NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 29)

Day 29 prompt: write a paean to your pet.


Hey, Cat

The mice at the vet’s
always made me feel guilty
when they’d ask me your name.
You were abandoned, neutered,
declawed, and basically fucked
by previous pin-headed possessors.
A bit of a nutless dick,
you bitched and whined
more than any dog, but you were
my cat. I was your human.
We understood each other and
those whiny-ass special
snowflake syndrome sufferers
of your name at the vet’s office
couldn’t believe we appreciated
each other on a level no man’s
best friend could understand.

Your name was Cat. You were The Cat!
Any Salem or Heathcliff worth knowing
would hang with the moniker, — Cat.
Clear, concise, and common.

You were my cat cuz
no one else wanted you. I did.
And you me. (Sort of.)
Rest in peace, Cat.


Look up, down, and both ways for cats and dogs.
Find and mind the gaps in every relationship.

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.

Sammi’s Weekender (154): Fabric


It was almost olive drab once,
now faded OD, but green,
the back says, Nothin’s Easy.
A well-worn tee from my days
running or trekking Government
Canyon, near San Antonio. It’s
not a canyon at all.

On the front you can make out
the drawing of the hills,
the name ends with, State
Natural Area
. The crew neck fabric
is tattered from use and washes.

It’s size large to hang loose,
but no longer does.
Do you think it shrunk?
Or have I expanded
my physical surroundings?

If I had a favorite tee,
this might be it,
but I don’t want others to feel
helly-jelly. It’s just a shirt.
Like the brown one I’m wearing now
from my second Cowtown Marathon
that says, opposite the front,
I’m Back. Cuz I was.


Look both ways for ties to tees and memories.
Mind the gaps or it’s the rag bin for sure.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 25)

Day 25 prompt: write a poem using Hymn to Life, a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost while following the prompted suggestions of Hoa Nguyen. Write for at least 20 minutes.


The Big Event

It is morning. Friday morning. It’s the day. The day when I risk my life.
Sitting up, I remove my c-pap mask. I walk to the master bathroom.
After peeing I wash my hands. I walk to the living room.
Yolonda says, “It’s going to be 94 today. Walk outside soon to be cool.”
I make coffee, black, with a red wine-colored maker. I add milk.
I move things in the sink and on the counter. I wash my hands.
I say, “We must complete the list. I go to the store today.” I take
the last orange. A happy fruit for a poem. I sit and type on my laptop.
The sound of The Price is Right is distracting as I read about oranges.
Back in the kitchen, I do inventories of shelves, fridge, and freezer.
She rewrites the list, an orderly plan for the store. I add milk.
I don’t see her list vanilla ice cream. I wash my hands.
I review the list for items and order. I plan movements and wonder
if alcohol or disinfectant will ever be there again. I take morning pills
with coffee and pour frozen blueberries into a bowl, then some granola
I made yesterday, and I top with sliced half-a-banana. I wash my hands.
I check the list for frozen blueberries. I go back to my lappy to read more
about the fruit and the word for the color of orange while eating cereal.
She comes in and we talk of things like food, adult children, grandchildren,
politics, and humor. I take my empty bowl to the kitchen and rinse it.
I wash my hands. I look at some sketches. Draw lines. I look at my painting.
I add green, purple, brown, and blue. I wash my hands. I get dressed.
I inventory my pockets; wallet, handkerchief, pocket-knife,
notebook and pen, keys. I put on gloves to retrieve the trash can
from the curb, leaving the still full recycling bin. I remove the gloves.
I wash my hands. I wash my glasses with shaving cream.
In the car I notice the full gas tank is on week three. I don sunscreen sleeves
and sunglasses. I back out and drive to a grocery store. I park.
I wear a blue surgical mask and darker blue, almost purple, surgical gloves.
I pull up a bandanna-like scarf over the mask. I notice others
with masks and gloves. I feel like a team player. I retrieve a cart.
The young man at the door hands me a wipe.
I wipe the cart and trash the wipe. It begins. I risk my life // for food and drink.
No rubbing alcohol or disinfectant. Too many close calls // less than six feet.
I see men without masks. Republicans, I assume. Why do they believe that?
And not this? Which checkout line is shortest? I follow the rules. I thank them
and go to my car. I load it and return cart to a stand. In the car I remove masks,
realize I wore my sunglasses the whole time. I carefully remove gloves. I wash
my hands with sanitizer and drive home. I put on different gloves
to check mail, carry in deliveries, and retrieve the recycling bin.
I remove those gloves, then I remove store items from plastic bags into cart.
Yolonda takes the cart into our house. I open delivery boxes. I wash my hands.
We discuss the overall condition of store, the virus evasion, what they had,
and what not. We buy real food. Ice cream is real. It’s too hot to walk.
I write and sketch and paint. I didn’t see a text she had sent.
I feel like I cheated death one more day, one more time. I wash my hands.
Our internet and cable TV are down. I write anyway. It is Friday.


