Category Archives: Poetry

Loophole (Time, Space and “Interstellar”)…poem for dverse

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Thought I’d give this a second outing!

Interstellar

Once on a bus
across the Altiplano
from Puno to Cusco
I watched the movie
Interstellar, starring
Matt McConaughey.
Matt’s a clever feller,
I just said that
to rhyme with Interstellar
no one
says feller anymore
anyway, it appears that
time is a line
our lives are
moving along
and we can only
move forward along
that line, never back,
but there is a loophole
or a wormhole,
to be exact,
way out there
in outer space
and if one travels
to outer space
and passes through
that wormhole
one can visit
the multiplex cinema
where one’s life
is playing
and view
any previous point
on the line one’s life
is travelling on
problem is
when one returns
to earth, it’s fifty
years later and
everyone one knows
is either dead or dying,
thus the line one’s life
is travelling on
is irreversibly altered
that’s the catch
which by the way
is different than
a loophole.

 

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse

 

Umbrage in Umbria

Umbrage

 

Umbrage in Umbria

In which Diane Keaton
plays an American woman
recovering from the pain
of a recent divorce.
Sandra Oh will feature
as her quirky sidekick,
and smoldering local love interest
will be provided by
Xavier Bardem or Antonio Banderas –
they’re not Italian
but if you want “smoldering”
you’ve got to call in the Spanish.
We’ll need a Brit,
Maggie Smith, perhaps,
as a sage but ageing dowager
and the local priest must be wry and twinkling,
Morgan Freeman, I’m thinking,
an explanation will be needed
as to how he got there.
Richard Gere will appear
near the end,
as the ex-husband
rich and massively contrite
now that the younger woman has left him,
the philandering bastard.
And as for the umbrage
taken by whom
because of what
you’ll just have to wait for the movie.

 

The challenge from Lilian over at dverse is to write a poem about a place you have travelled to, well I’ve been to Umbria and this poem kind of plays around with that!

A Dissonant Sun

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A Dissonant Sun

the sun is setting in the west (no surprises there)
that sundown breeze is blowing white petals like confetti
from the cherry tree  into my beer
tap tap tap
behind my back a woodpecker does his nut
on the silver birch tree;
two weeks of sunshine
an indecent amount for Vancouver,
that low spring sun, long shadows,
everything over-lit
like in a David Lynch movie
or The Truman Show
or one of those movies
where humans are being turned into aliens
one by one, and no one knows who the real people are;
a black-capped chickadee hops along the deck rail
bush tits flit from bush to bush
a fat crow waddles across the lawn
like a cardinal across St. Peter’s Square
a blue jay watches from the roof of the garden shed,
and I wonder how do I know all these bird names
I mean, crows, fair enough, but bush tits?
black capped chickadees? Is this the movie
where I wake up and I’m a nature poet
wandering lonely as a cloud,
where I’m from, the clouds are never lonely
where the clouds are never lonely
didn’t Bono write a song about that
or was it the streets that were never lonely
anyway, fuck this for a lark
hey, isn’t that a zebra finch?
aren’t they native to Australia?

 

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

In Praise of Extended Benefits

Pigments (2)

In Praise of Extended Benefits

born identical twins,
they became indentured servants
to Lord Denton,
a wealthy landowner
who believed passionately
in the benefits
of dental care,
consequently
the identical twins
lived a long
indentured life
and never endured
the shining indignity of dentures.

This is one from the Daily Prompt years, the prompt was “identical” !

The Path Forward

 

 

The Path Forward

no dumbass in a MAGA hat
is going to solve this one
all the bluster you can muster
will do nothing at all,
remember that guy
who got first in the class
the one wearing glasses
who never got the girl
he’s the one who will save our asses
so get out of the way
you won’t be missed
this one will be solved by scientists.

 

The challenge over at earthweal is to write a poem about The Crossroad we are at. Well, this is possibly not the subtlest poem ever written but hey…..these are not subtle times.

The State We’re In..

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The State We’re In..

the stock markets bounce up and down
like a man who’s landed on a trampoline
landed on a trampoline
from the top of a tall building;
the analysts are nonplussed
nothing adds up
two plus two does not equal four,
only the postman comes to the door
we watch documentaries, comedy specials,
Scandinavian crime dramas cold as an autopsy table
we learn that Miles Davis was a creative genius
an addict and a hard man to live with;
we learn from a childhood friend of Joe Cocker
that as a young boy, Joe had two Weetabix every morning
we watch a Diane Keaton movie
she falls in love with an Irish tramp
and still anxiety crackles like static in the background.

 

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal

 

John Prine……Four Lines That Kill Me Every Time (1)

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There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.”

This is from “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine……a life in 4 lines, says more than some novels.
There are many versions of this song but one of the best is by Bonnie Raitt and John Prine.

 

Down by Jericho Beach

 

Social distancing (3)

 

Down by Jericho Beach 

the trees look guilty
the ocean is ill at ease
no one’s fault, but still…..

the courts are empty
no tennis ball pock pock pock
Canada geese honk

eagles isolate
my face itches like crazy
demands to be touched

and those ducks, they don’t know squat
about social distancing.

