Tripping the Tongue At A Target

And I’m forced back to rhymes
just like all those other times,
especially the most recent,
not like back when I was a decent
poet, one full of emotion,
but, like you, that ship’s sailed on an ocean
so rough, tough and wide
that now that ship’s sunk, like my pride,
and I no longer hide
what I feel inside
‘cause I admit I cried
so many times about the losses,
more than all the knots and crosses
I would write for you,
even though they could never be true.

Anyway, I guess here’s the drop,
I’d love to write something besides this glop,
but I can’t without a target
and that’s something no market
stocks, like bras, panties and socks.
See, there’s that sub rosa sex
you say I hide within my subtext.
I had to look up that definition
since idiot savant is my position
in a world so full of real writers,
the love igniters,
the fascist fighters,
who pull all those all-nighters
with real muses providing invention
while I fail without your kind attention.

I know, it’s sounds so damn dumb
to think one person can strike me mum.
But that’s really not true,
because there’s always been more of you
than meets a reader’s eye,
even one who will so closely spy
for what you find between the lines,
as if I was some teen who sits and pines
then struts his hour upon the stage,
or like an old loser who bangs bourbon for rage
but mostly I’m just the guy on the page
who longs to express simple, not sage,
somethings, my second toughest critic,
the one who’d always be so analytic,
as to gauge each poem’s level of misery
when really there’s no mystery
to what I used to do.
I just wrote them for,
not about, but more
like at,
you.

Yeah, I watched too much “Hamilton” this past weekend. So now I’m spitting rhymes in an effort to write anything at all. But maybe there’s something in here I don’t see. So if you do, and if it’s not too painful (I don’t bite and I’m too old and tired to care), let me know you’re there. Shit, another rhyme.

Sorry About The Cake

I wish I could find the recipe
for my old delectations you loved.
Couple of cups of flower
for the nature ones,
a teaspoon of that sugar and soda
for the leavening of levity.
Was it four or five drops
from the bottle of tears
for all the pearl-clutchers?

Seems so long since I
broke all those lines of eggs
and shoved a two-verse bit
of two-bit verse into the oven.
Was it a knife or a toothpick
I’d stab into the Westerns
to check their done-ness?
None ever were.

I should have written down
those old recipes, but maybe
it was the total sensory emptiness
of the cold, aroma-less kitchen
that stirred me to pull out
this 52-key mixing bowl again.
The clicks as I mixed this
sound write, but I’m never
sure how how it’ll taste.
Want to lick the spoon?

My Figment, Your Poet

Here you are again,
sitting, standing,
floating in front of me.
There but not there,
inevitably as real
as I can make you.
And yet I’m your captive,
one of my own imagination,
one who who lives to see you
and loves to please you,
one who chronicles
the never-weres in clicks
of never-wills,
one who almost never can
without you.
Then I realize it’s time
for you to go again,
fading into the light.
At least until tonight,
when you return, floating
on a river of blackest ink
across my ceiling dark.
And I, your poet, without a pen.

My Not-What-You-Think-You-See

I don’t see it as anything odd,
how I do this or that is just how I do it.
So, why did you get your drawers in a wad,
like you grabbed a rock in your hothouse and threw it?

Do I point out how you study whatever you pick
after going two knuckles deep up your nose?
I mean, c’mon, you’re cultured, not some hick.
Well, at least you don’t eat it, too, I suppose.

Over the years, I’ve used a zillion H’s, I’ll bet,
from all the times I wrote my sneeze-sounding name.
But you have need for none that often, and yet
you skip it for saying These, Them and Those, just the same.

So please don’t pick, peck or parse my idiosyncrasy,
since, about yours, I’ve been silent, not some jerk.
Yes, I zone out, but it’s not what you think you see.
It’s a writer thing — a gift and a curse — not a quirk.

NaPoWriMo Day 22. A “quirk” poem.

