Tag Archives: poet

A Lai for Bob

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A Lai for Bob 

adenoidal snarl
it’s about a girl

mostly

but sometimes, the world
and how it turns, or

maybe

it’s a frantic swirl
of images, words

let fly

with venom and spite
an angry prophet

raging

but he’s more than that:
clown, joker, poet,

snide sage

in a feathered hat
an imp at sunset

dancing.

 

( a few notes on the form – each verse in a lai has nine lines arranged in groups of three; each group contains a couplet of 5 syllable lines and a single 2 syllable line; the rhyming pattern is aab aab aab; each verse can have different end rhymes but the pattern must be the same, for example…ccd ccd etc. I have been a bit loose with what constitutes a rhyme , so this poem is sort of lai-based, but I have tried to maintain consistency in terms of vowels and/or consonants.
For more detailed discussion on the form, check out here )

Participating in Open Link Night over at dVerse.

The Tight Rope Walker (a quadrille)

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The Tight Rope Walker

After John’s hamster died
he could not tell up from down,
he became a tight rope walker
tottering grimly forward
without pole or safety net
modern medicine is just a sham
couldn’t save one damn hamster
he never acknowledged
the gravity of his situation.

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a quadrille (44 word poem), incorporating the word “up”.

Conveyor (Bean There)

Pigments (2)

Conveyor

I replaced a defective mechanical arm once
on the night shift at the Bird’s Eye factory
in Eastbourne, England.

The arm swept the green beans from the main chute into side conveyors
where ladies wearing hair nets
separated the good beans from the bad.

It was the top conveyor,
so I was in full view of the workers below
as I moved my arm back and forth
sweeping beans in a poor imitation of a mechanical arm.

My fellow student workers threw beans at me
and the ladies in hair nets shouted “get a move on, Paddy”;
my name isn’t ‘Paddy’
but that’s what English people called Irish people back then.

Time moved like molasses
time dragged its feet like a moody teenager
time passed like a wet Sunday in Belfast

On the way home in the early morning,
we stole milk bottles from doorsteps,
just because we could.

 

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dVerse, check them out here.

 

Of Hatches and Ports (poem)

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Of Hatches and Ports

batten down the hatches
any port in a storm;
I have to admit
storm or no storm
I have never liked port
it always seemed to me
to be a drink from a time
when men retired after dinner
to a separate room to warm their arses
at the fire, share a bottle,
and indulge in convivial chat –
the odour of old sweat rising from tweed
the ladies in the next room, discussing
what else: their husbands and their gout

 

Inspired by the prompt “batten down the hatches” over at Saturday Mix – Mad about Metaphor.

So Long, Halong (Poem)

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So Long, Halong

As we ride out of Cat Ba

through a valley circled

by limestone crags,

a compilation of pop ballads

 

from the seventies and eighties

oozes from the speakers

and the affable English backpackers

at the back of the bus

 

groan in faux horror

as Aerosmith follows Bryan Adams

follows George Michaels

follows Michael Jackson

 

but when the Bee Gees launch

“How Deep Is Your Love”

the backpackers quieten down

and the driver stops honking his horn

 

at the dogs, children, women

in cone hats and cyclists

with finely balanced cargos

who drift carelessly

 

in front of the bus

as if it was an invisible

visitor from the future,

and we all strain against

 

the tug of the song’s chorus

far too cool to sing along

except for one backpacker

let’s call him Nigel

 

or Christian, or Jason, or Justin

who, in a high piping voice

declares his oneness

with the song’s embattled lovers.

 

This poem was first published in Oddball Magazine, and is a re-post from 2016. Participating in Open Link Night over at dVerse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why National Poetry Month Makes Me Anxious

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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 to produce
just one clear image
and nail it to the page
like a proclamation.

A Simple Desultory Quadrille….

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A Simple Desultory Quadrille….

in which Chuck considers
leaving Savannah
quitting the music scene
and getting a day job

‘cos he knows that in this deck of cards
we all can’t be the ace
and if it’s time to take a fall
it’s best to fall with grace.

 

For more about Chuck, see here. 

