Fragments From a Long Weekend

 

1 (conversation overheard in a downtown bar)

he wants to retire
back where all the spires conspire
to show him the way.

2 (too much of a good thing)

summer evening
the red sunset bleeds regret
maturity lost.

3 (Why can’t I write like Rupi Kaur?) 

my quinoa* quota
was far from quotidian
thanks! sunflower seeds!
*’keen-wah

4 (Climate Change is Opening Windows)

rumours dropping from the eaves
neighbours thick as thieves
singing off key at three

o’clock in the morning.

The challenge from Laura over at dverse is to write a poem consisting of fragments:

“Either:
a poem of several numbered stanzas. Each being complete in itself and having only a passing relationship to each other, if at all
OR
a poem of disjointed images (like listening to conversation in passing, repetitively switching between radio/tv station, random images across a screen, or paintings/photos seen in a gallery)

Rules:
Your poem should NOT conform to any rhyme scheme
Your poem MUST include Fragment(s) somewhere in the title”

Toad at the Gates of Doom (with extra verses)

Toad at the Gates of Doom

Outside the Gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a burnt-out serpent
a broker and a phone

Outside the Gates of Heaven
sits an angel in disguise
beside a corpulent bishop
with ecstasy in his eyes

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
No judgement today

If you’re looking for accommodation
Clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone

drink lots of water
and try to get along.

Outside the gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a devil with a laptop
revising the Moral Code

Outside the gates of heaven
seven priests in a line
they’re longing for eternity
but this is not their time

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
No judgement today
If you’re looking for accommodation
Clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone
drink lots of water
and try to get along.

An Atmospheric River Runs Through It

An Atmospheric River Runs Through It

The moon is waning gibbous
the pollen count is low
and yet another atmospheric river
is on the way,
all that warm moist air
all that water vapour
looking for a place to condense;
based on anecdotal evidence
this is either normal for the time of year
or a signal that we should start building an ark
but one thing is starkly clear
the data with which the calculated risks are calculated
is no longer valid
is in need of an update
the paradigm has not shifted
but the perimeter has been breached
like a dike in need of repair.

Taking part in Open Link at earthweal….it’s raining again in British Columbia.

Mother’s Day in Ollantaytambo/ Station Road (2 haiku’s) Redux

A post from the time before the time.

We got off the train from Machu Picchu at the Ollantaytambo station, walked up the station road to the town square and came upon this: Mother’s Day in Ollantaytambo. It went on all day – entertainment, raffles, prizes, politicians’ speeches. The ladies seemed to enjoy themselves, although they never clapped once.

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Later that evening, we had dinner in the restaurant down at the station and walking home we witnessed this haiku-worthy scene.

Station Road

                I

Two black dogs humping

a puzzled white terrier

on the station road.

              II

Puzzled about what?

about the expectations

of the dog in front.

photo by Marie Feeney

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

Apunkalypse Now (A new movie by Francis Ford Cortina)

Apunkalypse Now

In a dystopian future
there’s rioting in cities and towns
all across the USA
and anyone who cares to
can own a semi-automatic weapon.
One fateful night
a seventeen year old baby-faced punk
called Kole
heads into town with his semi-automatic rifle
to restore order on The Streets of Somewhere,
by the end of the night
three people are dead.
Kole is arrested, tried and acquitted
in The Court of the White Over Caste.
He becomes a hero, an icon, an example
and soon young punks all across the USA
are starting to feel lucky.
(Spoiler Alert:
It’s not the Future).

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal

Revelation in a Diner (wayra)

Revelation in a Diner

not the kind of place
for revelations, then boom!
awooga! there it is, the
unbearable flatness
of beige pancakes in the morning.

Over at dverse , Grace’s challenge is to write a wayra incorporating onomatopoeia. What’s a wayra? I’ll let Grace explain:

“The Wayra (Quechua – wind) is a popular verse form of Peru and Bolivia. It appears it originated in an indigenous Quechua language but has found its way into Spanish literature. It is a short syllabic verse form found at Vole Central and some other sites around the internet.

The elements of the Wayra are:

1.a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
2.syllabic, 5-7-7-6-8
3.unrhymed.”

