[National Poetry Month] All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

J.R.R. Tolkien

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

[National Poetry Month] Because I could not stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death (479)

Emily Dickinson, 18301886

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Calaesthetics

Stretch everyday

Marry your body and be aware of the sweet miracle of muscles
And be aware of the way they sing
Like a bow across a violin in these rhythmic, repetitive movements
Which are recommended for all adults
Even if they have never been told that they should

Take those few minutes out of each day to converse with
The living tension between your hips and back and neck
Even if it is not the formal waltz of the downward dog
But just hugging and twirling for a few seconds,
The hardwood floor under flexing toes
In front of the window facing
The yard, where you can feel the sun
And greet the day to every bird and bug –

Squeeze tight every place on your body that you can reach
Because it is as precious a gift as the wind in your lungs
The water in your blood
The earth in your bones
And the firelight in your brain.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is! So I am going to be sharing some of my favorite poems as well as some created for this month. Let’s get things started with this old classic:

So You Want To Be A Writer

Charles Bukowski, 19201994

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,

don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your

heart and your mind and your mouth

and your gut,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours

staring at your computer screen

or hunched over your

typewriter

searching for words,

don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or

fame,

don’t do it.

if you’re doing it because you want

women in your bed,

don’t do it.

if you have to sit there and

rewrite it again and again,

don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,

don’t do it.

if you’re trying to write like somebody

else,

forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of

you,

then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,

do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife

or your girlfriend or your boyfriend

or your parents or to anybody at all,

you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,

don’t be like so many thousands of

people who call themselves writers,

don’t be dull and boring and

pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-

love.

the libraries of the world have

yawned themselves to

sleep

over your kind.

don’t add to that.

don’t do it.

unless it comes out of

your soul like a rocket,

unless being still would

drive you to madness or

suicide or murder,

don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is

burning your gut,

don’t do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,

it will do it by

itself and it will keep on doing it

until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

[Five Minute Poetry] watermelon + goddess + photosynthesis

She lies in the garden somewhere between delight and passivity

Soaking up sun like sweet cream against her skin

She breathes in the honeysuckle and the meadow-born fragrances

And though the life she has lived has made her hard on the outside

Thick and defended, a layer of skin and flesh that is marked

By doubt, regret and indiscretion

Inside, she is sweet

And the rays of the afternoon are hers to feed on because

She has the glow of her solitude

The goddess of utter abandonment

Who wants for no man, no company,

Save the whispers of the orchids

The melon knows not that she is anything but plant life like the rest

Summer goddess of the passing breeze

Like the rest

And the flowers do not disappoint

As everything else has in its way.

Lead + Shadow + Gravel + Blue

[This one was 4, but I was like…”I’ll take it!”]

At the end of the world, there is a single darkness

It is round and perfect, and it waits for everything

And inside

Its metal body is gray, its dusty age a testament

To all mankind

It sits on a throne of rocks

The mechanical man with his azure eyes

Both the first creation and the last

And he casts a his hand out, a shadow that makes its way across the earth,

Never stopping, it comes in contact with each heart,

Travels over and is away

It mercifully poisons, it draws like a pencil through the words that are

Life

Love

Loss

And it pulls everyone back to its home in the end

Because Death wants what anyone wants

And that is to not be alone

At the end of all days.

Piano + Notes + Flowers

[Can you tell I’m enjoying these? I might do them all week. Because stress sucks.]

One and two and three and four

And fingers dance across the keys

Impossibly fast, achingly slow

And a picture is painted of a time

When there were flowers at every meal

Roses, daisies, forget-me-nots

And the fragrance would be the first thing

And the last thing,

So perfect that the children would, when they went away to school,

Ask what was wrong,

Never able to place it.

They pass notes as the music plays,

But the trembling of the beaten strings knows

All

They forget, as they grow,

They forget the rose garden,

They forget what it is in the grand halls of sunlight and fountains

What it is to be free

Their hands haven’t touch the piano in years

They have more important matters to attend to

Because the opera is the here and now,

An avalanche of voices that scream at the damned

And if they could have just a single bloom

With their gin and tonic

That would be some blessing

But everything is rotted

And the piano is on fire

They are gone, their memories lingering like music in the last seconds of –

Coffee + Ice Cream + Pizza

[Another 3 in 5.]

She was my sweetest treat, and I didn’t know what that meant

Until she was there, every day,

And she would be the sugar in my espresso,

Her mouth would melt into mine

Like cream, promising a respite from the chill,

If I held out long enough for dessert.

 

Now, my teeth are rotted,

I’ve been ruined by the saccharine secrets of her tongue

And everything is grease

Leaving me feeling like I’m covered in a film

Of indecency

Pizza pie lovers and grease trap bait and switch

 

I’m holding out hopes that one day

She’ll think about us

Under the summer sun when we were young

And indulgent

And maybe we can just drink water

And we will dissolve across the asphalt,

Like the cotton candy considerations of our

Once cloying affair.

Broken Bones + Booze + Song

At my book release party for Pickled Miracles, I played a game called “3 for $5 in 5.” Guests could pay me $5 and give me three words, topics, subjects, etc. I would then take 5 minutes and write a poem. It was a great experience and I’ve been getting back into it. For this one, a friend gave me the three topics above.

 

Standing in the midst of the pile of bones

A femur deep and snow dark night

I can still feel you in me

 

There’s a time that I recall when we split a bottle

To keep warm and the only thing that we had

Other than each other

Was the burning of amber liquid flame

That passed from your lips to mine

And we would wake up a tangle of one another,

Parched, desert dry,

And the ice would still stay there.

 

I want the midnight chanting again,

The worshipful thighs and fingers and you

You in your glory above me

Fingers feather length and falling

Upon me.

 

The wolves came and took you,

They smelled the spices and you left me

Facing an oblivion of memories, an abyss where

The darkest parts of us

Would be pleasant compared to the

Inexplicable loss of it all.

 

I run with the wolves now,

And the cold is home,

The drink is done, and it’s the only way

I can get at you, because your heart is still left

At the bottom of the pile of bones

Which is our bed now,

Haunting you.

Dear 4AM

moon-316471_1280

Dear 4AM
Your moon is a little too bright, can you take it down a notch?
The wine disappeared hours ago
And a lie-in requires equal parts
Cool air
Nice sheets
And darkness.
You’re supposed to be bringing that last one to the party.

Dear 4AM
You’re tossing and turning.
We’re not supposed to be up for hours
Much less itching
For something more stimulating than sheep.
You can be the big spoon or the little spoon
I’m not picky.
Just let me close my eyes with you.

Dear 4AM
There’s time enough for art
When the sun comes up and breakfast is ready.
Your song is more siren than sweet to my fingers
And it is distracting me from my perfect pillow.
I promise that we will do 101 things
In just a few more hours, so darling,
Please lie back down.

Dear 4AM
I’m not even mad, how could I be?
It’s as fruitless as yelling at the owl for hooting at midnight
Or the raccoon for slinking away from the sun.
I’ll get the coffee, you get the satisfaction.
We’ll see what else is waiting.