Friday, November 30, 2012

Milk (Nov 30 Prompt: Milk)


The first thing
introduced to us
upon our arrival
is milk,

warm and
(in the absence
of any other flavor)
sweet.

Delivered
as the newborn
lays soft head
upon softer breast,
close-eyed
and softly suckling
in an open-mouthed kiss
attached to
a loving mother,
this becomes
our unconscious archetype
for care,
for love.

Imprinted
in our souls,
this universal
relaxant,
this calming
trusted sedative,
still works
on sleepless nights
filled with worry
and doubt

about
what happens
next.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Birth (November 29 Prompt: Birth)


In defiance
against the default settings
of death and destruction,

the rosebud blooms,
the fingers hit the keys
in a glorious, surprising melody,
children wobble first steps,
lovers intone “I Do,”
and the process
begins.

Even though
we always know
the end is imminent,

we rise,
we try,
we fail,
we triumph,
we despair,
we plod on.

Everyday
is a new birth,

and even though
science can explain
the need and function
for sleep,
I still cannot fathom
the mystery of why
I was given
another chance,
another birth.

So, I will rise
and try
and fail
and despair
and occasionally triumph
and plod on,

if for no other reason,
than
mere thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The False Accusation (Nov 28 Prompt: Workplace Adversity Poem)


A year and a day
after I received my
Certificate of Excellence
(signed by the College Chancellor)
I was hauled before
the Vice Presidents of
Human Resources and
Administration and Finance
and was threatened
with termination
because a
female co-worker made
the false accusation
that I raped her,
when all I’d done
was have consensual sex
with her
and then have the temerity
not to beg her
to leave her husband
for me.

Obviously, a lover spurned,
classic and predictable,
but when the person making
the false accusation
possessed a vagina,
she was believed
without a critical thought
(ironic for a college,
I know).

I looked at
Walt and Jim
and said
“Both of you
have female assistants.
Don’t you see
how easily
the false accusation
can bite you too?”
They wouldn’t
look me in the eye.

I had to bring in
notes she’d sent
from the college
email server,
which used her own words
to contradict and discredit
her story,
and then
the false accusation
of rape
magically went away.

Moral:
While honesty
is usually the best policy,
in personnel matters
with Human Resources,
email evidence
sometimes trumps
the false accusation.

[#novpad]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Death Is No Villain (Nov 27 Prompt: Heroes & Villains)


Death is no villain.

He has always
played straight with me,
offering no illusions.

He’s coming
and when he does
he won’t be deterred.

He reminds me
there is no time
but now,
and that the bird outside
is not just singing,
but he’s
sounding the alarm
to live NOW!
and the joy in my chest
when the music falls
perfectly
is death reminding me
to dance NOW!
and not think
about the end of the
song.

He never told me
he wasn’t coming,
and he keeps his word
by taking my parents,
aunts, friends
and other heroes,

sometimes
one at a time,

sometimes
in great, dispassionate
handfuls,
every single day.

Death is my hero
because I can trust him
to have the integrity
and keep his word,
to follow through
on his promise.

Until he comes for me,
I live,
skipping with impunity,
until that inevitable knock
on my door.

[For #OpenLinkNight @dversepoets where poets gather and encourage one another and #novpad]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Writing Is Easy (Nov 25 Prompt: Opposite)


Anyone who tells you
writing is difficult
just doesn’t know
what he’s talking about.

Just sit
at the word processor
and tear off
into the blue,
and let your mind
just connect
ideas together.

Never mind if it makes sense,
it came out of you!

Don’t worry about half-finished ideas
or about being repetitive,
or saying the same thing over and over
or being redundant.

Just get it all on the page
and then hit spell check.

And you don’t need
to do it every day,
just wait
until Grand Inspiration
strikes you.

When it’s done
force everyone you know
to read it
and make sure
to watch them
as they read it.

And for goodness sake,
don’t be so critical of
your own writing.

Remember,
you've already done the hard part
by writing it.

Now it’s their turn
to carry the ball.

[#novpad]

The Truth About Love Haiku (Nov 24 prompt: The Truth About...)



There’s no mystery:
unmistakable action
and no exception.

[#novpad]

Deep (Nov 23 Prompt: Deep)


Deep
in the crush
of hungry shoppers
more to avarice
than goodwill,

deep
in the holiday displays
tarted up with tinsel
and discount pricing
for snap purchase,

deep
in the bleary-eyes
of the minimum wagers
robbed of holidays
with families and
sweet memories,

deep in hundreds
of Ken and Barbie
news reports
documenting this melee,

way down deep in
all this is
the one reason,

the only reason.

