A Fragile Song

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Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash

A Fragile Song

Echoes of my dream-defined visions declare war,
starbursts strike scores,
both friend and foe,
but what for?

The home that I called my base came unmoored;
willow that I know,
now embers in day-glow.

I know the sparrow that lived here,
I defended her,
but now her expended song
tends my fear.

With a voice too delicate to vibrate,
she lends me the will and might to migrate:

“Not everything ends badly,
that is conjecture.
Though everything ends
at least from our perspective.

“We can’t make amends
with cosmic architecture,
but we can begin
to live within.”

Echoes of my mother’s laugh
ring long after her last breath.

Father’s lectures resonate
beyond his untimely fate.

I derive no meaning
from their unbeating hearts,
eyes bleared from tears when
lingering on their departs.

Words left unsaid will remain unspoken,
except in dreams, with the visions unwoven.

I’ve chosen to fixate on the song of that bird
whose weakness conflated
a strength that reverbed:

“Not everything ends badly;
that’s a fiction.
Though everything ends;
sadly, it’s our restriction.

“We can’t make amends
with our cell’s afflictions,
but we can begin
to live within.

She and I loved
with conviction and convection.
Our fronts clashed in wind-slashed storms,
with no direction.

We blew ourselves apart,
parting with bitter sorrow.
Despite our worser parts,
there still came a tomorrow.

We now know the science of us, but too late
to rewind and find some solace in our fate,

but wait and listen to the sparrow
as her frail song pierces our marrow:

“Not everything ends badly,
though everything ends.
We can’t make amends
with past lovers and friends,

but we can extend
our hands and transcend
beginnings and endings
as we live within.”
***

Solemn Solstice

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Photo by Anish Nair on Unsplash

Solemn Solstice

The sun lingers longest today.

The weather-guessers were wrong
about the heat wave.

In fact, there was light precipitation.

Preferring the rain, I am relieved.

I don’t even know why I wrote
“precipitation” instead of “rain”.

I’m no meteorologist.

I guess the unscheduled rainfall
wasn’t up to my lofty standards.

It was a halfhearted rainfall,
followed by an indifferent sunbreak.

Felt more like angel’s spit
than the weeping we’ve earned
for this crapsack existence.

My hemisphere turned
fully into the true glare
of sunlight, and everywhere I turn,
I glare at two shadows
of the Four Noble Truths.

I see only suffering and
man’s indifference to it.

I see children crying in pain,
fear, hunger, and terror;
if they’re lucky, they’ll just receive
the mercy of ignorance
in the form of being ignored,
or perhaps they’ll only languish
as the butt of cruel jokes
they’re mostly ignorant to.

I see indignant adults
viciously targeting them
for exploitation
or other vile indignities.

I see servers and protectors
silencing them permanently
in brass precipitation
because that’s the way
it’s always been and apparently,
that’s the way it needs to be.

The days grow shorter now.

It is the nature of our earth’s tilt
in reference to our position on it
as we continue our
inevitable journey around the sun.

Our share of daylight
will gradually be transferred
to our antipodean brothers and sisters,
in the way it’s always been.

We are powerless to stop
this natural phenomenon.

I am relieved.
***

Where Have All the Fireflies Gone?

Where Have All the Fireflies Gone?

1
As a small child
I caught fireflies in the summer
because that was natural
for kids my age.

I’d use them as nature’s night light,
marveling at their bioluminescence,
wondering why they seemed
dimmer from my mason jar,

saddened and bewildered
by their slow death
and refusal to eat the grass
I placed in the jar for them.

To this day,
I still have no idea
if fireflies eat grass or not.

Never bothered to do the research.

2
“Hey man.
You play the hand you were dealt.”

That was my boiler-plate response
to anyone who asked about
the state of my first marriage.

It was a flippant, self-mocking
humor-of-the-remanded
simultaneously answering
nothing and everything.

Don’t know why I took
such a resigned stance
on being unhappy, lonely,
and with the wrong person.

Didn’t even try to hide
my dismissive shrug
from inside my mason jar.

I often thought that
if I reshuffled the deck,
I’d someday find the right person,
and that would fix everything.

Simply a matter of finding
the right grass to add, right?

3
Outside right now,
there is a bird singing his little heart out
at the cloud-obscured sunset.

I’m unfamiliar with the tone and cadence,
but it rings of a desolation and isolation
I haven’t heard in a long time.

Its song goes unanswered.

The ebullience of a neighbor’s deck party
partially drowns him out.

Their unnatural laughter
reminds me of a henhouse
agitated into commotion
by an invading fox.

Its cacophony
cancels-out the bird’s efforts.

He soon falls silent,
leaving only the sounds
of the fox-stirred coop,
its revelry soon extinguished by
a spontaneous late spring shower.

Nature always wins.

Now that I’m thinking about it,
I can’t recall the last time I saw a firefly.
I wonder why that is?
***

Day 23 – Bowling Green Sixteen

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Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash

Bowling Green Sixteen

The path beyond my garden
is no place for strangers
heat exchanged; your
clear and presently dangerous
slanderous, your vandal-savage rush
gamblers score scandals, ravenous

the monster you fear is me
stalking through ravines
turn back, I disappear; you see
flocking crows and smoke screens
resolve broke so flee the scene
dissolve, choke, no histamine
can help you breathe or intervene
with shadow’s verbal mescaline

I’m the spark unseen;
your heart pumps gasoline
need a match? I don’t mean
to make routine so Byzantine
but I’ll render you to nothing
like massacring Bowling Green
and I will stay between
harmonic mean of unforeseen

not sending sixteen
from aquamarine to twilight
but I can vent my spleen
with Listerine despite fright
***

R.I.P. Craig Mack

Written for NaPoWriMo Day 23 prompt:

Kate Greenstreet’s poetry is spare, but gives a very palpable sense of being spoken aloud – it reads like spoken language sounds. In our interview with her, she underscores this, stating that “when you hear it, you write it down.” Today, we challenge you to honor this idea with a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”

I didn’t really know what to do with this one, as I’m almost always aware of how my poems sound. With that in mind, I went back to my roots and tried penning a sixteen-bar hip-hop-esque freestyle, referencing the fictional Bowling Green Massacre.

I’m not entirely happy with the results, but I’m finally caught-up with the prompts, so I call it a net-win.

Day 19 – Untitled (Or, Why I Hate Erasure Poems)

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Untitled

The path beyond my garden
cinderblock, asphalt, dirt
once meant to be green
dirt fields Kill the Man
one kid with football goal
keep off the grass signs
tackled by two-dozen kids

Reward privilege of trying
score winner reputation
defend your place by word

I, The Professor, called teachers
asking more for free

Stripes on dirt field
bone-crushing tackles
they cheered when others would
call me hyperbolic, but
I was so big

Derisive friends
crush emboldened love
I plagiarize, reconstruct my point
with jazz, funk, and soul

Her name was safe
thirty-five years ago
her fate foreign, I loved her
with whole heart
she blushed,
Judy Blume befuddled

Older brother, throwing
with crooked smirk
Cheshire Cat pretending
almost comfortable enough

Upended by something terrible.
***

Alright… that’s enough of that shit. Here’s an appropriate palette-cleanser:

I wrote this for NaPoWriMo Day 19 prompt, which is an erasure prompt, but I just gave up midway, as I absolutely despise making erasure poems. Writing erasure poems is literally my least favorite style. It makes me irrationally angry that the words don’t fit exactly the way I want them to. I don’t even know why I stuck at this for so long, but I’ve had enough. Let’s just pretend like this one didn’t happen, OK?

If you’re curious about the text I pulled this erasure poem from, just go to this essay.

I know I’m technically still a day behind (I’m not counting the previous haibun), but I gotta go get this bad taste out of my mouth. I’ll try to catch up tomorrow.

I’m so mad at this poem I wanna fight somebody.