Poetry: About the Artist (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-two

Today, I’ve been challenged to write a poem that engages with another art form that I have experienced. My prompter declared anything to be in bounds, but I must use the poem to express something about another form of art.

My wife once said to me,
“you’ve always fancied yourself an artist.”
I wouldn’t have said that,
But she was right. I have and I do.
I like saying the word fancied,
Quality notwithstanding any measure.

I ask you now, but what is art?
Is a child’s first drawing art,
and is he or she not the artist?
Will my last dance be art?
What (I ask you now) is not art?
And of all, who is not an artist?

Is it art to color outside the line,
to sing off key, to skip a note,
and must creativity be voted upon?
Do art teachers grade the art,
or the artist? And what is an
artiste? Do you do art?

Is cooking or baking or brewing art?
May every and anything be artful?
Do you deny being an artist?
If so, why? Do you hide your art
in shame that you are an imposter
artist, an unskilled fraud or a fake?

Sane or crazy as a loon, drunk or sober,
from the first try to the final straw,
done well or poorly, what we do is our art.
Show me your art, sing me your song,
play me a tune and read me your verse,
but do not tell me you’re no artist.

I fancy you, as you should too,
to see yourself (an artist),
to be human, as artistic, as
artisan, as creative, as anyone. Now,
shall we dance? You lead!
I promise not to sing.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/22/2019

Look both ways,
from your first cry to the final whimper.
It’s art.
Mind the gaps, but just do it. Do IT! Do it.
It’s been there waiting for you.
Now go do it.

Poetry: Mr. Bill’s Dream Logic (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-one

My poem challenge today was to write a poem that incorporates wild, surreal images. I was to use writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but engages all the senses and involves dream logic.

Well-known strangers speak
without talking, to us much younger
than before when it was me,
but not I; colors of unseen
monochrome images of unlimited
limitations. Chases by odorless fears
of panic unharmed—yelling out into
this empty reality of unfolding challenges
without beginnings or ways to an end.
Movement without effort, watching
as space and time pass unchallenged
by a pointlessness of futile efforts.
Yell out! Why? The dogs.

A colorless kaleidoscope of
meaningful meaningless images,
sounds unheard, spoken with
windless breaths. Fear seeing
through closed eyes, hearing with
deaf ears, brown hair on bald men,
run, kick, yell, stop, breathing.
Fight back!
Awaken,
let go. Rewind. Dream On!
Dream real.

© Bill Reynolds 4/21/2019

Is this a dream within a dream?
Look both ways for unseen meaningless threats, gapless gorges, and mindful mindlessness.

 

Poetry: Our Place in Line (NaPoWriMo) Day Eighteen

Today, the NaPo lady challenged me to write an elegy of my own. One in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

As far back into childhood I recall,
they say my day, my time, will come.
One day, perhaps quietly
or in some fitful mental agony
it will be my time to die.
But the bell has not
yet tolled for me—
soon enough—
it will.

Every pet, dog or cat,
lightning bug in a jar, turtle
or Easter chick; every snake, worm, or
ant; butterfly or bird, fish
or tarantula , things that flew,
crawled, walked or ran,
or just a sighting in the wild—
they’re all dead now—
I don’t know
what that is—
but they’re gone.

Every childhood friend is dead,
my mother died long after dad,
sisters both gone,
(estranged brother
I don’t know about,
he may outlive me,
if so, let it be).
I won’t know.

Uncles and aunts, one cousin (sort of) all
gone and others I don’t know about,
but they (ones I knew) are dead.
There may be some still doing,
but people of my memories
are past life. And this,
my friend,
is normal.

Some things don’t die, all people do.
Poets die (some never replaced)
but poems don’t.
The two most important
breaths we take,
the first and the last—
all the others
we call living.
That’s life,
Frank.

My sister would telephone,
“Billy” she’d say, “guess who died?”
she said, and then
she’d tell me.

When everyone and everything
I know of has died,
how do I know
who is next in line?
Is it I?
Or is it you?
Not if,
but when!

© Bill Reynolds, 2/18/2019

Know why you look both ways, otherwise, it is simply a meaningless turn of the head.
There will always be gaps but mind them anyway.

Poetry: The Tale of the Trail (NaPoWriMo) Day Sixteen

Today, I’m challenged to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.

