Couldn’t

But the good news is, Humpty
didn’t want to be together again
anyway. He lay there for a while,
staring up at the sun, enjoying
how he felt with his inside
and his outside no longer
contiguous. Will the circle
be unbroken?
Humpty had always
hoped not. And now he felt like
he might contain something he
never knew he had: a tiny chick,
cheeping somewhere about the
ineffectual horses and men,
the wall, the fall, and
everything.

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For the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 2. Prompt: “together again.”

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Our Palm Tree House, Our Hammock

Gilligan, could you bring me a coconut?
I want to make us a whole new world,
one where our rescue doesn’t depend
on a plane, a UFO, a message on the

radio or our telephone wires
made of baling twine and birds.
Gilligan, I’ll wash your red shirt
for you, mend your sailor hat so
you’ll feel like a sailor again,

even though I hope you’ll want to
stay with me in our palm tree house,
our hammock. Look! I made a flower
out of flowers and put it in my hair.

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Black Stone Lying on Whatever

I really don’t care what day it will be, or where,
or what kind of weather, when I die. Do you? Really?
If so, I’d venture to say that you’re fooling yourself —
or indulging some romantic notion about how these things go.

If you die in Coshocton, Ohio, on a snowy February night, you will be
equally dead as if this occurred on a rainy day in Paris.
I’m sure I’ve driven through Coshocton, and I went to Paris once. Both are
OK places to die, no matter which way you wear your arm bones.

Marilyn Cavicchia is dead, or maybe you are. Maybe both of us.
No one beat us with sticks. We missed our final shot at drama.
We thought there might be a rope, but of course there was no

rope. Who said we merit witnesses? There are no witnesses.
Just put your arms back on, and lie down. Be quiet. Try
to think about other things for a while, if you can …

 

 

NaPoWriMo, Day 8. The prompt was to rewrite a famous poem, and this one was suggested.

 

 

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Incomplete, Unauthorized Episode Guide to The Love Boat

Captain Stubing awakes on the deck of a cruise ship.
How did he get here? What has he become?

Guest star Charo eats some bad salmon, is forced
into close quarters with Doc Bricker. ¡Ay, dios mio!

Hour-long closeup of Isaac, staring into
the middle distance while wiping a martini glass.

Vicki wonders what life is all about.
Ah, well. Time to hit the disco.

Certain promises are made
by guest star Betty White.

Julie, having no other activity ideas, directs
the passengers—including guest star Charo—
in a production of No Exit on the Lido Deck.

Some ugly lady and some ugly dude almost break up,
but then they look up at the stars together and decide
that’s a whole lot of empty space up there.

Gopher. We haven’t seen much of him yet.
He’s been living deep in the ship’s hold,
lining his nest with cast-off cocktail dresses.

Chlamydia sweeps through the Pacific Princess.
No one is spared. (You knew this was coming.)

Guest star Art Carney, clearly confused, keeps
delivering lines to some imaginary waitress character
named Alice. The regular cast rolls with it.

What is this all about? Nobody knows anymore.

The ship runs aground, and this bunch
must somehow form a family.
Various things are made from coconuts.

I suppose you could call it that.
A version of love, sure.

Two people die while dismantling the Princess,
overcome, at last, by her toxic gases.

 

 

If it’s Tuesday p.m., check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Today’s PAD Challenge prompt: Love poem/anti-love poem. (I think this is the latter.)

 

 

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To Keep Breathing

I know the human heart,
how inside it’s lined with stars.
I say never trust anyone,
but then I always do.

Who is the one who has to
drag me down? And what is this
about? Everything falls apart;
I wish I knew the trick,

the one that helps you face
the truth. I’m making up my mind
to fight against the tide; maybe
I’ll get what I want this time,

learn how to read my own
breathing. Maybe this time, I’ll
get it: the trick of how I feel—
how to be that kind of girl.

 

 

And so we’ve come to the end (of this month-long musical exercise, anyway). I will spare you the lengthy fan-girl explanation of why I absolutely had to close with a Garbage song, and will just say that this band has been hugely important to me for the past decade-and-a-half. Their music has carried me through countless phases in life, and now lead singer Shirley Manson is my role model when it comes to Fierceness Past Forty (to put it in obnoxious women’s magazine-like terms). I aspire only to be myself, but I would love to borrow a little of her take-no-prisoners approach to everything she does, her willingness to let her guard down and say what she thinks, and — yep yep yep — her style, too,

The Trick is to Keep Breathing” seemed like a fitting song to close this month and this series. I have thought of this phrase often over the years. At one point when I was working out a lot, this was always the song that came on just as the treadmill was slowing to a stop. It felt like Shirley Manson was right there with me as some kind of rock goddess/personal trainer/spirit guide. The trick is to keep breathing, so I will — and I hope you will, too.

