I would appreciate your comments on #15, Boomer Identity Crisis, which is the most likely that I will submit

#18 and #23 are about love and lost love and are certainly the most personal.

#5 is a nature poem
#17 rewrites the myths of creation.

#14 is an attempt at a Golden Shovel using a poem from this marathon

Number 1 & 24 morning from my window.

YOur comments on any of them would be appreciated.

1, 5, 14, 15, 17, 18, 23, 24
The rest I have eliminated from consideration.

Hour Twenty four The city sleeps

The City Sleeps
by Paul Robert Sanford

Traffic on Brush Street has slowed
from 2000 an hour at rush hour
to a speeding car every few minutes.
A bus goes past on its way to the Greyhound Station

The pointed evergreens are a black shadow against a charcoal sky.
In the federal building’s twin towers a few floors are lit,
probably some cleaning crews,
although it could be the government at work.
It’s 8 am in Washington DC.
My busy intersection has three tall streetlights
that serve as my nightlight.]
In their glare a lone pedestrian crosses the street,
crossing into shadow and out of sight.
The bars are closed.
Hours ago a flock of happy young people walked
along the deserted streets on their way home from the club.
My neighbors have their porch lights on
while the rest of the house sleeps.
Parked cars wait patiently at both curbs,
hoping not to get run into by some drunk
confused by the lane change.
In the distance the red lights atop the loading cranes
at the waterfrdont blink and dance.
Itd is a good time to have a warm bed to retreat into.
A lonely time to be out in the sleeping city.

Hour Twenty Three Missing

Hour Twenty Three
by Paul Robert Sanford

Body by Rubens
Personality shaped by the suburbs of the valley.
Sweet, bright, with lovely soft childish nasal voice.
College sweetheart, first wife,
divorced when her father died
Unsettled child, guided by her mother
happily humming to herself
playing the piano in her little cottage
I never stopped loving her,
just put up a wall of hurt and anger and feigned indifference
between us to make myself safe.
She died before we were forty
her ashes were scattered over an unknown field
I never attended her memorial or visited her grave.
I wonder how we would have been together in our old age?

Hour 22 Lady in Black Ekphrastic poem

22 2017 Ekphrastic poem

Lady in Black
by Paul Robert Sanford

Style and elegance trump comfort in her pose
head turned sharply to the side to show her chiseled profile.
Wasp waisted from wearing iron corsets
which over time move the woman’s internal organs permanently.
With an impact on childbirth unknown to me.

One hand tightly and uncomfortably grips the table
to support the pose.

Note that she is thoroughly draped
but her fine white shoulders are exposed and the bodice dips across her bosom.

Although the pose seems elegant, the upper body is curiously detached from the lower,
giving a stiff rigid feel to the pose,
almost as though the flesh had been painted separately and the fabric lower parts filled in later
with all their shiny and elaborate folds and shadings.

Look closely at the unnatural pose of the right arm compared to the staight and unstraibned left.
The head is also turned in a way that might easily be uncomfortable, but elegance demands the pose.
The hair, piled on top of the head, is represented by the painter in a more haphazard manner
than the detailed shadings of the fabric, once again giving the feeling that we have
two paintings, possibly even by two different artists.

hour 21 Purple states

experiencing technical difficulties.

The writing is about a scheme to turn California and New York purple by having lodgers in fly-over states move to the coast as lodgers on paper, and swap with folks on the coast. Absentee ballots would then turn the states purple, making the electoral college voting more in line with the popular vote.
For some reason this seemed more sensible than a constitutional amendment.

Purple States
by Paul Sanford

Spit blood is red,
in your body it’s purple.
Elections draws flies
like sweet maple surple.

Wall now, it turned out that nobody could change that durn old electoral college,
so to make the votin’ for president match the electoral and popular vote,
they hadda change them red and blue states into purple states.

The first big push was gettin’ folks from California to register in Montana.
There’s more folks in Berkeley than in any two big cities in Montana put together,
so they made a swap.
Folks in Berkeley moved they principal residence to Helena as lodgers with folks,
and an equalt number, abaouit a quarter million, moved on paper to the Berkeley California area.

Not only was the vote for President closer in Montana, but so was the single seat for the House of Representatives.
Just as importnt, Berkeley finally got some folks with solid business sense and financial responsibility on its city council and school boards, so both states benefited.

Course it was gonna take a lot more votes to turn old Blue Caliofornia red, and that’s when Oakland California be

Hour 20 Eaters

20 2017
by Paul Robert Sanford

Tortoise eats cactus
Cactus shelters bird from snake
Ant eats them all.

