NaPoWriMo 2021 #31 – End of Another Cycle

Always there’s an upbeat to end on –
A U-shaped curve. Life’s narrative arc
Is a comedy, at least we hope,
In the strictest sense of the word.
Another Cycle comes to an end –
A resolution and a denouement
That gathers and ties up every loose end
like rope, whipped to prevent unravelling.
A free body diagram dangles
In space, never showing its constraints
Or the forces it exerts. Good drama
Is the same. It withholds conclusions
Until every jot and tittle is laid bare –
And the finish is as clear as the start.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #29 – windows and mirrors

A painting can be a window
Showing you things outside
Like mountains and rivers
And people driving cars.

Or if you live in the city,
Matrices of streets with houses
And people living inside
can be viewed from afar.

And underneath the streets,
Hidden, wires and piping
And beneath that, the swamp
that connects to the river
That empties into the sea.

A painting can be a mirror,
Hanging on the wall of standing
On the floor – showing you
What’s deep inside your psyche –

Stuff you normally hide
With makeup and plastic surgery,
With masks you wear
To resist germs and cooties
That seek to enter your body.

There are paintings that are neither
Transparent nor reflective.
Those that can’t do, teach.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #26 – Live from the Oscars 2021!

If you stay long enough at the fair
You’ll see played out in living color
The many intersecting timelines
Of projected realities – right in your face.
They always return to the scene
Of their crimes – or to be biblical,
The dog returns to his vomit:
The fool repeats his folly.
I went to bed early and missed
The Glenn Close live action short –
Hey, you lose when you snooze!
But I have School Daze around here
Somewhere, probably on cassette.
I’ll have to dig it up and check it out.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #25 – Grandola Vila Morena

It’s a song that fills my eyes with tears
Whenever I hear it. Grandola
Vila Morena. The sound of soldiers
Marching, a signal on the radio
To free men in the countryside:
Rise up against corrupt government!
“It is the people who lead!”
Not leaders who buy expensive houses.

The villanelle reminds us what freedom
Used to sound like, used to seem to be.
Place a carnation in the barrel
Of the rifle. Here in freedom land,
We march in step with the machinery.
Disaster lurks as rivals bide their time.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #24

I wanted to write about going
To Municipal Wharf to buy fish –
But fish on Friday is no big deal.

One more play to read in the Cycle
Then full time planting in the Garden.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m burning out
On the everyday poetry thing.

It’s a rainy Saturday night here
In the bottom. Just read a blog post
About Maslow borrowing his theory
From the Blackfoot and getting it wrong –
It happens when you steal – inverting
The base and leaving off the top rung,
The highest level of the pyramid.
Six weeks in the village wasn’t enough
To get it right. My grandfather said
He was from the Blackfoot Nation but
What did he know of tit for tat?

NaPoWriMo 2021 #21 – Hedley’s Blues

They ask us to require this sacrifice.
Eye for eye. Tooth for tooth. Blood for blood.
This sacrifice will somehow make us whole,
Cure our ailments, fill the gaps you left
When they sold you down river for a song.
Those who bought you never knew stolen goods
Was all you were, living on borrowed time
And leaving casualties in your wake.
You were the sacrifice, the fatted calf,
your unwilling blood a fitting offering
To the gods. Once. Spilled on the seeded ground
Of hopes and dreams – your intoxication.
There’s no balm in revenge. So there’s no need
For a present value calculation.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #17 – a moon poem

They say there’s a moon
Overhead at night.
I couldn’t tell you truly
As I haven’t been outside at night
Since the lockdown came.

This poem’s about the moon
In theory. The prince is dead.
How did he die? He died like this.
A waxing crescent moon guides
A lost navy man back home.

The queen is now alone,
With her lady in waiting, smiling,
and bank accounts galore.
But the Beatles already told us
Money can’t buy me love.

I could never be a royal.
Their lives are open books.
Except when there’s an eclipse,
and darkness and cold surround
For a passing moment in time.

NaPoWriMo 2021 #16 – Off the rhyming prompt

Today’s optional rhyming prompt
is just not my cup of tea.
All my poems used to rhyme
but at some point they stopped –
I freed myself from that
requirement when I could,
when I learned why it was
merely an optional prompt.
Now I lean towards fourteen lines,
these days, though I vary
the lines’ length. The main thing
is the telling of the story –
the pleasure of the text,
the deep love the words convey.

NaPoWriMo 2021 – Shadorma

Shadorma #1

the lockdown
has folks real grumpy.
Murder rate
is sky high
in the city and nearby
villages and towns.

