NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 28)

Click for more.

Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. I wanted to do all 30 prompts.

What I did instead was intended to be a black out poem in lieu of the prompt, I’ve done concretes before. Not today.

I decided that rather than black out unused text to create the poem, I would extract the lines from the first few paragraphs of a longer story. If I had more time, I might have attempted some art to overlay the blacked-out area.

If I included the entire narrative, it would have been too long with entire paragraphs blacked out. So, I extracted the parts/words/sections that made up the poem.

I selected the first few paragraphs from the titled section, “On the Rainy River” from the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien © (published in 1990 by Houghton Mifflin).


Drafted

one story I’ve never told,
it would only cause embarrassment,
a confession…
makes me squirm,
I’ve had to live with it, feeling the shame,
it’s a hard story to tell.

if evil were evil enough, if good were good enough
I would simply tap a secret reservoir of courage…
Courage, comes in finite quantities,
it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward.

I was drafted to fight a war I hated.
(You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them undead.)
…I assumed that the problems of killing and dying did not fall within my special province…

The draft notice arrived on June 17, 1968.
I was too good for this war.
Too smart, too compassionate, too everything.
I was above it. A mistake, maybe…I was no soldier.


Look both ways for reasons why and why not.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the booby traps hide.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 22)

Click this image to open today’s prompt page with links to more poems.

Today’s one-thirtieth of NaPo prompts challenged me to write a poem that uses repetition. I may repeat a sound, word, phrase, image, or any combination. I chose a name. (Note: published one day late because someone forgot to click on publish.)


When Nothing Else Can

Maybe Bukowski was right.
We are strange, we of the people.
Is someone’s world better
when we’re not in it?
Bukowski’s is gone.

Bukowski had a point
about hate’s self-sufficiency,
better to not care at all if love
needs so much help. Gratuitous
masturbation of the psyche
is all about Bukowski.

Bukowski was right when he said,
the world is full of boring, identical,
mindless people. They run from the
rain but revel in tubs of bubbles and water.
Where’s the glory here? said Bukowski.

Bukowski didn’t tell me to find what I love
and let it kill me, but I blame it on Bukowski anyway.
There is a loneliness in this world, wrote Bukowski.
Just drink more beer, more and more beer, now
that’s really Bukowski!

I think Bukowski was right when Hank said that
sissies have hard lives. And most important for me,
Bukowski said, nothing can save you except writing,
and equally important, a poem knows when to stop.
I think what Bukowski said is nuts, but also too true,
so it stops, but this is not the end of this Bukowski bit.


Look both ways when sampling the sweet and the sour.
Mind the gaps for clues of generations.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 9)

Click on the NaPo button for today’s prompt and links to other poems.

Because it’s Saturday, day 9 of the NaPoWriMo challenge, and the 9th of April, my numerically poetic task is to write a nine-line nonet poem. A nonet renders out to about 36 words. It’s a brief form. The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, and so on. The number of syllables reducing until you get to the nineth line, which has just one syllable.

I supposed that one could write an inverted nonet, which I did, beginning with one syllable and working up, line-by-line, back to nine. I felt like I had the time. Two poems, 72 words, 90 syllables. Not much for a Saturday. So, I also wrote a 57-word poem for Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt.


Never Understood

He had a quick pride which pained him much.
So many loves he’d won and lost.
His narcissism reflecting,
the part he’d never see.
Sadness lived within
his tortured soul.
When he died,
I still
cried.

***

Had
I known
of his soul,
the cost to him
was in no way small.
I never understood
many burdens he carried
they just split his being apart,
making it worse, the curse of his heart.


Look both ways and up and down before asking why or why not.
Mind the gaps in mirrored perfection of human discernment.

Monday’s Rune: Perfect People

logic died that day
you thoughtlessly
glanced away
and dropped the ball,

you crashed and burned,
fubar’d,
faltered, spent,
stepped in it,
tripped over your own schwantz.

bathed in sweat and grime
you made this mess,
but you know what?

i stand with you
at your side
to share burdens.
what’s fallen to you is also on me
you kicked logic and reason
out the door, invited misery in.

let’s share glory,
disappointment,
pleasure, pain,
achievement, and failure
because we are us,
we are — not alone
with human foibles and frailties,
blessed by them, together.

Look both ways in love and friendship.
Take the tests and mind the gaps together.

Sammi’s Weekender #250 (mannequin)

Click the WWP prompt graphic to open Sammi’s blog and read more writings of poetry or prose.

No, no, no.

She didn’t know,
she couldn’t see my loss,
drained of outward expression,
emotionally spent, I sat — still,
a heartless, brainless mannequin,
my skin ripped by her words.
I was not, as she accused,
an automaton. I loved her.

My brain and heart were not sapped,
but hope seemed impossible.
Suicide seemed the only answer,
an escape from daily pain, the way home,
to bring order to irreversible chaos.

My mind: bleak, grim, sullen:
I walked to window,
I cried, broken, never again to be me.


Look both ways.
Reality isn’t always as it seems.
Mind the gaps, nothing is perfect.
Into every life, some sadness, some love, some hope, some loss.

dVerse Poetics : Passions Stamped on Lifeless Things

Click on the tractor for link to dVerse post by merrildsmith in Poetics.

