Last Thing I Hear

Last Thing I Hear

I bzz-buzz his beer
‘cuzz it’s bittersweet.

He shoos me;
irritatedly,

so I bzz-buzz her martini.
She’s staring past me,

through him, past his seat,
to wherezz? Why ask me?

I’m to bzz-busy, you see?
This bzz-sequence is key!

She ignored me! I’m in!
Sweet delectable sin!

Bzzyum yummy-yum,
oh I knew I’d love rum,

now-drowsy, oh no,
the bar scene runs slow;
no one can save the groove,
molasses-mellow,

morass-indigo;

wings heavy with
melancholy
fate and doom
sweet regret swells,
atrophy and ache,
can’t movezzz!

She frownszz,
slow-blink,

he frownszz,
I drink, I drownzz,

I think, unwound;

can we flies think?

Impaired,
the bland bar muzzac
disappearszz
into thin air.

Do flies have earszz?
Meh, I don’t care,

but the last thing that I hearszz,
before it all vanished into ether

he zz-said to her wet eyelids,
with scarcely a whisper,

“I’d have given you kids;
we’d have been good together.”
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Surrealism in Poetry, hosted by Linda Lee Lyberg. Other poets contributed here.

Always the Butt of Your Jokes

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Photo by Ashley Jurius on Unsplash

Always the Butt of Your Jokes

An ethereal inversion;
the television’s moonbeams
combining with darkness
masking our mockery;

our shared laughter at
your expense for once

instead of your typical
plucking at our insecurities
with orchestral precision; you,
still the chillest cat in the room,

but your arsenic-tipped wit
replaced by Bible psalms,
and sincerely, instead of
your standard

“The Lord is your shepherd,
you shall not want”
atheist parodies.

You didn’t seem to mind,
but in the upside-down,
for once,
the egg was on your face.

I awoke still laughing
at your absurdity.

Dad, you were such a
magnificent bastard back then;

just a gloriously
belittling jackass.

I feared drawing your attention
almost as much as I craved it.

We all hated verbally sparring with you
because you’d gut us like catfish
while taking far more care
not to drop cigarette ash on
your freshly cleaned carpet.

We hated being victims
almost as much as we loved
being living witnesses
to your eviscerations.

But this time, we got your ass.

We ganged-up and nailed you
and that pompous Jehri-Curled afro
to the fucking wall.

You took it surprisingly well
given your massive ego,
but there was no mistaking it;

Boom! Roasted!

On a night we all saw
our man Jordan
get dunked on
and his Bulls lose
by thirty points.

I awoke still laughing
at your comeuppance.

I reached for my cell
to give you a call to remind you
and rub it in your face again;

that you’d finally been dunked-on
by those you’d repeatedly roasted
countless times; after all,

they say you only roast
the ones you love, right?

But as I grabbed my phone to dial you
the punchline came; I remembered it all;

that it was only a dream;

that not once did we ever
get the better of you;

that you probably never would’ve
been cool with that anyway;

that we never watched MJ
lose by thirty with you;

that I’d long forgotten
your phone number;

that in my contacts list
there was a blank spot
where your name should be;

that I hadn’t spoken to you
for nearly a decade,
months before you died.

Sneaky asshole.
You got me again.
***

Inspired by Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Timetravel – Flashbacks with Björn, Björn Rudberg’s last prompt at Toads.

Garden Rival

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A Steller’s jay. Photo by Michael Anfang on Unsplash

Garden Rival

I called to the Steller’s jay
rooting for seeds in my shabby garden,
but he didn’t answer; he

just kept flittering hither and thither,
loudly shacking his territory with
a harsh “SHACK-Sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck!”

sifting the choicest bits
ahead of the luckless wrens and finches.

I didn’t think he was listening,
but I couldn’t help myself.

I asked him if it was true
that in order to love another,
you must love yourself first,

for I observed that I’ve loved some
like my life was forfeit, and yet others
forced love from lungs in violent spasms,

spilling onto pages and surfaces,
surging to fill every crevice and valley.

I’ve loved tenderly and scandalously,
I’ve loved dutifully and illicitly,

I’ve withheld from others
and denied myself the respite

and believed fatted luxurious lies in real-time
to preserve rotted acorns of truths long gone,

often hating both who I was, am,
and whatever I have become,

and so I asked him, am I doing it right?

I didn’t wait for his answer,
because he’s just a dumb, greedy bird
hording the good seeds for himself.

The Steller’s jay stopped flittering,
made a loud “skreeka!”
looked me in the eye

and said, “That’s the stupidest thing
I ever heard! Love don’t work that way!
Maybe you’re just too dumb for love!”

