the rhymed poem

My poems seldom rhyme. To me
it seems contrived frivolity.
Pushing literary toes
into narrow shoes just shows
clever, well-turned rhyming tricks
meant not for skill, but merely hicks
who hold a cowpoke's doggerel
more meaningful than good ol' Bill!

Dashboard Cooper (aka D.B. Cooper) disrespected contrivance in all its forms. Sometime in 1989.

Binary friends

I am not a friend.
I am an appliance
turned off and on
at whim; replaced
when my performance
fails.
Valued for comfort,
valued for feeding
egos/stomachs/hearts 
(choose one or more)
until satiated.
Stress-walking, tense-talking,
wondering when this misstep
will negate our shared history.
This just in:
I too will turn you off
at a moment's notice.

Gardening emotionally,
I prune unfruitful relationships,
attempt to shape the unruly,
fight invasive species, but,
lately, I think I've pruned too
aggressively, fought too
vociferously, spent too little
time nurturing those pretties
who choose to live in my garden.

"Window up, window down",
Grandma's mantra. Why bother
with gradations, nuance, shades
of meaning, human failings?
Today's binary, electronic culture
can't see it's founded in
yesterday's hard realities:
"If'n it doan kill ya, it'sa prolly good,
but if'n it make ya sick, t'ro it! Ain't
no use hangin' onta sump'n gonna
maybe kill ya, sooner or latuh."

Yes,
I live not in my past but
in someone else's. It served
our ancestors for lifetimes, it
put backbone into indecipherable
existence, into amorphous life:
Symbolic living, roles for everyone--
must I think about myself,
about you, about everyone? Surely
I will die inside. I will face
insurmountable walls of
misunderstanding.

Today's non-roles just demand
different roles, other rules,
other games to play.
Just tweak roles from 
millennia past. No need to
reinvent new modes of
emotional transportation.

But still...
It's on/off, "thanks for being
there, why can't you behave,
why can't you act the way
we act, push the buttons
we push, hate what we
hate, love what we love?"

I've got some on/off for ya:
Be who you are; I'll be the same.
Maybe similar will attract 
Similar.
Or bug off.


Who’s using whom? Purple coneflower and bee. June 2017.

nailed

Duck pond, Tallahassee, FL. May 2022.
Sometimes, poetry is not good,
rejuvenating long-dead memories
when one graded The Poetry Assignment
as written by thirteen-year-olds.

Sometimes, the poet shoots
invisible needles of meaning,
millions of them, ripping, zipping
through me, nailing me
to where I sit.

[once again grabbed by the poetry of James G. Piatt as featured on Ephemeral Elegies]

Infinity

I read a book once.
I checked it out 
of my high school library;
I was a sophomore. 
It was arranged like this,
one concept per line, and
it explained infinity.
A difficult concept, so
only one idea per line.
It taught me that
one infinity can exist inside another,
therefore the second infinity's bigger.
And if you add "1" to the second infinity,
it's bigger than it was before.
I read this book while waiting
for our wrestling team to compete.
I co-managed the team, and
I relished being the one 
to watch the locker room during matches
meaning I could read uninterrupted for a long time.
This book both increased,
and decreased,
my awe for The Infinite,
and it did nothing to explain
how more than fifty years later
I see/feel/understand what went through my head
as I read this book
while young men in stretchy uniforms
grabbed each other's crotch.

once upon a time

Once upon a time–

Time? It’s in two-two, just
beat as you breathe–

But it happened,
like this, like–

I only meant you live time differently,–

No, we’re timing
differently, but–

Where everything happens
simultaneously does
it happen? At all?–

Your beatings annoy–

My bleatings annoy-

So it goes…once…


	

write me poetry (wriggling fish eludes grasp)

"Write me poems,"
she said. "Not that
sonnet, rondeau
crap. Make it formed,
but not formal.
Make it happy,
poignant, heartfelt."

Whew! Tall order.
How to commit
to words which don't
bring despair, don't 
touch my psyche's 
crackling third rail?
'formed, not formal'?

Wrapped around my
neutrality
entwine serpents
of dark, of light,
yet both truthful.
One favors pain,
despair, sadness.

Countering, its
mirror favors
hopeful, joyous
optimism.
But it whispers--
'gainst its brother--
screams less, asks more.

"Everything's great!"
doesn't cut it.
Good news--no news.
Seismic shifts, stabs
to my heart grab
more attention
than goody-ness.

