Thaw – #poetry but not #poetrymonth poetry

Ducks, I suspect,
rarely meditate
or spend much time
contemplating their failures.

A few years back, two ducks
flap-flopped from the sky
to splash into the swimming pool,
returning each spring until
we filled the pool with dirt,
and with crushed granite,
because the ducks had become
the only ones swimming in it.

Decades ago, when I was young,
ducks waddled across Tryon Street,
marching from Roaring Brook
through the muddy flood pastures
down to the river,
ignoring the Killiam’s dairy cows
in a celebration of
mutual disinterest.

The cows and the ducks and the brook
comprised a constancy of motion and stillness,
much like the river,
which would announce the end of winter
with the booming thunder of cracking ice,
a magical sound I could hear
as I lay in my top bunk
on the hill across Tryon Street.

I loved the river all iced-over,
but I loved the great heaves
of the drifting floes more.

I wonder if the ducks, or the cows, even noticed.

I suspect they knew
what has taken me
a lifetime to learn.
That the river freezes over,
and the ice thaws,
but the water keeps flowing
just underneath.

And this is why I know that,
someday,
my phone will ring,
and it will sound
like river ice breaking,
and when I hear your voice
we will be friends
once more.

These Acid Years – #poetry but not #PoetryMonth poetry

The actual photo is unrelated to the poem.

These Acid Years
Wrinkled scratches of light stretch
Across her dress, like marshmallow
Polka dots melted and re-melted
Through a thousand summer days.
The dress might have been red
When the shutter snapped,
Back when she sometimes smiled
Even without
A photographer’s command.

That moment, emulsified in negative
And burned onto paper,
Has faded from my disloyal memory
Like names of second grade teachers
And second cousins.
Entombed in dusty fake leather
Under a shiny plastic shroud,
This photograph has persevered
Through these acid years
To dimly insist that once,
A thousand summer days ago,
We sometimes smiled
Together.

Today’s poem prompt was provided by a lost friendship

Garden Cycles – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 30

Garden Cycles
first harvest salad
lettuce, radishes all gone
cucumbers blossom

Poetry Month 2018
I set out to write 30 poems in the 30 days of April. I managed 28 out of 30, including this last-ditch “oh shit I didn’t write anything today” haiku. I also managed to provide an original photo with each poem I did write. I will call 28 out of 30 success, even though it’s not a true “win” of one poem a day in April.
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by deadline desperation, and the fact that tonight we ate a salad made from the lettuce and radishes that Sam grew in his garden, plus some purchased carrots and celery. Sam’s carrots and cucumbers are not ready to harvest; in fact, the first cucumber blossom showed up this weekend. We anticipate another harvest in a few weeks.
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Fingerprints – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 27

Fingerprints
When you retrieved my eyeglasses,
stretching your arm across the chasm
between sagging mattress and wobbly nightstand,
you handed them to me with a gentle nonchalance,
never appearing to lose your place
in the novel with the cracked spine pressed open
against the faded blue blanket
covering your raised knees.
You didn’t notice how you jostled the digital clock,
which carried on, unperturbed, as it silently
announced the passage of each minute.
You never saw, as you raised and then set down
your cooling cup of tea,
how your fingerprints on the mug
recorded the oils of the day, in a swirling statement
of your smudgy uniqueness.
Familiar patterns I’d seen ten thousand times
right before my eyes,
endearing smudges that brought comfort
to my bedtime crossword puzzle,
a sureness that in the morning,
when the alarm buzzes up the sun,
even though the lines in the mirror
will have deepened and cracked by one more day,
the lines that define us will remain unchanged.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by the song “Slow Pony Home” by The Weepies
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Impermanence – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 26

Not the most wonderful thing to wake up to. But at least I woke up to something, unlike the unfortunate rodent (or whatever) who met the raccoons.

Impermanence
I saw it through the steam from my first morning coffee
as I let the cat out the patio door.
A splash of ruddy red on the concrete,
as if a lipstick had melted there a few weeks ago
and the dried dust had been blown off in the wind
to leave behind only a ghostly echo of its color.

Beside this grisly stain, which surely was blood,
the discarded entrails of some unfortunate rodent
lay stretched out to dry in the morning sun,
presumably positioned by the raccoon whose
incriminating, bloody hand prints punctuated the scene
like the tag of a graffiti artist.

The world cries no sympathetic tears for the preyed-upon,
I learned from Marlin Perkins when I was small.
In the wild—which I now knew my back patio to be—
it is better to be the eater than the eaten.

I marvel now at the killer’s cruel efficiency:
No fur, no bits of bone or claw left to tell me
who had died here in the dark. Only
what appeared to be a stomach
and a long, trailing intestine,
but I am no expert in identifying rodent entrails,
despite being a trained Boy Scout leader.

These days, now that I’ve passed fifty years old
and I hear more about funerals than weddings or baby showers,
I seem besieged by reminders that life is fragile,
that the infinitesimal nanomoment of time we have
will end one day, and today could be that day.
And in time, the people who follow will know
as little of me as I know of the rodent
whose partial remains I slip into a plastic bag
and drop in the trash.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by a raccoon
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The House On Tryon Street – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 25

This is the stone wall at the bottom of the lumpy hill. The forsythia bush is off camera, to your right, beside the handsome devil with the baseball bat. The Hot Wheels graveyard is off camera, to your left, above the wall. The neighbors’ chickens frequently wandered all over the woods.

