Truest of Care

Let’s clear the air,
let down our hair,
go on a real tear.
It’s time we dare
our secrets to bare.
Yeah, even go There.
When we were a pair,
not really, but somewhere
more than one and a spare,
I couldn’t help but stare
at that hot chocolate pair
of eyes you wear,
even when you’d glare
at me with your hair
on fire, temper aglare.
I was caught in your snare,
though you weren’t aware
of setting one anywhere.
So let me just declare
I never meant impair
our friendship so fair,
based on trust, a flair
for art and respect I bear
for who you are and ne’er
will forget the rare
thing we once did share.
Not true love, truest of care.

Better late than never (or, God forbid miss a day with only three to go). Life finally got in the way of art. Here’s NaPoWriMo Day 28’s piece, a poem in something resembling Skeltonic Verse, which I’m sure I screwed up. But I had fun running my version out with each line ending with a word rhyming with “air.”

No Regrets, Just One Surrender

When they finally discover my bones —
should the occasion ever arise
that a future someone stumbles upon me
while clearing a plot for Hydrangeas,
tomatoes or more bones —
when they crack through and find
the cracks I’ve put in this
old skeleton, will they wonder
what this being did to collect so many
breaks in his framing pieces?
Will they see the two scarred ribs
and know that each happened in
a different winter of my discontent?
Will they wonder over the dents and
cracks in the skull, and think it was
the castle keep of a warrior’s mind?
Or that of a poet who always tried playing
above his program weight, usually failed,
but never failed to try again?
I wonder if they’ll see my family placed
my coach’s whistle around my neck,
my tablet in one hand and this secret optimist’s
(broken) fingers crossed one upon the other?
What they won’t find will be any markers
of regret on this old fossil for any
of this busted crockery of mine left behind.
I gladly earned each and every one of them.

Day 26 of NaPoWriMo calls for a poem about what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us. I took that prompt it right down to the bones. My bones.

Calling Time When You’re Down 0-365

I remember those nights
that edged into day where
I’d sit, pencil in hand,
pondering how to overcome
that day’s opponent…
every night, every day, too.
Obsession and fear kept me
drawing up new tactics that might
steal a victory once the clock
started running. Should we press
from tip-off to buzzer, trying
to impose our weak will to turn
them aside from our goal?
No, that’s a task too difficult
to accomplish one-on-one. Inevitably,
we’d opt for a passive defense,
hoping to shield and slow them from
getting inside. But that merely
prolonged the inevitable, just like
every other time. I’d crawl off
to bed, resigned to another defeat
in this seemingly endless season
of losses. It’s record was 365-0 and
I couldn’t take the losing anymore.
It was then I admitted, pride be damned,
I’d ask for help. Even I couldn’t beat
Depression alone.

Day 20’s NaPoWriMo poem, combining prompts for a task poem and one incorporating terms from a sport or game. After thirty years of coaching basketball, I knew more than enough jargon. After more than thirty years of the fruitless task of trying to beat depression by myself, I finally took on some assistant coaches. Still don’t win all the games, but my record’s improving all the time.

An Afternoon in No-Man’s Land

The wild bramble bush has defeated me for years,
defending itself with twisted wire vines and thorns
like wildcat claws. It’s stalks and branches
laughed off mere garden shears and sorely tested
the metal mettle of long-handled pruners.

It tries disguising its natural malevolence
with dainty pink blossoms come spring and summer,
as well as musical accompaniment from humming
honey bee acolytes.

This year the gloves came off when I pulled
my leather gloves on, fighting claws with
the teeth of a chainsaw. With chain whining and
motor roaring winnowed the suburban Maginot Line
down by its flanks, nearly to its side-hill foundation.

I then called an immediate cease-fire.

There, deep within the once-impregnable, are
two entrance holes into the den of an animal
who felt the need for the jagged protection
of my bushy bête noire for its newborn own.

That’s when this ruthless flora-felling homeowner
was himself hewn down by my own nature as
pater familias. I’ve gone soft in my old age.
Even semi-merciless backyard generals have families.
I can always wait to finish after Father’s Day.

An extra poem for Day 19 of NaPoWriMo. The true story of how this suburban Genghis was conned by some varmints (along with his own soft heart and cowardice — those holes are BIG) to show quarter to the foe that’s blooded me for seven years.

Heart Like the Phoenix

What’s it like to be the lightning?
To have the power to set someone afire?
Tell me what it feels like to burn
somebody down, their emotions a pyre?

What’s it like to look into the eyes
of another and watch them smolder?
When they inevitably burst into flame
do you feel all the bolder?

Do you want to know what it’s like
to be the tinder to your spark?
How it feels when someone can ignite
your heart with a look on a lark?

It’s painful, scarring me with sorrow
and I’d let you torch all over again tomorrow.

An extra poem for NaPoWriMo — or for any other day, I guess. Just because it came along I could catch it. Or it caught me.

Circulatory System

Dear You,
I came across a photo of you
the other day so I thought I’d
drop you a line. It’s been such
a long time since we last talked.
It reminded me of the long ago time
when I’d always fight for you
instead of you fighting with me?
Just like here was a time when
you shared your warmth with me
instead of offloading angry heat.
That was a time when my sadness
made the world laugh, including you.
But it also was the time when
the ring of your laughter made me
all the sadder.
Did I ever tell you there was a time
when just the sound of your voice
made my day?
Now there’s come a time when
days pass between recalling what
you even sound like. Isn’t that sad?
But there’s a time every day
one or more of these silly thoughts
spin around my head like a cyclone,
dislodging emotions that carom
around my heart leaving behind
even more debris over which I trip
and reel, the World whirling
around me so fast I feel I might
auger myself to its core.
Anyway, hope you’re doing well.
You know me, nothing much changes
in my life. That Earth turns and
it’s another day just like yesterday.
It’s okay if you write back.
Probably better if you didn’t.
Love, I mean Best wishes,
Me

For Day 16 of NaPoWriMo, I combined Writers Digest’s prompt for a poem titled “(blank) System” and NaPoWriMo.net’s for a poem in the form of a letter. And, just because I didn’t use it yesterday, I through in a dash of Writers Digest’s prompt for a “one time” poem. Oh, and if I could find a way to do strikethrough letters on WordPress, that “Love” in the end would look crossed out, as I wanted it to be.

Just Like Every Other Day

I used to remember
those times I
was blown away,
cast like sand
from where I’d stand
to watch you, while
winds capricious
into my youthful visage
carved what now is age.
But not today.

To my mind, you might be
a cloud of dust,
amorphous, nebulous
and just
impossible to grasp.
Though if I could,
I’d hold you tightly,
where I stood,
as in an hourglass,
and you’d never blow away.
Not then, not tomorrow,
not today.

This morning, a moment.
I, as ever, alone and
staring in a mirror at
these ancient scars,
vivid as a clear
summer night’s stars,
those stellar sands,
sifted through my own hands.
And I heard a voice say
“You recall how I got them
like was yesterday.”
“I guess,” I replied,
but it always hurts like
it was just today.”

More mushy verse from my mushy brain for Day Two of NaPoWriMo. A poem based on Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt: “not today.”