Shadorma #2

the mayor –
obsessed with statehood –
dropped the ball
on crime stats.
Criminals get a free pass –
the streets are not safe.

Shadorma #3

the crisis
on the south border
is Biden’s –
no matter
what gets televised tonight
on 6 o’clock news.

Shadorma #4

do not fear
their threat to cancel,
to deny
your freedom
of expression. This is still
the land of the free.

NaPoWriMo 2021 – #7

Three years from now, as the crow flies,
We plan to make our trans-Atlantic relocation.
My favorite coffee cup has a hairline fracture –
It may not survive the rigors of the journey.

There’s a lot to plan, to organize. Why are
So many folks developing pancreatic cancer?
Can living in Washington DC kill you directly,
(Let me check my thermoluminescent dosimeter)
Or it is the bad habits you pick up trying to cope?

Knowing what goes on behind the scenes
Is a curse, not a blessing, not a benefit.
I’ve always hated American-made B movies.
(What is Morgan Freeman selling? Please? )
Studio actors, musicians are living on borrowed time.

SAG awards their lifetime achievement trophy
To Joe the rapist, the bad dad, and his first mate,
Who literally screwed her way to the very top –
(Betrayed by laughter that seeks to shields her shame)
Proving to women everywhere that it can be done.

The Academy Awards are taking a different tack.
Joe gets best costume design for his mask
That grins and lies. The rest of the crew (including
those I use to know and respect) share
Best ensemble for dramatic imitation – a new award

This year. They imitated a white house. Imitated
A cabinet. Imitated a government. And all our
Adversaries know it. And all our allies shiver
In fear for what might happen when they turn
The lights on and turn the cards over on the table.

(“Damn, what happened to the Americans?” They ask
Me in emails that self-destruct in thirty seconds.)
It’s way past time for this one to end. Please, no
Overtime, no keeping the crowd in suspense.
Two minute warning. Leave early and beat the traffic.
April 6, 2021

NaPoWriMo 2021 – #6

Day #6


A book I love was the easy part.
Moby Dick, or The Whale.
Picking a sentence was harder –
There are so many good and godly ones.

So I thumbed through and considered
Passages I had already underlined,
words that spoke loudly to me
when I first read them.

“The Loom of time”

So here is the poem.

With these hands I weave my own destiny.
The threads I twist and spin together form
The basis, whether cotton, wool, or silk,
For weaving every cloth and tapestry
That results. Color and texture inform
The ultimate Design. Repetition
And precision make the underlying
pattern strong. The crosswise stitch overlaps
to reinforce borders of interface
With new threads introduced. The surface fills
with dust for a moment – I blow it off
And continue. I reach a point where I
can see the end. I may undo a stitch
Here and there for a more complete outcome.

Then change the title.

Memories from Rope-Yarn Wednesdays

NaPoWriMo 2021 – Work day at the community garden – #5

Work Day at the Community Garden

It was work day at the garden.
My ask was to clean out the tool shed.
Mirna was my work partner.

You could tell it had been closed up
For the winter – there were spider
And their spun homes everywhere –

Especially on the handles – spiders
Must know the smell of human touch
To put their webs there so uniformly.

The shovels had been put away
Dirty, clogged with dirt and clay.
We cleaned each tool with wire

brushes to knock the old dirt off.
We pulled out every piece and cleaned it
Then we cleared the floor of debris.

I closed the tool shed door from inside
To clean the groove that housed
the sliding door. I experienced a taste

Of claustrophobia that cleared
as soon as the door was reopened
And light poured into the space.
– April 5, 2021

NaPoWriMo 2021 – off the prompt and for the blog, only. For Gil Scott-Heron’s birthday party.

For Gil Scott-Heron’s birthday party

I skipped off my boat
And slipped into my car
For the show at ODU.

I was so close to the stage
I could smell the Afro-sheen
In his afro-ed hair.

The guys in the band started
Warming up. Always my favorite part
Of a concert or performance.

They played all my favorites.
But there was something missing.

What is it about the stage
That steals your art, robs you
Of its ritual value?

Or is it in the reproduction
Where the purity gets distilled
Out and discarded?

It’s winter in America – the empire
has fallen, crashed under
the weight of its own corruption.

You got your exit strategy?
I got mine. There’s still time to plan,
to jump off this sinking ship.

The final act won’t be televised.
it won’t be on the 6 o’clock news.
But you will know.
Yes, you will know.