Lovers Volcanic: A Poem

 

Ménage `A Trois Italia

Fiery lover Vesuvius

courted Pompeii and Herculaneum,

Sisters two

Laid out in sunny Italia

Centuries in warm embrace

Vesuvius and his consorts

Herculaneum and Pompeii,

Sisters two

Frolicked in bright Italia

Until the fiery passion of his love

erupted, ending in hot embrace of

Herculaneum and Pompeii,

Sisters two

Surrendered in heated Italia

Mighty Vesuvius covered them in

His passionate spew and

they repose there still

in sunlit Italia

Vesuvius and the Sisters two.

I Cannot Write Today

I awoke with enthusiasm, anxious for the previous two weeks of solid, constructive writing days to continue. They didn’t.

“Just write something, anything…” is the advice proclaimed to break out of what is referred to as writer’s block. I struggled to comply with said guidance, but soon realized I had jumbled words no one would want to read, a meandering story no one could follow, and characters flatter than…well, you get the idea.

In frustration, and with an eye on a hot cup of coffee and a long nap in my recliner, I typed the final line of a torturous page of useless prose:  I cannot write today.

That’s when this poem came to me, a quick bit of composition, but writing all the same. Irony, too, I suppose. Some may argue it merely confirms “I cannot write today” but I present it anyway.

“I Cannot Write Today” 

I cannot write today.

Procrastination’s forces have their way;

Deferment,

Postponement, and

Delay.

I cannot write today.

Creative abilities once held sway;

Influence,

Mastery, and

Command.

I cannot write today.

Progress corralled, kept at bay;

Captured,

Held, and

Caged.

I cannot write today.

It is with sadness, therefore, I must say:

I’m adjourning until another day.

Three Of Me

I was pounding out another chapter for my book 2 Celtic mystery wip when this popped into my head. Didn’t get the chapter finished but at least I have another entry for my poetry book wip. And before you ask:  No, this is not autobiographical.

 

Three Of Me  

There was a Beginning Me,

Small, plump

With the aroma of baby freshness

And mother’s soothing lullabies;

An opening refrain to appease young cries.

 

Then came the Middle Me,

Muscled, tested

Experienced in worldly awareness.

Sixties songs covered bleak war laments;

A chorus against fresh lives so brutally spent.

 

Here sits the Ending Me,

Frail, pale

Weary with life’s abject unfairness.

Reminisced tune a humming, teary-eyed;

Closing exhortations before the final goodbye.

Book Review: Gone to the Grave

GoneToTheGraveAbbyBurnett

The leaves cross over our graveyards

When the cold wind blows and raves

They whirl and scatter on the frozen ground

Then settle on the sunken graves

They put me to mind of the children of the earth

The mournful condition of us all

We are fresh and green in the spring of the year

And are blown in the grave in the fall.

–Florence Elizabeth Rutherford, 1873-1889

Rutherford Cemetery, Independence County, Arkansas

*

Abby Burnett’s Gone to the Grave: Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950 is an interesting, intriguing read exploring the traditions surrounding death, local customs and rituals concerning bereavement, and the burial practices in the Arkansas Ozarks. It is excellent in its research, narrative, and visual presentation. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in such subject matter.

I had the pleasure to meet author Abby Burnett, a former freelance newspaper reporter, at the Books In Bloom event in Eureka Springs, Arkansas May 2015 and again this past week during her presentation at the Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Library. Her speaking and presentation abilities are every bit as impressive as her knowledge and expertise on Arkansas burial history and customs.

*

 “This painstakingly researched and thoroughly engaging book is as much an anthropological and sociological study as it is a historical and folklorist account of death, dying, and burial in the Arkansas Ozarks…there is virtually no source of information that Burnett hasn’t explored—epitaphs, business ledgers, funeral home records, obituaries, WPA questionnaires, health department regulations, oral history interviews, ministers’ journals, censuses, mortality schedules, doctors’ notes, undertakers’ record books, historical photographs, museum collections, and newspaper accounts…”

–Allyn Lord, Director, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, Arkansas

*

I hear a voice you cannot hear

Which says I must not stay,

I see a hand you cannot see

Which beckons me away.

