Poetry: Poem’s Point of View (NaPoWriMo) Day Seventeen

Today, I’m challenged to write a poem that presents a scene from an unusual point of view.

***

He will not leave me alone. All that touching and feeling me, he tweaks me mercilessly,
and (too often) makes me look like barfed up SpaghettiOs.
It’s embarrassing.
He thinks I am his and that he knows all about me.
He doesn’t.
I know teenagers who know more about me than that old fart.
Others simply see my words or hear my meter while he sees me as his personal art (bitch).
He puts his name on me – how rude is that? He doesn’t get it.

He talks about me (us—there are others) endlessly, influencing his friends
to fool around with me.
Sometimes he gets violent with paper and pen and pushes me around
because he thinks his mental malady will be short-lived. How rude!

He knows so little. He has been writing poetry for fifty-three (long) years.
BFD, right?
When he was young with a hard cock, he ignored me. Thoughts?!
That’s all I got from him. He liked us, but he was ashamed
because I didn’t do much to make him look strong and tough and mean.
I think he is an imposter and so does he.

I am all he does—all he thinks about. He explores me in every embarrassing way,
he sniffs me, touches me, he reads bawdy stories. He acts like I am some sort of trophy bride. And oh, my fucking god!
The limericks! The men who write them must be burning in hell.
I know for a fact that he’d rather a crusty, edgy limerick over a sweet love song poem.

Sometimes he writes me and then loses me.
Rather than be upset, he writes another me.
It’s as though I matter, but I also don’t. Which is it?
What the fuck?
He will never win a damn thing.
He wants to put us in a book and claim us as his own.
Such possessiveness! It’s unacceptable.
We are our own persons, who just happen to be poems.
If we belong to anyone, it is the poetic universe,
but he’ll never understand that.

There are reasons he was as he was,
and more reasons why he is as he is,
but none of that has anything to do with us,
the poems, the words, the lines and rhymes of Our verse.

When he looks at me it is like he is seeing a ghost, a shapeless cloud figure,
wavering without beginning or end,
just flowing shapes in many forms of endless words,
of unknown visions and interpretations.

Oh crap, he is picking up that god damn pointed, sharp pencil.
Soon he will be poking and scratching, adding and removing, or changing—endless changes.

In my next life, I want to be prose. Just a little time on his laptop, maybe one printing and we’re done. At least he knows prose and has been doing it since way back.
This rookie old fart poet will be the end of it all.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/17/2019

Look at all things both ways, male and female, creator and created, toucher and touched, kisser and kissed, poet and poem. Mind the gaps which harbor resentment of the art.

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: A Good Pain (NaPoWriMo) Day Twelve

My poetry challenge on this Friday is to write a poem about two things of mine. One was to be a dull thing that I own, why and how I love it. The other was a significant thing I own and what it would mean for me to give away, or to destroy the object?

 

 

*** A Prose Poem

Technology is significant. Toenails are dull. We upgrade computers, cell phones, and tablets. We cut toenails and toss them. Sometimes we wonder why we have nails (sometimes I wonder about computers too). Computers get viruses, toenails get fungi. One seems to make my life easier, the other we may paint and glitz up for fashion. One costs hard-earned cash, while the other may be pedi-’d when we mani-, but they were originally free. Toenails are expendable. They can turn black, fall off, and then grow back – sometimes.

While tech stuff may be frustrating, annoying, and expensive, we keep it close. Attached nails I never forget. But I would not go back home to retrieve a nail. Computers never caused me physical pain. I caused my feet anguish which they returned in misery.

Drop my phone in a toilet – get a new one. Drop this toenail in a toilet, I’d get it out, rinse and dry it off and I’d keep it. People joke about me and my toenail in a bottle. But while a painful memory, it’s a life treasure.

No longer a runner, my marathon streak ended at number 15, the Steamtown Marathon. This one was in the New Mexico portion of the Chihuahuan Desert for nine painful, grueling hours. Blisters as big as my feet, pain from self-abuse, all my toenails turned black. Some fell off.

I made stops at medical tents for foot care and to dump all that sand and desert scree from inside my shoes. During the short refreshing rests and pee breaks, I observed more serious casualties. Some turned back and limped or rode a golf cart home, others took the more serious ambulance rides. It was freezing at the start of the race one mile up and a hot high-desert afternoon when I finished. The blessed mountain top view from another thousand feet up brought a slight smile that said now we’re going down there.

I did the same event over the next three years as a wiser, more experienced participant. Finished all four New Mexico marathons (and the other 11) walking catawampus supported by ego and a feeling of achievement that defies words. It was more than a high. It hurt so good! That toenail is my reminder. I’m keeping it. You can have this other stuff.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/12/2019

Look both ways. Our greatest achievements will always be
the most difficult and painful.
Mind the gaps, wear good shoes, and take care of your feet.
Your nails look great!

All turned black, three fell off.

Poetry: The Price of Refuge (NaPoWriMo) Day Nine

Today, I’m supposed to write a list of things, a poem, in the style of Sei Shonagon. I decided that my list will be a poem in a series of lines taken from the lyrics of some of my favorite songs. I let a theme emerge as I quickly selected lines jumping out at me.

