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 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.

Blueshifted Music

Blueshifted Music

Somewhere in-between
procrastination and care
lives a unique skill

I enjoy moving melody
a half measure sooner
than the vibration hits the ear

anticipating the motive
prior to its motivation
breaking it all down just
before the breakdown

I steep her tealeaves
several heartbeats before
her heart skips into
craving its honeyed warmth

I trace the groove
that draws her taught
and leaves her slack
before our moves

I’ve always been a
Thursday kind of guy
for in Thor’s mighty voice lies
the promise of weekend bliss

Friday’s a branded catfight
among the past goddesses

my goddess draws breath
as mine was easily lost

exhaling clairvoyant will
into her deepest wishes

I melt snow-sculptures
before they’ve fully amassed
accumulation
in her driveway

I live in the tension
in a contorted face
before the cry

don’t mistime me as sadist
for hearing the cry is still both
jarring and frightful

but the building crescendo
is everything

living in this way,
using my singularly
blueshifted power

in half-measured strides
into our future

keeps me in pace
with our present
***

This poem was shared on Medium as Blueshifted Music.

 

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. 🙂

 

A Cat

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Photo by Antonio Lapa on Unsplash

A Cat

On the first day of spring
a cat came to me.
Her collared tag sparkled,
reflecting glints of sunlight
from her bejeweled collar.
Regal, majestic, passive poise
was her manner of movement
and sitting stillness
– if a cat’s movement and
stillness could be considered
in such human grandiosities.
She received me just as
Grandmaster Yip Man decreed
when teaching novices
basic grappling techniques
– “Greet what arrives,
escort what leaves,
and rush upon loss of contact.”
A Wing Chun master feline,
ruler of our centerline,
razor claws, carefully
retracted while restricting
movement and momentum,
intimate dominance, fleeting
for before I made sense
of my senses, she fled.
Why she came I cannot say
– she wasn’t hungry, and
she only knew me in
the manner that all cats of
certain domestication
know their fellow humans –
and yet she came right to me
leaning into my space,
mewing a few kind words
I could only guess at
since I don’t speak cat.
Of course I mewed right back
unclear on the syntax
but knowing that only
lonely souls lean out to find
random comfort across
diverging species.
***

Shared at dVerse Poetics: Soul gazing , hosted by Paul Scribbles. Poets have contributed to this prompt here.

 

My Phlegmy Valentine

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By Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Stub – Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Stub, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15686494

My Phlegmy Valentine

February’s second week
you are unwell, feverish
difficult, intransigent
unwilling to yield control

I bring you medicine
heat your soup,
soothe your fever
confronting your fight head-on

You are grateful for my patience,
remorseful for making life
much harder than it has to be,
missing the point completely

Your ragged breathing
is my lullaby
your phlegmy cough,
my action prompt
your sudden silence,
my panic button

When I am caring for you
it’s not an act of compassion
but it is the most selfish act
I can muster under pressure

I’ll work on my possessive streak
as soon as you’re well again
for now, I lead Eurydice from Hades
looking back as often as I need.
***

 

Kate and Edith Too

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The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David

Kate and Edith Too

She was made mostly for me
harvested, fermented, distilled guarantee
she parts my lips and pickles me
bad is blinded, blended, bound as tamed

She was not made just for me
plucked, dried, rolled into opaque slips of a tree
weaponized vapor, she infuses me
heavenly scent, demonized flames

Together, will they be to me
what opium and hemlock were to Socrates?
I’d empty the goblet with boundless glee
no toxin could bind with sweeter degree

Together, we’ll be poetry
smoke and spirits consumed, transmuted, free
green dragon extract from our torrid sea
can a phoenix be drowned in poison? Let’s see
** *

Written for dVerse Poetics with poisonous plants, hosted by Bjorn. Others have contributed to this prompt here. I know I’m supposed to be taking a break from these prompts to work on my collection, but could pass on such an intriguing prompt as this? Is it still procrastination if I’m technically still writing? Probably, but I had fun so screw it!

But Much More Than That

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Photo by frank cordoba on Unsplash

But Much More Than That

Red-shifted light is

moving away from us at

unimaginable speeds.

 

Nature’s senescence

will overtake us before

we could conjure a method

of overcoming physics.