Problems add edge,
life's hoppy bite,
offsetting its 
malty sweetness.
But she challenged!
Can happiness
inspire poems?

My life-garden
hosts tangled plants,
gnarled, tall, choking
new growth. Little
shoots blossom up
regardless, and...
Something happens.

My ultimate
Gardener, my
concept of God
nurtures sprouts, brings
forth fresh flowers
striving to vie
with woody growths.

Despite these new 
optimistic 
upstarts, my soul's
garden remains
wild: poison vines,
weeds, burrs, thorns. No
apologies.

Who am I to
question what grows,
what does not? Why
question my lived 
reality, 
denigrate my 
totality?

Are we happy
now? Are we mired
in hopelessness?
Do we focus 
on pretty new
blossoms? Do we
ignore the whole?

Without yin there's
no yang. Without
black, white on white.
Speak to truth no
matter its source.
Shuffle the deck;
deal ALL its cards.

Thirteen sevens
multiplies two
potent numbers,
magical yet
at odds with each
other. She will
appreciate [this].

Reporter

the author in better days. note his mind fragmenting like leaves in the breeze.

First, last, and I guess always, I am a reporter. If given facts I can spin them, quickly, making gold where others see dross. As Will Sonnett said, “No brag. Just fact.” Combined with a natural inquisitiveness, a need to understand what I was looking at/hearing, a need to make sense of things, it all served me well. I used these skills to write important documents for drug manufacturers when I knew only a little science and even less engineering. Asking questions make you seem intelligent, it seems, at least if they’re intelligent questions. (Yes, Virginia, there are stupid questions.)

For that reason, I’m redirecting this blog. The poems and essays won’t disappear, but I will write more frequently if I indulge my many ideas playing across my mind, ideas which don’t fit neatly into the holes for “essay” or “poem”.

I spent my teenaged years with a significant amount of time at the kitchen table just talking with my mother. She liked to talk. I like to talk. When the conversation turned to “what are you thinking for your future?”, my response was, “Ideally, I would have a job where I could just talk like this and make money from it.”

I partially achieved that when I graduated from college (finally–it took an “extra’ 18 months) and started working as a news editor/reporter on a weekly newspaper. I listened, I wrote, I published, I basked in the glory…or rather, I got paid a paltry wage that seemed a gift from heaven. After moving to another paper, though, I realized, “hey, I don’t really like going out to find things that people are saying or worse, aren’t saying but we really would like to know. I want to just say things from the heart of me, from inside. I don’t want to have to go find it.” Truthfully, going out there and trying to drum up stories seemed like work.

So I went into teaching. That was great. Except that I realized after nine years…I don’t really love kids, not like my fellow teachers said they did. It was a great run, taught me a lot about being assertive and ‘out there’, gave me a great background in labor issues when I negotiated the collective bargaining agreement with the school district’s administrators (or later, lawyers), but in the end I just accepted that as much as I liked TALKING for six or seven hours a day, this wasn’t my gig.

I decided to realize my dream of being a freelance writer, i.e., a writer who writes what he wants and somehow makes a living at it. I had no idea how to do that, and basically learned over 15 months that I had absolutely no discipline to do this for a living. I entered the business world, used my skills at writing, analyzing, and computing to make a very successful career. But…..

Writing manufacturing process assessments and standard operating procedures (SOP’s) didn’t permit the craziness to get out. I found minor ways to let it out, but they were limited. Some semi-anonymous vice-president isn’t interested in my poem about the reality deep in my hidden soul. After more than a decade of this, Facebook seemed okay for this sort of thing, at least a little….

Pissing away my writing skills on Facebook festered like a chancre. I harbored the desire to write. After this, after that, I started this blog in September 2021.  Now, a year later, I realize the need to write WEIGHTY STUFF just isn’t there, not in the sense that it’s going to happen here on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the lack of discipline thing again. Accordingly, ….

I’m repurposing this blog. It will be the lengthy post I could never do on Facebook, the chattiness that drives my wife crazy, the off-the-cuff observations that might not have any substantial exposition. What is written may fuel the more substantial things which will appear also.

One piece of writing has been sitting for twenty days at this point, waiting to be born. If I worked solidly at others, that wouldn’t be an issue, but that’s not what is happening. The piece of writing I reference had a timeliness which said “publish me quickly”. That hasn’t happened, and now it needs to rewritten. I need to keep priming the pump with whatever is on my mind, even if it’s not sufficiently weighty or well-written. I need to be chatty again.

Here we go.