Tu Lobo Solitario

I remember when you told me
you had the resolve to be alone,
yet not lonely. But it’s hard to
embrace such a future when
a certain someone comes along
to bump into your present.
I know.
My spirit animal has always
been the wolf. Though mine
is lonely, he’s never alone.
It’s why I became a fixture
in your night, loping to
the bottom of your page,
the top of this hill.
I’m silhouetted against
this virtual moon where
I howl out feelings
I know you share, there
in your room, where
you’re alone, telling me
you’re not that lonely.

Another poem-a-day effort. I wasn’t feeling too well the past few days and missed those daily pieces. Maybe I’ll make them up over the next week or so. This poem required me to use those words you see up there in bold maroon. I’ve always enjoyed using groups of random words as poem or story starters. I should make my own instead of waiting for someone else to do my work. Oh, and the title is Spanish for “Your Lonely Wolf.” I’m hoping it sparks me into writing one of my beloved western stories.

What My World Had To Say

It’s the frame through which
our pictures happen to unfold
of how the world goes ‘round and ‘round
and I just sit here and go old.
I perch here on this side of the glass,
the world lies around out there,
and we pose for hours and one another,
the world supine and I in my chair.

Even on overcast days, outside
it’s brighter than it is in here.
That’s in the eye of the beholder,
and this beholder’s craving a beer.
I watch the maple and birch trees bow
and then, with the wind, they dance.
On a page, I draw a picture of them,
with words better suited for romance.

Some days those words come quite easily,
other days it’s just so damn hard.
I’m sure the world deserves better,
but unfortunately I’m me, not some Bard.
Birds, squirrels, a woman, some girls,
memories of them true and false,
cross by my window in their own way each day,
this window ‘neath the old back porch walls.

I write down what I see, most times what I don’t,
‘cause I have a tendency to forget.
The world’s wooden-framed eyeball never blinks,
but I’ve yet to see it write about me yet.
So that’s the lot of the back porch poet,
the guy who chronicles what he senses each day.
Not too many read these, as far as I know it,
but if I didn’t, who’d know what my world had to say?

On Day 9 of Poem A Day April, an ekphrastic poem. For all you folks like me who never knew, that’s a poem inspired by a piece of art. I’ve written lots of poems like that! I’m an ekphrastic poet! Who knew? Anyway, I chose that photo up there because it reminded me of yours truly as he hunches over his laptop each day in front of the window facing the backyard.

Follow the Thread

I picked at this thread
for an hour now and
it’s come unknotted
from my sweater again.
It’s an old sweater,
but it’s served me well.
Here, look at the elbows.
See the thin see-through roots
of these trees in whose branches
my head would roost when words
would not come or sadness did?
I’ve pulled at this thread
many times, raveling the cuff
until I find that snarling knot
(not sure if it’s a diamond or purl)
where my sleepy imagination
comes to rest and my hand
begins to rappel down the page
on a worn old thread like gold.

On  Day 3 of my poem-a-day marathon, a poem that uses a title of “Follow (something, whatever, X).” Me? I just followed the same thread I used to follow. It almost always led me to the end of a new poem.

Keeping My Head Above

Just thought I’d write today. No theme, no depth of subject or consideration of how it might affect my life and life in general. Just write. So…

My life’s a mess, but so is human life overall. The length and breadth of it is a litany of sloppy, awkward, falling-down trial, error, failure and maybe the occasional tie. There don’t seem to be any wins. And if we think there are such Me-versus-the-Universe faux-comebacks, that’s just the House sucking you in with a blast of endorphin to keep you at the gaming table.

I guess the best times are the trials, those times where I’ve messed in the mess and have yet to fall on my face in the slop of it all. There are few times where the mess isn’t within and arm’s length of me (or you). I dance on the edge of it, splash in it, wade through it, throughout the Sphinx’s four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night quiz answer for Oedipus. His prize was the keys to “a NEW Thebes!”

And we all know how that turned out, right? 

