Poetry: Rant (NaPoWriMo day 19)

Today is day 19. I was challenged by NaPoWriMo to write a humorous rant. In this poem, I was licensed to excoriate (I prefer bitch) to my heart’s content. I ranted about ranting.


Let Me Explain

I’ve been okayed to rant.
I should be good at this
cuz lots of practice,
but I need a subject;
like in a poem, something
specific to rant about.

I prefer small audiences
or choirs to preach to,
preferably from my own tribe.
I need to know what I’m
talking about, no random topics
that just piss me off for now;
politics, religion, or both might work.

I should stand. My face will redden.
I need not be near breakables,
like nick-nacks or small animals. I can
frighten cats, small dogs may cower
into a corner, and I need a timer.

Like I’m Italian talking normal,
I need to waive my arms and make
gestures about the size of fish I caught,
or the size of my antagonist’s penis.

If Yolonda is there, she will tell me
to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut.
I’ll claim NaPo permissive prompt status
or poet’s privilege, but she won’t care.
She’s heard it all before.
I’ll call him “needle dick the bug fucker,”
for laughs, then I can sit down and let it all go.


Look both ways, be it a declaration of war,
burying the hatchet, smoking a peace pipe, or opening kimonos.
Mind the gaps because that’s where the trouble starts.

Poetry: Mello Bill (NaPoWriMo day 14)

The NaPo prompt for today was to write a poem that “delves into the meaning” of my first or last name. For me, that’s about family history.


Mom couldn’t remember her mother,
but her father lived much longer. I,
while given his name, never met him
or any grandparent.

Mom’s family propensity
for female progeny meant that I
could have been baptized Wilhelmina.
But the presence of a penis undermined
her best planned pronouncements. I was William,
after my maternal grandfather, yet Mom and Sis
often teased by directing that female alias at me.

For my name, more meaning
requires German or Norman research,
the discovery of which
has nothing to do with me.

Neighbors often called me Danny
after my Dad or older half-brother, but
I told them, “I’m Billy.”
They often seemed confused.
Mom said I was demonstrative (whatever that meant).
Wilhelmina probably would have been histrionic.
Today it’s curmudgeonly snarkastic, but they love me.

I don’t know if so-called meanings of my name
have squat-all to do with who I am, or this William.
It’s Bill that I prefer to go by although our first born
is also named William and goes by Billy
(or Bill when I’m not around).

As for that “strong-willed warrior,
protector, or helmet” stuff from the dictionaries,
regarding the meanings of my first name,
none of it has anything to do with me,
or who I am.

Yet, some who know would call me stubborn.
And there were all those years in uniform
for which people insist on thanking me,
as if I’d been an underpaid volunteer.
Maybe so, maybe not. I guess we’ll never know.


Look both ways and inward.
Does your name define who you are, or is it the other way around?
Mind the gaps in family history, you might not be who you think you are.

Poetry: Stupid People (NaPoWriMo day 12)

Today’s NaPo prompt is to write a poem using at least one word, concept, or idea from each of two specific dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.

The online classical dictionary was too difficult to use, so I used one of my own. The sci-fi one was easier, but I couldn’t find “galactically stupid.” I got “fugginheadness” from it and piled on “gormless and vacuous” for the poem. I reached out to youtube for some help from George Carlin and a scene from the movie, A Few Good Men.


Like Average, Man!

If someone lacks intelligence, it’s not their fault.
No one arrives at birth, or from another planet
(the ones we used to call space cadets), and decides
they will join the fugginheaded, gormlessly English gang.

We couldn’t take it if seemingly vacuous souls made
such choices, like ordering an IQ from a menu.
But there are some out there in the world, whose
behavior is ordered right out of willful ignorance.

And I’m not sure that every Mensa member is sane.
I try to understand. I really do. But please tell me.
What is with those who join the fan club of the
Galactically Stupid? Super-stupid on purpose?


Look both ways from dead center under the bell curve.
Mind the gaps and disregard outliers.

Epistolary Poetry: Some Writer’s Thoughts (NaPoWriMo day 11)

Today’s NaPo’s challenge was to write a two-part poem as an exchange of letters. The first stanza, part, or poem was to be the letter-poem that I wrote to someone. The second part, the letter I received in response. The length, form, and subject matter were to be of my choosing.