The House On Tryon Street
Sometimes I think I miss my childhood home,
halfway up the hill on Tryon Street.

Always in motion, Larry and I raced countless laps
starting with frantic leaps down the broad, creaky steps
of the wrap-around porch
which seemed, like the Golden Gate Bridge,
and like the house itself,
to be in a perpetual state of
half newly painted red or yellow or gray, and
half curling, peeling strips of weathered other-color.

A sprint across the pitted driveway,
a slalom through the saplings down the hill
to the dried-up drainage ditch where the pansies grew,
then up the stones dodging the neighbors’ chickens
(though who was dodging whom, really?)
to climb the catapult tree until it bent under our willow weight
and delivered us again to the grassless path
for a foolhardy careen back down the lumpy hill
past the sand box graveyard of dozens of Hot Wheels cars,
launching with a whoop off the stone wall near the forsythia bush
where the plastic army men held their summer battles,
into a dead run around the water-fight west lawn,
galloping back to the rear of the patient wrap-around porch,
to clamber up and over its balance-beam rail
and stampede along its stretching balustrade
where we used to stand in the spring to listen
for the pale thunder of distant river ice cracking in the thaw,
finally returning to our starting line
at the top of the broad, creaky steps.

Sometimes I think I miss my childhood home,
but in my heart I know that what I really miss,
of course,
is my childhood.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by Kymberlie
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Today – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 24

This is not actually a sunrise on Mt. Diablo, but it is a picture I took near Mt. Diablo, and it’s basically similar colors. It might be a sunset. Probably is.

Today
This time of year, the side of Mt. Diablo
burns orange with the fireworks of wild poppies,
as if Hekoolas has spilled all the paint
that she was saving for summer sunrises.
She will have to make do with just
the pale pink of water-washed blood
and the bright blue of discarded robin’s egg shells,
swirled into the dusty, reluctant pewter
of taciturn morning clouds.

During summer train rides to San Francisco,
I used to watch the sun rise over the mountain,
feeling my heart swell and my breath disappear
as the goddess mixed her paints to reveal the mood
she had chosen for that day.

My fellow under-caffeinated travelers,
easily addled in the fog of the commuter’s ritual,
looked down rather than up,
their heads bowed as if in reverence
while they sought enlightenment,
or at least a meditative distraction,
in their next game of Candy Crush.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was simply a random thought
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Happy 454th Birthday – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 23


Happy 454th Birthday
On April first I set an earnest goal,
A challenge to myself with no excuse,
To spark a dormant feeling in my soul
And summon from her slumber poet’s muse.

Each day through rain and shine, in night and morn,
In coffee shops or out in empty field
Afraid of neither ridicule nor scorn
I toiled, focused only on my yield.

Now twenty-three days in, I’m nearly done—
A day behind but steady in my pace.
It’s difficult but also lots of fun,
Which in the end I think is no disgrace.

I’ve got to hand it to that famous bard,
‘cuz writing all this poetry is hard.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by Robin, who reminded me of Shakespeare’s birthday
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Tolerance – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 21

Tolerance
If you have cats that sometimes go outdoors,
You will get fleas.
Many people consider fleas to indicate
a moral failing not unlike joblessness,
or voting Democrat.
Churchgoing people certainly never get fleas;
God would not allow it
unless of course
the sincerity of the people in question
was generally thought to be suspect.

God enjoys a good plague on the unrighteous,
and flea infestations probably amuse Him.

If you have cats that sometimes go outdoors,
you may, from time to time, feel wrongly judged
by those who lack the courage
to have cats that sometimes go outdoors.
These people cannot stomach the realities of nature,
Like the horrific carnage of fierce hunters devouring half their prey
and leaving the rest disemboweled on the welcome mat,
or the demonic cacophony of forlorn heartache
when the stupid beast is stuck outside in the rain at midnight.
Or: fleas.

Those people retreat into comfortable cowardice,
unlike Noah who wrangled two cats of every fucking type—
tigers, lions, jaguars, siamese, tabbies, torties—
onto a boat—
a boat for Christ’s sake—
and who boldly faced forty days and forty nights
of litter box cleanup.

If you think Noah, a truly righteous soul
if ever there was one,
never suffered a flea bite,
then perhaps it’s time to rethink how you feel about
people who have cats that sometimes go outdoors.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by some stupid cat
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Coverage Begins – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 20

Coverage Begins
The noiseless television assures me that
coverage will begin shortly.
I trust this because my television
has never before lied to me
when it was silent.
Still, I feel challenged this morning
by its flat passive-aggressiveness.

Hasn’t coverage always begun?
Shortly is simply a relativity.

Each time I glance at the screen,
I enjoy a calm reassurance
in the steadiness of the universe.
One thing, at least, adheres to a
dependable predictability
amid the chaos which erupts in
climate-induced hurricanes and hate-induced tweet storms,
against the insecurity stoked by
volatile housing prices and collapsing job markets,
among the vague unease cultivated through
our friends’ facebook facades and pristine lawns maintained by immigrants.

Even though I have by now forgotten
which teams are to play shortly,
I smile, content in the knowledge that,
with the sureness of death and taxes,
coverage will always begin.

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!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by NBC Sports
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