Crosspollinated With the Grapefruit Tree—Free Verse

Have you found the treasure on the old lemon tree?

It has long since grown old and died,

But there was a time that it held

The largest lemons anyone had ever seen

Hanging on the tree and seldom used

Except when friends came to see.

They would ask why we never ate them

But they weren’t around when we had the dog

That never shit anywhere but under that tree

And they didn’t have the memory of that smell

Or the dog shit on the bottom of their shoes

From the times as a kid you had been sent out there

To pick the lemons for your older sisters

Who didn’t want to use the lemons

But did want to laugh at you

When you got out the hose and a stick

And whined as you cleaned between

The treads of your only pair of shoes.

***

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.

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.

Drunken Crow Flies—Wea’ve Written Weekly

Between blue green crags of cave ceiling

Bleeding pastels of fighting ghosts.

.

Over twice removed ties to the wife

Who spent all of her happiness on her cats.

.

Through the comings and goings wearing his half second of guilt

When she saw the YouTube videos of happy babies.

.

Passed the double doors of the pub circling over the bar

To perch on the seat and order another bourbon, neat.

***

I wrote this poem in response to the Wea’ve Written Weekly prompt on Skeptics Kaddish. This week’s prompt poem is “Family” by Britta Benson. if you would like to read her poem or participate in the prompt visit the post here: https://skepticskaddish.com/2022/06/08/w3-prompt-6-weave-written-weekly/

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.

Claiming Hope and Family—Free Verse

Light morning mist connects a stand of leaves over trees

Except for the dead one centered in negative space

Like a black hole accreting layers of life

Just outside the event horizon daring you

To risk spaghettification

Frozen in time beyond

The point of no return

Sucked into

Geosynchronous orbit

With that woman

You’re not sure

You still know.

.

And yet, the house

Still shines in the sun

With the copper-colored roof

The trimmed bushes and tidy lawn

And the cutesy painted boards claiming hope and family.

***

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 Song of Lake Frogs—Monorhyme

At an empty campground

My son and I leave the tent

Wearing headlamps

.

For a cool night’s hike

We walk winding the road

Down to the boat ramp

.

Where the water is lit

With green eyes reflecting

Frogs along the lake’s damp

.

Making their meals

From the night bugs

That followed from camp.

***

A monorhyme poem maintains the same sound for each of its rhymes.

I originally envisioned this as a free verse poem until I noticed a few unintended rhymes at the ends of some of the lines. I didn’t have change much to get it to rhyme the whole way through, and it didn’t change any of the poem’s meaning to work in the rhyme.

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/

Your Last Breath as an Act of Remembrance –Flarf

A world of floor’s, dog fur, and dry pine straw on your hand,

And it smelled Band-Aid tight and finger white

Like the stuff coming in of the breeze was your best friend

Like walking up with an unidentified spider bite

Paralyzed in the corner looking at your phone

Struggling fighting gale and pine branch.

And this shit was near a busy public telephone.

.

Not quite enough to keep you from fumbling the key in the door?

A bloody eye on a shield,

And your hat laid in my field,

Is this not the BS button you are looking for?

.

I find my way of speaking to you strange and stray

Misty hills locked in dew and fence and place

But family is irregular. Kick them out of the way.

Ass sewed to face sewed to ass sewed to face

Highlighted in history with your ass on the wire.

Ignore it most of the time like misty word and wood,

Microfiche and sadness of a Swedish dumpster fire,

And your breath like a guitar still playing if it could.

***

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.

Marital Conversations—Flash Fiction

Husband is lying on the couch watching wife in the armchair. She has her head down watching her phone. When husband talks, wife has to remove earbuds to understand. After a lull in the conversation, husband lifts his leg straight up to fart. Wife, having not yet put the earbud back in her left ear, gives him a glance. Husband sniffs lightly and makes a face. “Smells like a fart.”

Wife gets out of her chair and walks toward the front door. “Smells like a fart?!” She mutters to herself. “It always smells like a fart.”

As wife walks out the door, husband says, “No it doesn’t. Sometimes it smells like chocolate cake or Chinese food.”

Wife comes back in to say, “No, it doesn’t!”

Husband says, “Yes, it does.” And wife goes back outside.