NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 8)

Day 8 prompt: Use a portion of a poem from a twitter bot as seed (inspiration) to write a poem.


Confession: I dislike the words twitter, tweet, and bot. It’s getting late. I need a poem. I’ve read nearly all of Anne Carson’s “The Glass Essay” searching. I considered her “Where does unbelief begin?” and discovered her phrase, “That was the night that centered Heaven and Hell,” which I may use later. I pondered Richard Siken’s words, “Let’s admit, without apology, what we do to each other” and “This has nothing to do with faith but is still a good question.” I did the perusal work of reviewing several twitter bots. Nothing worked.

Then, as I was re-reading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried (1990), I found it. I try to do “optional” prompts. I hope I semi-followed the elective prompt with a twist.

My poem is based on a scene from O’Brien’s book, specifically from the chapter, “On the Rainy River.” Tim writes of sitting in a small boat 20 yards from Canada while facing his inner dilemma of doing what he thinks is morally right and what his family and most people (at the time) thought he should do: to accept his draft notice and fight in the Viet Nam War.


The Embarrassment of Tears

It was a moral freeze,
part hallucination, he supposed,
as paralysis took his heart,
a tightness he wants me to feel.

He could swim but he saw them,
a blind poet scribbling notes, people,
his past and his future, and mine.

His conscience lost the battle in a war
it could not win. He would do it.

He would go to the war –
he would kill, and maybe die
because he was embarrassed
not to. That was the thing.

And so, he sat in the boat,
and he cried, but he did not die.
Not a happy ending, his war,
his book, our war. He went to the war.

He was a coward, he claims,
because he stuffed it for them,
for their love, which he carried then,
and carries today. I disagree.

He asks me, and you,
would you cry? The scene jerks
my tears, not for Tim, or the war,
but for me. I was not in his boat.


Sit in your boat and look both ways, to Canada or to home.
Mind the gaps, there may a book or a poem in them.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 6)


Day 6 prompt: write a poem from the point of view of one person, animal, or thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous, bizarre triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. After spending too much time searching the five-hundred-year-old hallucination on wood, I decided on one of two snakes from the left panel.


Blame Game

They could have blamed the moon,
or that unicorn, which never existed,
but no. Let’s go low, they said.

Talking creepy crawlers, snakes,
and fruit peddling serpents make
splendid scapegoats. Why not a goat?

We can’t talk, bark, purr, or bleat.
She points to me, he believes her,
and all hell (right panel pun) happens.

Pin it on snakes, they said. Scary,
but defenseless. Look at panel two’s
big party of naked fruit eaters.

We got the rap for all of that. Sinners
should blame monkeys. At least they
look and act like you people.

And what’s with the guy
growing flowers out his arse?
Who does that that? Not us.

So, what do you get? Panel three.
From a diluted old man
with bad acid in his enema.

Time now to get over it.
Past post-medieval art is fine,
slithering snakes are silent.


Look both ways, or with triptychs, three ways.
Mind the gaps, it’s where the story’s told and the pictures fold.

Click for link.

NaPoWriMo: 30 Poems in 30 Days (day 5)


Day 5 Prompt: write one poem using or doing the Twenty Little Poetry Projects of Jim Simmerman. You can google it for other examples.


Torn Knights

He yelled into my face,
“Life’s not a bowl of cherries.”

I wanted to rip him to pieces
then and there, feeling his grip on my neck,
smelling the furious anger of alcohol breath,

I heard the silence of witnesses
sulking away, their fear fed my will to fight,
as his words breathed fire into my eyes,
all could see desperate anger quake the Earth
and shake trees as leaves fell like tears of fear.

Bill and Dan at it again on Butler Street,
brotherly love, kin with no wisdom to share
as each could see the envy of one
less favored dragon slayer.

“You da cool fool, hayna, baby-bro?
Ah tells ya, ‘cuz I luvs ya brudder.’

“Well I’ll swanny over such tots,”
tasting sweat mixed with vile spit.

Waltzing a pugilistic polka
inflamed a poison pit of spite,
played to muffled grunts and groans
Dan became the dragon, thus
Bill drew a slayer’s sword
to end of the fiery brand
brother’s battle forever.
Soft liquid steel shattered
the end, an old beginning.

Fata Morgana
reaching fait accompli,
times past without tears,
Earth swallowed Irish blood
into a hell of hate. Two men swearing,
dancing in the dark
to unending songs of never love.