What I’m Listening to (Jazz on the Autobahn by the Felice Brothers)

Here’s a lyric sample:

The sheriff disagreed
He tried to make the distinction between death and extinction
They stopped off at a place called Hamburger Heaven to grab a bite to eat
But Helen had no appetite, she just drank a 7 Up
while the sheriff tapped his coffee cup to a distant beat
Kind of like
Ooh ooh-ooh
Ooh ooh-ooh
It won’t look like those old frescoes, man, I don’t think so
There will be no angels with swords, man, I don’t think so
No jubilant beings in the sky above, man, I don’t think so
And it won’t look like those old movies neither
There will be no drag racing through the bombed out streets neither
No shareholders will be orbiting the earth, man, neither
It will be hard to recognize each other through our oxygen masks
The successful sons of businessmen will set their desks on fire
While 5-star generals of the free world weep in the oil choked tide
It won’t sound like jazz
Jazz, jazz, jazz
Jazz on the Autobahn

Now isn’t that something to aim for…

The Felice Brothers are from New York City.

“The band has two main members, Ian and James Felice. Former members include their brother Simone Felice, their friend Josh “Christmas Clapton” Rawson, frequently described as a traveling dice player,[9] fiddle player Greg Farley, and drummer David Estabrook. At other times, they have featured a horn section in the band, composed of local Hudson Valley musicians. Ian is the main vocalist and plays the guitar and piano. James contributes vocals and plays the accordion, organ, and piano. Christmas plays the bass guitar. Dave Turbeville played the drums from 2009-2012, performing on Celebration, Florida, Poughkeepsie Princess, Mixtape, and God Bless You, Amigo. Simone Felice was the drummer as well as a vocalist and a guitarist. Simone is also an author, having released books entitled Goodbye Amelia, Hail Mary, Full of Holes and Black Jesus. Simone Felice left the Felice Brothers in 2009. He now leads his own band – The Duke & the King (named after the duo of con-artists in Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) with Robert “Chicken” Burke. They released their debut album – Nothing Gold Can Stay on Loose / Ramseur Records August 4, 2009, followed by Long Live the Duke & King in 2010. Simone released a self-titled album in 2012, followed that up with an album titled Strangers in 2014, and then released his third album titled The Projector in 2018.” ….from Wikipedia.

Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career (2)

glass 2

Hal The Halibunist Looks Back On His Long Career

halibuns about Haliburton
halibuns about halitosis
halibuns about Halle Berry
halibuns about Halley’s Comet

halibuns about Spiritus Mundi
halibuns about Rosamund Pike
halibuns about Solomon Grundy
halibuns just for the fun of it

halibuns at Sun Dance
halibuns in Halifax
halibuns about halibut
halibundance
halibundance
halibundance.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

Peripatetic Blues Rewrite (Verses 1 and 2 and 3)

1

I just popped that pill I got
from a guy who called me ‘dude’
now the signs along the highway
are leaking semiotic fluid

2

and the cacti look psychotic
lizards parse the desert floor
far off in the clint-eyed distance
I see a slowly revolving door

3

and I’m feeling, demotic, neurotic, anecdotal, overused
I’m looking for a sanctuary, the fisherman and the shoes
I’ve got those hallucination highway peripatetic blues.

I’ve been writing/ rewriting this poem verse by verse this week, posting a new verse each day. I think I may have come to the end of the poem, but I may take it up again.

Either way, there is a fascinating prompt from Bjorn over at dverse on the subject of conceit: To quote Bjorn:

“A conceit is defined as an extended and complex metaphor”

From Wikipedia:

“In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison.”

Also from Anna in a previous dverse post:

“Conceits, on the other hand, surprise and shock the readers by making farfetched comparisons.”

Somewhere in there I think my poem fits…….maybe.

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night(4)

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Given the week that it is, I decided to bring this poem back from the dead…..

Thom Yorke takes a walk on Halloween Night

The dead move slowly
through the graveyard,
they are few at first
but as they pass
each row of headstones
grey fists punch
through mounds of earth
in a manic salute
and the throng grows
and the throng grows
and the night howls
and the fog curls
and a thin cloud
bisects the moon
and at the edge
of the graveyard
is an old well
and at the bottom
of that well
is a little boy
and that little boy
is crying for help
and that little boy
is Thom Yorke

The Name is at the Bottom Blues (2)

View BTH

The Name is at the Bottom Blues

it’s a name that you come across
in someone else’s bathroom
beside the shaving cream
the Tylenol
and those pills that people use
and suddenly
you’re soaked
in melancholy
from your head
down to your shoes
there ain’t no doubt about it
there ain’t no doubt about it
you’ve got those Estee Lauder blues.

