Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Against the Odds (Prompt: Against All Odds)

Against the odds
I still watch falling objects
and secretly wish
they stay suspended
in midflight
and imagine dinosaurs
climbing over the mountain range
as I stand watching
in rapt awe
and sheer terror.

Against the odds
I sit at the piano
and hope that my fingers fall
into a beautiful random
melody,
and peck at the keyboard
praying for an idea
I haven’t had
a thousand times before.

Against the odds
a tiny flapping bird
takes on the endless sky
trying to make its way home,
as all living things
resist the weight of gravity
and reach ever
higher and higher
to the Sun.

Against the odds
every morning
a former atheist
puts both
the Mogen David
and the Cross
around his neck
and remembers
he is both
an agent for the Christ
and a temple for
his Jewish soul.

Against the odds,
I believe
and love
and persevere.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2002 (Prompt: Day and Evening)


The yacht could only hold
50 people,
so it was a necessarily
small affair.

We told everyone
to be there at 3:45,
as we were sailing at 4 sharp.

Predictably,
we didn’t leave the dock
‘til 4:09.

Minutes before sunset,
my deceased father arrived
in the form of a
rainbow in the distance
and blessed the ceremony.

I looked at
the assembly of faces
some representing my past,
and some representing my future,
with the calm confidence
that comes from knowing
the wisdom of one’s decision.

Then,
my new family came down the aisle,
one by one
until she took her place
beside me.

We listened
we assented
we kissed
we laughed
we ate
we danced

and as evening draped
the Newport Harbor,
Christmas lights twinkled
their silent code of cheer
and good fortune,
inaugurating
the best time of my life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Playwright Story (Prompt: ______ Story)

I wanted to be a playwright,
as I fancied myself a modest god
who would make these players
do my bidding,
live out my revenge fantasies.
I aimed for
verisimilitude,
the illusion that it was

just like real life.

I wrote scenes of dialogue
and action
and characters
who all sounded like me,
but as a sheltered 16 year old,
I didn’t have enough material
to work with.

I’d create scenes,
situations,
snappy patter,

but I could never write
a proper end of a play,
and they would each limp
to their eventual final curtain.

Three years and
five plays later
I gave it up,

and went back to writing
songs
poems
jokes

temporary literary ephemera,

and I still watch
with palpable envy
and awe
when a writer pulls it all together
and finishes the story.

Now,
when I write “poetry”
when I am done with an idea
it just ends,
and I go on
to the next thing

just like real life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tribute to Myself (Prompt: tribute)


On days like these
when every step is a misstep
and every word is misspoken,

I feel completely
misunderstood and unappreciated

and I think it perfectly
reasonable to pay tribute to
myself,

as no one else knows
the trouble I’ve seen
and tried to fix
and eventually gave up on.

It veers closely to self-pity
but in essence,
I congratulate myself
on not diving into drink
or otherwise deserting,
shrinking from this fight.

I just recognize that
today I have lost,
but with a dollop of grace
I’ll be given another shot,

perhaps to endure
masterfully enough
so that I’ll have it
in my heart

to look beyond myself
and my collection
of impossible, miserable
personal
puzzles.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reruns (Prompt: Good Old Days)


Growing up,
life wasn’t abusive or neglectful,
but it was staid, Spartan
and security minded.

My parents were too busy
trying not to lose their status
in the lower middle class
that there was rarely
time for laughter,
time for joy.

I don’t look back and see
the good old days.
I see reruns,
mostly sitcoms.

All I was allowed
to do was watch TV,
so I did.

I even learned to read
by matching the synopsis
to what was on
in the TV.

Now I use
DVR technology to watch
shows I saw as a kid
and I recite the scripts,
perfect in memory and intonation,
I even know the rhythm
of the laugh tracks.

