Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Scream, You Scream

The temperature’s rising
You’re getting so hot
Relief from this fever
Would sure hit the spot

Something delicious
and sinfully sweet
that seduces the senses
and cools down that heat

Maybe a taste
Too much is a sin
But once you have started 
you have to give in

Sometimes it’s messy
and gets in your hair
but when it's the good stuff
you really don’t care

If you're not careful
it drips down your chin
a dreamy rich cream
that makes your mouth grin

Some like it dark
and some like it light
And a mix of the two
For some is just right

Single, double, or triple
(more might be chancy!)
There’ll always be something
To tickle your fancy

Some like it plain
Simple and neat
Some prefer extras
To make it complete

A squirt of whipped cream
or maybe a drop
of chocolate syrup
with cherry on top

Using your tongue
Can be lots of fun
A lick here, a lick there
and, wow, it’s all done!

When your body’s on fire
From toes up to lips
Go grab a cool sweet
Do you catch the drips?

Submitted for Theme Thursday, Ice Cream

Warning: Video not for those easily offended by suggestive male dancing and/or backsides!

Cazwell - Ice Cream Truck by INgrooves

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thought For the Day, Week, Month...

“Grow that dream you had at five years old

the first time a pencil callused your kindergarten fingers

You ran all the way home screaming

“Look Mom! I’m a writer! My hand is changing shape to

prove that I’m a writer”.

Grow that,

in every crack of pavement

the soles of your feet can find.

— “Alaska Says Sun” —Andrea Gibson

Monday, May 28, 2012

In the Sunset

Edward Hopper House at Dusk 1935
In the sunset
where the day hides its most vulnerable moments
I think of you
In the most tender hour
between light and dark
I still feel the ache
of a lost friendship.

submitted for The Mag 119

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God In the Synapses

photography by Daryl Edelstein of mosaic by Isaiah Zagar
On my knees
I pray to the gods of pain
Offerings, sacrifices upon the altar
What I won't give up if they will spare me
just for this day
this trip
this event
Do they even hear my pleas?
Are they laughing?
Searching for God in the synapses
between neurons
I realize it's already too late
That familiar haze has descended
a gauze curtain over my brain
I am here yet
My ghost is living my life again
I must abort abort ABORT
Scents of patchouli and blueberry drift
into my consciousness
I retreat into the dark
I am a bat
I need to sleep, sleep, sleep
but the gods deny even that
They play with me like
a cat does a mouse
Infliction of pain is more satisfying
than the kill
The eye twists in its socket
while a vise tightens around the temples
A garage band has parked its amplifiers 
inside my skull
Bass and drum pounding, pounding nonstop
Head shatters
Dozens of jagged fragments
each holding its own misery
The bed has become a tilt-o-whirl
no way off
The gods won't be bribed
to stop this ride
I make one final appeal
for unconsciousness.

Friday, May 25, 2012

If You Give a Mouse a Rorschach

The professor’s name sounds pleasant
Early spring mornings
Birds chirping
What makes it look like a bird?
Or a bat
Or a butterfly
McCartney’s band after the Beatles
Looks like a beetle too, a little
Are my associations getting loose?
I wonder how many things I should find
“We’ll search forever more
This class is sorta stressing me out
I found that monster in my dresser drawer
I hate Number IV
Do you think I’m decompensating?
“Stuck inside these four walls
Sent inside forever
This is just for practice, right?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Arting

A not so accurate painting of some flowers growing in my front yard. I was feeling in a sunny mood!

Receiving Communion

Sometimes you don't notice a thing
until you feel the lack
I never felt like a Jew
until I was the only one around
in a small South Carolina town
My speech became a foreign tongue
my holidays unacknowledged
my religion suspect
my food nowhere
Shared memories
shared recipes
shared experiences
vanished like the 'g's on the ends of words
On a visit home they returned
as I opened the front door
Enveloped in thick, fragrant air
a big shiny pot atop the stove
slowly simmering golden heaven
Parting lips anticipated warm luscious liquid kisses
a soup├žon of salt
to keep it interesting
and more...
fluffy white clouds succumbed to my spoon
little round angels in heaven's tub
I swallowed the whole show
This was my communion

submitted for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, Ella's Edge, Food Porn

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Far From This Tree

Parkland Junior High
You were older and tougher
and to this day I don't have a clue why
you targeted me

You said it was because I had threatened
your friend's little sister
which was untrue and ridiculous
Maybe you believed it
or believed it enough
to justify

The taunts I could deal with
but the threats brought me low
with shame and fear
Usually vague
"I'm gonna get you"
but sometimes mind racingly specific
"I'm gonna tear your earrings outta your earlobes"

Of course, I stopped wearing earrings
Changed my route from school
Even faked illness to stay home 
and away from you

Friends were no help
They were scared too
even the boys

No adults knew

I hated you but
I hated myself more
for being afraid of you
for retreating
for writing poems
instead of standing up to you

Fast forward 20-odd years
another middle school
Bus ride
The cool clique of girls throwing paper
in my daughter's hair

Although I've taught her to use her words
she turns around
punches one of them
 I smile with pride.

