Monday, March 28, 2011

This Week's Prompt: Ukelele Voice/What is Your Music?

What if we are each musical instruments? For you or someone you know or imagine, name your instrument. Describe the sound, quality, timbre, look. What is your music?

Are they organ-ic or do they harp? Do you strum or pluck? Is your sound shrill or do you soothe? Do you play well with others?

If you were evangelizing your instrument, what would you do to espouse it? The Ukelele Society of Connecticut wants to recruit 1 million ukelele players and encourages libraries to have free ukeleles for checkout!

Feel welcome to interpret this broadly or riff on this theme. The ukelele's the limit...

Keyword labels: poem, ukelele, [poet's moniker]

Image Credits: Angel with Ukelele - Painting by Chet Saur of Darien, Connecticut; Blue Painted Ukelele by Mr. Christoph Mueller

Sunday, March 27, 2011

when i am old and the wind asks me

as if taking advice
from the movement of greening willow branch,

chartreuse sproutly proudness flex and flocking,

i learn to follow the wind
all in one directly:
full, deep bough-breaths of strands-in-wind.

so when i love you,
let it be like kelp in ocean all moving leeward then land
ward let me pulse
and not pause in staccato ratio-(bana)nality

keeping on moving sliding gliding glowing
flowing fluffing flighting alighting sipping flipping
kiting spriting lefting righting
not one but only one of a thrillion shimmering
butterflies on a monarching tree
in warming climes, climbing northwards
as the sun moves, toward the sun

flowing-fluff and tilting
with the wind and flowing-moving-
toward the warmth

when i am old and the wind asks me
if i have stayed true to the flowing sunward basking
she will have to keep going
to touch me, for i will be faithful
and being both one-with-cloud riding the bareback
of her, wind, i will also be just ahead there
near where the moon (the night sun) is rising, skate-breath-surfing
on the limn where day is turning
into night

she will never catch me to ask
what i have become

27 mars 42011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nature's Answer - Downstream my pain collects

Downstream my pain collects

Downstream my pain collects
Nightly neglect
Lame tree limbed talk
Til dawn lying in wait walk
Seeps into hearts delay
Meets wet bottom today
Downstream my pain collects
Red & white regrets
Shame clung on a clock
Still my body hugs rock
Green water non-stop
Leaps over me top
Keeps coming & going away
& leaves spray
Soaked hair
Not afraid to let go there


Why do we keep changing our minds, March sky?
When does spring start? (Others are asking, too.)
I feel you, March, your confusion of whys,
your cross tides of opaque gray and clear blue.
Sunshine unhats our bald domes while on high,

a cloud skyline builds in all gray-scale moods.
Wishes and circumstances mix to gray.
We worry our daughter has more than flu—
asthma, we fear, from this commercial bay.
Daydream: we relocate to Hawaii—

except it’s pricey with no jobs, they say.
Our decisions are so multilayered—
our minds change when moths flap in Malaysia.
As life unfolds, we drop what we preferred.
The order is: march. May I march with you?

The last step was proved by what we weathered.
Your next cloudburst catches me unsheltered.

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Week's Prompt: Nature's Answer

William Stafford wrote this poem:

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
William Stafford

Respond to this poem or write a similar one. What in nature would you want to answer a question about the mistakes you have made? If not this question, what question would you have someone ask, and how would nature (lightning, beehive, trout brook, etc.) relate a response?

keywords: poem, answer, [poet's tagging nickname]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Randomize too - Hurt's Scent

Hurt’s Scent

A random rattling from the wall sink
may have announced more than noisy pipes
colored Pi amusements
Patching smiles onto children’s chaos
Fog dream bursts
substituting cerise survival notes
Wet white apple blossoms
Hurt’s scent not missed

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Better than Imagined

I sought out the darkness, savored it,
listened to the sirens
who begged to be kicked from the cliffs.
I took their breath away
literally, sensually, consensually.

They asked for direction and I made them kneel.
They asked for relief and I made them sob.
They asked for ecstasy and I left bruises.
They asked and I gave and it was good.

I walked into dreams, into mine, into others’.
I stole fistfuls of silent desires
and left them shrieking in public places.
I went beyond the borders of this world.

I went willingly and came back bloody.
Stumbling numb, I arrived
a stranger at my own table.
It was worth it. It was the only way through.

Do not listen to the fundamentalists.
Hear me speak, an evangelist of your imagination.
You must feed the appetites to sate them…
but only if you’re willing to fill yourself so full of beauty
that you may end up retching on your own identity.

