2019 – Twenty-Four – The Pop Song Prompt – “Heroes”

Exhausted from the weight of all the words
the poet settles in, enjoys the birds
as they begin to sing in the rising sun
and he feels the joy of finishing what he’d begun.
He didn’t swing a bat or kick a ball.
He didn’t slap a puck or scrap and brawl.
He simply played with words and so he knows
that he performed the work of his great heroes.

And so, like them when they passed some great test
he burrows in his blankets. He’s earned his rest.

All like him, each poet left still standing fiercely shows
that like the old ones, there are new poet heroes.

2019 – Twenty-Three – “Good Morning” for My Dulcinea

You are often in my dreams
and I assume that I need them
in order to feel you.
But I have been up all night,
writing around the world,
with very few words for you,
very few thoughts of you,
and as the sun creeps across
this unfamiliar room,
as it does at home,
I feel you as if I was
waking. Yet, I have not slept.
I do not sleep to have you.
You are not here just in darkness.
You still come to me
wherever I am,
and in your morning guise,
Now that I must sleep,
will you come to me there too?
Perhaps you are more real than
I’ve supposed.

2019 – Twenty-Two – Prompt 28 – Technology in the Context of Nature – Icarus

There’ve been bold wings built strong of many things
for many reasons meant beneath the sun.
Bones of steel, and alum skins, and wooden
frames for silk. Tight canvas woven in mills.
We have flown around this world on wings
built strong and safe and we have often run
before the wind, before our time, and when
we return to earth, modern are our skills.

But nature doesn’t cause true steel, or bind
aluminum to ribs of lathe. We learned
to fly from birds’ technology and tales
of dreams enough so we don’t reach out blind.

Wax and feathered wings and Icarus burned.
First flight was dreamed, and still so often fails.

(Not my best, but I can re-work it later.  A little over an hour to go. It’ll have to do.)

2019 – Twenty-one – Prompt 26, Write About an Animal – Freddy

Freddy was a good boy.
He’s the first dog I remember.
Mostly spaniel, a little beagle
all black and white,
with spots.
He didn’t have a collar
or a leash.
Dad had a hank
of white nylon
and he’d tie it
around patient
Freddy’s neck
and we’d go hunting,
Freddy, Dad, and
three-year-old me
in my denim
farm tuxedo
those pointy-toed
little cowboy
I don’t think
my Fred
ever flushed a quail
or retrieved a goose.
I’m not sure Dad
ever pulled the trigger
and my cap rifle
wouldn’t bring down
a damned thing.
But we’d go home,
tired and exhausted.
Muddy and happy.
Ma would toss Dad and I
in the tub,
and Freddy would wait
beside to
follow me to bed.

I used to lick
my lollipops and
stick them to him
while he napped in the shade.
I’d come back
and retrieve them later.

He’d watch me to the gate
when I went to school.
He’d be there waiting
when I came home.

After Dad passed away,
Mom brought home a collie,
a big, gorgeous collie named
But I never took to him,
I had Fred.
Fred was my dog.
He was a good boy.
And I was his,
his good boy.

He’s been gone a long time
Close to forty years.
I miss him still.
I’ve never had another dog
They say you get just one,
that one special dog that
no other measures up to.
I had mine already.
I had my Fred.
And Freddy’s dead.
I’ll never get over that.

2019 – Twenty – Prompt 23 – A Response to Prompt 1 – Things That I Am Not

I am not a man of constant sorrow.
I am not one who sees the forest. I see trees.
I am not much of one to see tomorrow.
Today is good enough for one who sees.
I am not a poet full of good intentions.
I am not a fan of words used as a lure.
I am not a writer craving voice in world dissensions.
Words aren’t always helpful, don’t always cure.
I am not where you will find no contradictions.
I am not where you will hear all answers spoke.
I am not immune to maledictions.
It’s possible to be both whole and broke.

I live in dreams, not always in real life,
in fantasies more real to me than you.
I am not a man whose sorrow’s like a knife,
that cuts, it’s true, still sorrows sometimes do.

True poetry is not always ‘I am’. That’s just a boast.
It’s often in ‘I’m not’, where it’s found most.

2019 – Nineteen – Looking Back to the Beginning. Prompt 1, Hour 1 – I Am

I am the man who would wear no more shoes
to stroll and to feel all the sand by the sea
knowing that nothing is what I can lose
having little enough, and much less, sets me free.

I am the man who would live at the top
of a mountain, no kidding, in a cave in the snow.
I never seek real folks outside of the shop.
For solitude, do you know how far I would go.

