Funnel Cake and a Midnight Movie at the Haunted Firehouse—Wea’ve Written Weekly

In the dark and October chill of night

In line for the haunted house

Watching Halloween on a firehouse wall

When you turn to see Michael Meyers

Standing silently in line behind you

Machete hanging loosely in one hand

White featureless face and hollow eyes

And you turn to face the dark

Staring into the night

Hoping if you see the same thing he does

He will not notice you’re there

And whispering to your daddy that you didn’t see

What you both know you saw.

***

I wrote this poem in response to “A Sonnet about Something or Other” by Sunra Rainz. You can read this poem on the Skeptic’s Kaddish page here: https://skepticskaddish.com/2022/10/19/w3-prompt-25-weave-written-weekly/

And His Mother Sat Confused in the Other Room—Free Verse

Chocolate milk, he says

And I grab the gallon from the fridge,

Place it on the kitchen island

And pour it in his glass.

.

No. Chicken milk, he said,

The little boy with the sly smile

Behind his acted outrage.

.

I’m sorry. We are all out of chickens, I said.

But I can pour the milk over the dog

And catch what drips off

If you would like to drink that.

.

He looks at me with his evil eye

That takes his whole body to act out,

You’re mean, he said.

With his slumped shoulders, lowered head

And mouth opened to show his bottom teeth.

.

Well, our neighbor is the only

One I know with chickens, I said,

And I’m not going over there

To pour your milk over his chickens.

.

Let’s do it, he said.

And I poured the chocolate syrup

In his milk, stirred it up,

And placed it in front of him

To see his genuine smile.

***

A free verse poem has no set pattern for line or stanza length. Rhyme is not used, or it is used sparingly. The line length and the rhythm or the lines are dictated by the natural rhythm of speech or other concerns such as emphasis on a particular word, image, or idea.

Parked in Front of My Son’s Elementary School—Free Verse

Dismounting his Harley with a long swing of his leg,

A man removes his helmet and hangs it over the handlebars.

From inside the saddlebags, he removes his daughter’s helmet.

And here I am parked behind him in the passenger seat of my wife’s car

Picking up my son from the last day of summer school.

.

And I wish I had the money to be that reckless-cool

The kind of dad with the money to spend on luxury toys

And the kind of arrogance to rub it in everyone’s face.

.

Instead, I am the kind of dad who raised a son who is not afraid

To run up and hug his dad in front of all the other school kids.

Not afraid to blow his parents kisses when he gets dropped off in the mornings.

Not afraid to be proud of his parents even when he is starting to learn it isn’t cool.

Not afraid to show the other children his own brand of reckless-cool.

***

A free verse poem has no set pattern for line or stanza length. Rhyme is not used, or it is used sparingly. The line length and the rhythm or the lines are dictated by the natural rhythm of speech or other concerns such as emphasis on a particular word, image, or idea.

A Bowlful of Broccoli—Flarf

The electric flavor of a sucker punch

The tinsel gleam of death at highway speeds

In the dark center of a mountain tunnel.

The gooey candy center of your soul

Broken open at the dinner table.

.

You can’t leave until you eat it

And you can’t eat it until you leave.

You pretend that you would die if you did.

And you make the sound of red before your eyes

And creaky old bearings hitting the pavement

On plastic training wheels mushroomed at the edges

Pitted from years of overuse.

.

Pitted like the place in your parent’s souls

Where they have to listen to this every time.

It’s just broccoli.

Just broccoli.

Eat the Goddamned broccoli!

***

FLARF is a wild style of poetry that started as a joke. People noticed that no matter how bad your poems were Poetry.com would tell you that you had won their poetry prize. Then, they would try to scam you out of your money. So devious poets started sending the crappiest poetry they could write to Poetry.com. Even that would win the poetry prize. These poets began sending each other their crappy poems, and eventually it became a legitimate poetry style. If you want to read more about the FLARF or any of the other poetry terms, check out the glossary of poetic terms from the Poetry Foundation at: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms

Google painting is a type of collaging that primarily uses internet search results and Google’s search prediction capabilities to generate quasi-random phrases. The technique helps jumpstart creativity with strange juxtapositions, broken syntax, and internet speak.

