Blackbird Highway

All along the garden highway

Blackbirds sing out of tune.

If the world had been built my way,

They would be gone by June.

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Blackbirds find their way to me

In every time of year.

Out prompting me to always be

Drowning myself with beer.

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I found myself writing these lines in uneven couplets totally by accident. I wrote the first line with eight syllables and the second line with six. I don’t know the technical name for this type of meter, but I do know that it is a very popular way to write poetry. So popular, in fact, that I did it without even meaning to.

Negative Basketball Poetry–Dactyl Practice

Basketball poet out running the court

Chasing the ball like a frustrated nun

Playing the game like a negative sport

Fighting position and capturing none.

The negative basketball poetry sort.

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I have been out looking for poetry challenges to help me grow as a writer. One of the many things that I have been trying to improve in my poetry is the rhythm. Up until now, I have been allowing my poetic rhythm to find its own course. I pay some attention to how I am writing, and I read the lines aloud to make sure the rhythm flows. But mostly, I have just been allowing whatever ingrained sense of rhythm I happen to have do its work. But today, I was looking at the glossary of Poetic Terms on the Poetry Foundation website and read about the dactyl rhythmic structure.

A dactyl is a poetic rhythm that starts with an accented syllable and is followed by two unaccented syllables. The glossary gives the example of ‘basketball’ and ‘poetry’ as words that follow the accented-unaccented-unaccented dactyl pattern. I believe that ‘syllable’ also follows the same dactyl pattern, but don’t take my word of it because I am not particularly strong at recognizing accented verses unaccented syllables.

If you would like to learn more about dactyls or any other poetry terms, you can find Poetry Foundation’s Glossary of Poetic Terms here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms

Check out the Poetry Partners series by David Alexander at Skeptic’s Kaddish.

One of my poems was featured in the Poetry Partners series by David Alexander at Skeptic’s Kaddish: https://skepticskaddish.com/2022/03/22/the-green-lady-or-the-red-rogue/

Feeling mischievous, I created a poem at random from a handful of unrelated poems that I had published on my page. I reordered the lines and tried to create a new narrative, and while I succeeded to some degree, my poem did not end up with the most straightforward of narratives.

However, David created a poem to complement mine expanding on and explaining the loose and confusing narrative that I had started. David always does a great job with his poetry, and I try to read everything that he posts. I am proud to have one of my poems on his page standing in tandem with one of his.

I Didn’t Mean to Make Things Awkward

What do you mean,

 I am not the girl you thought I was?

In fact, I’m not even a girl.

You should really consider

Getting your eyes checked.

I have a beard and a bald spot.

And hairy armpits. And a deep voice.

I mean seriously,

What kind of chicks are you into?

It’s fine. I get it.

Every man has his type.

OK. Sorry. I didn’t mean it.

I didn’t mean to make things awkward.

Sure, sure, sure…

I can see that. Yeah…

Yeah, from across the room

It was hard to tell. OK.

Everyone Loves to Pretend

Everyone loves to pretend that they know

Five minutes from now from five minutes ago.

Was it just last week, when all that we thought

Was where we could get a stiff Stoli shot?

Russian countryside was hard to explain.

When we thought your neck was the thing that Ukraine.

Now that so many poets are throwing their hats in,

Does anything rhyme with Vladimir Putin?

Is It Ok to Be Angry?

Is it ok to be angry as you sit surrounded by your own life?

Fried eggs and bacon every night while you sleep

As you sit in silence because there is nothing else you can do?

Two energy drinks per day and so many cigarettes

Because you have talked yourself out years ago?

.

Is it ok to be angry as you listen to someone judge you for what you accept?

And the penetrating smell of cigarette buts in your pockets

As if they would respect you more if you spoke with your fists?

And all the spending on all the slot machine video games

Would they? Would it make any difference?

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Is it ok to be angry when you explain that your fists don’t make you a man?

And the muse asked how many phrases can you string together

When you explain to someone who should know better?

How many phrases can you string together that mean nothing to

Someone who would be ashamed of you if you took their advice?

The Mending Leg (Inspired by Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”)

Something there is that doesn’t love my legs

Something that places holes in the out field

Where bored little leaguers look at their toes

And dig at the grass with their cleats.

Something that waits for the one

Strong hit that surprises you and

Has you running for the fly ball

With your head up and sun in your eyes.

Something that waits for you to

Step down wrong twisting your ankle

Dropping you into the freshly mowed grass

As the ball drops several feet behind you

And the coach yells for you to get up

And field the ball before the runner gets home.

Something that lets him see you limp

Back to the dugout and yell for you

To hustle and to walk it off as if

Both commands could be followed

By a youngster with a hurt ankle.

Something there is that doesn’t love my legs.

Something that allows the doctor to ignore

A child’s pain to allow the ankle to stiffen

And cause a change in the child’s gate

And a limp that you will have your whole life.

Something there is that draws you in to

Second string high school sports where

Your knees are cranked and jostled with

You as the tackling dummy for the better players.

