Category Archives: free verse

A poem at Defuncted

I’ve got a poem up at Defuncted, a journal dedicated to reprinting pieces from defunct publications.

I’m grateful to editor Roo Black for providing a place where this poem can continue on. We live in an age of rapid advancement, and with that comes quick obsolescence. Writing has always transcended the technology/medium of its communication.

A Winter Song (A Cento)

In silence, they dissolve before dawn-
the words my heart was calling.
They are not in the sun,

I can hear the noiseless sound raining down.
Nothing but the white vowels of the wind,
a perfect song is loveless.
The snow is beautiful on the ground.

For still the night through will they come and go,
unerringly toward the same trysting-place,
making beauty
with iced and darkened flow
on every road I wandered by.

Music, I’ll call it music,
she must have a song at any cost
again and again out of the world’s cold deafness.

*****
This Cento is comprised of lines from the following poets:
Mo H Saidi, Sara Teasdale, Avot Yeshurun, AE Stallings, Miguel Hernandez, Kenneth Patchen, DH Lawrence, Tony Hoagland, Thom Gunn, Philip Levine, Margaret Julia Marks, Graham Foust, Carolyn Wells, AE Houseman, Dabney Stuart

Seasonal

The leaves lay spread amidst a coverlet of snow-

one a bit early, the other late in season

past reds and yellows – some time ago.

They were once green, connected stem to root –

and spring and summer rains

dripping from their tapered ends fed them –

their flowers and their shoots.

The rains that came in maelstrom or set in calming mist,

now fall glissando-like in frozen silhouette.

Lighting on the grass and ground,  setting to persist.

The time between these spells now hardly seems unfurled

and yet the leaves, now consummated, are ensconced in winter pearl.

 

Earnest

Having arrived, definitively,

from your origins

as a thought

from far away –  your power

to hold us all as newly born,

as something once not, yet now are –

created solely from bonds of love-

you are a certitude, swaddled in assurance.

You shine

and we are radiant.

*****

This week we welcomed our grandson into the world.  I am almost speechless in my ability to convey how this impacted me.

 

 

Wood matters

Smoke arises from the chimney stack

in billows

from an untended burn.

It smolders and flashes, then flames.

More provocation

and maybe some oak, dense among woods,

for fuel;

it brings back the smoke

to choke away the cleansing flame

and obscure the fire,

producing words like bitterness and char.

 

Cento: For prayers

Threading a long night through the rules and channels
in my memories I thought of trust.

When you get new things
you treat them like glass for a while.

Now the stars appear and the Night dreams
a life, the dazzler, the dark.
We will lose the sun
and surely take everything off your hands.

I don’t know the word for because,
How do I tell my mouth to speak?
It’s quiet again and now the sky is a tangled
mess of rags seeking out the bored and unwilling,
the heavens melted, dropping water down.

Long nights for simple words
Shy words tiptoeing from mouth to ear.

At different times,
a feeling comes, not woven by innocent hands.
And how could any of us get by
with one in the way?

****************************
This Cento is composed of lines from the following poets:
Robert Pinsky, Alex Dimitrov, John Lee Clark, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, Mark Tardi, Brenda Hillman, Jenny Xie, Melissa Stein, Ari Banias, Melvin Dixon, Donika Kelly, James J. Ryan, Lucy Ives,Pauli Murray, Adam Clay

Wurst

It seemed lovely, oh mavourneen –
You won and you preened.
Yet, when such is your bailiwick –
Spreading the hate and reeling the sick –
you’re a wandering nudnik
taking in bathos and spreading disease.

My galimatias notwithstanding,
your governed approach to this whole dismantling
contains a truth you have never once known
amongst your whole opuscule – blustered, overblown.

Your stemwinders reveal all your foibles and flaws.
You actually blow all the wind in your cause,
And the ignominy you will sooner feel among laws.
Words capture and stall e’en the worst of us all.

And this apotheosis I leave in verse, the paroxysm-
I’m leaving it all uncoerced and letting them burn
in their own mixed up wurst.

For poetry gives me a hope to instill
and words are a means for spreading good will.

*******************

I wrote this in response to a challenge by Cricketmuse.

The challenge was to use a specific set of ten words in a written piece.  I’m a sucker for a good sounding word.  And these are probably the most unusual (real) words I’ve tried to incorporate in , as per my normal approach, a poem.  I kind of like it.  I hope you do too.