He Has Always Been My Tiny, Tiny Baby—Free Verse

I walked by the room

And there were the shoes,

Broken arms, and straitjackets

Like my grandson would wear

.

As posters taped to the walls.

The old skateboard wheels

And slotted screwdrivers

And transportation demands.

.

But I only see him

With my eyes closed.

A two year old taking steps

Through the windows projection

Of the evening sun.

.

And his mother’s promise

Walking out the door

And getting into the car

With that man we didn’t know.

***

A free verse poem has no set pattern for line or stanza length. Rhyme is not used, or it is used sparingly. The line length and the rhythm or the lines are dictated by the natural rhythm of speech or other concerns such as emphasis on a particular word, image, or idea.

The Smokey Haze—Free Verse

The deepening black silence of self-talk

And folks paying cards in a dim room

Silently working the sun and the wind

To roll a spliff of grass.

Stopping to smoke after every hand

Burning premium octane

With no one bothering to soothe the baby.

Left her crying in the playpen

On the far side of the smokey haze.

***

A free verse poem has no set pattern for line or stanza length. Rhyme is not used, or it is used sparingly. The line length and the rhythm or the lines are dictated by the natural rhythm of speech or other concerns such as emphasis on a particular word, image, or idea.

Line by Line and Measure for Measure

“Read me, Daddy. Read me,” so my son said

From the other side of our table.

The big book between us. “Shakespeare?”, I said,

“It’s boring and old.” He was four unfazed.

“Read me, Daddy.” I read the lines aloud.

Cheeks rested on balled up fists. Enraptured

With the rhythms of the words. He stopped me.

“Why’s the Duke in disguise, Daddy?” he asked.

“It’s his secret identity,” I said.

“Is he like Batman?” he asked. “I think so,”

I said. “And Angelo is the Joker

Although Pompey is funnier than him.”

And enraptured in the story of it,

My son just said, “Read me, Daddy. Read me.”

I wrote this sonnet in April 2021. I was curious to see how far my writing had progressed in one year’s time. I had remembered how clumsy I thought this poem was at the time, but after a year of not looking at it, I am pleasantly surprised. This poem is good. It has smooth flowing lines, and it clearly tells the story. Even though it is written as a blank verse sonnet, it does not feel like I cut corners due to the brevity of the form. I don’t know why I thought it was a clumsy poem. I guess I couldn’t get off my overly critical editing hat at the time because I now think this poem is good.

Memories of Summer—Haibun

Some of my best memories with my dad are us camping near a creek for the weekend and spending hours in and out of the water while he gets sunburned waiting to catch me and my brother as we jump off a rock into the deep water. Now that I am older, I am sure that he would rather have spent that time on the couch watching ‘The Wild Kingdom.” But these are the kind of sacrifices that we make for our kids. And there is something beautiful about watching your kids have fun. That is why I try to remember to humor my son when he asks me to go out in the yard with him to pick up sticks and pretend to fight off the invisible zombies. I no longer remember how to enjoy those kinds of games of pretend on my own, but I enjoy the enjoyment he gets out if it.

Yards are magical

Forests with swords, zombies, and

Your dad at your side.

This haibun started as a response to one written by David at Skeptic’s Kaddish. I wanted to write a line or two, but it got out of hand. You can check out his post here: https://skepticskaddish.com/2022/04/28/the-wind-or-the-waves/

***

According to Word Craft Poetry, haibun is a Japanese poetic form that combines prose and haiku. If you would like to read more about haibun and other short poetry forms, check out Word Craft Poetry here: https://wordcraftpoetry.com/tanka-tuesday-poetry-cheat-sheet-for-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenges/