So here I am, having been struck over the head by Inspiration (as well as encouraged by a fellow author and friend named Lynn Tolson), which suddenly compelled me to compile a volume of my verse entitled Poetic Reflections: Keep The Heart Of A Child. It’s the thirteenth month and I find my brain waxing astutely — well, maybe it’s more “ergutely” but I can’t seem to find it in the dictionary; not that it’s ever stopped me from using a word so all right then, ergutely it is — about everything and nothing, and anything too, but least of all something in particular.
More precisely, it’s the bottom of the month of May. It’s now or never. If I’m going to do this, if I can ever do this again, it has to be now. Which makes it all the more difficult to do, I find. Has that ever happened to you?
This being my thirteenth poetry column, I would love to make it spectacular. Really offbeatenly outlandishly extra-ordinary, even for me.
No, that doesn’t sound quite fantastic enough. This has to be huge. Monumentally stupendously extreme. It is the thirteenth. My lucky number. (At least I think it is. Hard to tell when I have so little luck to compare with my vast amount of no luck.)
As I was saying before I interrupted, being the thirteenth makes this column exceptionally special. I need to live up to that magnitude. Hence, how shall I commemorate its grandeur? I know, I’ll write a poem. But not just any poem; a poem called “Thirteen”! Or, my devilish second thoughts suggest, should I write thirteen poems? Hmm . . . glancing at my watch . . . oops, forgot, I don’t have a watch . . . squinting at the clock . . . that might take too long. The month could end and my thirteenth column would be late. I only have three days left. Let’s see, if I pen four poems and a third per day, carry the tenth, subtract a two, divide by five, I’ll end up with . . . I don’t know, you figure it out! I was never very good at math.
Why don’t I just round it off and write three? That’s a nice even number. What? I know it’s odd. For me, odd is perfectly even!
Where was I? Ah, three poems. Instead of thirteen. I don’t know. Maybe I should write thirteen. It is called “Thirteen” after all. It would make more sense than three. Not that I’m concerned about making sense, of course. That’s usually the least of my concerns.
Am I capable of writing thirteen poems? I’m not sure. I’ve never tried. Maybe I am. But what if I’m not??? What if I can’t? What if I fail miserably, crashing and burning the figurative page?
I guess I won’t know until I do try. Great, now I’ve talked myself into it. Why did I do that? Tell me why?
(You don’t really have to tell me. It was rhetorical. But if you have an answer, please donate it to some poor person who could use one.)
THE TWELFTH HOUR
I have sailed to The Twelfth Of Never
It’s closer than you think
I trekked to The Edge Of Reason
And teetered on the brink
Many moons I’ve listened
For the dozenth gong to ring
When that Twelfth Hour twi’ly chimed
In the thickened glumst of a ding
I had lingered past The Eleventh Hour
Already much too late
Where curly-toed I quavered
Chill-blooded from the wait
Ears ruptured by the fisty stroke
Of a final thunderclap
With palsied pallor I betook
To aim a mental slap
And heed the booming clamor
Of a voice that speaks no word
Absent any grammar
And yet is clearly heard
I can’t explain my reticence
At what my eyes beheld
The moment came and went
A nouncement being knelled
I can’t but comprehend it
How deeply overwrought
The specious proclamation
Was frigidly distraught
From that eve I’ve softly tiptoed
Veering broadly clear of Gramps
His carven somber visage
And grim nerve-biting champs
The rigid tall demeanor
And disapproving stare
Leave no interpretation
Of what he would declare
My heart leaps from my lips
Whene’er those fateful gongs resound
I wish the midnight hour
Was never to be found
It’s like a thirteenth story
Stay clear if you are able
Don’t venture near or you will star
In an unhappy-ending fable.
Bugs tend to bug me
Especially ones I cannot see
They’re annoying and so pesterous
Cute but still confesterous
They don’t listen ’less you ask them twice
Or they’re a listening device
Bugs that fly and bugs that burrow
Bugs that bite or blight a furrow
Bugs that crawl and squirm and wing
Bugs that chill or drill or fling
Bugs that drive me buggy are
The buggiest by far
Yet I never step on bugs, you see
Cuz they never step on me.