I walked in the darkness because it was necessary.
Now I awaken at the horizon, my heart blazing.
It is blinding. It is beautiful. I delight in it. The light.
And here you are, pure and perfect, waiting for me to emerge.

Road sign Immigrant Leaf hope

Fear, the faultline of near misses

bleeding a churlish stain on the lee side of sure

can’t ever leave the cantilever

on the road to remote

immigrant passes blanched like clean sheets

peeling green-bean-strings into fiddle-head soup

leaves a twang on your tongue

if you sip it right


hunkering under a larch
-more a lurch-
but shaded from rain anyway and its signature wet
plummet from ambiguous clouds to committed earth,

we trade smokes
crouched in ditches more sane
than war trenches,
defenseless, in fact,
from falling potato-sized drops
hurtling from the farm fields of heaven.

we are past sarcasms and wit,
so sodden the sudden breaks of blue -
soft and roiling crescents of sky -
are like music, or a promise from summer:
we lean on these.

we prefer polka to
international waltzes,
but in this cold relentless spring
time passes like bricks laid on walls that run across the horizon like
Great Walls of sunset.
we cannot dance yet,
feet screwed to muddirtearth
becoming one with the churnedsplatmurk
night coming
and the cold advances

we thank the stars we cannot see
that we are only hunkered here
sacrificing comforts
to see moonrise, and not
to shoot an unknown enemy

Nein One One

[The random words I used for this poem are in bold type]

I was a shy and guarded young bank exec
burning out my esophagus on breath mints and Marlboros
with little reverence for those not upwardly bound.
Each morning I downed two scrambled eggs,
three tabs of Concerta with high octane Starbucks
to keep distraction at bay,
commuted to work absorbed in audio books
on motivation, risk, and investment,
trusting fully in the omniscience
of finance gurus
and their high-stakes investment advice
until that cold morning when two wild geese
crashed into my office tower
and the resulting explosions that did not occur
reminded me of my unfinished life
and the irreversible damage i might not inflict
upon the precious and fragile world.

Teddy’s Grave

Under the repetitious tap of an indecisive rain,
a child’s first favorite toy turns to pulp.
Can it be saved? Her life is turning away
in a new shower of sparks, in her new beliefs
with their chemical base, in a craniosacral stew
boiled since her birthday.

This toy’s tinsel that charmed her
before she could speak mixes uneasily
into the ancient soil. Everything comes
to get what it will have. I don’t know
what I mean, here, finding the old thing,
smiling at what I can’t say. I sniff
through the rain and put that back,
right there, back to its decay.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Randomize -A Sliver of a Lie

A Sliver of a Lie

I have boiled tinsel
to turn water silver
I have had a craniosacral tap
to save my liver
I sniff repetition & sneeze
slam drunks
Tap Tap Tap
A random rattling rap
Thoughts per minute past
A random rattling rap
contains the sliver of
My lie last
So small so little
like me
only 5 ft 3

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunrise Crumbs Sticky Raincoat

I wake up in the rocking chair at sunrise,
the front of my raincoat sticky with crumbs.

My head throbs like a bass amp, suggesting
I’ll soon be receiving another message
in the form of a microbe.

I search for caffeine with the cold focus of a shark,
but we’ve already blown this week’s wages
on a few sticks of firewood and some buttered pasta.

Nights in this flat are so frigid I suspect
we’ll survive only by setting our hair ablaze
as broken moths batter the panes in hopeless prayer.

This is our garden. In need of weeding.

This is the flabby patrimony passed to us
by fathers who slid out the door when no one was watching.

So despite mama’s precautions,
here we are the knights of Haight
swearing oaths facedown in the dirt.

We wager cigarettes we don’t have over hands of euchre.

I bet my crutches on a sure thing and lost
as if you could vacuum a diamond out of this filthy carpet
or pan up gold in the open tank of our noisome toilet.

There’s no one watching over us now (except the crows)
and if you plan to stay, brother, trust me:
just keep your jacket on at all hours.

It's warmer that way, and you never know
when we'll have to make a swift exit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This Week's Prompt: Randomize

Each of these links will take you to a Random Word Generator. Some return real words, and some generate new words. Some allow you to determine the number or type of word you generate.

Try a couple.

Then generate some random words for yourself to use in a poem. You can include your word list in your post or put in the comments section.

