Title That Poem

I’m slowly cleaning out my In Progress folder. In the last two months I’ve work-shopped, edited and moved out several poem. Tonight’s high point was finally making a decision on how to incorporate the feedback I got on a poem in the July workshop. I spit it into two poems and moved them into the appropriate folder.

I’ve heard it said that poems are never finished, but simply abandoned. It may be true. Some of the poems in this folder have been there for years. The oldest file, titled Twilight, is dated 2016. When I opened up the document, I see three different attempts at a short poem, each titled Twilight, the earliest dated 2000.  Twilight is my least favorite time of day. That might be why I never got that one together.

But let’s move on. Today I need your help getting another poem out of limbo. I wrote this one for this year’s April Poem-a-Day challenge. The prompt was to incorporate 6 specific words in the poem. I managed to do that fairly quickly, with one of the prompt words in each of six lines. And then I stalled.  I wasn’t feeling it and eventually just wrapped it up with a rather silly/jokey ending, and saved it as “6 words” because I couldn’t be bothered with creating a real title.

I’ve decided that I want to stick a fork in it, and call it done. A plastic fork, not a stainless steel one because I might want to revisit it at some time. I just need it out of the folder so I can “find” it someday and either revise it or delete it. But before I can do that, I need a title to rename the file and add it to the inventory. That’s where I need your help Dear Reader.  Please read the poem below and post your suggestions for a title in the comments. Bonus points and undying love if you come up with a better final line. I might even have a prize to send.

The wolves are howling in the hills.
The lonely sound echoes in my belly.
It has been too long since I felt your embrace.
As my resolve grows to remedy
this situation, the fixtures that keep us apart
become as bumps in the road.
I’ll be there as soon as I find my shoes!

 

dance

Hair!

Dear Diary,

I’ve heard that women must suffer for beauty. I reject that notion! I will process my trauma through poetry.

Princess JM

Corona Hair
I’m here to tell a sad tale
of a beauty salon visit fail.

I went from hair, hair everywhere
to hardly any, anywhere.

Four months without a cut
I was in a hairy rut.

My big head looked like a poodle
not a human but a canine’s noodle.

I skipped the chain store cutters
and went to a salon with my mother.

Short hair is the style for me.
Clipper and guard are so easy.

But the communication lacked
and thus was my hair hacked.

Instead of length one inch
I got less, just a pinch.

I won’t cry because hair grows
but not as fast as Pinocchio’s nose.

 

How I started

JM is poodle

How I ended

post haircut 1 new hair

Put on Your Fancy Pants

We are going back in time to the Victorian Age!

I love words and I collect unique and interesting words. I squirrel them away in files and when I’m bored or procrastinating and want to do anything but write, I read through them. Included in my files is a list of fun but obscure words that were popular during the Victorian Age.

Recently e-Quips, my pal and fellow blogger posted an article she found featuring Victorian Slang. It reminded me of a poem I wrote during the April Poem a Day Challenge using some of the words from my list. I’ve been told by certain readers that I don’t post enough poetry; so without further ado, here is my forgotten about, just-for-fun poem. If some of the vocabulary is new to you, you can look them up in the Mental Floss article, 56 Delightful Victorian Slang Terms You Should Be Using.

The Future is Effulgent

When I get out of here
I’m going to run across town,
straight into your arms.

I’ve got the morbs and I need
to see your giggle-mug.

I want to plant a wet one
on your sauce-box,

When we come up for air
from the longest smooch.
we’ll celebrate with some hooch

And when we are forswunke
from all the canoodling
we’ll step outside for a lazy soodle.

When I get out of here
I’m going to run across town,
straight into your arms.

I should have been there the whole time.

Zooming Poetry

Today was the NC Poetry Society’s Sam Ragen Awards Day. Poets, family, and friends gathered, via Zoom, to hear poets read the first and second place, and honorable mention poems of the 2020 contest.