 

Photo “Social Distancing”

 

The weekly challenge over at earthweal is to write a poem around the subject: CONNECTING HUMANS, WILDLIFE AND THE CORONA VIRUS. So I thought I would throw in this one. Maybe it’s not the connection intended, but it’s still on subject, I think. Check out Sherry’s excellent post  at  earthweal 

 

 

Why National Poetry Month Makes Me Anxious (2)

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Why National Poetry Month Makes Me Anxious

It’s National Poetry  Month
and all across the internet
poets are dutifully posting a poem a day,
the blogosphere is loud with words
like babble, ripple, burble, unfurl
glow, glitter, shine, glisten
winds are blowing
suns are setting
dawns are breaking
waves are crashing
on every available shore
and birds, yes, birds
are chirping, trilling, twittering, even singing
nature is under siege
but I have to admit
I’m not up to it
I don’t have the diligence, the discipline
the creative bandwidth
all I want is one clear image
nailed to the page like a proclamation.

The Toddler King Part 4

 

The Toddler King Part 4

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

and wonders how to spin this one
how to make this one a win

in the empty parking lot of a big box store
a plastic glove pirouettes on the viral breeze

the toddler king thumbs through
The Totalitarian Dictators Hand Book
a present from that rascal, Stephen Miller

“hmmmmm….cull the herd
leave the old and weak to die
already got that one going!

banish the teachers, scientists and intellectuals
send them to the countryside to work on a farm
hey, that might work!”

but then he becomes a little wan, a little wistful
he wonders why he’s always the guy
standing on someone’s front lawn, shouting
“Look over here, look over here!”
while Miller and his gang ransack the house
and leave by the backdoor with the television
and the jewelry

he stares out at the White House lawn
and the suffering, beleaguered nation beyond
and thinks:

“Hey, I just realized the ‘Caps’ in Caps Lock stands for CAPITALS!!
I wonder how many people know that!!”

 

Taking part in OPen Link over at dverse.

Also taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

 

 

Haiku and Poem written in a pub somewhere in Kitsilano

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Poster

poster on the wall
Lennon at a piano
deconstructing Paul.

 

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Perspective

imagine,
you, a frog
down a well,
above you
only sky.

 

Taking part in open link over at earthweal.  This is obviously a re-post, I have not been inside a pub in Kitsilano or anywhere else for a few weeks. I was working on a few pandemic-related poems but it’s hard to keep pace with events.

Bathos (A Whiter Shade Of Pale)

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Bathos

The moon hung
like a searchlight
in the spangled sky
and we hung
out on
the deck.

 

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

By the time ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ was recorded in 1967, Bob Dylan had already raised the bar very high in terms of what the public expected from a song lyric; song writers were now expected  to be poets. This was a heavy load to carry as few songwriters had Bob’s poetic gift; as a result, bathos was everywhere.

Bathos: “an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous”.

There are, as I said, many examples from that era, but the one that always stands out in my mind is from the last four lines of the first verse of ” A Whiter Shade of Pale”:

The room was humming harder

as the ceiling flew away

when we called out for another drink

the waiter brought a tray.

I have to admit that when I first heard this song I had no idea what it was about. Why are sixteen vestal virgins leaving for the coast? What is a vestal virgin anyway? Who is the miller? I still don’t know,  but I don’t think it really matters.  It’s best  to sit back, listen to the song and let your brain feed on the images and in no time at all the room will hum harder, the ceiling will fly away, you’ll think about maybe following the vestal virgins, you’ll skip a light fandango, turn cartwheels across the floor, all the time trying to avoid that waiter and his tray.

Notes:

The recorded version of the song has only two verses, but if you google the lyrics you will find four verses. Procol Harum sometimes included the extra verses in live performances but wisely left them out of the recording; they are not very good and diminish the song’s impact. As Bob Seger once sang:

Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Bob Seger, ‘Against the Wind’

“What to leave in, what to leave out” – whether you are writing a song, poem, novel, short story, if you can solve that one you might be on the way  to something good!

Check out this version by Annie Lennox

 

 

Home (from Oscar Wilde to Bono, because of the day that’s in it )

Oscar (3)

Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day (week)….some excerpts from my last trip home.


Conversation (hibernoku)

a low Dublin sky
a sentence hangs suspended
cut off in its prime

interrupt or die.

‘Hibernia’ is the classical Latin name for Ireland. A hibernoku is a haiku (seventeen syllables, 5-7-5) with an additional 5 or 7 syllable line, because for the Irish, seventeen syllables is a cruel limitation. The poem must contain an Irish reference and must allude to the weather in some way. In most parts of Ireland, ‘hibernoku’ is pronounced ‘hi-bern-o-koo’, except in West Cork where it is pronounced ‘hiber-nok-oo’.

Photo: Statue of the eternally quotable Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square, Dublin.

 

Sandy Cove

 

Weather 

an easterly wind
clouds move in convoy ‘cross the blue dome of the sky.

Photo: A sunny mid September day in Sandy Cove, Dublin.

 

Vico

Family (haiku)

yep, had a few drinks
with my brother, my sisters
sibling ribaldry.