 

Red hue of dim light

surrounds us now, painting your

rosy silhouette kneeling

upon tangled plum bedsheets,

 

facing away from

me, preening your neck to peer

my darkness, closing behind

you, smiling coyly with

 

licentious lips that

I imagine must taste of

bourbon and fizzy ginger,

its bubbles catching a faint

 

gleam in your eyes as

I fall into you, and I’m

overwhelmed by a vision

of blue ocean lapping at

 

your sun-kissed skin as

you serenely swim away

from my anchored boat moored at

the edge of my comfort-zone

 

I page through my book,

pretending not to obsess

over your safety as you

let currents increase distance,

 

peeking over your

shoulder, confirming I’d be

there, right where you left me, no

longer in the red. You are

 

to the left of me

and my teasing left you with

the impression that I had

forgotten your name.

 

You tsk me for it

from behind wine lips and we

collapse in rose-hued laughter.

***

Shared at Poets United Poetry Pantry # 376

Smoke Break Outside a Hip-Hop Nightclub in Australia

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Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Smoke Break Outside a Hip-Hop Nightclub in Australia

Displaced from the throbbing, blustering melody,

we sat outside as you finished your cigarette.

 

Or perhaps we stood. Or stooped. I don’t remember.

It was dark, except for your spark. I, the moth.

 

Or perhaps I, the flame. It’s all relative and subjective.

Our vibe, the only objective syncopated groove.

 

The crisp midnight air contrasted with the

heat generated by our dance-grind inside.

 

That’s actually a lie, or perhaps a half-truth; I

don’t recall if the outdoor air was cool or not, my

 

Fahrenheit or your Celsius. Too many or too few

degrees, synching with you put me 180-out.

 

Time-shifting was never my strength, much

like socializing, or adhering to social norms.

 

Both loner and lonely, even among family and

shipmates, but alone here with you, I’m content.

 

Time well-spent sizing each other up, taking measure

within melodic measures in timeless movements.

 

Our conversation flowed easily and deliberate;

each pause with purpose, each query also an invite.

 

We rode beats and straddled bars, improvising, learning,

changing tempo on the fly, milking fleeting moments.

 

A riffing jazz duet, bubbled by kindred hearts, momentarily

forgetting the raw sting of overcrowded loneliness.

 

I pretended not to be bothered by the smoke as you

pretended not to notice, shooing it from our session.

 

I casually took the butt from your lips, pressed it to

mine and inhaled your toxins with unforeseen confidence.

 

My urgent thirst to share your poison shocked us

for a moment. You smirked as I tried to suppress a cough.

 

“So, do you have someone waiting for you back

on the other side of the world?” I think you knew.

 

“I do,” I answered honestly, casually, returning your

cig. You casually discarded it. “That’s nice,”

 

you offered, unconvincingly. “Are you both happy

together?” you asked, eyes questing for deception.

 

“We are,” I lied, probably unconvincingly, to

both you and me. You didn’t press. “That’s good.”

 

I guess we must’ve been stooping, because I now

recall that you stood after that, and I after you.

 

You smiled warmly and I braced for you popping our

harmonic bubble with a conciliatory parting handshake.

 

“It’s good to find someone who makes you happy,”

you said, as if that’s a thing no one else knew.

 

“I just have one more question for you, sailor-boy.”

You squared-up to me, smile slowly fading.

 

“Oh? And what is that?” I think my tone was

still flirty-neutral, but I half expected you to

 

chew me out for teasing you or leading you on.

But I was still milking our moment for all I could.

 

When lonely folks like us find kindred spirits, it is

difficult to not find ourselves trapped in their orbits.

 

I knew it was socially inappropriate to indulge in

you, but with you I felt free to be me authentically.

 

I wasn’t teasing; I was connecting. Nothing would

come of this, but it felt real. I hoped you’d felt it too.

 

“I was just wondering if you would mind if I kissed you,”

you asked, closing the distance. “I hope you

 

don’t mind.” But you didn’t let me answer.

I think you already knew you didn’t need to.

** *

Edited to share at Real Toad’s Tuesday Platform, hosted by Magaly Guerrero

Electric Lemonade

Electric Lemonade

Cobalt blue,

hollow, cool,

like our intent,

pooling where we spent

 

lingering, luminous pale,

shimmering midnight ocean foam,

shivering, eyes roam till we connect

synchronize, blush, genuflect,

analyze, flush with respect to the

backbeat of our pulse,

our vibe rides the same tide,

 

our notion cuts through oceans

of cacophonic commotion,

our motion, linked,

intuitive emotion,

 

we sink to the depths

of unmentionable dimensions

where the only apprehension is if

one of us misreads the queues,

shifting the hue to red or

what’s been read before,

 

your head backspins,

eyes headed towards the door,

arched eyebrow sending subliminals like

 

“What you waitin’ for?”