The mystic peers into the scrying glass,
Searching the swirling mists of time and space
For clues of events that will come to pass,
Finding no outline her finger can trace
Of my waiting path or the trials I’ll face.
My story is one only I can write.
Tarot cards and runes hold no magic sight.
The future is shaped by my own choices;
Required actions, no matter my fright;
Never determined by mystic voices.
As we gather to bid
A festive farewell to a difficult year,
The whiskey, rum, and memories flow.
Opportunities for celebration
Have been fleeting
In a year marked
With much tragedy.
We pause to acknowledge
The empty seats at our table,
Taking comfort in knowing
They still join us in spirit.
We dance with no sense of rhythm
And sing horribly off-key,
Oblivious to the video camera
Documenting our foolishness
For future entertainment and embarrassment.
We eat and drink far too much,
Choices we will certainly come to regret.
Most of all, we renew
The bonds that link our hearts
And pray we survive
To gather yet again next year.
Balmy summer days find him
Tending his lawn with
The same pride and work ethic
That carried him through forty years
In the smoke of a dimly lit factory.
Age and weather have carved
A constant scowl onto his face,
Intimidating any children venturing
Too near his perfectly trimmed lawn.
The squirrels, however, show no such fear.
The furry insurgents conduct
Daring raids on his bird feeder,
Build bunkers in the backyard
To store winter provisions,
Taunting him from the treetops
With their chattering propaganda.
This cold December morning
Finds him on his front porch,
Something resembling a smile
Cracking his aged features,
Carrying a peace offering
Of walnuts and cashews
For his tiny adversaries.
It is the season of peace on Earth,
And peace shall reign in his yard,
At least until the spring thaw
When the hostilities begin anew.
The journey of my life
Has taken many odd twists,
Detours both unwelcome and unplanned.
To correct my erratic course,
I must demolish the barriers in my way.
I seek to transform my life,
To forge a new path forward.
Hazards hide around every turn
On the treacherous road ahead.
A wiser woman would
Abandon this foolish crusade,
But an instinctive sense of direction
Tells me I must press on
If I ever hope to reach a better resolution.
I've pondered the self-portrait I’m creating, More Monet than Picasso, Countless points of poetic color that When viewed from a distance Form a reasonable rendering of me.
No manger in this Mary’s destiny,
No shepherds waiting sore afraid in the fields.
The tidings heard in my life
Are seldom ones of joy and peace.
I’ve walked the path of sorrows.
I’ve fallen prey to the relentless talons of fear.
Unfortunately, a heart given in haste often attracts both.
I live by own decree,
Ignoring the wise counsel of others,
The glimmer in my eyes more imp than angel.
Self-restraint and prudence rarely appear
In my ever-changing color palette.
This self-portrait is far from complete, And, in the end, I hope I was proven worthy Of adding my signature to the canvas.
Wrap the presents. Trim the tree.
Run to the store for batteries.
Time to hang the stockings up.
Pour fresh eggnog in my cup.
Bake the cookies, it’s getting late.
Try to save one for Santa’s plate.
Out of coffee, need some more,
Go back to that blasted store
To pick up everything I missed.
Now where did I put that stupid list?
Check the broken Christmas lights.
Wish I could have a Silent Night.
Learned my lesson, next year I’ll begin it
Before the absolute very last minute.
Wild hearts cannot be contained
In boxes of conformity.
Submission will never be attained.
Wild hearts cannot be contained,
Denied, defiled, constrained,
Or daunted by life’s enormity.
Wild hearts cannot be contained
In boxes of conformity.
Gathered around our glowing tree
We sing festive songs of hope reborn,
A belief that love extends to all on Earth.
Your voice rings with misplaced conviction
As you rumple, crumple, discard my weary heart,
A wrapping never meant to be recycled.
As a little girl I dreamt of my fairy tale ending,
Like the ones in my bedtime stories,
Karma’s lessons taught by
Monsters, dragons, and evil stepmothers.
My heart was much simpler to operate then.
Puppy love requires little sacrifice.
Sorrows lasted just until the next boy came along.
Experience creates a different hierarchy,
A sober understanding of the value
Of love and it’s sacred mission.
No one warned me lies and betrayal are a cancer
Eating away any foundation of trust,
Leaving only a malignant anguish
That infects every aspect of life.
No one ever explained how a fairy tale princess
Survives the death of a dream.
