A Scarecrow Looks Back on his Life (Edit)

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A Scarecrow looks back on his Life

Before Oz
I had control of my life
I had a purpose
a reason for existence

a modus operandi:
stand in a field
and scare crows
that’s it, that’s all.

It was lonely at times,
I admit, particularly
at night, but occasionally
a farmer returning

drunk across the fields
would stop and tell me his life story
then fall asleep, snoring
and farting at my feet

and yes, oh yes
I listened in on
acts of intimacy
on hot summer nights

and heard sounds
that made my straw curl;
then Oz occurred
and it was no longer

about presence
it was about absence
the absence of a brain;
children would circle me

and sing that stupid song
suddenly I was pathetic, forlorn;
what got me most was the
sheer illogicality of it all –

to yearn for a brain, one must
have a brain to begin with,
sometimes, I think the sole function
of a brain is to yearn…..

hang on a minute
I’m sure I saw that same crow yesterday
Look! He won’t come within twenty feet of me!
I’ve still got it! I’ve still got it!

Pivot (Pandemic Postcard)

Pivot

At one point
back in the middle of the pandemic,
or what he thought was the middle,
Slim grew tired of the word pivot.
He proclaimed to anyone who would listen
that if heard that word again
he would vomit.
He became obsessed with lesser known words
like spigot, argot, davit, grommet.
But secretly he wished
that he could, yes,

pivot

pick a life
go out

live it.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse and Open Link Weekend at earthweal.

Poetic Ailments (Edit)

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Poetic Ailments

irritable vowel syndrome
arrhythmia
pain in the assonance
acute enjambment
inflammation of the lower case
latinnittus
typographical dysfunction
fear of sonnets
halibunions
grammaroids
rhymetism
pundruff
the irrational fear
on entering a room
that someone is going to recite
The Lake Isle of Inisfree
in a plummy, orotund
stage Irish accent.

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

Incident on Main Street, Kenopsia, Minnesota

Incident on Main Street, Kenopsia, Minnesota

Kenopsia, Minnesota
is a pissant, little burg
has been ever since
that one horse died,
only landmark is Mel’s Burgers
on Main St, the only street.
Try Mel’s Famous Burgers
the sign on the outskirts
of town says and some people do.

One day a stranger came to town
dressed in black with a low brim hat
and Lee Van Cleef eyes
some say he hailed from Aphasia, Wisconsin
others were past saying
you know what I’m sayin’.

The stranger walks into Mel’s Burgers
and Mel’s dog starts to howl
a pitiful howl that could be heard
in Amentalio, ten miles down the road.
Give me one of your famous burgers
he says to Mel, and Mel does
ten minutes later
the stranger is dead on the floor
and all hopes the town had
of appearing in a Stephen King novel
or an episode of Fargo
died with that stranger.

Thanks to Linda over at dverse for her excellent prompt, check it out here. The names of the towns in the poem were taking from the book The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. All is explained in Linda’s post.

The Ghost of Hangovers Past (returns)

The Ghost Of Hangovers Past

Your cell phone rings
but you’re not listening
because you left it
in The Fox and Vixen
behind the cistern
in the last stall on the left
next to the condom machine
and now it’s 4 am
your wife sleeps soundly beside you,
in the corner of the room
your hangover squats
sorting a tray of instruments.

It all began with a few beers,
some Christmas Cheer
so how did it get
from there to here?

Slowly you remember or think you remember….

Did you really poke your boss in the chest
and tell him that you know better
that you know best?

Did you really down three shots of scotch
grab Mark from marketing by the shoulders
and proclaim “I love you bro”
over and over ‘till he begged you to stop
to let go?

And why, why, why
did you call that shy Dutch girl from accounting
“sad-eyed lady of the lowlands”
again, over and over?

You groan inwardly
you groan outwardly

and just when you think
it could not get worse
your hangover stands up
and crosses the room
carrying what appears to be
a small mallet
Zooooosh,
he enters your head
and proceeds to knock on the inside of your skull
with that same mallet
all the time chanting this manic mantra
“deck the halls with human folly
Fa la la la la, la la la la”.

Four hours later your wife is shaking you
Up you get, she chimes
It’s time to do some Christmas shopping!
Joe Fresh opens at 9!

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse.

This poem first appeared in Sarah Connors advent calendar 2020. Check out Sarah’s 2021 calendar here,

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)

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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)

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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”