Three-hundred, ninety years ago, as millions of Central and West Africans traveled involuntarily towards bondage across the vast Atlantic in irons, light began its unimaginable journey of hundreds of trillions of miles from an undiscovered star-system where iron vapor condensed, raining down from a night sky of a planet twice the size of our King Jupiter that none yet on our good earth knew existed, the faint light finally reaching our astronomers last month.
News travels fast it seems, but I guess for some, not fast enough. ***
I’m gonna take the fall for this, aren’t I? it’s clear from the Holy One’s grip on me His glare into the heart of man, unmoved my wrist upturned, defenseless, submitting
Adam’s dumb gaze affixed on His judgement obedient, naked, dense, stupid beast bet he really thinks I come from his rib
fruitful and multiply like rabbits, eh? guess I have no say in the matter then?
mother of original sin? how droll mother of sciences is more like it
He may well yet bring me to my knees here but despite my side-eye, I won’t stay there. ***
NaPoWriMo Day 6: “…write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymus Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.”
I gotta be honest here; I hated this prompt. I didn’t enjoy viewing the art nor all the nightmare fuel within it (and there’s a lot going on here). Your mileage may vary, but I was pretty close to skipping this one when my eye caught the scene of God/Jesus, Adam and Eve. That scene compelled me to write this.
over time, trauma is a thief of joy two fingers of bourbon mug the mugger spring oozed into her room nonchalantly embracing us with equanimity her voice cooing we shouldn’t do this now her lips tasting of why haven’t we yet the fire in her almond eyes read mine we chose the same musk-knotted adventure music was jealous of our harmony you introduced me to Martin Gore and I didn’t get him, but through you, I did I’m jealous I missed your London punk scene and all the parts that broke you apart we were both trauma and broken things we been runnin’, done ran, till we bumped heads finding joy in tending each other’s shards I lived to cut myself open on you seducing you into seducing me say I won’t rise to meet your velvet taunt your tongue had already run us through I marked you as mine when your teeth pierced me by the thinnest skin of goddess sinew we loved, clear-eyed in the blackest of night as the box-springs sang je t’aime, je t’aime you took my life each time I surrendered only to find your dear Eeyore renewed I’ll re-steal this joy, returning to us delightful, bottled beautiful struggle thus was the elixir of our short spring ***
NaPoWriMo Day 5: “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,”developed by Jim Simmerman.The challenge is to use/do all of the list below in the same poem, or as many as possible. This was extremely challenging, but also super engaging. I kicked off my shoes, threw out the punctuation, meditated on a topic that frequents my thoughts, (I was born a dirty old man. Sorry/not sorry) and started tinkering. I fudged some of the criteria, but I honored the spirit of all twenty requirements.
Here they are:
Begin the poem with a metaphor.
Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
Use a phrase from a language other than English.
Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.
I’ve been told that way back in the 40’s our Rosenwald complex was a black pearl on Chicago’s South Side during the blues, jazz, and soul renaissance.
It sheltered greats like Gwendolyn Brooks, Nat “King” Cole, Quincy Jones – girl, I said Quincy Jones!
I think even Miles Davis and Sammy Davis Jr, but no relation, I believe.
I’ve been told that black folks in Chi strutted down gaslit 47th street, danced on smokey Michigan Boulevard, sang on King Drive, and even Wabash like they owned the night;
with a sense of pride and musicality befitting us, inseparable from the music
spilling from every throbbing tavern, and even “hole-in-the-wall” was just a teasing nickname thrown at friendly endearing faces.
If I squint, I can see gilded hallways of way back when, which reek of pungent piss now.
I observe the sheen of polish on some of the tiles not defiled by dual-pitchforked, Star-of-David Gangster-Disciple gang-sign graffiti.
Or is it Gangsta? I try to discern the artist’s penmanship from the ones in our high school instead of
meeting your desperate gaze as you kneel before me, taking my hands in yours in a shameful proposal.
Just yesterday, I’d given up on you. I’d no tears left to cry over a girl who don’t want me no more.
Now you return, on your knees, perfumed in Bacardi rum and weed you never thought to share with me.
What am I to make of this?
You didn’t even respect me enough to break up with me; you ignored my pleas until I got the message.
Now you want to rewind the clock?
Any boy with a good upbringing and a residue of self-respect
would’ve slammed that heavy security door in your face for good, chaining, deadbolting, and security-pole in place for all eternity.
Sadly, this building has seen better days, better than I can imagine.
