Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Cactus Flower of Spring

The 29th (of 30) NaPo prompt challenged me to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. I was to pick a poem from the calendar, and then write my own verse that relates to it.

If you don’t know anything about Sylvia Plath, you should. Click on her name to link up. I selected her poem Poppies in July (click for link to analysis) because the city I live in is having a Poppy Festival today. Also, reading the poem and learning about Sylvia’s life was deeply moving.

Poppies In July (by Sylvia Plath)

Little poppies, little hell flames,
Do you do no harm?

You flicker.  I cannot touch you.
I put my hands among the flames.  Nothing burns

And it exhausts me to watch you
Flickering like that, wrinkly and clear red, like the skin of a mouth.

A mouth just bloodied.
Little bloody skirts!

There are fumes I cannot touch.
Where are your opiates, your nauseous capsules?

If I could bleed, or sleep! –
If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!

Or your liquors seep to me, in this glass capsule,
Dulling and stilling.

But colorless.  Colorless.

© by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes.

Taken on this morning’s walk as I pondered Sylvia and her poem.

Cactus Flower of Spring

Little Cactus Flower of much despair,
Your short life, a sad bad mad dream.

Your song of pity plays on. Oh lord, I want to touch you.
Deeply reaching your inferior, I want to know your pain.

Misery and pain surround you,
dear yellow flower of agony and sorrow.

Surrounded by cacti, as you are,
I cannot save you in life or death.

I can only see your pain today,
Through words you left of such sorrow.

May your pain be gone, your love remains,
O’ Little Flower of despair.

Yellow, green, red and blue,
I see them now, and I think of you.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/29/2018)

 

 

Live and learn and lean both ways, looking for our Cactus Flower.
Mind the thorns and shun the needles, the gaps are there for all to feel.

 

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

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Poetry — NaPoWriMo: What is Love?

The day 21 poem prompt of the 2018 NaPoWriMo challenges me to write a poem based on the myth of Narcissus. After reading the it, I was to write a poem that plays with the myth in some way.

My poem looks at love from Narcissus’ point of view. Was his beauty a curse? Was his rejection of the love of suitors, male and female, a problem? Should he have loved them all? One of them killed himself and asked the goddess Nemesis to punish or curse the object of his affection. That curse caused Narcissus to love his reflection. That’s what happened, and it is not vanity. How many spurned lovers have placed curses like that?

 

 

What is Love?

Bukowski was right
Love is a dog from hell
The passion
The pain
The inevitable pain
Did Shelly love?
Did Browning love?
Who did Dickenson love?
Did Poe, Wilde, Lord B?

Love is a dog from hell
Look at me
Look at you
We echo no love
For the other
cursed self-love
the prayer of A him
the curse of a Nem.
Bukowski was right.

No god can make me
Love you any less
I must die into hell
To love as I must
Be cursed forever
To be loved
By so many
No love to give
In return, forever
To be known as
The beautiful fool
who loved himself.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/21/2018)

Look both way to see love as it is.
Mind relationship gaps.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Assimilated Rebel

The day 20 poem prompt of the 2018 NaPoWriMo challenges me to write a poem that involves rebellion. For example, defy a rule, or write something either funny or serious. My poem should open a path beyond the standard, hum-drum ruts that every poet sometimes falls into.

Warning, this poem is bleak. It is written to reflect panicked frustration and to respond to the prompt. The dark side of reality interests me. I am not disturbed by it and I accept its existence. Many of you feel the same or Stephen King would be a retired teacher today.

I use the f-word a lot here, cuz I use the spoken f-word a lot, except when I know some prudish soul may be crushed. So, if those two things bother you, please give this driveling twaddle the sack.

One more thing. I am fine. Please try not to think otherwise. Yes, I recently got some bad news, but that has nothing to do with this stream-of-dark-consciousness writing (and if it does, so what?). It’s hard enough to write without folks asking if I’m suicidal.

The poem is rebellion from my POV. If you do read this, and you happen to be, or have been, a Teacher of English grammar, take a deep breath and perhaps a glass or two of wine first. It is one sentence. I know. Many great poems (one of which, this is not) are.

 

Assimilated Rebel

one must dress like this or that and think thusly and carry this torch to that goal and be always right and feel like shit when not and one must win, always win, a looser dont be, dont say that is not me because bukowski said just do it, just do it, and live and work for the glory of no god or whatever, but to survive and whatnot, and to help them survive, the ones you love and them ya dont and its a beautiful life and we will all just fucking die because thats what we do in the end middle or start, and then go to some nonexistent haven or fucking hell foe-evah cuz ya didnt cross da tee or dit-da-dot on a dam i and smile for a kodak if yer not, then dont fucking try cuz anyway they all die no matter how hard ya try and then dunna fuckin cry, just be stoic, thats a lie but i dno why, just go along to get along and be different and ah independent thinker, just be creative and spell it my way in stripes with plads or circles, and socks wit sandals, and man-buns and feet with pit hair, lay and never lie, its all so jacked up nothin’ fucking matters so fuck it, and fuck it all.

(bill reynolds, 420 day y2k+18; freddie mercury tribute concert day; and a. hitler’s b-day)

Look both ways today to see who’s got the loco weed tea.
Allow no gaps of toke.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Fight Was His Game

I’m opting out of the day 18, 2018 NaPoWriMo prompt. Instead, I wrote this poem.

Fight was His Game

Poor boy whose story we were told,
Danny was his name, fighting was his game.
Young and strong, with dreams of glory in his fists.
He fought to save his life, to be proud and ever bold.