To this day,
some of my fondest memories
are found in episodes of
“All in the Family”
“Sanford and Son”
“Green Acres”
“The Honeymooners”

and better than family
they will all
outlive me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

You Can’t Have Everything (prompt: comsumption)


“Limitless movies on demand”
“this ereader can store a million books”
“all you can eat for one low price”
“unlimited broadband access on your smart phone”
“access to our 8 million song music library”

all I can think is
you can’t have everything,

where would you put it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seen and Unseen (Prompt: Gather)


If I gather
all my good deeds
seen and unseen,

then subtract
the sum of
all my bad deeds
seen and unseen

and total it up,

and then stand it
next to one man
hanging on a cross,

no matter how
I size it up,
I’m not worthy,

but still
I’m welcomed in,

so
I give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Traveling Light (Prompt: Travel)


I’m traveling light
through this shared illusion
because thinking
I need to bring anything
is also an illusion.

If I put on certain records
and open that box with the
scented letters,
I am taken to yesterday.

When I see little babies
laughing, safe and adored
with softly wrinkled grown-ups
I travel to tomorrow.

When I have the
Chicken Cashew Nut from
the Royal Thai in Riverside
I travel to Heaven’s kitchen.

When I write
that rare combination
of perfect thought and feeling
I travel to places
previously unknown
sometimes wondrous,
sometimes scary.

So, I travel light.
All I need to pack
is my brain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Lime (Prompt: Fruit Poem)


Lime sits
in lemon’s shadow,
smaller, darker
maybe even a little unfriendly.

Rarely the centerpiece,
often,
an afterthought.

Usually relegated
to being sliced in half
and squeezed over
the star of the dinner show.

But then,
take a bite
and she sizzles with cool zing
makes the mouth water
and brings out something
exquisite,
hitherto unk—

ach –

I just drooled
onto my keyboard.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Whenever I Hear Julie London Sing “I’d Like You for Christmas”


Whenever I hear Julie London sing
“I’d Like You for Christmas”
I am instantly transported
to that doleful yearning
before you were mine.

Once I heard her
I needed to know
what it would feel like
to slow dance
to this song
with you
in front of the fireplace
on Christmas Eve
in our very own home,
in our very own life.

Now,
more than a decade later,
her whispered plea
still causes me to catch my breath,
close my eyes,
thank God
for this answered prayer,
and wait for the
next Christmas Eve
to slow dance this
with you.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Best Advice Ever (Prompt: Best Ever Poem)


Scanlon,
the obese TV writing instructor
who insisted upon being addressed
as “Dr.”and then didn’t return
the manuscript I sent him
which was my final grade in the course,
gave me the best advice I ever got:

I don’t even recall
the exact question,
but I always remember
the answer.

With admirable passion
and eloquence,
he exploded

“Bullshit!
Don’t be
a second-best someone else!

Be the first-best You!”

I still
quote
him.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The God that Made the Platypus (Prompt: Suspicious)


I’m not sure
what I have to offer you
but it  must be something
for you to
say love me.

I will not believe you
until I convince myself
of my lovability,

for surely,
I cannot be worthy
of love
just because I exist.

So I trust that
the God that made
the platypus,
flatulent giggling,
and other
mysterious,
silly
phenomena

loves me too
because in my own
strange, confused way
I think
I must amuse Him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Market Research Information for Poets (Prompt: It's Too Late Poem)


Egotists!
Narcissists!
Poets!
(Forgive the redundancy.)

After a thorough analysis
of the activity
of this website,
I offer the following
analysis to aid you
in your writing endeavors:

First,
if you want
to maximize
the comment count
for your postings,
make sure that your poems
are no longer
than 22 lines,
which seems to be
the tipping point
for inattention.

Second,
and more important,
please ensure
your submissions
occur before 3pm EST.

This will allow
ample opportunity
for the majority
of site traffic
to view / comment
on your work.

Further analysis exists
to support the hypothesis
that contributors/readers
who visit earlier
in the day
typically do not
revisit the site
later in the day
to read /comment.

