Category Archives: poetry

hidden in sight

She likes to nest in the seasonal swag on our front door,

even with better natural options in the burning bush on the corner

or the Japanese maple in our neighbor’s yard,

our roosting house sparrow waits, en garde.

Perhaps it is the safety of a solid wall,

the camouflage of her twigs and grasses and straw

among the bundles of dried vine, hydrangea blossoms, glistening and false.

or this perfect window to a world as she “twee-deeps” her calls

Perhaps she shares some insight to other songbirds

hidden within the sound of her chirping words.

Water Cycle 2019 (after Newman)

What has happened down here with the climate change
Storms built in from the north and it started to rain.
Rained real hard and forever and a spell
And the bottoms filled up ‘round the lake at Dardanelle.

The river rose all day.
The river rose all night.
The bayous backed up in the flood.
Some bridges now are clean out of sight.
The river spread clear from the Ozarks to the Ouachitas,
Roaring water through the streets of Arkansas.

Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.
This is melted glacier water’s way.
The water cycle’s here to stay
Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.

The leader-man came down from that place he reigns
and a yes-man with an i-phone in his hand
The leader-man says, yes-man isn’t it a shame
What the water has done.
Where’d it come from, yes, watch it rain.

Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.
This is melted glacier water’s way.
The water cycle’s here to stay.
Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.

*******
In homage to Randy Newman’s wonderful song “Louisiana 1927.” The song has been rattling in my head for several days, as I continue to see remarkable and sad footage from a region of the US that I am very familiar with. I do not mean to look upon other’s misfortunes lightly or with malice, but I felt the need to say something. I hope and pray for the safety and quick recovery of all of those in harm’s way.

Being Something Else

To wonder if our evolutionary
ancestors made such split second decisions:
not just to swim ahead in fear of survival
to evade a larger predatory fish,
but about whether to swim back a few feet
with purpose to look at a beautiful pebble,
or to creep to the water’s edge
and feel the silt and sand for a few moments,
then return to the deeper water.

Until one day,
it was past three seconds
in the sediment, and they decided
they were no longer fish.

mottled

The once-blossoms from pear trees
pushed along in eddies of air,
gather in piles on pavement,

Teardrops darken the soil
where they impact – craters form
and moisture seeps away,

While blackbird nests dot between branches,
the sky torn with their cries;

lined-through words leave only
articles and prepositions,
no substance or action –
and scuttles the memory for lies.

Coffee For (In the Style of John Masefield’s Sea Fever)

I must go down the street again, to the coffeehouse near the Y,
And what I need is a yogurt scone and a grande latte chai;
With a mule’s kick and a banshee song and the white milk that’s shaking,
There’s a grim look on the barista’s face, and the coffee press is breaking.

I must go down the street again, for a caffé mocha, iced.
It’s 2 pm on a Wednesday, this cannot be denied;
And here it is a promotions day with the caramel clouds flying,
And soccer moms with their matcha green, and the frappuccinos vying.

I must go down the street again, this vagrant caffeine strife,
For the blended way and the fruit juice way where the drink is a whetted knife;
And all I ask is an espresso shot that keeps me stone cold sober,
And doubly-steeped herbal mango tea or a smoothie I could go for.

**********************************
A “Terrible Poem” written in response to Chelsea Owens weekly prompt to destroy (my words, not hers) a classic poem at https://chelseaannowens.com/category/terrible-poetry-contest/

This one was written in the form of Sea Fever, by John Masefield – the first poem I recall having to memorize in eighth grade English. Thanks Miss Dunn.

Abandon

Chalk sun-faces on an asphalt driveway,
drawn to chase away the chill breeze
and forecasted rain.

Bicycles circle the cul-de-sac
blazing trails, pedals flail.

Shouts and whoops
to Scout
to fetch the ball
and chase the calls.

Children playing with abandon.
Adults watch and see themselves –
their childhood, stranded.