Looking at the Last Day

Back to Work

Looking ahead
Looking back
Back to the beginning
Back to the first day
Day one of slavery
Day of indentured service
Service to science
Service to men
Men give the orders
Men dictate the plan
Plan for the work week
Plan for the future
Future far away
Future so distant
Distant dreams
Distant goals
Goals for savings
Goals to independence
Independence from time clocks
Independence from a schedule
Schedule my day
Schedule my duties
Duties as burdens
Duties as priorities
Priorities at work
Priorities for sanity
Sanity buried
Sanity sacrificed
Sacrificed time
Sacrificed years
Years not my own
Years wasted
Wasted away
Wasted efforts
Efforts uncompensated
Efforts unrecognized
Unrecognized loyalty
Unrecognized dedication
Dedication to coworkers
Dedication to the job
Job well done
Job no one wants
Wants suppressed
Wants denied
Denied promotion
Denied meaningful work
Work while you cry
Work Defeated

This is a Blitz Poem for Challenge #10 – Write a blitz poem for National Poetry Month. A blitz poem is a 50 line poetry form created by Robert Keim. It starts with a short phrase or verbal image as line 1. Line 2 starts with the same word as line 1. Lines 3 & 4 start with the last word on line 2, lines 5 & 6 start with the last word from line 4, and so on until line 48. Line 49 is a single word – the last one on line 48. Line 50 is a single word – the last one on line 47. The title is the first word on line 3 followed by a conjunction/preposition and the first word on line 47. Sounds a little confusing but it isn’t really that difficult.

The inspiration for this one is the announcement that as of today I am filing the papers with Human Resources to take advantage of the “golden handshake” the university was offering. My last day will be June 30th. I’ve worked long and hard and saved and been frugal so that my retirement will be comfortable. And by golly I want to have the freedom to do the things that bring me joy. I want to spend time with friends and family. I want to do art and write my book and publish my poetry. This is the first step in making those dreams come true! By the time you read this I will have filed the forms (in triplicate and signed all the important waivers etc.) and made the announcement to the boss. It will be bittersweet in some ways and liberating in others. But I am nevertheless ready to embark on this new adventure!


Looking Emotional

Stay quiet while the microaggressions bounce
Ego bruised, feelings hurt, soul aggrieved
No tears shed lest it provokes additional attacks
Stay strong and grim faced, be a man
Introverts don’t survive unless they develop
Thick skins and calloused psyches
In private they can shed the snake skin becoming
Vulnerable and soft and emotionally available
Enjoying chick flicks, cartoons and poetry

This is my NPM challenge #9 – Write an acrostic poem using an emotion. I had a conversation with a friend at work. She was distraught. There were a couple situations she found herself in that were uncomfortable. She was feeling attacked and disrespected. We talked about it and I suggested that possibly the other parties were not aware that they had made her feel that way. We talked about women in positions of power. She is just young enough to not have seen the first wave of women who broke the glass ceiling. Those pioneers had to be more manly than men. They had to play the game better than the men to get half the respect and half the pay and half the authority. They were able to do so by developing tough exteriors and denying their emotions. They couldn’t show any signs of weakness. I suggested that perhaps there was a little of that going on. And also that having a little thicker skin might be beneficial as she moves into a leadership role. It took me awhile to realize that approval from my superiors didn’t (or shouldn’t) define my worth as a human being. I told her that. The happy ending is she got 2 sincere apologies and had conversations that have changed the dynamic between her and these other women. I’m a big proponent of the separation of work life and social life. What I do for a living does not define me. Granted it has impacted who I am but it hasn’t taken over my core, changed my moral compass, or damaged my soul…

Looking at Potatoes

Usually I post the poem first and explain or comment afterwards. I’m reversing it today. The National Poetry Month Challenge #8 Write 4 haiku about favorite foods, is a fun one for me. First I love the haiku. It forces the verbose to pare down the poem to the core and express it with a paucity of syllables. At the same time it demands a vivid and emotional poem be crafted. The haiku is deceptively hard yet it is the one poetry form taught in all English classes. The English version is three unrhymed lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5 for a total of 17 syllables. As for my topic, I am an All-American mixed breed. I have a goodly percentage of Germanic ancestors, along with the Irish and Jewish contingency, a smattering of English, Welsh, Russian, Eastern European, and a bit of those pesky Vikings, and a sprinkling of nearly every other nationality. That said there is a deep appreciation of the potato in my genes. Thus my topic is the potato in all its glorious forms.