Third,
if you are only posting
so that someone
will stroke your ego
and validate your worth
as a writer,
then the previous comment
about time of submission
is irrelevant:

it is already too late.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Invisibility Switch (Prompt: Revelation)

I possess the ability
to make myself invisible
at will.

I can disappear
if there are chores to be done,
or when solitude is preferred,

and I can re-materialize
when I need help with heavy lifting
or when I’m feeling especially lonesome.

Unlike the magician,
I’ll reveal my secret:

the default value for
my invisibility switch
is always “ON”

it’s only when
I do something
designed with an
audience in mind,
any audience,

that I’m actually switching it
“OFF”.

So,
I can make myself
invisible at will

as long as I
do not will
myself
to perform
for anyone.

Ta-da.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Once Upon a Fitting Room (Prompt: Once Upon a _____)

At first,
we were strangers,
trying on each other.

While some parts fit
perfectly,
others needed
immediate alteration.

I always wear her
with pride,
and to her credit
when she wears me,
she stares down
anyone who dares
question her style.

Through these years
though styles have changed,
she still wears my coat
with its food stains
and frayed cuffs and collar,

and for the first time
in my tortured life
as a hideous self-dresser,
I am proud
to be seen in what I wear.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There is No Cure for the Hole in My Soul (Prompt: Love Poem)


There is no cure
for the hole
in my soul
for when I keep trying
to fill it,
it still remains empty.

God hasn’t filled it,
nor has Anita,
the same for my kids
and my beloved animals.

The writing
sure as hell doesn’t help,
often it makes it worse.

The only thing
resembling a cure
appears
when I lose myself
in loving others.

I know
this doesn’t cure
the hole in my soul,

but it keeps me
from obsessing
over
my incompleteness. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

“Funny What Goes Through One’s Mind” (Prompt: Deadly and dangerous poem)


On that sweaty August afternoon
after I committed adultery with
the married psychobitch,

I was driving her back
to where she left her car
and I was in
the fast lane of the freeway,
trying to get this day
over with as soon as possible.

She was still trying
to convince me to ask her
to leave her husband,
but I wasn’t giving in.

Then she did this thing
I only read about
in “Penthouse” magazine
and saw alluded to
in the movies.

Let’s just say
the others drivers
thought I was alone.

I was smug,
then aroused,
and then immediately
panicked
as I realized
the accelerator
in my Honda
was revving
but not speeding up.

I instantly broke out
in a cold sweat
and I heard her
just giggling cluelessly
as she continued
making her case.

“Kim…”

“Kim...”

Then I saw it-
her chest had knocked
the gear shift
out of drive
and into neutral.

I shifted back
and half-sighed
until I saw
the taillights of
the cars ahead
of me
getting closer
faster and faster
and piling up.

Simultaneously,
I slam on the brakes
grab her by the hair
and throw her head back
into the passenger’s seat.

She laughed
with that wicked uncontainable
cackle of the truly
insane,
barely catching her breath,

“OHHH, YES!
THAT WAS GREAT!”

and there I was
parked in the fast lane
on the freeway
drenched in sweat
and jangling from adrenaline,

and the first thing that
came to mind was

“How would I have
explained that to
Allstate?”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kindness Poem (Prompt: kindness)


If you seek me out
from the googol of
websites
self-aggrandizing blogs
cobwebbed social media,

I am so thankful
for your devotion.

If you leave a note
then I know you’ve seen me

and you’ve invalidated
my presumed invisibility

and most days
that is the kindest thing
of all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gluttony (prompt: excess)


I looked I the pantry
and the only thing there
was self-discipline.

It needed something.

So I dusted it in powdered sugar
deep-fried it until it was brown
walloped a dollop of whipped cream
smeared some French dressing
dashed in salt and pepper
dipped it in Belgian chocolate,
then let it marinade in a
mixture of balsamic vinegar
and peanut M&Ms.

