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 7)


Day 7 Prompt: write a poem based on a news article. Google picked this as news specifically for my interests.


Virtual Virus, Viral Irony

And Kitty O’Meara stayed home
and penned a poem in prose
pointing to how people passed
pandemic days in curious ways.

And social media, as it does,
became that bastion of fiction
for misattributed news fact,
poet, author, and blogger,

Catherine M. O’Meara of 2020,
became Kathleen O’Mara
of 1918, 1919, and 1869,
later reprinted as Spanish Flu.

And Miss Kitty made news
with viral views, Snopes,
as they do, corrected
for credit, as credit was due.

Had time been April,
and I wrote a poem about
my newsworthy piece,
as another pandemic poet,

wrote a poem
about a poet who wrote a poem,
about an illness, healing,
and people in the news – hope.


Look both ways reading or watching news.
Even a rare gem can fall into the gaps between fact and fiction.

Click here to link with Kitty’s blog.

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.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 2)

Day 2 prompt: Write a poem about a place (i.e., a house, store, school, or office). How ‘bout a bar?


Packy’s

Sorry to say it’s gone now,
Packy Lenahan’s bar.
Packy too. Kids may age,
Patty and Maureen Keating,
lived in the same attached building.
I forget the people’s names
in the apartment above Packy’s.

It was on the corner of Madison street,
where friends Jimmy, June, and nine more lived,
and my grandpop had lived before I was born,
and Butler street where we lived.

Packy’s, some thirty yards west of
my bedroom window,
was where they drank and smoked,
and where they played games and ate food
until well past my bed time.

Inside to the right a huge mahogany bar
had big high mirrors, stacked whisky bottles, and beer taps.
I learned shuffleboard to the left,
and my first dart board was on the back wall,
left of some stairs up to the dining room
with tables and chairs, a kitchen and
toilets were to the right.

Few stools were at the bar, but it had real,
often used, brass spittoons on the dirty,
cigarette-burn stained, wood floor where beer
was often spilled and seldom mopped
under high ceilings with fans on long poles.

The back door was mostly for exiting,
or entering when closed (but not really),
on Sundays after church or after last call,
always unlocked after knocking.

There was a piano,
and a smell of stale beer
and staler smoke, and a juke box
back in the dining room
where I sometimes played,
but bar spittoons always intrigued me,
men spat, often missing, one of the things
they only did at Packy’s.

Many nights I laid in bed and listened to them
talking or singing and being loud, having fun
at Packy’s. Sometimes fighting
after Packy threw them out and I wanted
to go see who got clobbered
with a brass spittoon off the floor.


You can see Packy’s door and window over my Dad’s right shoulder (circa 1948)

Look both ways cuz it’s not always what you think.
Mind the gaps and don’t trip over spittoon.

Click for link to web page