Day 22: Jazzy Heist

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Image by SeppH from Pixabay

Jazzy Heist

Drum’s our kingpin.

Bass rides shotgun.

Others rise and fall in time,
adding color accents.

But drum and bass are
basic black and blue; all
pigments combined in

shockwave tommy-guns
to writhing canvases
strongarm-robbing them
of inhibiting spoils.

The perfect syncopated crime,
sharply-committed in-time.
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #78: Rise prompt. Other poets contributed here.

Also written for NaPoWriMo’s day 22 prompt: “write a poem that engages with another art form – it might be about a friend of yours who paints or sculpts, your high school struggles with learning to play the French horn, or a wonderful painting, film, or piece of music you’ve experienced – anything is in bounds here, so long as it uses the poem to express something about another form of art.”

(Blogger’s Note: I couldn’t choose between the two music selections, so I added them both. Whoopsie!)

Day 21: Dismantling a Mercedes

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Photo by Luca Santos on Unsplash

Dismantling a Mercedes

She was beautiful,
long before learning
a self-butcher’s trade.

Long before swinging
lifelessly
from a tree in a park

– her final act completed publicly
after countless private attempts – her end

was pre-assisted
by the animal kingdom.

Nature was a
giant killer hornet colony
nesting in her head.

Nurture was meat
for a Komodo dragon
ignored by farmhands.

She was banished from
purgatory paradise
by serpent-creator.

The meat became her own
expert butcher, carving
fortune from flesh.

A successful vendor,
despite the killer hornets
devouring their share.

But she dared to be
discerning in company of
lurking painted wolves.

Scavengers and hunters
combined to consume her
to the marrow, leaving only
her final act of defiance,

her final words to
the animal kingdom,
a day before her final act;

“Fuck y’all”.

There is no solace
in burying the bruises,
as only the living bruise.

She ended her pain
alone in a park
by focusing its sum
upon her kissable neck,

compressing the noose;
a temporary evisceration
for a lasting peace

that eluded her infested skull in life.

Perhaps not the beautiful ending
a beautiful butcher like her deserves,
but an ending all the same.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 21 prompt: write a poem that “incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.”

I interpret that as “go nuts with abstractions and strange metaphors”, and so I did my best with this tragic tale.

Day 19: April Zephyrs

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Photo by Luke Marshall on Unsplash

April Zephyrs

April walks hand in hand with us. Her smile
brings uncertainty in climate, stormy chills,
carefree warmth, dovetailing into longer
days, the promise of rebirth capturing
everyone in a mania as the wind
forgets its origin frequently, blending,
gradually with our fickle visions
holding court with breathing, inhaling our
intimate fragrances, nostalgia heralding
jamborees, seeds of barren winter split, cracked by
kindness photosynthesized when the sun
learns what makes us yearn to prosper, renewed,
mitosis divides us, uniting us in singular
newfound gardens of song; cross-pollinating
orchards slowly showing vibrant colors that
permeate pigmentation of lucid-dreaming
quixotically and practically within the now;
romance feels like fantasy and yet tangibly
shimmers, like sun-showered raindrops, flowers
trembling within a sudden downpour
upending earth-tones with budding-green
visions of her saying yes to a stroll
within our botanical commons, our own
Xanadu, regardless of weather, storm or sun
yields promises, warming, refreshing us like
zephyrs announcing arrival of essential change.

April brings carefree days.
Everyone forgets gradually,
holding intimate jamborees.

Kindness learns mitosis,
newfound orchards permeate
quixotically; romance shimmers,
trembling, upending visions within.

Xanadu yields zephyrs.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 19 prompt: “write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. You could write a very strict abecedarian poem, in which there are twenty-six words in alphabetical order, or you could write one in which each line begins with a word that follows the order of the alphabet.”

I decided to challenge myself a bit by doing a strict abecedarian poem and turning it into a type of opposite golden shovel, where each word of the last three stanzas is the first word of the first stanza, which means that I kind of did both abecedarian forms in one poem. I skipped a day, so this was my self-imposed penance.