I wrote one letter to two men, George Carlin, and Johnny Cash. Each answered separately. Cash used a poem he wrote 18 years ago.


Dear Messrs. Carlin and Cash,

I am sometimes compared to George,
but seldom to Johnny Cash.
I love music and humor, especially
the more cerebral, sarcastic jokes
of George’s accompanied by adult language.
Every day, I listen to Mr. Cash recite the poem,
The Cremation of Sam McGee
as part of my playlist. All three of us spent
time in the Air Force, although the length of time
and conditions of departure differ. I like
to write. I know that both of you considered
yourselves writers. But you were better known
in other professions, which was how I found you.
If this letter gets to you (I’m told you died),
please give me advice about my writing.
You can see it on my blog.

Regards (I miss you both), Bill

***

Dear Bill,

I asked around about you. I learned that, like me, you were raised in the Catholic faith and attended parochial school, but now you’re out of all that. A synonym for parochial is narrow- or closed-minded. Never forget that. You’ll never get over it. You are not like me. So, don’t worry. We have no wifi or computers or cell phones here, but no matter. If you want to write just do it. Fuck what anyone else thinks. Remember, both the man in black and I had our stage personas and our real acts. Recall also that I loved the live performances. I can’t speak for Johnny, but I bet he did too. Holy shit, he did concerts for prisons. Oh, you have a lot goin’ on. Enjoy it all man, for as long as you can.

Best of Luck, Old Man.
George

***

Hey Mister Bill,

Don’t cha just love writing poetry? I did for sure.
Songs too, but it’s all about the same stuff.
I’m gonna give you my answer as a poem
I wrote back in 2003, Called “Forever.”

“You tell me that I must perish
Like the flowers that I cherish
Nothing remaining of my name
Nothing remembered of my fame
But the trees that I planted
Still are young
The songs I sang
Will still be sung”*

Good luck to ya, Sir. And
God bless….Johnny

*Poem “Forever” by Johnny Cash from Forever Words: The Unknown Poems.


Look both ways and try to accept what help you can get.
Mind the gaps and truth behind the masks.

Commentary: Sammi’s Weekender #204 (forage)

Click to go see Sammi

 


When words like shit and fuck are used, it’s often to express emotion. Meanings of excrement and fornication are less often intended. Both can be vulgarities, obscenities, or profanities, depending on context and who sees or hears it: lawyers, religious people, or your mother.

Shit results from forage, which leads to eating, thus pooping. People who study shit (“excrement examined experimentally”) are called scatologists, although scatology also refers to literature, or they’re called scientists who work in fimo, after the Latin fimus.


Look both ways and watch where you step.
Mind the gaps or you may ruin someone’s idea of a scientific experiment.

Not my poem, but an oldie I recall from boyhood days.

Poetry: Omar’s Morning (NaPoWriMo day 9)

Today’s NaPo prompt was to write a poem in the form of a to-do list for an unusual person or character. I made a list for Omar Khayyam using some of his poetry as a guide.


“Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.”

Today I shall make math in the morning,
After a bit of love, and some science
To make the wine taste much finer.
Then I will make time to mend this tent.

Today, I must check the new calendar
To see if it works well enough to
Decide if today is the day after
Yesterday and the one before tomorrow.

“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.”

And love you I shall, until time for food,
And drink. Let us upset the local
Sufis a bit, they see me as atheist,
But they are wrong as this is heaven.

Then I must write for the art,
A bust of poetry as I lie with thee.
Who will know me in a thousand years?
I must get this damn sandal fixed.

Then I recall I must teach that class.
Oh, how to find the time?
Let us make a Sultan’s list,
As I’ll think of love and wine.

(Quotations are from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, written by Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald.)


Look both ways for Epicurean delights.
Mind the gaps with humorous and perverse exalting
gratification of the senses. Tomorrow we can decide what happens then.

Poetry: Me in Drawing Class (NaPoWriMo day 5)

For this prompt, I was to select an existing poem and write my poem using the shape (form, style, beat) of the original. Each of my lines must begin with the same first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem.

