Burnout

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Burnout
I can see the silent prayer in your shy dog eyes –
“Please do not see me.”
I try to meet your gaze, but you side-eye anything else, face blank.
Anything but visually confirm my looking at your blank paper.
I can see the subtle jitter of your fingers texting under the desk.
The promise of attention, or at least the facade of practiced indifference,
now lies broken at both our feet.
As I plaster on a smile and grab a piece of chalk
I turn to the board
Chipper as an axe
And announce for the twelfth week in a row
“What kinds of music do you like?”
Three weeks from now, you will roll your gaze to one side
and ask, monotonous
“What do you like music?”
Then I will snap your pencil in my mind, smile, set it down
like a trophy for my patience, and hope for brighter things.

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Compassion

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We make the correct decision.
Our hearts are not in it.
To show mercy, compassion, and faith
Seems to yield little but bleeding.
We sense that rage and retribution
Are attractive alternatives.
That grinding a heel would feel
So. goddamn. satisfying.
But we open our arms all the same,
Sensing relief,
Anticipating pain.
We know the correct decision
Will always be tarnished by a second-tier truth:
That cruelty exists in us all.
Still we open our arms
In the faint and persistent hope of being better
than our baser selves.
Of achieving enlightenment from charity.
Our hearts are not in it.
Slapped a time too many to truly shine anymore,
All we can do is stretch out our arms
And try, once more, to heal.

Abrupt Stop

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Abrupt Stop

Dear Applicant,
The hogs at processing scream a little more loudly
Thank you for submitting…
The hummingbirds no longer seem playful
We are lucky to have so many talented applicants…
A blue heron flaps awkwardly out of my lane
We will not be moving forward with your application…
A car hugs the center line menacingly
Best of luck in your future endeavors…
The cat drops a dead mouse at my feet
Sincerely…
Silence in the space between my lips
Someone else’s life.
The breeze stirs green trees in vain.

****

The day took a turn for the rough. No more jingles for the near future, unless they’re my angry jingles.

A Healthy Balance of Blame

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A Healthy Balance of Blame

I admit that I am at fault.
Not as at fault as you, but at fault.
Perhaps a sixty-forty fault line,
Or more accurately and eighty-twenty ratio
Of you being more wrong than I.
Does that seem fair?
I think it sounds very fair.
I am willing to look into my soul
And admit that I am not perfect.
This is a tricky and noble endeavor.
I deserve credit for the caliber of my soul.
You should do the same, but more,
Because you are more to blame than I.
It’s never easy, having to assign fault
In such situations as these.
Rocks in hand, staring through our glass houses
Wondering who deserves the right
To throw first, when we know we’ll both get cut.
The answer is me, by the way.
I get to go first,
Because you are more to blame than I.
Your face suggests you disagree?
Well, you should have thought about that
Before you decided to be more wrong.
I am trying to be fair.
I am admitting that I am wrong.
Not as wrong as you, and my admittance alleviates some of my guilt,
But still, I am making an honest effort.
You could at least do the same.
But more so.
Because, as I think I’ve made clear,
You are more to blame than I.
Ready?
Aim.
Blame.

2.25 – A Freeform Verse with Anger and Birds

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2.25

A Freeform Verse with Anger and Birds

You dive bomb like a blue jay
You’re as faithless as a crow
I watch you peck and rend and bend
The old things that I know

You screech just like a magpie
You’re catbird cruel in show
I watch you peck and flick and prick
The old ways that I know

You frighten like the night owl
You’re a wasteful, spiteful sparrow
I watch you peck and shake and break
The old joys that I know

So where did I misplace my dove
Where is my cardinal true
Who took away my joyful thrush
And left me here with you?

Perhaps I am the grackle
The junco deep in snow
Perhaps it’s I who let you fly
Away with what I know.

****

I think I’ll work on this one. I love birds, and I don’t know why I went to such an angry place with the bird imagery.

NaPoWriMo.2 : Electric Rhyming Bugaloo!

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That’s right.
It’s April, and that means we’re back to NaPoWriMo. The last time I did this monthlong poetry fest I was in China with a hefty amount of free time on my hands. Now I’m back in the States, and my time is still technically equal to what it was. Except, of course, for the longer list of things to do.

I’m excited to try it again, and I hope you, my audience, enjoys what happens when a poet must write everyday. Though if I’m being honest, I started a day early. 2.1 was written on March 31st. Yesterday’s post – which I’m posting below – is more about the process than just a poem.

Because truth be told, it’s been a rougher time for this poetess. I expect these rougher times are going to manifest themselves in my writing. I’d hope this wouldn’t upset you, but since I’m writing for me…

**** 2.2 ****

Parodies of Sad

I got a lot of positive response to my last poem, which I find interesting. Sadness- that is, writing from sadness, often garners attention because it is real. Happiness is harder to grab, harder to express without sounding trite. Sadness can veer into the melodramatic, but even in melodrama it hits a strange echo in us. Like the proper vibration to break a glass, different emotions resonate on different frequencies.

In my moments of sadness, I tend to write parodies and sing songs that sound vaguely like Garrison Keillor’s song poems from “A Prairie Home Companion”.

For example, I am still in the doldrums, so I came up with this parody of a song that I like to sing in general, “Let’s Have another Cup of Coffee, and Let’s Have another Piece of Pie:”

Oh life is just a bloody circle
We live and eventually we die
So let’s spike another cup of coffee,
And fuck it – just eat up all the pie

It’s true when bad things happen
People don’t want you to cry
So let’s spike another cup of coffee
And fuck it – just eat up all the pie

There’s a hole in my umbrella
And the storms come rollin’ in
It’s hard to keep on trying
When you never seem to win

I wonder if God chuckles
When he hears me asking why?
So let’s spike another cup of coffee
And fuck it – just eat up all the pie

It’s dramatic and sad, sure. But there’s something to be said for letting yourself wallow in words that make you feel better. Like teenagers listening to moody music. In my case, I listen to an old album “Songs of the Great Depression.” I guess, when I contemplate all the horrible things I’ve seen, and the myriad things which are worse which I have not seen, it helps to put things in perspective. Of a sort. Perspective is a terrible thing sometimes.

Day 1.2

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Rules of the Game

The exercise was simple:
Walk around the room.
I take direction well.
I needed direction today.
Walk, walk, walk.
I’m amazing at this game.
“Switch direction!” calls Dave.
“Be spontaneous!”
Thank God listlessness looks like spontaneity.
I can make aimless look daring.
I walk in rhombus.
I walk in parallelogram.
I walk in crescents.
“Now do something else!
Be free! Explore the space!
Crawl! Skip! Jump!”
My mind is a blank slate.
Walk, walk, walk.
Around in trapezoids I move
Trying to think of something to do,
Something that isn’t walking.
But my sense of play is gone.
I have no desire to do anything.
I’m barely doing the basic rule.
I’m barely walking.
Inside I’m huddled in the corner
Under the dance bar, next to the mirror,
Angrily staring at the other movers
Who merrily prance or roll or twirl,
Who have thought of things to do
Other than walk, walk, walk.
So, full of obedience and fear,
I do the only thing an actress
In crisis can do –
I walk, walk, with purpose and gusto
with charisma and direction,
Right out the door,
For a breather.