Yet again, I accept the challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days. Here goes!
7 Stranger than Fiction
First, it’s annoying that the special report interrupts
a soap opera love scene, police chief lying with
gushing chest wound as the woman who dumped
his brother to return to true love leans over,
whispering she cannot live without…. Flashbacks
must be next, but then the music, the type that always
makes you miss the soothing tones of Peter Jennings.
Fire on Beacon Street. Pre-sprinklered, 1896.
Then the real heroes show up, heavy black coats
disappearing into thick black smoke, midday sun
bouncing off shiny helmets. Even the River closes.
Reporters stuck in Cambridge. Who’s home now?
Students, future famous musicians of Mass Ave.
But the post-squelching-of-flame drama is up,
on the roof. Captured by news copters. Six men
frantically pump a chest before the feed goes black.
[Prompt: Sex and Death]
6 Chef’s Hell
[For Gordon Ramsay]
Those blazing hissy fits are bettered by
his British accent, poured over ice.
And they deserve it, the flaming fools who
store raw poultry with thawing meatloaf.
Nor should appetizers be tepid, much less
“hideous.” Tongue-skewering is earned
by the sous man who wilts everything
he touches. And head waiter’s burden
is to warm disgruntled diners with bread.
But the viewer only partly salivates over
the entree to be. She returns again, again,
for each week brings the guarantee of fire.
5 Poetry Lover
As always, the woman pretends to sleep,
but he whispers promises in her ear, trails
his lying tongue down her hot neck as if
somehow he is doing her a favor quenching
a thirst he created. He’s pretty good at what
he does, the bastard, but only intermittently.
Besides, his generosity is spread too thin.
Tomorrow, he’ll be with another woman,
or man. Sex, height, weight, family history,
level of education–he has no boundaries
whatsoever. Any warm vessel will do, any
mind eager to wrap around him once more.
[Prompt: Give poetry a personality and show how you really feel about it.]
4 A Song of Apostrophe
I sing to you of the past and a woman who first came
to New England across fields of maize in buffalo hide
and furry moccasins: your grandmother‘s grandmother’s
grandmother, buffeted by Canada’s wind and the foolish lips
who wanted to doom you by cultivating your future
before your birth could be imagined. You are the future,
generation of girl who will never know the Black woman too,
who came by ship to make sons, to join the daughters of that
Indian woman who traveled on foot. Women breathed in
hell on this Great Spirit’s Earth, just so you could exist.
Hear me in your dreams, see me in your mirror, feel me
when your hand can finally turn every knob it touches.
[The prompt is from a line of a poem, bolded in the text. It’s also a tip of the hat to my favorite work of Latin literature, Virgil’s Aeneid. I’m not sold on the title yet, but at least I did something with that goofy prompt.]
3 Death of a Writer
[Prompt: “Write what you fear.”]
I’m a novelist. 75. I claim to retire every few years just to instill a sense
of panic in my fan base. My life’s foundation is the stupidity of strangers.
The beach house invites sun, draws waves of adulation from clamdigger-
clad tourists, shocked to discover that the woman in white cotton tunic is
indeed me, strolling by barefoot and generous, flashing famous penholder
in the air. I hate sun and sand, used to be a starving poet. That was a life.
2 No Hedging Allowed (Not sure what’s wrong with the formatting!)
The utter gall of the blessed,
complaining of imperfection
in the absence of want.
Rampant weeds in a garden
are a sign of owning “Home.”
What to do? What to do?
–Dandelion whine. Or stew!
An absolute atrocity of excess,
whacking back the grass
to uproot natives for foreign shrub.
Too much preening of landscape
is a sign that one is lost.
Where to go? Where to go?
–Just follow the signs!
1 Imperfect Ten
[Prompt: wrenched hearts]
I was toeing the edge, hanging ten
and ready to bounce, bounce, sail
into the air, splash into it with you.
Thank you for talking me down,
sparing the trouble of struggling
into racer-back gear just to get
drenched, with no coach to say
“Good job! You gave your all.”
Nobody’s keeping score but me.