In the meantime, enjoy the responses I have made to other prompts.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Boy with Blinders On

I often saw him walking through the prairie all alone,
His fists both filled with daisies, their recipient unknown.
Some days he might be skipping through the grasses thin and tall.
I’d also catch him dancing though no music played at all.
If someone else might come around or happened in his way,
He wouldn’t miss a skip or step or interrupt his play.

The most peculiar part of this was what I knew to be:
He’d an alcoholic father and a mother absentee.

I also saw him when in school; he loved the kitchen toys.
He always was the last one picked when playing games with boys.
Though based alone on memory, at any time or place –
I never saw the boy without a smile upon his face.
He sang and acted out our songs as though he were a star.
His acting skills were better than the rest of us by far!

As I reflect on grade school times, what baffles me the most:
The other kids would taunt the boy and then would dare to boast.

I only heard what happened next; we’d gone our separate ways.
The boy, now man, did make-up for some musicals and plays.
He met a man, an older one; on him he would depend.
He nursed this mate when illness struck, but illness would not bend.
The rumor was while treating him, he’d gotten AIDS as well.
The boy, now man, lived ten more years then tolled the final bell.

I’m still perplexed by how this boy, turned man, could only find
The positives life gave to him, then leave the rest behind.

Note: the boy was my half-brother, Mark, and when I saw the picture of the blonde child in the field, it reminded me of him. The poem is true, at least as far as what I remember.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lessons Learned

“Beware of the man in the moon,” Mother said.
“He’ll visit your dreams while you’re snug in your bed.
He knows what you’re doing by day or by night.
The sun may be up, but you’re still in his sight!!”

She said it enough times I thought it was true.
I’d look out each evening to see what he knew.
He glared in my window; on most days I thought
I’d done something wrong even when I had not!

It got to the point where I hardly could sleep.
I tried to ignore him, but failed counting sheep.
I asked for some curtains to black out his stare,
But Mother said children my age needed air.

I looked in the other direction instead,
But still felt his eyes on the back of my head.
And even when sleep would at last come my way,
The man in the moon often made me his prey.

He’d come down to earth like a big glowing ball
Then roll close behind me and cause me to fall.
I feared I’d be flattened; my bones would all break.
My mother just stood there. No move did she make.

I always woke up with me covered in sweat.
The dread of those nightmares I’ll never forget!
My teachers concerned, though in only first grade,
My mother confessed to the story she’d made:

“The man in the moon isn’t real at all son.
I just made him up so your chores would be done.
And then when it worked it was tough to let go.
You’d followed the rules for these last weeks or so.

“I never intended to make you so scared
And guess I have damaged the trust we once shared.
I’ll try to rebuild it from this moment on;
My days of deception, my dear son, are gone.”

As far as I knew she was true to her word.
And now I’m a dad the temptation’s occurred,
But when flash the nightmares remembered so well.
The man in the moon is no story I'll tell.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Inspired by Rage

Painting’s been my passion for as long as I recall.
My toys were paints and canvasses instead of bat and ball.
At first I painted simple things, like flowers or a tree,
With little definition, but there shapes were clear to see.
Folks said I had potential, although difficult to gauge;
They said I had more talent than most other kids my age.
My parents paid for classes where the rave reviews went on
Whatever my assignment – baby, citrus fruit or dawn.
The more I heard what people said, the more I thought it true,
So painting for a living was the job I would pursue!

Of course I went to college choosing Tufts in Medford, Mass.
Perfecting my technique, attending each and every class.
Then came time to earn a living, there were charges to be paid,
But I barely met the deadlines when I tried to ply my trade.
I painted people’s portraits and a still life here and there,
For ones asked on commission like this antique rocking chair.
I also entered shows and brought my water color scenes
But I only sold a couple, not a windfall by no means.

The more my debt load piled up, the less my visions came.
Now all my pieces looked like crap; all brush strokes looked the same.
I couldn’t even bring myself to paint a single stroke.
I’d have to choose another path; my talent was a joke.
I stood there with my brush in hand; my canvas clean as new.
I shook the red paint off my brush, well really more like threw.
The color splattered everywhere – it looked like speckled blood.
I shook the black brush just the same; it looked like speckled mud.
Although I meant to toss it out, my final canvas done,
A buyer came and offered what to my eyes was a ton!
Of course I didn’t turn her down, nor ask was she insane.
I cashed the check, refilled my stock, and launched a new campaign.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Bear Necessities

He tells me I’m a bit too old to need my teddy still.
I promise him I’ll wean myself (but doubt I ever will).
He’s been with me since I was born; I call him Mr. T.
He used to always come along, a constant part of me.
I never had to suck my thumb because I felt secure.
When Mr. T. was by my side, there’s much I could endure.
Like visits to Doc Robinson’s or trying days at school,
Just never when we had to eat was Mother’s only rule.
Although I had to leave him home when starting second grade,
I tucked his picture in my bag, and held it when afraid.
And over time I’d need him less; he stayed up in my bed,
So in the day I’d have my friends to use for strength instead.
But anytime I’d go to bed, when sick or time for sleep
My Mr. T was what I used instead of counting sheep.
Still to this day he calms me down; he helps me when I'm stressed.
I only have to hold him tight, to give my mind a rest.
So yes I’ll take him on this trip; it’s something I must do.
I haven’t stopped at fifty-one, perhaps at fifty-two.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

For Kevin - Happy 26th anniversary!