Paradise (Nov 22 Prompt: Paradise)


...is sitting in a backyard
of a house I thought
I’d ever own

beside a woman more
beautiful and necessary
than I’d ever seen

listening to the laughter
of beautiful children
I never thought I’d adopt

in a world more
surprising and bountiful
than I ever imagined

all wrapped up
in love that I can hardly describe,
and can barely fathom.

[for #novpad]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas, 1970 (Fullerton, California) (Nov 21 Prompt: Five Song Titles)


It is 1970,
in Fullerton, California,
and the only way
I know
Christmas time is here
is that my brothers and I
are huddled around the TV
(in pre-videotape days)
to watch
the single annual showing
of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Seeing the clear blue skies
bordered by the palm trees
in manicured front lawns,
I couldn’t fathom
the appeal of a white Christmas.

Stores decked themselves out
with festive tinsel,
evergreen garlands
silver bells, and
there was that familiar, comforting
music everywhere.

Even then
as a 7 year old
I sensed the season
was about more
than colorfully wrapped presents,
or diving headfirst
into a marshmallow world,

and I still try to find
a quiet moment
on Christmas Eve,
if not an entire
silent night,
to be thankful
for a gift that
I may never fully
appreciate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Catch and Release Memories (Nov 20 Prompt: Catch and Release)


As I have
no discrete memories
(and a few
indiscreet ones),
I catch them all
into one giant
ever-shifting collage,
perhaps as
Jackson Pollock
would have
if digital arts existed.

Then
I release the good memories
from their collective inventory,
sifting and tossing them
like dice,
spilling some onto the page
as a precaution,
before they are
no longer retrievable,

and I pray the other memories
slip through a hole in the net
and get lost
in some undiscovered bit
of the infinite darkness,

where they’ll never
hurt anyone
or haunt me
ever again.

[for #OpenLinkNight at www.dversepoets.com - my favorite place for poetry on the internet - #novpad]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Card Carousel (Nov 19 Prompt: Circle)


I scan the racks
of card stock,
a patchwork in
shades of
mostly red,
some evergreen,
like I’ve done
every year.

I spend a lot
of emotional time
standing there
trying to find the
perfect sentiment:

I remember
in the late 1980’s
going from store to store
looking for
tarjetas en espanol
and practicing writing
Querida Abuelita
for a grandma who didn’t
speak English
from her grandson
who only learned
Spanish from public school.

Now, I skip
the “Parents” section
and find a card just for
my Mom,
but if I’m in a
really masochistic mood,
I’ll read the cards for
Dads,
until a single,
resigned tear
surrenders down
the side of my face.

I wonder
how many more
more Christmases
I’ll have to send
cards to
my godparents,
among my other
adopted parents.

I smile at
the cards for
sweethearts,
girlfriends,
and other
non-committed lovers-

“For the One I Love”
cards bought
almost exclusively

before Anita
came along
and gave me reason to buy
cards embossed
“For My Wife.”

Then, all my maudlin,
morbid musing on
mortality
ceases

and I set out to find
that perfect
Christmas card
for her.

This usually requires
buying at least
two cards.

If You've Ever Wondered Why My Archive is Entitled "I Hate Poetry" (Nov 18 Prompt: Write a Glosa)

Prompt: Write a glosa. 

"This involves 
an epigram of 
4 consecutive lines 
from a favorite poet 
that the challenge participant 
believes they can 
write successfully to. 

Then, 
write a poem 
consisting of 
four 10-line stanzas 
where the final line 
of each stanza 
is a line 
from the epigram, 
in order. 

Within each stanza, 
lines 6, 
9 and 
10 must rhyme."

Once done,
then go back 
and switch 
every other verb
for lines 1 through 7

and then replace 
the very next 
present tense verb 
with "fellating."

Go to the second stanza
and replace the
last two lines 
with your horoscope
from the local newspaper.

Review stanza three 
and if the letters you've used
cannot be rearranged
to provide a 
combustible chemical reaction,
then you to the nearest
graveyard 
and copy the epitaph
of the 17th headstone
and force fit it
(at gunpoint if necessary)
into your poem.

In stanza four, arbitrarily
replace the first three
adjectives with the following:
"steatopygous"
"flatulent"
"zalid."

Re-read the work,
if it remains intelligible
and / or accessible,
start over.

If you've ever wondered
why my archive is entitled 
"I Hate Poetry",

now you know.

"How To Go to Your Cousin's Wedding, Stay Late Dancing at the Reception and Come Home Way Too Late to Even Consider Turning on the Computer, Much Less, Writing to the Prompt" (Nov 17 Prompt: How to ...)