Then I baked it in ginger
chopped it into squares
butterscotch fondued it
and after it hardened
I glazed it in Devil’s Spit
barbeque sauce
and sprinkled it with
brown sugar

and once it cooled

I popped it in my mouth

and it was ambrosial,

so I went back and
ate the whole
disgusting
mess.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Moskowitz Vital Statistics


Marriage #1:
Length of Courtship: 260 weeks
Length of Engagement: 63 weeks
Length of Marriage: 21 weeks
Age at wedding: 30 years
Children: 0
Regrets: Too many to count.

Marriage #2:
Length of Courtship: 30 weeks
Length of Engagement: 9 weeks
Length of Marriage: 467 weeks (as of November, 11, 2011)
Age at wedding: 39 years
Children: 3 (from spouse’s previous marriage)
Regrets: 1 (not marrying Anita sooner).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Uncle Tom's Plea (Prompt: Different Perspective)


C’mon guys,
we’ve had it pretty good.

That farmer and his family
they treat us pretty good,
and we get fed regular.

Why,
I’ve never been so full!

Look at your feathers!
They’ve never had
a sheen like
this.

And your wattles,
they haven’t bounced that much
in years!

You gotta admit,
it’s been a pretty sweet
so far.

Don’t listen to them
young upstarts,

they’re just trying
to upset the apple cart.

Those stories about the
Fall Holocaust,
they’re just trying
to scare you.

No,
we’ve taken and taken
and now it’s our turn
to give.

Remember,
the humans
have treated us well,
be should be honored
they make us
the centerpiece
of their holiday.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wait or Chase (Prompt: ____ or ____ poem)


I didn’t have
the requisite confidence
to wait
for the pretty girls
to flock around me
so I could
take my pick
of any of them
just like
my mother
told me
they eventually
would.

No,
I had a mirror
and perfect eyesight.

So, I began the chase
and I learned to charm,
gently cajole,
listen for clues
and win their hearts.

I got very good
at 
it.

The formula was
finding out their likes
their secret dreams
unspoken passions
and then
fulfilling them,

with brazen,
unflappable
creativity.

Yes,
I could’ve and
would’ve
loved every one
of them.

l won many, many hearts
but I rarely got laid,

because while they all
desired someone
who acted like me,
they didn’t want someone
who looked like me.

(Again, that infernal mirror.)

I still chase
my beautiful
muse,

baring my soul
and my skin,
laying it all
at her feet.

I earn her approval
as she giggles
and the poem
blooms before her

and she breathes in
its rose-like scent,

smiles
and pats
her seeing eye dog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

But to Whom? (Prompt: Paranormal Poem)


One day
all I saw was a leafy tall tree
against the cloudless sky,
and off in the distance
birds sang purposefully
in another language
and the brook giggled
past my feet
and it was a tangible
empirical reality,

then
something turned over
in my heart,
and it wasn’t enough
just to observe it all,
I had to express
my thanks
for all this wondrous
mysterious beauty,

but to whom?

So,
now you know
how I took
my first steps
on this walk. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

Now Won’t Wait (Prompt: Won't Wait Poem)


As insistent and selfish
as a puppy wanting to
be let out,
Now
crowds around me
and messes up
my well-laid plans,
for every decision
is a pivot point,
and I’m smart enough
to know
that the moments
cling to one another
as randomly
as a chain
made of figures
from the Barrel of Monkeys game,
I played forty years ago
which appeared instantly
in the very front
of my Now
right now.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Predictable Headache (prompt: addiction)


She is a beautiful,
tragic corpse
these days,

but I can recall
halcyon days
just her and me

riding the highways
no map
no empty pockets.

We just kept calling
out to each other
and we kept answering
“sure, why not?’

It was only after
many, many nights

did I sense her
disenchantment

and the part of her
that came alive
from my touch
became perfunctory

a dull routine
a predictable
headache.

