The challenge: 30 days, 30 poems…
(fortunately, we were not required to take quality too seriously)
1. Lest We Forget
We would be remiss
were we to April dismiss
our daily poem of bliss,
sweet as a French kiss.
2. Gleaming Cuspid, Wallet Busted
(a visit to the dentist)
Getting a canine back in line…
but two will make you blue,
nervous as a shrew.
And while Lidocaine
will kill the pain,
the drilling byzantine,
though turns out divine,
all the same leaves you numb:
wallet empty–ergo, glum.
3. I Always Thought Tuesday Was Washday!
I always thought Tuesday was wash-day,
yet here I am sloshing a day late the clothes away.
It turns out Tuesday is for mending,
Monday for clothes tending,
while the rest of the week spending
on iron, market, closet, and kitchen
groanin’ an’ bitchin’!
“They that wash on Monday have all the week to dry…”
Victorian advice on housekeeping routines set in stone the idea that Monday should be wash-day, so that everything could be dried, pressed, aired and folded well before Sunday, the day of rest and clean clothes.
4. Mystic Flower
upon the bower,
I remember thee
when thou wert fresh,
no less than filagree.
Now bent and wrinkled
with age now sprinkled
o’er with splotches,
clothed in swatches
of frailty and hoar…
you’re still my mystic flower.
(This poem is a reminiscence of my parents. My father’s pet name for my mother was “Mystic Flower”.)
5. Misunderstanding the Implications
The lights went off at eight today
and stayed that way for hours two,
which gave me time to mull a bit
how’d we be in a monumental stew.
The biggest pain occurred to me,
when the lights came on again,
was in recalibrating all my clocks
that said 8 right now but it was really 10.
6. Breakfast of Champions
When it comes to my breakfast,
I am keen for food that will last.
Ready-made cereal I will not chow down.
No, sir; no ma’am, I don’t mess around!
Supermarket boxes of chaff?
Oh, please, I beg you, don’t make me laugh.
I have, dear friend, in this here my food bowl
enough foodstuffs to appease an ill-natured troll.
Blueberries, strawberries, pistachios and their nuts,
a smidgen of milk, no ifs, ands, or buts…
Granola, pineapple, almonds, banana,
enough to satisfy even Hannah Montana.
(Note: This, in fact, was my breakfast this morning; alas, Hannah Montana was unable to join me.)
7. Morning Constitutional
A walk around the block each way
is supposed to put you in a frame, they say,
where you can keep your demon age at bay
to face another day.
The exercise’ll do you good, you pray,
as though stumbling down the street will pay
back all those idle years astray
and keep your dying day away.
But your walking stick also has a say
and trips you up in your driveway
and down you go in strange ballet
to a bed for your horseplay…
…bruised and battered old souffle.
8. Some Days
Some days it’s hard to be poetic.
You get in a mood that’s frenetic.
You’d rather write prose
with your elbows and toes
instead of assonating pathetic.
9. So, How’s That Book of Yours Coming Along?
In 1995, in a fit of folly,
I came up with an idea
I thought then ever so jolly,
to write of my travels
U.S. and abroad…
England, Israel, Austria,
Deutschland and Spain,
Vietnam, Costa Rica, Chile,
Bolivia in the main.
Of course, the idea soon all unravels,
Since nothing rhymes quite right with it
but grovels and cavils.
But I didn’t know that then,
intending to tell like it was,
without all the prissiness
of a baedeker wuss.
Three-hundred plus pages later
and twenty-three years older,
having become a testator
and beginning to moulder,
I’m still giving it a shot
before I bid adios, aywariku,
khoda hafez, and so long,
and maybe quiet the cat-calls of
“how’s that book of yours coming along?”
10. A Good Night’s Sleep…Not
Tossing and turning in my woebegone bed,
I realized a new mattress would be swell instead.
Checking my bank book the very next day,
I thought a fresh feather cushion would surely belay
the pain in my backside and not leave me dead.
Alas, my cash balance had fallen in arrears,
the result of tax season confirming my fears.
So I return to my bed of proverbial thorns:
a paillasse of lumps, troughs, jactitating storms,
this mattress for me no music of the spheres.
11. How Now, Connubial Marsupial
How often I thought awesome
the waddling ‘possum
in my back yard garden,
soliciting no pardon
with some marsupial blossom.