I am the man with such hope in his soul
I fear for the world but not much for me.
I’ve been dead already, or nearly. The whole
of this life is already mine, and where I can be free.

I am a painter, a poet, a bard.
I’d walk off tomorrow, and leaving behind
my family, my friends, everything that I guard,
my possessions, and singing, for someone to find.

I am a man with no political bent
my beliefs are my own and I keep them inside.
As for my God, while he is heaven-sent,
she’s mine, mine alone, for my heart to abide.

I am a man who has spoken enough
of himself this dark evening, and maybe too much.
The rest of my secrets, are mine and they’re tough
to hide from you all, as they’re not yours to touch.

2019 – Eighteen – Prompt 22, Hour 18 – Letter to Me Before I Was a Poet

Do you recall,
or not so much,
when you could speak
without rhythm?

When all your words
were simple
and you were happy
with ’em?

They suited
all your wants
and needs
and no one
much of ’em.

And you could
then go to bed,
and dream without

Then one day,
you thought in rhyme
and wrote it down
and spoke aloud
and all the heavens
opened up
and poems fluttered down.

Then simple speech
was not enough.
You felt each thought
was coarse and rough
and so you smoothed
them, felt the tough
ones soften to your touch.

Sonnets came,
sestinas too.
Dividing them,
there held like glue
the free-form
and then you knew
you’d never sleep again.

So when the chance came,
To wear your mind out,
wear it gone,
for just a little,
dawn to dawn,
you signed up,

Now here you are
dreaming of dreams
suspicious of them,
so it seems,
but missing where
adventure teems
and steams
to flavor all your sleep.

But you can’t sleep,
you said you’d write
from dawn to dawn,
all through the night,
and so this letter’s yours
so you can keep your word.

Tomorrow, after we’ve had
our sleep,
and eaten more than cheese
and meat,
and had a beer
and sat outside,
no poet then
we’ll be.

Thankful for the poetry
more thankful
for the rest
we’ll say,
“We’ll please not do this again.”

But I know you,
and you know me,
and come next year
we’ll both agree
there’s nowhere else we’d
rather be
than here,
Oh Marathon!

Your Pal,

2019 – Seventeen – Alexander’s Bridge, an Artists’ Lament

“Alexander build a bridge to Tyre,
I can’t walk a straight line ‘cross the street.
How am I supposed to be my own empire
of one when I’m not good enough for wander meat?”

I think things like this when others opine
that maybe I should chart a course in life.
Well maybe all my foes, some of my friends, whine,
because a lack of course means lack of strife.

I can’t say I’d hide from all the fair fights.
I’d have helped ol’ Alex build that bridge.
But then again my course don’t keep me up nights
except to wonder what’s beyond that ridge.

I spose I could have been a doctor’s lawyer,
not so much the much-sung ‘Indian Chief’,
and though I could have had everything to want, sure
enough I would have stuck and come to grief.

I’ve paints, and paper, pens, and inks and guitars.
A banjo I call Steve to warm my knee.
I’ve goddesses to write for and paint their stars
and goddesses I want, who might want me.

So next time you see an artist working don’t think,
“They could have had so much, how low they fall.”
Look to yourself, your routine, see if there’s a brink
to build a bridge to,
if there’s still time for you to build at all.

2019 – Sixteen – Prompt 19 As Companion to Prompt 18 – ‘Fin’

or ‘The End?’

For Hoban Washburne

I rather think I won’t be quite surprised
when all the water boils off into space,
leaving, as Pink Floyd said, ‘only charcoal
to defend.’ Nor will it seem so strange that
suddenly there’ll be nothing left I prized,
like breath. I’ve known that goes. We lose that race
when we begin. This marble will just roll
away and end each thing that we’ve begat.

But is that how it ends, the universe?
Is this all that there’ll be? Or is there more
to come and we just must accept the grief?
Tossed in time’s deep closet, like some old purse?

Life’s been fun. I guess if I’d kept a score
I think I’d win. I’ve been both wind and leaf.

2019 – Fifteen – From Prompt 18, Hour 15, The Beginning – In Principio

Cultures from the Amazon to the Nile,
have dreamed of gods to bring them to their lives,
the better to explain life, and to while
away night hours with mighty tales of wives
and children, husbands living just like them,
just out of sight. Whose stories are the same
but grand in ways to demonstrate mayhem
beyond their comprehension, without shame.

But if they really knew the depths of space
and how long it has come, how far to go,
would they ignore their gods, let reason come?
Or would they shout, “The bang began the race!”

For me, my seat to see the Kick Off Show,
would be amongst the gods, to question some.

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