He spurned you as you betrayed me, you humbled yourself after falling, and try as I might, I just couldn’t kick you while down on that musty-ass floor.
I lifted you from your knees, welcoming you back into my self-loathing and desperation, knowing that I could expect no better.
I walked you home around the corner, across the dusty courtyard that once held fresh, manicured grass when we first moved in.
I held your hand in mine, thinking that to love you went hand-in-hand with my needing you somehow;
that without your water, my life was empty, dead, dusty-brown, a rusted, rotten swing-set without swings;
only tetanus would remain, waiting for antitoxin or inevitable condemnation
and abandonment, twenty years from now, long after our ill-advised marriage cracked, eroded and ended; long after you
kneeled before me once again, begging me to hold up my end of our sham, a plea met with silence and emptiness, like
the decayed ruins we once called home some thirty years and two-thousand sixty-four miles ago, before its renovation into an elderly citizen’s home,
which is fitting, for all things age, slow, decay, and are eventually consumed
by silence; even music – the most beautiful, the most vibrant; – the most soulful, the most mournful is fleeting, and always ends,
making way for the next, as star becoming nebula becomes proto stars.
I hope whoever walks that hallway now smells only lavender. ***
NaPoWriMo Day 2: “…write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there.”
I tried to be descriptive, but I was eventually sucked into the narrative. I may try this one again after this month’s challenge ends.
a fly caught dead failing to conceive the clear pane lying ahead lying to him
dreading the lies I’ll conspire constructing in my head
which is a lie subconsciously formed before the first lie coalesced by will my dream lies
like the rug awaiting my shiftless feet and restless legs egging me on
that I missed the alarm by two lying-assed minutes dooming me to what lies in shadow two minutes ago
which was only ego yielding to id as I slid from lying to sitting grasping at evaporating nothing
warning me that nothing is as it seems even within the busted seams of interrupted dreams
that scream fuck everything when asked if I slept well as if I could tell time and reason from rhyme
and sure everything’s fine I guess but I digress let’s pretend we’re not because at least we’ll regress to a partial truth. ***
NaPoWriMo Day 1: “a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.”
I’m roused by a crimson red sun streaking across reddish-brown skin nude, save for pale thigh, tinted rose, draped midriff, ignited by dawn. What on earth was in that merlot? Cherry-red lips mark morning kiss; my red-eyed world turns to meet them. Disturbed, pale-pink thigh shrinks from blush. What on earth was in that merlot? Scarlet kiss, ruddy thigh, opposed? What on earth was in that merlot? And I, red sun, caught between worlds? Trapped between dawn-reddened kisses my neck and spine tattooed in wine bracketed by lavish pink pours confusion yields to crimson want the cock crows rise with day aflame; I drown in cups of red again. “You touch me nice,” said your pink grin. “Me too,” said your cherry-blushed friend. But was it really the merlot? ***
A blue side of pale winter sky
A false promise of warmth
Mocking lie leaves frostbite
We learn to live without feeling
Breath before death leaves us warmer
Beyond all comprehension of touch
A blue side of grey spring and sleet
A note passed across the order
It reads as up is down and I am worthy
I compound why nots ‘till I forgot
We would never be, yet I felt warmer
Lark or not, I envisioned her touch
A blue side of bluest midsummer dream
Her declaration under scalding eyes
A fragile fondness that could never be
I lash-out, shredding her baby-bird song
I wound her before she could burn me
Sense of touch long beyond the pale
A blue side of amber autumn gale
Earnest harvest of unmindful fullness
Ripened want withered on bough
Unseen by us, insulated from life
Preparing for death has iced our light
Beyond all comprehension of touch
Also written for NaPoWriMo’s day 29 prompt: write “a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.”
In sixth grade, I was pranked by a girl who pretended to have a crush on me. Once the prank was revealed, I was the laughing stock of my class. Prior to that, I’ve always had poor self-esteem.
That prank confirmed every awful thing I thought of myself and informed my actions in the future whenever I found myself connecting with someone who claimed to be into me. I just wanted to explore those feelings again as an old man.
Anyway, I’m pleased to be the last person to complete #NaPoWriMo2019 #GloPoWriMo2019. Phew! Sorry I’ve been away for a bit. Life has been quite challenging these days.
I have a few more entries this month, but soon I’ll be on another extended break. I’m due for a sabbatical from writing as I spend more time reading all the wonderful poetry of my fellow online poets.