12. April Kvetch
This month’s climax
to pay my tax
left wallet hollow
and me to wallow
with nothing witty
to lessen the inane
13. Conversations with a Virtual Assistant
I chat with Cortana,
she chats with me.
I ask of the weather.
Says she cheerfully,
“Today Santa Anas,*
tomorrow a breeze,
though light as a feather,
it’ll still make you sneeze.”
I ask for the time,
she questions back…dour,
“Do you mean the hour,
or referring to thyme?”
I now want to know the capital of Spain.
“¡No sé de que hablas!”,
she responds with disdain.
What more can I say
over crossfire with Cortana,
how’s one to romance
an electronic vox humana?
* Santa Anas are strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that originate inland and affect coastal Southern California and northern Baja California.
14. All HAIL!
(Note: For this bit of nonsense, you’ll find “hail” somewhere in every other line)
Today, April 14th, we lionize hail,
a catastrophic, icy, sometimes talented cocktail.
In 1910, for example, ace painter Mikhail Vrubel
died in Saint Petersburg with nary a ruble.
In ‘57, Mikhail Pletnev, pianist, conductor,
born in Arkhangelsk, a musical constructor.
In ‘86, record hailstones of 1 kilogram
gave Gopalganj, Bangladesh, a hellish grand slam.
In 1999, a hailstorm fell upon Sydney,
becoming the costliest natural disaster in Australian history.
On the bright side, though, in Thailand it’s Songkran,
New Year for every Thai woman, child and kinsman.
To top it off, and concluding this gelid trivia,
I was once fulminated by dynamite, lightning
and, yes, hail in Bolivia.*
*True story, though it occurred in February, rainy season in that country, not April.
1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded (1 kilogram (2.2 lb)) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.
1957 – Mikhail Pletnev, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor.
1910 – Mikhail Vrubel, Russian painter and sculptor died (b. 1856)
Thai New Year, or Songkran, celebrated from 13 to 15 April (Thailand)
15. Napping on Sunday
Napping on Sundays?
An impossible task.
The answer is obvious,
don’t bother to ask
the wherefore or why;
simply put, it’s as blue as the sky.
For, the moment you nod,
the telephone rings,
from a fast talker, clearly a fraud,
or a home delivery:
wrong address…chicken wings!
16. Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Groom
Today’s mailman was a sweet, smiling girl,
on her head a hairdo called a sausage curl,
which had somehow snagged her overloaded pouch
and left her letters and junk mail in turnabout whirl.
“They claim a carrier is the job of a man,”
said she, but I’ll prove them wrong, yes I can,
‘cause no one else totes a bag on their head
with a hairdo looking like a jet’s turbofan.
Nothing could I do but say I agreed…
far be it for me to object to her creed
that a postman or woman could coif what they will
as long as they delivered my pension with due speed.
17. A Peculiar, Unhoneyed Lesson in Beekeeping
so enamored of bees
he became their expiatist
instead of extinction
for their undeserved stings,
he deputized himself
as their receiver of slings
and smarting stung folks,
ever eager to please,
peppered him with stones
instead of the bees
his daughter did he enlist
to attend to their store,
by selling honey in buckets,
whilst he was pelted galore
therein for atonement
bee savior Edgewater,
to extract their honey for money,
was thrown to the slaughter
18. On Falling Out of Bed*
Falling out of bed each day
may seem an ordinary thing to some,
since gravity and tossing
combine to frolic fun.
But that should be a warning sign,
for falling out of bed, you see,
is no entertainment ground,
nor a pleasure spree.
You could bonk your head,
bust an arm, break your neck,
or strangle in a blanket.
So, what the heck!
You want a funeral banquette?
*On finding myself on the verge this dawn.
19. Poets Spout Seasonally
Poets spout of seasons fair and foul,
Higgins and Doolittle of the rain in Spain,
Maurice Sendak writes it with a nasty scowl;
in “Where the Wild Things Are”, he makes that plain,
while alternative rock band ‘Poets of the Fall’
sing of Finnish autumns not at all.
I must say that in the main,
writing April poems daily is a pain.