Labels: poem, random, your tag

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Song, I am

I am late,


but worth waiting for

I be the god in the glottal stop

that can stop traffic,

put out streetlights in my sleep.

I am the cello-waisted

baritone under your breath,

makes the knees of bees

quiver in their hives,


I am the haze in Monet’s gaze,

a cat purring on your

sacred sacrum

while you dream

of roots reaching down to trace

the fractal weave of leaves,

the bloom of your lungs, singing,

bringing the be to becoming,


the strings of all those lost pianos

in Iowa fields, humming

a sea of middle-C’s

I am the sea change and return

I am the conclusion, foregone,

the forlorn beginning

of beginning again,

and again, a wren

wriggling the first worm

under her gibbous moon

the gibbon grinning

with the inside joke of every punch-



not so bad, baby,

not too late:

were worth
waiting for

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sing yourself - On track

On track

“On track”
Side track
Side rail
Discarded rail

Train tracks may be crossed in many places

Mind no anatomical heed
Turn off your magnetic attraction before approaching this powerful thorough way
of the iron breed

Leave no penny leave no traces

Slow moving yards
“All aboard”

Saturday, March 5, 2011

About Me

I look good in a suit.

I am addicted to bees.

I puncture easily.

I am not God. I am not moose.
I am something in between.

I am furless and sad.

I chuckle at rain.

I dream of jaguars
(as they dream of me).

I assume the guise of foxgloves
so you will notice me.

I love the nakedness of thunderclouds,
of skin on skin,
soul on soul.

I wish to soar between spires
in a deep wet forest.

I shiver in the presence 
of truth.

I do the craziest things
to postpone fear.

I write stories 
on blades of grass.

Sometimes I am as cruel
as the root that trips the child.

Sometimes I squabble with God.

I walk on tiptoe
through puddles of tears.

Did I say I look good in a suit?

I am part nostril, 
part water, 
part phlegm.

God drew my face
with chalk made from stars.

I am soft flesh housing
hot spirit.

I see the world suffering
and know I am not alone.

Kiss me while I am water
for tomorrow I will be mist.

a few haikus revealing self

this moment right now
is all i really know well
so please don't miss it.

hardscrabble farm kid
my blood runs thick with forests
that never get felled.

song of me wild flung
also soft in the shower
even mice can hear.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Better off wild / better off quiet

There is no beauty greater than I, sitting soundlessly on the ground until the time I rise.

I could jump in the lake or run down the hill keeping warm on adrenaline and zany abandon.

In dreams, Dr. Seuss trades drawings with me. Mick Jagger feels I’m a freath of bresh air.

Using mnemonic devices, I manage to check off items on the to do lists in my dreams.

A hundred poems a day and a novel get lost in the wind between my mind and the writing.

Empires treat my blood like gold. The violence is not my fault, but sometimes troubles me.

My body upon waking is the heaviest thing in the house. Elephants could not move me.

Any of my motes, acting alone, can heat the air in a room, but to cool it all must act in concert.

Top to bottom, the business world (gratefully) grinds to a standstill the days I play hooky.

The ocean will make me a fine bed where I will be able to roll all night and never fall out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sloppy Harvest

I'm trying to catch up on several prompts I missed in recent weeks, and what better way to get started than with the challenge to run a race and write a poem in 75 seconds or less. Here's what happened when I took that dare, in the order these things came out of me. I've only left a couple of takes on the editing-room floor, and I tried not to tinker too much with what was on the page. I think I ended up with the lyrics to fourteen B-sides. Anyway, let's unleash the doggerel...

A greyhound flies down the line.
“Spinach, tonight?” says the man with the cigar.
“No, no, no. Place or show. Otherwise, I’m not eating at all,”
she replies, showing him the ticket in her hand.
And that’s how it went in those days,
when we were young and selling ourselves for Caesar.


Hit me. I’ll take another.
I’ll buy a vowel.
I’ll take a train to the other side of the oyster.
I’m riding what you’re hiding
and dying for the dream.

Hit me. I’ll take another.
I’m on fire.
I’ll retire.
I’m drowning my sorrows in water.
Firewater really oughta solve something.

Right? A solvent.


Scrubbing the backs of our minds we find the time that we were in Syria and went to the seaside only to find everything sliding off the edge of the earth into an afternoon of asteroids and that’s annoying when it’s not really what you planned for an outing with the kids. What’s a guy to do?