It was my first time attending an NCPS event. They start at 10:00 in the morning when I am generally asleep, and are held at a small town almost two hours away. Frankly, the “commute” (to my desk) this morning was a bit much. I didn’t sign in till 10:30. However, as an Honorable Mention-er, I made the effort.

It was good but frankly, I’m a bit over saturated. The day started with readings for the youth contest winners, followed by an open mic. After a thirty-minute break, the adult contest first, second and honorable mention winners (10 categories) fread from 1:00 to 2:30. Yikes! That’s a LOT of poetry!

I’m glad we have technology to support us during this time of social distancing, but there are drawbacks. Everyone is muted except the person speaking, and the lack of sound makes the experience a bit desolate.  During the youth readings the screen was filled with small windows of participants. Lots of folks put hands in the air to clap. The moderator for the adult contest, elected to have the speaker show up in a large window. Many thanks to the generous audience members who kept the comments coming in the chat window! My poem is in the humor category and I missed hearing laughter. I also have a new appreciation for all the late-night talk show hosts who are doing their stand-up monologues in empty rooms. Tough gig!

But enough about me. Let’s talk about my poem. Now that the NCPS annual anthology of winning contest poems has been published and is being mailed, I am now free to share my poem here, with permission and recognition. Enjoy.

Husbandry
Husband number 1 was my ticket out of town
away from the local factory which swallowed
hopeless high school graduates.
When we got to Vegas I gave back the ring
and told him, kindly, “It ain’t no thing.”

Husband number 2 was my sugar daddy.
He earned a living from the poker tables
and wore me like decoration.
But when he hit a losing streak
I left town with a computer geek.

Husband number 3 was my baby daddy.
It was all coos and cuddles until
we argued about dishes and diapers.
He gave me a boy but not a better life
so I left him, and he found a better wife.

Husband number 4 was the high school coach.
I went to all the hometown games
to cheer on the team and whet his whistle.
It turns out that he was not a good lay
but my kid didn’t need a dad anyway.

My son is grown with a wife of his own
and I’m starting to feel that familiar itch.
Hey Good Looking! Wanna get hitched?

First publisher: Pinesong: Awards 2020, Vol. 56

In Praise of Endings

I am happy to see the end of April, National Poetry Month, and another poem-a-day challenge.  I am filled with poetry, saturated with similes, overflowing with metaphor. I have a pile of new poetry to sort through. Some are complete, and some will go to workshop. Some will rest quietly, unseen and undisturbed, while some will venture forth seeking publication. It’s all good. As I write this, it is not quite midnight, so I present, my final April 2020 poem:

In Praise of Endings

When the music stops
tired revelers linger in the boozy glow.
Children sleep in laps
while adults sprawl in lazy repose
around tables heaped with dishes
reluctant to break the spell
until at last the lights must out.
Home beckons. That too
is a celebration.

Our lives are defined by edges.
The infinity of time measured
in minutes, hours, days.
Doors that swing open and shut.
Buzzers, bells, and blood.
Every transition has a moment
even if we don’t recognize the boundaries
until years have passed.

We move through the world
discovering and knowing who we are
by our beginnings and endings.
Every first is twinned with a last.
The exquisite lovely pain of separation ̶
the beautiful space where once lips touched ̶
creates panting anticipation of the next.

Be grateful for the end of suffering,
whether a temporary release
or the lasting peace of death.
And pray that the end of happiness
is not sorrow but contentment.


And now, a bonus poem. You can blame Pat for this one. She’s the who told me to post more poetry.  This was my final, April 30th poem for the 2019 PAD challenge.

End Stop

“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” – LOTR, Tolkein

here at the end of April
our love affair grows cold
even as the days heat up

I won’t stop looking
until the tide erases your words
written in the sand

 

Dear Diary…

Today is day eleventy-twenty of being quarantined exiled for the good of the kingdom. My enemies may be invisible, but I know they are still out there, lurking. I cover my face and dress in rags when I venture into the woods for substance. So far the disguise is working but I miss my people and long for my crown, now rusting in the pantry.