Promised wealth with violence
Would bring so many gifts.
No warning was to move him
from his promised dream.
Boxing and his future, were both all agleam
It was his game, to be his fame, no one interfered.

In the pit of misery, while still just a boy
Trusting words of strangers, and what they had to say.
In the roaring twenties ring
he took the fighter’s stand,
Seeking victory and honor, with his body and his hands
Many marred and broken,
This Danny boy was all aflame.

Stepped into the ring, a fight to be his game.
Still looking for a young man’s fame.
Dan stood strong and determined.
He faced the champ, who gave that boy
quite a beating with a lesson.

Badly beaten, he lost the fight,
And all his pride went with it.
The champ made him a chump
looking too sad and lame.

Still more boy than man, with spirits badly broken,
He searched for work and asked for jobs.
A boy inside, with dreams gone south and broken.

Now the boy was older
In all the world’s wrong ways,
Now laying low without his game,
Still, Danny was his name.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/18/2018)

Look both ways and duck those punches, mind the gaps right cross.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poem — NaPoWriMo: Grendel’s Reflection

The day 15 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenges me to write a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation and is revealed to be human but still evil.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with other writers regarding antagonists who are both good and bad.

Anyway, I decided to write a poem on one of the villains from Beowulf, Grendel. You can read my April 7th post on Grendel here.

 

Grendel’s Reflection

Humans.
How nice and kind and all
When they kill,
it’s for the glory
of some crazy god.
Stand and fight,
it is our right,
that is their battle call
They kill each other,
then blame me,
I find it rather odd.

They say old brother Cain
rests within my heart
Not clearly seeing
the happy demon
who owns their very spirit
As they rip and tear
their kind apart.
Why such hate
within them grows,
their god only knows.

In the king’s hall,
it’s all hell they raise
It wakes me from my slumber
Yet when I grant them peace,
‘tis me they blame
for the midnight slaughter.

Little do they know,
that I am not so bad
If they were better neighbors,
it wouldn’t be so sad.
I am, after all,
just being me,
as like them as I can be.
Be your brother’s keeper,
unless he looks like me.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/15/2018)

Look both ways at right and wrong but judge your own-self first.
Tread softly with others being mindful of the gaps.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poem – NaPoWriMo: Frist Weakened Then Dead

The day 13 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenges me to write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase are up-ended.

I chose the phrase whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. My upending is in the poem’s title. Besides the prompt, my inspiration for this poem stems from reading Christopher Hitchens’ Vanity Fair article regarding the maxim, and the entire series he wrote during his tribulation with cancer.

Indeed, successful resistance often strengthens. That is the principle of inoculations against disease, doing regular exercise, preserving through addictions, or recovery from mental setbacks such as depression. The problem arises from the universal application of the maxim, no matter who first said it.

First, it may kill you (and someday something indeed will). Secondly, things (like whatever) can and do leave you weaker, not always stronger. In my opinion, despite having taken the shot against shingles, I contracted the illness because I had been ill repeatedly over months and my immune system had been severely weakened. And there is the age thing (it’s not just a number). Being ill did not kill me, but it did make me weaker, more vulnerable, and not a bit stronger. Shingles does not make you any stronger either.

Here is a good article about Hitch’s Vanity Fair piece. And the poem…

 

First Weakened Then Dead

I am my body and my mind
‘tis me nature to be friendly and kind.

Then you entered me, quite uninvited
You’re a vile corruption of cells divided.

You took my strength, my pride, my hair
Weakened what I am, if you ever care.

We both suffer, but it’s you we must kill
In my losing battle to save my will.

Die I must, that’s what they say
But I hope to find some other way.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/13/2018)

I’m a Kelly Clarkson fan, especially since watching her coach on the TV show, The Voice. I’ve included her 2012 hit in the interest of leaving you, literally, on a positive note.

 

From birth to death, look both ways.
Mind the gaps and the cleaver maxims.
Even mine.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Night Witch

The day eight poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to write a poem in which mysterious and magical things occur. Last year, I wrote a long poetic story with a slightly different, yet similar twist. You can read it here.

 

Night Witch

For years I negotiated my labyrinth of life.
Then one day the path all went dark,
It filled me with alarm and I shook with a fright.

Burning deep within me watchful eyes I felt,
My temptation was rising to the oldest of times,
fear continued to grip me, from within and without.

She was the blackest of darks, that witch of the nights.
Her gaze was upon me when I opened my eyes,
I was blinded by flashes, visions of the enchantress.
I saw in her wonders worlds of exquisite pleasures.
She came from the magic of the eternal hereafter.

Without moving her lips, she spoke directly to me,
“Return with your love, to the darkness and danger,
back to my universe we can travel with ease.
Give over your being to my mystical kisses,
my promise of love will grant all your wishes.”

As she reached out and touched me,
I felt pain and wondrous pleasure,
Yet, drawn to her I nodded my answer.

She took my hand, and with a rapturous laughter,
I saw in the distance her dragons and castles.

She marked our arrival with thunder and lightning.
I saw in her army both imps and her glories
All served at her pleasure.
Now was I there, her newest found treasure.

To me she said, “Through pain and with suffering,
you’ve found a new realm.
Transition, dear man, as best that you can.
Give over your being to the queen of this land.
And she shall make you our king,
if the pleasures don’t kill you.
Together we’ll dance, for our love and our glory.
Let’s begin to write this wonderful story.”

(Bill Reynolds 4/8/2018)

In the labyrinth of life, look both ways for witches of the night.
Mind the gaps.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month