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 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 27: Tricks of Light on a Spring Night

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Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Tricks of Light on a Spring Night

Blossoms on my favorite tree seem luminescent.
Alas, they only capture their last moon beams.
***

Written for Real Toads 27th day prompt: “Write a two line poem in which you convey some startling image, an image that juxtaposes two images.”

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to “remix” a Shakespearean sonnet, and that’s something I’ll never feel confident doing.

Day 26: Vapors

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Photo by Yohann Lc on Unsplash

Vapors

It was just a dream; I grasp at the vapors.
Lying between them, I hug their legs close.

Unworthy of wholeness, I hug their legs close.
I can’t see their faces, yet I see their beauty.

I feel where they ache; yes, I feel their beauty.
It wells up within me knowing I am unworthy.

Their pain becomes mine and I’m so unworthy.
We lie there, and I talk of light we won’t see.

The night shines above; starlight we can’t see.
They take in my words in a naked silence.

We strip away lust, leaving naked silence.
Revealing softness, we bare our raw fears.

In dark, quiet space, we share our raw fears.
In dawn’s softened light, I relax my grip.

They scatter, taking flight when I relax my grip.
Released from a dream, still grasping at vapors.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 26 prompt: “write a poem that uses repetition”.

Recently, I’ve done more than a few repetition poems using various forms, but I haven’t dabbled in free verse repetition. I thought I’d give it a go while writing about a semi-lucid dream I had recently.

Granted, I (poorly) aped Jerico Brown’s brilliant style, so technically it’s not a free verse, but I don’t know what else to call it besides “style-jacking” so, here we are.

Oh, and I’m all caught up now, so it’s bourbon time!

Day 24: Trusted Snow Routes

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Image by author

Trusted Snow Routes

All busses are time machines.

Most take you to your future
– or to be more precise, they
get you to your present sooner.

But a select few can take you
to your past; a portal to a
magical era not too long
ago when books existed.

The right connection can
transcend barriers, linking you
to decades ago when you dozed,

commuting, curled within the arms
of the love of your life, before
things fell apart, or if you ride

to the end of the line, you find

your beginning at the local
community college, planning
what to be when you grew up, not

recognizing the tempered
greying reflection of what you’ve
become. Walk among the ghosts, but

you cannot interact to tell
your younger self when to be still,

patient, like a Zen monk; and when
to attack your barely sketched fate
with zeal, unbridled aggression;

some enchanted barriers are
not so easily breached, even
when using our trusted snow routes.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 24 prompt: “write a poem that, like ‘Dictionary Illustrations,’ is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem.”

This was almost an elegy about me not being able to find a single book – let alone a book of reference – at my current workplace (to be fair, my entire department is packing to move to a new floor, so most books are packed). Thankfully, I found a bus route booklet and flipped it open to a route I never rode on, but somehow it connected my present with my past and my distant past.

Yes, I’m behind a day. I mentioned writer’s fatigue in an earlier post, but that’s not what happened this time. I just have an awful lot happening in my life all at once. Don’t worry; I’ll catch up this weekend.

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 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 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.