Poetry: It’s August Again


It’s August again. Just another
one of twelve named collections of days
to mark our planetary position
relative to our Sun, called sol, in our
solar system spinning reliably about
in some outer spiral arm
of our Milky Way galaxy. Our home.

August is supposed to mean something important,
like some Roman title signifying reverence;
to hold in high regard. I don’t do that for August.

As a child, school started next month,
I was often bored, sunburned, a year older.
Halloween and Christmas were far off.
I feared some raging red-faced nun’s pounding footsteps
and bone rattling beads storming my way,
with some weapon of horror in her hellish hand.
Hormones made me feel things I didn’t understand.
I still don’t get all that. Crazy life.

As an adult, August now means hot and dry. West coast
wildfires raging on while US Forest Service bureaucrats
either fight or fiddle for smarter management
policies for mother nature to ignore.

I try to be respectful of August.
It’s the end of summer, the gateway for September
as promised glories of Autumn soon fall upon us. Coolness.
And color. And feelings. October promises more.
My apologies to summer lovers, tanned bodies,
teacher’s times off, vacations (because kids), and to Caesar.
I say it every year. Only Christmas can save August.


Look both ways to seasons past and yet to come.
Mind the gaps in government policies.
They’re only human, even if they can’t admit it, until the mic is hot.

Sammi’s weekender #208 (solitudinarian)


For Ian

Somewhat solitudinarian, I’m bein’
in the midst of my septuagenarian age,
hopeful of promotion to octogenarian
like that Marion the librarian; she who was
so totalitarian with stacks of authoritarian;
and me, such a wild child barbarian seeking
both libertarian and egalitarian ideals
like equalitarian and nonsectarian, except for
agism which seemed contrarian to Yossarian
the prelapsarian in the books of Merrion.

I see centenarian as a contractarian goal
even for the Rastafarian or Merion, or the lost
latitudinarian with limited access to a seminarian
or a utilitarian agrarian humanitarian.


Look both ways with rhymes for reasons.
Mind gaps for grammarian parliamentarians
from other generations.

Poetry: Going Down? (NaPoWriMo day 30)

This final prompt challenged me to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. Sarcastic humor has my heart.


You may need to buy a ticket,
live a normal life, and do
human things, but they say
there is a way to Hell.
Who alive knows for sure? (Many)

To ensure arrival, you’ll have to die.
Before that, good intentions should
provide a smooth ride. You’ll wanna
mean well, tell the truth about what you think,
eat lobster and for God’s sake,
want what the Jones’s have,
or you’ll want one of the Jones’s,
or dislike the Jones’s as in no love.

Lie about the Jones’s.
Make a self-portrait.
Say “God damnit” or “Jesus Christ.”
Ya might say God’s name to no purpose (in vain)
Laugh at a George Carlin’s joke, or forget
the day it is when it’s Saturday or Sunday.
Work weekends, since Sabbat is negotiable.

Argue with Mom or Dad.
If ya marry the wrong person, get a divorce,
have an affair, kill them, then you should
find things warming up. Or just
be who or what you were born to be.

Having sex with anyone, especially
if ya likes it; or, if you’re shy,
having sex alone has been known
to get ya where you want to go.

If not, maybe just think about having sex,
or eat bacon (see the relationship there?)
Belong to some other religion.
Piss off the Pope if you can.

In the south, dance with a person
of the opposite sex, or better
dance with the same sex, except for girls,
unless you think of sex with her.

Drink booze or coffee if ya live
near a Salt Lake. Try pot. Try gambling.
Keep all your money (trash tithe)
Finally, you must certainly die,
but fear not, they tell me this is easy.


Look both ways for sarcastic humor.
Mind the gaps unless there are too many.
If so, look for the god of the gaps.
Above all, have fun and enjoy life,
especially if you’re Hell bound anyway.

Got My Ticket

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: What They Were


Now abandoned, there sits an old home
convent campus of providence sisters,
a cloistered retreat,
once a thriving worshiping community.

Now greedy developer fodder,
this sad waste-like memory rots,
loved only by climbing and scratching
brambles of blackberries. There’s
no salvation for the old.


Look both ways for revitalization of the past
and for the hopes of the future.
Mind the gaps for invasive species.