Friday, November 16, 2012

Inescapable (Nov 16 Prompt: Start Poem with Last Line of Previous Poem)

To test that theory
I’ll use the old
punchline:

“who are you going to believe,
me or your lying eyes?”

I cannot see
the air I breathe
and depend upon,
yet I know it is real,
because I see
what happens
when it is taken away.

It is
the same
with God.

Just because
you can’t see God
doesn’t mean
God doesn’t exist.

If I try
to take away God
to see what happens,
I can’t.

God doesn’t exist
just because
we believe in God
and therefore
will God into existence.

Thomas Talbott called
God’s love
inescapable,
and for me,
that makes it
as basic as air.


[For #novpad - to get Talbott's work go here.]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lady Booze (Nov 15 Prompt: Trade Off)

I haven’t had
a drink now
in almost 23 years,
and as the
holidays
roll around,
I still stare
longingly
at the rows
of bottles
in the
liquor aisle,
lined up
and waiting
like willing
concubines.

Everyday is
a battle,
and some days
are bloodier
than others.

So, Lady Booze,
here’s the deal:

I’ll keep bringing
you willing suitors,
drinkers who will
celebrate and revel
in you,
who will
never betray you,

and for your part,
please
stay away from me.
Don’t blow me kisses
or whisper carnal
promises in my ear.

This way
I will appear
to be strong
and determined,
rather than
the weak,
craven addict
that I am.

They say
God’s grace
is stronger
than your boozy
siren song,

but most days,
I’m in no shape
to test that theory.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When I’m Stuck (Nov 14 Prompt: Stuck)


When I’m stuck,
I’ll just sit there,
not
budging,
just
waiting,

because
someone owes me
an apology,
an explanation,
respect,

as precious hours
and days dissolve,
never to be seen
again.

That’s when
I have to remember
the wisdom
God has
shared with me
many times:

“Don’t be a schmuck,
swallow your pride,
get unstuck.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Simmering (Nov 13 Prompt: Recipe)


Start with 1
39-Year-Old-
Adulterated Cynic

then add 1
The Most Beautiful
Woman in the World,

then divide their time
by 3 children
of various ages
and temperaments.

Place all ingredients
into a 1,000-square foot
house,
let simmer
until overflowing,
then pour contents
into a larger house.

Add assorted
dogs and cats
to the mix
to suit your taste,

continue cooking
through homework projects,
overflowing plumbing,
summertime cookouts,
improvised Christmas traditions -

Season with tears,
sweeten with laughter.

Keep this recipe
simmering
year after year,
and let it
fill your house
with an inviting,
irresistible scent,

and always welcome
everyone in.

Bon Appetit!

[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at www.dversepoets.com - my poetry home away from home on the internet, #novpad]


A Selfish Prayer (Nov 12 Prompt: Needed Technology)

Heavenly Father, this is my prayer
as I lay me down to sleep:
protect my friends and family,
the ones I wish to keep.

And send us someone to erase
that daily, silent death,
that coats our mouths when we awake,
that horrid morning breath.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Adios (Nov 10 Prompt: Foreign Word Title)


Flowery eulogies
sometimes seem gross,
to the dearly departed,
adios.

It is not stoic
nor lachrymose,
to the dearly departed,
adios.

Expresses perfectly,
is not verbose,
to the dearly departed,
adios.

Friday, November 09, 2012

When He’s Gone (Nov 9 Prompt When He's Gone)

When he’s gone
his petty poems and
thinly veiled pleas
will cease cluttering
the internet.

Maybe nobody
will even know notice
he’s gone.

Just in case 
I’m leaving
detailed instructions
on how he wants 
his ceremony:

cremate him
and put his ashes
into helium filled balloons
and then
set them free,

so that they’ll
land or explode
completely at random.

Make sure you play
“The Secret O’ Life” by James Taylor
“(It’s Not Easy) Being Green” -
the Frank Sinatra version,

and for the closing
play the Charles Brown recording of
“I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted.”

He knows 
you will be 
too emotionally
busted up
to plan all this,
so he’s left all these notes
on his computer in a folder
labeled “Final Show.”

You’ll also find there
suggested anecdotes and insights
for his eulogy
and pictures 
he found especially
flattering
that can be used in a
slide show,
if desired.

Don’t mistake his
planning for 
morbid fascination,
or worse, narcissism:

he’s just trying
to help 
make things easier

one last time.

