Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Elegy for Jack Kerouac (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 16)

Aww, Jack, we stood,
you and me,
in my dreams, on the road,
whoopin’ it up in the heavens on
where our dreams—
tiny pebbles—
were dropped and rippled along
the waves,
cast out to sea,
real dreams, real waters,
real like the winds on Desolation Peak
real like the flames in your head
that would speak
to you,
and through you,
to me.

Aww, Jack, we were free,
you and me,
in my dreams, on the road,
on life’s journey where we danced
above the clouds
of gusting dust and
swirling behind the tail-
as we zipped along this sacred soil,
our souls splashed and re-
bare and blessed,
fired up with every step
when we’d meet and greet
the beings of human-

Aww, Jack, what a pity,
you and me
were only in my dreams,
on the road,
picking lotus flowers
lush along the path of
left to suffer
with nirvana never found.
To be true,
on this road,
in this God-forsaken world,
you were holy sent
but never in your

Aww, Jack, I pray that you,
not me,
that you
(and Sal, maybe)
through death
found peace
found paradise,
that your soul didn't have to pay a price
and could finally burn,

“burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow
roman candles exploding like spiders
across the stars
and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop
and everybody goes

Sunday, April 13, 2014

GO CHARGERS! (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 13 - an animal sestina)

Today we are encouraged to write an animal sestina (in a nutshell, a 39 line/7 stanza poem with rotating ending form of the same six words while using iambic pentameter... right?). Definitely the most challenging poem to date. At least there wasn't pressure to rhyme.   Here goes:

The charger’s chosen first for ev’ry battle
to lead its troop to certain victory,
so all the town can raise their flags and cheer.
The soldiers ride, heads high and filled with pride,
adored by all, accomplishing their goal.
They praise each horse for being such great sports.

A mascot for their school in ev’ry sport,
the charger represents athletic battles.
To play with honor is the major goal,
of course, they’d like to see a victory.
No matter win or loss they end with pride.
No matter win or loss the fans will cheer.

To morning games we travel with good cheer.
We pray for pleasant temps with this fast sport,
as Chargers take the field with schooling pride.
Opponents block and trap in this great battle
as crowds cry out to fight for victory.
And finally we clap as refs call, “Goal!”

On courts they shoot for two or three field goals
with sideline rivals chanting fervent cheers.
The Chargers strive for OT victory;
the Lions want to dominate the sport.
And so it goes, the steal a key in battle,
long pass, down low, the lay up brings us pride!

They join, the boys, for fun with full school pride.
To strengthen skills with each new set, the goal.
The girls, though, serve and spike in focused battle.
A winning match received with joy and cheer.
I’ve got it!  OUT!  It’s mine!  A vocal sport,
a lively treat despite a victory.

For school and independent victory
they run with steady speed and pacing pride.
Endurance crucial for this graceful sport,
each stride and eyes determined on the goal.
Awaiting lines they’ll cross to such great cheer,
each meet, the stars prepare with mental battle.

The Chargers battle on for victory,
Each teammate cheering on Ascension pride.
Play hard, set goals, respect the school and sport.

A City Poem (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 12)

A friend can laugh but keep the story
of silly stupors, on tangents we'd go,
in all our glitz and youthful glory
we'd blend with stars and steal the show.
And if one traveled too close to the sun,
the other reminded, it’s all in fun.

But, no!  You’re so much more than fun!
You filled a void both wide and deep.
A pressure valve released, I'd run
to magical trances on your streets.
For life, at times, we could not bear;
we needed a place and people to share.

Ah, yes! You were the place I'd share
with those who needed serenity, too.
Together we rambled, a nightly affair,
until we had to pay our due.
When daybreak brought us back to woe,
this city was both my friend and foe!

A City Poem #2


Prairie of Potawatomi pride
Discovery of Domingan and du Sable
A Fort on the river

Blood of the Black Hawk Wars
Ashes of the great conflagration
Second and windy

Hub to railroads
Liar to immigrant dreams
The White City

Home of Hull House
Riots of Haymarket Square
The Jungle

The Race Riots
The White Sox
The Black Sox

Wrigley Field curses
Super Bowl Sweetness
Three-peat, Three-peat Bulls


Skyscrapers and projects
Gardens and ghettos
Limos and cabs and buses and bikes
The El

Gourmet and comforting
Irish, Italian, Mexican, Polish,
Asian, Ukranian, German,
Jamaican, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican...


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Whistle (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 8 - Violence prompt)

(The murder of Emmett Till)

Did he whistle?
He did.
No, sir.
I do not recall.

Who the hell cares about the whistle?

the Chicago boy
just 14
that 14-year-old Negro boy
from Chicago
who whistled,
whistled while down visiting Money,
Money, Mississippi
who whistled at a white woman—
he shoulda known not to
not to whistle at no woman
no white woman
shoulda known not to whistle at no white woman
while down in Mississippi
when you’re a 14-year-old boy
from Chicago
when you’re a Negro boy
no matter the age and
but especially when you’re a
14-year-old Negro boy from up north
from Chicago.

but they say he did it
that he done whistled
that he done whistled at the white woman

and so they came for him
the white woman’s husband and his brother
they came for the Negro boy who whistled

found him in his uncle’s house
asleep in the black of night
found the Negro boy asleep, not thinking
about the whistle
but the husband and brother sure were
and they roused that boy
that Negro boy and kidnapped ‘im
took ‘im away to teach ‘im a lesson
teach ‘im a lesson is what they done did

carry ‘im out back
to the car
drive ‘im down the road
to the farm
shoot ‘im in the head
to the sound of drunken laughter
tie ‘em  with wire
to the cotton gin

mess up his face and ears just for fun
drag him to the river ‘fore the rising of the sun
walkin’ aways as if a battle they’d won

a battle between
power and
a battle between a
deranged society and a boy

a 14-year-old boy

a 14-year-old Negro boy from Chicago

who whistled
who dared to whistle
whistle at a white woman
while visiting Money, Mississippi.

That whistle.

Did he whistle?
He did.
No, sir.
I do not recall.

Who the hell cares about the whistle?