Countdown

We are all so confident that we’re safe
Snuggling contentedly at home
Ignoring the rest of the world
Using our technology
Never realizing
How fragile life is
And how quickly
It could just
Disap-
Pear.

 

NaPoWriMo –  Day 24

[I came up with the concept of the Countdown poem when thinking about the Nonet. Quite simply, the form goes from 10 syllables per line (the Nonet uses 9) down to 1.]

 

Really, Who Cares?

Poetry is fine when read in school.
Everyone gets to share their opinions
about what it all means
and what the author’s purpose was.

But, really, you know,
Who cares?

Poetry is good when read on a card.
Someone creates some sentiment
that approximates experience,
and the recipient says “Ohh…”

But, really, you know,
Who cares?

Poetry is okay when shared on a blog.
Some writers crafted some thoughts
and wrestled it into stanzas,
then shared it on Facebook.

But, really, you know,
Who cares?

No, the only poetry that really matters
are the whispered rhythmic rhymes
inside your own brain
demanding to be set free.

So, you know, write a poem.
I care.

NaPoWriMo – Day 23

50 Things

Certainly by the age of fifty, which I am today,
I should have learned fifty lessons, and so I will say…

  1. Respect your parents, who know more than you think.
  2. Take a bath daily, or else you will stink.
  3. Keep your mouth shut, never reveal too much.
  4. At fancy stores, you can look but don’t touch.
  5. It never hurts to be nice, go ahead and smile.
  6. Sometimes it’s good to be alone for a while.
  7. Question authority, but follow the rules.
  8. Celebrate the geniuses, but tolerate the fools.
  9. Whenever you can, be generous to a fault.
  10. Lock your fears in your heart, like a steel vault.
  11. Never use other people, and never be used.
  12. Never let yourself be in any way abused.
  13. You can always recover a fumble at the end of the game.
  14. When people are nice to you, treat them the same.
  15. Read as many books as possible, open your mind.
  16. Sometimes you’re going to need a kick in the behind.
  17. Second chances? Give them. Third chances, don’t.
  18. Friends will either be there for you, or they won’t.
  19. Tell your children every day how much you treasure them.
  20. For some folk, everything you say will displeasure them.
  21. Find your special talent, something you can hone.
  22. Your best friend really shouldn’t be your telephone.
  23. In class, you should always take notes of what is said.
  24. Tropical fish in a bowl should not be overfed.
  25. Listen to what you’re told, but think for yourself.
  26. Dispose of expired goods on your refrigerator shelf.
  27. Find one person to serve as your Secret Keeper.
  28. Shop around, you can usually find things cheaper.
  29. Spend an hour in contemplation (some folks call it prayer).
  30. Sometimes it’s amusing if you poke the bear.
  31. People are going to let you down; adjust your expectation.
  32. Be a genuine person, don’t assume some affectation.
  33. When you’re sleepy. go to bed. When you’re hungry, eat.
  34. As Lieutenant Dan told Forrest, don’t neglect your feet.
  35. Accept people in your life who who they really are.
  36. It never hurts to dream; go and wish upon a star.
  37. Get your oil changed, check your tires, take care of your truck.
  38. Sometimes in life you have to just say What the Heck.
  39. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions.
  40. Don’t be afraid to ignore their suggestions.
  41. Find something that you love and do it every day.
  42. Make time to put away your work and take some time to play.
  43. Go into the world, don’t sit alone at home.
  44. When you’re really feeling bad, write yourself a poem.
  45. Ask your grandparents to tell you stories of their youth.
  46. As much as you possibly can, try to tell the truth.
  47. Sometimes the only way to help someone is to hurt them just a little.
  48. Know some knock-knock jokes by heart, know a clever riddle.
  49. Learn to read the signs so you know when it’s time to go.
  50. Always remember that we only think we know what we know.

That’s fifty things I’ve learned in life, now I’ve shared with you.
So tell me Happy Birthday, and teach me something new.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 22

Out of My Mind

You’re always there
in the dim corridors of memory
fiddling with the synapses that drive desire
and
You’re always talking
whispering words I should not hear
making promises you should not keep
and
You’re always smiling
as if there were a secret we shared
that I had forgot but could try to remember
and
It’s never enough
these blurry visions of past and future
that will never coalesce into the present
and
I always know
that I will go out of my mind
if I can’t get you out of my mind.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 21

Powerless

Look, my minions, at my awesome strength!
The power in my hands to tear the world apart,
The raw energy equal to ten suns coursing through me,
The blood of the ancient gods raging through my heart!

Listen, ye underlings, to my sage advice!
The wisdom that turned Solomon into a doddering fool,
The answers to questions that befuddle the gods
The pithy wit that sent Confucius back to school!

Regard, thou knaves, the might, and the wit,
and all the responsibilities that accompany these boons
Cast instead into lackluster pedantry, and me –
Virtually powerless most mornings and afternoons.

I hear your cry, from afar and from anear,
Why?! What steals your incredible power from you?
And I am forced to answer, my head hung low,
That the monkeys are running the zoo.

What is the worth of strength that may not be used?
What is the value of wisdom unheeded?
It matters not what incredible talents I have
If the world has shown me, I’m not needed.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 20

The Betterment of You

The Betterment of You
(Or, What Have You Done for Me?)

Instead of grading essays, there are things that I could do.
And this is my way of saying, I’m doing it for you.

I could take my children out to play
(They ask me almost every day –
Daddy, would it be too much trouble
To take us out and blow us bubbles.

Sorry, kids, is what I say,
but Papa has to work today.)

I could write a poem or read a book;
I could clean the house or maybe cook
(Everyone is tired of McFood and Swill
Even pizza has lost its thrill.
My wife can tell you recipes I’ve made
But Sorry, babe, I’ve got to grade.)

I could play a game or call my son,
Go out in the world and have some fun,
Watch a movie or hit the bars,
Sit on the beach and dream of the stars,
Get a sitter and take the wife on a cruise –
But no, not me. I’m singing the Blues.

I could tend my garden, plant a flower,
or go to bed at a decent hour.
Instead I’m grading by TV-light
Until all hours of the night,
Marking errors and making notes,
Advising plagiarists to cite their quotes.

I have to grade these essays, have to get them done,
Even if I stay awake and see the rising sun.
Cuz maybe something I say, some glib piece of advice
Might make a major difference, and that’s worth my sacrifice.
So despite the fact there’s so much I want to do
I’m giving of my time and self for the betterment of You.

 

NaPoWriMo – Day 19