Impulsively
I said goodbye
and divorced her
very publicly
to help gird my decision

and while some doubted
her sway over me,

I knew the truth,

and I still visit her
in the liquor aisle
of the grocery

almost smug
at my 21 years
of sobriety,

but still
afraid to
step back into
her embrace.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Broken Peace (Prompt: Broken)


Sarah and I
can be sitting watching “Glee”
and something will slip
from a shelf
or my breathing will be too loud
or a sad thought will enter,

and she will explode
in a rage usually reserved
for life threatening traffic maneuvers

and the peace is broken,
the illusion of normalcy
is shattered.

Most days
 it’s an hourly occurrence,
whatever this is
in her dysfunctional cerebellum
that catches afire
and causes her to become
an angry flamethrower

and when its run its course
burned  to the ash
she comes back somewhat contrite
pitiful and apologetic,

and there is no medicine
to fix this,
no surgery,
only time,
occupational therapy
and love,
the only antidote that ever restores
broken peace.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Rachel (November 4, 2011) (Prompt: Something Unexpected)


When we first met
I thought I’d play
the wise old sage
and you’d
be my eager pupil.

Even in those early days
you were always teaching me

about kindness
about self- sacrifice
about faithfulness.

Your laughter is among
my favorite sounds in this
whole wide world

and I will always remember
that you were
the first of the kids
to make me consider
that there might be
something valuable
in (step)fatherhood
waiting for me.

So,
I thank you
for prying open a door
I thought
was sealed forever.

Happy Birthday, Rachel

Love,
Pop-o

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sort of Famous (Prompt: Sort of...)

I Google Buddah Moskowitz
and am immediately
second-guessed.

“Did you mean
Buddha Moskowitz?”
in that snotty italicized font
with its implied superiority.

No, I intentionally misspell it
like the 1970’s record label.

Then I see
all the sites where I have
scattered my “poetry”
to the winds,
my mutant seed spread
in the hope
they’ll find forgiving
and fertile land.

I tell myself
it doesn’t matter if I’m “famous.”
I’ve followers
from all walks of life,
and some even part
with their hard earned money
to buy my “poems”.

So what do I want?

An Oscar?
A Pulitzer Prize?
The respect and admiration
from some obscure
“poetry” “journal” publisher?

Nope.

I just want one of those
seemingly in-depth
interviews
like I’ve seen in
Rolling Stone,
where they try to discover
what drives me
what excites me
what disgusts me
what inspires me.

They’d make me sound
important
relevant
and essential.

But,
I know the odds
of that ever happening

so,

I keep adding
to the interview
I am conducting on myself

one poem at a time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Two Lessons, Too Late (Prompt: epigram)



“The way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” – Oscar Wilde

I knew it was wrong
when I did it
but I did it anyway
because she promised me
“no one will ever know.”

Being an ethical contortionist
I trusted my logic
and believed my rationale,

but when he called me
at my office
screaming
that he knew what I did,
where I lived
and that he was going
to shoot off my testicles
with his shotgun,

I learned two lessons:

first,
it is impossible
to talk your way out of
a problem with a party
unwilling to listen,

and
second,
never sleep with
another man’s wife,
schmuck.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Now! (Prompt:Pro-Active Poem)


There is no later,
the time is now!

Tomorrow is an illusion
and yesterday is one collective
implanted memory,

so roll on,
breathe in the air
dance in the sun

and lose yourself
now!

Even if
you’re just planning
for tomorrow,
you’ve got to do it
now!

Sure, the Mona Lisa was painted
way back then,
but she does not become relevant
until you see her now!

That big meal you’re planning
for the end of the month
is only a collection of passed-down recipes
and unbought groceries,
and only becomes Thanksgiving
when you’re eating it
now!

That great vast
afterlife
some of us cling to
is also a mirage

for there is no Heaven
waiting off
in the foggy, cloud-strewn
future,

but rather
Heaven is in this moment
now!

So,
knowing the primacy
and the urgency of

now! ,

I ask you
my dear reader,

without irony,

was it worth it?