I stand at the crossroads
Of the waning year and the next,
Casting weary glances in both directions.
Never merely a game,
Life has dealt a difficult hand this round,
States of profound sadness
Leaving imprints on my soul
I fear will never fade.
The future is always uncertain,
Both luck and trouble can happen
Without cause or warning.
I turn my eyes to the heavens,
Searching the deepest purple
For a hint of the dream
That has guided citizens of the world
For more than two millennia,
Hoping to see angels bending near the earth,
But not all angels know how to fly.
Perhaps it would do no harm
To lag here among those angels,
If only for a moment.
Time melts in our hands
Like snowflakes caught in the December sun,
Lingering just long enough
To amaze us with its intricacies.
We cocoon ourselves in regrets --
The words never spoken,
The hugs never given,
Opportunities lost to the ages --
Poor shelter from the harsh winds of eternity.
I was cursed with a poet’s heart,
A blessing in disguise.
I dissect life to its smallest part.
I was cursed with a poet’s heart.
I taste the sweet but crave the tart,
Trading smiles for tears and sighs.
I was cursed with a poet’s heart,
A blessing in disguise.
This is my last whiskey bottle,
Emptied to carry my last message to you.
I remain trapped in a sea of corn and soybeans
On a small island that grows smaller
With each passing day.
The natives are friendly
But persistent in tracking my activities,
Much harder to tolerate
Given the lack of whiskey.
Still waiting for that rescue you promised.
I miss you.
P.S. If you can’t send a rescue plane,
Or if you expect another message,
Please send another bottle of whiskey.
“So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp…”
Excerpt from a blog post from the Centers for Disease Control Public Health Matters Blog on May 16th, 2011 by Ali S. Khan.
“We ask that everyone please remain calm.
The zombie horde approaches,
Mindless entities bent on destruction.
We have yet to identify the source of mutation,
Whether a voodoo ritual gone horribly awry,
A failed laboratory experiment,
Or bacteria seeking retribution
Upon the makers of antibiotics.
Those in close proximity are asked
To barricade themselves in their homes,
Venturing out at this time will
Only increase your personal risk.
We will bring you further information
As the situation develops.”
We sit in silence behind our locked doors,
Blankly staring at our televisions,
Unaware that when the hungry mutants breach our defenses,
They will find they are far too late;
We became them long ago.
Always an observer,
Face pressed against the glass,
Until one kiss fueled my heart,
Released from gravity’s grip,
Into rapid ascension
Through the atmosphere,
Through the spacious cosmos.
A splash of his rare elements
Formed an enigma in me,
Allowing the pulsations of distant stars
To echo through my soul,
Creating yet another love struck voyager
Searching for the true final frontier.
Note: I'm not terribly happy with the title to this and would welcome any suggestions you may have :)
We trim our plastic tree
By the glow of battery-operated candles.
Silk poinsettias adorn
The mantle of the electric fireplace.
We greet each other
With forced smiles and feigned affection,
Saving the animosity
To serve with our New Year’s hangovers.
She was a passive observer
To her own life.
She knew resistance,
Even independent thought,
Might trigger another “incident.”
She sought refuge
Behind her white flag,
To her lot in life.
He broke the rules of engagement,
Leaving her as his first
Casualty of war.
The Geneva Conventions
Never did apply
On the battlefield of matrimony.
When my train of thought
Careened off the tracks,
I stammered and fiddled;
Desperately searched for a clue
In the faces of my companions;
Employed the polished political art
Of overstating nothingness
In as superfluous a manner as possible.
Thankfully, the conductor regained control
And order was restored,
Before I looked like a complete buffoon.
I undertake a delicious mission.
The subtle smells
Of vanilla and cinnamon
Give an inkling
Of the treasures my kitchen holds,
Tins and jars laden with
Pecan-crusted raspberry thumbprint cookies,
Almond bark swirled with walnuts and raisins,
Banana bars studded with chocolate chips,
A snowy dusting of powdered sugar on top,
To arouse amorous thoughts
In the most jaded of eaters
And to entice
Right over the precipice.
As I set another
Warm pan of holiday cheer
To cool on a trivet,
I genuflect briefly
Toward the North Pole
And continue creating
Peace on Earth,
One batch at a time.
She sits alone in the darkness,
Cold steel in her hands.
He was her fulcrum of chaos,
A black hole
Her gullible heart.
Her head is spinning,
Subliminal whispers of his guilt
Rush through her mind.
