“shield” during months or years of peace his wife has been polishing--the shield blackened as it hung in the chimney corner respond to the call to fight plain duty admits no hesitation. a hard interruption of their happy lives, the risk of passing from the warm company of men to the chill shades of death. they knew bravery is not an everyday possession. highly as they prized it to warm their hearts for the clash most Greek armies as they charged, shouted, that each might borrow from the general stock courage. what best suits the citizen-soldier battle in which one short effort carries him forward, in which a man’s duty to his immediate comrade best spurs his intent. during months or years of peace the shield blackened as it hung in the chimney corner his wife has been polishing * --found poem taken from The Greek and Macedonian Art of War by F.E. Adcock. If you are unfamiliar with this type of poetry, it’s a way of collaging the work of another author into a unique poem by clipping, altering, and rearranging pieces into something new. *image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Licensing.
“The Unsigned Letter” “No need to sign since I give it her myself” the lie you told, hiding your true feelings in the pocket nearest your beating heart she described you perfectly yet you saw no hope, seeing beauty everywhere but in yourself, you lie concealed behind another’s handsome face, a poet’s exercise excuses your tear-stained words divinity of form for a form poet: why can’t you see the truth of yourself? more than a poem composed, you are the sonnet that creates itself. # Thanks for stopping by my blog. Check out my Patreon for more of my writing! I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be reading selections from my book, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, at Barberton Library on Saturday, September 11th at 2pm! I will also be selling and signing copies of the book for those who are interested. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and read often! *inspired by Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.
“sunflowers” charcoal heads droop, their glowing halos weighted with the heft of so much cheer petals flame this dinner table hearth lightening the heart of this happy home sunshine yellow arms outstretch to embrace or supplicate, cut from their grassy beds, their tendrilled roots removed, replaced, stabilized instead by a shallow red glass its life-giving water dries up all too soon
*Thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed the poem. If you are interested in reading more of my work, please check out my craft posts on my Patreon! In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and read often!
“Plague of Dragons”
the world opens up as a new monster
looms on the horizon, belching fire,
slaughtering victims without thought
to gender, creed, or age: the smallest
of the small, resistant to her older
brother’s charms, no longer spared
not content to massacre millions by breath alone,
she melts crematoriums whose iron frames soften,
run from the heat of so many bodies burned
in so few hours, days, weeks of death; chimneys
crack from overuse, appalling mockery that mimics
hospital beds buckling from the influx of live bodies
they strain to save and might despite their failures.
Parks no longer host festivals but burning pyres
that brighten twilight like bonfires left behind
by the wyrms’ warm feasting
or colossal candles lit in earth’s cathedral
for each of those extinguished lives, bright enough
to catch the eyes of the gods in their heavens
or the demons down below.
the beast that plagued last year seems tame
beside his younger sibling, the serpent virulent
exhaling flame who does not deign to spare
the lives of children.
Will she leap across the waters, span
the ocean, leave that far off land
to spread her curse upon
our slowly awakened shores?
Does she await our recovery
only to make her scourge more felt?
Thanks for stopping by my blog. If you’d like to read about the crafting of “Plague of Dragons,” check out my Patreon next week for a free technical breakdown of the poem.
I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be reading selections from my book, An Optimist’s Journal of the End of Days and Other Stories, at Barberton Library on Saturday, September 11th at 2pm! I will also be selling and signing copies of the book for those who are interested.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and read often!
*inspired by the Indian variant of the Covid-19 virus.
“last year’s revels” the toddler rolls from bed, a ballerina princess excited for the special day ahead, anticipates her long-awaited party. strawberry-topped chocolate cake with a grape soda chaser, she’s fueled for festivity: rainbowed streamers wave above a table piled with gifts, sunshine yellow ribbon seals each shining gold wrapper, as storm clouds gather unheaded outside her window’s thin glass. she tears a first package apart, eager, greedy for its contents, frowns at the dimestore damsel’s impossible figure and painted smile, tosses her aside for another bright box’s glinting temptation, enchanted to find inside flint enough to fire her tinder home. caffeine-fueled and sugar-dosed, she blazes pirouette on tip-toes, ecstatic homage to firenadoes swirling flame outside her door. she watches in delight, her face crimson bright as a demon risen to scorch this mortal earth with hellfire. hay-colored landscapes wither, flames kindle the world: fireworks enough to entertain her swollen all-too-childish brain. she collapses, in a fit of giggles watches murder hornets bloom across the blood red sky. her joy indisputable on a face free from the thin cotton mask she refuses to wear. she knows these days are hallowed, these endless nights will last for years to come. exhausted from her revels, quietly she tears the Barbie’s bloodless arms; the doll’s blank eyes reflect nothing, the hollow chest holds her silent scream, her frozen face beaming an eternally vacant grin. #
Today’s poem was inspired by a prompt to write a poem personifying the last year. Many thanks to Diane Kendig and Cuyahoga County Library for their Read + Write Poetry daily postings, which included this prompt!