Princess JM

emoji disappointed

Oh, hey there! How are you doing? Where are my poets at?  Congratulations if you are currently still swinging in the April Poem A Day challenge. We’re past the half-way point. Keep up the good work, whether you’ve got one for every day or not.  The rest of you still have over two weeks to write a poem. I believe in you!

I am happy to report that I have finally written a few non-plague poems! I mean, everyone knows we’re living in bizarro-world right now. The time has come to look up.

I’m mostly following Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides  prompts, but after years of this, I’m getting bored with the repeats. Luckily my poetic colleague, Lisa Tomey, has been offering alternative daily prompts. The first non-plague poem I wrote was to her wake up prompt. Click here to read it. It’s in the comments of her post for that day.

And, just for fun, here’s the poem that I wrote to the April 13th prompt, “write a purpose poem.” Yes, there’s no imagination in the title I choose but then again, the poem is not that imaginative either, as this item actually exists in my home. I’m open to suggestions for a new title. Please leave them in the comments.

Purpose

A place for everything ̶
everything in its place ̶
everything else in the junk drawer.

A tidy home is not the same
as a clean home. I know
where everything is;
just don’t look close at my floor.

Everything has a purpose
except the quarter inch of plastic
I found on the floor one day.
It might be a screw,
but it has grippers on it,
although it’s too small to hold a picture.
The hole on top
is for an allen wrench
if I had one that small.

Where did it come from?
What does it do?
Can I afford to toss it away?
These unanswerable questions
keep it in my drawer.

odd nut 1

Passover, Plague, Poetry

April 8th was the first night of Passover. I was blessed with an invitation to a beautiful Passover Seder hosted by dear friends via Zoom. Prior to the meal, participants received a link to a Haggadah, which is essentially a program that details each part of the ritual including questions and responses, prayers and songs, in Hebrew with English translations. 

Given that we are currently enduring a Corvid-19 pandemic, it was especially poignant to celebrate the liberation of the Jewish people after their captors had suffered through 10 plagues. That’s a lot of suffering. I’m very glad that we have only one at the moment… sort of. More on that later. Why were there so many plagues in this story?  As I’m neither Jewish or a biblical scholar I can’t answer that question. I only know that Exodus says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Hmph. He must have been a Republican.

It would be overblown and sensational to say we’re living in a parallel universe, but there is an old truism that states: “Everything old is new again.” During the Passover Seder, participants recite the 10 plagues. If you need a reminder, they were, in order: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Death of the first born. A difficult list to be sure, but I got choked up by this statement that came next.

The joy of our celebration today is also lessened by our awareness of sorrow and oppression in all parts of the world. The plagues of the Egyptians can be said to be repeated in modern tragedies. As the pain of others lessens our joy, let us once more take from our juice or wine as we say together these current day plagues: Hunger, War, Homelessness, Domestic Violence, Environmental Destruction, Injustice, Poverty, Toxic Chemicals, Pollution of the Earth. and Lack of Health care. L’Chaim- To Life: A UU Haggadah for Church Celebrations, copyright 2012 -Rev. Julie-Ann Silberman-Bunn

Next Year in person! May all people live in peace! Happy Passover, L’Chaim, To Life!

~  / /  ~

National Poetry Month is rolling on. Are you one of many writers committed to writing a Poem A Day? I am committed to writing as many poems as I am moved to write. That might be 30, 20 or some other number. My output as of April 8, is 7 poems. But here’s the problem. They’re all plague poems! They all reference either the pandemic directly or the current dystopian environment we are in at the moment.

I’m not one to share everything I write. Some are fodder for a critique workshop; some are just poetry practice. However, in the spirit of the month, and Passover,  I’m going to share 2 of my plague poems. Enjoy. Stay safe. Keep washing your hands. Moisturize.

Breathless

I wanted a moment that took my breath away,
to be held close and get lost in your eyes,
before a kiss so deep we come away
panting with passion.

Instead I got the brush of a stranger,
a fever and a cough,
and a ventilator to push air
into my breathless body.

The nurses assure me that you are well,
safe and sheltered at home.
Their gloved hands hold mine
a poor substitute for yours.

