I took on another 30 poems in 30 days challenge. Most of the poems are here; some have been or will be removed as I submit them for publication. (Some publishers will not publish poems that have appeared, even as drafts, on blogs, so I can’t post all 30 poems here).
Sometimes There’s a Simple Solution.
The one who is not lying there/could have been.
–Patricia Beer, “Middle Age”
Maddening alone has a cure that often is
simply called ‘company’. I’m a woman, and
women like flowers. He brought me flowers.
You love me and want me to dream of you,
you say. He kissed my shoulder while I
read in bed–even though it was not bare,
so he had to do a little work first. Tug, tug,
on purple jersey, like a puppy. Just for a peek
of my flesh, a workspace. He did not mind
work. You talk about it all evening long. “Work.
Work!” you complain. Quite often. You make me
miss things I’ve opted not to miss. So I dream.
2 and 3 Removed for submission.
It’s a festival. Happens once per year
in the basement of the BPL*
where some of the poets ain’t gettin’ any younger,
but we”ll spend the day there, what the hell.
We’ll talk about the cads we’ve known,
the chasers and seducers of note,
now propped on canes or attached to wives,
still winking and serving up a quote.
Every time we women get together
there’s plenty of mischief to be had.
But what do you expect from us poets?
-Whoa, look at him. –Hey, not bad!
*Boston Public Library: The annual festival is named Boston Poetry Marathon as the famous finish line is in front of the entrance to the library.
When I die, the Irish may wake me.
For I refuse to accept Life
as a foregone conclusion.
As the sawdust settles, I shall rise.
I’ll hear the laughter when I die.
If insipid notes must be offered,
let it be through Chants, and clapping,
and accordion Music, and dancing.
Save energy to celebrate Eternity.
“Well, you can tell by the way I used to walk,
I’m a wounded man–no time to talk.”
Because I used to be Tony Manero,
sexy Italian dancefloor king. Well, before that
I played dumb, sweat-hog stupid, on tv:
“What? Where?” Later, I gained weight
as a bedraggled-drunk fallen angel.
I’ve gotten Shorty, been an army officer
but no gentleman. Well, you can’t tell
by my popularity, but women still want
me to be in sexy scenes in my movies.
And I’m telling you, it really hurts.
Here and there people lose their minds–
not gradually, first staring at the clouds,
irises vacant, next misunderstanding
simple concepts, suspicious of every
word, everyone. Rather, they go suddenly,
stars exploding, to become caramel stains
against the clouds, stains that will cause
other troubled minds to go nova too.
I’d like to say that I have never done
This before, but we both know
That that is not entirely truthful. No,
I’ve never said a word aloud, nor written
Down my heartfelt prayers. Yet it was
Always there–the longing, questioning
Whether I had done something to deserve
So much agony, solitude, in so little time.
But what I really want to focus on now
Is the positive, the future, the devotion
I have always held, attempted to quiet,
Unvoiced because it could not possibly
Be worthy of one such as Yourself.
But all the misery of others came too.
No one is spared, so now I ask You aloud
To distribute that which we all have given,
Enough for everyone, for as the song says,
Lord, “What the world needs now is love.”
My inner voice has one foul tongue,
and lately she’s been lashing me hard.
There isn’t enough cocoa butter balm
for the welts on my back, salve
for these scars on my knees, yet
she is repeatedly beating me down.
I know all about my imperfections,
been hearing about ’em my whole life
–but most of that time the voice
was a honey-tongued best friend.
Whatever your complaints, please wait
till she’s done maligning my name.
16 Removed for submission.
18 In Other Words
She doesn’t fear change, merely dislikes it,
same for commitment. If she cared for it,
she’d have moved elsewhere long ago.
Rude of change, she thought, to move in
next door as if it owned the neighborhood,
taking down curtains not yet bleached out.
“Change” was just another word for waste.
19 Spring Cold
A sneeze and a wheeze are swizzled
by a pink flamingo. Then a faerie
drizzles buttercup dew to seal your
eyelids. Garlic around window frames
won’t help. It only works on vampires.