20. Breakfast of Champions
Today my breakfast was this,
a lesson you must not miss
if you want to last until lunch
without first having to brunch:
First a large bowl
in which these ingrediants you must stow,
then in no particular order
(please don’t be a hoarder):
pieces of pineapple,
forsake morning Snapple,
prune juice’ll do
for an intestinal breakthrough,
Almonds but seven
will send you to heaven,
Don’t forget sliced banana
from Ecuador or Havana.
they’re not adversaries–
a handful of pistachio
will grow no mustachio.
A cup of granola, a smidgeon of milk
makes it all go down like exquisite silk.
21. Curses! Foiled Again!
Rebus, a picture puzzle,
is a word you rarely hear.
If I never use it
I doubt I’ll shed a tear.
But today it found its way
to 57 down
of my daily crossword
and stumped me to the ground.
I had to read the answer
on the last page of my puzzle book,
leaving me to whimper,
feeling like a wordsmith schnook.
22. Paranasal Blues
I have a chronic case of “sinus”,
short for headache sinusitis,
somewhat different from rhinitis,
more a blanket without Linus,
while not as bad as cystitis
can still provoke gastritis.
Cured by a necromancer,
or less dramatic steam, hot spoons, and camphor,
or a snort of cayenne may be the answer,
converts my -itis to detritus.
Rejoices the heart
wherein speaks of spoon and coo
daffodills and woo
24. Sliding Through a Headcount of Countries Visited
(on opening a box of old slide trays hiding for years in the garage)
of many years ago
of travels worldwide,
treasuries of the gypsy gringo
learning the lingo…
Israel, Germany, Costa Rica
Austria, ja, alas not Siam.
England, by circumstance,
though in France…hélas,
no time for a dance.
Just one day in Spain
no cuenta, que pena, what a pain…
In the main, pues, no rain on its plain!
But the real fun came along,
and I speak not of trivia,
were my long years in dear Chile and
my beloved Bolivia.
Así, mis amigos, corren los años,
algunos felices, otros, pues, desengaños,
una ensalada de memorias…maravillas, acrobacias,
por las cuales solo digo…¡muchísimas gracias!*
*And so, my friends, race the years,
some happy, others, umm, disillusions,
a medley of memories…marvels, acrobatics,
for which I can only say…thank you very much!
25. Living in the Boonies*
hovel, habitation, house…
stone, straw, mud…
adobe, abased abode,
want, travail, immiseration,
*A reflection of visits into rural Andean Bolivia
26. Travails of a Rhymer*
You may criticize my poems,
and that’s quite alright by me,
but just so you know
*Rhymer: n. A writer who composes rhymes; a maker of poor verses (usually used as terms of contempt for minor or inferior poets).
I’m an addict,
yes, I am,
not to drugs,
but to Japan…
and to Korea,
their heroes, comics,
thugs I send my hugs,
they tickle me-a
(nothing else rhymes with Korea
but Sophia, urea and tortilla).
I speak of course
to their mini-dramas.
I swear to you
they’re the cat’s pajamas!
they give me chillers…
Over ten years watching
Asian dramas nifty,
I’ve seen an even
three hundred fifty!
Ergo, it is my conviction
that I have a serious addiction.
28. Pangbornean Blues
Nothing quite so forlorn
as a hopeless longhorn,
unless it’s my ‘possum Pangborne.
A hunk of lonely beef,
while suffering grief
–to be brief–
can’t compare to my Pangie-pooh’s grouch
that she’s no ‘possum,
but a sawed-off, rather awesome
Great Dane with an inordinate pouch.
29. Today I Got Nothin’
Today I got nothin’
not a thing to rhyme about.
You can pout, shout,
kick me in the stuffin’,
hit me in the snout,
but it won’t do me nothin’
now to spit a poem out.
Go ahead and cast about.
Do your stuffin’,
do your roughin’,
do no good to even pay,
‘cause I got absolutely nothin’
of a rhyme inside to play.
You can snarl,
you can gnarl…
Even go ahead and pray,
but it won’t change nothin’,
No verse from me today.
30. Poetry Month Ends Today
At long last it’s finally over
and, like a grim hangover,
I can’t tell if I’m rum
that the ordeal is done,
or I’ve been finally run over by a truck.
Writing doggerel every day
shouldn’t be in April, but in May,
May being month of blooming flowers
instead of April showers,
or so they used to say
before the Climate Warming fray.
Either way, it’s finally over
I can now return to prose,
and thumb my noble nose
at all things sweet and terse
that smack of verse perverse.
It’s finally over…
1-30 April 2018