If you’d like to know more about the craft that went into this poem, next week I will be posting a poem dissection on my Patreon–which is free during the pandemic. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!
I hobble out of bed at daybreak
an Igor with dreams of being both doctor
and creation, waiting for just one spark,
juice enough to fuel that night's creation.
Excitement looms on this horizon
pregnant storm clouds heavy with rain,
whipped overhead by hurricane winds,
ready to strike, incite the dead to life.
Petrichor coats my tongue, fills my head,
lightning flashes, blue-white channels
blaze down these rods to these hands,
fire enough to burn, birthing this beating heart.
My blood boils, my eyes open.
*Thank you for visiting my writing blog. I hope you enjoyed the poem! If you’d like to read about its creation, I will be dissecting it next Friday on my Patreon.
If you would like to read more of my writing, I will be posting once a month (both here and on my Patreon) for the foreseeable future; I’m concentrating on my next poetry collection, as well as writing a novel.
In the meantime, Happy April--aka National Poetry Month!
i remember when i thought twice,
thrice, a dozen times moreover
whether to call myself writer,
a title hallowed in my heart
throughout my childhood years,
the ones who wrote the books
i devoured with my every free hour,
my escapes into worlds of make-believe,
my gateway to learning beyond
what adults prescribed for me
i’ve known too many writers
to be intimidated by the title,
known their kindness and generosity,
heard of others’ lack
lucky enough not to experience it myself
i remember when i hesitated
to call myself poet, the title
seemed too pretentious, too artistic
to apply to just anyone, like lumping Van Gogh
in with the man who graffitis the roadside
in the dead of night. but why not?
why should a canvas command more respect
than the underside of an overpass?
why should the verse of authors long gone
hold more esteem than the coffee house clique
reciting their rhymes in the meeting place
of modern minds? the old and new both live
i’ve known too many poets
to be awed just by the word
when their humanity alone humbles me
my own attempts to grasp each
abiding image, each emotion collaged
upon these pages like flowing script,
rivers of ink and electrons
imprinted upon our collective minds
with or without title, i’ll write
these words, this verse, hope
someday they will be read, felt,
imbued with life
words change form throughout time as organic
as a climbing vine growing with each age
titles are more specific, rigid like concrete
i call myself the words
the titles themselves unknown
“She Who Was the Helmet Maker's Once-Beautiful Wife" you didn't know what awaited you when you began the long trek to see your son bare feet and fallen arches old bones aching with miles of marching your final journey all for one more glimpse of your boy become a man why bare yourself for the artist's art? how much more could you have to give? the tragedy of your worn form outlives your mortality, the young girl you were forever trapped in iron gray. *Rodin’s model for She Who Was the Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife was the mother of one of his male models. The photo I used reminded me of a younger version of Rodin’s model, since I was unable to obtain permission for an image of the original sculpture. You can find an image of Rodin’s masterpiece here.
What mask!? Oh, I have so many… Invisible.
Disposable. I Replace each time
the least uncomfortable Those eyes
I have more than I need given I rarely leave
I have different masks. One for work.
Another patriotic. I wear all at different times.
It depends on my mood hopeful
sometimes, painful other times,
but rarely removed
When customers, friends n family talk to me
about politics or the news
my face is my mask I put on when I'm depressed
I have playful ones but for my job,
disposable Funny not funny.
My private one simple and lovely.
I have so many, but mostly wear
my Edge of insanity
I have designed these masks
the ones I refuse to wear
hard to breathe
I have a lot of masks
but today it’s this one…
Standard but pretty on the front.
A smile, nod, wink that says everything’s just fine.
*Found Poem based on tweets found in this thread based on the question, “What’s your mask like?”
"Feline Dreams" --in memory of Winnie-cat the Milky Way empties itself of pure white light into the moon's shining bowl the cat stretches languid her body liquid smooth like moonbeams she reaches for silent and thirsting Her head dips into the cosmic saucer rough pink tongue darting in and out lapping up this lunar feast Luminosity fills her beneath each fluttering eyelid *Although this poem was inspired by a tweet, I’m posting and dedicating it to my sweet kitty, who died January 2nd. Rest in Peace, Winnie.