2019 August Postcard Poetry Fest

July 20 – Day #1

1st day of poetry fest
Nothing abstractly interesting
Or even mildly pretentious
To report.

Beginnings can be inauspicious
And especially non-dramatic

Let the partying begin.
Erase and recycle if you wish.
Greensboro born and bred.

July 20 – Day #2

Let’s distill a sonnet
To its haiku essence –

On the fly, first draft
& in pencil. Erase and reuse
If you wish.

Lived in Poulsbo.
Many moons ago.
Loved the Pacific NW,
Shopping at Pike’s Market,
Elliot Bay Books.

July 22 – Day #3

Tonight I watched a film about art.
A video, actually, on how to read
A painting. David, Picasso, Pollock.

I live in a modern poetry world.
But neoclassicism feeds my soul
To a better satisfaction.

OK. It’s a postcard. Space limits
Expression. Paint me in angular
geometry.

July 22 – Day #4

They say the Turkish President
Is dead, Just a rumor, mind you.

He killed a lot of teachers and
Librarians after a fake coup.

Still loss of life is a sad event.
One I wouldn’t wish on my enemy.

July 24 – Day 5

We live in the world we live in –
If lucky, it’s a world we’ve built
Where we know all the trapdoors
And secret hiding places.

The subways run on time in this
World of our imaginations –
Always on time, and the weather
Is never a surprising thing.

July 24 – Day #6

The library where I work
Is becoming a museum.
Books never circulate
And mold grows along the edges
Of volumes on the bottom shelves.

At least it’s a natural science
Museum. At least the mold
Is a living organism. At least
It grows and blooms in colors.

July 24 – Day #7

I had black tea
After 7pm tonight.
Forget about a good night’s sleep.

I’ll have coffee
In the morning by 7am
& will make it through the day.

Anyway.
Better life through chemistry.

July 25 – Day #8

Pt. 1

Reading a bit of Moby Dick
Each night is my newest meditation –
A chapter or two, and a big chunk
On the weekends helps me sleep better.

Its just a myth, you know,
That ties us, that binds me
To the joys and fears of being
At sea, of seeking to reach a goal.

July 26 – Day #9

Pt. 2

But back to the White Whale.
There is a bit of Ishmael in my soul –
Along with bits of Queequeg and Ahab –
Moving around, seeking expression.

Its a nightly meditation that forms dreams –
Dreams that reveals new possibilities,
Alternate realities, perhaps,
Challenges for the spirit-me.

July 25 – Day #10

Pt. 3

We track the white whale, we chase
The white ghost at night. Elusive,
He dominates our dreams as well
As our waking hours.

Well, three parts might be enough.
See the other two to connect the dots.
Its more a myth of getting old
Than it is of coming of age.

July 27, 2019 – Day #11

Watching college track and field –
Muscle memories of the back stretch
Of the final lap of the mile run
Still haunt me:

The stomach cramps that feel
like mini heart attacks, each
red blood cell screaming for more oxygen
As you round the bend –

The final sprint as you die –
And the resurrection
as you cross the finish line.

July 27 – Day #12

I forgot about the harpejji
until I mentioned it yesterday.
Now I have fallen in love
with its sound
again. I fall in love
way too easily.
My fatal flaw and my superpower.

July 31, 2019 – Day #13

Waiting for the Democratic debate –
Hoping my favorite will break
away from the pack –
The old men and women should
just go home,
And the prosecutor lacks the skills
And heart to be commander in chief.
Spartacus is merely a joke.
Guess you’ve deduced who my favorites are.
Strong winds and following seas,
my sweet.

August 4, 2019 – Day #14

Postcard haiku

Ran out of postcards –
But tour guide speech notes galore
Will take up the slack.

August 4, 2019 – Day #15

Continuing Moby Dick
For 30 minutes each night.

There’s more between the lines
Than I remember

when reading it
as a high schooler –

And flashbacks interrupt
The procession of words
Across my vision field

August 4, 2019 – Day #16

Blackjack haiku

I meta lovely lady
From my August postcard group –
Face-to-face trumps any day.

It fills my heart with joy
each time @TulsiGabbard
refers to veterans
as her brothers and sisters.

If that makes me
a one-issue person,
so be it.
I only wish I could give her
my Library of Congress tour.
She’d love the Elihu Vedder murals.

August 4, 2019 – Day #17

My 1st audition was at a theater –
Old, drafty, no longer in use.

My 2nd audition was outside
On a rainy day. An initiation.
More or less. Kinda sorta.

I got the job. But it was something
I really didn’t want. So I backed out
And blamed the summer heat.

August 7, 2019 – Day #18

Remember this river –
Slow, almost still,
A perfect mirror
For the monuments
On its shore

Walk along this river –
‘Tho it comes crashing
Down from the mountains
It flows gently into the sea.