–S. N. Lyle, 1875-1932

Lowes Creek Cemetery, Franklin County, Arkansas

Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

I recently wrote a short story about a young man, his high school sweetheart, and their less-than-desirable marriages (they tied the knot twice with each other before it all fell apart for good). The story, despite its description, is actually humorous and ends well. However, in some dark corner of my mind, I wondered: what if it hadn’t ended well? What if the man couldn’t handle the fact his one true love was unfaithful? That’s when this poem came to me.

Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

Retreating inward from the pain,

I smell the sweetness of her hair

As we move along the path. I strain

Uphill, dragging muddied weight to where

Headstones squat like sacred peaks between

Mowed grass where walked mourning crones.

Stoic statues weathered, weeping, still serene,

Guarding lengthy rows of buried bones.

 

We halt. Crows pass, loud caws abating.

A portal beyond the pale awaits, silent.

The gaping hole lies open, waiting, waiting

For my dearest here quiet, broken, spent.

Farewell, sweet beauty, unfaithful miss.

I weep. Red lipstick on blue, icy lips

Beckons. Entranced, I take one final kiss

Before tossing splendor into the dark abyss.

Goodbye my love, goodbye.

Quirkiness Traveled, A Poem

 

planeflyingaroundglobe

One of my many ongoing projects is compiling and sorting my poetry for publication. I came across this one recently in an old three-ring binder that also contained my homework from a writing course at McMurry University in Texas. Written (scribbled in pencil on faded, lined notebook paper, actually) in 1984, it is a rather tongue-in-cheek, simple doodle and not meant for anything but a smile, really. Prior to posting it on this blog, I made two changes. The original presentation was all text alignment left with no breaks between verses so I tweaked it a bit for visual interest to give it movement as you move from destination to destination as if actually traveling. Secondly, I changed the old city name of Bombay to the current Mumbai and altered the verse slightly to accommodate the name change. Without a great deal of editing and rewrite, this work will not (in all probability) make the final cut for inclusion in the poetry book so I thought I’d put it here in its current state. Why not? As someone before me so famously said, what’s life without a little whimsy?

 

Quirkiness Traveled

Does whimsy bounce at Wimbledon?

Shall we have that spot of tea?

No mad hatters haunting me.

What cold gremlins occupy the Kremlin?

Swig a shot of vodka down.

Laughter comes before a frown.

Do bells ring in old Belfast?

Can we hear them chime?

Their silence isn’t worth a dime.

How many rows to get to Cairo?

Paddle the blue Nile River.

Mummies make me shiver.

Do toucans fly high above Tucumcari?

Is there often pouring rain?

Praying for it’s all in vain.

How many girls named Lulu in Honolulu?

Grass skirts sway and wiggle.

Shaved ice makes me giggle.

How many tokes abound in Tokyo?

Crowded city’s sushi bars,

Anime and compact cars.

Is there good vanilla out in Manila?

John the Baptist, patron saint

Frequents bordellos do you think?

How many bays shimmer in Beijing?

Not many ‘round with poodles

Feasting on delicious noodles.

Is there mumbling in Mumbai?

Saffron colored serving stalls;

Hear the vendor’s barking calls.

Can we marry in Marrakesh?

Yes, certainly among the red halls

Just inside the ancient Ochre Walls.

How united is United Airlines?

Wonder if I will be fed?

Can’t wait to sleep in my own bed

And end my quirky travel.

Do not speak ill of the dead

In a new work in progress (WIP), a character of some many years—feisty and notorious for speaking his mind—becomes disenchanted, disappointed, and bitter.

He is asked to write a eulogy on the passing of a longtime friend. The friend was an active, loved church member, associate, and—unbeknownst to the small community where they retired to escape their less-than-virtuous lives—an arch criminal.

The result is a shocking, less-than-glowing list of evil deeds to be revealed at the funeral. He is urged to rewrite the scathing expose. He refuses, believing honesty more important than conventional good manners.

The following poem recorded in his personal diary captures his new belief.

 

Do not speak ill of the dead!

That having said, I shall

flap my lips, wag candid tongue,

hoist the verbiage black and read,

speak truth about the dead.

Outline all the right and wrong,

unblemished reputation splattered.

Far better now to say instead,

it’s only truth that matters, go ahead.

If it’s not lies, speak unpleasantness,

illuminated veracity,

impolite accuracy.

Thus having said, I shall

speak ill of the dead.