Luckiest Man Alive

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Image by author. (He made me step off the curb. He’s not really taller than me.)

Luckiest Man Alive

If you asked me
what makes a man

–  and I mean
a good man;

someone who
keeps it one-hundred
at all times –

I would pause, smile
and tell you all about
my little brother.

If you asked me
what makes a man
a devoted dad

who may not have
all the right answers
all the time,

but who still
throws himself, full-assed
into the thankless
hard parts,

again,
I’d begin the convo
with my lil’ bro.

If you asked me
what makes a man
a keeper of the flame

a caretaker of
my earliest dreams
and fears

a silent observer
when silence is needed

a vocal objector
when I need to be checked
and called-out

the loudest supporter
when I need saving
from myself

and the ruckus-bringer
when shit gets too hot
and needs extinguishing
with a flame-thrower,

well shit,
you should already know
though I do feel bad for you
and great for me.

You see,
I’m the one
lucky enough
to be able to say,

“Let me tell you about
my lil’ bro, Phil…”
***

Written for my lil’ bro Phil, on the occasion of his 40th birthday, and shared on dVerse OpenLinkNight #243. Others contributed poems here.

Ode to the Sassy So-and-So

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Photo by Erin Simmons on Unsplash

Ode to the Sassy So-and-So

You’re a pain in my ass; sassy so-and-so.
Atypical opening as odes go, I know.
But your fiery spirit serves you well thus far,
and as far as you’ve come,
who the hell knows where you’ll go?

I’m going to level with you here, dearest one;
this wasn’t supposed to have rhyme or meter.
In fact, I almost wrote another clichéd line

– about catching the stars, as if!
I mean, I know, right? – but

you’ve been earthbound
for a quarter-century now,
so no more fairy tales.

You’re as tough as I raised you, tougher
than I envisioned, and I’m relieved for it.
You’re tempered for a cruel world, and yet
you refuse to let it make you unkind.

And while I’d love to take all the credit,
like I knew the masterpiece of you
was hidden in the marble all along,
you are the artist of your destiny;

I’m just pleased to see who you are
and who you will become.

I say again, as it is a good catchphrase;
you’re a pain in my ass; sassy so-and-so,
and I’m lucky to have you around, I know,
wherever you go, I’ll be with you always.

Oh, and please rinse your dishes.
I’m your dad; I’m not your maid.
***

Written for my Turtle, on her 25th birthday.

 

Day 30: Ode to Muse Called Lust

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Image by Saulius Rozanas from Pixabay 

Ode to Muse Called Lust

Though our rain could flood the sea

I’ll not have you reigning free

But reining into fantasy

Rain or shine, you liberate me.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 30 prompt:  write a minimalist poem. “What’s that? Well, a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion. Haiku are probably the most familiar and traditional form of minimalist poetry, but there are plenty of very short poems out there that do not use the haiku form.”

Also written for Real Toads’ day 30 prompt: “Write a poem in praise of a source of inspiration — your muse, your life, your own web of thoughts, your dreams or sleeplessness, your daily tasks, a favourite artist or musician, nature and environment, et al. Also, let’s keep it between 30-60 words — there is a certain beauty in brevity after all.”

The poetry gods have spoken, and the word is brevity.

This was a challenging, but fun NaPoWriMo. Thank you to all my fellow poets who participated and/or offered feedback.

This month, I eclipsed one-thousand views for the first time ever in all my years of hosting a poetry blog. Obviously, I don’t do this solely for the views, but it’s good to know that my silly little stories from this corner of the world are being read globally.

I chose not to reply to any comments for the duration of NaPoWriMo, hoping to focus all my energy on creating (hopefully) quality poems. I’d like to take this time to thank you all for taking time out your days to send some love my way. I truly appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you, my friends, and I’ll see you soon.

(Yeah, I know I owe you one more poem. I haven’t forgotten!)

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 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.

Day 12: You Are Here

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Photo by Yash Raut on Unsplash

You Are Here

on the surface
of an unremarkable rock
hurtling through vast emptiness
in countless relative terms,

one of which –
along with seven rocky
and gassy siblings –
circumnavigates
an unremarkable sphere
of super-heated plasma

– one of countless
sibling-stars clustered
within one of countless galaxies
within numerous
super-clusters of galaxies
within the observable universe.

You lack significance
to even register as dull
as far as the cosmos is concerned,

but you are the cosmos
and you are my cosmos
smelling of lavenders
found only in our corner
of the cosmos

and you taste of honey
made by bees
who defend their queen
nearly as well
as my will
to protect you
and make you laugh,

and upon hearing your laughter,
there probably won’t be
a butterfly effect
that destroys Tokyo,

but as vibrations
of your laugh
met the membrane
of my eardrum,

my heart skipped several beats,
so you shortened my life
by fractions of fractions
of fractions of seconds,

which is far too insignificant
a measurement to fret about.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 12 prompt: “write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?”

