Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Here's the rest of my NaPo poems!

April 16

Rocket Man

Horizon traveler, I call your name
and you disappear into a glimmer moon,
climb dust ring steps to another beyond;
you’re always leaving me too soon.

Your lambent trails are comet tails
not tied to any orbit, but, you hitch
along until you find new nebulae
light years beyond my habitat.

Come home to me, I miss your touch,
your 101 tales of galactic nights.
My bed is small but I guarantee
I’ll show you a few new galaxies.

April 17

Saturday Night at the CoCo Bop Club

Keep along the rythm track
Girls be showiń how
Now you start to arch your back
Man you got 'em now*

The harvest is in and there’s plenty of fresh
flesh on the vine, ripe and ready for plucking;
all the succulent ladies are lined up three deep
at the bar just waiting for their Sex on the Beach,
Foreplay and Slow Screw up against a Red Wall.

The booze flows better than a good poem here
at the CoCo Bop Club, whose throbbing strobes
make even the shyest fox want to fandango
after the fizz of a few drinks melts the ice
in their glasses.

They stand there with their perky c-cups
making a pointed statement in the hiked up AC,
their tight little yumyums just barely hidden beneath
the merest snatch of a clingy microskirt
that falls just a few inches shy of their oooh-la-la’s;
begging to be sonar-scoped by some truculent boy-shark
smoking in the shadows or leaning against the wall
tonguing his Michelob, all attitude and smirk.

Speakers thrum-blare hot grooves and lure the ladies
into licentious posturings on the dance floor.
Pretty soon they’re competing to see who’s
shimmy shimmy coco bop, shimmy shimmy bop (aaah)*
delivers the most orgiastic bang for the beat

while the sharks circle in the dark recesses, watching
the meat machine grind out a hot meal; teeth hidden,
tongues licking the last bit of beer-swill from their lips;
fins fully erect,
planning their angle of attack.

*lyrics from the song of the same name by Little Anthony and the Imperials

April 18


Uptown, where the concrete reach extends
past the top of any ladder, she busies herself
at the bar. It is ten in the morning when she shakes
then pours a double dirty martini into an extra
large flanged glass. It will be the first of many.

She takes large gulps as she stares at the scene
below. The park trees are still naked, though
there is a fresh covering of snow; the cabs
blitz by like little bumble bees scouting nectar
in the form of cash; dozens of unconcerned
head dots bounce along as people fast step past.

Insulated from the noisy city by thick slabs
of glass, the action down on the street
is no more than a passing pantomime. Sometimes
she makes up stories as she watches, but not today.
Today she is insulated from everything.

Today, she stares, empty. Empty of thought, empty
of feeling, empty of tears. She is so empty she feels
like she’s become a passing afterthought;
a being composed only of air. She’s not there
in the moment but shock-cemented
in the moment that’s just passed.

The one where the phone woke her from a dream
of a family trip taken long years ago when the kids
were young and her husband was alive.

Now she is stuck in repeat mode, hearing
and rehearing a matter-of-fact voice
expressing their condolences,
saying her son had been blown up in Iraq
four days ago; four days before she died.

April 19 (2 sevenlings and a triolet)


We traveled long and far:
Tuscany, Bourne,

We settled down and rooted:
a home, two children,
a victory garden.

Only to split apart, like the continents.


Tedium Ad Infinitum (Sevenling)

Another day at work. Eight hours
of stress supervising the help desk.
Minutes pass like millennia.

Our customers are computer challenged.
They have no clue about how to change
their passwords, toner cartridges, saved files.

...And there’s nowhere to hide in my cubicle.


Question of Values (Triolet)

What would you have me do? To dig a hole
would be to shirk responsibility, become a mole
and burrow within shallow moral pathways.
What would you have me do to dig a hole
and burrow within shallow moral pathways?
As payment would you bare your bloodied secrets?
Why would you have me dig a hole,
shirk my responsibility, thereby become a mole?