There’s a curious state of being
In which the opposite is true
Everything that should be isn’t
Like a model without glue
Or a parallel dimension
Where the negative is plus
Factors are irrelevant
And sums just don’t add up
At times I find my brain fogged in
Reality quite blurred
So dazed that what is tangible
Is actually absurd
Where what’s aligned is unlined
A fancy isn’t free
My head spins round a little bit
I tend to wander through myself
Hoping for a ride
When what is tactile seems less firm
Than what I feel inside
Neath this alternate abstraction
Where my dreams are all concrete
Emotions solid objects
And wholeness incomplete
I can skip with glee around me
Every secret I can tell
I can reach and touch my hopes
Without a wishing well
Have you ever been to Never?
You’d know just what I mean
I can’t be any clearer
Than what I haven’t seen
When an outside-in mood passes
It is best to bear and grin
Allow it to romp freely
And a loser just might win!
AN EMPTY BUCKET
I’ve come across an empty pail
How shall I use it up?
Would the bucket be half full or empty
Like the riddle of the cup
If I only find enough
To occupy the lower part?
Would the answer represent my bent
What lies chiseled in my heart?
Is it weak or sturdy? Does it have a leak?
Should I carry it up or down a hill?
Was it cast aside or is it lost?
Would each step cause what it holds to spill?
Am I able for the task at hand?
Might I lose my grip and let it slip?
Will I drop the bucket or, worse, kick it?
Could my lummox feet clodly trip?
So many questions fill my head
Perhaps I’ll leave it blank inside
Pretend I never chanced upon it
And let someone else decide!
I cherish umbrella weather
Especially in the Fall
I wore a yellow slicker
When I was very small
I love the whisk of raincoats
The gleam of puddled ground
The sheen of rain-washed streets
Where colored lights abound
Most of all what I adore
Is when I’m dry and warm
Hearing droplets march across the roof
Safe from any storm
To watch them decorate the glass
Of doors and windowpanes
Much like a French Impressionist
Dabbing paintless water stains
I treasure scenery washed by drizzle
A sky streaked by javelins
The atmosphere of a moody day
Boughs abrim with crystal gems
I thrill at rhythmic folk ballets
Cascading to their own beat
An orchestrated dance of drops
As if the rain has feet.
What is a gruesome twosome?
Why can’t it just be one?
Why not a gruesome threesome?
Why can’t a crowd be fun?
If grues must form a partnership
Accomplicing each other’s deeds
I’m sure they could be any number
A million, billion, trillion even
A countless pack of swarming pals
Would leave the normals grievin’
Why bother being petty
When they could be much more
A monstrous congregation
A reekish freakish horde?
Imagine if they banded such
How gruesomer those grues would be
How scary and unnerving
The world would seem to me
I think I’ll stop complaining
And be grateful when they’re few
In fact, I’m feeling fonder
Of an ugly gruesome two.
AN UNBALANCING ACT
Balance is important
Quite vital to our health
It makes us wise and keeps us safe
It brings us untold wealth
No wonder I’m a wreck
And poor in every way
I’m juggling cross-eyed on one foot
All I can do is sway
My life is out of whack
Perspective all askew
There is no middle ground
I’m lurching fro and to
It’s very difficult
To find the means to cope
I’m teetering, it seems
Across a thin tightrope
It’s very hard to sleep
When I’m afraid to doze
And scared each time I breathe
A gnat flies up my nose
In water I would sink
Too stiff to stay afloat
I worry I’ll get fat
And cause myself to bloat
I fret that I’ll get sick
Which makes me ill from fear
Sometimes I worry I may worry
It’s terribly severe
Enough, I say! No more!
This unbalancing act must end
I can’t abide my shaky side
I’ve drifted round the bend
I need to gain some symmetry
I need to find some poise
It’s time to stand on solid land
Embrace a world of joys.
THE POEM I MEANT TO WRITE
Is it a heinous crime
To compose a poem that doesn’t rhyme?
I should think it would be worse
To write a poem that wasn’t verse
Whilst rummaging my heart
For a likely place to start
I devoured what I had scribbled
And found my couplets nibbled
I decided best to scrawl
Whatever lines my thinkings drawl
And thus I penned a draft
That made me seem a quarter daft
The ache of inspiration pounds
An uproar of jagged breaking sounds
As the torrid rapture of my brains
Trembles numbly through my veins
Alas, whatever comes of it
I can’t seem to bring myself to quit
I’m compelled to chew a trifle more
Let the crumbs of pairings dust the floor
And while I glibly gnawed
Mindful that my verse was flawed
My cheeks an inken mess
I forgot what I wanted to profess
I’m afraid that in the end
I couldn’t say what I intend
The poem I meant to write
Didn’t rhyme, but this one might.
