You were bent over
that old electric bass
picking at dirty cords
under the swirling steam
of coffee and a plateful gorditas de chicarrón,
the smoke from a cigarette you lit
and left hanging at the table’s edge
cleared my eyes for just a moment
before I turned my back
and walked away.
The rhythm you stole
from my stride
through a hole
in my back pocket.
The prompt: “write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.”
I tripped today on a thread I thought I had lost; it stretched
Across the floor white on whiter – thinnest of obstacles.
Under my shoe it slid like existentialism
Smooth but troubling freedom of choice in a soup of
meaninglessness – ideas, politics, philosophy.
By the time I saw it, the end had frayed and split apart
Too many threads to hold together the strongest of seams.
“write a fourteener. Fourteeners can be have any number of lines, but each line should have fourteen syllables…”
Once, I imagined stretching myself out
in the dust and rock
at the hem of her red velvet dress.
Hands behind my neck,
Elbows stuck out like tomahawk blades —
I knew I would see the dance of
the shimmery beads she wove into hair
so blue, so black
I would plummet with vertigo into
endless strands of braid.
She was so fine, and so right, this Night in the Desert
that she stuck like caliche in a breeze
to every memory and every dream
of untouchable tomorrows
that decades later
I believe I can reach up
and wind dimmed urban Leonids around me
against November’s “garish sun.”
“take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars”
With apologies to The Bard; One of my favorite speeches from R + J. ‘-)
“Sadly, this town is not like London” –
no Big Ben to count out
hours of our days
for sale at every street side café.
No one owns galoshes
only a few have a proper raincoat,
settling instead for a black garbage bag
with holes for arms and head.
Also not like Venice,
though the lightest rain
makes gondolas seem like a fine plan
for transportation, while
buildings of concrete block
belie the mirage.
Nor is it Paris
though we boast our own
kind of tower
and from the hill
city lights glitter
Not a ranch,
not a city.
Describe “something in terms of what it is not, or not like.”
In the refracted light
on a raindrop I recall
my ragged fingers laced
between your polished nails.
Across the thread of time
moon milk drips
in a long, blank line
toward a vanishing horizon,
where the visions in your fading words
are still the fire in mine.
Belly to earth, snuggling in,
back to stone, belly to stone, back to stone, ad infinitum.
Warm in sun, cool in rain
the lizards lounge about
in our reservoirs of heat,
sneaking into sunny winter light
and dipping back in blistery boil.
We are earth made old,
time made flesh
and flesh made timeless
like wordsmiths of old
the mason has stacked us here
with care and precision
a poem to withstand all comers.
I wish I had a tree house —
Glister twister smister
Open close shut
Even steven cretin
Box train car
Live dive rive
Crave shave cream
Sing stream listen
Over up down
Winder slender slander
Brush smush lush
Down over under
Six ways ‘round
Time slime chime
Nothing roughing sloughing
Felon felonious felony
— I’d climb up to sit in a quiet corner
and sing all the songs I could think of.
I ran across this list of interesting triplets in some old writing and thought I’d put it to good use by adding a bit of a frame.
Though I’m no Frida Kahlo,
against my better judgment,
I invoked my Diego
one August Friday night at eleven forty-three.
On Saturday morning I spent two hours of my life
standing in a sweaty, chatty line to change
my cable service to digital.
Suddenly you were before me —
Eddie, Charlie, David, Garrett, Armando, Jeff, Joe, etc. —
in the guise of one man, a bassist in the band.
I was next in line to update my cable service,
and you wanted to engage me?
I turned and stepped forward
to fill out the requisite forms as
a horned toad ran
over the toe of my shoe,
each step a rumbling thunder
across the desert sky
harbinger of death.
In the afternoon of Sunday
Will Smith got jiggy wid
some aliens on my newly
digitized television service
HBO? Or was it Cinemax?
And I couldn’t help but wonder
if my reaction to your visage
was silvered adequately in bullets of
boredom and disinterest to
keep you at bay.
Werewolf with a beat.
To know where some of this comes from you’ll have to check out the semi-structure provided by today’s NaPoWriMo prompt here. From where I sit, this is a remarkably, terrifyingly revealing poem. Read from it what you will. This was a toughie. ~LD