Tears stream across her ruddy cheeks
And the fading echoes of his anger.
She gives a slight shudder,
Knowing he will return soon,
Confident he has broken her at last.
She hears a rustle at the door,
The lock tumbling,
About the untidy state of his house.
Consequences must be paid.
Tonight, she evens her odds
As the cold steel in her hands roars to life.
Read a thousand times,
Deserve proper burial.
Fire will consume all.
Smoke carries away
I can finally find peace
Amongst the ashes.
For our family, in November
All roads led to West Virginia,
To Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
The first few to venture downstairs
In the predawn quiet
Would find Grandma in her armchair,
Coffee in hand,
Chesterfield smoldering in the ashtray,
Tosha pacing around her feet.
He would permit a few ear scratches
Before retreating with a regal yowl
That only a Siamese can muster.
After few more cups of coffee
And a few more sets of helping hands awoke,
The final dinner preparations would begin.
As the turkey was washed and stuffed
And the potatoes peeled,
We would share our stories,
The ones retold often enough
To become our family’s mythology:
Aunt Rose’s bean catastrophe,
How Uncle Ronald rescued Muffin as a kitten,
The time Grandma undercooked the holiday ham
And hid behind the refrigerator in shame.
Through the laughter and the chopping and the endless dishes
Our bonds grew stronger
As we added new stories to the family mythology.
Today Thanksgiving still finds me awake before dawn,
Coffee in hand,
Cigarette smoldering in the ashtray,
And I feel Grandma’s presence at my own table
Much like at hers all those years ago.
Through the chopping and the endless dishes
She whispers her stories to me,
And our bond, though tinged with sadness,
Is still as strong as ever
As I help add new stories to our family’s mythology.
Every time I hear him sing “Angel Eyes,”
I am transported back to 1989
And piercing blue eyes
That saw right through my hollow heart.
Together on the hood of my Camaro,
We spent hours plotting
Our course through the summer stars,
Flicking spent cigarettes into the gravel,
Watching the shallow arc of the embers in the darkness.
Our teenage sense of invincibility
Made our future seem certain.
Soon enough we learned
That type of arrogance
Strips away illusions,
Leaving misery and pain in its wake
As the final chord of our love song
Faded into silence.
Jeff Healey can have the keys back now,
At least until my next trip into the past.
Granny’s overgrown raspberry bush lie
Next to the faded green garage.
The sprawling canes seemed
A writhing mass of snakes,
Poised to bite any who ventured near.
I would be sent into its midst,
Deliberately picking my way through the tangled branches
In search of its gleaming black gems.
“Sometimes,” Granny would tell me,
“To find the sweetest fruit,
You have to be willing to brave the thorns.”
Waking ends the dreams that
Haunt my days,
Echoing through the hours until
Night and dreams come again.
Eyes of darkest espresso,
Visible smile lines crinkle the
Edges, something sad and lost
Revealed in the depths.
I can hear his voice,
Desperately calling my name,
Reaching out to find me,
Elusive, but still present
As I seek to find
My dreams in reality.
Racing the clock
Racing the best
Best of the best
Best man wins
Wins don’t come easy
Wins mean all
All on the line
All or nothing
Nothing to lose
Nothing to gain
Gain a position
Respect the drivers
Respect the tradition
Tradition of excellence
Tradition to preserve
Preserve your sanity
Preserve your racecar
Racecar on track
Racecar is fast
Fast is good
Fast is first
First to the line
First to victory
Lane rubbers in
Lane opens up
Up on the wheel
Up for the ride
Ride the lightning
Ride the edge
Edge of disaster
Edge of glory
Road to ruin
Road to legend
Legend is earned
Legend is forever
Free to run
Free to race
Race to the front
Race to the finish
I’m now two weeks into the Poem a Day Chapbook challenge over at the Writer’s Digest website, and I’m having a blast. I was a bit concerned when I started this that I would not be able to grind it out every day and that I would run short on inspiration. That has certainly not proven to be the case. I’m more energized about my writing than I have been in years, and so far creativity has been flowing.
My biggest surprise so far in this is my renewed interest in form poetry. Normally my poems fall into free verse, but so far this month I’ve tackled an acrostic and several shadormas (which may be my new favorite poetic form.) I’m working on my first villanelle and may even try to tackle the dreaded sestina.
