Poetry in April -- in celebration
This is my Second Book of poems. I may not have eaten the plums from the icebox, but I am guilty of writing poetry without thinking too much, without laboring over words and lines.
This Is Just to Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
by William Carlos Williams
You, too, forgive me for I only love the writing process; the result is secondary...And please never mind that I am also aping William Carlos Williams's false apology.
From where does the title Beetlebung and Kettlehorn come from?
The name Beetlebung and Kettlehorn has to do with ancient whaling practices and Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod.
During the nineteenth century, because of its dense white wood, the tupelo tree was used in whale oil casks made of copper. Beetle was the mallet made from the Tupelo tree and bung was the stopper in the cask hole. In Martha’s vineyard, the Tupelo tree is still known as the Beetlebung tree, and at Chilmark there, is a Beetlebung Corner, with shops at Chilmark Center, from where roads lead to other interesting points.
Kettlehorn, as well as being an ancient surname, refers to a piece of equipment resembling to but much bigger than a shoe-horn, used to stir the hot blubber and separate the fine oil from the denser particles. Whale oil was a popular commodity and, as a fuel, was used for lighting the dark, burning to provide heat and as an aid in cooking. After the whale was hunted, men in a boat cut strips of blubber from the whale's back, tied them together and rowed ashore. There the fat was cut into smaller pieces to be boiled into oil in large copper kettles.
In addition there exists kettle corn in Cape Cod which are corn chips fried in kettles and sometimes mistakenly called kettlehorns.
For some reason, way back when, the words Beetlebung and Kettlehorn were used together and, at one time or another, were given to shops and other things that go together as titles.
I adopted the name for my on-the-spot poetry in reference to the idea of blubber.
"Poetry the shortest distance between two humans"
|to become rock hard like granite
that I can ‘t do it
even if this body has evolved
breach after breach
then glued together
with crack marks
and if I had a hundred gigantic eyes
to see all creation
rise and eclipse,
still, you’d find
a way to lull me to sleep
with your tattered siren songs
and lean close to draw
a crystal sword, and slash
whispering in rapture’s lexicon
to carry me into the night
torn in stars
as I said I can’t do it
despite a hundred gigantic eyes
to become rock hard like granite
and look deeper
to see your shadows
Prompt: use/adapt myth, legend, folklore, faith tradition
"ARGOS PANOPTES was a hundred-eyed giant of Argolis in the Peloponnese.
Once when Zeus was consorting with the Argive Nymphe Io, his jealous wife Hera appeared on the scene. The god quickly transformed her into a white heifer but the goddess was not deceived and demanded the animal as a gift. She then appointed Argos Panoptes as its guard.
Zeus sent Hermes to surreptitiously rescue his lover. The god lulled the giant to sleep with his music and slew him with his sword. From this conquest he earned the title Argeiphontes "Slayer of Argos".
Hera rewarded Argos for his service by placing his hundred eyes on the tail of her sacred bird, the peacock."
|finally, as if famine loomed
in my kitchen, I taught myself
how to make jam
it began when the excess apples
in the bowl, fully ripe and bright,
begged me to translate their beauty
thus, depending on memory, I
cut them up as I had always done
with all crisp things in my life,
then added sugar to the pot and waited
for tears on the fruit, and when enough,
I set it to boil, mixing with lemon juice
cinnamon and spice.
when this medley simmered down
and cooled, the fruit in faceted crystals
shimmered and melted on my taste buds
for the inner me needing sweetness
prompt: newly discovered/acquired talent/skill
|Even this late, you hear
the seething time, stepping out of sequence
chiming in spheres and you think
it’s your cell phone, and let it answer itself,
but no, for sounds gather in crescendo,
as a celestial tune pours into your sensitive ears
sending gentle solace for things you couldn’t do.
Even this late, in sweet yearning, you listen
to its consoling tones winding up promises
to prepare you for tomorrow’s silence.
"The Coming of Light
Mark Strand, 1934 - 2014
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath."
