Friday, August 31, 2018

243/365/Poetry and Form

A Gobsmacked Nonet*

today Aidan goes to college how
did this happen I remember
when her childfree parents told
us that she was coming
and I thought we’d lose
them but we gained
Aidan now
there she

*Thanks, Mali. And 365ers, note that this is only one word longer than the post about Aidan from the last project.

242/365/Poetry and Form

Summer Is Wanting

end of August
end of summer
summer that wasn’t
summer just simmering
simmering resentment
simmering hot
hot child in the city
hot sweaty nights
nights full of stars
nights all alone
alone in the world
alone in this body
body catch a
body movin’
movin’ shit out
movin’ on
on a mission
on a tour
tour eiffel
tour the state
state the facts
state of mind
mind the gap
mind over matter
matter of weeks
matter of form
form fitting
form a thought
thought of you
thought I should
should be there
should be here
here I am
here is not there
there is no way to be
there and here too
too far away
too close
close to the bone
close the door
door that sticks
door that swings
swings right
swings left
left this world
left us wanting
wanting more
wanting something

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

241/365/Poetry and Form

Bloody Haiku

many chainsaw scenes
make me think of cyberfriends
my sharknado binge

240/365/Poetry and Form

OK. I was really trying to avoid this (despite threatening to use it early on), because I wrote it in college and it’s kind of embarrassing. But I'm getting desperate to fill out this month. So here it is. Sestina: Herstorical.

My lover offers dreams for me to keep
though fleeting, for they’re here and then they’re gone.
Rare moments cradled in his arms, I’m safe,
while knowing this will fade, as does the night.
His needs reflect those that he finds in me
and yet the image cracks, distorts with time.

My lover and I oft’ ignore the time.
Only in adventuring we keep
appointments of no hour; calling me
are trails and trees and streams before day’s gone.
Sun sinking low, the day folds into night.
Our fire’s crackling glow now warms us safe.

My lover keeps a distance to be safe
from what he knows is bound to die in time.
An island in the day, but in the night
he needs a warmth he’s unsure how to keep.
Fulfilling his own prophecy, he’s gone:
now free from all uncertainties with me.

My lover finds what I have lost in me:
a worthiness I’ve locked up in a safe
’midst souvenirs’ sharp edges, not quite gone.
Friendship exposed, a different way this time,
dares me another memory to keep;
enjoyment of this solitary night.

My lover sings his love song in the night,
hands caressing first the strings, then me.
Our voices join to share the song, but keep
harmonic distance, consonant, yet safe.
In bold allegro we embrace cut time,
fermata before accompanist is gone.

My lover paints a world where doubt is gone.
His oils and pastels illume my night
in colors that refuse to fade with time,
in hues defining spectrum that is me.
With nearby guards, our canvas might be safe,
but only the experience we keep.

            It is night; my lover is with me.
            Defenses, gone, a feeling that is safe—
            contained in time, yet an eternal keep.

Monday, August 27, 2018

239/365/Poetry and Form

Sometimes fly recipes read like poems. I was reminded of this when listening to some of the coverage that The Feather Thief is getting lately. I don’t tie flies, and I should find a modern recipe that is short and pretty, but instead I refer you to a book I mentioned in July, that oldest book I’ve ever touched. Here is the translation of some mid-fifteenth-century recipes, a found poem of sorts.

How one should bind hook[s] for the
whole year and according to each month
In the first May thus take a dark feather and black
light brown under that so it gives a good shine underneath.
And what you may have of black feather, that
you should lay on top and golden and black silk under that
and a red hook with red feather and gold and red [silk]
under it. Therefore you have quite enough for first May.
Should the water be turbid or swollen, then make your hook
or the feather so much larger.
In June [“second May”] take a light brown feather and
black and red [silk] under that and take a white feather and
gold and black [silk] under that and take a reddish brown feather
and white and red [silk] under that and for a black
hook tied with it and a red hook also always
on the line as I have written before and make that
well tied and large and adjust yourself according to
the water [conditions] as I have written before.
In the first August you should bind a red tuft of
red feathers with red and with brown [silk] and a golden
breast under that. After that you should bind dark gray
feather and bind silver and red silk under that and
take white partridge  feather and bind white and a red
silk under that. Take a red stingel feather and bind
red and yellow [silk] under that and for always a black
hook and a red [one] on the line and adjust yourself always
according to the water [conditions].
In September [“second August”] thus take ash-colored feather
and bind under that gray and light blue [silk] and take
yellow feather and bind red and yellow [silk] under that
with a golden breast and take
wryneck feather and bind gray and white [silk] under that
and take the white [feathers] of the woodpecker which he has beneath
the crop and mix them among another feather that is
light gray and bind red and white [silk] under that and
bind the two hooks as before and adjust yourself
according to the water.
In October [“first autumn”] thus take pale mousey brown feather
with white and with red [silk] and a golden breast
under that and take a gray feather from a
heron and take gold and gray [silk] under that and
take dark glass-colored [feather] and bind red and white
under that and a yellow hook as I have previously
written and work hard so that the smaller the water
is, so the smaller you should tie and black
and red [hooks on the line] as before.
In November [“other autumn”] you should bind really small and should
lay down a light gray feather and light blue and white [silk]
under that and take green woodpecker feathers and wind green
and yellow [silk] under that and take light ash-colored feather and
wind gold and white [silk] under that. What you take thus of pale feathers,
that is all good, and take red and white [silk] as before.
So you have the entire art/craft [chunst] of the tying and what you
would make as a breast for every month and on
all hooks, which you should do in the color as this is tied.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

