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"
|When your arms reach to clouds
what do they pick,
and do your leaves learn to fly,
over time, from spring to fall?
Can you shift, if just a little,
to shield bird nests
from the two-faced wind,
and do you fear
unruly, half-baked laws of nature
reducing bright feathers to rags?
Do you have hidden eyes
to watch billion suns and moons
or ears to hear angels’ wings,
and do you feel the upward anguish
or earthlings who take refuge
under your shade?
|I look up with haunted eyes
at vagabond, ghost-like clouds
drifting on powder blue,
and scheming to surprise
on a journey in circles
with wings widespread, a hawk
searches for small prey,
a trespasser in a serene morning.
Why is it the bright light
this day brings
must carry undertones of a puzzle
grasping a piece of the sky,
like the hawk,
to make me wonder if you’ll show up
in a poem yet unwritten?
Prompt: : Look at the sky and get it into the poem, the sky on April 24 wherever you are!
|Sudden sirens in the melting night,
and on my windowsill, three pots,
a flower bowing low, distorted leaves wilting,
proof of my flaws.
I slide the curtain to see
emergency, red lights swirling, turning,
in cadence with men running back and forth
then a gurney lifted into the van.
The window now flung open wide
and my need to know what's outside
and what is wrong with Mrs. Juditz, even if
I didn't take good care of the African Violets
she gave me, hobbling through
her neatly trimmed lawn this Easter.
Afterwards, I lie awake in the night
regretting words I wasn't able to say
regretting and walking away.
What will it be like, the morning
without her sight and who knows
what else my window will expose?
Prompt: Put a window in the poem
| "Doors forget but only doors know what it is doors forget."
Carl Sandburg, from Doors
When the new year stays behind us, together with new everything, and the fire in the hearth, crystal red, neglects carrying me to you, I can stop searching for you, little by little, on my own.
You spilt the Champagne,
ripped the trimming from the door
hearth smells of ashes
This nostalgia is like going to Heaven in the arms of Morpheus and plucking an exquisite wild flower. In the morning drowsiness, I will sigh for such a special flower or even a delicate petal, which isn't in my hand anymore.
everything's a lukewarm dream
hope leaves my threshold
When the wind steals my banners with your name on them, I will let my feet grow roots into the ground for holding up sturdier signposts.
tangled tongue bleeding,
I grow roots in silent rock
faith still strong inside
Although I tried, I recognize I cannot close that many doors behind me, as you are behind an infinite number of them, and as it must be written on my stars, I shall not divine any success in forgetting.
Prompt: Put a door in the poem
|Crouching on rickety knees,
I plant the black lustrous seed
in moist sand mixed with peat moss,
a piece of its outer covering removed
with an apology for peeling off
a corner of its secrets, expecting
it won’t fear life,
for I’ll watch it wake up,
an angel unfolding its wings
so persistent a green
when the sun will peek through the leaves.
So what, if I am forcing myself on hope
and this seed, perfect and holy,
at the threshold of sprouting?
Prompt: A threshold
| "Someone left the cake out in the rain - I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it - And I'll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo"
In the book of clouds, someone's turning pages,
making rattling sounds,
reminding me of a time I was alone in the city,
a pallid, timid toad inside a net,
stranded among crowds, splashed on by taxis,
while rain rang a thousand parables on sidewalks
and at the pier, boats' wails surged, undulating
through salty waves, chillier than the icy wind
wandering in circles, swirling,
to wrap around my washed-out world.
|She insists on winning this race
speeding along Bird Road
with a self-conscious grin
and leaving behind
a whiff of Chanel No. 5
the imitation kind.
The bus—Miami-Dade Transit
to Little Havana—
lurches to a halt
to let her climb up,
as she finally stops
at the fare box
waving her Golden Passport EASY Card
and sighs, "I made it!"
leaning on her cane.
Prompt: Speed, swiftness, something fast or quick
|remorse, a mountain
with a booming roar, lurches forward
bounces, snow cascades down
syllables in rivers, spinning good byes
rushing, splashing from rock to rock
staggering, growing with ice,
tumbling blind, filling craters
devouring crags and valleys
then, this wound of silence
too painful a thing to turn back
still, I look at you once more
through the rearview mirror
A poem with 3 natural objects in it (dead or living, but definitely from nature)
|Once upon a time,
as if stuffed into a black body bag,
Ophelia was a young bride trapped
in a hamlet, behind a contentious kitchen door,
scared of the powdery moment
when the dough would fail
to rise to occasion, akin to her,
while pots and pans--statues with warm eyes-
viewed the ruins inside a Bundt pan.
Now, she is the one with keen eyes
seeing through her blood,
ignoring the hostile howl of the oven,
insufferable foil work of forks and knives,
infinitesimal belligerence of appliances,
and nothing will ever force her
into tight places again.
Prompt: A poem with 3 inanimate objects in it
|who could have thought
a universe would be born
when inner stuff surged up?
all this, miracle of leaves in spring
deep forests, dark streams
vast oceans, snow covered glaciers
high cliffs with caves
billions of faces like glittering moons
amazing what you notice
weakness of the human heart
its inventory of scars
and the end
as punishment for our beginning
Prompt: A poem about the beginning of something
|My prince talked to me in his full-moon voice
like a bee drowned in its own honey,
before the eclipse, before I lost a glass slipper,
before the midnight struck in a puff of wind.
