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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#14,15,16,17)

I’m starting to enjoy sharing poetry in bulk with you, dear reader. It really speaks to my lazy/I’m old and forgetful and wait, I have a blog?/I have a 1,000 things to do side. Forgive me. We do what we can, huh? Below are poems for the past three days and today. All written by me. Enjoy.

Oh and you’ll recognize some of these pieces because I’ve already posted them for your reading pleasure. I’m a recycler. *shrugs*

The Refrain
#14 – Friday, April 14

my constant refrain boasts the childhood belief of manipulating effect by wishing for the opposite to happen.
and so “you will leave me” escapes my lips with the hope that no, you will not leave me, not now, not ever, not when I love you so.
but I continue to carry the cool of the nonchalant, the unaffected, whispering the refrain as if I am discussing the rain or this traffic–
–hoping that you are not privy to this juvenile show and somehow confuse my vain wish for a future I would kill to keep from happening.
but you are not privy to anything, are you, are you, while my refrain echoes within the empty rooms and silent hallways of a longdeserted home.
Birthright
#15 – Saturday, April 15

Before I could even learn to appreciate you, I was desperate to shrug you off, this mantle that clung to the nuances of my dark skin like birthplaces and legacies.

You were the mirror I was ready to turn away from, the reminder that I was nothing like them; not mysterious and joyous, but something to point at and destroy.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Before I could even learn to appreciate you, they informed me that I was simply a location hoarder, not real like them, just the holder of an address that was not worthy of me.
You were the mirror I intended to claim, the reminder that blood and culture can be whatever I want it to be; not a clingy shroud of shame, but something to be proud of and accept.
And what of it? Merely the source of special names and special people, merely the home of my creators, merely a rich, colorful center.
Birth and death, accents and colors, time and memory: you are mine and mine alone.
Let them cajole and caw.
I bear it well and I bear it unaffected.
Like the solid stance of a landmass, a continent,
you and I cannot be moved.
Elegy/Texas 2
#16 – Sunday, April 16
I’m in the mood for you.
For your fanciful cowboy tales–
For your romantic sunset–
For that gleam of mischief in your bright eyes–
and for the sadness I saw in them, too, the kind that told me who you really were.
I’m in the mood for you.
For your arrogant understanding of me–
For your occasional inability to understand nothing at all–
and for the sadness I wanted to take away so badly, the kind that your actions couldn’t hide.
But moods pass.
So did you.
And sadness quietly changes partners.
Zelda
#17 – Today, April 17, 2017

so I’d like to believe that you
were his Daisy Fay,
holding him at bay,
until all that could glitter could
finally become gold.

and for a time, you
and your pretty egg were
the toast of the town,
flapping around,
drunk on jazz and roses.

but you forgot, didn’t you,
that such things don’t last forever;
that precious metals fade,
even our own minds betray,
when our own wings become clipped.

you could only flap for him,
as it were;
suppressing your own will
to write in order to remain still
as if he had a hold on history.

perhaps you were punished
for being his Daisy Fay
and holding him at bay
when all he wanted was you there
at the very start, by his side.

nevertheless, harbors do wear away
and lights turn from green to gray
and jazz music no longer plays—
when we are waylaid
by burials that rule the day.

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#11, 12, 13)

Playing catch-up. These are all classics that I’ve loved since I laid eyes on them.

This Is Just to Say 
William Carlos Williams
(#11)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
Harlem
Langston Hughes
(#12)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost 
(#13)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Credits for Classic Poems: Online Sources)

National Poetry Month: Les Poèmes (#8,9,10)

The weekend ran away from me, as did poetry. But not for long. Apparently, my muse can’t abide by weekends. And yet she loves weekdays. What can you do? Speaking of her, below are my poetic offerings for Saturday, Sunday, and today. They share an interesting theme.

Weekend Haiku #1 (Saturday)

ah, what a weekend–
when i drink in all the sun
and forget to write.

Weekend Haiku #2 (Sunday)

it’s not an excuse
but my muse has attitude–
and off days, as well.

Monday Haiku (Today)

yet when Monday comes,
champagne and inspiration
all for This Square Peg.

National Poetry Month: Poème #7

Bon Friday, dear reader. Here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago after a pretty cathartic conversation with close friends. Because that’s how poetry functions for me: whereas fiction traverses the highways and byways of my imagination, poetry is every nuance and inch of the life I lead. Is that how it is for you? Let me know in the comments.