238/365/Poetry and Form

And here is the second, for Martha:
When I jones for a dose of her wit,
I glance out my window a bit
and if I can see her,
we might have a be-er
and a call-the-world-on-its-shit porch sit.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

237/365/Poetry and Form

Next weekend I’m going to a double-50th-birthday party for two dear friends/neighbors. I have written a limerick for each of them. (There’s still time to make changes.) Here’s the first:

Her birthday was spent in Rwanda.
Her visage outshines La Gioconda.
With resolve like RBG’s*
She responds to all Help mes.
The world is much richer with Rhonda.

*Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s

Friday, August 24, 2018

236/365/Poetry and Form

(See post 235 for Part I.) 
2: The Review

There wasn’t enough “Winter Moon.”
There wasn’t a gin-stocked saloon.
There was too much toe-tapping
and no time for napping.
It came to an end all too soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

235/365/Poetry and Form

In 2011, I headed to Bloomington for a fantastic five-day vacation, during which I toured sites related to my friend’s father (as well as the Kinsey Institute). In 2015, I headed to London because his musical was supposed to open, but he canceled it. Last week, I went back to Bloomington with Tim and my high-school-BFF-producer friend and her husband and we all stayed with Esther and we saw two of the four performances and were given a local tour by my friend, the Man Himself.

This is a preamble to two limericks, because I’ve had to attempt a few lately and I haven’t had time to write anything else (no pantoum for you!). Yesterday I sent them to my five friends as a thank you, because it really was a great trip. Here is the first.

1: The Thank-You Note

At Hoagy’s most kind invitation
we planned us a minivacation.
The divine Esther housed us.
The dancers aroused us.
Stardust Road was our path to elation!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

234/365/Poetry and Form

Yesterday I played with the Helen-found poem generator. I wanted to be delighted with the results, but I was not. And it’s good that it doesn’t quite work.

I chose the villanelle first, and got this:

Helen’s Torment: The Villanelle of the Chainsaw

Helen couldn’t stop thinking about the chainsaw
It was just so big-ol’ and terrifying
But she could never forget the straw

That morning, Helen was shocked by the schwa
She found herself feeling rather undying
Helen couldn’t stop thinking about the chainsaw

Later, Helen was spooked by a spa
She thought the situation had become rather edifying
But she could never forget the straw

Sabine tried to distract her with a law
Said her mind had become too satisfying
Helen couldn’t stop thinking about the chainsaw

Helen took action like a la
The chainsaw was becoming too prying
But she could never forget the straw

Helen nosedived like a terrifying outlaw
Her mind became dangerously trying
Helen couldn’t stop thinking about the chainsaw
But she could never forget the straw

See what I mean? Some good lines, some stupid rhyme choices. So I tried again, this time a sonnet:

Ode to the Chainsaw

My right chainsaw, you inspire me to write.
How I love the way you purrs, revs and screams,
Invading my mind day and through the night,
Always dreaming about the useful creams.

Let me compare you to a great sawdust?
You are more big-ol’ and more lifesaving.
Green heat toasts the frolics of August,
And summertime has the raving shaving.

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your saving crankshaft, nuts and teeth.
Thinking of your fictive nuts fills my days.
My love for you is the powerful meath.

Now I must away with a crying heart,
Remember my words whilst we’re apart.

Well, it got me to August 22, anyway.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

233/365/Poetry and Form

Advice (a haiku)

Don’t get your feet wet.
Do not get overheated.
Put that in a bowl.

232/365/Poetry and Form

Tim and I were briefly in Rockland, Maine, last summer. I had forgotten that Edna St. Vincent Millay was born there. We had just missed the Millay Arts & Poetry Festival. We were in an art gallery, looking at paintings, and there on the wall was a copy of the sonnet that opened my wedding:

Sonnet XXX
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would. 

I found it.

Monday, August 20, 2018

231/365/Poetry and Form

I still like this bit of mimicry. Every being who attended this party is mentioned, and everything said about each person is true, or at least has basis in truth. (For the Noel Coward on which it is based, look here. He performs it here.) The baby mentioned in this poem turns nine on September 1.

I’ve Been to a Marvelous Party

with thanks to Noel Coward and our hosts

I’ve been to a marvelous party
With Mad’son and Mimi and Shayne.
We could all be outside
In rare lack of collide
Of clouds bringing quotidian rain.
The hosts put out bowls of sangria
And selzer to fizz up your pour.
Dear Deb had a drink for the first time in weeks,
Which was probably good, as her guests were all freaks
(Some having come after swimming in creeks!).
I couldn’t have liked it more.