My goals for participating in this challenge are pretty straightforward. I want to complete a poem every day this month and put the best together into a chapbook. I hope to improve my self-discipline when it comes to my writing, putting paper to pen on a regular schedule after the challenge is over. And finally, I’d like to connect more with some other writers on this poetic journey, both online and in person. I know from experience how much feedback helps me, and through the Poetic Asides blog at writersdigest.com and exploring some of the blogs of the other poets participating in the challenge I’ve been able to find a few. I’m also planning to try attending more meetings of the local poetry society, met a great bunch of poets there even if it is a small chapter.
I’d like to thank everyone that has been stopping by to read my poetry. The comments and the climbing view count totals are so encouraging to me. As long as you’re still willing to stop by and check things out, I’ll be happy to continue posting my little poems here for you. Happy reading!
Someone relegated me
To the Wednesday morning curbside trash pick-up.
Newlyweds who couldn’t afford more rescued me,
Washed my black vinyl,
Patched my rips with duct tape,
And made me part of their lives.
I held a nursing mama and baby
That September day when tears and towers fell.
I’ve been a train, a fort, and a trampoline,
Surviving leaky diapers and spilled apple juice,
But now I’m more duct tape than vinyl.
Today the newlyweds are getting a brand-new living room set,
And I’ve has once again been relegated
To the Wednesday morning curbside trash pick-up.
The porcelain couple
Slips from my fingers,
Bride and groom
Tumbling end over end,
Hurtling at full speed
Toward chaotic disintegration
On the hardwood floor.
In the bride’s shattered smile
Lies subtle symbolism
That I notice
And he never will.
From a book of Dylan Thomas
A faded photograph fell,
1992 on the back in my hand.
Two lovers’ smiles,
His wide and cocky,
Mine thinner and a bit forced.
My make-up is heavier:
Concealer carefully layered and blended
Around my right eye;
Eyeliner slightly darker around the left,
A deliberate strike
To counter the effects of
His deliberate strike;
Lipstick the color of dried blood,
Unflattering but sufficient camouflage.
Familiar emotions resurface
As I stare at the woman
Who only exists
In that picture and my memory:
I rip the photo in half,
Permanently unpacking that bit of pain,
And find one more emotion
I’m finally prepared to add to my list:
I inherited poetry from my mother,
Who recited Keats and Dickinson from memory
To two young daughters,
Her passion adding value to their words.
Early on I discovered my own passion
For cadence and phrase,
An ability to sculpt pain,
Smoothing the jagged edges,
Carving out minute details
In monuments to human emotion.
I found I could dive into the darkness
Searching the soul for the salvation of truth,
But the darkness frightened me.
Darkness had trapped so many,
Lost to addiction, to insanity,
And fear enabled responsibility
To silence the dreaming artist.
Poetry and responsibility,
Two warring partners
In the dance of my life.
Laundry, dishes, finances,
All stepping forward to take my hand
And waltz me down the sensible path.
The dreaming artist inside
Still plays the muse’s song,
Just audible enough to haunt my days,
An endless tune I can’t escape.
Today I make my choice.
I step forward to accept
The fate cast upon me years ago:
An artist brushing loss and regret
Across the canvas in portraits of heartache,
Interpreting human frailties to share with all.
Today I decide to dance in the darkness,
Assuming the title I’ve shrugged off until now.
The fluorescent gas station glow
Turned flurries into falling stars.
Matching footprints in virgin snow,
Hand in hand we walked.
He leaned closer, then kissed me,
One perfect moment
When the rest of the world melted away,
Leaving only the two of us
And a shower of stars.
But the snow melted
Much as he melted out of my life,
A memory etched in the frost of yesterday.
I’ve chased that kiss for twenty winters now.
I’ve sought refuge from the blizzard
With poor substitutes unable to thaw my icy heart.
One came close, but he turned colder
And I barely escaped his glacial chill.
I still brave the cold,
Hoping my lonely set of footprints
Will once again find its match
As I search for that perfect moment,
When one kiss made the world melt away
In a shower of falling stars.
If you could see through my eyes
You would not recognize the woman in my mirror,
Watching the happy façade that greets you
Crumble in the privacy of my room.
You would see my path is not of my choosing,
Crippled by an emotion too strong to forget.
You would see a world of tender fantasies
Dying of neglect.
If you could listen with my ears
You would hear the echoes of love,
All that a shattered heart will hold.
With my ears you would hear the yearning wind
Blowing your name through the willows each night,
A constant reminder of my pain.