The path, or trail if you like,
is a story. I know it’s a story,
because
it has a beginning, a middle
and an end. The path has composition
or a tale about the trail, it tails off,
or degenerates its form with
decomposed granite. The path
is decomposing hard stone
of different size rocks
down to powder, dust – granite.
The trail speaks with a crunching
voice, almost a groan I hear
with each step. The deer leave prints
when its wet after rain. Ants build their trail
on the path to cross perpendicular. I see it.
The sand of their trail is like a vein
across the path I walk, sometimes a snake
will try the trail, but not for long.
A variety of insects share their path.
Grasses and bushes, acorns for trees
find the trail worth a try. Bluebonnets
are undeterred by the inhospitable
and decomposing hard crushed pebbles,
and they grow through it to prove it.
There are sticks
and some leaves on the path,
on the sides, grasses push in
to reclaim what was
once not even a dirt path,
an unmarked open flowering field.
A bench sits
beside the trail and invites me
to stop, to rest, and to ponder
the stories of the trail, and the deer,
the birds, busy squirrels, sniffing dogs,
maybe a mysterious cat or two.
I accept the invitation before
I finish walking through
the story
told by the path that talks to me
(with a very special gravelly voice)
beginning, middle, and the end.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/16/2019

Look to both sides, to front and back, and listen to inhale it all.
Mind the gaps made by ants.

Poetry: The Stock of Love (NaPoWriMo) Day Fifteen

Today, I’m challenged to write a dramatic monologue poem. I tried to create specific voices of character that act as both narrators of the poem and participants, which could be acted out by someone reciting it.

****

He is just there, out of reach for now.
Or is it us? So waiting and watching his stare.
Dare we touch such darkness, or look upon him,
in a time to sample solutions?
To this time we have come, as you and I will have done,
to seek his work in our lives.

The darkness that follows, at times closer or farther,
but always, always there.
We look not to see into his darkness
as he looks upon us with calm eyes
for seeking an inevitable time, when we
feel his welcome breath as a wind of the wise.

With a song he beckons us to release
this pain of our suffering into his care.
This love has been our personal world,
but now we may touch an eternal threshold of peace.
Release me not, but allow you go with me
in search of our final love of his prize.

With pain and regret I feel deep in my bones,
to him, I send you in my despair.
Such shaking a coward deep within me,
I step into our eternal new home.
As we lie here in the dark, and together we sleep,
for a time never again to rise.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/15/2019

Look both ways to feel the times of birth, love, life, and death.
Mind the gaps in space and time.

Poetry: Evil Darkness Denied (NaPoWriMo) Day Thirteen

Today, I wrote a poem about something “mysterious and spooky!” (As the prompt challenge defined it.) I mused the denied duality of human nature as set forth in the classic Jekyll and Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1886] by Robert Louis Stevenson. My review of the book is here.

***

Not evil I but you
Live with a darkness
of truth denied with
not to Hide mind
what must be true.

Wretched are you
to ask me to see
a truth as part of I.
Created by god
no evil must I be.

False belief is
the sinless soul
of self-righteous evil,
within you disguised
as good and pure.

As Lanyon needed
Jekyll’s truth to see
from Hyde’s reveal,
to accept the two,
both part of you.

There is no light without darkness,
no good without evil,
no truth without lies,
no life without death,
no two without one.

Seek out truth in you,
of more than half,
balance reality or die
from the only good truth
is really a lie.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/13/2019

Look both ways to find evil and good in you. It is your one and only truth.
Mind the gaps of fear and self-deceit, they hide your Hyde.

“O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!” Dr. Lanyon’s words and recollection serve as the climax of the story. The question of Dr. Jekyll’s relationship to Mr. Hyde is resolved.

 

Poetry: Why am I Me? (NaPoWriMo) Day Eleven

My poetry challenge today is to write a poem of origin. Where am I from geographically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And having come from there, where am I now?

It’s not really a home, but it’s where I am from,
a place and a people from whom I’ve come,
other places they called home were not theirs.
Were they as proud as I, of who they were?

My look, perhaps a taste or a talent; a religion
or a language, this tribe of people like me.
Am I good enough? Were they? My foibles,
both pride and shame cloud my reality,
I don’t know what to feel about who or what I am,
or that I am at all, or who or what they were.
Why does it matter now? Is it because
knowing you is knowing me?

Why should I care? Am I a conduit of genes, maybe
I pass on life, survival, perhaps some weakness?
Who am I? Why am I? Why now? What do I want?
Taste, beauty, mindful intelligence, with durability
all passed from them to me, then to continuous family.

Why am I and what did you want? Life until death?
What is it that I don’t know? Not just life, but
thoughts. What did you think? What did you cling to?
Did your strength or weakness pass to me?
We’re from there, and there, and other places.

The you I’ve never met, secrets you’ve never told,
burdens never experienced, fears not shared,
friends, enemies, jealousies, hatreds that
may have traveled, but then died with you.
So much of what I am flowed from you to me.
Maybe I simply pass on, or maybe I just do.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/11/2019

Careful as you peer into the gaps of history but look both ways.