For this assignment, I selected two Billy Collins poems. For shape, I chose “Class Picture 1954” (click to read it). I picked “Drawing Class” for subject and musings. Mr. Collins enjoyed his drawing class much more than I did. But we both like to draw.


Me in Drawing Class

I took the art class
for my drawing to improve.

To the instructor I was not
special nor obedient because
to me, she was retentive and inflexible.

The first day she belittled tardy.
I was early. Most were on time.
Is she too good to teach me?

At the front and center
in my surgical mask,
was I to be her basic class problem?

Because I claim my work
instead of me making art her way;
oh, how we entertained the others.

What’s so bad about using graphite?
And why is it carbon or charcoal
you think superior to what tool I use?

And now we’re done.
So class is over,
another moody artist goes his way.


Look both ways in dealing with the artsy types.
Mind the gaps, but graphite works equally well.

Poetry: Cardiology: Third Floor (NaPoWriMo Day 4)

The NaPo fourth daily prompt is to select a photograph from @SpaceLiminalBot. Then, inspired by one of these odd, in-transition spaces, write a poem.

The idea is that “poetry often takes us to strange places – to feelings and actions that are hard to express except through the medium of a poem.”

From Liminal Spaces @SpaceLiminalBot

In similar cold, impersonal rooms I’ve waited.
In walked one of those transitional, liminal,
“call me doctor” med school grads
titled “resident,” which really means
student-doctor, not to be trusted (yet).

The tall, dark, young, stranger wearing a white coat
over green medical scrubs
and bright-orange plastic slip-on shoes,
said, “I’m Doctor Confident
working with Doctor Supervisor.”

I answered his questions and laughed too often
at his overconfident naivety (couldn’t help it).
I instructed him. I explained.
His pride got in the way, so I stopped.
I smiled. He wanted to argue.

While I didn’t take the bait, I said things
like, “good luck with that” (giggling),
“that’s not gunna happen,” and “we shall see.”
I did not call him doctor, only technically is he.
They need name tags, “Liminal Doctor Botch”
with a footnote that says,
“must be monitored closely.”

Someday soon he will be relied upon
to cure illnesses, to save or extend lives,
to teach other residents the ways of medical science,
to develop rapport with his patients. But first,
he must learn. No longer a student, not yet a doctor.

He may remember a cantankerous old man,
who was not, technically, his teacher or patient.
He will learn. He must. Nothin’s easy.


Look both ways in ever relationship.
Mind the gaps. Maybe fill them in.

Poetry: Winning (NaPoWriMo Day 3)

For today’s prompt, or assignment, I was to make a “Personal Universe Deck,” and then write a poem using it. My deck needed 50 index cards with 100 words of my choosing but I had to follow 17 rules.

I was to have fun making the deck, which should also be revealing. After I had my deck assembled, I was to shuffle it a few times, then select a card or two for words to use as the basis for a poem. I was not to agonize over my word choices.

I did all that. I blindly selected two cards at random, each with two words. The words were thirst, light, song, and mystic. I admit to liking these words.


***

My Mystical Song #75

I’m quite average in many ways.
Excellence is not common to me,
as neither stage nor spotlight quench
my introverted comfort zone.

I sing poorly, but I love music.
I’m not spiritual, but I love mystery,
and I drink a bit of the adult life,
which I try not to take too seriously.

When I do well, or simply succeed
to cross the marathon’s finish,
to survive addiction or disease,
I bow my Irish head and take a smile.


Look both ways to find the real you and the real me.
Mind the gaps with special care. That’s where our secrets are.

Sammi’s weekender #203 (absurd)

Click for link to Sammi’s Blog.

Today Yolonda declined
a rejoin invite from ladies of the day,
because the absurd notice said,
“and no damn masks” is as close
to a dis as she is willing to concede.

My writer’s guild also discussed
timing and protocols for safe rejoins
at face-to-face meetings after
we’ve all had our shots. It’s complicated.
But no one even mentioned wearing masks.


Look both ways for both wise choices and illogical tropes.
Mind the gaps as the CDC warns of yet to come.