Photo: View looking south along the coast, from Vico Road. Dalkey, Co. Dublin. Bono owns a house nearby ……where all the streets have names….I checked.

Participating in Open Link Night over at dverse

 

Between (Everyone’s got something to bring..)…..Edit

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Between

Between the caucus and the carcass
between the chaos and the calm
between the fracas and the ruckus
between the righteous and the damned

Between the priest and the sermon
between the singer and the song
no one can determine
why we all can’t get along

Between the question and the answer
there is a life time of space
between the dance and the dancer
there is beauty and there is grace

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing

Everyone’s
got something to bring
affect one thing
affect one thing.

 

It’s Open Link Weekend over at earthweal, so I thought I would re-post this one. Be sure to check out earthweal, always something interesting going on there!

 

Poetic Ailments

 

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Poetic Ailments

irritable vowel syndrome
verbose intolerance
arrhythmia
pain in the assonance
acute enjambment
inflammation of the lower case
latinnittus
typographical dysfunction
fear of sonnets
halibunions
grammaroids
the irrational fear
that someone in the room
is going to recite a Robert Service poem.

The prompt from Bjorn over at dverse is “lists”, I thought I would add this one.

 

 

 

 

 

Storms

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Storms

If it’s getting stormier
and it surely is
then we have to put a bit more work
into naming those storms
I mean to say, c’mon now,
Storm Dennis?
Dennis is a guy who wears cardigans
and washes his car every Sunday.
Margaret Thatcher’s husband
was called Dennis –
Storm Margaret
now there’s a storm,
a storm full of righteous certainty
levelling working class towns
circumnavigating domiciles of the rich.
How about Storm Boris
a tropical storm perhaps
full of hot air and bluster
a flatulent tail wind
or to switch professions and countries
Storm Janis
now there’s a storm to rip the roofs of houses
flatten whole trailer parks
transport cows to far off fields
or Storm Aretha
a storm that demands respect
sock it to me
anything but Dennis
side-parted, brilliantined, undershot Dennis.

The subject over at earthweal is “storms”.

The Toddler King (parts 1,2 and 3…re-post)

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It’s Open Link Weekend over at earthweal and editor in chief , Brendan, is feeling a little down in an eloquent, acerbic and humorous way, so head on over there, check out his post and link one of your poems.

Here’s one from 2018, which is surprisingly current and is either cheerful or depressing depending on your politics.

 

The Toddler King

1

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

a five hundred pound ball
of carbohydrate and grease
rolls across the parking lot
of a big box store

assault rifles take stock

the second amendment
thinks about making amends

the founding fathers
find themselves wanting.

2

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

in the empty parking lot
of a big box store
a plastic bag pirouettes
on the halitotic breeze

national monuments
fear for their lives

the adjectives – good, bad, great-
drop in value again

the toddler king
picks a fight with himself.

3

5 am. in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

an empty shopping cart
rolls across the parking lot
of a big box store
and wishes it was
a metaphor for something

rivers say goodbye
to their banks

the ocean
eyes the shore

the toddler king pardons
those great American dioxides
sulphur, nitric, carbon
they are quickly released.

 

 

Todd and the Time Machine Part 2

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Part 1 can be found here.

Todd and the Time Machine Part 2

Todd’s basement materialises
he sees the dark wood veneer panelling,
that tartan colonial sofa his uncle gave him,
the dark patch where his uncle rested his head
still glistening from the oil slick of his uncle’s hair,
in the corner, his wife is playing with an electrical cord.
“Don’t pull the cord, I’m not fully back yet!” Todd screams.

His wife’s voice comes back
a little garbled by the time lag
“I hope you’re going to clean up that damn dust this time”.

Todd returns to the present,
presents himself and sneezes into his sleeve
leaving a black smear on his plaid Mark’s Work Warehouse shirt.
Unknown ramifications
unforeseen outcomes,
that 21st century air
trapped in the time capsule
drops to a lower carbon dioxide concentration
as the capsule travels back in time
the surplus carbon dioxide
reverts to the original carbon
forming a black dust
which coats the inside of the capsule;
thing is, it’s a one way process
no one knows why

“You look like shit”, his wife says
“You look time-wasted, you look timed out,
what happened to your hair?”

Unknown ramifications
unforeseen outcomes
time travel messes with your hair
alters your DNA
deletes your vaccinations
the dangers of rushing a technology to market
too soon.

Todd’s wife grins
“I wasn’t really going to pull the cord”,
she hugs him, grinding slowly
“What did you bring back for me, this time?”

 

Taking part in open link over at earthweal, the poem was inspired by earthweal’s prompt “A Clockwork Green”. 

Check out earthweal, a lot of good poetry and Brendan’s no-holds-barred editorials manage to be informative and entertaining at the same time.

Allergic (there is poetry in chemistry 2)

 

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Allergic 

there is poetry in chemistry:

dextromethorphan hydrobromide
pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
chloropheniramine

antihistamines
expectorants
decongestants

loratimide
netipot
rose hip

post nasal drip
post nasal depression
catarrh,
but no catharsis.

 

……another re-post, but ’tis the season.