Lazarus Jewelbox

Inside a shell, there was a sea
holding all the world’s blue waters.
But it was also half full of drought.

All she’d ever known was drought,
but ear to the shell, she heard the sea,
the circling cadence of the waters.

Caroline released the waters
and left a shell now full of drought
and threw it deep into the sea.

Sea waters stall the birth of drought.

PAD 2014: #22: Optimism/Pessimism | NaPoWriMo #19: Seashells

After yesterday’s attempt at a sestina, I decided to try the related tritina, which seems to offer a bit less rope with which to hang oneself.

The Basics of Pressing Flowers

The burned land around the lake is dead
while up above the sky glows red.
Is this the song you longed to sing?
Because now it doesn’t mean a thing.
In this wasteland rid of wildflowers,
my watch ticks away the painful hours.

I walked these ruins for many hours,
imagining the ancient dead.
Around the tombs, funerary flowers
plastic yellow, orange and red.
You once asked if I knew anything.
I said perhaps we should just sing.

Remember all the kids out cruising?
Driving fast through midnight hours
stupid believing we knew everything
we just jammed to the Grateful Dead.
Now I search the books you read,
and find, pressed, your favorite flowers.

I asked an expert the meaning of flowers.
She smiled and asked what I was using.
She said, You tremble and your eyes are red.
Never mind
, I said, it was this love of ours,
and these flowers have long gone dead
so now their meaning isn’t anything.

She said, Don’t you think love’s a thing
that we can write in old pressed flowers?
In these pages they’re not dead,
and if you listen, you’ll hear them sing
that lovely forgotten song of hours
spent watching as the sky turned red.

And so I stop and think of you, Mildred,
and I search for a trace of anything
that might speed up these lonely hours
and help me find the proper flowers
to answer you in pages pressing
as if you weren’t these ten years dead.

As I read a guide to pressing flowers,
it was an odd thing to hear young birds sing
through the afternoon hours of the buried dead.

PAD 2014 #21: Back to the Basics

My first attempt at a sestina. I wanted to play with words that rhyme so I started the first stanza with AABBCC, knowing that the rhyme scheme would change from stanza to stanza, sometimes falling apart all together. I like the way some of it sounds, and I might try it again sometime.

The Summer Forecast

I live in a land of short trees,
tinder and kindling growing

wild on the blackland prairie.
The open blasting sky awaits

bottle rocket cigarette butt sparks.
Folks with an uneasy eye on

brown grass and the roadside
fireworks stands say we just

need one good hurricane.
The rocky soil is a doormat for

the chihuahua desert slinking
eastward. Its dragon’s breath wind

stokes the fires when they come.

PAD 2014 #18: Weather

Sonnet for July

With my feet firmly planted in the sand,
the seagulls might mistake me for a tree.
I’ve no idea why that would matter and
anyway, it’s good to be here by the sea.
It won’t be long before the sun goes down,
and one-by-one the stars fill up the sky.
Soon they’ll switch on the bright lights in the town
and then, we’ll see old Cygnus rising high.
When the fireworks begin to sing and pop,
smoky spiders will weave our summer night.
With each held breath, I’ll wish it never stops
until the dark of space is filled with light.
Do I hear mermaids singing each to each?
No. It is your voice calling from the beach.

PAD 2014 #15: Love Poems

King of the Beasts

In a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral,
a man called himself the king of these beasts.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
The whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.

A man called himself the king of these beasts
who made his house their lair and didn’t mind
the whole place stank of ammonia and tuna.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.

Who made his house their lair and didn’t mind?
He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
Every day, this king shoveled boxes and sang.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him.

He called himself king and lion and Caesar.
He fed them and pretended to find them homes.
He loved them and believed they worshipped him
in a house full of cats, strays, unwanted, feral.

Magpie Tales #215 | PAD 2014 #15: Love Poem

Imagining Rain

Can you imagine the glory
of the crow, a black spell,
a rippled myth? What goddess
broke the simple spiral shell
and carved its powers
on her belly? Children, do
you see green towers in
your tales of water, sun, and
trees? At what temperature
does dancing turn to liquid?
Can you sing a song of rain
and pay the price to bring the
sleeping goddess from her bed?
Do you smell ozone, brother?
The old timers say it comes
just before the pallid rain.

NaPoWriMo #14: 20 Questions | We Wordle #14

The Root of All Suffering

Desire emerges from the spider’s abdomen. Bright
rust-colored wings advertise desire’s ability

to deliver a powerful sting, described by experts
as blinding, fierce, and shockingly electric, it is

second only to the bullet ant. Desire is most active
in the daytime summer months. Desire flies low

along the ground. Desire’s long legs have hooked
claws for grappling with its victims. Desire feeds

on the flowers of milkweeds, soapberry and mesquite
trees. Very few animals can eat desire. One of the few

that can is the roadrunner. Many experts recommend
desire simply be left alone, but kids go for charismatic

emotions, and the beautiful, powerful and deadly
desire fits the bill nicely. When desire is encountered

do not make sudden rapid movements, but softly quietly
leave the area until it is gone. Head to the low country.

NaPoWriMo #12: Replacement | We Write Poems #208: Mythology

An interesting experiment from NaPoWriMo Day 12. The idea was to research something tangible, find some sentences and replace the tangible noun with something intangible. I researched tarantula hawks and replaced them with desire. I rewrote some of the sentences for transitions, brevity, and clarity. My sources were: Wikipedia, Mother Nature Network, About.com Pest Control, Insect Identification.org, and Durango Nature Studies.

In addition to the replacement prompt, I wanted something that felt somewhat mythic or that suggested mythic origins for the We Write Poem prompt on mythology.

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush