Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quadrimesterly reflections: 2008/May-August

Time to look back.

I began this poetry blog four months ago, and after 50+ poems, my dabbling in this craft has led me to discover what poems I find enjoyable to make. A list would include:

         fixed-form poems, like haiku and sonnet
         philosophical poems
         political poems
         poems about poems (not too much of that! please)
         jigsaw poems (poems initiated from a list of words)
         shape poems (suggestive visual layouts)
         science/technology poems
         poems that play with words
         poems with radical syntax

Also, a bit of poetry and poetics reading, including:

         from The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth Edition
             (but not all 2025 pages!)
         No Fear Shakespeare: Sonnets
         Leaves of Grass (Barnes & Noble Classics Series),
            Walt Whitman
         poetry 180 and 180 more, ed. Billy Collins
         The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide, Robert Pinsky
         How to Read a Poem, Burton Raffel

One reference I like to browse:

         the poetry dictionary, second edition, John Drury

On to the next quadrimester!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two Paths Ahead

When looking back o'er the last seven years:
The missed chances, priorities misplaced,
Short-sighted vision, treasure sent to waste,
Hundreds of billions spent placating fears.
When looking forth to the next seven years:
Will the next wars be fought with mindless haste,
And turning of backs to troubles home-based,
Forgoing the plowshares, forging more spears?
Two paths to the future diverge just ahead:
One leads to hollow, victory's false lure,
And cities infrastructurally poor;
One leads to plans for revival instead,
Rebuilding and environment secure.
Two paths, two futures—which one will be tread?

As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, August 26, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008



( eyes wide with surprise
  cat peeking over a fence
  stirring up trouble )

(:-*   /\_/\

( sunglasses on head
  commenting on the sunset
  kissing mountain range )

8-S   8^|

( secret agent man
  has glasses and a moustache
  sees all evil grim )

◊ contraction of (B^|   :)8-
The emoticon (ASCII glyph) translation is from Computer Knowledge.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC 2008

Dem      Can the Dem unite
oak      and be hard as oak to withstand attack
rat      and leap to the lead like a kangaroo rat?
tick      (...tick...tick...tick... little time to fight)
Nash      Can a few quips rivaling Ogden Nash
un      and refuting right-wing "un-American" trash
all      convince them all to join for the dash?
Con      Will the Con be converted?
vent      Or will they just vent anger concerted
shun      and shun Obama with logic perverted?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Postcard from North Pole, Mars #4

Today is a milestone:
I've been here 90 sols.
So little time left,
So many holes.

I've been sending back
My chemistry notes.
Hope you've been getting them
Since last time I wrote.

I feel the next postcard
May be my last one.
Next month, I've heard,
My mission is done.

(Postcard from North Pole, Mars #3, #2, #1)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The old gray-lined hawk

The old gray-lined hawk,
His world is "black" and "white."
No spectral "colors"
Are ever within his sight.
Fine nuance is a stranger,
And diplomacy is not his trait.
A future of perpetual warring—
He finds comfort with this fate.
There's a basis of his being:
Simplicity is transcendent.
But the old gray-lined hawk
    will one day
Though once, long ago, he was resplendent.

◊ e.g.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


bush-crickets chirping
in the hedge — I walk nearby
and they fall silent

Friday, August 22, 2008

On An Escaped Bear, Alphabetically

A Bear Comes Down,
Every Foot Growling Howls.
I Just Keep Low,
My Next Option: Prowl,
Quickly Retreat, So
That Ursa Veers Woo.

         Xylophone Your Zoo!

(another 26-word alphabet poem is ABC, Robert Pinsky, 2000)

Revised and posted to Totally Optional Prompts: Abecedarian
Revised and posted to Poets United Poetry Pantry #17

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Butter churn

The milk cream of words are turned
In the butter churn of the mind:
Agitation and spin,
Again and again,
Until the butter lumps of poems
Are left behind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The shuttling cockerel

The white-tailed cockerel shuttles to and fro
While dodging a net to catch him cold in flight.
A faster flying bird, I do not know,
but battledores are keeping him in sight
To hit poor shuttlecock with all their might.
With one on his forth, the other on his back,
Alone they make the shuttlecock's bleak plight—
If shuttlecock can dodge the net, attack!
Each one in turn gives shuttlecock a whack
To set his course of flight, whether low or high.
The shuttlecock though acts like he has the knack
To make up his own mind which way to fly.
    But shuttlecocks all end: the net or floor;
    With that poor shuttlecock then flies no more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Confessions of a TV LAND watcher

The classic TV shows
on TV LAND channel
make many new shows look like
some bland-colored flannel.

From The Addams Family then
to All in the Family,
to The Andy Griffith Show
and The Beverly Hillbillies.

From The Bob Newhart Show
to The Brady Bunch,
then Bonanza and Cheers
and Designing Women pack a punch.

Good Times are had
and Green Acres glows,
but little Gunsmoke is seen
on Hogan's Heroes.

I Love Lucy too
and have Jeffersons fever.
Just Shoot Me if I like
Leave it to Beaver.

Little House on the Prairie
can make you feel blue,
but M*A*S*H on the other hand:
I'm Mad About You.

The Munsters may be no
Murphy Brown or Night Court
while Sanford and Son manage
a junkyard - after a sort.

Scrubs*, Star Trek, Three's Company
finish the lineup
but Mr. Ed I would hope
the next to signup.

* not really "classic"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Oil platforms at sea

Oil platforms off Miami Beach
would look cool, don't you think?
So much for the seaview.
(Who did this must be a fink.)

Oil platforms off Myrtle Beach
would be big improvement
for elitists drill-everywhere-ists.
(Beachcombers, they must resent.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A wine remembered

The wine, decanted,
with amber temper:
even with a twist of lemon,
still left a taste of timber.

A shout of carefree pleasure
or just hair-of-the-dog,
it had the wings to chase me
around in the fog.

(an exercise to a Jigsaw Poem Challenge from Poets Who Blog)

Friday, August 1, 2008


viral videos loop thru the blogosphere
and then they show up on my tv, right here
on MSNBC, CNN, and FOXy Noise Channel (how queer)

viral emails loop into your Inbox, who knows
why they didn't end in in your Spam-box flows
but with low-information people this "information" grows