Prompt: respond to an existing poem & provide a link to it
|I try not to preoccupy so I smile,
then I better-smile, circling about
lingering on thoughts hanging overhead
improvised in a thousand variations
hour after hour, day after day,
on standard despair or certain knowledge
that winds can be restless and I might lose
my balance, my nuts and bolts,
then jump, barefoot, shrieking,
my gray hairs snared in bad temper
and syncopated bobbling
like a solitary oracle, mourning
my uselessness at the end of my years
with the climate change, world peace,
and in raising organic cucumbers.
prompt: your current preoccupation(s) + comedy
|veiled by summer’s foliage
sending crimson pulses
in delicate petals
above the rest
revealing the fire
that will soon extinguish itself
in this finite universe
for having a soul means
to fold on principle
yielding your frame to oblivion
flower, blossom, possibly poppies..
meaning what, breathing
in and out or
holding on a moment,
don’t you see I’m trying and
that’s why I went for a blood test
early this morning?
maybe, you meant oxygen
but anyhow, I’m a mortal and live
or die is not up to me, or
are you assuming
the Creator is you?
you mean well
what’s the joke?
and must I laugh
non-stop or occasionally?
Don’t you see
I can’t laugh at a funeral,
at someone’s weeping
or when children die because some
tyrant gassed them?
Then, maybe I can laugh
at you telling me what
to do, without regard to
all things that go awry
time to move forward
is blind and I have sight
granted, I’d like to gain,
or foresight and possibly
and, what if I fall
for love, and
no one picks me up?
a partner, shall I
love the whole world?
Who do you think I am!
"Live, laugh, love!"
your words may sell
in gooey syrup
but who are you to order me
around without knowing
who I am?
You must be enthralled
Prompt: disrupt a clichéd phrase or image
|Carmen kneads a golden sun
faking to make corn tortillas
and spreads her gifts
at my feet with sighs or smiles.
Her forms, a nourishing discipline
smitten with rhythm, feeling, and life
arranged in light with her fingertips
perennial like roses yet full of tricks,
and she circles the wayward muse
thorns of irony in her eyes,
singing of lines, pattern, or refrain
as she meters my heartbeats
humoring sarcasm or star dreams
that my wrinkles and ridges crave.
Then, her backbone, rod-straight,
she copes with my scars and hopes
as she’s my personal support in satin,
a sacred antidote for darkest times
or a perfumed lunatic, soul-feeder,
for Carmen is a poem in Latin.
Carmen = ode or poem in Latin
Prompt: use, hide, or translate a word or phrase from another language
|start with the ability to perceive
break it in small pieces
next, add them to the spread
of colors around you, mixing in respect
a pinch of this, a pinch of that,
after sieving off any debris
and leftover contamination
from open-air pollution or oversight
like refractions of fear or delusion
since odd alien bits impact
a color’s clarity and
the artist's reflections
also, make sure your canvas
is stretched with generosity
and always remember this
there are no ugly colors
Prompt: a recipe poem
| News: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2018/04/08/stanley-cup-playoffs-schedu...
On NBC Sports channel,
Stanley Cup Playoffs today!
As an odd-man rush,
memory trails back, far-away, when
to support a five-year-old
on his first time on ice,
I stood wobbly on the glistening ground
until his skating teacher arrived,
while feeling like a seduced butterfly
dangling on the side-rail of
the attacking zone,
in Superior Ice Rink, Kingspark.
Challenged by lights hovering above
like praying raptors, I tried
to slide a step or two, and
slashed the ice, falling, searing
my skin as if in a pantomime play
or a speculative Olympic act.
Later, for the first time
power play on his side,
my son declared to his dad
“Mommy broke all the ice.”
How such moments turn a heart
to a warm shelter, and how
things change on the fly
and we crash and faceoff
on the edge of ice, full-strength
goals, penalties, years
then freeze the puck!