Wet potato washed
Recall farmland petrichor
Earth apple boiled whole

Special occasion
Main attraction with gravy
Mashed to perfection

Yellow, russet, red
Agonizing selection
All of them taste good

Hashed, boiled, fried, or baked
Kugel is my favorite
Potato comfort

Looking at Van Life

My husband wants to buy a bus
Live like hippies go off the grid
Says travel light is good for us
My response is heaven forbid

He wants to travel far and wide
My husband wants to buy a bus
Adventure beckons but he lied
This decision we’d soon discuss

In his plan I’m superfluous
He is enamored with van life
My husband wants to buy a bus
And roam this country sans his wife

He’s seen You-Tube videos
Infected with the wanderlust
I am married and so it goes
My husband wants to buy a bus

Some men go through a mid-life crises and want to buy a red Corvette, or grow a ponytail, or find a mistress… My husband wants to live in a van. The internet is filled with all these videos and stories of people (mostly very young with no responsibilities or money) living out of a van and traveling where ever the wind blows them. My husband has become obsessed with what is called “Van Life”. I watched the videos. Van life makes living in a tiny house look like luxury. Although I’m pretty spry for my age, I need or rather my back needs my mattress. There is no way I could be happy physically, sleeping on a 4″ foam pad on a plywood platform. I’m old enough that I need to get up at least once per night. Imagine climbing up a ladder to shimmy into a bed suspended a scant 12 inches from the bumped up ceiling of the van. Then in the middle of the night trying to slide out of bed, find the ladder, back down said ladder, crawl under the bed and locate the bucket and then relieve oneself. His response to that scenario is that we’d park at a campground or a rest stop and I could use their facilities. In my pajamas? I think if I had to do that I’d require a bodyguard and he would be pressed into that role. Psychologically I think I’d become homicidal being is a van all day every day with my only human interactions being with the Van Life guy and any random strangers I’d see at the sink in public restrooms. Most of these Van Lifers had a wardrobe that consisted of 2 pairs of jeans, 5 t-shirts, and maybe a bra and a couple pairs of underwear. Which is fine if you are 21. I’m not 21. Anyway I suggested that he could do the Van Life with his new wife after I’m dead. He said he’d take that under advisement. Pray for me!

The poem is for National Poetry Month for Challenge #7. Write a Quatern. A quatern is a French poetry form consisting of 4 quatrains (4 line stanzas). Each line has 8 syllables. The 1st line repeats in each stanza as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line of successive quatrains. There is no required meter or rhyme scheme. Generally the lines are written with Abab, cAca, adAd, eaeA.

Looking for Dogs

The National Poetry Month Challenge #6 Write a poem about dogs was a little difficult for me. I was all set to do a fun poem about a favorite dog but I was abruptly reminded of the not so positive aspects of the less than domesticated or socialized canine…

There are two sides to every coin
What’s good and bad conjoin
The cattle dog nips at the heel
Good for cows but makes kids squeal
A Rottweiler can pull a cannon’s weight
But on the leash is an undesirable trait
Border collies have a quick mind
That leaves a slow owner far behind
A working breed is hard pressed as a pet
With no mission from the owner set
A shredded cushion or ravaged rug
Boredom’s symptom from Poodle to Pug
Left alone for hours on end
Dogs into bad behavior descend
Incessant barking or the prolonged howl
Poor socialization and at all persons growl
Digging holes or jumping the fence
Running amok at the owner’s expense
Who is to blame for canine villains?
What the cost – thousands or millions?
For every good trait in dogs we praise
There are equal bad ones we can appraise
Consider wisely when selecting a dog
Avoid an Animal Control dialogue!

