The sacrifices we made
On this solid slab,
Aching over the labors
That our idealistic youth
Promised would build
That protected us
For twenty years
Though it needed paint
And a new faucet
From time to time
A safely comfortable bed
Thick, trusted studs
The aromas of us
If only we’d understood
Chewing away the core
Until the only thing
Holding up the corrupted shell
Was the stubborn resolve
Of our shared denial.
Poetry Month 2018 I’ve resolved a few times to write a poem a day during the month of April, and I actually succeeded once. I’m again trying it out. No idea what each day will bring. Some light verse, some politics, some “oh shit I didn’t write anything today” haikus. If you read one and feel moved to comment, please do. If you want to share your poetry, please share!
Lewis Carroll was born on January 27th. The idea of blog Rabbit Hole Day is to stop making sense for 24 hours to honor the birthday of the guy who came up with Alice and the white rabbit and Cheshire Cat and all that. I, however, take a different approach. I honor the day not by being inane and insane but by penning a poem that attempts to mimic something. You get to decide what it mimics.
Timbers whine, creaking; sailors sweat, reeking.
The man at the watch checks his compass again.
He brustles his jacket against the wind’s stracket,
Alarmed by pitch darkness at quarter to ten.
“Prunch the pinjammer, and cease all that yammer!”
Demands Mister Stitcher with braughtery bluster.
“Shawlup and listen, there’s demons a-swissin,
So gather your courage, what all can ye muster.”
The ship glythers slow as cruel moanings below
Fill every lad’s heart with a dreckoning fear.
They gloomish their plight as they watch the last light
Sink into the black of the bottomless squeer.
“Now, man, let’s hear it, and sing it with spirit!”
Cries Stitcher while striking a match at the mast.
Its tiny spitsizzle belightens the drizzle
Like memoried starstorms from eons long past.
It’s too late, though, I fear, for the demons are here,
With their shashowy shapes climbing over the rails,
And their claws clickerclack as the wind has gone slack
And the night feels as flat as our dreakening sails.
With grim sword in hand, I’m ready to stand
And fight to the end of all life and all joy.
But soft in the glow, a lone voice starts in low,
On a song that is something I knew as a boy.
It windeshes clear through the rain far and near
And snatches up sparklets as skyward it drives.
And the demons, conchailling, leap over the railing
Bewailing their failing to capture our lives.
Then, magic surprising–the raindrops, they’re rising!
Constelling in patterns of glittery lightness.
We stand there like fools, agape at the jewels
Skembedding in heavenly swathings of brightness.
On the song’s final note, our draddeling boat
Belurches to glythe once more on its way.
The Candleboat crew, all seventy-two,
Now ready to kindle another new day.
A few years ago I drifted away from writing poetry. This year, after publishing Lifelike, I found the daily barrage of bad news and work stress was pounding the imagination out of me until I just couldn’t write anything new. So, in an effort to rediscover my muse, I turned tonight to some poetry I wrote a few years back. Almost immediately I discovered this one, which although a little self indulgent perhaps and in need of some tightening, I think is actually quite good. I hope you enjoy it.
My father wears a white bucket around his neck,
shaded by a wide brimmed hat.
I’m ten years old, jostled along
on the flat bed of a converted farm truck.
Its enormous, bald tires kick dust
into the sweaty Connecticut summer.
A line of tall trees wilts in the shimmering heat,
too far away for shade.
The truck turns, grouches to a
bumpy, dust-bowl halt.
The teenagers in their frayed cut-offs
and faded bandanas
leap off even before the truck stops.
They gather and mosey into the spaces
between long rows of blueberry bushes.
My father hops off, turns and reaches for me.
I hand him my bucket, and he watches me
squat at the truck’s edge before
I drop carefully to the soft, bent grass.
He picks us a pair of untouched bushes
just far enough away from the others.
He teaches me to roll clumps of berries
off their sagging stems.
He shows me how to reach inside,
under, around to pick the bush clean,
unlike the teenagers whose impatience
seems like an injustice to the bush.
He pops fat, juicy berries in his mouth.
I follow, but unlike him I select the
red berries, their tartness like
summer lightning in my mouth.
As our buckets fill, hollow plunks
give way to a soft, rain-like drumming
of berries falling on berries,
and I treasure the growing weight
pulling down on my hot neck.
Now I am nearly forty years old,
and the sun seems hotter and the
air seems stiller and the teenagers
seem exactly the same.
Ethan and Sam hang empty plastic buckets
around their necks, complaining of
the rope’s dull bite, the sweaty day.
I lead them over yellowed grass
between the rows of bushes
the boys can’t see over.
I teach them to roll clumps of swollen berries
off sagging stems, to peel back the branches
and pick the bush clean.
And I pop a plump, juicy berry into my mouth
as the boys seek out the summer lightning
lurking inside the little, red ones.