Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Trinket Shop (A Poem)

Broken things speak to me,
the moving fingers of
headless things, brainless memories.
The whispering, mouthless confession
of things unfinished,
the many-lived lives
of inanimate things
that can sometimes be
more human than even ourselves.

Written for a prompt at Toads.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Orange Beach (#10)

They never mention
in the gloss-shiny brochures
and elite travel magazines
of how rude tourists can be,
or how you can't
walk the beach past nine
because the ocean,
angry and overflowing,
spits huge jelly fish onto the shore
with the fervor of
an over-exerted ejaculation.
They seem to skip details:
the dirty smell of each wave
that sours your swimsuit,
the way the beach sand
sinks between your toes
and pores like pebbles meant
to cripple your morning walk.
They never mention how lonely
an exquisite condo can be
when drunken friends become strangers
and you watch, desolately,
as the sun hides her smile behind
buildings painted silly colors
while all you can think about
is how many miles you are
away from everything familiar,
how you miss your favorite blanket
and the leaky faucet in the
upstairs bathroom back home.

Written for a prompt at Poets United.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

3am Sentiments (A Poem)

My girl reminds me
Of cigars and whiskey,
The cheap coffee of
3am gas stations run
By old men with names
Like Cecil or Silas
along the native backroads
Of a humid Alabama,
Windows rolled down halfway
So I can taste the call
Of beaches, feel the electric
Radio waves of phone calls,
The place where lovers meet
somewhere between slumber and reality.
I have been there before,
Remember the soured
Stench of dead weeds
And dust devils, spinning
Along the sides of highways
That roll past Birmingham,
Radio-full of a club beat night
That makes me think of
Drunken wedding receptions,
Expensive wines by formal names
of things I can’t recall
And I haven’t drank since then.

Written for a prompt at Magpie Tales.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Words As Incantation (An Essay on Inspiration)

He was a freckle-faced red-headed no-name of Freshman Algebra who brought to me a volume of his own penmanship, a sort of extension to his friendship.  As we grew into good buddies, I continued to read his words, though lacking brilliance and tinged of juvenile acquaintance (the norm of our everyday).  I could tell the collection of confessional limericks meant something to him, and so my own self-written words began to mean something to me as well.

Years later, having written and hoarded thousands of poems that probably totaled nothing more than the rambling adolescent rants of a lost girl, I found Sylvia Plath's Ariel among the slim collection of poetry at the public library.  Ariel taught me that poetry wasn't merely a novelty, a past-time to burn the boredom of a clock.  It taught me that the written world could be fiery, red, an incantation that tickles your brain.  In that moment, I suppose, the spell was cast.

Words, for me, became a multi-faceted enigma of late night confessions in the collected works of Anne Sexton.  I found tidbits of my own existential existence in the raging fires and subtle parallels of Charles Bukowski.  Judy Grahn invited me into the heart of my own body, the ability to inhabit my sexuality and strength enough to hug the void of my eccentricities.  And when I read the words of Jack Kerouac I felt I was touching the human spirit with my own hands.  The world had really become a proverbial oyster.  From the gritty truth of Allen Ginsberg that stung my eyes as much as my ego, to the scar-worn heart of Pablo Neruda, my kindred equal whom shared the same stars with me so many decades after one another.

It was during my first four years of college that I became enamored with words, juxtapositions, the metaphors of my action verbs, the smell of a new pen.  Poetry opened my world in the way a bud blooms into rose, the origination of one seed into a thousand branching leaves.  Over the years I have devoured books and poetry and words, consumed them just as importantly as the body matabolizes food.  I have filled twenty journals and too many dog-eared notebooks to count, pieces of my life that still visit me for an occasional teaching.

Poetry has been the friend I confided in, the religion that has saved me unlike any other God.  Books have become old friends, and I can't begin to tell you how many separate lives I've lived.  Words have comforted me in trying times, writing has become  a showcase of my life, the most less-difficult way for me to confer.  And in a lot of ways, the written word has given me the reasons I need to keep on being as I am, and the life lessons on conforming when I should, the reality that everyday awake is a gift and another chance to create.

Writing has allowed me the happiness and bravery to inhabit my own existence.  Poetry allows me the remembrance of anything that's ever meant anything to me.  All the little pieces of being alive that usually fall through the cracks of memory, important and irreplacable moments we lose to time.  And I feel there's something unforgettable to be said about that.

Written for a prompt at Real Toads.

The Fool (A Poem)

Fool was the holiday
of my November,
the way the mundane
suddenly seemed spectacular,
long-winded chat boxes
wounding words and night
down to half-meant
sentiments typed so well.
This was the mortar
of a perceived forever,
invisible stone that
crumbled beneath me in
well-penned letters
and theater-bathroom photos,
never mind the juvenile notion.
Two almost-lovers saying goodbye
in  Christmas-lit parking lots,
my turkey recipes and all
the well-meant invitations
evolving into counter-top kisses
and half-watched movies,
the drunken look that
clouded her eyes at the mention
of something serious,
and a heap of song lyrics
that once meant something
now only the stray words
to lost melodies I barely remember,
a voice and static,
all vintage-transistor-like
and none of it sounding of her.

Written for Poets United.