
no deeper love than to allow
others to be and to see us
high on being alive.
Even more, to here and now
let love swirl among us all. Hallelujah!
Look both ways for the joy of love.
Mind the gaps, but live and let live.
or is it my mind?
Whatever. It’s rebelling. Just for today, as they say in AA.
It will not allow
even a crumb
of creative thought
to come in,
to the page.
“No, no, no,” it says,
“I will not go!”
As I sit here.
(Ever have this?)
It feels like fear,
of emotion and purpose.
Where to start?
Much less, any thought
of how to finish.
Just this silence.
The sleep that disallows
doing the exercise,
with lines pulled too tight.
I feel stymied
by an overworked
it simply does not
work for me. I’m sorry.
I have ED of the mind.
I should leave.
Take a nap. Wane a bit.
They call it “block.”
I’m sure it’s temporary.
But what a shitty
I feel museless.
Look both ways for the walls of chaos.
Mind the gaps, gasps, and gyps. And this…
“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” – Margaret Chittenden
It’s Mexican Hat season.
They dance in the rain, anyway the wind blows,
swaying smoothly back and forth,
bouncing—just a little,
with wet touches from showering raindrops.
And now it’s time. Put away dark felt hats.
Get out the white straws with good brims
for hot summer days, sunscreen
for kids out of school and in the pool.
Masks down. Baseball games. Dad’s Day.
Lock-a-ways minus hugs-er-kisses, going or gone;
eating outs, coffee inside or out-back, it’s all on the list
as some virus ebbs but not yet gone.
Not yet. Not all gone.
Nature’s changing. Deer sleeping. Skunks are mating.
Birds begging loud and lively, ready to party at sunrise.
Long days inching sunsets later
as we give Spring a pass—its due.
All of us, a season older.
Here come the suns of another Texas summer.
Three sisters tapping on season’s door:
June, July, and August, ready
to straddle time—solstice to equinox.
I’ve memories, some good, some bad.
I want more, and more.
Then, I want still more.
Look both ways at passing seasons.
Mind the gaps and water the plants.
With less than a week left, the Global NaPoWriMo, 25th-day prompt was to write a poem for a particular occasion: an occasional poem. Every active poet seems to write these. The latest well known were Amanda Gorman’s readings for Prez Biden’s inauguration, and the 2021, Super Bowl. Another was Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day,” written for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
Others include “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Tennyson, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe about the American Civil War; and “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara about the death of Billie Holiday.
Occasional poems (not a form or style, but a topic) are often lyrical due to their origin in performance and music accompaniment. Historically, they have appeared as wedding songs, dirges, elegies, hymns, and odes.
I decided on a happy personal occasion, walking with my daughter, Julie (who I call, Dewey).
A private occasion, at her location, we walked,
she on my right and me to her left, as
carefully we stepped around
ants, mud puddles; cow, and horse shit;
some plants better untouched, and more.
(She ran beside me years ago, on my right then too,
as I neared the end of the San Antonio Marathon
into the Alamo Dome, there for her Dad.)
We talked of important life things,
other people, how whatever-all
came up to be, stream-of-consciousness
chat, and we talked of what is.
We spoke of things we don’t discuss.
I mostly listened and watched for minor
dangers. I looked at her. She felt pain.
Could have been anything, but it was something.
I mixed roles: both father and friend,
old man down the road,
advocate and critic, partner and lawyer.
Life goes on, but not forever.
My own worry and pain of little consequence,
then—right there, right now; on this land, under that hot,
dry Texas sun. In the end, we were both having fun.
It was more than enjoyable, but not for fun;
it was exercise, but not for health; it was just
a father and daughter sharing some time and life,
one with the other. The little things, like
love and freedom, aches and pains. —— And family.
Look both ways when your baby makes you grand,
when you lean on each other,
when you surrender love for love.
Mind the gaps and watch your step.
The eighteenth day NaPo challenge was to write a poem based on the title of a chapter, as a prompt, in Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. After reading the “look inside” on Amazon, I bought the book at 4 AM. Then I selected Chapter 51, “Fear of Poetry.”
Fear of Poetry
They say, poems find us.
They say, we cannot teach how to poem
words, to think one, or to write one.
They say, we are not all the same,
but we are all equal, or should be,
simply different I suppose. King
thinks writers (poets) are born.
I fear no rainforest, not electricity,
nor my own subconsciousness;
yet ocean depths, being too high,
or the worst of my fears, being a fool
can imprison me: body, mind, and spirit.
Unlike others, poems came to me ever since
I was forced to memorize “O Captain! My Captain!”
at age 13, long before I understood much of anything.
But I hid my love of it for fear of what
poetry might mean to me. Like repressed memories
or unrequited love, I hid from, ignored what I loved.
Now behind that mental dam of fear is stored
years of unexpressed ME (or is it I?) – poetry.
Only in demonstrative anger
or stoically hidden sorrow did I feel safe.
Since owning that,
since calling myself poet,
then writing and thinking,
I let them out. One poem at a time.
Look both ways to see where it began and where it might end.
Mind the gaps because it’s never to late to be completely you.
The NaPo prompt for Friday, April 16th, was to write a poem using a form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. Skeltonic poems have short lines of three to six words, two or three stressed syllables, and are simple verses. There is no specific length. Lines must rhyme and new rhymes may be introduced. There is no alternating rhyme scheme.
Nature can be dastardly
Random in her apathy
Extending thru the galaxy
Giving freely of catastrophe
With all her immortality
With no kind of partiality
Uncaring of our flattery
In her lavish asexuality
At the center of gravity
Lacking godly spirituality
Devoid of all sentimentality
Guilty of total impartiality
What can I possibly say?
What will save us this day?
As to tragedy we give way
Maybe we should pray
To express our dismay
Of her uncaring touché.
Look both ways, in the blues and thru the grays.
Mind the gaps as there may be traps making all of us saps.
My seventh day NaPo adventure is to write at least two poems structured in forms that have a specific number of lines and specific syllable counts per line: the shadorma, and the Fib.
A shadorma is a six-line, 26-syllable poem. Each line’s syllable count is 3/5/3/3/7/5.
A Fib, besides being a white lie, is a six-line form where syllable count is based upon the Fibonacci mathematical sequence of 1/1/2/3/5/8. I may reverse line syllable counts after the first six to 8/5/3/2/1/1.
In both forms, I may use multiple six-line poems to create one multi-stanza poem, provided I use six lines per stanza and the appropriate syllable count per line. Neither form is mentioned in any of my books on poetry, including the Third Edition of Turco’s, The Book of Forms.
dance with me
be my love partner
hold me close
i hold you
step with time to forever
let’s dance into love
i am your lover
steps we know
we endure as years twirl past
we dance together
(Inspired by the songs “Dance With Me,” by Orleans; and “Dance Me To the End of Love” by Leonard Cohen)
In this challenging
World of delicate us and truth.
Will still save us all
(Inspired by this quotation, “It cannot be said too often: all life is one. That is, and I suspect will forever prove to be, the most profound true statement there is.” From A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson)
Look both ways in life and love.
We are not, and wouldn’t survive, alone.
Mind the gaps, plant trees, and be kind to animals.