Look both ways as life is not always as we wish.
Mind the gaps and choose wisely.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 4)

Day 4 Prompt: write a poem based on an image from a dream.


Falling

I dream. Real life things.
Clears the mind is what they say,
acting out, kicking or yelling.

I remember falling,
although
I’ve never fallen like that,
frightened.
Trying to swim
in the air, in my bed.
Crazy, right? But seems so real.

The fall ends
with an awakening,
a tension,
heavy breathing, until then
It’s like Aerosmith
singing, telling me to sing,
screaming in my ear
dream on…
Dream On…
DREAM ON!

Uncontrolled. Letting go,
all of it,
the stress, the tests
normal life washed
from my mind as fear falls
into a new day
of happiness and blissful life.
Dream on, dream on,
and sing with me. Before
he takes you away.


Look both ways.
Sleeping and dreaming, both part of living.
Mind the gaps with me, sing with me. Dream on, with me.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems (day 3; language warning for Aussies, Brits, and Yanks+)


Day 3 Prompt: List ten words. Then, list two to four (that’s three) similar sounding or rhyming words for each of the ten. Use the listed words to write a poem.

If Tony Hoagland could write a poem titled dickhead, I can write one using Australian, British, and (when common to all three English speaking countries) American swear words. My list is of ten chosen Aussie/Brit swear words. The rhymes are another matter. Some folks think I need an excuse to swear. I do not (like this guy). I do it a lot, just not so much in the blog.

My List (10+30=40 words). Ten Aussie terms are in italics.

  1. bullocks, hookups, pushups, full lips
  2. bugger, buzzer, butter, sucker
  3. bloody, bunny, dummy, plucky
  4. shag, hag, fag, tag
  5. twat, got, caught, shot
  6. wanker, bonk ‘er, honker, conquer
  7. root, chute, scoot, flute
  8. wristy, twisty, nifty, whiskey
  9. fuckwit, suck it, tuck it, pluck it
  10. dickhead, bed spread, ‘nuf said, bunk bed

Bloody Sweary

Artful Aussies
sound so bloody plucky,
like Brits, when they cuss
to discuss dickhead fuckwits
of a hag. In a pub
they say bullocks
to hookups
with a wanker who’d bonk ‘er
while the dummy bunny
does pushups
holding a fag to his honker.

When the twisty wristy bugger
got caught with a thought
of a twat
he made a nifty switch
to whiskey. That sucker
wanted to root in the chute,
but he had to scoot,
or he’d be shot.

A full lips tag
punched at the buzzer,
a loss I couldn’t conquer
with my twisty flute
when I jumped
into the bunk bed
with a new spread,
when the utter said suck it with butter,
I decided to tuck it or pluck it. ‘nuf said.


Even embarrassed by poems,
look both ways for the universal swear.
Mind the gap lest you twist and shout a cuss or two.

Poetry:


Tomorrow begins national poetry writing month (NaPoWriMo) when we write, and in some cases post, a poem each day. I try to write to the daily (optional) prompts, but any poem each day works. If you’re interested, click the button for the link.

Click for the link, or it’s napowrimo.net

This Happens

I’ve noticed something.
Some days all art
hangs straight while
clocks show correct time.

It is a pleasant 73-degrees
with just the right number
and location of clouds.

Do you have those days
when everything
is exactly
as it’s supposed to be?

Clothing is properly hung,
in the closet, color coordinated
and ready; my sock drawer
needs no reorganizing.

The dishwasher is correctly loaded
and organized properly. All settings
are as we like
and software
is all the latest version.

Fonts and images
match everyone’s taste.

Have you ever noticed
on some days, nobody
needs your advice,
assistance,
or repair services?


Look both ways even in the twilight zone.
Mind the gaps.
You know they’re there.


 

Poetry: Deep Cuts


I’ve noticed within you
dormant dark ironic
meanness which,
aroused by stress,
fueled with fear,
ushers in you a strife
emblazoned with virulent rancor,
etched with vitriol and venomous
words more harmful than
some source
of your frantic painful sputum.

You strike
like a cornered dog
or captured snake seeking vengeance
without sense of reason, cause, or goal,

neither coherent illumination nor purpose
tempers or dulls your slashing fangs.

Let lost conscience be not your guide,
nor grief and guilt become your
warrant.

Count to ten. Then count again.
Nothing can be unsaid,
unheard, or unfelt.


Look both ways when emotions rise.
Seek the mindful gaps of calmness and search for love.