Silver bullets won’t blast it out,
no matter how a werewolf might
yelp. Drink some gin. Take a nap.
Nothing beats it, so why not dream
of technicolor wings while you can?
20 From An Athlete Lying Low
The Sox are winning 9 to 1
while two Americans lose their run.
A Kenyan woman wins again,
as Ethiopia gains new fame.
I, however, barely budge,
eating corn chips, craving fudge.
Boston sports earn worldwide fame.
Don’t glare at me. I’m not to blame.
22 Saved Earth
The dirt transforms itself, transposes,
pot chips, transports clay pipes once
transmogrified by fire, sealed from water
yet carried by it into history. Meaning
is translated to other cultures that lap
life up on cool tongues, transmit it over fire
to each other and beyond; so we transcend
mere fact to become artifact.
[Very rough draft. Happy Earth Day!!]
23 A classic Shakespearean sonnet, but I’m submitting it for publication.
Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!
[I’m still trying to learn how to write prose poems. How’s this?]
25 Considering Spring
Taking in the sights that I will miss
When outer eyes cease to do their work,
I remember forehead’s touched and eyelids kissed,
And continue to admire God’s best work.
Watching men digging up the street
Or playing tennis when they should be working,
I pause to note each movement of their feet,
While check-listing that every muscle’s working.
So when my joints are weak, my spine is bent,
I’ll close my eyes to dream how Springs were spent.
26 I Woulda
This isn’t one of my better love poems.
It’s just one I coulda written years ago.
But how were you to know I’d never,
ever, love anyone better? I sat there
on your stoop for three hours after,
not sure where to be next. My home,
it seemed, had vanished. I would have
followed you, woulda sold that damned
13-inch TV to buy a ticket, flung all my
books into the trash. And I did write
a poem about it then, “Amtrakking
for Love” –something like that, yet
it was worse than this. But the point
is, you said I love her. Then you left.
Damn, you really shoulda said too.
27 “And the lights….”*
Lived here my whole life
without ever seeing the lights out
on the train platform. For a sec,
I’m Charlton Heston in that movie
about being the last human left
as zombie-like blueish creatures
go right on with what they’re doing,
plodding toward the lemming-raiser,
aka, escalator. That time Kenmore flooded
I went to see the water which was
all the way up to the second stair
of the station. A stranger emerged
from the faceless pedestrians to say,
“Don’t worry. They’ll fix it,” because I was
bawling like it was the end of civilization.
* from the Bee Gees lyrics: …and the lights all went down in Massachusetts….” (Don’t bother looking for it on YouTube. I’m a huge fan, and I have to say it’s their very worst song–and depressing as heck!)
28 Must I?
I’ve loved entirely too much
entirely too infrequently–
thought craving a lover’s touch
not love, but mere indecency.
There he is, The One,
that man I thought a myth.
Why must I smother hope again,
to live without his kiss?
29 At the Main Street Cafe
At the Main Street Cafe the windows
are valanced in bright, white lace,
and the hunter wallpaper has diamonds.
I’m ostensibly here for the competition,
but the wooden booths, friendly server,
white tin ceiling make me want to
relocate. Besides, the American cheese
omelet and I are bonding, even though
my eyes are riveted to the door in case
the biker poet is coughed up by the wind.
The words are relayed, slammed like nails
into the wooden booths, but really this eve
is about Michelle, dark-rimmed eyes, a voice
making it clear that her past is darker. Who
would expect a ride through Canton to reveal
where one of the best gems is hiding out?
30 Sentenced to 30 Days
It was a month of what Sundays
should always be: relax and do your time,
peek outdoors and complain about confinement
even while escaping in your mind for a bit.
Make a little small talk with the other inmates
who’ll tell you to give yourself a break.
On the outside, you’re a deadbeat, blight,
responsible for the downfall of civilisation,
but in here, you are a legend in your own time.
Yee haw!!!! Made it through another 30-in-30 with my poetic dignity intact. Thank you to friends who read and commented!