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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Reflections: My 2018 A to Z Blog Challenge

Hello out there,

I enjoyed the 2018 A to Z Blog Challenge more than 2017. Last year, I just couldn’t break the code. This year, it went well.

I did two challenges during April (as did others like this or this). I wrote poems for the National Poetry Month and mythology for the A to Z Challenge. Unlike last year, I decided not to piggy-back them by using one post for both challenges. Thus, I posted twice on most days and consider my blog stats questionable. Views, likes, and follows were consistent throughout the month.

As with last year, the A to Z reveal in March got a lot of attention. In April I posed to my blog 56 times.

I think my poetry (NaPoWriMo) was favored over the folklore and mythology creatures in A to Z. I got some comments, such as “I did not know that” regarding the myths. I enjoyed most of the research and writing. While I finished both challenges, I was burning out.

On April 1st, I was almost two weeks ahead in writing for A-Z blogs. However, I wrote the NaPoWriMo poems each day based on the midnight prompts 29 out of 30 times. The one day I did not use the prompt, I wrote the poem from a previous idea. As time passed, I lost my advantage on A to Z. By April 29th, I was writing Z for the next day’s final posting. I was ready to stop before the challenges were completed.

While I stopped doing morning pages for April, a good outcome of the April challenges was getting my brain back to daily creative writing and poetry. My writing had slowed to a virtual stop during our move from Washington state to Texas. These challenges helped me to perk-up and I feel more like writing now. I restarted MPs May 2nd.

Since I did two challenges simultaneously and posted twice per day, it makes sense that my 2018 numbers almost doubled what they had been in 2017.

I tried to keep my A-Z posts brief (<600 words) and used at least two graphic images per day. I felt that format might help visitors do a quick reading and move on. When I read other blog posts during April, I did not always finish when they were long reads.

As was the case last year, I was unable to predict the popularity of any post or poem. I am grateful to all who clicked like when they did. And my special thanks to anyone who took the time to comment either in WordPress or on Facebook.

The most interesting thing (it shouldn’t have surprised me) I learned was that people who know me personally prefer when my writing sounds like me (my voice, in their opinion), despite the quality of the writing. It’s as though I’m forgiven when the reader can hear my voice.

I also find that when I can ditch my inner editor for a while, I enjoy writing more. That finding my voice method leads to some “trashy” flapdoodle twaddle, but when I can channel my inner Bukowski, I can feel it (his attitude). I like it. I find pleasure in writing dark, real life, miserable shit, but I avoid it more than I want to. I’m not sure why.

Maybe I am making a mistake allowing my concept of public opinion to dictate my writing style or content. If I was going to publish other than my blog, then that might be wise. But I do this for pleasure.

For now, I need to write from the inner me and stop letting what I think others may think guide me. I’ll work on that. But such letting go isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m a bit programmed.

Thanks for listening. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

Bill

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

A2Z Challenge: U is for Unicorn

Nice Touch – Wings

I am reluctant to attempt to write anything about these beautiful, almost sadly mythological creatures. However, I know some people who read this blog are expecting (perhaps demanding) them for the letter U. They have told me so.

There are two reasons for my insecurity. One reason is that I am pretty sure they do not really exist, but I am uncertain whether most people agree with me. The second reason is that too many people from age five to fifty (and more) know more about unicorns than I do. Fine. But none has stepped forward to write this post.

Unicorns have been described since antiquity as a horse-like creature with a single large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. They were depicted on ancient seals and have been mentioned in many old historical accounts, Greek (not mythology) and otherwise. The re’em, of the Bible is translated to unicorn in some versions.

In European folklore, unicorns are described as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves. In the Middle Ages they were described as wild woodland creatures, symbols of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. Some say a unicorn’s horn can purify poisoned water, making it medicinal to heal sickness.

Long ago, Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of unicorns, which they believed lived in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them. Leonardo da Vinci even wrote hunting instructions, which look like a ploy to get your girlfriend to go hunting with you.

The unicorn, through its intemperance and not knowing how to control itself, for the love it bears to fair maidens forgets its ferocity and wildness; and laying aside all fear it will go up to a seated damsel and go to sleep in her lap, and thus the hunters take it.

The unicorn is the symbol of Scotland. It was chosen because it was seen as a proud and haughty creature which would rather die than be captured (liberty or death?), just as Scots would fight to remain sovereign and unconquered.

My proof that unicorns exist can be found in New Braunfels, Texas (USA). The mascot of one of the local high schools is the unicorn. Thus, students are unicorns. So, they do exist in human form. There are a few other schools who have the unicorn as their mascot, but such a mascot is rare.

For the record, I love unicorns. No one should doubt that. I only say or write good things about unicorns, and my disbelief in them is a myth (ignoring my earlier comment).

Now, for a bit of unicorn bathroom humor. This is primarily for certain friends and family (they know who they are), and those among you with such bizarre taste in hilarity.

 

 

Look both ways for unicorn.
If you see one, and you are a virgin, try to capture it.
Mind the uni-gaps.

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

A2Z Challenge: O is for Orcs and Ogres

The traditional mythological creature is the ogre. Orcs are more contemporary and were used by Tolkien in literature (Lord of the Rings), and have since found their way into RP games such as D&D. But ogres and orcs have much in common.

Ogre

Both are brutish, aggressive, repulsive, malevolent, and nasty creatures. Both characterize evil and represent deadly harm to humans in some way. Both are generally presented as creatures that eat people. Orcs are cannibalistic. In most cases, both are presented as somewhat stupid creatures. There is one clever orc in Tolkien’s stories, but he was still evil.

In the case of Orcs, they often end up as fodder or pawns in battles or doing the bidding of another more intelligent character. They can also be cowardly.

Orc

Orc

Generally, Ogres, while rightly and properly representing evil, are used or fooled by others and are often tricked into things leading to their own demise, precipitated by their own greed and nastiness. But these creatures are more classic and date back farther in history than orcs.

Scary cartoon character?

A note about cartoons and nice little very un-Brothers-Grimmly characters such as Shrek. When these characters are depicted as sweet and not-so-ugly, misunderstood, and mistreated heroes; it is playing with folklore and a silly cartoon. Ogres are bad news, period. No exceptions. A character is an ogre based on behavior and outlook, not skin color, size, or birthright. I like Shrek, but he is no ogre, regardless of what the Hollywood script says.

 

You say I’m not an ogre?

To further jump the fence to human mischaracterization, peeps are often metaphorically referred to as ogres. This is not because they look like ogres (some may). It’s because they are considered by someone as bad people based upon their behavior. There are no good orcs or ogres. If they are good, behave well, and hold some moral high ground, then they are something other then an orc or ogre. Evil is what they do, and that defines what they are.

Remember: Scorpions sting frogs. Frogs that can be persuaded otherwise drown. If you don’t know that story, click here.

 

Look both ways for any harm coming your way.
Avoid doers of evil and mind your own gaps.

 

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