Day 28: She is Born

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

She is Born

She is born as all are; from their pain.

Their pain is born from fissures
in a ruptured union, leaking black bile,
becoming tidepools of resentment
under moonless night of regret.

Intensity of emotion
has brought her into this world
blind and formless.

After the begging had ceased,
after the demands rose,
floating away as all hot-air does,
after the tears dried and crusted
in corners, after goodbyes
scattered wounded elements
the way all stars fall,

a series of electro-chemical sparks
ignite her coalescence into
nebulous idea,

as hurt, shame, and love commiserate
with introspection, perspective,
and empathy; her formlessness
is shaped into a proto-philosophy,
the light splitting her darkness
is an empty notebook, opening.

Her energy not lost, but transferred
as all pain is, she reclaims herself
after a lost cause, opening, pouring
her dark tidepools onto pages, her bile
shaped into words they wanted to say,

but were too prideful, too shameful,
too fearful to voice to one another
when it may have brought them closer
to joy; their Shakespearian tragic timing
cooling, on paper, appropriately,
into a poem which begins as:

“She is born as all are; from their pain.”
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 28 prompt: write a meta-poem, or a poem about poetry.

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 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 10: Make This Work

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Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash

Make This Work

Once content with affixing my fate to another’s will,
blissfully ignorant of the destination, gleefully
glib along the journey, suddenly I found myself
cruising along the gash of rainforest between

the Olympics and the Cascades, within a sea of green
and grey and greying, as if awakening from a dream
a persistent, insidious dream born from the mind
of another person, incapable of acting upon it.

We sped by the soggy world on a grey asphalt ribbon
as I became aware of the world spinning right past me

I didn’t choose to be here – not directly, anyway –
but I cheated death in relentless pursuit of someone
else’s dream destination; I’d forfeited my own path.

I was stranger to myself; ignorant of my own power.

There’s a saying around here; if you don’t like the weather,
wait five minutes, and then kill yourself. It was meant to be
darkly amusing, but after waking to my wasting of
my twenties, nestled within unending wet wintery darkness

of the United States’ armpit, waiting to die, the humor
was long lost on me, leading to a glacial resolution

Gradually, one resolute, measured drip at a time,
I began waking, slowly thawing my dreamy ice-prison,
taking full measure, exerting my will upon my own fate

The sunset pierced the clouds to the west,
bathing the left side of my face in warmth,
producing a double-rainbow to the east
as rain continued to pelt our shuttle.

Mamma told me when I was a child
that sunshowers meant that the Devil
was fighting with his wife. That visual
filled me with fear, but I dismissed it
as I got older. Now I’m not so sure.

“I already love it here!” my wife said,
beaming ear-to-ear. I remained silent.

“I love the rain! Isn’t it amazing?”

“No,” I said, “it’s not. But give me some time
to adjust. I think I can make this work for me.”
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 10 prompt: write a poem that starts from a regional phrase describing a weather phenomenon. I took some license with this one. I didn’t start the poem with the phrase, but I included two of them in my poem, so hopefully that makes up for my deviation.

Day 7: Of Nothing and Everything

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Of Nothing and Everything

I.
We are born with no expectations
needs are another matter
connections are made and broken
attachment chains us to fallacy
nostalgia affixes our affections
regret is an illusory gift

II.
I knew you had another
saw you kiss him, looked away
saw through your lazy lies
embraced an empty peach pit
knowing that I deserved it
and perhaps, even less

III.
Told you I’d walk my “friend” home
you saw us flirting, looked away
ignored my brittle excuse
you waited in our empty bed
as I fumbled her darkness for light
leveraging for fullness

IV.
Briefly escaping her fiancé’s warmth
she incinerated herself upon a stranger
telling herself it doesn’t count
thighs crush demands for clarity
trading vows on embers of virtue
fading blissfully into warm sunset

V.
No one deserves anything
ready yourself to release infinity
embrace, learn our broken landscape
most hymns sung are incomplete
from revival to wake; no joy without sorrow
we own nothing, for we are everything
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 7 prompt: write a poem of gifts and joy. At first glance, my poem may appear to be a subversion of the prompt, but that wasn’t my intent.

Day 6: Resting Near the River

Resting Near the River

What if Hades’ waiting room
were a McDonald’s
at 9:30am
on a weekday?

With white collar and working class
having already reported to work,

leaving only retirees
regrouping transients
and the unhurried condemned,

resigned to inevitable fate,
hastened by McGrizzled breakfasts
of dubious origin.

Youthful anachronisms
among innumerable ancient ones
include a young Asian couple

finishing their coffees and mutual flirtations,
as hand in hand, they exit the side-door,
crossing the parking lot towards the river Styx.

An even younger mother
is herding a set of toddler-twins,
awakened earlier than they prefer

as they now crankily demand
identical sausage patties
and cheap toys destined for landfills.

What if life is as
bland and purposeless as the
hashbrown I just ate?

One common element of McHades –
aside from the young lovers – it seems that
none here seems pleased with their present
or eager to embrace their futures;

it is a collective rumination,
a group-think procrastination.

What if none of this matters?

But each of us must face what comes next,
and one by one, we do,
slipping through the side-door,

first the flirting couple,
next the mother of sleepy twins,

with the countless octogenarians
each taking as much time as they wish
in gathering their past achievements
and unspoken unfilled ambitions.

