the girl in Starbucks
fails to praise my awesome choice
nor does she inquire
’bout the progress of my day
I feel oddly unaffirmed.
Continuing with coffee-related poems (see previous post), another one for Frank Tassone’s challenge over at dverse.
I originally posted this as a tanka, but on reading Franks’s very informative post, I realized I may be writing kyoka’s.
my local Starbucks
has an evangelista
she quotes the bible
while serving cappuccino
the old testament, mostly.
Taking part in Frank Tassone’s challenge over at dverse
Living on Covid Time
You read the newspaper
and there they are
on every page
from wisps of smoke.
There is no big data
just sad data.
You Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom
and always there’s that moment
when you look at that small rectangle
in the top right hand corner of the screen
and think “Ahh for fuck’s sake
is that really me?”
In the absence of the new
the brain feeds on itself
like an animal caught in a snare,
in a dream you drive to a town in British Columbia
which for some reason is called Trenton
you attend a meeting at a hotel
where everyone knows you
but you know no one.
You walk out into a vast square
full of white marble statues
of a man lost in thought
elbow on knee, chin on fist.
You watch Germans play soccer
in an empty stadium
and it’s not a dream.
You take your bike
down to the Fraser River
and cycle through Southlands
past the stables and the houses of the rich,
horses, but no courses,
a steaming mound of dung balls
decorates the road
that Covid sun is shining
and no one is making hay.
The challenge this week over at earthweal is “Vast Particulars”.
“Illustrate the changing tenor of the time with a snapshot or observation or tale which is both vast and particular”
My Friend Norman
my friend, Norman,
hasn’t changed one bit
since this pandemic began
if there’s going to be a new norm
it certainly won’t be him.
no sheep bleat
no sheep dog bark
the silence of the lambs
but still my flock is tended to
you can’t pull the wool
over these eyes.
he’s been the same damn tern
since the day he was born.
The signs along the highway
are leaking semiotic fluid
psychotic cacti strike a calculated pose
linguistic lizards parse the parched desert floor
Slim’s feeling demotic,
neurotic, anecdotal, over-used
he’s looking for a sanctuary
the fisherman and the shoes
he’s got those
needle in a haystack
This is a response to Brendan’s challenge over at earthweal ……..The Perilous Chapel
“This week’s challenge is about finding that Chapel and a way through it. Where have you found it, what perils did you endure, how is it linked to the Grail you seek? What is that poetry? And what initiation is required to transform modernity into Earthdom?”
The poem above is an edit of a previous post, it’s more about the journey than the arrival…..here’s another take
The Road (re-mix)
the sun beats down like judgement
on the armor-plated road
you just called out God and the Devil
and neither of them showed
there’s a sour smell of whiskey sweat
on the air-conditioned air
sometimes you think you care too much
and sometimes you just don’t care
in a dream you see an angel
an angel with a gun
you’re five miles outside of nowhere
and you’re stuck inside a song.
not just any man
a pioneer of rock and roll
twelve bars and no holds barred
and all about that one thing:
Molly likes to ball
Sally has everything that Uncle John needs
Sue knows just what to do
Heroes and White Horses
Who will it be?
– the tow-headed carnival barker
leading us always to an empty tent?
– the pointy-headed tyrant
with skin as white as the frozen steppes?
– the lacquered mandarin,
with a talent for oppression?
heroes don’t communicate
through a medium that gets its name
from the sound a small bird makes
heroes don’t arrive in golf carts
heroes don’t arrive in limousine cavalcades
heroes ride in on steeds
metaphorically at least
and those steeds are trusty
that’s all, the colour doesn’t matter.
This is in response to Brendan’s prompt over at earthweal
The prompt is MODERNITY’S HERO QUEST, who will be the knight in shining armour to lead us out of this pandemic into the brave new world. I may have got the intent wrong but as Gilda Radner used to say “never mind”. Either way I encourage you to visit earthweal and take in Brendan’s informative, challenging and entertaining editorials. I know, I know, so many blogs to follow but this one is worth your while and hell, we need blogs that stretch a bit, sometimes haiku just does not cut it.
haiku tortured night
surplus syllable flop sweat
cherry blossom hell.
Herd Immunity Rag
herd immunity is not the way to go
this wolf takes the fast and the slow
all this talk of removing locks
is just people talking bollocks
Lysol, Dettol, disinfectant, bleach
keep that stuff far from reach
all this talk of miracle cures
is just people talking bollocks
and be careful where you shine that light
now’s not the time to ultra-violate
there is no genie in the lamp
that’s just people talking bollocks
herd immunity is not the way go
the herd is people that you know
all this talk of removing locks
is just people talking bollocks
The theme this week from Sherry over at earthweal is “protest’. Thought I would this one into the mix! https://earthweal.com/2020/05/25/earthweal-weekly-challenge-protest-in-a-time-of-pandemic/
Thought I’d give this a second outing!
Once on a bus
across the Altiplano
from Puno to Cusco
I watched the movie
Matt’s a clever feller,
I just said that
to rhyme with Interstellar
says feller anymore
anyway, it appears that
time is a line
our lives are
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
one can visit
the multiplex cinema
where one’s life
any previous point
on the line one’s life
is travelling on
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
Taking part in Open Link over at dverse
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
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,
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
born identical twins,
they became indentured servants
to Lord Denton,
a wealthy landowner
who believed passionately
in the benefits
of dental care,
the identical twins
lived a long
and never endured
the shining indignity of dentures.
This is one from the Daily Prompt years, the prompt was “identical” !
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 mind wanders
I think of a word that rhymes with ‘banker’
and marvel at how
in the middle of a global crisis
my brain still tilts
towards the trivial, the juvenile.
I try a sound poem
panic, pandemic, pandemonium
but it’s missing something,
I make up a joke involving Peter Pan
but decide now is not the time to share it.
I detect the late onset of maturity
and feel depressed.
I text some friends,
we try to out-snide each other
but after a while
we are all chewing on the same bone.
I’m besieged by an idiocy of idioms –
the whole nine yards
the whole kit and caboodle
and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I re-assess my relationship with surfaces
I can no longer count on
that counter to lean on,
and as someone inclined
to whistle past the graveyard
walk past the writing on the wall
I have to admit
that the object in the mirror
was a lot closer
than it first appeared.
I write a haiku
four in the morning
moon shining on toilet bowl
Watch your back! Basho!
Taking part in open link weekend over at earthweal.
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
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
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
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
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
“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.
poster on the wall
Lennon at a piano
you, a frog
down a well,
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.
Bike Ride in the Time of Corona
a faint whiff of weed
that old Vancouver perfume
cherry blossoms bloom
there’s an up for every down.
The prompt over at earthweal is “Silver Linings”
O stable genius
keeper of the keys
the stable door hangs open
the horses are running free.
Taking part in open link over at earthweal.
humming in the background
like a cheap fridge
the markets in a flop sweat.
The word of the week over at earthweal is “pandemic”
Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day (week)….some excerpts from my last trip home.
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.
an easterly wind
clouds move in convoy ‘cross the blue dome of the sky.
Photo: A sunny mid September day in Sandy Cove, Dublin.
yep, had a few drinks
with my brother, my sisters
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