Tag Archives: poet

Anderson Cooper’s Hair (updated)

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Anderson Cooper’s Hair

There’s something comforting
about Anderson Cooper’s hair
its quietude
its insouciance
its unabashed whiteness
no Paul Manafort chocolate brown
no Clooney dusting of grey
no Pavarotti boot polish black
just plain white
lightly cropped
a hint of a comb over, maybe
but that’s ok
and it does not move
Hurricane Barry
a Midwest tornado
vile invective
a blast of foul air
from the president’s mouth
nothing moves Anderson Cooper’s hair;
to misquote Paul McCartney
and triple down on a preposition
in this ever changing world
in which we live in,
there’s something
comforting about that.

Haiku written in response to a comment by the incomparable Steve Simpson.

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Haiku written in response to a comment by the incomparable Steve Simpson.

it’s summer here, Steve
keeping the syllable count
as low as I can.

 

(see Steve’s comment here )

( if you are not following Steve’s blog, you should be, he’s one of the most original poets out there!)

The Water Taxi Arrives (Caye Caulker Chronicles Take 2)

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The Water Taxi Arrives (Caye Caulker Chronicles Take 2)

like Sherpas in search of an expedition
the backpackers tumble onto the dock
clutching Lonely Planet guidebooks
it’s nowhere near as lonely here
as their guidebooks promise
but it is part of the planet
they got that right
it is part of the planet.

(in the café below
Bob Marley is still jammin’
the locals talk of paradise lost
of Eve and apples bitten.)

This is a rewrite of a previous post.

Fracking Song

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Fracking Song

You’re standing on the corner
Watching the trucks roll past
Pumping out their diesel fumes
Pumping out that carbon gas

And it’s the middle of winter
And it’s twenty below
And that gas just sits there
With nowhere to go

There’s something wrong in the valley
Babies stillborn
Ten in one year
And they call that the norm

There’s something wrong in the valley
Poison in the ground
Something wrong in the valley
Since the frackers came to town.

 

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a poem consisting of 4 quatrains. This is a song lyric adapted to that form.

 

A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

Frog and cat

 

A Ghazal about Everlasting Love (and a rabbit)

like that rabbit on TV
our love will last

you know, the pink one with the drum
(our love will last)

and the dark sunglasses
(our love will last)

who sometimes hits a wall
(our love will last)

and sometimes stalls
(our love will last)

but he keeps banging that drum
(our love will last)

the rabbit keeps banging the drum
(our love will last)

but unlike our love
alkaline batteries are not everlasting

and eventually the rabbit falls
breathes his last

and we need another simile
one that lasts

like plastic in a landfill
our love will last

like craters on the moon
our love will last

like the power of the sun
our love will last

like the winds out on the ocean
our love will last.

 

In my previous ghazal , “Bucket List” I vowed to write a ghazal about everlasting love for the dVerse ghazal challenge. So there you have it, my first love poem, a big challenge – I’m the kind of person whose usual response to the words “I love you” is “right back at ya”.

Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym (quadrille)

 

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Listening to Carlos Santana in Kitsilano Gym.

listening to Carlos Santana
in Kitsilano Gym,
his guitar solos
leading always
to that existential wail
on the top fret
above the cutaway
takes me back to Asbury Park
walking along the boardwalk
having watched Woodstock
my head an unsustainable mix
of idealism, hedonism.

 

This is a response to Quadrille #82 – Fretboard of Poetry, the prompt from Kim at dVerse, which is to use the word fret in a 44-word poem that does not require meter or rhyme.

 

Stock Market (a tanka)

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Stock Market

a bear is on the loose
the once priapic market
losing altitude

false hopes and false dreams for sale
nothing tangible.

 

This is response to the dVerse prompt to write about markets. It’s a haiku that I have upgraded (?) to a tanka, check out the poetry over at dVerse, some excellent market poems.

The photo is of an actual market in Sicily.