What I’m Listening To (Chocolate Jesus by Tom Waits)

From the album, Mule Variations. Written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. That’s Charlie Musselwhite playing the blues harp.

This whole lyric is hilarious but these 4 lines get me very time:

“When the weather gets rough and it’s whiskey in the shade
It’s best to wrap your savior up in cellophane
He flows like the big muddy but that’s okay
Pour him over ice cream for a nice parfait”

The Exclusivity of Space

The Exclusivity of Space

consider the object
consider the space
consider the objects
excluded from the space
ask the question:
is the object occupying the space
worthy of the space
or is the object
a waste of space?
consider the material
forming the space
journey to its origins
in a plantation somewhere
British Columbia, perhaps,
or Brazil
see the tree felled,
shorn of its branches,
loaded on a flatbed truck
with its passive companions
follow the truck
to a paper mill
the size of a small city
see the tree chipped, pulped, processed
see the gases escaping to atmosphere
hear the outfall roar into the river
ask the questions:
are we here to consume?
can we be consumed by consumption?
see the worker arriving home from the mill
to food on the table
a roof above his head
ask the question:
is there only one answer to a question?
return to the space
consider the object.

Taking part in open link over at earthweal

A Reasonable Facsimile

A Reasonable Facsimile

that’s what Myron’s mother called him –
a reasonable facsimile ,
of his brother, that is,
in that his brother
was preternaturally unreasonable
if his brother was the weather
his mother said
he would be deemed unseasonable
his actions were incomprehensible
reprehensible, irredeemable
so based on the principle
that no praise is too faint
Myron was amenable
to being called
a reasonable
facsimile of his brother.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse

Ruba’i Tuesday

IMG_0247 (3)

Talking Senses

Wet whiff of sour milk
the rustle of silk
the kerang of a guitar
the Who, or their ilk

the whirl of a dervish
the bloat of a blowfish
the wince of a lemon
that chocolate fetish

a pause for reflection
I have a confession
nothing too serious
but I have to mention

I have doubts about my ability
to convey tactility
so ,hey, here’s an eggshell
go on, feel the fragility.

The man who communicated with paintings

He liked to shout at Picasso
commiserate with Van Gogh
ruminate with Monet
joke with Michelangelo.

Goodbye, Ruba’i Tuesday

this is it, finally, the last ruba’i
it’s time to call it a day, say goodbye
but there is still time for another rhyme
yes, that’s right, you’ve guessed it, it’s ‘Dubai’.

I Should Never Have Started This Villanelle (2)

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Thinking of it now, truth to tell
I should have said goodnight, turned out the light
I should never have started this villanelle

now I am stuck in verse form hell
everything I write seems totally trite
thinking of it now, truth to tell

I can check out but I can’t leave this hotel
(the Eagles, you get the reference, right?)
I should never have started this villanelle

mission bell, tinker bell, death knell
I’ve started to write total shite
thinking of it now, truth to tell

I have to get off this carousel
it’s been a struggle, it’s been a fight
I should never have started this villanelle

I need another word that rhymes with ‘elle’
final quatrain, the pain, the urge to yell;
thinking of it now, truth to tell
I should never have started this villanelle

High Plains Sushi (redux)

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High Plains Sushi

This bar’s insured by Smith and Wesson
Says the sign upon the wall
Vern studies his empty beer glass
Time slows down to a crawl

Audrey, the lank-haired waitress
Watches from the bar
Order something soon, she yells
Or get the hell out of here.

There’s a special on at Wanda’s Ranch
Tuesday night 2 for one
But Vern doesn’t have the appetite
He doesn’t have the wherewithal

There’s only one thing that he wants
And he’s going to get it soon
High Plains Sushi
High Plains Sushi
Hot Sake in a cup
Five thousand feet above the ocean
And he just can’t get enough

Two guys from the goldmine
Old Arsenic and Rock Face
Have journeyed up from the centre of the Earth
To join the human race

But no matter how hard they try
No matter what they do
In the glow from the pool table
They’ve still got that subterranean hue.

Something’s warming beneath a heat lamp
Looks like deep fried road kill
Beside a tub of mashed potatoes
It’s making Vern feel ill

There’s only one thing that he wants
And he’s going to get it soon
High Plains Sushi
High Plains Sushi
Hot Sake in a cup
Five thousand feet above the ocean
And he just can’t get enough.

