Looking Pinched

Hourglass figures from days of corsets cinch’d tight
Constricted breath and contained all movement combined
To make a sphere constrained and thoughts smaller
And birthed ideas bubbled forth
And birthed ideas bubbled forth
Women wondered, heard, held their heads taller
Took baby breaths and baby-steps from roles assigned
Fought battles from boudoir to basement for their rights

This is an Amanda’s Pinch. It is a rhyming, syllabic form that contains a refrain of repeated lines 4 and 5. The syllable count is: 12/12/10/8/8/10/12/12 with a rhyme scheme of: a/b/c/D/D/c/b/a. Its centered on the page to give the idea of being pinched in the middle. I first wrote one for the Scavenger Hunt this last September and liked it so much that I thought I’d give it another go.

I’m old enough to remember when I couldn’t have a credit card on my own. My father had to put me on his card. I remember being told I had no place in Veterinary medicine because I was female. In fact, it was shocking to the guidance counselor that I was even considering a career working with animals. When in college I took an aptitude test for possible career directions. I was told that I would make a great beautician, dental hygienist, nurse, even a passible mortician (because the dead don’t care about your gender). If it hadn’t been for the counselor (a woman in the armed services who had broken many barriers) I wouldn’t have seen the career at the very bottom of the list – veterinary technician. I have many women to thank for my rights – the right to vote, the right to own property (including real estate!), autonomy over my health care (but now not including reproductive rights). But I’m seeing an erosion of those rights and perhaps they will disappear completely. Now there is a lessening based on how much money I have, how mobile I am, how educated I am. If I’m rich and have the ability and the knowledge, I can travel to where I can access the care I want and need. If that’s not the case, I’m at the mercy of short sighted politicians. The struggle is real and the fight is not over. It was never over.

Looking AI Generated

Here is my offering for the W3 poetry prompt set by Denise DeVries. I really had trouble coming to grips with this prompt. On the one hand my muse looks at it and shudders in revulsion on the other my mind argues that it is nothing more than a tool. My internal argument went something like this:
Muse: Using artificial intelligence to assist in writing a poem is cheating.
Mind: AI is just a tool.
Muse: A tool for lazy people and the unimaginative.
Mind: More like a prompt to kick start the creative process.
Muse: I am the creative process!!
Mind: You are unreliable. The AI doesn’t take sabbaticals for months on end.
Muse: I’m NOT unreliable!
Mind: You are egotistical and a fragile flower. You need to get over yourself!
Muse: If you do this thing with AI, I’m out of here – forever!
Mind: Can we compromise? Maybe just have the AI come up with a couple random words to incorporate into a poem?
Muse: Hmmm. I suppose that would be alright. Just this once.
https://randomwordgenerator.com/ gave me the following 3 words:
miserable, premature, idea

I struggled. I sweated. And I nearly rolled on the ground like a horse with colic. After I had a little chocolate and calmed down, I thought about what I wanted to say. Then I considered which form would be the most expeditious to convey those ideas. I settled on the Tanka. It offers a little more freedom than the Haiku but still requires a conciseness.

I’m miserable
Poetic ideas gone
Premature panic
My muse ran away from home
Muscle memory writing

Looking Senseless

I was not born blind
But I cannot see
I was not born deaf
But true deaf I be
All these conditions
Do not define me
Nor do I count them
As infirmity
Not a single eye
Can see a soul leap
Not one human ear
Hears when ere hearts weep
All fear the silence
When the senses sleep
And dread the moment
Death into minds creep

Age has made reading glasses necessary. I don’t doubt that eventually Sparky and I will need hearing aids. We are well on our way to preferring large print editions of books. We’ve adjusted the size of fonts on the computer screens and on the smart phones too. I’ve stated before that being physically blind is not as bad as being spiritually blind, yet even so we are impossibly near-sighted, spiritually speaking. As for deafness, I know that selective deafness has crept up on both of us. Sparky tunes me out more often than I’d like to admit (and I call him on it). I think there are certain sounds that just don’t register in my auditory senses – most notably the alarm clock, and the constant hum and drone of the refrigerator and the furnace fan. As for the spiritual deafness, I have to admit that I tune out pleas for money from street people. At the same time I strain to hear the spiritual directions from God. I guess I’m no better or worse than the rest of the world and that does not comfort me. I’ve been struck senseless! I have tried and I will continue to try to be better and do what all Christians were commanded – Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and dying, visit the imprisoned and to love neighbor as self.

