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 (sort of) — NaPoWriMo: Warnings Cautions & Notes

The day 25 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write a poem in the form of a warning label about myself.

For humor, I decided to twist the prompt a little. I also added too many warning memes for the same reason. Sorry. I hope you laugh. I did.

When I flew airplanes for the US Air Force we used (and carried with us while flying) many technical instructions, called tech orders. All military flying has similar things but may call them something different (i.e. Navy is NATOPS because thou shalt not out acronym the US Navy). The most important of these weighty volumes, now probably carried electronically, was titled a Flight Manual (dash-one in AF jargon). If yer familiar with this, you’ve prolly guessed where I am going.

My poem has three parts: warnings, cautions, and notes. (We had to memorize warnings and cautions.) I am using the same definitions in my poem.

Warnings are operating procedures, practices, etc., which, if not correctly followed, could result in personal injury or loss of life. Cautions are practices that could result in damage or destruction of equipment, loss of effectiveness, or long-term health hazards to personnel. I will add hurt feelings, pain, and tears to the list. Notes are things essential to highlight. The folks who write that stuff don’t just make it up. One never wanted to be the reason for a warning, caution, or note being added to a tech order. But this is supposed to be about me. I used third person, casual.

 

Just so ya know.

I – Warnings

Irrationally defensive of loved ones.
Capital punishment opposer,
…but willing executioner, if necessary.
45 years with US DoD, never kilt a body,
…but might try anything once.
Game to breaking rules & taking chances,
…not tough enough to be too stupid.
Drives safe and wears seat belts,
…but known to play road-rage roulette.

Goats are fake ewes.

II – Cautions

Given to fits of laughter for no reason,
…or at the most inappropriate times.
Thinks snarkasm should be Olympic sport,
…it’s his only chance for a gold medal.
Sheepishly grins at who thinks him harmless,
…often delights in being misunderstood.
Understanding & compassionate listener,
…until your whiney-ass is drama royalty.
He don’t hunt, fish, play golf, or ride a Harley,
…he writes poems, loves animals, & gots a soft heart,
… he’ll edgimacate any who sees it a weakness.

III – Notes

Thinks blunt synonymous with
…clear, concise, and brutally honest.
Loves to use foul language at random.
Likes to argue without knowing why.
Thinks Irish are the soul of humor.
Is way past old enough to know better,
…pretends to no longer give a shit.

Anti-masturbation?

(Bill Reynolds, USAF, Retired, 4/25/2018)

Can’t you see, Ah, Lawd, can’t cha see wha’ dat woman’s been a-doin’ ta me?
Look both ways, my way and yours.
Mind the gaps, cuz Ima’ways right.

It’s them damn atheists again.

Breathing is optional.

Doc asked me what motivated me to quit smoking.

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: 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: Good Morning, Tranquility

The day 10 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.

 

 

Good Morning, Tranquility

Predawn Texas morning – calm, quiet, and peaceful.

I stepped with book and pen in hand, intent to sit on my east-facing back porch
To write that day’s first words, reflections and feelings, my plans for the day.
With a fresh warm coffee in hand, I was ready to enjoy a morning so tranquil.

My goal was to write three wonderful pages of peaceful wisdom.
There I sat, sipped, watched, and listened — as our world awakened.

Words and ink began to flow across those pages of my life,
As Darkness gave Dawn her way to wake daytime creatures.

To the sounds, the sights, and the odors of this day, peppered with life.
Progress nearby with its beeps and bangs and the growls of combusting engines,
The calls of birds, alive and awake, their chirps and their tweets.
The calls grew more and more in number and volume.

The Sun looked at me, at us, as it overcame Dawn with its brilliance.
More sound – and now sights and more signs of life.
Banal, repetitive, annoying coos and the uninspiring grunts of the doves.
Friends walking and talking too loud for my liking.
Move on, Sir. Is he deaf, Dear Lady? I am not. Not yet.

More birds, more doves, then cars and trucks grinding tires into the pavement.
Buy a damn working muffler, Buddy, for Christ’s sake. Will ya?

A gentle breeze. I am so hopelessly distracted.

Good morning world. Good Morning life.

I love life.

Good morning, My Morning Pages.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/10/2018)

 

Listen to the sounds of life and progress as you look both ways.
Mind the silence of the gaps.

 

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