Breathless

You, with your half flesh, absent of your complement,

I would give you the exact latitude and longitude to get to me,

but I didn’t listen that day in class.

I have no mind for coordinates, I cannot bear giving directions.

Just wherever you are, traverse the highways and byways and miles

it will take to reach me, and come as soon as you can.

You will be guided by air and wheels, yes,

but also by softly uttered prayers feverishly whispered in the dead of night,

when the slow passing of minutes spent alone no longer wish to be abided.

Your arrival will not be met with waving palm fronds and outer garments spread on the road,

for I understand who my true Savior is,

but trust that you will meet a joy so acute that it will sound like the releasing of a

long-held–

tightly held–

quietly held–

breath.

National Poetry Month: Poème #6

As an author, her stories and essays have always thrilled me. But I’d like to discover her more as a poetess. Below is a powerful piece by Alice Walker. Enjoy this poetic Thursday, dear readers.

Be Nobody’s Darling
Alice Walker

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool)
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools.

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

National Poetry Month: Poème #5

Hi, Poetry Lover. Wanted to share a classic today. I fell in love with this piece in college after more than one poetry professor introduced me to the wonder and complexity of Theodore Roethke. Please read and enjoy.

In a Dark Time
Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

National Poetry Month: Poème #4

Day 4 of NPM. Happy happy. This piece was written by me. One of my personal favorites:

The Passage of Time

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

we cannot abide by talk of the

children, who now wrangle children

of their own, expecting us to play with and to give back, to babysit and to listen.

and what of those who bore us? how do we talk of what stabs us in our hearts, of nursing

homes and pain pills, of loss of strength and absence of memory?

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

we let them talk around us, about anniversaries and births, about time and trust, about how our

lengthy togetherness inspires, about leading by example.

they merely hear their own voices reverberating back to them.

not ours. we haven’t said a word.

and what would you say, if you could?

and what would i say, if i could?

crickets chirp.

the night wears on.

we’ve run out of conversation,

we’ve nothing left to say.

National Poetry Month: Poèmes #2&3

Happy NPM. Because I missed Sunday, here’s a piece for Sunday, written by me:

Learning, Gratitude
(Hindsight)

To you.
The heart should never be
so revealed, so unaware of where
the results will land.
No more waiting when the answers
are usually quite clearly there.
No matter if you were moved. Time to move on.
Thank you.

To you.
Too open, too fast, too trusting.
Too bad, too bad, too bad.
In the end, you actually missed me.
In the end, I walked away with no regrets,
warmly blanketed by the comfort
of the full circle.
Thank you.

To you. Ah, you.
There are no words–
well, there are words–
but which ones?
(Blissfully) blinded, (glaringly) sighted, (then) goodbye.
I carved you out of the clay of perfection
and quietly watched the hand of truth smash
you to pieces…

Still you.
Still thinking about it.
Still sighted, yes, but no longer
looking back in youthful anger.
Now, a sad, adult understanding of what came to be,
what became of you.
Nevertheless–regardless–in spite of–
thank you, thank you, thank you.

…And a piece for Monday, also written by me:

Yours.

I was your very first brownie–
I know that because you were
stunned and staring–
and you hated how you felt,
my chubby, bigoted love,
because you commenced with destroying me and making them laugh all the while,
when secretly and behind their backs
you spoke to me like you were whispering sweet somethings
in my brown ear,
an ear you ached to nuzzle and punch in, but you decided to just mock it instead, mock it hard, and the shocked, confused little face that came with it.
but they didn’t see you by the goalpoast,
inching closer, culling conversation,
conveniently cool and quiet when they looked, checking you, checking me.

may you have come to terms so
she may be none the wiser.

“…wings of her own.”

I wrote this poem seven years ago. Bon Throwback Thursday.

 

Mrs. Birdman

 

When he finally lands,

the odds are that she’ll be waiting for him by the riverside.

He’ll tell marvelous tales

of the sweet air up there, of racing with skylarks and ravens,

that near-miss with the eagle…

She’ll tell him that Billy lost his tooth, and that Sally started walking.

He’ll smile and ask if they remember him and she’ll lie and say that

they do.

She’ll cry when he says that he has to go again,

(“I thought you’d stay longer this time”)

and he’ll placate her with promises that they both know

will fly away faster than he can, never to be seen or heard of

again.

Up, up, up, he’ll go, the Man who makes the sky that much

more unique, as they all like to say.

She’ll continue by the riverside,

waiting,

too morose and too teary-eyed

to realize what he hopes she never will,

that she’s always had

wings of her own.

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