Poetry: A Blaze of Glory

Warned ya: F-word used cuz I do.

A Blaze of Glory

I should be dead.
Hush! Be quiet.
Listen to me.

I shudda been dead years ago.
Every rock wall or cliff I ever saw
was for climbin’ up or down
got kinda hairy sometimes, ripped pants,
scrapes, scratches, and snakes
got bee stung once.

Every train was our ride, tracks for playing
and high trestles for wide river crossings.
A train’s comin’?
I knew two guys who
killed themselves
jumpin’ off a them bridges.

Every roof was to be jumped from
after a building’s been climbed, got
wrenched, twisted, and sprained —
never broken.

Me and Jimmy swam
butt-naked
in that filthy, dirty, Susquehanna
in our bathing suits, which means naked.
Immunity.

We climbed up shit.
Like towers, bridges, trees, buildings.
Shinnied up rusty poles. If we fell,
we’d die. Motivation!
If a train came, we’d die.

Fucking people jumped
from there
into the river
to kill their selves.
My uncle did – Dad’s brother,
Was his name? James maybe,
Something. Yes it was James. Same as Dad’s dad.
His sons said he was trying to save a dog.
Uncle Jimmy weren’t savin’ no fucking dog,
But glorious if he had.

We poached – fish. Got shot at!
Fuckers missed us – on purpose likely.
When you get shot at,
you hear the bullets buzz past.
Crack, crack,
buzz
buzz.
We left — pronto.
Fish were prolly scared anyway.

It was fun to be
scared. And nothing
scared us more than
death.
But Jimmy and me – we
would live forever.

Then Jimmy died
after heart surgery.
Took him off a machine that
breathed
for him – how fucking
inglorious!

I’ll die too.
Too fucking late for
glorious.
Or is it?

Tom died too. Jumped
off a tower. ‘chute didn’t open.
BASErs say gear malfunction.
Midnight. New Year’s Eve.
BASE jump. Glorious.

Jack died of fucking cancer.
He knew. He called me cuz
he knew. I knew too. When his
wife called to tell me. I
fucking couldn’t talk – I
went totally fucking Dumb.

Give me the Light Brigade.
Fuck pas. Gimme a rifle,
a cause, a revolution, a reason.
Fernando!

Teach me how to
die. All the lessons of
life – not one teaches
me how to die.

Love hard, live fast,
die old. But die for a reason.
If yer gunna die, have a cause.

¡viva la revolución!
Aces’n eights ain’t my hand.
I’m not motherfucking dead yet.

There’s more.
More to tell, more to do.

I toast my comrades: to their glory. Salute!

(Bill Reynolds, © 14 May 2018)

In life, there is a reason for each season. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

NOTES: While I think a poem should stand on its own without gloss, my editorial reconsiderations include these.

If you like, read the Charge of The Light Brigade (esp. last stanza) by clicking here.

Pas is physician assisted suicide.

Fernando is the song by ABBA, click here to listen.

 

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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

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: My Nod to Christopher Hitchens

The day 24 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. In this case, an elegy with hopefulness to it.

My Nod to Christopher Hitchens

In person, we have never met
I have not had the chance or honor
To smoke or share a drink with you
Or to ask you many questions,
Some risky business, that would be.
Now we never will.

Yet, I know you so very well
From reading what you so-well wrote
You told me all I need to know
With words of yours, still here with me.
You made the very best of it.
You lived and wrote up to the very end.

Because you were so deep in thought,
You always told the truth, even though
As you admit, you were often of two minds.
How I understand, and wish you were a friend
With your writing talent, you helped so many
You left behind a better world, filled with better words.

Now when I read about your lack of any creed
It makes me kind of smile, because I know
Wherever I go, I can keep you here a while.
So, when I read your cutting words, I see
And I feel you come alive. Back from the dead,
And into my head, and with me all the while.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/24/2018)

 

Look both ways to see the pages and read their very words.
Mind the gaps and skip no pages.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry – NaPoWriMo: Who Invited You?

The prompt for day 22 of the 2018 NaPoWriMo challenges me to write a poem based on one of six statements asserting something impossible. The poem I write is to have the impossible thing happen. The statement I chose was, A mouse can’t eat an elephant. The elephant and mouse are metaphors for something big (me) and something small: a single cancer cell.

Who Invited You?

Who invited you? This is my party.
You have the wrong cell number,
You were discovered, disguised and in hiding,
Much too small for anyone to see,
And yet, you are a danger to me.

In this dance, docs will lead. I take the next step,
To erase the board and clean the house,
To take out the trash and to purge all the systems,
Flush out the waste and to remove all the danger.
You will be annihilated, to the last little cell.

In the end, you may win, but right here and right now,
the game plays on, and I’m doing the pitching
to cleanse you from my body and soul.
The hurt in me may not be known to you,
But my fear of you continues to grow.

The old man sitting next to me,
Willing to fight what he can see,
It’s you he refuses, cuz he sees only me,
Together we look for the end of the game,
Someday, maybe, not today, not today at all.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/22/2018)

Look both ways and keep your eye on the ball.
Mind the gaps and swing at the strikes.

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

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