If you could stand in my place,
You would walk my lonely streets
And understand the tears I never reveal,
The life I can’t piece together.
You would battle for my sanity,
A victory slipping out of reach
With each breath I take.
If you could dream with my heart
You would remember the prince
Who rescued and condemned me with one smile.
You would find I’m losing my faith,
Releasing the hope I embraced for too long.
If you could see through my eyes,
You would know why I love you,
And why life without you will kill me.
The chill of a dark October wind
Blows a type of madness into the brain,
As Druids trek through the countryside
While ghosts and goblins
Dance with an autumn storm.
The summer is gasping its last breaths,
Unwilling to step aside for winter’s fury.
The high priest performs his father’s rituals.
Smoke from leaf fires mixes
With the aroma of a witch’s brew
Enticing one and all to taste,
If they be strong enough.
Faltering lullabies fill this dark room
As I surrender her to the world unknown,
Cradling her until Peter delivers cherub’s wings
To this child who shares my lifeblood.
I cling to my fragile faith,
Struggling to recall verses Grandma read,
The sermons in that tiny country church,
Any comfort memory might hold.
My only means of survival,
The assurance of one day
Meeting an angel with my eyes.
He blows away her dust,
Smiling as his friends compliment
His exotic doll kept in a glass showcase.
He locks her doors tightly,
Afraid a single breath will shatter her skin.
He prays to keep her from harm,
Not noticing the cobwebs around her heart
As she prays for rescue from his dollhouse
Aimed at a woman
Whose only crime
Is standing with the citizenry
While chasing her American dream,
Reported with glee
By those who prostitute the truth
In the dim red light of their cameras.
A white wooden box
Trimmed with squares of molding
And brass handles
Holds an honored place
In the center of the table,
Photographs and pink roses
Lovingly arranged around it.
A box that well-crafted
Was meant for mementos - A first pair of shoes. Baby teeth thought to be in the care of the Tooth Fairy. A lacy white Communion dress. A fourth-grade spelling bee trophy. Prom pictures. A wedding garter.
A box like that was never meant
For an angel so precious
That God decided to keep her with Him.
I whirled in gypsy firelight many lives ago,
Free and in harmony with Mother Earth.
With flowing skirt and bare feet,
I’ve found luck and doom in tea leaves,
Never seeing the eternal wanderings in my own palm.
Contact between mouth and brain is lost.
The floodgates of stupidity open,
Pouring out an array
Of double negatives
And overworked comparisons.
All rational thoughts have disappeared,
Leaving my participles dangling
Behind my shattered pride.
An unsigned piece of soul
Carelessly discarded and burning through the ether
Lands on my computer screen via a random search algorithm.
Your self-deprecation tinged with arrogance,
Still as familiar as the curve of your jaw
Or your breath on my neck.
Once we laughed and loved and chased our muse.
I see you too still answer her call.
Smiling down on our parallel lives,
The muse adds yet another cosmic coincidence
To the long-ago story of us.
Greeting cards and pop songs
Would have us believe
Hearts are pretty,
Easily healed to pristine condition.
Hearts are ugly,
Scarred with the tattoos of youthful regret,
Riddled with bloody chasms of grief and loss.
We wander through the voids
And curse our futile attempts at normalcy,
Questioning how we arrived there
And how our damaged hearts can ever go on.
But, across the gaps and the scars,
And we never forget.
Welcome to Write Wing Conspiracy. It is here that I will be chronicling my journey back into writing as well as my poems. I believe that inspiration can come from anything that goes on in our lives, so I will also touch on a bit of my life, emotions, and interests along the way. To quote a great sailor man, “I am who I am, and that’s all that I am.” I’m not hear looking for anyone’s approval. I’m not here to apologize for anything. I’m simply here to share a slice of my world and maybe a little bit of art too.
Turning forty provided a great opportunity to examine my life so far. I certainly have not ended up where I expected. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, made my life much harder than it really needed to be through sheer stupidity at times. Fate has also been a willing co-conspirator, taking every available chance to kick me. And yet, my inner voice tells me that all the trials and heartaches I’ve experienced, it’s all building toward my shining moment.
So I’ve turned once again to writing. I know it doesn’t fix anything, but it does give voice to my world. (If anyone happens to be listening is quite another story.) I’ve got much more determination to keep with it now instead of letting life get in the way.
Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to comment on what you find here and if you enjoyed it please recommend it to your friends.