Detour: Never Gonna Give Up Control

Another audio detour. Name the samples, win my respect!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Dear Dorothy (Nov 8 Prompt: Dead Poet)

Dear Dorothy,

With your unsentimental eye,
and that firecracker wit,
I would’ve been a goner,

especially as I prize
brains and humor
highest.

I would’ve followed you around,
as would a puppy dog,
waiting for you
to see me as more.

Were that the case,
I might’ve broken through,
and with my feelings
reciprocated,
you might’ve changed
course,
and all the classic verse,
the tales of unrequited love,
might have gone
unwritten.

It’s best
that we never met,
except in the
pages of a book,
for if you loved me
way I loved you
there’d be
no need
for your
longing and poignant
poetry,

and perhaps
as you entertained
my petitions,
I might’ve even
made you laugh,
and that would be
a gift
only the cosmos
would be able
to summon.


Love,
Mosk

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Process (for me) (Day 7 Prompt: Circular poem)


Blank
white page,
waiting for the muse.
Suddenly, she quickly flies
in the window sometimes straight,
sometimes on an angle, and the ideas
race like wildfire across the plains
of my imagination as I pluck
the right words to tame
the moment, before it
goes, taking with it
the life, the zing,
before returning
once again to
blank.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

No Sides (Nov 6 Prompt: Left / Right)


Looking into the
infinite blackness,
one cannot tell
which side of the sky
has more stars.

Standing on the beach
dwarfed by the waves,
it is impossible to tell
which side of the sea
is more friendly.

Listening to the sobs
of a mourning mother,
no one knows
which side of her heart
is torn away.

Meditating on
The One Who is All,
I know that when
all is finally
put right,
none will be
left out.

[for #novpad but mainly for #OpenLinkNight at http://www.dversepoets.com, a poetic light in the darknesses that is the internet.]

Monday, November 05, 2012

Txt Msg (Nov 5 Prompt: Text Message)

r u almost here???


i cant w8 2 c u!!


just sent u pic


(4 yo eyez only)

get it yet?

:\

now?


that’s w8-ing 4 u

;)

so u like that?

hello?

hello?


r u ok?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Just Beneath the Bottom (Nov 4 Prompt: Just Beneath...)


Just beneath the bottom,
where the imagination
daren't go,

past where
the Devil is the landlord
and his giant spiders
rule the terrain,

past the green slime
that clings to
the pond stones;

lower than
the evil, sinful motivations
of all this world,

lower than the
avarice and bloodshed,
the endless cries
of a million defiled corpses
and their besmirched resting places,

underneath it all
the machinery of God,
keeps pumping out
a market for
grace,
good works and faithfulness,

which keeps
the wheel in play,
the planet in rotation,
the heart aspiring,
and the dream alive,
even while in

free
fall.

The Dreaded Words (Nov 3 Prompt: What Scares You)

Two-thirds of the way
through the
Power Point presentation
to the tenured faculty,
all the animations
perfectly timed,
narration rehearsed,
the dreaded words:
FILE CORRUPTED
stopped everything.

Never mind,
I've got a backup file.

Again,
FILE CORRUPTED.

Panicked,
I log in to my
email account
where I've sent a third backup,

FILE CORRUPTED.
FILE CORRUPTED.
FILE CORRUPTED.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Full Moon (Nov 2 Prompt: Full Moon)

From my vantage point
on the moon
I can’t see
all the tragedies,
all the miseries.

It just looks beautiful
placid and marbled blue,
like a tackily decorated
bowling ball
floating silently
in the black sea,
that infinite night.

From here
I don’t see
the child rapers
the abusive husbands,
the neglectful mothers,

the philanthropist
who works hardest at
keeping his pedophilia
a secret,

the hungry stealing
what others
have scavenged
from grocery store
dumpsters.

No from here
I can’t see
the sumptuous, fatuous
well-to-do
and their brilliantly constructed
sneering justifications.

But I did see
the swirling clouds,
the swath of destruction,
and the cries echoed
all the way
where I heard
and couldn't do
a thing,
just like always.

I always wonder
why you think I’m
always smiling.

I'm crying.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Matches (Nov 1 Prompt: Matches)

Matches
(whether wooden
or in cardboard
matchbooks)
usually look alike,
almost
interchangeable.

Human matches
rarely ever
look alike
on the outside,

but inside
all their souls
need
is a little
oxygen and
the proper balance
of friction,
intensity,
contact,

and they will

start a fire
and warm a
moonlit beach,

light a candle
and make the flesh of two
into one,

shine a light
and guide us
out of the darkness.

[For Poetic Asides November Poem-a-Day #novpad]