Calamity

She leaned against the wall
sun beating down
sweat on her brow,
legs aquiver.

No doubt about it
a long hard fall
a catastrophe ’tis true,
but she’d landed on her feet.

She counted in her head
one . . .
two . . .
ah. . . . just three.

She arched her back
preened a bit
and catwalked down the lane.
Six more to go.

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Includes July’s word prompt from my granddaughter, “catastrophe.”

A Sign of the Times

Day after day, he stacked the mail
catalogues, ads, all on the steps
in rain and sleet, and snow and hail.

So I sat by the window, waiting one day
caught him as he was walking away,
and queried him nicely. Why?

Why don’t you use the LETTERS slot
that’s right on the door, quite plain to see.
He stared and looked blankly at me.

“Well ma’am, I see the sign on your door
capital block letters, all in blue,
and that little slot thing too.

But I have no idea what LETTERS means
and the slot’s too narrow to ever fit
all this important stuff you get.”

Ping.

“Excuse me ma’am,”
the young man said with a grin,
“That’s an important text coming in.”

 

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Mish is hosting Poetics at dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write a poem about signs. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop by and join in the fun! Photo in public domain.

Mugshot Poetry

The infamous Flowers Act,
high-steppers of vaudeville fame.
Two performances a day
forty-two weeks a year,
those days before the movies talked.

Flunkie acts started shows,
as rows began to fill.
Maybelle and her off-key dogs?
Surefire way to empty the house.
The best was always in-between.

Operatic divas with mighty breasts
Mr. Visser and his singing duck
acrobats performing impossible knots
and in the midst of all this prime time,
René strutted onto the stage.

Deflowered early in her career
she’d made the best of it.
Twirled baby Rosebud overhead
tapping away to the newest tune,
audience clapping with glee.

Child-stars grow as years move on,
mamas trying to keep them young.
Highlight move of the Flowers act
dancing with Rosey held overhead,
harder and harder to do with a smile.

Teenage angst festered full-bloom.
Rosie kicked higher and higher still,
belligerantly balked at precarious lifts.
Brass played louder, drummer too
covering angry words that flew.

And then . . .

The nefarious night of 1929.
Outdoor billboards proclaimed,
See Our Flowers Tap To Delight.
Spotlights cued, the band played
and curtains rose to a barren stage.

As talkies came
and vaudeville disappeared,
their billboard photo gathered dust.
Missing persons,
never found.

Advance the reel please,
to 1932, in the Big Apple.
Crowds waited raucously.
til Radio City Music Hall
flung open her art deco doors.

The organ played and the audience cheered.
High steppers fanned across the stage,
kicking their way into Billboard fame.
Including one with a rosey attitude,
because her time had finally come.

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It’s Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today I’m hosting, asking folks to write a poem motivated by mugshots from the 1920s (all in public domain). Folks can use their imagination and take their post anywhere the photo inspires, as long as they include one of the photos, all of which can be found here. I did some research on vaudeville and Radio City Music Hall. Vaudeville acts were arranged as mentioned in stanza two. There actually was a very popular vaudeville act, Gus Visser and his singing duck! Radio City Music Hall did open in 1932. All else….your guess is as good as mine! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.  Come on over and enjoy a mug!

The Black Widow

Imagining herself on silver screen,
seductive in lace, she hosts a soiree.
She lures her guests, her evil goal unseen,
with delicate threads to lead them astray.
Her hourglass figure, tempting when seen,
is summoned to weave a web for her prey.
Beware,  Miss Arachnid’s truly notorious.
Her venomous kiss, always victorious.

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today, Frank is hosting and asks us to write an Ottava Rima. A new form for me, and quite challenging. It is actually an old Italian form of poetry that has multiple stanzas of 8 lines, in iambic pentameter (10 feet per line), with an ababababcc rhyme scheme. Frank gave us a reprieve and said one stanza was acceptable. Iambic pentameter also involves a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables — which I find extremely difficult — so I originally went with 10 syllables per line and avoided the stress! The version you just read, went back and aimed for the iambic pentameter. I have new admiration for Will Shakespeare! Stop over and see what others have done with the form — or better yet, give it a try yourself and join us — we’re a very friendly bunch! Photo in public domain.

Sequel

I doth tromp amidst this misty fjord scene
my youth expired, seeking to inquire.
Searching caves, knowing my child’s desire.
To sail with thee, frolicking where I’ve been.

Since my desertion, what is thy routine?
May I but hear you roar and see your fire?
Meet my child, that is all that I require.
And so I bare my shame, I plead and keen.

I’ve shared with him my childhood tale of joys
of pirate ships and rides upon your tail.
Prithee show yourself and accept my plea.

I dost promise thee, he shall bring you toys,
climb upon your back to happily set sail.
I shall bow to thee, grateful for his glee.

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Kim is hosting dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to rewrite a popular song in the style of a sonnet (perhaps Shakespearian), without telling readers what the song is. Sonnet: 14 lines: two quatrains followed by two tercets — all in iambic pentameter with the following rhyme scheme: abba, abba, cde, cde.  This was a real challenge for me! Warning: even the mighty Will Shakespeare diverted from the strict form occasionally.  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!  (Photo taken a few years ago on our Alaskan trip)
LYRICS:  Puff the Magic Dragon

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puff’s gigantic tail
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

Writer/s: LEONARD LIPTON, PETER YARROW
Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

A Sharp Little Ditty

Harrison Hedgehog
all a dither
in a quiver,
over Patty Porcupine. 

How to propose?
The poetic one,
undone,
by a prickly giggly gal. 

A note, inside a balloon,
a quadrille.
Then with her own quill,
Patty will pop the question!


It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. De is tending bar and asks us to giggle today 😊. Forty-four words, not including the title, that include the word “giggle.”  I figure in our crazy world, it’s a good day for a silly little ditty! Photo is of Harrison Hedgehog,  in public domain.  

I’ve decided . . .

to thrive in this topsy turvey world.
I shall walk upside down, toes in the stars,
leave diamond shaped footsteps in the sky.

When down is up and in is out,
I shall touch the soil with outstretched arms
fingers wriggling in earthworm rings.

I will be a handstand acrobat
padding through sunflower fields,
pollen dust knees attracting bees.

When the sun sets, I shall ride the moon,
kicking stars into nova showers
and I shall never wane.

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Bjorn is tending bar at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. He challenges us to make our words into the equivalent of expressionistic art. “The simplest and most effective way to define expressionism is that you present the world in a totally subjective perspective.” He also asks us to write in the first person. Bar opens at 3:on PM Boston time. Come join us!  Artwork: The Starry Night by Van Gogh.