Uneasy Observation

I rarely dabble with any type of narrative verse (nor anything quite this lengthy), but after a recent visit to an art venue that put me rather ill at ease, I felt that a description was warranted. Though probably unnecessary, I’ve included scans of the notebook I had on hand while I was there as well as my “official” poetry journal, since I’m looking to track the creative process for this month’s works. Number 26:

collective0

collective1 collective2

The experience
quickly became a list
of confusing,
undesirable sensations.
I found myself uneasy,
uncomfortable,
out of my element
in an alien atmosphere
that smelled dusty
and unfinished.
It was only just
too cold:
if I didn’t move my toes,
the anxiety crept in
from the cool, uneven
concrete floors
that spanned the soles
of other awkward feet
shuffling through the room’s
hard mood.
Though I tried to read
the walls,
nervous preoccupation
only showed me disrepair:
loose cords grew like vines
from new paint on old trim
while sad strips of black duct tape
clung desperately to
old paint on older walls
smudged by dirty fingers.
Those same hands
might have dragged
the ugly rugs
over more electric weeds
sprouting from the hard drive
of anachronism
at the cracked room’s
buzzing center.
My heavy head
and tired eyes cringed
at dated typeface
on faded signs,
loose particle board
and sealing foam peering
back at me,
“You are no Adonis either.”
I felt unwelcome,
though somehow obligated
to be there
in this out-of-joint
collective,
every bit
as aloof as I was.

Yet under it all
or perhaps through it
or in spite of it
there was the scent
of potential:
this space
had tried so hard,
I finally saw.
It wanted to be
a place of class
and warmth
and culture
and sharing,
but it tumbled
and fell short
when it saw how
uncomfortable we were,
when it heard
our criticism,
when artists and audience
left the building
and judges sat down
in their cold, rigid seats
to watch,
with suspicious eyes,
their spectacles.

Salutations

This one took me off guard, but I was happy to let it be. Number 25:

salutations

Sunrise lifts the mountain,
open-armed,
to heaven
and dives on swans’ wings
below the blue horizon.
The World-Bearer’s stride
brings strength to night
as the waking hound
sniffs his soil
and lengthens his gaze,
a smooth plank
on calm water.
Beneath, the crocodile sinks
and the serpent shows his hood,
calling the hound to lunge
into dawn and fold the moon’s rays
behind the world.
Ascending circles sweep the sky
and sink to sturdy thrones
and reign in the embrace
of the mountain’s
welcome.

.

A bit of yoga inspired this one.

Best and Brightest

This last stretch is when NaPoWriMo truly becomes a challenge. I’m three behind, so Poem Number 23 is inspired by NaPo’s Clerihew prompt from today (Day 25), but only marginally: it seems that my attempts at writing short, humorous verse always end up in limerick form, but I still maintained the famous-person-oriented theme. This one might be a shocker:

tesla limmerick

.

A Serbian fella named Tesla

thought himself, for the world, an investa’,

but dark was the hour

for his infinite pow’r

that Edison’s light got the best o’.

Compromise

After much time spent with jumbled thoughts and two-and-a-half pages of free-writing, I arrive two days later at another somewhat self-referential poem. But I’m more partial to this one, as it manifested itself as a sonnet, a form which I admire. So Day 23, Poem Twenty-Two:

sonnet muse

If muses dance between my thoughts and fly
my bid to trace their movements on the page,
as iris-wings, whose course bespeckles skies
with blinking hues afloat on blissful rays,
elude the nets and jars of greedy Books
whose walls are trimmed in colors bound and still
behind thin glass, affixed by pins and hooks,
I cannot say my heart would wish them ill.
For how could inspiration disagree
with butterflies, whose mercy is the wind,
when both are Beauty’s breath and rightly free
from selfish minds whose zeal would see them pinned?

And so I seek a fair accord of peace
to share their worth by capture and release.

.

As a note, those two-and-a-fraction pages of unused words will likely make their appearances soon, hopefully somewhat more distilled.

Recycled Bard

I’m taking advantage of NaPo’s sanction to write an erasure and catch up with two! (Again…) This time I’m invoking the poetry of the (Scottish) Bard, Robert Burns, for numbers twenty and twenty-one:

hermitage erasure

Beneath
thy flaming vale,
evils hold
the lowly shades
of life
and sage man’s Art
must smile and frown
to Vice.

That selfish quiet,
the bed of Night,
shall be clad
in idle pleasures
that devour
the future.

Guard thy past,
and keep thy heart
in view.

lament erasure

Pale pines
beneath a dream
adorn my remembrance,
poetic and tame.

Promised moments
bear lost youth
and sorrows,
hours of hope
and woe
that kiss
the nightly eye.

If slumber brings
thy silver scenes,
I feel again
I’ll wander.

Ghazalmost…

I had intended to write a ghazal for number 19, as you might infer from the cross-outs on my draft, but the poem took its own turn and decided to scrap that in favor of its own unique form and rhyme scheme. So be it.

Draft:

forest sleeper

.

He of the forest was silent, having seen the gossamer glow
of voices too small to hear

and before dawn, his antlered crown dipped low
beneath the half-moon’s sterling sheen:

She gave him the breath of twilight
and seeded secrets in his ear

to wake him from quiet, breathless night
and leave him somewhere between.

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A curious ab, ac, db, dc scheme. Something about dreaming and waking.