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Easy Come, Easy Go

Any way the wind blows, there’s
a devil put aside for me, and Mama
says nothing really matters. I ache

like a thunderbolt; watch it shiver in
my eye. It’s frightening when anyone
can see me. I sometimes wish I’d been

thrown away, left in the lightning under
sympathetic skies. But now I’ve gone, baby.
Oh, baby, I didn’t mean to make you cry.

 

 

Was feeling kind of epic and saw a reference to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on my Facebook wall. Done. Speaking of done, I know what band I’m going to close this month-long music series with (tomorrow — wow). Now I just need to choose the song.

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To Catch You Up: Four Poems Written in Portland

I recently took an extremely enjoyable business trip to Portland, Ore. I didn’t take a laptop because the nature of my work there was to take a lot of notes in longhand and then turn them into articles once I got home. As for my music-themed poetry project, I thought I could cope pretty well between my phone and the hotel’s business center.

Well.

The first night, I discovered that it was impossible to copy and paste links from the hotel computer, though I was able to (tediously) post my poem to this blog and also for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. But then things went downhill. There were a couple of nights where the business center computers were all offline, so I typed and printed my poems there and went back to my room and re-typed them on my Facebook page (for some contemporaneous proof that I’d written them) via my phone. By the end, I was cutting out the business center visits altogether, writing poems longhand and then typing them on Facebook. The final poem you’ll see in this post was written at my gate just before flying home.

It was frustrating not being able to Google the lyrics or put in as many links as I wanted because between work, social events, and the need to get out and see the city, it was all I could do to just write the poems and post them somewhere. But it was not entirely bad that I had to work from whatever I heard/misheard, and in one case, mistranslated. It led to poems that were a little less buttoned-up than my usual, and I kind of like their rough energy.

Mainly, I’m glad I was able to prove to myself that I could keep up the daily poems even while traveling and without all my usual tools at the ready.

Without further ado, here are the four poems that I wrote while I was gone and was not able to post before now.

 

Silver Ball

If I had no distractions,
I could play by smell;
I could use my intuition
to guide everything
into the right socket.
If I didn’t have any
buzzers and bells,
I could lean against
a cool blue wall
and find that it is
home.

From “Pinball Wizard” by The Who. Chosen because after a group dinner, a few of us split off to go to an arcade that was offering all-you-can-play for $5. My carpal tunnels and I rediscovered my love for pinball (though I’m certainly no wizard).

 

Strange Voices

I could skip my city
if you were still here.
It was cruel, leaving me
to do your dirty work,

climbing a fire escape
beyond all understanding.
If I could escape, I would
not need these overalls.

Now, everything is closed
and bananas aren’t free—
but the peels fly pretty far
if you aim them just right.

 

Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer,” chosen for no other reason than that I saw this song referenced on a friend’s Facebook wall. I like it, too, though, because of the fire escape — our hotel had an early morning false alarm, and I used the fire stairs out onto the rainy sidewalk because they were the closest and I had no reason to believe it wasn’t a true emergency.

 

Certain Pain

Every day I drink myself
into another world, too small.

Every day I find
what I look for.

Every day I shout
at the moon.

Every day I fight myself
in a hole in the street.

And every day I ask,
Now what?

 

Manu Chao’s ” ¿Y Ahora Que? ” because I really like him and considered buying one of his CDs (I know, an actual physical thing) at a local record store I visited with a friend. I did buy something else there — just not that.

 

Bring Me Goodbye

tonight in the flashing lights
tonight I can only ask
to submit it

tonight I will hold you
bring me tonight
bring me goodbye

I’ll see you there
let’s not forget it
you bring me goodbye

 

Io Echo’s “Shanghai Girls,” because it was appropriately wistful and dreamy for my farewell. It’s also an oblique reference to a very creepy/cool tour I took of Portland’s Shanghai tunnels.

Glad/sad to be home …

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