See? Told you I would make it up!

Day 20: Gas Leak, Revisited

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Gas Leak, Revisited

I was stuck in a country music bar on base
due to a gas leak; don’t ask, I didn’t get it
either, but our instructor bought us a round
of Jack ‘n cola to pass the time, and damn, bruh,
that shit tasted like tasty-ass smoke, ya knamean?

I was hooked on brandy at the time, but that changed
‘cause that Jack Daniels tasted like brandy with balls,
but when I told my classmate, he was like, nah, son
you should try this, and he fitted me with bourbon,
and damn man, it was like all my shit locked in place,
the air felt right, the gal behind the bar flirted,
the lady next to me almost got me dancing
and if we’d all died in an explosion that night,
I’d have been pretty chill with how chill things turned out.

But we didn’t die, the gas leak was cleaned-up good,
and my homey who showed me that dope-ass new drink
dropped me at the airport to meet wifey in-time,
and yeah, he probably shouldn’t’ve been driving,
it was fucked-up, but we got away with it, and
that’s not really the point I’m trying to get at;

I mean, when I was trying new drinks and flirting
with women I never would’ve met otherwise,
up to that point in my young life, I never felt
so… you know… alive… like I was finally here,
and all that woke shit came to a dead-ass ending
as soon as wifey flew back in from Chicago,
like, the vibe was gone, the warning signs were right there,
but I just said fuck it and moved on, making sure
I added bourbon to next month’s shopping budget.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 20 prompt: write a poem that “talks”; that is based in normal, contemporary spoken language.

I typically try to use cuss words moderately in my poetry and within context; never for “cheap heat” or shock value, but when it comes to my normal every-day dialogue, I cuss like a… well… you should know by now.

Note: I know I skipped yesterday. I was drained, so I gave myself permission to take a break. I plan on making-up yesterday’s prompt, though.

Day 18: Questioning an April Shower (Elegy for Momma)

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Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Questioning an April Shower (Elegy for Momma)

There was not a hint of sun today.

It began with the kind of rain
that made me change my shoes

a healthy April shower needed
for continuity of respiration

as trees kneed saturated soil
roots rooting for their share

new leaves are budding, color
restored to pre-bloomed florae

vivid hues contrast with a heavy sky

unending clouds spill themselves
rolling in from faded sepia photos

I wonder if you’re enjoying rain now
just as I am, about two-thousand miles
and the rain-soaked earth between us

a miracle of technology at hand
and I couldn’t retrace my soggy steps
to you even if I tried, but I hope
you have a good view of a budding oak

I hope the rain humbles blossoms’ heads
showing you proper respect,

attracting good bumble-bee company
for reproduction and continuity of
respiration, for as long as this rain

is doing more service for you,
you who can no longer feel it,

as long as it does more for us
than forcing me into dryer,
sturdier shoes, then I ask you,

how can I not be content with it?
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 18 prompt: “write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.”

I almost skipped this prompt. Not because I didn’t find the prompt interesting, but because I did, and yet I struggled mightily. I’ve lost count of the elegies I’ve written for folks I lost, but I’ve never tried to keep the scope of my loss contained within the tangible world before.

If I’m dissatisfied with my resulting poem, it’s only because I had to restrain myself from bleeding wailing abstractions everywhere. This challenged me in ways I never envisioned, and I’m glad for it.

Day 17: Ménage (What Comes to Light)

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Ménage (What Comes to Light)

I am the blackened
canvas where the
flexed and slackened
sinewed ghosts
of your regrets
come to disrespect
the light by making
reckless love to us
each night you dare.

I lovingly share
draping myself
over you both
countless times,
embracing you
and she – whoever
she may be
for I’m not choosy
and lack any
discerning light

– I embrace all,
lie and truth,
blessings and guessing
earnest grinding and
deceitful pressing;

but you only
ever noticed me
during the lessons
the lie sessions,
the self-deceptions,
the indigo-black
lack of reflection

contrasting with
the random gleaming
revealing moonbeam
showing coveted
curved, selected
mounds of flesh
waiting to be blessed,
devoured in secret.