MY EAR HURT
Have you ever had an ache
That seemed to move about
As if it owned a pair of wings
Or wiggled like a snake?
The reason for my query
Is that my ear just hurt
But then again it didn’t
Like the flitting of a fairy
A mystery pain that came and went
Gone too soon to diagnose
That vanished in a poof of wonder
Without an incident
That left without a trace or clue
It’s hardly worth a mention
My ear hurt then it didn’t
I don’t know why I’m telling you.
PICKING BERRIES WILD
Age creeps upon us every day
Swiping the future brusk away
Before we know another year
Will inexorably disappear
The present slips into the past
Subsiding relatively fast
A moment lost cannot be found
Its endless possible not rebound
Though memories flip the pages back
To hours of plenty or of lack
In mine I happily aft would stray
To fleeting glimpses from yesterday
Of picking berries wild
When I was but a child.
THE ODDNESS OF UNEVEN
Isn’t it rather strange
That uneven has such oddness?
Did it ever make you wonder
If it’s more or if it’s less?
Does it wobble when it rolls?
Does it bump when it is tumbled?
Have you ever given thought
To why a murmur isn’t mumbled?
I think you miss my point
That uneven is a strength
This is something to consider
Yet certainly not at length
For such a rumination
Would at most be slightly short
As you couldn’t give much thought
To a matter of no import
Isn’t it quite senseless
To have an empty speculation?
I’m sure there is no purpose
Behind this vapid contemplation
It is never wise to aim one’s thoughts
Toward matters in great haste
As for the oddness of uneven
There is no time to waste
And if pondering the impeckable
Leads my cranny to conclude
That my crock is cracked, my deck unstacked
Well, there’s no need to be rude!
Here, though, is the rub
What I simply cannot figure out
If uneven is so odd
Then what is left to doubt?
I wish I had a burly suit
That makes me larger than a brute
A thicker coat of shiny skin
To shield me when I’m feeling thin
An armor-plated garment
So dense no one could harm it
That I could wear all day and night
Embracing me when there’s no light
This armor would defend my name
From slings and flings and unfair blame
And I might never take it off
No matter how they scorn or scoff
The rants of bullies could not pierce
The fists of foes, however fierce
Could neither bruise nor bring me down
I would be someone of renown
Instead of just their punching bag
A dupe to mock, a target to nag
I wish I had a coat of steel
So I wouldn’t have to feel.
Why avoid the inevitable?
Rotten luck will surely find us
If you hide you might miss good luck too!
Misfortune serves to remind us
We’re better off when we would strive
To find the brighter half of things
There is no curse if we don’t believe
That every failure stings
It doesn’t bother me a whit
Encountering those dread thirteens
I’m impervious to the hype and myth
I can’t care less what it means
We’re bound to flub or flop at times
Mistakes will happen to us all
It’s standing up again that counts
Upon each ungainly fall
Hence am I delirious
Every Friday The Thirteen
It might be dour, it might be sour
It may irritate my spleen
Or it could be jubilantly filled
With miracles and rich reward
It may my best time ever be
I could even be quite bored
Don’t let thirteen intimidate
Like a rhino in the room
Be the master of your attitude
Welcome sunshine or the gloom
If you’re like me you won’t mind the dark
And thirteens will lift your spirit
Either way be sure to laugh out loud
So the gremelens will hear it
They would try to undermine your mood
And drag you to their lowly heights
When it’s up to you how you should feel
Don’t let their frantics give you frights
Smiling is a staunch defense
Grinning causes them to groan
There’s no better way to brush them away
Than to make the day your own
Thirteen is nothing to apprehend
It’s a number as you know
Superstitions can encumber
When you’re afraid to let them go
My philosophy on such matters
Is enjoy the wealth of tales
And fear not the fear of fear itself
The devil’s in the travails.
It appears I’ve managed to achieve my goal. And on the very last day of May. Perhaps I should celebrate by adding a thirteenth chapter to my poetry volume. Thirteen is a nice even number, don’t you think? (You should know by now that I mean odd!) Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
And so I did.