And when the apparition emerged at high tide,
that dark side, smug, rolled words around
out of orbit, hard to know why, but
bit by bit, I shall build a launch pad to it
so I can capture the shadow,
the abandoned tomorrow, and confront the dream,
for, once, my prince talked to me in his full-moon voice
like a bee drowned in its own honey.
Prompt:A pressing deadline and a full moon (get both in the poem)
|No matter how I have flossed like a mad woman,
the hygienist gives me an outraged stare
with shaming weight, as she jams the thread into soft flesh,
blood all over her hands like Lady Macbeth.
Slowly, she scrapes and irrigates,
and for the way she does all that,
she thinks she deserves infinite praise,
Yet,she is a humming bird, quite talkative
of things far off like the moon,
people I know nothing about, a lost woman,
her niece, and her winged dreams.
Her words ebb and flow, ethereal,
to sway the mind toward calm,
so I close my eyes and imagine my incisors
as pebbles, bone-white, on a beach,
sparkling with salt water and hot sun,
with the surf, speaking in tongues.
And the touch of this magician
makes me stick a poem inside my teeth.
Prompt: Teeth, dental reference, dream of missing teeth...
|I wonder if there is soul in non-living things
like the porch door, as Glenda arrives,
donned in Kohl and rouge, inside her Spanks
zipped to hold in check her thickened middle.
She collapses into the lawn chair next to me,
while her mascara runs as she weeps.
He has left her, the one fifteen years her junior,
“Plus, I’m broke,” she sobs, as the ragged wind bangs
at the screens, slamming the door, bashing the latch.
I bite my lip and touch her arm, knowing my urgent business
has to do with repairing, and since handled on both sides,
doors are for entering and departing.
Prompt: Let there be something broken in the poem
|While having tea and carrot cake,
and watching Jason Isbell on WXEL sing,
”Cause you're a brand new kind of actress,”
my nephew phones to say, in June, he’ll show
his short film in Festival de Cine de Huesca,
and I ask, “What about Elisa?” He says
they’ve split, for he has a higher calling writ
in his Karma, so he quit with his soul mate
since she had other ideas, which reminds me
of Ilsa and Rick, and I think, “Play it again, Sam.”
The cynic Rick, a patriot? Maybe, but
my kudos go to Ilsa, also my sympathies.
Imagine making do with the second best
and pining for the love of her life
with the rest of her being...
Then, on TV, Jason Isbell croons,
“Come run away with me
This ain't the world we signed up for…”
Cinema; a strongly cinematic poem, a poem about a particular film, or with a film allusion
|While I was on my morning walk today,
the abrupt sky took the color of a gravestone
and I ran, but not before spotting the old man
two doors down, wordless, blinking into slanting rain
as his daughter bullied him to move inside
and their schnauzer whined at the end of the leash.
In a flash, I recalled his delicate words
huge like constellations, from months ago,
casting the saga of his wife, long dead since,
while he showed me a dried flower, gentle white,
in between sepia pages inside his calfskin Bible
He said, in essence, with the shift of the wind,
wet weather comes, and living turns to a lethal lie,
drops fall on the just and the unjust.
As I pondered in silence, I understood,
this is what happens when the past and present wilt.
Rain falls as natural as the sun, as beautiful, too,
and at times, making a mess on leaves of grass
during our free flight into the wordless.
Prompt: Include a literary allusion
|Emilia comes in tiptoeing
inside Tim's room with blue wallpaper
and dead orchids on the nightstand,
while on the living-room's sofa,
alarmed at what her son could do,
Maud acts as if she sleeps,
Emilia, bumps into the dresser
knocking down knickknacks on the rug
unsure of what to do with her hips
smelling of another man,
while on the living-room's sofa,
Maud acts as if she sleeps,
Emilia slips inside the bed,
spilling lies on Tim's sheets
louder than anything on the big-town scene,
and Tim turns to her in barricaded pain,
while on the living-room's sofa,
Maud acts as if she sleeps,
Prompt: Create a tense mood with the poem.
|You shook the world
downed the towers
downed the loves
plotting our demise
in your rabid habits.
Just what was its shape,
My pain fed your pleasure.
Your pathetic posture
with sharp fangs injecting venom
tattooed torment in my heart.
Inside my mind,
I have killed you thousands of times
way before the ocean took you.
Still, I can't kill you enough, somehow.
|March 21, spring equinox
a grand affair.
that morning, you woke up
feeling younger and smiled,
while I wondered about
our nest with empty shells
and fleeting bird calls?
You said our spring
would never leave
since you could smell
orange blossoms, but
didn’t two hurricanes,
one after the other,
take down our orange trees
nine years ago?
As to balance,
we’re on a seesaw
tipping either way.
I hide behind
my facts and words,
You hide behind
your imagined luck.
|When Wanda heard the blackbird sing,
she was under the slippery elm.
A twig snapped, breaking off,
then a branch fell and the whole nest,
same with the daughter long past her bloom,
swept down by the same spring wind.
Nothing she could do to save them.
As time throbbed in her temples
Wanda turned the calendar's page,
discovering silence in the old space,
illusions, delusions like shards.
In clear daylight, I spelled her out,
through my neighborly manners,
while, whirling above, that blackbird sang.
Nothing I could do to save her.