Hourglass Published

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My poem Hourglass was published this morning on Olive Skins, a new online journal for surreal or abstract art. Check it out!

 

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Remember?

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Remember?

Remember when we fought Nazis
instead of defending them?

Remember when we liberated concentration camps
instead of building them?

Remember when we welcomed refugee children
instead of jailing them?

The greatest generation is dying
and their grandchildren have become
the very evil they once saved us from.

(From this week’s Monday Poetry Prompt and current events.)

 

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Lake House

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Lake House

She lies in forest
Green fresh from rain
Living breath of earth
Cool summer morn

Mirrored in the lake
Spinning dawn ghosts
Light spilling over
Guarding mountains

She welcomes me back
Slipping her doors
With comfortable warmth
‘Round my frailty

No longer exposed
At last at home

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(Twelve years ago I left this idyllic house on the shore of Manitook Lake, Granby, Connecticut.)

 

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Men at Work

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Men at Work

Watching men work
their way down the bar,
talking to women,
unintroduced.

The ladies play
with these Lotharios
like cats with mice.
I envy the prey.

I am alien here.
A poet lost
in a strange land,
observing the natives.

My best pickup line
might be: Does a rose
by any other name
smell as sweet?

To find intelligent intercourse,
to probe without protection,
Do you come here often,
is safer than sex.

I don’t belong here,
a little green poet
among men.

 

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Spring — Seventh Grade

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The poet wearing his first pair of glasses

or Before my First Pair of Glasses

Trees were blobs of green
as I counted the days
to summer vacation.

Chalk on the blackboard
smudged meaningless
until called to the front
to diagram a sentence.

My teacher’s face — a blur
when she sat at her desk.
I would roll my eyes
from the back row
at her scolds and sermons.

If I couldn’t see her face,
how could she see mine?

 

(This was written in early April at a Living Poetry Germination Workshop to the prompt: Spring — Seventh Grade.)

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Leap

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You leapt into my arms
knocking me on balance
a phantom limb restored

 

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Stopped

To conclude National Poetry Month, I attended a workshop offered by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, lead by our state Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, entitled The Poet Witnesses: Writing Documentary Poetry.

For our writing prompt she shared a cool little five minute video called Color of Reality which I’ve embedded below and we were then invited to imagine the shadows of the dead men talking to their bodies. I incorporated the final Poetic Asides prompt as my title and I think it worked out.

Thanks for reading these thirty poems in thirty days!

It’s time for our fifth (and final) Two for Tuesday prompt of the month! Pick one prompt or use both…your choice!

  • Write a stop poem.
  • Write a don’t stop poem.

Stopped

I had hoped the paint
covering my skin
would grant protection
like an invisible cloak

or make me seem unthreatening
to those whose walk safe
down streets in their shining
white armor.

Was it a matter of time
or was I just unlucky?
I just wish it didn’t take
so damn long to die

then I wouldn’t know
how many walked past
ignoring the red puddle
struggling for the gutter.

I guess invisibility only works
after you’re shot.

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Oh no, not again

Twenty-nine down, one to go. I’m exhausted. Does it show?

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Again,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem. Possible titles include: “Here We Go Again,” “On the Road Again,” “Stumped on What to Write Again,” and “Doing the Wrong Thing Again.”

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Oh no, not again

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again.”
– Douglas Adams from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

What petunias think is a mystery.
They welcome the rain and sun,
in their way — simple machines
that consume, grow, reproduce.

Moths can fly but their primitive eyes
feel joy at the perilous flame
but more than enough become parents
so an early death doesn’t matter.

My complex mind composes poetry
yet is merely a fancy machine,
consuming wine, producing metaphor,
chasing bright dangerous women.

The water in the freezer doesn’t decide
when it’s cold enough. It just forms ice.
Same as the petunias, moths and I,
frozen in our nature.

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The Four Freedoms (Revised and Amended)

For today’s prompt, write a remix poem. That is, remix one of your poems from earlier in the month. There are many ways to do this. Turn a free verse poem into a traditional form (using lines from the original poem). Or use erasure to cut down a long poem into a short one. Or expand a short poem into a longer version. Get creative with it.

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The Four Freedoms (Revised and Amended)

I’m free to read my poems aloud
and you’re free not to listen.
I’ll encourage you to speak your mind
even though we won’t always agree.

I’m free to pray to any gods
I happen to find attractive
and I’ll defend your right to worship
even though I don’t believe.

But freedom requires sacrifice
not of blood on a battlefield
but in wealth to a society.
The hungry and naked are not free.

It’s no better being the fat cat,
afraid of losing his hoardings.
Let’s share so there’ll be loaves and fishes
for all and no one lives in anxiety.

Because I don’t want to be a rich man
living in an impoverished land.

 

(I revised my poem from Day 23. Is this version better or worse?)

 

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To The Moon

For today’s prompt, pick a direction, make that the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. There are so many directions: north, south, up, down, left, right, over, under, etc. But there are also more specific directions like “Across the Way,” “Through the Woods,” and “Beyond the Clearing.” Or give directions like “Clean Your Room,” “Tie Your Shoes,” or “Get Over Here.”

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To The Moon

There were men walking on the moon
when I was a boy, all bubbly
over Lost in Space and Star Trek
on a twelve inch black and white.

There have been eight Star Wars films
since a human last covered our whole planet
with his thumb and I sometimes wonder
if I’ll live long enough to see another.

(Man on the moon, of course. Star Wars IX
comes out at the end of the year.)

Back before Space 1999, I assumed
I’d be commuting like George Jetson
long before the fiftieth anniversary
of the Giant Leap for Mankind.

But we’re living somewhere between Mad Max
and Soylent Green, still stuck on an Earth
who’s slowly suffocating while we argue
over the temperature at which books catch fire.

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