I’ve seen many good dogs. The good ones far outweigh the rotten ones. But the bad dogs are the ones that make a lasting impression. Working in the Veterinary field I’ve been on the receiving end of some nasty behavior. Many dogs do not enjoy the veterinary setting and they are quick to let you know. Others are on their best behavior. The dogs that earn a place on the “naughty list” are the ones that do not tell you where you stand in their opinion or they deceive you. Case in point, a cocker spaniel would wag his little stump of a tail and act excited to see you. As soon as you were within striking distance the dog would lunge and try to take a chunk of flesh from your body. Some others had a hair trigger. They would be fine one minute and as soon as some stimulus (unknown/unseen) was sensed by the dog they would go into a rage and attack whatever or whoever was handy. Sadly this behavior is so very dangerous and these dogs can never be trusted. Some dogs are just plain untrained. It is usually a tiny dog. The owners think that a 5 pound dog doesn’t need to be trained to sit or stay. They are not taught manners and will jump up and scratch and claw at people, growl and bite at ankles or hands. The owners laugh it off – until the dog injures someone. Even then they announce “How bad can it be? She is only 5 (10, 15) pounds. She was just playing a little rough. You scared her…”

Looking for Blue Jays

Spring’s first harbinger
Robins arrive too early
Jays chase snow away

Here is a simple little haiku to complete National Poetry Month Challenge #5 Write a poem about signs of spring. Everyone gets excited when the Robins come back. Seems they are the first migratory birds to burst onto the scene. The robins are a little premature. Several times the robins were fluffed up and enduring a snow storm. A sure sign that Spring hasn’t really been ushered regardless of the robins. The blue jays on the other hand are sure signs that Spring is at hand. I was standing outside at saintvi’s house when a blue jay flew into a tree. I pulled out my camera to take a photo. I was able to capture the blue sky but alas, not the jay. I spotted him in another tree. I got the camera out with the same result!

I really don’t know how others photographers are able to capture birds in their photographs!

Looking Jaded

There was a young woman I met who, having known me for only 3 hours, felt compelled to admit that she was considering leaving her relationship because she was afraid that if she stayed he would get tired of her. She was falling in love. She could see herself having his children, making a home, and foregoing her career. She thought that even if she did all that, he would still leave her. She told me that she feared abandonment. She felt that even though he was all the things she desired in a mate, devoted, considerate, attentive, gentle, industrious, funny, and romantic, she didn’t want to end up poor, alone, and raising his children. I just sat there and listened. This is the same generation of women willing to take great financial risks, toss their personal safety to the wind, and live like there is no tomorrow. Yet they cradle their emotions as if they were blown glass and are unwilling to take a chance on love. I’m dumbfounded. They are willing to live with a man but unwilling to make the commitment of marriage. They don’t want children as too much of a responsibility but adopt multiple dogs or cats. They don’t want to own homes instead rent expensive apartments all because being a home owner limits their mobility.
For National Poetry Month I offer this one to complete Challenge #4. Write a concrete poem. A Concrete poem is one where the words on the page take the form of an object that directly relates to the topic of the poem. This differs from a Shape poem where the shape does not relate to the topic of the poem. I also made it rhyme. Because it is in the shape of a ring it is read starting from the top clockwise but if you really want to it can be read counter-clockwise… Try it both ways. As a note WP does not like to create specially spaced lines and decides randomly to shift them willy-nilly. My only recourse after fussing with it for close to an hour was to copy and paste into Paint and then save as a jpeg. Note to self: never do this kind of poem again! Bwhahaha!

Looking for Angels

I’m not alone their presence I feel
Flanked by angels I walk the night
An uncertain path, hold a light
Heavenly hosts guide with spirit sight

Heart overflowing with fright
Angel hands with beams held aloft
Ears attuned to danger I hear a cough
My soul fills with fear I’m distraught

In disbelief I used to scoff
I fall to my knees in fervent prayer
Looking around no one is there
Just God’s messengers bright and fair

They ascend heaven’s winding stair
As I creep ever near
Why have I a sinner been brought here?
I stand up and face my fear

In perfect love meet Jesus dear
Doubt banished I joyfully kneel
All my faults instantly reveal
And with a word completely heal

For National Poetry Month I give you a reverse Vers Beaucoup to complete Challenge #3 Write a poem about angels (any kind). The Vers Beaucoup was invented by Curt Mongold consisting of 4 line stanzas where the rhyme scheme is aaab bbbc cccd ddde etc. The reverse Vers Beaucoup is abbb bccc cddd deee etc. I bring it to a tidy close by having the first line of the first stanza have the same rhyme as the last line of the last stanza. Yeah, I like closure.