I read somewhere that Steller’s jays
often mimic birds of prey
to fool rivals into hiding.
***

Originally shared on Medium.

Also shared on Poetry Pantry #495.

gripping the path like we ain’t gettin’ no younger

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Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay 

gripping the path like we ain’t gettin’ no younger

master bedroom,
tinted garden-green
with golden glints
of morning

sun rises
with my grip
on the circle of
your hips

we circle back
to forest-hidden roads
traveled in youthful
exuberance

wizened
upon shared intimate
garden paths

wicked giggles
yield the voice-box
to guttural yearnings
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #85 – Raising our Poetic Voices, hosted by whimsygizmo. Other poets have contributed here.

Also shared at Real Toads The Tuesday Platform, hosted by Rommy.

 

What Fresh Hell, This Retention

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What Fresh Hell, This Retention

Frequently, I
find myself
having to keep
looking up
the word
Incel.

Because I
keep forgetting
what it means.

Its meaning,
and in fact,
its very purpose
for existing
freefalls from
my mind
as soon as it enters,
or to be more precise
as soon as it
reenters.

I am actively angry
at having to retain
the memory of
such an ugly,
pointless word,
just so I can keep
apprised of current
unfortunate events.

They could’ve
saved me the trouble,
pain and suffering,
and gone by their
original name.

Losers.
***

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 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.

She Reminded Me of That Night

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Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

She Reminded Me of That Night

The deckplates pitch,
dive, and roll
beneath my feet,
denying any firm sense
of place.

Darkness pours into sight,
lenses straining for substance,
pupils expanding to
engulf any semblance
of light in moonless night.

The ship’s hulking,
shadowy silhouette
lurches into view,
slowly shrugging as
I ride her spine,
the sound of her
slicing the ocean
is a choir of
Poseidon’s vanguard,
shushing our advance
through His domain.

The peacefully disquieting scene
is almost bearable until
turning my gaze upward,
facing the weight of the cosmos itself,
the twinkling slivers of each planet,
star, cluster, nebula, galaxy, light
from both minutes and millions of years ago,
all bearing down upon my brittle soul at once,
crushing me with the weight of
my own insignificance…

“Do you remember that sensation?”
she asks, pausing to clean
her multicolored,
dappled feline fur
passively observing
my tormented meditation.

“Stop it!” I gasp,
squeezing my eyes shut
even tighter.

“You became disoriented,
and had to look away
to regain your bearings,”

she continued,
chuckling to herself.

“Remember how the
near-endless
points of light
became the spots
of my fur?”
she pressed on
unhurriedly,
but resolute.

“Just reminiscing about it
makes my head spin,” I whimper.
“Please, Nihirizumu. Enough.”

“But you asked me
about the pulse of your poetry,”

said Nihirizumu
in a mocking tone.

“You wanted to know
where that throbbing vibe came from,
so long ago
or did you not?”

“I remember now,” I concede.
“It’s too much for me. Please stop.”

“Very well then,”
said my poetic pride
with a weary sigh
and dismissive tail-flip.

“But you need not shrink away
in fear of the cosmos.

“You think yourself insignificant
in comparison to its light,
but you are both from it
and of it.

“I hope that one day
you will gaze upon the vastness
secure in knowing
that you gaze upon yourself.”

I opened my eyes,
took a deep cleansing breath, and
began writing this.
***

Written for dVerse Poetics -your poetic hum, hosted by Gina. I missed the prompt, so I’m sharing it at Open Link Night # 239, hosted by kim881. Other dVerse contributors can be found here and here.

While there is virtually no link to my poetry and what I do for a living now (frankly, each entity exists despite the other), there was a link to when I was once a sailor staring into the night sky free from light pollution for the very first time. I don’t recall ever feeling as small as I did that day, but that was only part of it…

With the deck moving beneath my feet and no point of reference, it felt like being everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. It was as thrilling as it was terrifying.

luminous coven of midnight gypsy moths

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Moth-Woman
Luke Eidenschink
Used with Permission

luminous coven of midnight gypsy moths

her magic flavors fertile night
among lightless thickets
moonlight seeping from sybaritic palms
transmuted into diamond-dust
as it rises to the Moth King’s pale coat
merging

only
monolithic haystack audience
bear witness to
what mage commandeers or defers
which berthed witch
sorcerer or summoner

shadow trails enchantress’ past
ripened midnight transcendence
seasons her fermented moon
***

Written for Real Toads Art FLASH/ 55!, imagined By Kerry O’Connor.