new moon prayer of a deadbeat

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Photo by Steven Su on Unsplash

new moon prayer of a deadbeat

you were acting unruly
willfully testing boundaries
as I patiently corrected
your older sister mocked you
and so I scolded her too
gently, sans needless cruelty
not as I had been brought up
but as I have learned to nurture
cause “know better, do better”
you and your big sis smile warmly
thanking me for caring enough-

I awake to dark cold silence
reality is your absence
your step-sis is a stranger
I’m a faded family picture
ignorant to your hopes and dreams
I’m bone-cold in black spaces
that will never know warmth again
but I deserve this mild penance
for failing to fight for you
I pray that moonlight blesses you
bloom from the many moons I missed

not a cult.

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

not a cult.

u·to·pi·a – /yo͞oˈtōpēə/ – noun: Utopia; plural noun: Utopias; noun: utopia; plural noun: utopias

an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. The word was first used in the book Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More.

 synonyms: paradise, heaven (on earth), Eden, Garden of Eden, Shangri-La, Elysium; idyll, nirvana, God’s country; literaryArcadia

 “it may be your idea of Utopia, but it’s not mine.”

Utopia is not a cult.

It is not a snowy compound off the grid,
but it was two young lovers
throwing popcorn at each other
because there’s no snow in San Diego.

Utopia is not a cult.

It’s not group-think or conformist factions,
but it was sitting
through the same community play,
year after year,

knowing mean old Ebenezer
will have a change of heart,
and yet still weeping tears of joy
when he does, hugging his nephew.

It’s not a cult, and yet, it was there

pretending to be sound asleep
when tiny children impatiently stirred us
to see what the fat guy in red and white
brought them the night before.

Utopia is not a cult. It’s just not.

It doesn’t demand wealth redistribution,
even as she anonymously paid the meal tab
of a struggling young adult
on year one of surviving alone,

knowing that nearly everyone
has a year-one story
that hasn’t been heard.

Utopia isn’t a cult.

It doesn’t demand mandatory appeasement,
but she gave the greatest cuddles
in human history, and she never tired
of delivering comfort.

Utopia doesn’t measure cups
except on the occasion
when she examined empty cups,
looking to fill them again.

I don’t know if Utopia is a she,
but I know she isn’t a cult.

Utopia’s voice was frail and robust;
hearing her song filled your own lungs
with chorus,

but you are not required to sing,
you ninny!

Only sing with her
if you want to,
and you will want to.

Because she ain’t a cult!

And I can’t tell you who she is
but I can tell you who she isn’t
and describe who she was

whenever she cleared her throat
etching her soft voice into memory

whenever she replenished her neighbor’s bowl
without hesitation or thought of her own

whenever she held me as I cried in darkness
patiently awaiting my slow turn to sunrise.

Yeah, I know who Utopia was
but I cannot tell you who she is

for I cannot describe the phenomenon
while simultaneously living the miracle
any more than I can put legs on a snake
or feathered wings on a fish.

Utopia is of us, within us, and beyond us.
She is ours to grasp, or leave alone.
She is perhaps my next breath,
and certainly was my last smile,

But she ain’t no damn cult.
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: Utopia, hosted by Gospel Isosceles.

Also shared at Real Toads The Tuesday Platform.

Quantum Entanglement (The Lovers)

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Photo by Rhett Wesley on Unsplash

Quantum Entanglement (The Lovers)

In a blink
all he thought he knew
subverted

With a wink
all she thought she outgrew
reawakened

On the brink
all their fates knocked askew
re-knotted

With a kink
all the cosmos curled a screw
unfastened

Interlinked
by indifferent ether Déjà vu
enraptured
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #68: Winkle, Winkle, Little Poem, hosted by De Jackson (Whimsy Gizmo).

I wrote this before coming up with a title for it. I got my title from here.

Bad Day (The Shots You Don’t Take)

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Bad Day (The Shots You Don’t Take)

I was stopped for speeding earlier this week, and justifiably so, unless the cop was just profiling every black guy who just happened to be going 43 in a 25mph residential area. (I was late for work. That’s no excuse for driving like a menace, but it is a valid reason.)