April 20

The Moon must be squared to the Sun, in the sign of Cancer today

because dusty memories are knocking at the back door;
irreplaceable days spent with family and friends
now gone to the eternal beyond; easy summer days
spent idling by the sea drifting with the tides,
main sails pregnant with the off-shore winds.

A certain melancholy stirs within, all those shiny coins
thrown overboard years ago for good luck,
and all the while that slick pirate named time
was finding then burying them deep in the sand
and hiding the treasure map.

Too fast is the passing of life, half over before
your boat comes in; so many things you want to do
back on shore yet haven’t the time or money for;
and always the reminder of empty table settings
for those who have been lost at sea.

But the days pass like seconds on a stopwatch
and you’re caught up in the running game
far away from the seashore’s cool breeze so busy
and occupied, sweating your way to the finish line,
that those shiny coins have little chance
of getting dug up.

Foolishly you self-talk yourself into believing
you’ve grown past holding them in your hands,
until a day like this come along
like a sneaky cat to curl up in your lap
demanding affection on its own terms, reminding you
that life follows its own capricious whims.

You rue at not spending more time
with the people who really mattered,
for ignoring all the golden apples
that you thoughtlessly let go to rot;

and now it’s too late to say or do
the things you should have done,
and the future is an unknown
that only knows how to say, “hurry up”.

April 21


A whisper of what he once was,
I look at him and think
of a golden raisin desiccating
in the sunlight that spears his bed.

He knows me now as the lady who sits
by his side every other day or night
while he speaks in fragments about
a red tow truck he once owned
or asks for my mother,
who’s been gone for five months,
asks when can he go home.

His words circle into each other
for what seems an infinity. He tires,
naps for awhile in blessed silence
until he startles, points and says
there are faces on the wall
staring and taunting at him
then becomes agitated, shakes his fist
and yells, Go away! Leave me alone!,
attempts to get up but is held down
by the harness that holds him back
like a dog on a leash. Giving up he settles down
to groping at the catheter hidden beneath
the rumpled, blue bedcovers.

A white uniform comes in, checks
the drip and angle of the needle’s fangs,
then leaves.

I sit and wait while my hands
hold on to each other, and wonder
how long, how long...

April 22


Magnolias wag their thousand pink tongues
as they gossip in the breeze; birds symphony
and don bright plumes, strut their colors
and call for mates. Daffodils trumpet
their yellow annoyance at the hyacinths,
jealous of their pink and purple scent;
ballooning tulip heads open and flange.
The sun grows stronger, days grow longer
and snowflakes have blown back to the north.
Coats come off and reveal porcelain skins
that thirst for the first kiss of sundrops
and welcome the zephyr’s caress,
anxious now for winter to rest.


The In-Between Time

The day latches its door shut
as the lid of night swings open.
Nothing stirs, not a single branch;
no owl hoots; no word is spoken.
Life slows to a trickle, ebb-tides
and waits for the catalyst of light.

In between come the dreams.
The mind balloons, detaches,
muses among the days microcosm;
or lives a phantasm, foreign
and soon forgotten
when the chamber maid, consciousness,
pulls aside the curtains.

April 24


By mid-April her hirsute buds
have swollen and burst at their seams,
and she sticks out her satiny, pink tongues
to ruffle in the breeze; her final say
a large, collective raspberry aimed
squarely at fast fading winter.

The warmth of growing days
splays her tongues open
into creamy cups and saucers
that trail along her wide-spread arms.
Perfectly balanced and upturned to heaven
she sings her paens to the goddess Spring.

Those translucent petals snare the light,
distill its ambience and glow from within
iridescent and ethereal, lambent;
scent pleasant to the nose
as we mere mortals stand close by,
dare to stroke her, and are transcended.

April 25

The Lightkeeper’s Daughter

It had been fun when she was five; the sea
had been a playground that each day
offered up a cornucopia of treasures
for the taking, or busied her with the pleasures
of sunbathing and making castles in the sand.

But she had grown up
and now felt stuck on this wave struck island
without the company of friends
while a moon-song siren serenaded her
with sweet songs from afar.

She longed to stroll the city streets, go shopping,
hear the sound of machines; hear anything
other than the perpetual swoosh and break
of the waves, the gulls mocking chatter,
the foghorn’s lonely bellow in the fog.

She was tired of being tied to the light; tired
of her father’s dependence on her to tend it
while he left her for long days to go ashore,
always returning with the scent of a woman
or a week long hangover spent in his bed.

She was tired of hauling the fetid oil
around and around the spiral stairs,
of keeping the wick lit through the night;
resentful of polishing the light’s prism heart
while her own was rusted by the salt of the sea.

April 26

At Arlington

the day is warm as sunlight dapples down
through the pink, heady scent of cherry trees;
it’s the kind of day that should be spent
idyllically idling in the park
or romping with the kids.

Instead you find yourself among the company
of stoic men standing as rigid as stone-cut statues,
all eyes gazing straight ahead to the horizon,
showing their unwavering loyalty
the best way they know how.

Your dress uniform is crisp enough to snap
and feels like large-grit sandpaper against your neck.
You’ve spit polished your shoes to a mirror shine;
donned white gloves, hat, and medals; all perfectly aligned.
As you march with your brothers a slight breeze stirs
the half-masted flag.

Today is a lifetime away from crude dust and terrorists.

The procession marches along the long promenade
past countless rows of evenly spaced teeth,
past the tomb of the unknown, behind the horse
drawn wagon bearing the flag-draped casket home,
the rear guard brought up by a steel band
and twenty-one guns.

As you pass, headstones whisper countless names
of the soldiers who lie beneath
and you wonder how they died;
who they were and the families they left behind
before the uniform sealed their future.

Your fallen comrade sleeps now,
unaware of the pomp, he’s gone on
to a better place. This ceremony is for those
who remain, closure for another senseless death

and when it’s all over and you’ve returned
to the comfort of family and friends
all you can ask yourself is
Will we ever learn?

April 27

Circe at the Gate

She stands ready with sickle in hand,
eyes scored deep into her chiseled face.
Do no pass! she seems to say,
I cannot offer you safety;
for further on, where the ocean laps
the rough-edged rocks shiny-smooth,
those silly she-birds may beguile you
as they croon in their sugared voices;
or, if whimsy whispers in my ear
I may cast a spell of woe
upon your willful spirit.

I stand back, study the handiwork
of the mason whose clever hands
culled her from stone; note the ivy
lei around her throat
and the bouquet of laurel leaves
she cups against her right breast;
admire the fine knit of clavicle and neck.

I spit, make the sign of the cross
and pass but do not look back
as the hairs on my nape lift up
in the abrupt gust of an errant wind.


Water Tower

I am driving when I see it
condom sheathed;
the unsightly thing jutting up
out of the earth; its yang of passion
revealed to all who pass.

Spring; she brings out
the lothario in all of us
and we can only play a tiny
role in the grand cycle
that spins us along
infinite routes.

April 28

Postpartum: Life Begins Again After 50?

Her kids have grown into their own
kids, careers, affairs, divorces;
wholly absorbed with their own
navels and its fat balls of lint.
They’ve finally hoisted their sails
after the long years of them
sinking her boat deeper in the water;

and the hubby has bought himself a new
big-daddy, notice-me-red Corvette,
had a hair weave and joined a gym.
She knows what that means;

and looking in the mirror today
she sees the shadow of future jowls
forming from frown lines,
getting plumper by the moment;
a smattering of liver spots;
a swath of silver roots that need to visit
with Lola at the salon.

She’s heard that life begins again after fifty:
retirement; travel; the good times and relief
that come from the disappearing demands
to be care giver; house maker;
do-it-all, be-it-all mother to everyone
and to all their damn friends besides

and she wonders how many bricks shy
of the load they are for making
such a claim. Who are those people,
and how much prozac are they taking?