Looking into Owl Eyes

This is the very last of the House of Mayhem of the Mind Scavenger Hunt developed and hosted by MoonCatBlue. I am wrapping this up with a story poem (free verse sandwiched in a monorhyme) that includes the situation on Prompt #6 – due to a misunderstanding someone has booked a stay at an AirBnB/owl sanctuary despite a mild fear of birds and #8 – retell/reimagine a children’s story shifted for adults. I chose the Grimm Fairy Tale The Owl for this prompt. It is essentially a story about letting the imagination override reason resulting in destruction of property and death of an ordinary owl which is imagined to be a supernatural monster.

In the darkness I alight
Pay the Uber head toward light
Air BnB for the night
Rustling wings give me a fright
Fear of owls swooping in flight
This mistake can’t be put right
The urge to leave I must fight
Sleep and dream and just sit tight
All is better in daylight

A tangled dream of monstrous eyes
Clawing talons squeezing breath
From punctured lungs and crushing weight
I confront the owl confused
Who is more afeard when imagination
Captures reason and tears logic down?
Would I burn up all I own
When dread runs a rushing wind
And causes insanity in men?

Sweat drenched awake at midnight
The Lord’s Prayer aloud recite
Fear and terror will incite
A great panic to ignite
Patient wait for dawn’s first sight
See that everything’s alright
Convince self of trip’s delight
Know owls don’t hold hateful spite
For dream owls with flames I smite

Looking for the Dream State

This is my response to the W3 poetry prompt hosted by David at The Skeptic’s Kaddish. The Poet of the Week, Sarah David asked that we write a poem of 14 lines or fewer in any form on the theme of “dreams”. Dreams are elusive, slipping through my fingers on most mornings. I do have a couple recurring dreams, one really fun one and several that I classify as stress dreams. But the majority of my dreams leave me with a faint taste on the tip of my tongue or a lingering feeling of someone holding my hand or brushing my hair…

Seal slip into the dream ocean
I swim through memories undone
Surrounded by liquid emotion
Pulled, twisted, plunged deep and spun
Shadow ghost of the give and take
Revise the day, the night remake

Silver moonbeams a rare silk line
Strands of regret and gray hair
I weave my history symbol and sign
Connect my heart from here to there
What was, could or should be
The dream is my soul’s fervent plea

Jolted awake the dream dissipates
I rise to pass through reality’s gates

Looking at a Productive Day

Do good work in daily parts
Beginning work starts
Happy busy hearts
Respond to need
Eschew greed
Take heed
This day
Pray
Stay

A friend (and former coworker) of mine is recovering from a stroke. She is only 50 years old. It was sudden and unexpected. Because of a previous cancer scare, she has been very careful with her health. She exercised, riding her bike on 10 mile circuits, and ate a nearly vegetarian diet to mind her cholesterol. She didn’t smoke or drink or take illegal drugs. Yet she suffered a fairly significant stroke. At first she couldn’t talk or walk or even hold a spoon. It was a good sign when she recognized her husband. It took nearly 3 months of therapies – occupational, physical, speech. She worked hard and it paid off! She finally came home. She is hoping to go back to work before spring this year. To that end she is really pushing herself. She has a regimen of daily exercises and daily tasks that she has to complete. She is to the point that when she loads the dishwasher she says a prayer. Wiping off the kitchen table sends her into a praise frenzy. All the little things that I do without a thought are major accomplishments that are worthy of a prayer of thanksgiving. Talking to her on the phone I was struck by how happy she is to be alive.

Looking Poor

I was surprised and happy to be named POW (Poet of the Week) for the Wea’ve Written Weekly poetry prompt by the last week’s POW Paula Light. This week my prompt was to write a 14 line poem using any form on the topic of poverty (moral, financial, romantic, etc.). Since I set the prompt I figured I might as well do the prompt too!