I am both cloak
and receptacle
of our naked
sweat-soaked spectacle.

Only I recall
how frequently
and sweetly you
enjoyed your fleeting
secrets as I took
you both, erasing
your sordid twisted
tryst from view of all
but just us three in
the menagerie,

but don’t fret
on our vignette,
regret is staved-off
just as long as you
can let the triad
of our ballad be,
refraining from your
banishing me
from our night
by reaching
for that light.

Take what she gives
in my shadow;
fondle us both
as you fumble-grip
her hips within
our colorless sin.

It matters little
to me, for when
the lamp begins
to bring you clarity
to see your folly,

I will be long gone,
leaving you to mourn,
facing this self-made
quandary in solemn
solitary.

I’m just the night
who loves carefree;
what comes to light
ain’t up to me.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 17 prompt: “write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view.”

Day 16: Poetry as Visible Steam

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Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Poetry as Visible Steam

That iconic church
catching fire
is not upsetting.

Firebombing
less-iconic black churches
is not upsetting.

Random hate crimes
against minorities
is not upsetting.

A murder of another
based on who they choose to love
is not upsetting.

Having a government leader
with no empathy, no tact,
no impulse control, no shame,
no fundamental grasp of science,
not even the service of
an official proofreader
or spellchecker
is not upsetting.

Passing the tipping-point
of human-aided
catastrophic climate change
with a collective shrug
and a doubling-down
of business-as-usual
is not upsetting.

What is upsetting
is the growing numbness
incinerating our
collective superstructure.

What is upsetting
is realizing that faith in humanity
was firebombed decades
before observation,
like a lobster having no idea
they’re slowly being
boiled alive
until there’s steam.

What is upsetting
is our growing detachment
from the humane.

What is upsetting
is catching yourself wondering
what the victim did to provoke
such violent hatred
before remembering
that all they did was
have the audacity
to exist.

What is upsetting
is that a hilariously-terrifying,
poisonous, treasonous,
wood-rot-brained,
dementia-demigod
is executing the will
of a percentage of people
I call neighbor.

What is upsetting is receiving
such an oppressive influx
of terrible things,
that the nervous system
reflexively shuts down
to protect itself.

What is upsetting is knowing that,
even after adjusting cosmic perspective,
knowing that no one is coming
to save you from yourselves,
compelling you to root for the
sweet, sweet probability of a
random extinction meteor.

What is upsetting
is slowly realizing that
nothing is upsetting anymore.

Not even when the steam is visible.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 16 prompt: “write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.” Again, I took license and adjusted the scale, as I’m running dry on mundane topics and I’m a bit sleep-deprived and grumpy.

Also written for Real Toads’ day 16 prompt: “poetry as an insurgent art”.

Day 15: Raw Fuel

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Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

Raw Fuel

I see darkness in you.
Rude of you to deny it;
to deny me.
Dark of you even;
to deceive yourself,
believing in the lies you live in,
to go about your merry day
merrily played-out, bottled-up
in your pretense, swaddled,
detached-lensing
pretending the surface
is glassy-smooth, beyond blemish,
denying the leviathan lurking
the trenches beneath the blue
waiting for you to slip,
losing tenuous grip
on what is socially acceptable.

I know what you want.
Where you want to be touched.
The falsehoods you claim to crave.
The shrieking, turning yourself
inside-out to find meaning
when no one’s looking.
You’re shook,
trying to shake me
off your scent.

Your intent; you want
to relinquish the burden to me,
but fear that I’ll devour you
lastly and entirely.
Pass the mic to me
and carry on, carrion,
cause I don’t eat the dead
unless I made the kill,
and you’re still glassy-eyed,
dead inside when they call us
animal, let me show them
the beast they should fear
and feast upon them all,
blending them into a
slurry of regrets,
downing their dregs
with a final mighty gulp
and actually never mind,

we just had a protein shake
and cheesy crackers;

I guess we were just hungry…
we’re good…

for now.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 15 prompt: “write your own dramatic monologue.”