Looking to Get Naked

The Michiana striptease begins
No one thinks of it as sins
First the scarf must go
Seeing as there’s no snow
Next you doff the hat
Fluff your hair mashed flat
Then the gloves each one
To work the coat undone
Shed the heavy boots
To spare the new green shoots
Toss the coat aside
Thin sweater doesn’t need to hide
Peel snow pants exposing tights
Winter no longer bites
Then the sweater is shed
Warmer temps ahead
With flair the skirt comes off
And you lose the cough
In leggings and a crop top
Search for the missing flip-flop
Take off these things for shorts
Or maybe colorful skorts
With arms and legs laid bare
Wearing little more than underwear
Dance wildly in the sun
With everything winter done!

For National Poetry Month Challenge #2 Write a poem about the changing seasons. Here is a little poem in rhyming couplets inspired by a couple of days where the mercury rose to dizzying heights (nearly 47 degrees), briefly. The students on campus nearly went insane. There were girls bare legged in mini skirts and sandals with enough cleavage showing to cause the boys to run into brick buildings. The guys were no better in their shorts and flip-flops. And not a single one was wearing a coat. I suspect that they will be disappointed when we get that final frigid blast of arctic air before Spring is able to finally wrest control from winter…

Looking for a Limerick

Happy April Fool’s Day! In that vein I’d like to start National Poetry Month with some fun. My dear friend Saintvi reminded me that in years past I issued a National Poetry Month writing challenge. She indicated that she would play along if I were to throw down the gauntlet. So here it is:
1. Write a limerick.
2. Write a poem about the changing seasons
3. Write a poem about angels (any kind).
4. Write a concrete poem.
5. Write a poem about signs of spring.
6. Write a poem about dogs.
7. Write a Quatern.
8. Write 4 haiku about favorite foods.
9. Write an acrostic poem using an emotion.
10. Write a Blitz poem.
11. Channel your inner Doctor (Seuss, Who, Frankenstein, Doolittle, Zhivago, McCoy… your choice)
12. Write a list poem about clothes
13. Write a poem using the words: crow, sparrow, snow, chapeau, below, ginkgo, shallow, and solo.

The rules are simple. Write 13 poems in 30 days (that comes out to a poem each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the month of April). Once written you merely post on your blog and then comment to let me know you have one up. I’m not going to get all fancy and have you send me links or write a separate post with all the participants listed and linked. This is for fun and to stretch your poetical muscles. Who knows you just might enjoy it… You can write them in any order but I’m going to do them as listed.

Who doesn’t enjoy a limerick? But what exactly is a limerick (other than annoying and tedious to write – IMHO)? The limerick falls into the broad category of Cinquain poems. Cinquains are any stanza or short poem of 5 lines. This category includes the Sicilian Cinquain, English Cinquain, Quintella (a Spanish form), Crapsey Cinquain, Didactic Cinquain and last but not least, the Limerick. The limerick is 5 lines (of course) with the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyming and having 3 stressed syllables and the 3rd and 4th lines rhyming with 2 stressed syllables. The limerick is historically somewhat, um, coarse. They tend to humorous in a ribald sort of way or often poke fun at human foibles. I love a good syllabic poem and rhymes are my jam but I loath having to figure out meter and to count stressed syllables. That said I can write them and have (but I didn’t enjoy it). Here’s some for your reading pleasure – I hope you enjoy reading them more than I did writing!

I want a ribbon to wear
Proud of the gray in my hair
I earned every strand
My color’s not canned
They’re jealous and that’s why they stare

Parents in kindness name
Causing anger and pleasure the same
When to the world you are Art
But your peers call you Fart
And you are the butt of their game

The dog days of summer arrive
Panting we try to survive
It only gets hotter
With cool drinks of water
Our flagging spirits revive