August 7, 2019 – Day #19

It’s almost too late
For poetry this morning –
Breakfast will suffice.

Subways run on time –
I arrive early and wait
Or call an Uber.

August 11, 2019 – Day #20

It’s been 7 rotations
Since my last confession –
Forgive me Father,
I have sinned.
Forgive me, Mother,
I have been remiss in duties.
Forgive me children,
I’ve been inattentive
To your futures.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Full of Grace.

August 11, 2019 – Day #21

Toni Morrison was a librarian
In high school. I knew she had
The calling, was part of the tribe.

We storytellers must stick together,
Support one another through these
transitions. God rest her soul.
Her stories endure and remain with us
Forever.

August 11, 2019 – Day #22

I pause on the Virginia side.
In this photo. The river
Is still as a lake, a mirror
For reflection. Washington,
And Egyptian obelisk,
Pierces the sky while Lincoln,
The glory of Greece,
The grandeur of Rome,
Guards the Republic.
We are in good hands.

August 15, 2019 – Day #23

The freshmen are arriving –
They are all so happy & gay& excited.
There was a party on the quad last night,
Music booming, pretty girls dancing.
Volta. I flash back to my own freshmen year –
Too many adult decisions to be made
Surrounding my mother’s untimely June passing.
Ill-equipped, I had no RAM left
For engineering, chemistry or physics,
And decisions were poorly made.

August 15, 2019 – Day #24

OK, I’ll take the bait –
What is the recipe for a love poem?
Word strung together dripping emotions
Is a turn-off. Bette stern and sparse,
Direct and to the point. Structure is
Very important, maybe more important
Than the words themselves. White space
Between stanzas can speak volumes
Of wanting & longing & waiting.
Correct grammar and punctuation are
Essential. Intention breaks the ground,
And will, sincere, expressed, seals the deal.

August 15, 2019 – Day #25

Finally doing some librarying
Amidst all the archiving projects.
Reading shelves, shifting books, weeding.
Why keep six copies of a molded book
In a non-circulating library?
Bookshelves become a museum
If you let them.
Hot soapy water to clean the bottoms –
And a damp cloth removes years of grundge
From yellowed plastic covers.

August 15, 2019 – Day #26

They may call me “old school.”
I count it as a badge of honor.
Modernism is a big joke down a
One-way street that dead ends.
Give me the classical any day
Of the week. Tie me directly
to the Greeks & Romans & Egyptians
& Sumerians.
Connect me to a Golden Age,
A renaissance of arts and letters,
Mankind’s glory, not its shame.

August 17, 2019 – Day #27

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 4

A handfull of postcards in a metal box
And four shirts are all that remain
From a Hawaii vacation
We took over ten years ago.

We vowed never to go there again –
Everything was so commercial,
So geared to selling us stuff.

But it was all math and geometry,
You see. Eight hours to the west,
Together, alone, was what we needed
After 8 hours to the east, apart.

A reset of sorts, and a therapy,
Perhaps. The good outweighed the bad

August 17, 2019 – Day #28

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 5

The whiteness of the whale
Became a thing to be feared,
Loathed, a foci of hatred
And terror, and longing.
Old Ahab infected his whole crew
With the disease, the fear & hatred
Of the white thing. His desire
For revenge became their desire,
Though unfounded. Once the bridge
To reality was burned, all left
Was the need to kill the white thing,
To obliterate it, leaving absolutely
Nothing in its wake. Or theirs.

August 17, 2019 – Day #29

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 6

Between engineering watches
I would hangout at the Navigation station,
Learning how to plot points and lay tracks.
Except we weren’t hunting for whales –
We were tracking submarines
Of our alleged foes. The same thing,
Perhaps. Learning about the world.
At work I’m building an IR theory
Model, based on archived sources,
To test how we understand world events.
Still chasing that white whale,
Still tracking enemy submarines.
My life is a strange series
of inter-nested do-loops.

August 17, 2019 – Day #30

Re-reading Moby Dick, pt. 7

Life is so short and we all must taste death.
A neighbor from my village joined the path
To seek the world of our ancestors.
I wish him a safe and trouble free journey.
A destiny we share. Old Ahab planned
a journey. With stacks and rolls of yellowed charts
He plotted a rendez-vous course
To the feeding ground of the great white whale,
Moby Dick. Little did he know he’d be
The captive prey. Intense hatred causes that type
Of confusion, misplaced priorities.
And Ishmael was the only survivor of the crew.

August 17, 2019 – Day #31

One more poem to write
And the #AugustPostcardPoetryFest
Is a wrap, for 2019 at least.
I’m proud I followed the rules
Putting the first draft on the card.
Never complied with that rule before.
This postcard features a post-office
That is now a hotel. Its profits
Are returned to the Treasury
To avoid violating the Emoluments
Clause. You know what that means!

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