Day 14: Scent of Roses

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Scent of Roses

Lounging unhurriedly
at the confluence
of Willamette
and Columbia,

Portland is
a confluence
of ordinary
and wondrous
non-sequiturs.

An unofficial jewel
whose unofficial jewel
is probably Obsidian Stout,

a local import.

She is so unpretentious
that she seems extremely pretentious,

but she don’t give a fuck what you think
and she’s too kind to tell you

unless you get pushy.

She will bum a square outside a club,
or lend you one if she can spare it,

listening to your dreams,
sharing her own in-kind

before retreating inside
when her song is played and then

her stage name is called as
you slowly realize that
you’re now kindred spirits
with an exotic dancer

erotically peeling away
her layers, down to where
imagination meets
pale, toned, imperfectly
beautiful reality.

If she ever read this,
she’d laugh and be like,
“Really? Chill, dude.
It’s just stripping.”

Her indomitable spirit flies free,
but she brokers no jackassery or
disrespect of any kind. If you touch

her without permission, security
will escort you out, but after being

kind enough to help find your missing
teeth and stop the bleeding. As a spark-plug,

Portland doesn’t scrape the sky,
but she doesn’t need to;
she gets plenty high enough.

At the peak of her bustle,
she doesn’t impose her will on you,

but if you show an
inkling of interest
or curiosity,

she’ll lean into you
with a wink and sneer that asks,
“well what are you waiting for, old age?”

You won’t recall what street you were on,
or what landmarks you saw, or the wonders
of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

or how the roses smelt
(or if you prefer, smelled,
for they won’t check grammar
off the clock).

You won’t remember many
remarkable physical attributes,
though notable ones are celebrated,
eclectic, and prolific,

but you’ll remember how you felt
while you were in her.

You may have winced or
groaned at that last innuendo,

but she would’ve barely been
bothered to shrug before

either ignoring
or matching your lewdness,
depending on the weather.

Oh, and it rains a lot,
which is clearly a
wondrous kind of
ordinary.
***

Written for Real Toads’ day 14 prompt: The Streets (“Where is your favorite town or city to take a stroll in?”)

Also written for NaPoWriMo’s day 14 prompt: write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.

Obviously, I wasn’t really into the NaPoWriMo prompt, as I didn’t do too much with wordplay. Perhaps I was swayed by Portland’s rebellious, counterculture spirit.

Day 13: Sageing

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Sageing

Three in the morning
an abundance of silence and shadows
I feel her absence
as if wholeness was hollowed by specter
sleep eluding her
leaving her fitful, alone with unknown
she left me to dream
unknowing dreams could tap into the black

Unmindful of demons that fill our voids
she left me bereft
earth’s shadow settled in, cascading chills
of losing her warmth
leaving creaks and groans of untended beams
as I tossed and turned
predawn creaks grew near, pressing into me
I felt her return

It was half-past four
her presence banished spirits to their rest
I snuggled her good
foreboding emptiness filled with refrain
I cooed as she snored
the cow jumped over the moon as she set
or was it reversed?
and we slumbered, all seduced by moondust

Predawn passed, a sleepy butterfly-kiss
I awoke at six
to birds serenading our growing light
to an empty bed
our night history told in a pale glare
she had fled again
her demons getting her goat, she got gone
snuck off as I dozed

I whined her awake
feeling unjustly abandoned to night
asked why she left me
to the tyrannical whims of unknown
twice in the same night
though I never felt her leave me again
she gave me a look
leaving us both in puzzled bemusement

Her next words went goose-bumping down my spine
“I never came back”
then who shielded me from wraiths while I slept?
who muted my fears
amassing stillness as I clung to her?
she gave me a shrug
as we took stock of all the empty rooms
“I’m sageing the house.”
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 13 prompt: “write a poem about something mysterious and spooky!”

Challenge accepted.