Hour Nineteen Flight of Fancy

19 2017 Space the new frontier

Flight of Fancy
by Paul Robert Sanford

Tinker Belle sprinkled us with just a little too much pixie dust,
and Peter Pan led us out the window, zooming past Neverland into space.
We saw the most wonderful things.
After we left the highest flying birds below,
we zoomed past a few airplanes
then satellites and on to the moon!

The moon was very much as one would imagine it,
all crunky with holes and dust,
not at all the kind of place to set up a cricket pitch,
so we moved on.

We were lucky to come upon Mars in its orbit
it isn’t always so easy to find.
It looked rather rusty and not at all civilized.
It’s moons were little jewels, and sister fawned over them.
Phobos – what’s the name of the one closer to Mars?
Bottomos was the reply. Served her right for asking.

The asteroids were fun.
They come in all sizes, and, since they are in space
they are quite weightless,
so it was possible to pitch several of quite good size,
although it took some effort to overcome inertia,
and we scooted in the opposite direction.

We passed Saturn’s showy display of rings at a distance,
and as we neared Jupiter’s moons
sister insisted that the baby was tired and needed to nap,
and the depths of dark cold space were hardly ideal,
so we headed back, making quite good time.

This time we made it to Neverland and had a massive lot
of jolly adventures that rivaled our trip through space
and were not nearly so cold and quiet.

If you get a chance to visit the planets of the solar system,
I suggest you eschew the company of girls and babies.

Hour Eighteen Dinner Date (Prompt Table for Two)

18 2017 dinner date (prompt table for two)

Dinner Date
by Paul Robert Sanford

At a table for two
we sat and smiled
as couples do on a date
early in a relationship.

That night marked the demarcation between my life before and since.

She flashed her radiant smile,
her delicate perfect features
framed with angelic curls.
A crystal on a chain around her neck,
her peasant blouse showing off her good shoulders.

From that night came a new career, parenthood, stability, and sadness.

I was in a brilliant, happy phase,
full of vitality and creativity
fairly wise and not too arrogant.
Still with hair framing my rugged features,
contact lenses letting my soft eyes show.

The biological clock was ticking for both of us, and this was my callback audition
for sperm donor, parent, life mate.

I never believed this spectacular creature
could really want humongous bumbling me,
and I drove her crazy with my insecurity,
but eventually she convinced me she loved me.
I adored her so much I was afraid to show it,
hiding behind a bit of gruffness from time to time.

That night was the beginning of two wonderful children, ten eventful years together,
the golden time that divided my long youth from my elderly disabled days.

I don’t remember anything that happened that night
at that table for two,
just an indelible picture of two people falling in love
joining their lives
blessed by the soft lights of a nice restaurant
on a momentous dinner date.

Hour Seventeen Creation Mythology

17 2017 Creation Mythology

Creation Mythology
by Paul Robert Sanford

Long time past,
before the Big Bang myth scattered the stars
and send cooling balls of matter to become
planets and moons
and the myth of evolution populated
the water planet named dirt upon which we live.

Long time past
Before Galileo set the Earth dirt spinning around our Sun,
before Arab and Egyptian scholars mapped the distant stars.

That time,
Everybody lived on a flat dirt planet surrounded by water on every side.
Some water fell out of the sky, some was down below.
The Sun and Moon behaved themselves and flowed across the sky
each day and night.

That time,
there were many stories to explain Everything.
Our planet was a bid of bird poop on a tortoise shell.
The Sun a ball the trickster Raven stole from Bear
and threw up high in the sky to keep from being caught.

Mountain tops had names and histories,
Rivers flowed from the homes of powerful beings known as gods.
The stories made a kind of sensible nonsense that taught us
not to ask too many questions lest we anger spirits that were listening.

The problems came when Raven and Bear and the magical beings and spirits
got promoted into full fledged gods
that demanded worship, sacrifices, loyalty as a price for rain and good crops.
Pretty soon every nation, tribe and watering hole had its resident god or godling.
Some of them weren’t up to the job.
They demanded too much and gave too little.
They ruled by fear and punished with flood, famine and plague.
It was untenable.

Then some bright Charlie or Charlene came up with the bright idea
that religion and gods could be good.
Pretty soon people were meditating or telling stories about how to have a better life.

Now there were franchises in which Creation was made on purpose
out of love for all that is and kindness for people, who are special.
The earth was still flat and the sun reassuringly went around us,
and everything could be explained.
It was written down in big books.

Now great thinkers stand astride the Creator myth and the Bang,
striving to make them work as a team and lead humanity in a good direction.
But the trickster is still at work and we are still confused.

That is a sketch of the many mythical stories of creation as we know it and have known it.
May we find salvation in the truth, if we ever figure it out.

And that’s the Truth, whatever that is.

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