 

I spent a little time once in Elko, Nevada. There was a sushi restaurant in the town which served individual portions large enough to feed a small Japanese village. Elko hosts an annual Cowboy Poetry Festival. Interesting place. This poem started as a song lyric and then became a poem with a chorus which I believe is called a “duranga”.

 

A Note to Bono and Some other Irish Guys

Bono, Paul
name those streets
it’s time
it’s time.

Mr. Joyce, James
yes,
that sea
still tightens the scrotum.

Mr. Beckett, Sam
we’re waiting
we’re waiting
we’re waiting

Mr. O’Brien, Flann,
Myles of the Little Horses
this is not about a bicycle.
My dad once told me
you were a regular
on the last bus out of the city,
heading home to Booterstown
langered, stotious,
three sheets to the wind
whether this was an observation
or a judgement or an exaggeration
I could never quite figure
but if you should meet my dad
in that section of heaven
reserved for former residents of South Dublin
please say hi from me
and I hope it’s always late June up there
and the evening is stretching its legs
and the light is like filtered longing.

Sherry over at earthweal ask us :

Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live. Share them with us; let us see them through your eyes and your words. Let’s sing their names and landscapes – the places that hold our hearts, that call to us when we are gone, that welcome us home when we return.

This post last appeared on St. Patrick’s day. I no longer live in Dublin, but I go back there a lot (physically and in my head!.

Dunbar the Bucolic

Dunbar the Bucolic

up on Dunbar Street
the barber shops are empty
a guy smokes a joint

and laughs hysterically
at the blank screen of his phone

when asked if the melon is ripe
the girl behind the counter
at the Chinese-Canadian Deli
sniffs the pale green globe,
shakes her head
and pointing to a small beige circle,
says:

this is the melon’s bottom
the melon is ripe,
when the bottom smells sweet.

outside the traffic stalls
on Dunbar Street

Sherry over at earthweal asks us: “Tell us about the places you hold most dear in the corner of the planet where you live. Share them with us; let us see them through your eyes and your words”.

I live just off Dunbar Street and to be honest, the street is more than a tad prosaic, even if the real estate pamphlets call it “bucolic”. But if I don’t put Dunbar in a poem, who’s going to? So these are two slices of Dunbar life. By the way, for some reason, there are more barber shops on Dunbar than the population could possibly need.

Tree Lot (leave no image unturned)

Tree Lot

Call yourself a tree?
My bank has more branches!

**

a raven rising above the trees
seen from a boat on the swirling river
leads the tracker to the bodies

**

avoid foliage
excessive leafiness
too many trees
the reader needs to see the poem

**
The leaves on the trees
bordering the soccer field
have abandoned
that chlorophyll thing
and are leaking
yellows and red
like a paint store catalogue

**

The sun drops behind the ridge of the house
the wind goes crazy in the trees,
the moth balls smell like halitosis
on the warm neurotic breeze.

**

Paradise as advertised:
a coral reef
a bluebottle sea
sting rays undulating
pelicans plummeting
palm trees swaying
in the reggae breeze

**

Life’s like that
from time to time
you bark up the wrong one.

Brendan over at earthweal asks us to ” spend some time and thought in our hearts with trees, for nurture, communication, grace and grief. You decide.” I’m not much of a nature poet so I searched my blog for references to trees and came up with the above collage (?).

Myron’s Dog.

Myron’s Dog

After Myron’s dog died
he experienced
what he would later come to call:
A Failure of Optimism.

It wasn’t just the loss of his dog
it was the pandemic, the anti-vaxxers,
the placards, the protests,
the rabid mobs.
He began to think in movie titles, book titles:
Dawn of the Dumb Ass
The Age of Idiocy
The Death of Logic.

And it wasn’t just the anti-vaxxers
It was Texas and its abortion legislation
Patriarchy’s Second Wind
The Great White American Male
coming up for air
spouting an acidic spume
of piss, vinegar and self-righteousness.

And it wasn’t just Texas
it was Afghanistan
the rise of the Taliban
the fall of Kabul
Welcome to The Fundament of Fundamentalism!
Hey Mister Taliban
Daylight comes and everybody wants to leave home.

And then one morning
Myron woke up,
walked out the door
and got himself another dog.
Some things can be fixed.

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse