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 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 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 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 17: Ménage (What Comes to Light)

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Ménage (What Comes to Light)

I am the blackened
canvas where the
flexed and slackened
sinewed ghosts
of your regrets
come to disrespect
the light by making
reckless love to us
each night you dare.

I lovingly share
draping myself
over you both
countless times,
embracing you
and she – whoever
she may be
for I’m not choosy
and lack any
discerning light

– I embrace all,
lie and truth,
blessings and guessing
earnest grinding and
deceitful pressing;

but you only
ever noticed me
during the lessons
the lie sessions,
the self-deceptions,
the indigo-black
lack of reflection

contrasting with
the random gleaming
revealing moonbeam
showing coveted
curved, selected
mounds of flesh
waiting to be blessed,
devoured in secret.

I am both cloak
and receptacle
of our naked
sweat-soaked spectacle.

Only I recall
how frequently
and sweetly you
enjoyed your fleeting
secrets as I took
you both, erasing
your sordid twisted
tryst from view of all
but just us three in
the menagerie,

but don’t fret
on our vignette,
regret is staved-off
just as long as you
can let the triad
of our ballad be,
refraining from your
banishing me
from our night
by reaching
for that light.

Take what she gives
in my shadow;
fondle us both
as you fumble-grip
her hips within
our colorless sin.

It matters little
to me, for when
the lamp begins
to bring you clarity
to see your folly,

I will be long gone,
leaving you to mourn,
facing this self-made
quandary in solemn
solitary.

I’m just the night
who loves carefree;
what comes to light
ain’t up to me.
***

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 17 prompt: “write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view.”

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 9: Things that Fulfill the Senses, Leaving Lasting Emptiness in their Wake

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Things that Fulfill the Senses, Leaving Lasting Emptiness in their Wake

1.
Singular flames
roosting, dancing atop candles,

especially collectively
as birthday cake toppers,

especially when singularly
illuminating rooms
where lovers begin loving
in earnest,

especially within places
of worship and vigil
and mourning

2.
The round, full sound of bells
singularly, as a bicycle warns stragglers
to make way

or when affixed upon a cat’s collar
to mitigate hiding and stalking,

or from the needs of a beloved
on their sickbed
requesting soup
or cuddles,

or the one tolling
for their sudden departure

3.
The round,
full sound of bells
in plural, as in church
bells after weddings, or a bright
rapid

sleigh bell
cacophony or incessant
rapid ringing of a
land line, leading
edge of

a next-of-kin notification

4.
Laughter of infants
discovering their toes for
the first time, followed

by squeals of discovery
that toes can be quite ticklish

5.
Laughter of my father,
which sounded like a warbling
singular bell when it hit him
deeply and unexpectedly,

informing my insecure childhood
that regardless of any
dire circumstances,

everything
was going to be alright
in the end

6.
My dad’s laugh,
despite himself,

accompanied by his
subtle rebuke and
halfhearted admonishment

as I made him laugh
repeatedly

by quietly mocking
my freshman health teacher
during parent-teacher
conference night

7.
My dad’s laugh, accompanied by
his circular dance on an invisible candle,

as his wide, astonished eyes
observed for the first time,

his adult son, fitted in service dress blues
as a newly-minted Navy boot camp graduate;

I scarcely believe his swelling pride
let his feet touch the ground once

8.
Two decades later,
with a raspy hiss
replacing his resounding laugh,

dad’s eyes,
laughingly admiring me
even as his raspy voice
admonished me

against making him laugh
as it aggravated his cancer
as I continued instigating

because cancer deserves to be
agitated, unseated
whenever possible

9.
Those rare moments when
hilarity takes me by surprise,
causing me to break out
in giggle-fits, only to hear

the warbled-bell of dad’s laugh
ringing from deep within me,

or when I catch him
peeking at me
from my own reflection

as I wipe tears
of laughter
from my eyes

10.
Toes.
I mean, what can I say?
Babies are right; toes are both
hilarious and mostly worthless.
***

Happy Birthday, Dad. You would’ve been 67 today.

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 9 prompt: write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.”

 

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 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