Okay, so I cheated a little bit and shifted the scale ever so slightly, and I didn’t write about a thing I own. Thirty days of poetry is a lot, you know?

I’m already scared enough of boring folks.

I worry about my own words being too dull for me to write about actual dull things. I’m beginning to get sick of my own poetic voice and writing about my favorite pair of holey underwear just wasn’t going to cut it today.  

Day 5: Tethered

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Photo by Bill Fairs on Unsplash

Tethered

I ain’t much on Casanova
Languishing in purgatory on kite strings
I would love you anyway

My world, ignited by your display
Never meant to fixate on pleasure’s lite stings
I ain’t much on Casanova

Just fly your kite; I’ll soar right over
And if you demur from what pleasure might bring
I would love you anyway

Your spark within me will never decay
Though passion-bound, no fancy flights do I cling
I ain’t much on Casanova

Our kite strings are tangled, interwoven
Should you cut the line, fleeing on thermal upswing
I would love you anyway

Tethered in disheveled, joyful disarray
Memories and fantasies carry me over
I ain’t much on Casanova
But I would love you anyway
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 5 prompt: “write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!”

I gotta be honest, though I’m pleased with the outcome, I wasn’t a fan of this prompt. I found it a bit restrictive, like trying to box a kangaroo inside a telephone booth. (If you’re wondering why anyone would ever do that, well that’s kind of my point, isn’t it?)

I know the prompts are obviously optional, but I’m a sequential thinker and not one to bail on an artistic challenge. Well, not today, apparently, as I managed to box all three elements inside this telephone booth.

Showing my work:

“I ain’t much on Casanova” is from Casanova, by Levert.

“I would love you anyway” is from Sweet Thing, by Rufus and Chaka Kahn

Day 2: Orpheus When you Fell

Orpheus When you Fell

Do you remember me, Eurydice?
We danced the summer in the upside-down

In moon-soaked gardens of Persephone
Below the fruit-bats, we swooped through town

Do you recall the bells we rang;
the song I should not have sang?

Can you trace our song back to me?
Or did you forget the key?

Our harmonious flight
You took wing beside me
Our alighted midnight
When we swelled like the sea

Whether wrong, it felt right
No time for a reprieve
Weather right for delight
Harmony our main key

I could live in your light
Did you want to believe?

Do you remember me, Eurydice?
August nights in electric tide pools

You inhaled habits that felt unhealthy
We exhaled our smoke of fools

Do you recall my answer, miss,
when you asked me for a kiss?

Do you regret the spell?

Cause I don’t kiss and tell
Reminisce on our bliss
Time much shorter than this
Did I comfort you well?

Lost our reprieve from hell
On this I feel remiss
Looking back gives me fits
An improper farewell

Orpheus when you fell
Can we crawl from abyss?

Do you remember our kiss?
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day two prompt: write a poem that resists closure by employing many questions and ending with a question. I enjoyed this one and wanted to add to the unsettling vibe by playing with the cadence and changing it up from time to time.

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Day 0: Adam & Edna (Self-Portrait as Lucifer)

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Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Adam & Edna (Self-Portrait as Lucifer)

In the beginning,
Genesis
would make for
dull reading,

for I’d never consider myself
the most beautiful
of His angels.

Imagine a Devil
lacking a Devil’s vanity and hubris,

with my mediocre looks,
reddish-brown skin,
kinky, nappy hair,
coke-bottle glasses and
aggressive underbite.

I’d surely be tempted by
fruit from the tree of knowledge, and I
would certainly seduce Eve to partake,

but as I’m quite non-confrontational,
we’d leave Adam out of the equation,

fleeing Eden
for a small hamlet
on the far corner of the world
called Victoria, B.C.

In the beginning,
I guess He would have to take
a second mortgage
on another of Adam’s ribs,

and the world would learn the tale
of Adam and Edna,
eternal servants of the Lord
who never knew age, death, misery,

or anything remotely resembling
knowledge.

Just happily stunted,
blissfully obedient,
eternally dull ignorance.

For Eve and me,
her favorite serpent,
there would be no battle
for the souls of humanity,

only lazy Sunday scrolls
through the town shops,
enjoying the crisp air rolling in
from the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Frantic calls
about a “final battle”
from Him
and His Favored Son
and also Scam Likely
would go straight to voicemail.

Come to think of it,
after discussing with Eve
about spicing things up,

I find it an injustice
leaving Edna in the dark
about the chill vibe
of the Pacific Northwest.

In the beginning,
perhaps He will need to
take a third rib from Adam.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s early-bird prompt: write a poetic self-portrait, portraying yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure.

Author’s note: I never meant to offend anyone guided by their faith, though I imagine most of you exercised self-care and stopped reading after the title. Full-disclosure, I was raised in a Roman Catholic family, but I’ve always been agnostic.