Pretend

Pretend a moment that you’re me
and write a poem I might see.
Pretend a moment that you’re me.

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Pretend a moment that I’m you.
Pretend I read your poem through.
Pretend what happens when I do.
Are you pretending? Good. Me too.

Pretend the poem tells a tale
of wooden ships with painted sails.
Pretend the sky, the salty breeze,
the creak of decks, the swelling seas,
the cutlass singing past your ear!
Quick! Pretend us out of here!

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Pretend the road. Pretend the trees,
the horse between your grasping knees,
the flashing river at your side—
Ride neck and neck with hounds from Hell!
Pretend, at least, we live to tell!

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Pretend the West, the dust, the gold.
Pretend the sleeve. The ace it holds.
Pretend the six-guns drawn at noon!
Pretend we’re somewhere else! And soon!

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Pretend the sky, the sunset sea.
Pretend the dunes, the grass, a tree.
Pretend you’re walking there with me.
Pretend the gulls that dot the swells.
Pretend the tales tomorrows tell.

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Shall we pretend eternity?
Shall we pretend to dream?

Bad Dog

Dandelions left her cryin’
What’s a man to figure

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Tried it twice— She turned to ice
So what’s a man to figure

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Told her that my love for her—
who knows—might last forever

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Asked her if she’d be my gal
Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

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Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

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I have no idea how this got in my head. I admit to laughing.

Upon Awakening in a Churchyard

Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it.
Aye, and all your choirs and blather
Won’t but start me sufferin’ years

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Before me ‘lotted time. Ye’d make
The Devil’s work a damned sight quicker
If’n I weren’t deaf in both ears twice before me wake
For all your moaning for me soul.

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Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it
Aye, and it don’t seem right a man should suffer
Twice for the same sin.

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Being of Irish extraction this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Caveat

A sonnet is a dandy thing all dressed
In pomp and form and run-on lines and things—
Enough to make the weary take up wings.
Though this is but my third, I must confess,
Lifetimes ago I wrote with zing and zest
And sonnets then were little songs to sing
To fluttering breasts and nightingales— or slings
Against misfortune, kings, and other pests.

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No poet’s court has ever sat assize
Sans sonnets quick and cleverly contrived.   
Fair queen or country maid, though each its prize—
The sonnet’s virtue rests in parted thighs.
Finer roe has never graced a sturgeon
Nor caveat much mattered to a virgin.

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Caveat is a warning or caution. Assize is a court or can be a judgement. Used here as “sat in judgement.” Sans is an English word stolen from the French about 700 years ago. Means “without.”

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Razzmatazz

A poet’s breast within me beats
Beats heart and something I call soul that leaps
Charges, races, racing, finds its feet
Drags me, joyful, joy-filled, from my seat!

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Elevating common prose
For pleasures sake, each poet knows,
Gains by use of tools as those
He would at length, I’m sure, disclose

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If payment were perhaps an ear
Just for a moment lent to hear
Keenly offered verse— or beer,
Loved by poets too, I fear.

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Most often those who are unwise
Negate the poet’s enterprise
Out of their need to criticize
(Perhaps within their misery lies)

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Quite certain they must find a fault
Regardless of the somersaults
Some poets do to try and halt
Those, who in the name of help, assault.

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Unless you’ve written words as these—
Verses made and meant to please
With just a little work to tease
Xenia* coaxed from a’s and z’s

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Your day lacks all that razzmatazz—as
Zest for verse—and all that jazz.

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*Xenia—gifts given to a guest or stranger. Xenia is the plural form of xenium. This poem is an Abecedarian. First letter of each line follows the alphabet. Fun to do.

Happy Birthday! A day in the life of a boy, a bird and a snail.

I was walking down the road
Just as happy as can be
And all the leaves upon the trees
Were waving back at me

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I saw a curly snail
As he stretched to greet his day
Then headed down the road with me
Then stopped to stretch again

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I saw a pretty sparrow
She was perched upon a wire
She sang a song—I sang along
We made a lovely choir

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The snail conducted from a twig—
Just so, our song began
“Happy Birthday to You!”
Did you hear us as we sang?

We had a happy party
As we danced around—We three!
And we wished you Happy Birthday!
Just as HAPPY as can be!

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Pannin’ fer Rhymes (an old miner’s tale)

Well, now– It was in the spring of ‘49 just ‘round Memorial Day in the Land O’ Freedom… or so they call it. Anyways, I was sittin’ up behind them hills… Y’know, nexta where God ‘n’ Hell musta had some sorta fuss or ‘nother. Sorta desert. Sorta not. And I was pannin’ fer rhymes– I kept comin’ up dry– when alluvasudden straight outta the ground there’s this tinklin’, twinklin’ musical sound. So I grabbed me a panful and gave it a twitch. Some verbs and an adjective peppered the dish. Good stuff, I s’pose. Fer a yarn they’d bin fine but not fer perfessional-lookers-fer-rhymes. I swished ‘em a little and shook ‘em again to see if that tinklin’ mightn’t be kin to the one that I found in the gully that night. It’d had to be good or it wouldn’t fit right. Them poets won’t shell-out fer less than a pair cuz one by itself leaves ‘em pullin’ their hair. So ya gotta find more than a couple that fit or poets ‘ll fake it and some ‘ll just quit and some ‘ll just hope no one says that it’s….. Y’ know….. Call ‘emselves “nou-veau” and claim it’s legit. ‘Nuffa that, I s’pose.

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I looks fer them twinklin’ musical words that rhymes like the first time they’s ever been heard. I sure ain’t the first one that’s panned in them hills. My pappy before me turned up a few thrills and somewhere or ‘nother done found a whole line. But me, I ain’t happy unless it’ll rhyme. They’re there, I can hear them– they tickle the breeze! I’ll stick it out long as there’s poets to please. If y’ expected a yarn or to hear miners cuss– I’s pannin’ fer rhymes and not prose in the dust!

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Hrmph! What’s that ya got there?

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