Hockey terminology: odd-man rush, butterfly, attacking zone, power play, change on the fly, dangle, faceoff, goal, penalty, full-strength, freezing the puck
Prompt: respond to the news (Rattle, Poets Respond) https://www.rattle.com/respond/
|I've taken a thousand turns
on a thousand twisting roads
to figure out this frail world
but always failed the count
except through books
surfaced the numbers
The Catch-22 of it was
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Tale of Two Cities
with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The House of Seven Gables
or Twelfth Night by the Bard
numbers in books, a delight
yet, at times,
with the hand they are dealt
numbers line up like ruins
in miserable shadows of sorrow
with people perishing
in ghettos or on the road to Terezin
or by chemical warfare…
number of broken hearts, worldwide
number of things to regret, infinite
Prompt: use number/s in some way
|to my laundry room, she'd enter
slipping away, reappearing
while I am uselessly fearing
this shadow of a repenter
as if sheets, folding her anger,
toward girl talk perhaps gearing,
to my laundry room, she'd enter,
slipping away, reappearing,
rising slowly to the center,
a message to me she’s bearing
“drain your suds and pains,” while sneering,
“so the veil isn’t your tormentor”
to my laundry room, she'd enter
(13 lines, 8 syllables a line, ABba abAB abbaA rhyme scheme)
Prompt: ghost, ghost story, or ghosting + 13 (somehow)
Living akin to abashed, injured beasts,
I trace my own blood in an endless loop,
Wasting my time, fumbling around at feasts,
What an expert I’m at jumping through hoops!
A trick-pony, pacing a tiger’s town,
Failing to see the forest or the tree,
Cordoning off my interior space,
With shocked survivor’s air, I wear a frown
Shadowed in dark, holding back tears, to free
This clueless woman sporting her clown’s face.
Blank verse with ABABCDECDE rhyme scheme
prompt: a failure + some kind of challenging form
|it’s been a long time
that time has turned on me
I did my public duty
by zipping along the week
in my trench-coat and stilettos
so sane, so well-adjusted, so boring
despite the blister on my big toe
and the pounding ache over the left eye
for I was laden in the work lagoon
with opaque options and oversights,
balancing on log-rafts of pretexts
now, a blurred memory
my battery-power fizzing out
with a last gasp of air
on murky waters
like a Common Moorhen…
the way I dismantled myself
Prompt: a day of the week
a pricking sensation
as if a presage not yet named
its first signs pins and needles
then burning jabs
at the throat
making the patient utter
piteous moos of distress
then, letting the words flow out
the pain though brief
is often severe
varied and numerous
ranging from relationships
to government, weather,
cars, house, and little things
like Windows 10, palmetto bugs,
daily mail, robocalls,
violence on TV,
buzzing din, and worst,
people who complain too much.
liable to become an epidemic
culmination of self-hatred
disgust, hostility, and brain
rewired for negativity
little to none
patient is made comfortable
alert the centers
for disease control
aside: quite an expert I have become on rants
for being a former patient.
| the world is wily
and the lizard that you are
you press firmly to the floor
your bottom half
grounded you think?
but are you?
you know you can do no harm
as the light still holds
and you move alone
throwing shoulders back
side ribs forward
chasing away ensnared rage
this tilting within yourself
through the spine
like a gut string, twanging
then jerked tight
distributing the backbend
looking to the skies
opening the heart
|since you’ve stopped
looking the other way,
you closed the book
and dropped your empty moans
now, you are a rock
loose from the ledge
losing the sky and the stars
and you let yourself fall
into a deep trench in the sea
an animated thought
that you cannot ever
prompt: a change of habit
|inside our closed porch, salamander
doesn’t fear for its life
while crouching by the pool’s edge
peeking at the water where
colors flow into one another
outside, a similar level of fluidity
flowers raging in magenta
pink, carmine, scarlet
spilling over each other
against the dense green
watching from the window
I think of the divine light
upon salamanders, flowers, trees,
and suspect I must be missing
the lot in day-to-day tilts of things
Prompt: indoor/outdoor + mixed feelings + poet in the background
shift gear, maybe,
away from violent tides,
train wrecks, danger,
but someone or someones?
millions of them
beneath their skins,
waiting for renewal?
each one I would,
--if I could,
in my meekness--
swaddle with blessings
and my heartbeats
Prompt: someone or something you should avoid
|a sight tucked inside my occipital lobe:
or that scar on the brow
when I fell
but the mirror spews forth
its capsized illusion
an old woman
heavy-limbed and slack
in half-hypnotized trance
at mishandled time
Prompt: optical illusion
|inside the room, the panic of social abyss...
still, I watched in rapt incomprehension
the fateful scene without veto
when Jessica, the fourteen-year-old
in hand-me-down shorts and tee,
handed her baby over to Millie,
with a false smile and stuttered,
“he sleeps through the night.”
Prompt: hand-me-down, hand-me-up, or hand-me-over