submitted for Poetry Jam, Bully

Monday, May 21, 2012

Playground Games

The Circus With the Yellow Clown, 1967, Marc Chagall

Come over here 
and join the fun
We'll make you dance 
We'll make you run
Don't be scared 
I'm just a clown
We'll play a game
I'll hold you down
Let's all pick teams
Which do you choose?
Now don't complain
about that bruise
And don't go home
and tell your mother
unless you want
to get another
Do you think
that it's not fair
because we like
to pull your hair?
Don't start to cry
We're all just friends
We'll meet up when
the school day ends
There is no use
to make a fuss
They're playground games
Come play with us!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Untitled (A Naani Poem)

Jack Moebes/Corbis
Joseph McNeil (from left), Franklin McCain, Billy Smith and Clarence Henderson sit in protest at the whites-only lunch counter at Woolworth during the second day of peaceful protest, Feb. 2, 1960.
Woolworth lunch counter 1960
School lunch room 2012
Black and White separate
What progress?


he said
Not quite, dear
Crimson, she said
with maybe a small touch of cardinal
or perhaps a bright shade of vermillion
Carmine? Scarlet?
Any thoughts?
He said

and One Single Impression, #220, Crimson (alas, too late)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Forest Edge

I wanted to walk in the forest with you
I took your hand
We stepped to the edge where vines grew thick
and flowers smelled sweet and dangerous
like the perfume we purloined 
from your mother's dresser
As our lips touched
I swear I heard the dryads sing
and I ached to follow but
you turned away
How many times
have I returned to that day?
How many times 
have I tried to find that mossy forest entrance?
But the path is closed
In its place, a tangle of dried brambles 
and withered blooms
like a dusty bottle of evaporated perfume.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes Words Are Just Words

I get it, Buk
Life and art, art and life
but sometimes
An old man ogling a young girl in a mini skirt
is just an old man ogling a young girl in a mini skirt
And frankly, Hank
Your cock is not that interesting
to be featured in so many poems
So while you may think yourself beyond hip
when you sing the praises of the
Middle Class White Male
If you ever called me a whore
I’d slap the cool right off your face
and make you feel the sting 
of what’s really real
Rest in peace, man.

Inspired by the style and content of Charles Bukowski's poetry, which I attempted to appreciate again for this challenge and still don't find very likable. Here is a link to read some yourself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Olivia Wilde's Jawline

Olivia Wilde's jawline, she said, is perfect
I was deep in my brooding
and resented the interruption
Just look at it, she said
So I did
As usual, she was right
That jawline was flawless-
square but not too square
the ideal angle
for a line of stars
in my favorite constellation
or a tiny row of butterfly kisses
It was as if the goddess herself
had sculpted that jawline
from her own stash of divine clay
right after making conch shells
and right before creating orchids
So I forgot why I had been brooding
because, once again, she had reminded me
of the sublime.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What If?

"The best thing a parent can do for a child is love them and take them for who they are." Maurice Sendak
(Mr. Sendak lived with his partner for 50 years but was never able to tell his own parents that he was gay.)
What if I can't fall asleep
from the monster under my bed?
What if I miss dinner?
Will I starve until I'm dead?
What if I ran away from home?
Would you look for me?
What if I said I hated you?
Would you hate me back times 3?
What if sometimes I don't want
to have a baby brother?
What if I still suck my thumb
or wet my new bed cover?
What if I'm still scared of thunder
or afraid of the dark?
What if you love my sister more
and leave me at the park?
What if I do bad at school
and I'm really not that smart?
What if I think about you dying
or imagine us apart?
What if I make a bad mistake
and can't ever make it right?
What if I'm not good at sports?
do you think you might
Love me if I say I'm gay
still love me If I dared?
'cause I don't want to lose you
and I'm really, really scared.

Friday, May 11, 2012

God's Gifts

Gail Potocki. Encouragement for the Heart Growing Fonder.
Ain't no sin to use 
what God gave you
That was her belief
And the good Lord blessed her double
The only thing more perfect than
her body was
her brain
She worked them both
and kept them finely tuned

She was a woman
who could be as sexy as
she wanted
and as lethal as
she needed
a kitten or
a cougar
whichever suited her best

No shame in a little
tease and tickle
if that's what it took 
to get her way
and if not, well then, she didn't mind
a little blood 
under her bright red nails

It was her belief
that if the meek 
were to inherit the Earth
they wouldn't get anything from her
without one hell of a fight.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Up In Smoke

tobacco barn in Calvert County, MD (source)
My daddy was a farmer
in the Old Line state
We never had much coming up
but food was on our plates
When he died, I got the land
I work it to this day
but my son, he has to leave
'cause farming just don't pay

I swear to the Lord above
I'm a peaceful man
but when they curse my family name
I've got to take a stand
It ain't my fault
if what I farm
has brought your family grief
It's part of Southern heritage
I grow tobacco leaf

Now I make an honest living
and I think it's pretty sad
The schools are teachin' children
that what I do is bad
They're tearing down tobacco barns
My family's goin' broke
My way of life is goin' to Hell
Tradition up in smoke.

traditional Southern MD tobacco barn (source)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer Song

 Through lazy afternoons the summers pass
I walk barefooted through the new mowed grass

Grasshoppers gambol underneath my feet
As August moves to its unhurried beat

A hummingbird sips nectar from a flower
Hypnotized, I lose track of the hour

The scent of honeysuckle fills the air
Its sweetness nips my tongue and lingers there

The silken wings of butterflies alight
On fragrant flowers colorful and bright

Once the pace slows down I hear the hush
The summer's torpid tempo can't be rushed

Again I learn that here is the sublime
In this moment, living all the time.