#NaPoWriMo – shutdown, cooldown, depressurize

May 1, 2017

Who gets to write the poetry,
that is, the first-hand account,
for what it’s worth, describing
the next nuclear holocaust?

I studied the ethical and strategic
dimensions of the last one at Army
War College. I confess it was neither
poetic nor convincing and perhaps

the world would be much better off
if soldiers and diplomats studied
peace more and war a whole lot less.
But back to the questions at hand.

How long does it take, post-delivery,
for the ashes, debris, and remains
to cool enough for the victor
to march in and measure it all,

to assess the damage accurately?
for the searing heat to dissipate,
for the bright flash of light
to soften to a gentle glow?

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#NaPoWriMo 2017 April 28 – Skeltonic verse

I read somewhere
and you should care:

Facebook’s fastest growing group
will stage a coup
a very lively troup –

on Twitter and Facebook
take a careful look
don’t overlook
or let facts be mistook –

women over fifty-five
making Facebook come alive
those who analyze
and the profits drive
and the money thrive
say that’s no jive –

so don’t misapprehend
the latest trend
to be your friend
until the end.

April 27 late addendum

Day #27 – Late addendum

Sweetness –
a warm ocean breeze
the sweat on her forehead
green with brown stripes

Sourness –
unripe naval oranges
early morning daybreak
yellow with purple polka dots

Saltiness –
dirt from the garden
seaspray over the bow
lemon and garlic and pepper

Bitterness –
a pot of dandelion greens
ice cold beer on a hot day
brown and black herringbone

Umami (savory) –
bean soup & stewed tomatoes
coffee beans roasting in the oven
underarm sweat w/o deodorant

#NaPoWriMo 2017 April 27 – Some questions about taste poem

April 27, 2017 – some questions about taste poem

Is taste only a
chemical reaction
on the tongue,
on the taste buds,
and in the brains
of animals like us?

Could taste be
a synesthetic pathway
indiscriminately
crossing boundaries
to reveal higher
order sensations?

I know the tastes
of orange, and blue,
and pain, and joy –
the taste of spring
romance and end –
the nauseous tastes
of hatred and of fear.

We hold memories
of tastes in our minds,
but does the tastebud
itself keep memories?
And preferences?

Late addendum

Sweetness
a warm ocean breeze
the sweat on her forehead
green with brown stripes

Sourness
unripe naval oranges
early morning daybreak
yellow with purple polka dots

Saltiness
dirt from the garden
seaspray over the bow
lemon and garlic and pepper

Bitterness
a pot of dandelion greens
ice cold beer on a hot day
brown and black herringbone

Umami (savory)
bean soup & stewed tomatoes
coffee beans roasting in the oven
underarm sweat without deodorant

#NaPoWriMo 2017 April 12 – Cleaning Day

Day #12 – Cleaning Day

Twenty-one years of accumulated paper –
Funny how the artifacts of a career
get reduced, then shredded or burned,
or nailed to a cross to save us from our sins,
or hung from a tree to pay for crimes
that never should have happened,
or perhaps never happened at all –

Either way, we disposed of it properly –
every pay stub, every performance evaluation,
every award nomination, every piece
of correspondence, every personnel action –
all paper for the dumpster or the furnace

or for recycling and resale at a premium
or maybe some future, new existence.
But for us, for now, all garbage,
taking up precious space that could,
if emptied, yield greater utility.

#NaPoWriMo17 April 4 – a beginning and an ending poem

Day #4 A beginning and an ending poem

What did I know,
in my freshman year,
about subliminal messages
from members of the opposite sex?

She was older and more worldly,
and had just returned from a semester
abroad. Her stories left me in awe.
I read her my poetry.
It was all I had.

She asked me to submit 3 pieces
to the college newspaper,
but she didn’t tell me
she was the poetry page editor.
I should have known that,
but again, what did I know?

Her encouragement was enough.

What was I to do next?
I didn’t have a clue.
We met for coffee at the Student Union.
One day she invited me to her apartment
for soup – I accepted.

It’s not what you think.
We had long conversations
about exotic places she had travelled to,
places I hoped one day to see for myself.

She was very kind to me
and I needed her kindness.
We dated, if you can call it that,
for the rest of the semester.
Then we went our separate ways –
she graduated and went away to grad school,
and me, unmoored, I drifted out to sea.

#NaPoWriMo17 April 3 – Elegy for my maternal grandfather, Nelson Hairston, Sr.

I decided to go with the prompt today. Can’t be a renegade all the time!

Elegy for my grandfather, Nelson Hairston, Sr.

I never knew my Papa couldn’t read
or write – I grew up sending him poems
in letters I’d write. Daddy said I got
that from his father, who wrote songs for church.
Daddy wrote confessions and apologies,
over and over again, but he wrote.
Writing was next to godliness, he’d say.
But Papa couldn’t read or write. I found
out years later when Loretta told me
she wrote all his letters by dictation.
I don’t think less of him – I want that clear –
in fact, I think more. His name is on the door
of the house he built with his own hands.
For all my poems, I’ve never built a house.