 

 

Bucket List (a ghazal)

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Bucket List (a ghazal)

mountain climbing in County Meath
put it on my bucket list

fly fishing in the Sahara
put it on my bucket list

snow shoeing in the Serengeti
put it on my bucket list

surfing in Saskatchewan
put it on my bucket list

stop hiding behind a shield of sarcasm
Really? Put that on my bucket list?

write a ghazal about everlasting love
aw fuck it, put it on my bucket list

stop peppering my poems with profanity
that’s a prohibition, it has no place on the list

and furthermore, call me James, Jimmy, Jimbo, Jim
but don’t fuck with my bucket list!

 

It’s ghazal time again over at dverse, so here’s another attempt. By the way, in a classical ghazal (which this is not!), it is customary to insert one’s name in the final couplet.

Sorry about the language, I’ll do anything for a rhyme!

Saturday Morning in Idabel (Sunday Morning Coming Down)

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Saturday Morning in Idabel

There’s a dead armadillo
On the side of the road
Empty beer can in his claws
That joke just never gets old

There’s a dog on the shoulder
Trying to bite his own tail
I’m in the motel parking lot
Watching that dog fail

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go.

Down at the Piggly Wiggly
There’s no one in the aisles
No one at the check-out counter
Hasn’t been for a while

There’s a big box store sitting
Out of town, someplace
People are moving towards it
Like it came from outer space

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go

And Cookie he is worried
His wife’s leg has turned black
He’s got a concealed weapon’s license
A shotgun and a rack

And he has no idea
How he’ll pay the hospital bill
He says: guns never hurt nobody
only people kill

And I can’t remember
When I ever felt this low
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
Saturday morning in Idabel
And I ain’t got no place to go

 

Amaya, over at dVerse has asked for a poem about or based on a song to which we have a strong emotional connection. The above piece is a song lyric I wrote thinking of Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. I used to travel in my work, and I got stuck in strange towns and cities on Sunday mornings quite a lot. Being away from my family was a depressing experience at times and Kris Kristofferson’s song lyrics resonated. On the upside, being stuck in Idabel, Oklahoma, generated a poem, and a song lyric which my friend, John Mitchell wrote music for, (I have previously posted about that process).

 

 

“On a Sunday morning sidewalk
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleepin’ city sidewalk
And Sunday mornin’ comin’ down”

Walk (Dublin 2016)…poem

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Walk (Dublin 2016)

In Iveagh gardens an exhibition promises:
Contemporary sculpture based on
Non-monumental ideas of the uncanny.
This phrase sticks like chewing gum
To the bedpost of my mind
As I walk through Stephen’s Green,
Replacing: One then offers the cat up to the aperture
Which, according to my brother,
Is the ultimate step in programming
One’s automatic cat door to accept
One’s micro-chipped cat.
Outside the Shelbourne Hotel
Tourists wearing horned helmets
Board a Viking ship on wheels.
I am in search of a pub sandwich
Two slices of white bread, ham, cheese ,
Toasted in a cellophane pack
Small jar of mustard on the side
Served with Guinness
In a quiet pub where I can sit
And think non monumental thoughts
And where the barman asks me
As we watch Lionel Messi
float past three transfixed defenders
Is he the best ever?
And I am surprised not at the question
But at the deference.

The challenge from Anmol over at dverse, is to write a poem on the subject of walking and observing. This poem was written after a trip back to my home town of Dublin. Walking around one’s home town is not so much about looking for the new as it is about re-discovering the past; it’s more about the memories that the place holds rather than the physical aspect of the place. It’s also about trying to recover a feeling or an experience from the past.

The photo is of Dublin from Sandymount Strand, and of course, Joyce’s “snot-green, scrotum-tightening sea”.

(The poem appeared previously in the Galway Review)

 

 

 

The Wrong Way Home (a ghazal)

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The Wrong Way Home

happy hours and peeler bars
he’s taking the wrong way home

a friendly toke, a line of coke
he’s taking the wrong way home

the night is young, pass that bong
he’s taking the wrong way home

a McFlurry, an Indian curry
he’s taking the wrong way home

a pounding head, a stranger’s bed
he’s taking the wrong way home

early dawn, suitcase on the lawn
he’s found his way home.

…..over at dVerse, the verse form of the month is a ghazal, this is my attempt! For a full description of the form, check out their very informative post .

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.