When it is my turn to go, breathe deep
and I will come to you on the wind.

Dating in the Time of Corona
We are six feet apart, shoulder to shoulder,
if we both stretched our arms
and touched fingertips.
Forbidden to do so, we resort
to mutual masturbation.

Honorable Mention

I am very pleased to announce that one of my poems has won an Honorable Mention from the North Carolina Poetry Society‘s annual poetry contest. The contest is open to members and the public at large. They always offer several categories, some by theme, and some in honor of a person. This year there were 11 categories, and I submitted a poem to  six of them.

It was my poem Husbandry in the Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse category that won. Click here to see the complete list of categories and winners. All of the winning poems will be published in the NCPS annual anthology, Pinesong, and I get to read it at their May meeting.

The poem is a first person (fictitious) account, of my many husbands. I have no idea where the idea came from but I’m very much indebted to the Living Poetry Critique Group for their valuable assistance in helping me get it just right.

In other news: Bio-logy 2

This year’s Heron Clan anthology, number seven in the series, is almost ready to go to print. We’re still waiting for six tardy poets to submit bios. They’ve been given a firm go/no go deadline. Oh sure, they’ll still see their poem(s) in the book, but no one will know who they are.

In previous years, poets had 100 words to talk about themselves and that was included in the Call for Submission. However,  the response was so big that we accepted more poets than in any other edition, 131 to be exact. We realized that 100 words for each would not be feasible, so we set a new limit of  50 words per poet (or as close as possible). About 40 percent came in already at an acceptable length. That meant that I had to email the other 60 percent.

The experienced poets with extensive publication credits came right back with short bios. Poets who had no or few publishing credits needed the most help. Can you guess that’s what sparked my last post? That said, here’s one more tip for writing a bio that I didn’t know I needed to tell people:  Put your name in your bio.  In other words, don’t assume the bio is going to be underneath your poem. It may be at the back of book, coughHC7cough.

My favorite bio of all them was the one line bio from an older gentlemen who included “being a grandfather” in his list of skills. Now that’s gold!

I believe the books will be available in mid to late April, in case anyone is waiting for it!

November Musings

I promised myself I’d do at least one post a month. It’s still November right? I mean, for a few hours anyway!  Today I thought I’d write to the banner on my blog: “work, life, poetry.” Let’s see what happens!

Work:  I’m swimming in poetry! I and the other editors for the Heron Clan have been reading poetry for over a month. Submission end today which is good for us because we’ve gotten almost 500 poems. It’s fun and rewarding to read so much good poetry, but it’s a lot of work. I really enjoy the meetings with the other editors as we check votes and discuss the close calls. After we get through them all, then it will get really difficult as we cull the first round into a manageable number of poems for the book.

Life: I have to replace my phone. I’ve been getting notices from my service provider for months that they are making changes to their network (cell towers, G’s, I dunno, some kind of  technical mishegas) and that my phone won’t work when that happens.  The deadline is drawing nigh and I can’t put it off anymore. I have three complaints about this. 1. $. I don’t want to spend it on a new phone. 2. I anticipate a painful transition. 3. I don’t know whether to stay with Android or try the Apple iPhone. Wish me luck!

Poetry:  The official calendar day for giving thanks has past, but gratitude shouldn’t be on a schedule. The more the better.  So here’s my thank you poem – with apologies to those who have read it already, and please forgive the schmaltzy sentiment.

I Give Thanks

I give thanks for my roof and my walls,
the space in-between, thanks for the halls.
I also give thanks for the great outside
for the world offers a wonderful ride.

I give thanks for the sun, moon, stars in the sky,
sound and silence, the shouts and the sighs.
As the Earth turns I really must say
I give thanks for the nights and for the days.

I give thanks for the A, B and C’s
and all the letters through to the Z’s,
all of the words and the punctuation
the numbers and the multiplication.

I give thanks for my hands and my feet
and every time you and I meet.
I give thanks for all you are and all you do.
Blessings and health I pray for you.