Something there is that fills the pothole

In the parking lot of your first apartment

With leaves flush to the level of the blacktop.

Something that draws you to that point

To step down hard and twist your ankle again

To be given crutches and three days off work

That you choose not to take because you can’t

Afford the time off. So you grin and bear the pain

With an ankle brace and a boot laced tight to work.

Something there is that kicks at your knee

When you have your cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s brother

Held by the throat and slammed against the wall

Because he said he was going out to his car for his gun.

Something that wouldn’t let his sister tear you off him

And wouldn’t let her punches to the back of you head

Remove your hands from the brother’s stupid throat

But would let her kick your knee sideways until

Your tendons tore and you came crashing down

And your body filled with the white static of pain

Screaming timber as you fell with her brother on you

And your knee gave way until your ankle and hip met.

Something that had you in a knee brace for months

And pain and instability in that leg for years to come.

Something there is that doesn’t love my legs.

Something there is that hides boxes in the dark

For you to find them with your little toe when

You get up in the middle of the night to pee.

For you to be surprised in the morning when you are

Still limping and you are sure your toe is broken.

And you don’t see the doctor because how big

Of a deal could a broken toe even be. So what if you limp?

Something there is that gets you up on a skateboard

After twenty-five years, and you do well until that one day

When you fall because you hit a pebble going too slow,

And you fall in slow motion because your foot is caught

And you come crashing down slamming your butt

To your ankle and causing your knee to burn like it’s on fire.

Something that gets you back up on injured knee and ankle

In seconds because the mean neighborhood dog

Has seen this as the perfect time to come to maul you.

Because you are on the ground and moaning in pain.

But you manage to chase off the dog skateboard in hand,

And you limp home uncertain that your leg can hold.

Something there is that doesn’t love my legs.

Something that gets you to listen to your son

As you are riding him around the yard on the back

Of your motorcycle and he yells “Faster, faster!”

Something that causes a few close calls when the

Yard is muddy from recent rains, so you go slow.

But something there is that doesn’t love my legs

So you come down a steep drop at nearly a crawl

And hit the gas to have enough speed for the next hill.

But something there is that doesn’t let you know

Just how muddy that spot truly is and your back tire

Spins free and slides out fast and you don’t know how,

But you put your foot down to balance the bike.

But you forget to let off the gas and the bike still slides.

Your foot catches on the ground and you hear

Three sickening pops from your knee as you are

Thrown from the bike and your son falls

To the ground behind you. And you ask if he is ok

after you remember that he was on the bike with you.

You know there is something wrong with your leg

And it hurts too much to turn and face your son,

So you ask over your shoulder if he can walk

And he says he can’t. So you tell him to lie with you

In the grass until you can get some help on the phone.

But he is up and looking at your leg and asking if you are ok

Because something there is that doesn’t love my legs

And that something seems to like his just fine.

Something there is that gets him to get his grandmother

To come down in the riding mower with its yellow trailer

To haul you hump, bump, bump up the rutted hill

And have you holding on to the epaulets of your boot

To keep your broken leg from flopping back and forth

As you were hauled up hill and across the yard to the car.

Something there is that doesn’t love my legs.

Something there is that made the emergency room

Doctor cast your leg and give you crutches

Claiming that you had broken my leg “clean in half.”

But the specialist claimed it was a baby fracture.

And he frowned at you, shook his head, and said,

“You have been walking on it, haven’t you?”

And you told him how much of a baby you were

How scared you were to do more damage to it.

And he continued to frown and accuse with his tone,

“You have been walking on it, haven’t you?”

Resembling Noodles

Hard noodles in a Styrofoam cup

Fitting into a school night schedule.

Shriveled pieces of color on the top

And reasons why I love simple things.

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Three minutes of boiled water

That I helped my son pour,

And the corn and peas resemble

Actual vegetables if a bit chewy.

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And we resemble a family

Sitting a table with Cup Noodles

And triangles of peanut butter

And jelly sandwiches.

The “Why I Can’t Write the Blues” Blues.

It takes a special kind of person to write the blues.

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They can feel it when they wake up in the morning.

The bunions they will have from walking in their shoes.

They couldn’t sleep the night with their wife up snoring.

They are often times more than half hung over, too.

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It takes a special kind of person to sing the blues.

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Their job is on the line, and it has taken their health.

Their dog was killed last night like an old country song.

Their wife is on their mind, and she has taken their wealth.

Their sorrow’s burning bright, and you all sing along.

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It takes a special kind of person to play the blues.

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Their fingers are curled from long days and guitar strings.

Their backs are broken from toting their own stage gear.

Their voices are gnarled from the wailing notes they sing.

They only earn a token playing their pain for beer.

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It takes a special kind of person to write the blues.

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I’m always bright and bushy tailed in the morning.

I typically don’t need to walk a hole in my shoes.

My words almost always leave the people snoring.

And I seldom ever drink more than one or two.

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If you’re still reading this, that’s why I can’t write the blues.

And if you’re still reading this, you can’t write the blues, too.