What if it’s all just a game,
and I’ve been chasing the wrong things?

My phone vibrates, warning me
that I must soon return to my role
supporting the white-collar,
working-class worlds.

I finish my Sausage McBluffen with Egg
and exit through the side-door. The river

seems much closer these days, but still
I still have a ways to go.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 6 prompt: write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if”.

a wednesday or thursday night at a half-empty pub

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

a wednesday or thursday night at a half-empty pub

hazy season
lost to memory
lazy reason
evaporated into
emptiness both felt

he seemed…
almost ok

she
good enough
for now

intimate chemistry of voids
imprecise, gap-filling science

trolling pubs for meaning
finding only flirty diversion

“I’m bored,” she said.
“Wanna leave?”

He nodded.
***

Written for dVerse Troll quadrille, hosted by Frank Hubeny. Other poets have contributed here.

On Service and Serving

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Photo by Ding LU on Unsplash

On Service and Serving

What a
bizarre perverse
spectacle we must be
to anyone with the gift of
vision.

Contorting our delusions
to fit absurd collective
narrative illusions.

Your happiness is
worthless
to me
and yet

I weigh my worth upon you saying
that you are pleased by my efforts
to bring happiness directly
to your seat with a smile in my voice

fit to claw your eyes out
to minimize eyestrain.

As I strain,

monks go door to door
with empty bowl in hand and
it is filled more often
than not.

If it be a sin
to covet a neighbor’s empty bowl
then I am the foulest
most wretched creature living

if one could subscribe
to the false illusion that
somehow this is life.

But I lie while lying;
it is his heart I covet most.

I would reach into him and
feast right upon it,
right there in his face,
sitting upright, cross-legged

upon the dusty,
nutrient-starved earth, and he
quietly, peacefully

would mourn the fact that
he only had the one
heart to offer,

withholding nothing.

I don’t even count them
as withholds anymore,
for they are nothing to behold;

I place the holy magic beans
inside the divine tabernacle
and watch random gods of diversion
snatch them all away like a

school of piranha
picking clean the bones of my
counterfeit coffers.

Thus, am I served.

It would be cute
to call it being
eaten alive,

but that would play to
the illusion that the beans,
the tabernacle
and my convent with the gods
ever existed and that

somehow,
this is living.

Oh, what a bizarre spectacle I must be
to anyone with the true gift of sight.

But I am ready.

Ready to leave it all behind,
take a leap into the absence of lore,
and see for myself
what this living business is all about.

Perhaps
the best part of
my yet-to-be-told tale
will be when I ended service
and served.

My story begins on the last page.
***

(Video is only loosely related to the poem. I only included it because I really loved the movie, and it makes me feel better about things in my life that kinda suck right now.)

Written for dVerse Poetics: The Art of Confession in Poetry, hosted by  anmol(alias HA).

the loneliest part (is knowing)

the loneliest part (is knowing)

knowing is the loneliest part
(for it is knowing
that you are
alone)

it’s lighting the wick after dusk
(the wick’s initial spark
cutting through tangled
colorless murky thickets)

my lantern lights a moonless night
unknown banished from amber sphere
(my amber sphere is weak
and clearly finite)

margins of its influence dim
(for the margins are too frail to divine)
beyond lies entangled nothings
randomly pierced by pricks of light

(each nothing entangled
as knotted terrain; each pin-prick
of light, a home or villa)

each, a distant lonely lantern
(each lantern,
a wick’s spark,
cutting)

lighting a range; the loneliest part
(for the loneliest part
is in knowing they are
alone;
surrounded by loved ones,
they may not know it,
but they are,
utterly and completely
alone)

look to the sky and you’ll find more
of lanterns lit eons ago
(eons later,
their light dots darkness
like notes from sheet-music)

each one a voice; an unheard song

living verse that died without bridge
(for the living verse we hear
leads to a divine bridge,
a cosmic chorus of a song
heard in its entirety only by
the Infinite,
the Alpha,
and the Omega)

unrehearsed, the ballad plays on
its meaning dims where our light ends
knowing is the loneliest part

(for knowing this
is knowing that
I am alone)
***

Inspired by this Oatmeal comic and this tweet.

Shared at Real Toads

Happy New Year, everyone. See you in 2019.

 

Apollo’s Lament

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Image source: NASA

Apollo’s Lament

Two dozen or so of intrepid stock
have seen the far-side with their own two eyes
a vastness and a full-body away
the furthest a man has ventured apart

“Where are you?” she asked, with penny for trade
soft lamp painting crescent upon her face
within arm’s reach, I would answer with touch
feeling’s believing, whenever we lie

Those men could only boldly go so far
detached, yet still tethered by their baggage
toting food, water, their breathable air
carbon scrubbers, to stop self-poisoning

“Where you going?” he asked, “party’s this way”
I’d be there soon, I lied, convincingly
insulated from the December chill
I yield my toxins to the evergreens

Apollo wears many hats ardently
His archetype arcs winding remote course
an arm’s length of two-hundred thousand miles
rising alone, each on this lonely earth.
***

The clip below isn’t related to the poem, but it fulfills my obligation to mention the holiday season. I hope you’re all having a fulfilling christmahaunakwanzaka, or whatever.