Scattered

torn in a tattered
back seat,
spread like confetti
at midnight,
littering the sidewalk
outside a Cafe. 

swept from hospital
floors,

clinging to thresholds
of freshman dorms,

among old
photos

just some of the places
where
I have left
the pieces
of my heart

a quadrille for dverse

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Scars

You can trace the scars and stretch marks 
where they have marked time and marred the flesh.

Each wound reveals a history of love,
pain and refusals to die.

We should not cover them, instead, 
accept they are part of who we are.

Nor should we celebrate, for most merely 
hide the deeper ones within.

Grow from the pain, for many
must be broken before they are made whole.

https://dversepoets.com/ prompts for a poem based on ‘one true sentence’ of Hemingway’s. I chose
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
–A Farewell to Arms (1929)

And sense a ‘sentence’ was the subject, each stanza is written in the form of an American Sentence of Allen Ginsburg.

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Lifespan

The summer days burn more each day,
steam rises from doused pavement,
sudden storms flair and fade,
evening exhales a calm breeze.

Steam rises from doused pavement
heat shimmers and swirls
passion rises with the mercury.

Sudden storms flair and fade,
emotions flash and roar
then memories on the horizon.

Evening exhales a calm breeze,
comfort in the twilight,
clear skies and peace

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The Longing of a Drunken Poet

February mist shrouds the top of the pines
while the frost retreats before the advancing dawn,
leaving wisps of steam swirling like the smoke of a pre-dawn battlefield.
A hint of warmth assures a coming change
of season
with renewal and growth and fresh outlooks,
optimistic rhetoric of prosperity
and better times.
But the turn will bring storms
and stifling heat,
and a pining for the season to change again.

There was a time when drunken poets
were revered
and tyrants and politicians reviled.

When you sit by the fire at night,
staring into its depth as you 
take in its warmth,
you can hear history. 
Within the crackle, hisses, sighs and whistles 
there is creation and growth and brilliance, along with the firestorm 
of war and embers of destruction. 
It breathes with lust and cries
the mourning wail of the consumed.

There was a time when drunken poets
were revered
and tyrants and politicians reviled.

The whiskey is smooth and calming,
full of promises. 
After the glow,
when the ice has watered down 
the bourbon and nothing
but a weak swill swirls
in the bottom of the glass…
only then is truth realized 
and the reality of tomorrow made clear.

I long for a time
when drunken poets were revered

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We Don’t Talk

I sit in my recliner — much as he
would have — with his feet
at the end of my legs.

But, we don’t talk.

I see genetics at work when I’m tired
and rub my eyes
with the heel of my hand .

But, we don’t talk.

I have heard the anger of his voice
directed at my children,
but coming from my mouth,

But, we don’t talk.

I have learned through observation
the art of bitterness
and long held grudges.

We don’t talk.

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Wildflowers

The road was built to curve around
the old cemetery,
tire worn asphalt mirrors weather
worn headstones.

It is normally a quiet way home,
only the occasional passing car,
these days it is usually me, a few birds
and the restless ghosts.

Across the narrow path is an
abandoned school,
chipped red brick, flag-less pole,
empty playground.

There is no instruction in the classrooms,
but wildflowers still grow over the dead.

20200403_173857

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Don’t Shake Fountain Pens – a Haibun

The fountain pen was left unused for some time, wrapped in the leather cover of the journal I had sworn to visit daily. When I accomplished a thought and began to put it to paper the dry nib jumped on the page, leaving blank spaces and smudges. I made the novice mistake of giving the pen a shake….. Now there is ink splattered on the page and trailing across the blanket on my lap. My favorite blanket, something you must have when you reach an age of sharing recliners with dogs on rainy afternoons. I looked for a moment or two at the mess I had made and evaluated the consequences. In the past this evaluation would have been preceded by a tantrum, replete with yelling and expletives. Today, I am aware that the blanket is no more than old fabric with no intrinsic value, which now has some spots on it. The page was merely paper, absorbing ink as was intended. Perhaps it is age that causes me to contemplate before reacting, or life experience, or merely no longer having the need to be angry about unimportant things. I don’t know if it is wisdom that recognizes spilled ink is not a tragedy, or amusement at myself for being unwise enough to shake a fountain pen.

The entry I was intending to start before the ink calamity is to be a letter to my young adult children. An opening attempt to impart lessons I feel I failed to teach about life, and living it, and what matters versus what is trivial. I think now the letter will include an anecdote about shaken fountain pens and old blankets.

Cold and rainy nights
precede warm and breezy days,
each a beginning.

shared at dVerse Poet’s Pub

 

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Shooting Tequila on Friday Night…at Mellow Mushroom…when you are over 50

I am sure she was relevant once,
the center of the vortex
at nightclubs and beach parties.
Her trilling laugh carrying over the music
and a hair flip to inspire Pantene commercials.

She would have been surrounded by semi-desperate
devotees searching for acceptance,
who only knew she was fun and the object
of affection from the pretty and popular people.

She played the crowd,
used ‘my dear’ and a light touch to get drinks,
a press of flesh and unspoken promises
to get anything else.

Now she has crow’s feet and an ongoing
battle against grey,
she talks too loud for the suburban dinner crowd
and gestures with her salt-rimmed shot glass
to make a point.

She takes the shot with a flourish,
performing for her audience,
her husband sips his beer and turns
to the TVs pretending interest in ESPN.

The rest of the bar crowd is there to eat —
somewhere for an adult to sit
without waiting for a table — with a self-imposed
two drink max with our dinner.

We make an effort to ignore the tequila-enhanced noise,
remember some antics from our own youth — some fondly —
and move our judgment meter from slight annoyance
to a small measure of pity.

.

.

shared at dVerse

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Dreams – Restrained

The boy is twelve, maybe fourteen,
course, curly hair cut close to the scalp,
his skin is dark, the genetic dark of generations spent
roaming savannahs under a hard sun.

Now he roams rough streets in a hard neighborhood,
more often hungry than the ancestor with a spear,
more often afraid of the lurking predator,
more often alone, with no tribe for protection.

He dreams of escape from this life he did not choose,
to run from this place of hardship and fear
to where lines of difference are blurred
and seeking betterment is not betrayal.

At night, when he flees through his dreams,
a hand grasp him with a grip like a shackle,
refusing him the escape for which he longs,
a hand with the same dark skin as his own.

Ekphrastic of a Seattle Mural
By Artist Alex Gardner

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Anonymous

I found out today the custodian
for our office
had passed away.

We often exchanged pleasantries
when passing in the hall,
she always had a smile.

I never did learn her name,
or where to send
the flowers.

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