I’ve been to a marvelous party.
Natale was in from L.A.
Deb’s brother Jim,
Who’s uncommonly slim,
Kept the table from floating away.
The guests were to fill out the potluck
With gourmet temptations galore,
So Lali brought some of her famous goat cheese,
And Ali, a hot dish with fresh zucchinis,
And Mary’s confections brought us to our knees.
I couldn’t have liked it more.

I’ve been to a marvelous party.
Soon Monty arrived with the Veuve.
When asked if he’s maybe
Prepared for this baby,
He said no (but has requisite nerve).
The baby will be here in August—
Quite likely in three weeks or four.
We marveled at Sarah, so great now with child.
(Some of us find reproduction très wild,
our own needs for progeny terribly mild).
I couldn’t have liked it more.

I’ve been to a marvelous party.
Most everyone gave me a hug.
Darling Ron was there, even,
Smiling slyly, and Steven
Just sold Parker Posey a rug.
Shayne and Mimi got into a dog fight,
Which failed to provide needed gore.
Lizzie was learning to read others’ auras.
Tom told a tale of lead-poisoning horrors.
Dan got the ’scope out to look at the star-ars.
I couldn’t have liked it more.

I’ve been to a marvelous party.
Ed drank his iced rum and coke.
Paul did his thing
To remain Garnish King
And Kate married some Tim guy named Hoch.
Dona wowed us with yoga positions
To get us all onto the floor.
Sioux brought an odd sculpture that made us all stare,
Sir Duke made no mention of “found underwear,”
And Aidan, on Wii, made a left-handed spare.
I couldn’t have liked it more.

I’ve been to a marvelous party.
Some guests were cavorting with yaks.
The kestrels were flying,
The sunlight was dying—
We all seemed at last to relax.
And in the crepuscular moments
Up bubbled an esprit de corps.
The Milky Way shot through the dark, moonless night.
The bonfire gave off some wood smoke and light.
We were all rather grateful for the invite.
I couldn’t have liked it more.

230/365/Poetry and Form

After five days of travel and visits, I am feeling very much like I did ten-plus years ago, when I posted this haiku on Route 153.

(f) Atrophy

Frost heaves and potholes
Draw focus to body parts
That should not jiggle

Sunday, August 19, 2018

229/365/Poetry and Form

Not only were you lucky enough to already read poems during our people month, but you got some cocktail haikus during food. Go ahead. Reread them. You know you want to.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

228/365/Poetry and Form

And also post 97, where you will find two more limericks about Amy. (I’m traveling. You just have to deal with recent reruns.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

227/365/Poetry and Form

Of course, I’ve already included poetry in this 365 project. I refer you now to post 94, where you will find two limericks about Dan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

226/365/Poetry and Form

I didn’t realize that in post 224 I had internalized Sabine’s reverse haiku until I tried to Moonlight-in-Vermont it. Here’s my “Writing advice” from 153:

When attempting haikus, it’s good to get John Blackburn’s verses and Karl Suessdorf’s tune to “Moonlight in Vermont” stuck in your head.

Pennies in a stream
Falling leaves, a sycamore
Moonlight in Vermont

Icy finger waves
Ski trails on a mountain side
Snowlight in Vermont

[Telegraph cables, they sing down the highway
And travel each bend in the road
People who meet in this romantic setting
Are so hypnotized by the lovely]

Evening summer breeze
Warbling of a meadowlark
Moonlight in Vermont

[You and I and moonlight in Vermont]

Monday, August 13, 2018

225/365/Poetry and Form

American Fantasy in B-flat

My ponderous breast
lying there on my chest
being sweetly caressed
on some lover’s quest
for a bit of the best
does not protest
to being undressed.
But I can attest
that if you molest
this ponderous breast
I shall have to arrest
and simply suggest
that if you’re obsessed
with the physicalness
that you have assessed,
then I’m not impressed;
for you have a regressed
to a state I detest.
But now we’ve redressed.
I feel refreshed.
Yes, I had guessed
before you confessed
that the care you invest
toward my ponderous breast
isn’t merely in jest
but chock-full of zest
that I won’t contest.
And now that you’re pressed
to my ponderous breast
I have of course yessed
to all of the rest.
And would you move west
to my other breast
so it too feels blessed
in being caressed?
Let us divest.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

224/365/Poetry and Form

Last Sunday I finally went to the swimming hole with my friend. It will likely be the only time this summer. Her Italian lover was due to arrive that night, and she was nervous, for many reasons. A big one: he was bringing his two daughters, whom she’d never met, and he would meet hers. There would be a couple of weeks of being all together, when it had only been just the two of them before.

But by Monday night, she’d texted me a photo of his Speedo hanging on her dresser drawer pull. (And yes, the double entendre of drawer pull is just now hitting me.)

So I replied with my first text [reverse] haiku:

Speedo hangs on my dresser
(why did I worry?)
like it’s been there forever