Poetry: Everybody Has a Mother

52 years ago.

Everybody Has a Mother

I had a mom. And I loved her too.
Then she died, as all mothers do.

Now I have this woman here,
Texas gal and hell-of-a-dear.
Not my mother, no siree,
Nor sister or brother, but oh is she
Mother to the progeny,
who are something
that’s part of me.

She is my lady,
you can see,
love ‘er to bits like a
long-time lover
should.
She’s their mother.
They all love ‘er –
she loves ’em too,
as mothers do.

I love her so,
And likewise them.

Mom o’ my children,
all Texas born.
Now all growed-up
with kin a their own
Tex-bred kids
of one kind or other.

We love ‘em all,
short, fat, skinny and tall.

We love ’em up,
but she Loves them
more than I,
‘cuz that’s what Moms
can do. Love them all
a lot, you see,
more than you and more ‘n me.

Daughter, sis, and cuzin to some,
Wife to me, a very special one
Good sport of a kind and sort,
Mom to three,
Oma to more.

Yolonda,
this poem, my dear lady,
is just for you.

(Bill Reynolds © 12 May 2018)

Y’all be lookin’ both ways cuz Momma be comin’ with a spoon.
Mind the gaps.

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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: Euphonious Rain

The day 23 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write a poem based in sound. The poem could incorporate a song lyric in some way. Euphonious means pleasing to the ear.

 

 

Euphonious Rain

Listen…I Listen with my whole body.
I feel the sounds before I hear them.
They enter my complete being,
I’m mesmerized, tranquilized by sound.
Sounds go deep into my muscles and bones, I feel
enticing beats dive into my groin and pound my chest,
I inhale the rhythm, the beats and the measures.

I feel the music deep within me. As I hear it – I become it.
Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
as it taps above me. Hear the distant drum of thunder.
I am the rain, the tin roof, I release all thought.
My mindless feeling becomes alluring calm.
Feel the rumble and hear the night dance,
calling me into a sound-filled trance.

Into such a compelling sedative of sound
I let it enter, to hear the rain kiss me and touch me
deep within my being, it becomes my feeling,
my loving soul hears sounds of being alive.
To feel. To love. To be soothed. To hear and
Feel the rhythm of the falling rain calling to me.
Who’ll never stop the wondrous falling rain?

(Bill Reynolds 4/23/2018)

Look both ways on rainy days and mind the gaps and puddles.

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: It’s Never Just a Game

The day 16 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenges me to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play.

My poem is about my memory of a game we played as children – a game still played today, albeit differently. It has been played for over a hundred years by boys and girls, now also by men and women. Essentially, it is street or vacant lot baseball played with a broomstick for a bat, bases like the manhole cover or the flag pole, and most often a rubber ball.

My gang used all sorts of balls including wiffle balls of various sizes. No one wore gloves or any form of protective gear. Our classic favorite was to use those small plastic practice golf balls with all the holes in them to increase the challenge. They could bounce off any window or person with no damage. No coaches, no adults, highly flexible rules, and we worked out our disagreements without paying lawyers.

My poem is this old fart’s memories of playing the game and living totally for the moment, for the game, to be as good as we could be, and to have fun for the sake of play.

We used handles cut from broom sticks or mops. I do not recall anyone buying a ball, but it would not surprise me to learn that the ones we used were found, or “found” (as in the bottom of dad’s golf bag). The first commercially produced stickball bat came out in the early 1950’s and sold for 89 cents. Today, you can buy a high-tech, Easton T10 Thunderstick stickball bat for $50.00.

One of the problems today is that it has become difficult to find a good wooden broom or mop handle not being used, and games like that have fallen out of favor. However, I have included a photo and video about the game. In both cases, commercial bats are used.

It’s Never Just a Game

I was in the game that day
when it was a hot midsummer afternoon
when we played in the Courtright elementary school yard
when Jimmy Lipinski hit a double off of Joe Mullins’ chest
when time outs were for injury or just to pee.

I was in the game that day
when the fight broke out between Balochi and the new kid
Smitty was new and wanted us to play by New Jersey rules,
Balochi and Smitty became close friends and grew old together
and we learned to play by Jersey rules, East End rules, and league rules,
but mostly we made up the rules based on many things.

I was in the game that day
when Teddy tripped on second base and broke his nose
when the Daniel’s kid at shortstop lit a cigarette in the third
when the school janitor came and ran us all off or he would call the cops,
when we vandalized the school cuz the Janitor was a dick,
when I got my first hit, and when I hit my last.

I was in the game that day
when Lipinski made his behind the back flyball catch
when the worst player on the team hit a grand slam
when cuts and scrapes and twisted ankles were part of growing up,
when it started to rain that day and we played on anyway,
when the game was just the game, and both sides always won.

I left the game that day
when we walked away cuz it was getting dark
when we were thinking of what in life came next
when we thought there were better things to do,
when we walked away one last time
from the game we all so loved.

Let’s go play some stickball.

(Bill Reynolds 4/16/2018)

Look both ways as you play the game.
When at bat, mind you, hit 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: A Pocket Full of Doubt

The day seven poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to list my different layers of identity (son, father, grand and step-grandparent, retiree, white male, septuagenarian, poet/writer, hippie, etc.) — ways I could be described. Per the prompt, I divided those identities into two lists: what makes me feel powerful; and what makes me feel vulnerable.

I wrote a poem in which one of the identities from the first list (man) contends or talks with an identity from the second list (sensitive man). This poem reflects the doubt seemingly inherent in that conflict.

 

A Pocket Full of Doubt

Walk tall and proud to be our one man
Carry strong your body, mind, and be of good spirit
Hold on to what’s yours as tight as you can
To be a man, my son, inside you can’t feel it.

It ain’t me. It ain’t me. But a man I must be.

Stand honest and truthful, be a real man
Sense love and sadness and touch with your soul
Let go of yourself, as alone you must stand
Into the soul of men, you must never there go.

Can’t you see? It just ain’t me. Like so, a man I can never be.

So, of two minds you continue to fight?
Two spirits, one soul we continue to see
Where is the truth to set this man right?
Conflicted as such, you’ll never agree.

Let you be the man. The one we can see.
…….A man such as this can never be free.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/7/2018)

Look both ways if you’re of two minds.
In the gaps lie the answers, so mind what you find.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month