Look both ways while shopping.
Watch for people, carts, and items on lists.
Mind the gaps before they fill with carts and shoppers.
Wash your hands.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 22)

Day 22 prompt: write a poem inspired by an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture.


How about both? I selected avoir l’esprit d’escalier (or avoir l’esprit de l’escalier), a French phrase that means to have the wit of the staircase. In English, we say escalator wit or afterwit. It refers to not making a repartee or a quick, witty reply, or clever comeback. The French admire and train for avoir de la répartie (the witty comeback) as part of their national sport: arguing and debating (so said dame de l’enseignement du français, Camille Chevalier-Karfis).

This idiom refers to thinking of your comeback after leaving and reaching the bottom of the stairs. The philosopher Diderot wrote about it around 1775, so it’s not a new thing.

Credit: Jim introduced me to this phrase a several months ago. Thanks hombre.


Right Back

I enjoy arguing. I even took argumentation
in college and I still twiddle with logic. But, I no
longer can find that safe place or person to engage
in a bit of désaccord amical. Is it me?

Am I sensitive to condescension or the ad hominem
manner I dismissed in my youth? Have I lost my edge?
Do I fear my own cuts to the core? I wish no harm.
In the past, I assumed my words were salt seasoned.

Am I more concerned with keeping the peace and less
with truth or finding fact? Can I call it at all, much less
like it is? Can we drink and swear, and point or turn
the voices up, yet go home friends who share more?

Is it my own l’esprit de l’escalier which forces me toward
and another thing … an hour later? Do you mean more to me
now than back then? Am I protecting you from me, me from you,
or is it some witness to the kerfuffle of wisdom and wit?

Or perhaps my heart and soul, my being me has fallen
into an age of mellow. Maybe I am diluted by political
and religious sensitivity, and by correctness of a culture
that wraps truth in euphemisms. Me? No way, José.


Look both ways in the world for cultural differences and similarities.
Mind the gaps, but know we are all connected.

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 17)

Day 17 prompt: write a poem that features forgotten technology.


It’s For You

Privacy was not an issue, there simply was none.
I vaguely recall the telephone first being installed,
owned and operated by the telephone company (till the break up),
on a party line shared with neighbors about four houses over.

It sat on a round table in a short hallway near the unlocked front door,
next to our living room, from where all could listen to every word I said.
I could listen back. Wires were straight or twisted, and got in the way,
or we fumbled with them. You only had to spin-dial three or four numbers.

Learning how to dial was like tying your shoes or walking. You just learnt.
Our number was Valley – forty – eight-hundred, and I’ve known that
for as long as I could say my name, maybe longer, like our address.
The farthest room from the phone was my parent’s upstairs front bedroom.

First my friends would call, mostly Jimmy or Jack. Then later, my girlfriends.
Only one at a time so no one had to ask her who was calling. But they did.
We had to turn down the TV so Dad could hear, but that was because
he couldn’t hear. The sound was always too loud. Dad did not like phones.

As I recall, no one called Dad until my half-brother went into the Maine Corps.
Danny called Dad. And when Danny was in a car wreck, Dad was called.
Few call my smart phone. I, too, have trouble hearing. I’m like my Mom.
Socially, I am like Dad, too. When the phone rang, someone answered it.

I remember when the scams and telemarketing started. If you wanted to text,
you needed to put a stamp on it, but it was only a few pennies for a post card.
Mom called family on weekends, and when I moved out, so did I. Sundays.
Long distance cost extra and over three minutes even more. No more.


Look both ways for someone to answer the phone.
Mind the gaps on a party line.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 13)

Day 13 prompt: write a poem of non-apology for the things you’ve stolen. (Lingo warning)


Ted P. stole your fucking car. Not me.
I didn’t steal it from you. I borrowed it from him.
Scout’s honor, it was just a lesson using locks and keys.

See, in my mind, it was no longer yours. It belonged to Teddy.
You left it unlocked—just gave it up. No key required back then.
Clearly, a case of baiting entrapment, don’t you see?

Use some logic here. Stolen property, like your car,
once taken is fair game. It’s still hot, just on loan. In a way,
it was still Ted’s, I stole nothing. He said it was okay.

From hood to hooligan, if you will. But he took it.
Then he called me. Wait’ll you see what I got, he said.
Holy shit, I said. Are you nuts? I don’t know why I asked.

Ted was a leader of loonies, among which I sometimes loomed.
Don’t ask me why. Doing dumb-ass shit is fun. You got it back.
Not trashed or nothing. It was a six, automatic. You fer real?

Yeh, I knew your black, with red leather bucket seats, Chevy
was cool and hot at the same time. I got blamed for re-stealing it.
If Ted could-a returned your car a little sooner, we’d all be good.


Look both ways with disambiguation.
Mind the mental gaps in the logic of youth,
but learn the lessons.

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.