Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poetry Update

For me, writing a poem has two phases. Perhaps this is oversimplified, but first I need to come up with an idea--for example, a strong opening line--and then I need to "decide" what I want to write about to finish it. Take, for example, "The Daily Caffeine Stream," which I wrote the other week. I came up with the opening line

Starting the daily caffeine stream

some time last year. But then two weeks ago, the rest of it came to me. As I referenced in that post, when the poetry muse stops by she is very productive. To illustrate, below are four poems that I wrote last Friday. In the interest of complete honesty, I wrote about 90% of each on Friday, and then finished them over the next few days.

The Unscripted Moments
The knock on the door said my friend had arrived.
Guitar in hand,
To play some songs.

Two puzzled looks, first mine then his.
I wasn't sure
Just what to say.

"Is it tomorrow?" he asked glumly.
"Yes it is.
But come on in."

Apologizing up the stairs:
"I can't believe
It's tomorrow."

"Well, you're here now, and we have no plans.
So no more 'Shoot!'
Let's have some fun."

We opened our cases and then some wine.
We learned some new songs.
Some his, some mine.

We sang and drank until the new day.
"Let's do again."
Then hugged goodbye.

I thought about what fun we'd have missed
If I had said,
"Not tonight, Joe."

Calendars are for the week days. The
Unscripted moments
Can be life's best.

I wanted just to hear her sing,
Every day and every night.
So I waited with a net
And snagged her while in flight.

She soon gave up her struggle,
As if she had a choice.
I whisked her to a foreign place,
Thinking about that voice.

"welcome home, my darling,
Now channel that sweet rage."
I lifted her out gently,
And put her in a cage.

"Now sing, please," I said softly
As I smiled and stroked a wing.
But all I got was silence:
No peep. No chirp. Nothing.

I then commanded her to sing.
More silence in return.
A test of wills? I will not lose.
She will comply. She'll learn.

Was it fear which sealed her lips?
Could it be stubborn pride?
I could not coax a single note
No matter what I tried.

I withheld food and water.
I withheld warmth and light.
But she would not / could not open up
for me, try as I might.

Instead she sat immobile,
Unmoved day after day.
It did not feel like conquest as
I watched her fade away.

Her body limp and listless.
I did what must be done.
I opened the cage and heard the voice.
A victory song. She'd won.

Little Nightmares

"I had a bad dream, Daddy" came
His small voice as I slept one night.
I gathered him up in my arms,
And tried to hug away the fright.

"What happened in that dream?" I asked,
As I carried him back to his bed.
"It's just a dream. It's over now,
So tell me about it." He said,

"A car fell on our house and then
The car and our house caught on fire.
Please don't be mad, but I added
Paper, and then the flames went higher."

I said, "I can't be mad at you.
It's just a. . .movie in your head.
Go back to sleep. Here's your bear."
He softly snored. I left his bed.

I thought about what scared him so,
Its innocence both real and dear.
A boy's little nightmare pales when
Compared to all our grown-up fears.

We sink or swim, it's dog eat dog.
Our world unforgiving and gruff.
I didn't tell him all those things.
That world was coming soon enough.

Back Home
On days like these
I want to go
Home, where I'm safe and warm.

Not to my house,
With bills and weeds,
And carpeting that's worn.

It's home enough,
My real-world trap,
The place where I live now.

But home is where
I want to be.
Go back in time, somehow.

Back to my bunk
Bed, toys, and games.
And ragged teddy bear.

Back to the days,
Not long ago,
When I had not a care.

Sometimes I amuse myself.  :)

1 comment:

  1. They are all wonderful, but I especially love "Caged". It's beautiful, sad, wishful, and heart breaking all at the same time.