Yes, life is messy, from its hormone-drenched origin, to its splatter-flick, camel-through-a-needle’s-eye (so I’m told and have observed) delivery, over its boot-sucking traverse of the day to day swamp, until its icky finale and ultimate disposal.

I am up to my chin in it all, with the once-distant solid ground of my evermore within sight, which sometimes feels more appealing than yet another swallow of life’s wallow. I’ve taken on a lot of its turbid wash over the past few years, sometimes nearly going under, occasionally dreaming of scuttling this leaky vessel altogether.

But here I am, taking the gamble one more day, reaching my foot into the stark paper-white unseen in hope there’s a there there to support me until tomorrow when I hold my nose and take another sodden step. That’s the risk I take. Maybe you do, as well. I’ve taken many a messy misstep, sunk into it over my head and somehow sputtered like flotsam to the surface. I’m an expert at treading, though I’m more exhausted every day.

Maybe you’ve been lucky enough (or made your own luck) to find a map to the stars’ homes, isles of dryland dreams to keep your feet unsullied at least for awhile. I applaud you, but won’t allow myself envy. That’s just more heavy ballast I don’t need. I carry enough of my own. 

So here on this page I have smeared the results of my latest fall in the marsh of human existence. I’ve wiped from my eyes the detritus I observed upon the silty bottom. Exhaled more of the miasma floating above the surface like a diaphanous warning of days to come. And I’ve spit out some of my latest gulps of failure. 

Another mess. Another chance to tread on. Another tie.

My Soul to Keep

You think you know
who I’m talking about,
but I doubt you’re right.
You’ll say, “He’s going on
about me/her/us again.”
But you may be wrong.
I can’t say for sure myself.

I know you’ve been here somewhere,
since you left such a distinct mark
on my visceral poetic parts.
Bruise, scar, tattoo,
or something only I imagine?
Yes, no, probably. Who knows?
The question is, do you want these
to be about you? Do I?

Do you want to remain attached
to whatever it is containing
the emotion I never show?
Would you like to be the one opening
that little valve and releasing
the drips and gushes
with which I paint fantasies
too real to bear and realities
that can never be.

So if you don’t wish me
to write about you, don’t worry.
I’m not. But if you desire to be
remembered in a way so few are,
I’ll always hold a warm place
for your memory, my soul to keep.

I so wished to write a story today. Failed. So I just turned loose what remains of my scraggly creative wolf and he howled out this moonlit song. It’s not melancholy, at least. In fact, I think it might even be a little hopeful, Lord help me.

Something About This

We need to do something about this.

I know. If this goes on much longer, I doubt he’ll ever be able to – you know – again…

Don’t even think that. If he stops for good he’ll just lose the will to go on…with anything.

Then we need to do something.

He’s tried almost everything, walks, music, reading. God, look how he just sits there. A blink, blink, a sigh.

I caught him crying the other night.

No you didn’t!

Yeah, in bed, alone, staring, like he was expecting someone to come to him from out of the ceiling. Or past. You know how he likes the room totally dark and cool.

So how do you know he was crying?

Heard him. Like a stage whisper. Said her name and then…well, a sobbing sound. Like he couldn’t catch his breath.

No kidding! Maybe we should suggest he reach out to her. And yeah, we both know she’ll eventually make him more damn paralyzed with misery than he is now. Humming away in his chair one minute and then…

I know. But he can’t go on like this. I’m afraid he might just…you know, POOF, gone. And what about us?

Okay, you go to his right and I’ll go left.

Wait. Listen. The laptop. Is he writing her? Think she’ll answer? I mean kindly? What’s he say?

Let me check. Oh… Well at least he’s trying.

Okay, but what’s he written?

It says, “We need to do something about this.”

(This is pretty much the only way I can write fiction these days. I imagine two characters speaking and then my imagination follows their conversations. But I’m miles ahead of where I’ve been for months.  In this case, I’ll let your imagination discern who – or what – these two speakers are.)