Thursday, April 24, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #24: The Beaches

In this city our local beaches
populated themselves with ghosts.
It was too polluted for humans
who hadn't yet given up their souls.

They'd play games they recalled,
that no one else remembered.
Using parasols, wearing striped suits,
they showed a more restrained age.

There was only one day
when the local populace took
the beaches from the spirits;
it was called Reenactment Day.

The families of relatives
who'd been carried off by hurricanes,
would reenact the devastation,
the neglect of the government,

the depression and mourning after.
They brought picnic lunches,
rosaries, and cardboard tombstones.
They carried their scripts of pain.

Awards were given to the best criers,
to those who duplicated deaths
in the most accurate manner.
At the end of the festival,

the city held a barbecue, inviting
everyone to partake of the meal.
The ghosts returned afterwards,
detesting the smell of the living,

not understanding what had gone on.
All they knew is they grew in number
every few years, and that one day
they might be greater than the city.

A ruins might be left where memory
has died, where no one returns
to preserve the traditions, leaving
only gulls to cry amongst themselves.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #23: Hometown

We pass over the bridge,
looking at the broken bodies
below. They had fallen in love

with loveliness: the islands
floating in the chicken
noodle soup of the Bay.

We wouldn't fall prey
to beauty in any of its forms.
Not even the perfect structure

of a lemon jelly donut,
the sweetness we recall
from Donut Shop paradise

in our misbegotten youth.
The sugar has certainly not
captured us: we eat salads

like cows, moo our ways
past bars filled with leafage.
In fact, our hometown

is something we don't miss.
We're building one ourselves
out of Legos and blocks,

the bottom of the toy box.
Action figures with our names.
Volcanoes fueled by baking soda.

The princess in the lagoon
enjoying a swim. The shark
ready to talk like a cartoon.

NaPoWriMo Poem #22: House

The rats are joining a party; they used to be independent.
The mice now wonder if their Squeak Party will be consumed.
Father in his sleep is voting over and over, as often as they let him.
His wife next too him on the pillow is draining his dreams

through his ears.  She's bottling it for sale on the black market.
Cockroaches sing in the basement, finding an old box of candy.
"I want candy!  I want candy!  Sing it my fellow vermin!"
The son fights himself in the State wrestling competition.

His body becomes snakes and slithers around his limbs.
A burner on a stove downstairs is ready to burst into flames.
"Pick me!  Pick me!  I'll never shut off my gas again!"
The roof is old and wise, but no one ever asks it anything.

So it will let the weight of the snow collapse its memories.
The toilet is worn out, its water running over and over again.
Clouds outside hover over the house, wondering what will happen.
They eat their own snow like popcorn, munching away.

The lawn makes jokes to the house.  "I have you surrounded!"
Soon, boards and bricks themselves will exist in a pile.
Soon, the ashes police investigate will turn up nothing.
Not parties or dreams, not weight or water running.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #21: Sun and Moon

During a full moon you dunked over
a kid in high school. When you fell from
the net, it did seem like the dark

had taken over the planet, as if it
was worth all the shadow on earth.
I was exposed to the depths of the sun.

I sat on the seat for hours, fishing
for something we didn't need to cut bait.
The ghost fish never came. I burned.

NaPoWriMo Poem #20: Mindfulness

I won't talk about mindfulness anymore.
At the Episcopal Church downtown
I sat in my chair for countless minutes
and all I could think about was her.
It didn't matter how much I centered myself,

I knew thoughts would come, her swish
of strawberry blond hair, her darting
eyes, her alive gestures I found myself
duplicating without knowing why.

I was a man in my mid-forties, so maybe
it was a mid-life crisis.  And that she
worked at the dentist office where
my molars constantly needed work.
I could hardly tell her I was there
for an appointment without almost
reaching over and touching her hand.

So, I listened to lessons on Buddhism
shared some awful vegetarian food,
and pretended I could love everybody.
One of the teachers told me I should
take the energy of infatuation, invest it
in my acts toward the rest of the world.

But that didn't work either.  Volunteering
with some great autistic kids, I still kept
hoping you would enter the playground,
with an expression on your face that took
all life inside and recycled it into bliss.

I was mindful, except my Nirvana was you.
Every step I took was taking me there,
though I'd hardly said one word to you.
Can you talk to heaven? I asked myself.
Or when the time comes, you'll lower
your clouds down on the earth, whistle

for me to step on the cumulus, and we'll
float past seeing the world, and I will
watch you come toward me with a brush
and I will scrub my teeth until your mouth
is willing to join with mine in perpetuity,
until our appointment is never up.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #19: Discovered

It's time to be discovered
for us to walk down
the Hollywood street,
have that fast-talking agent
sign us up on the spot
for a bunch of talkies
and publicity in the news mags.
You will have to change your name
from Ethel Hornburg
to Sabrina White,
while I will need to develop
some muscle before they let
this cowboy fight.
When we're talked about by gossip
columnists, will he marry her
or will she get cold feet,
we'll laugh about the rumors,
knowing you love Bertina
with all y our heart
and I have a thing
for rough looking boys of the sea.
We'll do our part
in the war effort, ask people
to buy those war bonds
while singing for the USO,
but sometimes we'll think back
to simpler times,
when we were extras
and ate one sandwich a day
at the cafeteria.
How you smiled at the smallest
joke, and I dreamed big,
how you slept on a bench
in the park, and how I laughed
at everything you said.

Friday, April 18, 2014

NaPoWriMo Poem #18: Stars

I'm falling apart. The sky is after my life
with its stars. I follow my chart to the letter,
Libra, laid back, but swallowed by Pisces.
The moon's full, all I can expect is danger.
Yesterday, it was different, every stellar item
in suspense: Pisces off eating someone else,
the moon with an edge of darkness to swallow.
I finished my project for class, spent time
with my baby daughter, and had sex with Dave,
who I think is going to stick around this time.
Tonight Dave might call off our rendezvous.
My parents might ring with news about illnesses.
In that project, a character from a play said
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
I understand, people say it's my fault, teenage
pregnancy, losing jobs, bad, abusive boyfriends.
I still say you have to turn stars into star-lemonade.
A supportive family, close friends at the hair salon.
Snipping hair all day, but people talk about problems,
talk just to hear themselves talk, but I know what
to say, I help, I clip them, I try to find the right words.
I ask, “You're a Cancer?” I understand their charts.