Marriage is a funny thing, 
Two people say, “I do.”
Then try to mesh their varied lives
By making one of two.

It’s also odd, the randomness
Of how it comes to be.
Some strangers cross each other’s path
And have their hearts agree.

Most enter in with issues packed
As weighted as an ox
And try to make each other fit
Within a certain box.

Then add to that one’s age in life. 
With all the folks I’ve met
The longer people live alone
Their ways are firmer set.

So how is it, for all these years,
Though wed at thirty-two,
With ample baggage brought along
And inverse points of view

We somehow made our marriage work
For six years plus a score?
Three awesome kids, concessions made,
And staunchness to the core.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Never Completely Freed

One by one,
through the years,
I picked the locks
you chained


I break away from
a self-image
portraying me as




And Lazy.


I break away from
the belief
I am not worthy
of being


I break away from
a fear of
because of lines
you constantly

I am
still Handcuffed
by fear


By mistrust.

And by
the locked
too frightening to replay
for fear
those chains

No Fun for Mr. Fritz

Pauline and Peter begged their dad,
“Oh please, you have to let us go!
It’s kids around the neighborhood
And all the neighbor dads you know!”

“I’m not the camping type at all.
Your mother did this kind of thing.
I much prefer a hotel room
And wouldn’t know what stuff to bring.”

“We’ll help in every way we can.
You only have to come along.
We’ll pitch the tent; we’ll cook the food.”
The children asked, “What could go wrong?””

Though Mr. Fritz could make a list
Of what could make this trip a bust
To please his kids he’d have to go
And in their skills he’d put his trust.

At first the outing went okay.
The tent went up without a hitch.
The campers then went on a hike
Where Mr. Fritz fell in a ditch.

“I’ll be okay,” he told the group.
“I think I only jammed my knee.
The rest of you continue on,
No changing plans because of me!”

You readers who have camped before
Know no one ought to walk alone,
But grudgingly the group hiked on
While Mr. Fritz limped on his own.

He’d barely made it back to camp,
(His knee looked like a bowling ball),
When bears approached the camping site
The biggest one near six feet tall.

Now Mr. Fritz could not have run,
Nor did he know what he should do.
He stood as still as if a tree
And hoped the bears were passing through.

The fathers who were pros at this
Had wrapped the food up nice and tight,
So unfulfilled, the bears moved on
To find a more abundant site.

With nerves now shot and needing rest
A nap seemed like the safest bet,
So Mr. Fritz crept in the tent
To see what comfort he could get.

He would have fallen fast asleep,
Despite the knee and six-foot bear,
But just as he was dozing off
His mattress started losing air.

So by the time the group returned
He said to them while in his car,
“Pauline and Pete, it’s time to go.
The hotel room is not too far.”

Sunday, July 12, 2015 for 7/13

Order Please!

With fashion trends I’m not concerned
And not inclined to make a fuss
But when it comes to running gear
Just who designs for fifty-plus?

Who wants to see my wrinkled skin,
Accordions each step I take.
With shorts that barely reach my thighs
I scare the kids, for goodness sake! 

I cannot be the only one
Whose body’s posted signs of age
Can’t someone out there please design
A clothing line to fit this stage?

To anyone who’ll take the job,
I’d like the line above the knees,
Elastic waist would be a plus,
And also add some pockets please!

I guarantee you’ll sell these shorts
With elder women staying fit.
Please make them soon; I'm getting old, 
Then set the price and I'll remit.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Not Quite Superman

My idol had been Superman;
I’d worshipped him since I was four.
The fact he was adopted too
Caused me to like him even more.

Decisions I would have to make
Were often patterned after Clark –
The glasses I would have to wear,
The job on which I would embark.

My feigned association got
A little too far out of hand
The day I saw a burglary
And thought I’d take the crook in hand.

I stepped into the nearest booth,
Imagined my appearance changed,
Then popped right out to stop the thief
Who thought I was a man deranged.

“Twas then I knew that Clark and I
Had absolutely naught the same.
My x-ray vision didn’t work;
My superpowers never came!

While lying in the ambulance
The other fact I learned too late,
A super trait I did not have –
His power to regenerate.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Give Me Libtery

Give Me Liberty

It’s often said, though not so true,
“The guns don’t kill; the people do.”
But bullets split a heart in two.
You know they do. You know they do.

“It is our right,” you want to say.
“The constitution reads that way.”
While for their children mothers pray,
“Come home today. Come home today.”

Protect or kill? The question goes.
Its answer one each user knows,
Some leaving victims in the throes.
We must oppose. We must oppose!

I do not know, though men have tried,
What fix can mend this great divide.
One simple truth can’t be denied – 
Too many died. Too many died.