Old tractors can’t retire with much dignity.
Ours rests over yonder, near the barn.
With winter’s cold, snow, and ice,
or dry poundings of hot summers,
she tries to show well, just a little rust,
peeling paint, heavy worn tires.

Made to plough and cumber a heavy beam,
an ox of steel and rubber, she carried men to work,
sowed seeds, and tilled the soil.

A mammoth farm and ranch hand, she
pushed and pulled cultivators and harrows,
drug fertilizer wagons,
pulled mowers, rakes, and bailers
with tires heavy with water and mud.

I still remember the day I first grabbed ahold
of her wheel learning to drive and work hard.

Thank you, my friend, for teaching me
so much about life, work, sweat, tears,
and the weather. But mostly about how
to age gracefully and with dignity.


Look both ways but history teaches more.
Mind the gaps, find the truth, keep your pride and dignity until a tractor retires.

dVerse—Prosery Monday—Lost/Found/Lost Children (12/06/2021)

From the bar at dVerse, Lisa pitched me the Prosery Monday poem, “When We Sing Of Might,” by Kimberly Blaeser (see it here).

From the poem, Lisa lifted a line for me to fold into a piece of prose of fewer than 145 words of my own making but including the line, “I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night.”

I had to use every word of the entire line. I was allowed to change punctuation and to capitalize words, but I was not permitted to insert words in between parts of the sentence.


But for the Grace of What?

I walked the muddy road through the depressingly disgusting homeless camp. There was nothing but mud everywhere; muddy tents and muddy mad people totally demoralized and pissed off at the world that had put them here. They were angry about being in this place and they refused to come to terms with what they themselves had created, not just a camp, but a metaphor for their lost lives, an intractable bog of stink and decay. The city provided piss pits and shit pots smelled to hell and back. These lost souls were in the grips of unshakable petulance. It was in their eyes, posture, and the way they walked. To report on this homeless debacle, I knew what I had to do. I would be in Rome and do as they did. Briefly, I dress in their stories—patterned and purple as night.


Look both ways to see all that’s there.
Mind the gaps, but spare judgement.
There, but for the good grace of random fortune, go I.

Access other prosery pieces here.

Friday Fictioneers 12 – 01 – 2021

Friday Fictioneers challenges us to write micro-fiction (<101 words) prompted by a photograph supplied by one of our colleagues. It’s all teed up by our friend, extraordinary artist, and fabulous leader, Rochelle. Click the prompt photo to see her blog page with all the skinny. It’s fun.

Today’s picture has a two-level outhouse indicating politicians up top and voters below. I recall seeing this arrangement in a military cartoon with officers on top and enlisted below.

In the Viet Nam War, officers and radiomen were preferred targets of the North Vietnam Army and the Viet Cong, which is why soldiers did not salute officers in the field.

Click on the PHOTO PROMPT by © Lisa Fox for Rochelle’s blog to get all the FF info.

Genre: Military Fiction (War Story)
Word Count: 100
Title: FNG* Down

The new Lieutenant ordered me to be his radio man. Our platoon leader was callow, yet confident and eager. A stickler for rules, he risked soldiers’ lives needlessly. A poor listener with a gung-ho, know-it-all attitude.

He chewed me out in front of my squad and gave me extra guard duty. Bad enough I had to hump the motherfucker’s goddamn radio.

In the jungle one day the lieutenant ordered me to step back, I yelled, “Yes, Sir,” stepped back and saluted him. The crack sound of the AK-47 made me dive for cover.

Our next lieutenant was a big improvement.


Be aware of enemy presence and men with guns.
Mind the gaps, make more friends than enemies, and keep your powder dry.
Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.

Click on the soldier to link to the squares, where other stories are being told.

*FNG is military initialism and jargon for fucking new guy.

Sammi’s Weekender #234 (Empire)

Click the graphic to go to Sammi’s Blog. There you may read more prose or poems, and you can play along.

Yearning for Old Broadway

The Empire State’s
wonderful people
of the city that never sleeps.
Coney Island, Manhattan,
Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
That tall building, George M!,
Lady Liberty, the Bronx,
‘the city so nice
they named it twice,’
Gotham,
Broadway Joe, the fucking Yankees
in the Big Apple.
Herald Square, Times Square.
How I want to be there.
Sadly, the day of many hearts
broken by hate.
I love New York!


Look both ways.
Take the Staten Island Ferry and the NYC Subway.
Mind the gap, as in watch your step in the City of Five Boroughs.

Thursday Rune: “Tom”


We were
crew mates and friends,
Tom and I.
He came from
South Carolina,
via the
University of Hawaiʻi.

Partners.
A team of two.
For a couple of years,
we had laughs.
But it ended.

Lieutenant Tom, an enigma,
half of a nuclear bombing team,
a pot smoker,
beer drinker (me too),
almost certainly
a skeptic.

A kind of Buddhist,
politically left,
a sky diving
motorcyclist, and
the class clown.

We were different.
Tom deeper,
more spiritual,
and funnier.

After the Air Force,
Tom became a teacher,
back in South Carolina,
and a renowned
BASE jumper.

An avocation
that brought
an early end to Tom’s life
at the bottom
of a high SC tower when
his parachute gear
failed.

I’ll not forget.
I wish it had been
different. I’d call him.


Look both ways and remember even brief friendships.
Mind the gaps, they sometimes hold truths.