In the aftermath, I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking for the remainder of the day. As a child, I never grasped why my family collectively feared police, but by age 45, I completely understood the subtle nuances. I laughed at the long, subtle transition of perspective, especially in this era when one false twitch can make guys who look like me into a hashtag (#BarryD #HeWasHarmless #HeWasScaredOfSpidersAndCopsAndBeingLateForWork).

My boneheaded commute had earned me a two-hundred-dollar citation, but I wasn’t lying lifeless face-down on the pavement riddled with peace-keeper rounds, so I considered it a net-win. All things considered, it was just a bad day that could’ve been far worse.

I discussed this with wifey, and she said that us humans have a one-hundred-percent survival rate during bad days. I supposed that was true, even while dismissing this as a bland “You miss one-hundred percent of the shots you don’t take” motivational slogan. But then I began to analyze this statement, and while technically true, on the occasion that a bad day is not survivable, depending on various lifespans, your bad-day survival rate drops anywhere from 90 to 99.9999 percent, which is not too shabby, all things considered.

Granted, your percentage will never again increase on account of you being dead and all.

So, you will either survive your bad day, or you will perish from it. But more often than not, you will survive it. I consider that a net-win. I told Wifey there’s a poem in there somewhere, and I hoped to fish it out. She urged me to reconsider, but you only miss one-hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

November stormfront
frozen rain stings rosy cheeks
I blush through the grey
***

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday: Transitions, hosted by Merril D. Smith.

Nocturnal Remission

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Photo by Jay on Unsplash

Nocturnal Remission

Once upon a frosted moon
I gathered diamond dust in June
Nonsense or hogwash, dare you say?
Perhaps you’re right; it was in May

With snowdrifts icing late spring blooms
I laced my skates and headed north
Her hand outstretched from feathered plumes
My butterflies flittered for warmth

This bird migrated in three-fourths
I lagged behind her melody
Her song was lilting, light, on-key
We danced our dream with fragile force

Her sea-salt kiss reigns tearfully
Melting capricious symphony
My snowbird left this lonely loon
In sentiment and fantasy

That once upon a frosted moon
I gathered diamond dust in June
***

Written for dVerse  Stock Phrases, posted by lillian in Poetics.

I enjoyed this prompt… but look, I get it… I know there’s not much to hold onto in this poem (or perhaps too much, depending on your perspective), so pardon my whimsy.

“Once upon a…” prompts get me in a bit of a whimsical mood. 🙂

 

Winter’s Breathing Lesson

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My driveway, about a winter ago. Perhaps two winters ago?

Winter’s Breathing Lesson

wolves thrive in winter
a matter of attrition
as their prey weakens

though her canines are not fanged
her biting air stirs my lungs

this winter is tamed
El Nino tempers her howl
flurries become rain

I’m steeled for a land of white
the mist still chills our pack’s trail

weather-guessers clash
none know what tomorrow brings
I embrace the void

cooler, darker than last moon’s
I keep my howls to myself
***

Written for Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Winter, Posted by Sumana Roy.

NOAA predicts a warm, wet winter for the Seattle area this time (so no snow days), but Farmer’s Almanac says batten down the hatches for unseasonably cold weather.

I was going to write a satire about the two conflicting predictions from the dual weather sages, but mindful presence moved me in a different direction. 

I haven’t looked at the data for myself, but meh, I’m genuinely good with either outcome. 🙂

And because I love BOTH versions…

Ouroboros is typing a reply…

Ouroboros is typing a reply…

“I miss you.”

She had typed each letter
carefully
with thumbs that already knew the way.

That was at least a half-hour ago,
electronically,
via direct-message, which was
a slightly incomplete method
of describing one-way messages
traveling the speed of light
towards their destinations;

A miracle of technology
that may as well had been substituted
by carrier pigeon
or message in a bottle,
for all the good it did her tonight,
or any other night she found herself

waiting.

She stares at her phone
for a notification that won’t come
quickly enough,
or perhaps ever.

Who can say with that boy?

God damn him.

God damn that lovely,
delicious boy.

God damn his dreamy eyes
and his earthy scent.

He is taken with another.