Walking in the shadows at night
Dark souls hover at the edges
Crossing streets at a quiet pace
Searching for a place to sleep

Living on the edge avoiding light
A scrap of food still hunger haunts
Passing by without a trace
Lives discarded, hope buried deep

Hiding among us in plain sight
Invisible hurt with no physician’s cure
Ignored, forgotten, lacking a place
Dignity’s last shred attempt to keep

The poor struggle with all their might
To gain a crumb and feel God’s grace

A Bref Double to nudge your conscience. This is a French form of 3 quatrains and a concluding couplet resulting in 14 lines. There is no specified meter but lines should be of similar length. The rhyme scheme is set with only 3 rhymes: axbc, axbc, axbc, ab

The line between the “haves” and the “have nots” is growing fainter. The Middle Class is shrinking to nothing.  Our society is fast becoming the “have nots” and “have it alls”. This Christmas I noticed the predators were out in large numbers. They were dangling the bait – pay check loans, cash advances on future earnings and a payback with an obscene (and barely legal) interest rate. And the saddest part is people were lining up to get the quick money… I used to work with a woman who bought into the idea that Christmas HAD to be extravagant. She HAD to buy her children every toy they had ever wanted. She was so invested in purchasing the love and affection of her family that she went into debt that took her the next year to pay off!

Inflation has decreased the buying power of my money which meant a much smaller pile of gifts under the tree. I think for some people it meant no tree. The church food pantry had gone from 2 to 5 food requests a week this last spring to more than 3 per day in late October. December was grim with 4-5 requests per day! All the community resources that depended on donations are at the breaking point – their cupboards are bare and their surplus depleted. And so I segue into politics. The cry that the President is at fault is ringing but at every turn he is blocked. The biggest fix would be to require corporations to pay their fair share at the same rate as the rest of us. And this would go for the millionaires and billionaires too. It would mean putting a cap on the amount of money that could be charged for fuel, rent, utilities, insurance, and pharmaceuticals. It would mean that corporations could reduce their tax burden IF they paid every employee a living wage, reduced the gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid. It is obscene for a CEO to make in one day what the full time worker makes in a year. Soon we will truly have an oligarchy controlled by the handful of ultra wealthy. I tremble.

Looking to Write a List

It is that time of the year when the majority of people look to the new year and make their resolutions. I’ve always said I prefer goals as they are more concrete – more obtainable since an earmark of a goal is a plan to reach it! The last couple of years I’ve made goals and have been mostly successful. This year I’m going to incorporate some of my previous goals and add a few that will surely impact me more than you. To that end I’ve written a List poem in a monorhyme because it made me laugh and that is on the list!!

To read more
Sleep more
To exercise until sore
Listen more
Write more
Avoid being a bore
Laugh more
Cry more
All slights ignore
Love more
Care more
Let my spirit soar
Do more
Give more
Justice implore

Looking at the Breakup

I looked at the W3 poetry prompt from this week’s Poet of the Week Paula Light and was at a loss. So I decided to put my new file box into use to hold my extensive 3×5 card collection of poetic forms. During the switch from a too small plastic card holder to the beautiful wooden file box that will hold 600 cards easily, I found a form that I haven’t used in awhile. The Anagrammatic Poem. It is a poem written using only words made from the letters contained in the chosen word or phrase. The chosen word(s) is the title. There are no other requirements – for rhyme, meter, or syllable count. I give you my anagrammatic poem:

The Breakup

Her breath kept her here
He beat, repeat, rape, repeat
Her burka trap hurt, puke, heat
Pure earth eater erupt
Puree hate eat
Take rebuke
Brute repute
Tear, break
True heart
But he put
Her hate
There

Looking for a Kiss

Here is another entry for MoonCatBlue’s House of Mayhem’s Revival Scavenger Hunt of the Mind. I used the prompts #11 Incorporate: online dating, stoic philosophers, dish soap, sour dough, demonology, cows, #12 A bite from a domestic, wild or magical creature, #14 Variations on the color blue. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I wrote this as a monorhyme even though there wasn’t a requirement to do so! Because there are 35 prompts, I’ve decided to combine them to make a dent and get them done!

A pale blue sky on a summer’s day
The online dating had gone astray
I’d conjured with dish soap blue gray
Poured on sourdough from the café
The Demonology text said to pray
To find a man that with me would stay
No man appeared I’m sad to say
Instead half cow and ass with loud bray
And eyes the color of a Northern blue jay
Kiss me he begged and we can play
At stoic principles “The obstacle is the way”
Quoted Zeno and Cato, better/kinder let’s not delay
But I refused the kiss and backed away
He bared his teeth I became his prey
Bitten and gnawed my flesh did fray
Spilled blue blood in a delicate spray
Now from life to death a cyanotic blue segue
Where love and danger is a messy melee