NOT POETIC

 

 

NOT POETIC

~after a discussion with fellow poets about the uses of euphemism 

If shit’s not a poetic word,

then how about excrete?

How else can one describe what’s left

of things we creatures eat?

 

For water one must often “make”

urine ‘s not elegeeic;

and piss though not poetic,  

is onomatopeeic.

 

I’m sorting through my old poems and posting a few that I still like. Including this naughty one, written maybe nine years ago.

INVOCATION

INVOCATION

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story

of poets in April, of twists and turns.

Driven to and fro by words and noise,

haunted, solid, cursed, concealed.  

Many things they saw:  unpeeled oracles,

flying seducers, flights of sparrows, 

long months dressed in black or gold. 

Thrumming weathers pulsed through their bones.

Even so they saved each other from disaster,

no gods or sirens seduced them.

their own wild recklessness kept them all–

children and fools, they ate the moon,

their muses leapt into their arms

and wept and laughed, and explained their lives.  

 

 

Wrote this one in 2013.

CLOSETS

CLOSETS

. . . open every closet in the future and evict

all the mind’s ghosts. . .

~Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky

Some closets are full

of sentimental things that mattered once:

toys and photographs, letters, old poems.

The ghosts tiptoe around the dusty boxes;

their bony toes rattle on the floor.

The ghosts moon over a ragged doll,

caress a tattered book.

Other closets are stuffed with

things of the mind, things of the heart:

things I might have done,

things I might have made,

people I might have loved.

The ghosts shake their powdery heads.

Ah, they whisper, your precious past.,

so sad, so sweet, so—passing.

 

The ghosts are not so easy to evict.

They cajole, they whine,

touch all my soft spots.

They look like my mother,

my dead sister,

the men who came so close.

They say they remember

all the stories I have to tell,

so how can I send them away?

When I look fierce at them,

they weep.

 

You are future ghosts!  I scream,

You are not the past,

you are not even memory, 

but fear of memory and its distortion.

You are not keepsakes, but anticipation of loss.

You are anxieties of times to come, 

you cover my pasts with corruption,

you haunt my futures with regret.

Be gone!

 

The ghosts whimper, they cringe.

I stamp my feet, wave my broom.

They diminish.

They flutter away like ragged moths.

The future becomes nothing but itself

and all my things, nothing but things.

WRITERS’ BLOCKS

 

WRITER’S BLOCKS

1.

Mile high glass mountain.

Enthroned on the peak

the jeering Muse in her Unattainable Princess mode.

She is eating a melon, spitting out the seeds.

 

2.

Basaltic monolith set down by an alien god

in the middle of the narrow way

between the abyss and the infinite seething swamp

 

3.

Fierce dark angel with a sword thin as a laser

darting to and fro, to and fro,

severing all connections

the strands of the web

synapses in my brain

sinews in my hand

 

4.

Little wooden cubes

painted with apples, balls, clowns,

letters upper and lower case

A

B

C

 

The Kept Writer, July, 2002

ARRIVAL:  on quitting facebook, part III

ARRIVAL:  on quitting facebook, part III

The Muses come in silence.

You must sit still and wait.

For a long time, you must sit.

They come in your grief

when the world is cracking open,

when you wake in the moonlight

and your heart is afraid.

They come in your solitude

when all your doors are closed

and even the cats are asleep.

After a long time they come,

and make music from the tears.

“Leisure”

“Leisure”

What is this life if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell?

No time to sit beside the bogs

And smell as long as cats or dogs,

No time to scent when fields we pass

Where some one stopped to drag his ass,

No time to find, as though alone,

Where someone chucked a chicken bone,

No time to ponder every track

Of each deer passing onward, back,

To use your nose to best avail

To search the neighbor’s garbage pail,

No time to sit and contemplate

What each and every neighbor ate.

A poor life this, if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell.

 

 

I wrote this somewhat iffy poem ages ago—a parody of one of my favorite old poems, “Leisure,” by William Henry Davies— when we had an airedale. We have another dog now, and it still applies.

TIME IS A STRANGE THING

TIME IS A STRANGE THING

At times I get up in the middle of the night and stop all the clocks, all of them.

~Hugo von Hofmannsthal, from Die Rosenkavalier

 

She stops the clocks

to hear the silence

defined by their tick and chime.

One must not fear the time.

 

She stops the needle,

and feels the space beyond

that only the compass knows.

That’s the place she goes.

 

May 17, 2017

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

~Prompt–for a book you haven’t written

 

 

First of all, I must thank my parents.

Without them, I would be normal,

and this book would not

have been possible.

 

My husband did not

comment on it, or even read it.

In fact, for the past eight months,

he has been living

in a tent in the woods.

I love you, sweetie.

Words cannot express

my gratitude.

 

My children are grown

so I thank them for not

getting in my way

(except for two hysterical

phone calls which only

kept me awake nights

for a week or so).

 

I am grateful to my agent,

despite her claim that

I was the direct cause

of her most recent breakdown.

I am not responsible for everything,

but she is responsible

for finding a home for my work.

 

All my editors—every single

one of them—have been

marvelous.

 

The Spring St. Poets

have provided occasionally helpful

feedback and comic relief for years.

Thanks, guys!

 

It takes a village

to produce a book, so I owe

a great deal to my neighbors

who put up with my midnight

hurdy-gurdy/bagpipe fests

and afternoon target practices,

and only called the police three times.

 

These poems

are for them.

 

 

MP   March 1, 2017

TEN RULES FOR POETRY, #6, #7, #8

10 RULES FOR POETRY

#6

Stop being superstitious. You do not

need a special pen or a blue notebook.

You do not need a tidy study with

a writing desk, or a corner table

in a dark café. You do not need to

drink anything but water, and any

cup will do. You do not need stars aligned,

flights of birds, a yellow candle, a white stone.

You do not need melancholy or fear.

You do not need to be in love or war.

You do not need an oracle or a muse.

All you need is a word, and another word.

 

#7

You have to do something besides it.

Reading resembles it too much except

for books about the Civil War or bird-

watching. Birdwatching is good, except for

seagulls, who steal words. Robbery is okay,

but do you really need more things? Taking

care of things, in moderation, can be

helpful, except for electronic things

that claw out your eyeballs. Nobody wants

to read any poetry about that.

 

#8

Silence is essential but not absolute.

Breezes are allowed, a bit of birdsong,

some water sounds—no seagulls or faucets.

The undertow of café chatter is fine,

but not the shrill of phone chat. Purring cats,

yes. Barking dogs, no. If your husband is

drilling or sawing in the next room no

matter how much you want a new tub surround,

you might as well give up.