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a quadrille (44 word poem), incorporating the word “ace”.  dVerse,

 

 

Living Off The Grid/ Rooster Gallery

 

 

 

 

Living Off the Grid

The sun with rare generosity
beats down on the solar panels
on the roof of Vincent’s log cabin.

The first sentence of his organic novel
The abattoir, for once, was silent
sits alone on his laptop screen.

This is the seed from which will spring
plot, character, content.
He gets up, walks out through the kitchen door

through the tortured arch of his driftwood arbor
and into the vegetable garden
where he urinates in a jagged arc

sprinkling life-giving nutrients
on the unsuspecting butter lettuce.
Returning to his desk

he taps out another sentence:
With his mother’s mop, he wipes
the blood from the kitchen floor.

Why so morbid?
It’s warm, he’s feeling drowsy,
he detects a faint signal from a long-dormant source

like the distant ping from a submarine
at the bottom of the ocean.
He should invite someone for dinner,

the lady who sells jam at the Saturday market, perhaps,
or the angry sculptress – she of the tangled hair,
the scrap metal raptors, the acetylene scent.

The jam lady it is.
Bottle of wine from the retired lawyer’s vineyard,
salmon from the gnarled fishermen down at the dock,

try a little humor,
ask her if raspberry jam is a male preserve,
make a nice salad. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

This poem first appeared a little while back in “The Basil O’Flaherty” .

It was also published previously on this blog, thought it was worth a second look.

Taking part in open link night over at dVerse, check them out here.

 

 

 

A Villain in a Villanelle

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A Villain in a Villanelle

he was a villain in a villanelle
a doomed lover in a sonnet
he played his part , yes, he played it well

he once did a bit with Howie Mandel
he played Wallace, he played Gromit,
he was a villain in a villanelle

a costive mule for a drug cartel
‘tho he does not like to dwell upon it
he played his part, yes, he played it well

he shared an elevator once with Kristen Bell
she’s not available for comment
he was a villain in a villanelle

he had a career without parallel
no low point and no summit
he played his part, yes, he played it well

he liked a glass of zinfandel
ice cream with caramel on it
he was a villain in a villanelle
he played his part, yes, he played it well.

 

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a villanelle, which causes me no end of pain.

The Sun God

juxtaposition

Over at dVerse, the challenge is to write a poem inspired by or incorporating the geography of a place. This poem, I think, fits that description. It also addresses the presence of previous occupants of the place and of course the geography and topography of the character’s head! Please visit dVerse and Check out Anmol’s interesting and erudite post on the subject.

The Sun God

Myron volunteered once
as a caretaker on an island
in the middle of a lake
in the High Andes
North of Puno,
the Altiplano.

The top of the island
was as flat as an anvil
and every day
he would climb up there
from his lake side cottage
to study the funerary towers
of Silustani
over on the mainland,
using his large binoculars.

It was never quite clear to Myron
what exactly he was taking care of.
He had a house,
a dread-locked alpaca
and three guinea pigs.
The guinea pigs were housed in a wired compound,
inside the compound was a miniature mud hut
with a thatched roof
and three open doorways
which the guinea pigs retreated through
every time he approached.
He thought,
perhaps he was supposed to eat the guinea pigs
it was clear that they thought this also.

Located close to the funerary towers
were the remains of an Inca temple
worshipping the Sun God,
at that time in his life
Myron was losing faith in atheism
and the Inca worship of the sun god
had a certain logic to it.
Without the sun where are we?
Where are we, indeed!
He wasn’t overly keen on human sacrifice
but he had to admit that the Incas
dealt with the blood well,
channels and drainage being an Inca thing,
knowledge they acquired along the way.
Subjugate, assimilate,
and so it goes forever.

Myron thought he would use this time to write
but mostly he sat looking at a blank page
listening to the tinnitus in his left ear roar
and in the absence of his fellow human beings
he began to think that the alpaca was judging him,
the way it stared at him from under its matted fringe
and down its long nose.

One night he found himself shouting abuse at the alpaca.

The next day he left for Puno
and got drunk on gassy lager
in a pizzeria on the ragged, dusty town square

not far from the shores of Lake Titicaca.

 

This poem was previously published in The Galway Review.