But what really grinds her gears
are those mid-thirty-something’s who think
they’re old. They whine about the lack
of energy; the pinch of their personal time;
the boss who demands their blood in a paper cup
as token proof of their support

and thinks they’ve no idea how lucky they are.

April 29


Spiders spin silk webs
......................and people spin their own
simple, yet

We are spiders spinning webs
.............................to catch
.....................................our own truths;
and when we do, we wrap them
............................in silk,
only to consume them
......................when we have need
.........................................for food.

(*forgive all the dots, but there's a specific white space structure)

Webs (Experimental)

Spiders spin silk webs.................We are spiders spinning webs
and people spin their own..............to catch
.........................truths;.......our own truths;
simple, yet............................and when we do, we wrap them
...........complex.....................in silk,
.......................................only to consume them
.......................................when we have need
.......................................for food.

(*forgive all the dots, but there's a specific white space structure)

Still Life

A sway-backed, wooden chair
with a cane-woven seat rests
before the opened door.

Late afternoon light scatters
through the storm doors’ dust
coated window and casts
creeping silhouettes.

Looking outside
the window halos like a saint;
you have to squint to see
the crack where a startled raven
once snapped its neck.

The yellowed linoleum is scuffed
from millions of foot falls
and too few waxings, worn down
almost to the bare wood beneath.

Next to the door a mahogany,
spindle-legged table sits in repose
piled with the week’s unopened mail,
it’s lace doily turned the color of amber.

Outside the yard grows and grows
with corn, its silk shining in the sun.
The door, the crack, the corn.

April 30

Spring Rhapsody

Peonies perfume the breeze; out on the lea
wild arms of forsythia flame into bloom
and trees fingerpaint on a blue velvet sky
in shades of lime, pink and white. Early azaleas
unsheathe their first plum-pink buds
and stretch rice paper petals smooth
after winter’s lengthy, torpid crimp.

Here on the porch, windchimes and windflowers
waffle in the easy breeze, carry scent and song
inside to where we sit, listen to and watch
songbirds barter for nests and the right
to raise their young in birdhouses
hung along the edge of the eaves.

Drawn outside by Dame Spring, I hike up the hill
past flowering trees: weeping cherry, magnolia, dogwood
and beech tossing pink and white confetti at the parade
of jonquils, tulips and buttercups; and note the first,
fisted buds of peach, pear and plum forming pregnant nubs.

The earth oozes must from an earlier sun shower
that cast millions of tiny diamonds into the turfgrass
where white pines filter the breeze. Fallen needles lie
in disarray and make a springy carpet concealing
pine nuts dislodged from dead cones. Someday
they will sink their white hairs deep into the loam
or feed chipmunks and squirrels foraging for food.

Spring’s fleeting orgy spreads, rampant as wild fire,
as her hands shape-shift the land each day
and overwhelm me with myriad pleasures, gasp after gasp.


Blogger James said...


These are wooonderful. Love "Spring Rhapsody" and "Water Tower". Such gorgeous sonics and syntax. I'm envious, especially on your syntax--I have so much to learn there.

PS: I just got a mail from an editor asking to get permission to publish my poem "Rambling" to their journal. She's an exceptional poet (the one I quoted in the Lighthouse poem) and has a nice poetry journal. Even so, I wondered if you could do me a favour (I'll return any time):

1. Which of these versions do you like the most?




and 2. What other mags do you think I have the chance to get into with this? Do you see any apparent weak sentences / line breaks I should get rid off?

I'm indefinitely in debt if you answer me. I'll send virtual hugs and delicious Belgian chocolates in thanks.

And I'll fanboy you forever, which I probably already do, but that's just my way of saying Thank You Thank You Thank You.

Best to you,

3:14 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Heya, James! sorry for the late reply - still go tthat pesky connection problem to my blog so I only can get to it during lunch at work. Will take a look at the two versiosns and pm u over at pffa. now, feed me grapes and move tha fan.... ;-)

12:16 PM  

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