The monotetra is a poetic form developed by Michael Walker. Here are the basic rules:

Comprised of quatrains (four-line stanzas) in tetrameter (four metrical feet) for a total of 8 syllables per line. Each quatrain consists of mono-rhymed lines (so each line in the first stanza has the same type of rhyme, as does each line in the second stanza, etc.). The final line of each stanza repeats the same four syllables. This poem can be as short as one quatrain and as long as a poet wishes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Truth Be Told

 Disney had dubbed him the “Practical Pig.”
The British portrayed him as wise.
Conspiracy theorists and those in the know
Have called him a crook in disguise.

It wasn’t the plan of his brothers to build
Their houses of straws or of sticks.
Exploiting the lack of their practical sense
He told them they’re stronger than bricks.

The truth known as well is the wolf didn’t die,
Nor did he get burned on his bum.
By stalking and eating the other two pigs
The third would reward him a sum.

The three were the heirs to a goodly amount –
They came from a long wealthy line.
Though their kinfolk were kind and respected to date,
The eldest was truly a swine.

A greedy, barbaric and angry young pig,
He stomped on poor kittens for fun.
He tortured his brothers by stealing their food.
His antics were second to none.

But most did not see what his true colors were;
He did all his work on the sly.
And that’s why the authors believed him to be
A clever, considerate guy.

With dirty work done and the money paid off
The wolf and the pig parted ways.
The pig bought some acres all covered in mud
To live out the rest of his days.

Today's Writer's Cramp asked us to tell rewrite the ending of the Three Little Pigs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Portable Place

The single place I love to write
Will travel with me day and night.
It’s with me when I’m in the car.
It’s with me when I’m at the bar.
And when I choose to sit a spell
The single place is there as well.
Then anytime I go away
My place is with me everyday.
In Timbuktu or Delaware
My special place is always there.

And yes, I need at my command
Some writing tools to keep on hand – 
A journal and a chosen pen,
A voice recorder now and then – 
To note before the thoughts erase
The words I author in my space.
(For at my age a thought is gone
As quickly as a rookie’s pawn,
So if I fail to make a note
Its chance of loss is not remote.)

In summary I always bring
My writing place to everything – 
A car, a bar, a picnic spot – 
It never leaves. (I write a lot.)
No need for comfy chairs or lights
No need for oceanic sites.
No need for certain rooms instead,
My favored place is in my head.

A co-winner in the Writer's Cramp prompt asking us to write about out favorite writing place.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Memory Shall Be Ours*

I never had the chance to be
A daddy’s girl for years and years.
You passed away when I was three.
I still remember Mama’s tears.

Those early days it made no sense;
I didn’t care what people said.
A sacrifice at my expense –
I only knew my dad was dead.

But as I aged and reason grew,
I felt your strength; I understood.
To show respect I’d be like you.
I’d join the army when I could.

And so I did; I made a vow
To make the army my career
And when I did I thought somehow
I saw you grinning ear to ear.

As I progressed on through the ranks
I felt your presence evermore.
My goal in mind – to lead the flanks
Your memory to underscore.

How proud I was that autumn day
As I processed across the stage
To hear him “Sergeant Major” say
A thirst, at last, I could assuage.

As I reflect, my goal attained,
The loss I feel is still as great,
But through your absence I have gained,
Your spirit, Dad, to guide my fate.

This poem is based on two inspirations. One is the Writer’s Cramp prompt from today asking the writers to use Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem for inspiration (see below) and the other is from a recent Story Corp episode I heard involving Sergeant Major Lisa Torello speaking with Tony Cistaro, the only survivor from the attack that killed her father.

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
*The memory shall be ours.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Limericks Using the End Word Roots

In the process of earnest pursuits
To search out and learn of my roots
I discovered my kin
Was embedded in sin.
I'm hoping genetics dilutes.


I'm confused by his lofty pursuits
Hobnobbing at meetings with suits
As the boy was a player.
"But his dad is the mayor."
I guess he was backed by his roots.


Said a carrot to tropical fruits,
"For sight we're the favored recruits."
But he kiwi replied,

"We've got C on our side.
So there! Now go back to your roots!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bad Kitty!

"Dear Cat I beseech you
Allow me to leave.
My children will miss me;
My dear wife will grieve.
My body is lean
And my stature is small
I’m certain myself
Won’t sustain you at all.”

“My mouse, I applaud you
For stating your plea.
How brave of you, sir,
For flattering me.
For thinking I’m caring
And willing to chat.
You seem to forget,
My dear mouse, I’m a cat.”

“Perhaps, my fair feline,
Perhaps if you’d wait
A much larger portion
Will walk through this gate.
Or if you’d allow me
To show you the way
I know where a large pack
Of prairie dogs play.
They’re fat from the grasslands,
Quadruple my size.
A meal for your stomach
As big as your eyes.”

“You think me a fool
You mus musculus* beast.
I am up for a snack
And not wanting a feast!
And of course I know well
Where those rodents reside.
Stop looking around.
It is too late to hide!”

“But think of my children;
Please think of my wife.
I beg of you Kitten
Please spare me my….”

*This is the species of a house mouse.

Yesterday's Writer's Cramp prompt from was to write a story or poem that was all dialogue with no tags.