She knows this
and tries to shrug this truth away,
knowing he knows the way back to her,
knowing she will open to receive

his sweetness

despite all common sense;
he doesn’t deserve her grace, but
she’ll extend it for as long as it takes
as long as it extends their private duets.

She needs to know she still matters to him,
even knowing that all that knowing does
is make her bite her lip,
chewing on his absence.

She waits,
ingesting delicious potions,
hash-laced chocolates,
and green smoke; she’s faded,
divided against herself;

her mind craves comforts
her body finds increasingly toxic,
pooling upon her needy tongue,
seeping into her spleen and spine.

His saccharine non-declarations,
when whispered softly into her
arched spine under cover of night,
warm her bones against her
malnourished brain’s better judgment;

when etched electronically,
they relieve her scanning eyes
while stinging her perceptive heart.

And when there is nothing but his silence,
that leaves only text that never refreshes.

Two hours fall away into nothing,
and there is nothing from that foolish,
delicious, selfish boy.

She logs off social media

a rather incomplete method of
describing some rather
anti-social behavior

closing apps, tabs, and legs
for another lonely evening
of binge-watching stories
of lonely characters behaving foolishly,

perpetuating their own loneliness.
***

Shared on Real Toads The Tuesday Platform.

Seasonal Madness

Seasonal Madness

the type of kiss
that condenses oceanic breezes into squalls
leaves me tangled in fitful sleeplessness

I cannot admit
the howls and whispers
reveal my intent

yours is the heat
that feeds upon you and me
devouring us
leaving only thirst

it will pass, like all storms
arbitrarily
leaving us drenched and drained
an unearned calm
arrested by
the weather we evaded
***

Shared with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads The Tuesday Platform, Imagined By Vivian Zems .

I was inspired by my friend trE’s poem, Seasonal Sadness. If you enjoyed reading mine, you should pay her a visit as well.

Pariah

Pariah

As an artist, he spins artistry – I wholeheartedly admire
But lustful seed; malicious need, delicious greed fueling his fire
Misdeeds come to light and overnight, his blights birth a pariah

Setting his art apart in heart makes me Descartes to his pariah
His harmful slips trumps craftsmanship, ripping all I admire
Provoked folks were broken on his yoke, and where there’s smoke there’s fire

Using muses won’t excuse abuse; can’t recuse flair from our fire
Through introspection, we selectively reject the learned pariah
Yet we learned the life-affirmed abuse of the abuser I admired

This known pariah grown from man’s own fire of cruelty, I admire
***

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Fussy Little Forms: Tritina. This is my second attempt at this tritina form.

Also shared on Poetry Pantry #424.

Background: There is a gifted poet who I admired and wanted to emulate a great deal. I won’t mention his name here, but some of you may be familiar with his work. He basically came from nowhere, grew up in squalor, as his people were oppressed and all-but-erased by the US government. He was physically abused as a child. But he eventually fell in love with language, pulled himself up, and rose to prominence as one of America’s dynamic new literary voices.

But tragically, he then used his newfound influence to sexually harass aspiring writers looking to him for mentorship. Obviously, my heart goes out to the women he victimized. Also, I feel like a fool for admiring him in the first place, and in some small measure, for still admiring him today.

I’ve been grappling with this for several months now. His actions were abhorrent and unacceptable. But I also cannot ignore the abhorrent conditions that birthed and probably informed his actions. Hurt people hurt people. Should this man be erased for happening to others? And what of the others who happened to him when he was a young innocent child?

I don’t have the answers, but I just feel sick about the whole damn thing.

Mid-Fall Brunch

Mid-Fall Brunch

October breeze brings arctic bite to air
Leaves leave their moorings upon knotted crust
Shadows stretch further north with greater depth

Autumn sound-tracks in jazz with folksy depth
I steep our tea; honey-kissed, clears the air
She preps the pastry; flaky, buttered crust

Her hand brushes mine, piercing well-worn crust
We speak-easily; a bottomless depth
She smiles, I forfeit breath, gulping our air

We fall for our mid-fall, air, crust, and depth.
***

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Fussy Little Forms: Tritina, Imagined By Marian. This is a tricky little form, but it was also fun. I may try a few more like this.