I’m glad these prompts are not graded.

Fantasy could never be so giving,
Oh lord, make it shallow so that
there’s no turning back.
Such are promises, all lies and jest.
Live and learn from fools and from
sages still a man hears
what he wants to hear.
Honesty is such a lonely word
when I’m deep inside me,
the road is long with many
a winding turn,
but listen carefully to the sound,
there’s battle lines being drawn,
this rage that lasts a thousand years.
Every form of refuge has its price,
everybody’s got the dues in life to pay.
It’d be easy to add up all the pain,
the dark is too hard to beat.
Everyone goes south every now and then
to forget about life for a while,
strange how the night moves,
with autumn closing in.
Life’s bigger.
Nobody seems to care and you
can’t find the door
when logic and proportion
have fallen sloppy dead
on a cold Nebraska night,
but try to understand, try,
try to understand.
What does it matter?
Nothing really matters to me.

© Bill Reynolds 4/9/2019

Look both ways in the magic, music, and song.
Mind gaps in the lyrics that matter.

Poetry: Blue on Blue (NaPoWriMo) Day Eight

Today, I’m challenged to think about an argot of a profession and to incorporate it into a metaphor that governs or drives my poem.

Blue on Blue is an example of a euphemism for a euphemism. It is a way of saying friendly fire – shooting at your own side.

The real-world situation I used was the death of Patrick (Pat) Daniel Tillman on April 22, 2004, from friendly fire by his own men in Afghanistan. I also read Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade before penning this, consequently quoting or adapting phrase from that classic war blunder poem.

Blue-on-Blue

Down Range into the mouth of the canyon
they rode
into the Valley of Death.

Forward, charge for the guns.

Into harm’s way each soldier will
do as they are told.

Theirs not to make reply,
theirs not to reason why,
theirs but to do and die.

They were unaware
that all would not go well
for a hum of the defender’s dude.
As all the world just wondered why,
they drove on,
into the mouth of hell.

Into moon dust places others cared
not to be,
this the second bat, 75th R&R,
Serials One and Two,
and a broken Humvee.

As the shadows of dusk and death
brushed and touched their fear and fight,
a flash burst out and turned onto the path
brave men would here now die,
before that night arrived.

Confusion stormed with shot and shell,
yet into a fire and fight from hell,
they blundered.
A wave and a nod as more shots flashed—
Then,
from a barrel
the missile was launched,
fired into the skull of our hero.

Now our boy, a man lies dead
upon the sad dusty ground,
killed by his own,
in a wild dismay with
that bullet into his head,
A price too high to pay,
and a loss too much to bear.

When we set out to stay alive,
and for others to die,
do we ever ask
or even stop,
and try to reason why?

We kill and we maim,
both friends and the foe,
for some god,
or maybe our country.
Yet somehow,
when it’s like this
it’s nowhere close to the same.
Charlie Foxtrot! Blue on blue.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/8/2019

Look and listen for the voices of the innocent dead.
Mind the gaps and beware of the dark canyons.

Poetry: Possibles (NaPoWriMo) Day Six

Today, I’ve been challenged to write a poem emphasizing the power of if. I wrote a poem so-titled last September (read it here). This is different. It’s less personal – more philosophical and asks a lot of questions.

The Possibles (of Impossible Ifs)

If lives were perfect, would they be?
If not for night, would we know day?
Does pain delight then go away?
To live forever, would be okay?

Abraham would be a joke, see
Joan of Arc would be alive.
If life was perfect, would I survive?
What if I were you, and you were me?

What if we felt neither sad nor woe?
Where the hell would happy go?
If this might be, could you vote yes or no?
Or do banal waters float your boat?

Everything is possible. If that, why so?
Would perfect make me want to go?
In a perfect world show, what is not?
If the answer’s here. I want to know.

Leave the gaps. Let’s not be saps,
When we die, they’ll still play Taps.

There’s something here, I clearly see,
This imperfect world is alright with me.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/6/2019

Look both ways, imagined and real.
Mind gaps you see, for honest sex appeal.

 

Poetry: Too Much (NaPoWriMo) Day 4

Today, the challenge was to write my own sad poem. The sonnet form was to help me – its very compactness might compel me to be straightforward, using plain, small words.

My brother had retired from his job in the WTC North Tower, prior to 911. This reflects his return visit story as he told it to me.

Too Much

His world was changed. A forever new game.
A self that was gone, down with the rubble,
Friends dead, enemies too. Some with no name.
Few bodies found. Just tributes to trouble
Stacked like coffins, empty boxes at best.
One year sooner, this burden he’d have born.
Proud monoliths now dust, ashes and death,
Tombs now shrines to hate, religion, and war.

He stopped and looked up at an empty sky,
His identity lived in rejection.
Innocent of deed, so many had died.
He walked in the familiar direction,
Emotions unknown squeezed him to the bone.
His mind now gone. He turned – could not go on.

©Bill Reynolds 4/4/2019

Look both ways, but sometimes, you just cannot. Gaps can be huge.