Click Image for link to PEW article.

 

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.

Poetry: Unintelligent Design (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-three

Today I was prompted to write a poem about an animal.

Note: Prometheus (forethought) and Epimetheus (afterthought) were spared imprisonment in Tatarus. Zeus gave them the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure.

Thus Zeus,
before humans roamed Earth,
set Forethought and Afterthought
to task. Animals lived and roamed
without reincarnation or karma
fish swam, birds flew, and each
creature of day or night,
did the natural things, no karma required.

Dinosaurs upset a jealous god—gone!
With Athena, Prometheus made man.
But then monkeys mated with people
and Afterthought declared, “now
we need second chances”—
reincarnation, and karma came to be.

Humans did not know
what they were nor what to do.
so they caused trouble for goddess Gaia,
fought, became reincarnated afterthoughts
in lower and lower life forms to learn,
but each time, the lower form of
human was worse than the last.

Afterthought said to Forethought,
“look now, lower forms we need
for karma, these are slow learners.”
They created Lumbricus terrestris.
Earthworms that eat dirt and crawl
into the ground and are slimy and ugly
and are both male and female,
thus confused and lost bird food.
But to no avail as human nature
continued to confuse the gods.

Nirvana was vast and empty
when Afterthought reminded
Forethought, “Have you noticed,
we create humans, they fuck with monkeys,
die into lower karma never moving up,
and Zeus is pleased, laughing at us?”

Forethought said, “Indeed. We need a cover story.
I have one about a talking snake, two naked
humans too dumb to know it, some other god,
a garden, a tree, and an apple or some variety of fruit.”
Afterthought said,
“Without reincarnation and karma, no one
will ever believe that story. You need
worms, snakes are too hissy.”

Look both ways in forethought and afterthought but live in this now.
Mind the gaps and respect the worms,
you too have a next life and karma keeps adding up.

Poetry: Why am I Me? (NaPoWriMo) Day Eleven

My poetry challenge today is to write a poem of origin. Where am I from geographically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And having come from there, where am I now?

It’s not really a home, but it’s where I am from,
a place and a people from whom I’ve come,
other places they called home were not theirs.
Were they as proud as I, of who they were?

My look, perhaps a taste or a talent; a religion
or a language, this tribe of people like me.
Am I good enough? Were they? My foibles,
both pride and shame cloud my reality,
I don’t know what to feel about who or what I am,
or that I am at all, or who or what they were.
Why does it matter now? Is it because
knowing you is knowing me?

Why should I care? Am I a conduit of genes, maybe
I pass on life, survival, perhaps some weakness?
Who am I? Why am I? Why now? What do I want?
Taste, beauty, mindful intelligence, with durability
all passed from them to me, then to continuous family.

Why am I and what did you want? Life until death?
What is it that I don’t know? Not just life, but
thoughts. What did you think? What did you cling to?
Did your strength or weakness pass to me?
We’re from there, and there, and other places.

The you I’ve never met, secrets you’ve never told,
burdens never experienced, fears not shared,
friends, enemies, jealousies, hatreds that
may have traveled, but then died with you.
So much of what I am flowed from you to me.
Maybe I simply pass on, or maybe I just do.

©Bill Reynolds, 4/11/2019

Careful as you peer into the gaps of history but look both ways.

 

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.

 

Poetry: Unbelief

The greatest sin of unbelief

They tried my soul –
and found it guilty
of the greatest sin,
its unbelief.

There it is
for all to see, the bad is there
all about me, can’t you see?
not rape nor torture or the harm
of murder
none of that is my sin.

I killed no gods or goats
all souls still running free
to come and go,
but my only sin – no god
shall I ever know.

How do I dare
to declare
my mind be free,
and so bare. is it not right there?
show me any god,
then might shall I to care.

Condemn my soul,
if you must. but look at me
and you will I trust
see all I can be,
is humanly free.

The day I die and somewhere lie,
you’ll accuse me as others cry,
not of being bad nor good,
but unlike you,
I just did not believe to be true,
my unbelief in god now flows
through as all my being goes.

©Bill Reynolds   1/28/2019

Look both ways. Mind the gaps.