I’ve told you before oh so many times
how this poet’s life is built on alone.
Sometimes it’s baited with meter and rhymes,
but ‘neath them too often’s just meatless bone.
I guess a poet must learn to inure,
grow callused over his isolation.
Not that easy when you’re so insecure
all your friends live in your imagination.
That’s why I whisper, alone in my head,
and try writing all these poems for two.
But if my words make you cry in your bed,
hold on, perhaps these next might restore you.
Your reading my lonely days’ pages shows me,
for one tick, I’m not alone. You chose me.
For Day 20 of Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo 2020, an “isolation” poem. And, baby, I know isolation. Just click that word in the word cloud down on the right and see how many pieces come up. And that’s just the one’s on the blog, not in the two collections (still available on Amazon, BTW.)
I’m sure this line of thought is not the norm,
But I’ll never stop dreaming about your form.
Okay, it’s true, I’ve held other ones close.
That was just about trial and error,
just proving you’re the one for me, God knows.
See what we have in us…nothing’s rarer.
I love how your bottom’s a bit wider
than your top, which is quite ample enough.
And though your waist is small, you’re a fighter.
The wrong finger on you, they’ll hear how tough.
If you’d listen, I’d say you’re my only,
my Hummingbird, my goddess, my North Star.
Held my hand through the times I was lonely.
Wish you were a woman, not a guitar.
Day 14’s prompt for this 30-step regime of daily poetry was for a “form or anti-form” poem. Now, if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I glommed onto the Shakespearean sonnet form when I lost (or lose) the capacity to write straight from my head. And, if you’ve been around longer, you’ll remember how I started writing poetry by penning haiku and senryu. So I go to that structural hug or challenge from a poetic form when I need to. Even if it makes me cringe a little. Now, just because I’m me, I decided to twist the prompt into a pretzel by turning the sonnet form upside down and writing about a form that isn’t what it seems. Or maybe you guessed.
So…what if this time it’s really the end?
The time to say adios, good-bye, adieu.
If it is, then what better time to send
one more poem, my friend, to say thank you?
Isn’t it strange how many questions I ask
when it wasn’t answers I really needed?
See? Now there’s two more I add to the task
of figuring you out. Never succeeded.
You whispered at me so many secrets,
then pushed me away when I’d lean too close.
Now, I’ve caught so many of your regrets,
and never knew why it was me you chose.
So here’s the end. Not too close, should I sneeze.
Never mind, we were always each other’s disease.
Sorry for the extra beat at the end. Sometimes such things don’t have a suitable explanation. They just have to be. Let’s just hope it’s like an extra heartbeat. Be well, stay vigilant, and know I’m always thinking of you as we each wait out whatever lies ahead.
Mortality casts its shadow jet black
at such dark times as these we’re living in.
My journey will end and I won’t come back,
probably lie on roadside, giving in.
I tried and tried to make my days brighter
to fend off the cause of this affliction.
But these dark clouds won’t let it be lighter,
erasing even my shadow depiction.
I caught this sickness when I was a kid
and it almost killed me and some others.
It’s contagious, and inside me it’s hid,
and can infect me, you and our brothers.
The virus in the news isn’t this disease.
It’s terminal hatred. Don’t succumb, please.
I’ve reached that age where things start going south,
at each doc’s visit I say “You’re kidd’n’ me.”
I think, after she checks my ears and mouth,
“What this time? BP, Prostate or Kidney?”
But those are already on my long list,
and we’re trying hard to get them off it.
When they find something new, I try not being pissed,
but medicine’s become for-profit.
What if I get that corona disease?
It can be deadly for old guys like me.
Copays and premiums, all rising fees,
if you think they’ll go down, that’s unlikely.
My Doc means well, she keeps me upright.
It’s the med bills make me feel sick and uptight.
A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.
We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?
Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.
Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.
It’s not every day I see a face
that makes me think of a time long gone.
Days before I was caught up in the race
to be a king, but always was a pawn.
Pushed about the board by an unseen hand,
willingly, one of another seven.
Just to feel your touch, always seemed so grand,
turning emotions up to eleven.
However, in the end, as most pawns do,
I’d fall in service to you, dear mistress,
Tipped and swept from the field without a clue,
was it my pride or yours caused this distress?
I lied about that face, though. This board’s swept clean.
Pawn to Knight 3. That’s checkmate, my Queen.
When you’re lonely, do you long for someone
who could find a way to reach out to you?
Does thinking of them make you come undone?
Don’t you wish you could reach out to them, too?
Rest assured you’re not alone, just lonely.
My friend in need, many share your distress.
I clothe my need in pretty words only,
you choose whether their those pants or this dress.
Just like you decide to accept my touch
when I reach out for a you who’s not there.
They’re all I can do, I know they’re not much,
but mere words are all I ever might dare.
So if my touching lines you’ve ever accepted,
send back your own. Please, do the unexpected.
Yeah, the final couplet of this janky sonnet is made of two eleven-syllable lines. But I’d hope you’d allow this desperate artist some leeway after all our years of sharing secrets, lies and truths beyond belief. I forgive you your sins, maybe you could forgive mine. They’re only words, right?
I don’t take much joy in this time of year.
It’s cold and still dark longer than it’s bright.
And trees, bare-ass or muted around here,
are the contrast to a tableaux off-white.
See, there’s little difference ‘tween the sky
and the ground, since the ground sleeps ‘neath the snow.
Tree-limned horizon interrupts the eye,
breaking gray monotony, high to low.
I’m not sure if it’s winter’s curtains drawn,
or my need for warmth that burns up my joy.
Or perhaps it’s those trees, the view they’ve sawn,
spoiling Nature’s symmetry, that annoy.
Typical, a break in dull tedium
would inflame a poet so… medium.
My life’s grasp seldom exceeded its reach.
Most often it brought back nothing but air.
If I’d grasped it, I’d have eaten that peach,
but I’d not get a taste unless I’d dare.
Those times I stretched beyond my fingers’ tips,
you would just laugh and skip away a pace.
And so your flavor never graced these lips,
even when you’d skip back to tease my face.
I know it’s for the best I always failed,
except for these times my words caught your ear.
Like Prufrock’s Love Song, they’ll never be hailed.
I just wonder if I’ve made myself clear.
I’d still eat that peach, I’ve never forgotten,
It’s just overripe. I’ve become rotten.
Ugh. Sorry. For two years, chronic crippling depression has rotted the creative core of this once-prolific and not-half-bad writer. Whatever gifts I had, today present as useless mush. If I don’t get squared away soon, I fear you’re destined for more shoe-bottom sludge like this…or nothing. If I were you, I’d opt for the latter. Still grinding away, though. For me. For now… ~ JH