Another attempt. The bell and off we go.
It’s almost like swinging, desperately for your life,
against the fists of some other sick animal
thrown in the ring with you and trying to prove
its self-worth through vicious metaphors and wicked verbs
against the jaw, the ear, the kidney, the eyes.
It hurts to rip it up and lay it on the page. It hurts.


Too strict? I’m much too strict with myself.
Give me the rules and I play by the rules.
That’s the kind of fool I am.
Too strict? I’m much too strict with myself.
Tell me how it’s done and I’ll do it.
Kind? I’m much too kind with my hands.
My mind is another matter entirely,
judging, jeering, jangling at all hours.
Strict, and on the other hand too kind.


Running in the three-legged race at that picnic place
and all we know is that when this is over
we’ll really jump in the sack.


Off they go. Headlong. Headstrong. Young and nothin’ stops them.
Home they come. Burnt and jaded, blue jeans faded, and nothin’ll be the same.
That’s the story, again and again, the search for glory and the prodigal crash.
And ask yourself, when the pup comes back with its tail between its legs,
what if I tried to fly with these clumsy paws? Who would catch me, sweet?
Who would patch me up?


Focus breaks down the second the sound
of the keys in the lock of the internet turn,
keys clicking through the linking of her obsessions,
embarrassed sessions of nothing she’d like to tell.

But everyone knows her well – so no surprise waits inside
for history’s menu. She’ll clear her cache and rewrite it,
she thinks, kidding herself. She’s just a kid
with a much too powerful toy.


The editor awakes before you do,
and is already inspecting the way you make breakfast,
the temperature of the shower, the lateness of the hour.
Shouldn’t you have been awake by now, you ask yourself.
Shouldn’t you have been different than you are?
Every minute of every day. Who’s to say
the words would be better if you gave them time?


And then he came along,
an ivory-billed woodpecker
with something to prove.
Sat on the bar and told me his tale,
just for the price of a bottle of ale.
And I’m not sure who to believe.
Everyone else said he was nuts,
but the bayou never looked the same
after he explained
the way it all went down.
That’s why I moved to town.
I never looked back.
Packed up my bag and went down the levee.
No, I never looked back.


If I was a writer other than the writer I am
I wouldn’t sit and writhe here and wonder
what letters would come out of my pen.
But I’m the writer who’s a survivor
of living in editing hell.
So I’d be a liar if I put down a line here
that wasn’t quite ready to fail.


Funny. I’ve been here before.
I think I’ve dug a hole exactly this deep with a different shovel.
I dug three holes just like it, ten feet apart, with three different shovels.
If I recall correctly, the next step is
to clamber out of the hole
and blame someone else.
So let’s get on with it.


Just freeze in one place. That’s one way to deal with it.
Back up to see if you can escape. That’s how a cat would react.
Fluff up your feathers to appear as big as possible. Size might help.
Bark as loud as you can. Sometimes that’s the trick.
Strategies. Strategies. We get so stuck on them.


The wisdom of the barn, so long from where I live now.
Yet a horse taught me to bow when I walked that path.
May I remember his quiet grace as I kick at my stall today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Song, by Elvis Aphrodite

if you want a song where it is like the star spangled banner and everyone has their mouths open and everyone is feeling fervent, that's not my song

am i more like elvis presley belting it out, only elvis is playing an accordion
that is like a red bowling ball, glittery and bright,

only elvis presley is the goddess aphrodite, and also ceres,
offering organic persimmons that are floating out of the red bowling ball colored accordion music

only elvis-aphrodite is also a cosmic nova, and also playing songs
to support uprising farmworkers, who are also protesting the destruction

of old growth forests, and also she-he-they, red and glowing --wait, also
orange like thin sunrise fiestas or how poppies can shout through their
purple fuzzy gullets, fiery pumpkin frothy pompous and swiveling in the wind,

already instantiating by their very presence, a quavering in the air
from shimmy shaking, a reverberating
a new/ancient sounding, something orchestral and galactic
change-making by its very sound, awakening, startling, sonorous
like whale song in the garden, inspiring halle-lus and clapping
coming from that crimson shiny bowling ball accordion

and maybe, maybe, yeah, everyone is also mouths open belting it out,
about spiral revolution, but also peacefully smiling, knowing
it is already made so by the very presence of our synaesthesia,
our knowing, our loving, our cavorting, our crimson shininess,
our fantastic capacity to dance
through portalways of time and place

yes that song that song that song