HAIKU – ENTITLED TO BE UNTITLED

My friend TJ McGuire recently released his first collection of poetry, Midlife Chrysler.  In a related interview, he held that poetry matters in modern America because readers like its compact format.  They want “to be able to ingest a high-quality gourmet meal in one sitting, put their hands behind their heads and feel completely satisfied… because of its brevity, one can revisit [a poem] and be wonderstruck as often as time allows.  If Time is one of humankind’s most precious commodities, then (as the arts are concerned) one could consider poetry as one of Time’s most valuable distributor of goods.  Poetry delivers.  It delivers fast and hard.  Therein lies its power.”

In the world of gourmet poetry, HAIKU would be a canapé, a gorgeous bite-sized morsel to be savored.  Traditionally, haiku are descriptive nature poems that aim to capture a scene in just seventeen syllables, divided 5 – 7 – 5 over its three lines.  Today’s more flexible rules allow
a variety of subject matter and slightly altered syllable counts, as long as the first and last lines are shorter than the middle one.

 

Pregnant orchid
swollen with fourth set of twins
may deliver today

 

A fuchsia sunrise
shimmers on slapdash puddles
from yesterday’s rain

 

Have a comment?  Or a Haiku of your own?  Click HERE to share it!

THE WRITE TO REMAIN SILENT…

An EPISTOLARY poem, also called a verse letter or letter poem, is simply a poem written in the form of a letter.  It can be addressed to anyone—a lover, a deceased grandmother, an older or younger self,
a newspaper editor, a pesky telephone solicitor, even God Himself.
Or anything—a season, a childhood toy, a diary, an abstract concept
like love or evil or justice.  To whom (or what) would YOU write?

Me?  This morning, I lifted my heavy, aching head from the pillow and cursed the wildly bouncing barometer for the ruckus going on behind
my eye sockets.  Before shoving the perp into the back of the cruiser
on a one-way trip to Urgent Care, I’d offer him one last chance to do
the right thing.  Possibly, I’ve been watching too many cop shows…

FINAL NEGOTIATION

Dear Sinusitis,

Recent weather changes
have increased pressure on us
to arrest your activities.

Be assured, whichever
cavity you may have infiltrated,
you will be flushed out.

So much as a sneeze,
and your cover will be blown.
There’s nowhere to run.

Dozens of Suda-FEDS
are patrolling the perimeter,
prepared to dispatch

a specialized SNOT team
of highly-trained germ warriors,
armed with Z-packs

and authorized to strike.
Consider this your final warning:
Quit phlegm-phlamming!

Cough up the hostage
and come out with your hands up,
and nobody will get hurt.

Fail to comply and you’ll
end up cemented inside a Kleenex
at the bottom of a landfill.

Sincerely,
The Booger Police

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JUST JOAN IN A NUTSHELL #MyFirstPostRevisited

Thanks to T WAYNE at A JOYFUL PROCESS for nominating me for
the “My First Blog Post” challenge. The challenge was created by
Sarah Brentyn of the Lemon Shark blog.  Below are the rules:

Obvious rules:
1.  No cheating.  (It must be your FIRST post, no exceptions.)
2.  Link back to the person who tagged you.
(Thank them, or perhaps curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:
3.  Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog it.
(Either way is fine but NO editing.)
4.  Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
5.  Tag 5 other bloggers to take up this challenge.
6.  Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog.
(Don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
7.  Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
8.  Include “the rules” in your post.

I am not going to nominate fellow bloggers (honestly, the last thing I need is a plague of ladybugs), but if any of you wish to share your first post, go ahead, and consider it sanctioned by me.

OK, HERE GOES… A Just Joan 42 blast from the past!
(We’re not talking eons, just 18 months ago.  Mine is still a baby blog).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When I retired last year, I enrolled in a poetry class at our local college. What I sought was a way to pass the time and nurture my lifelong love of writing.  What I found was myself.  And now you have found me.  By way of introduction, I have concocted this little “recipe” poem:

ME IN A NUTSHELL

1 head naturally curly hair, salted and peppered
1 big mouth
2 cups French press coffee
1 unique perspective
1 notebook
1 pen
1 extra-large heart
1 avocado
1 library card
1 pair Birkenstocks (socks optional)

Combine with a crazy husband, two rescue dogs, and one stray cat in a small but organized house.  Add a yearning for simplicity and a dash of environmentalism, then ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?”  Pour into a casserole dish and top with French fried onions.  Slide it into the oven and set the dial to NPR.  While it bakes, go hug a tree and perform a random act of kindness.  Take it out before it’s done and shove it in the closet with all the other unfinished projects.  Grab a glass of Moscato, ignore the TV, and curl up on the couch with a good book.

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NOTHING TO LOSE, EVERYTHING TO GAIN

In a MONOTETRA, each stanza is comprised of four rhymed lines.  Each line has four metrical feet, a total of eight syllables.  What makes it such a powerful form is that the closing line of each stanza is four syllables, repeated.  A Monotetra can have as few or as many stanzas as desired.  C’mon, sink your teeth into one!  They’re the greatest.  You’ll love ’em.

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TEMPTATION

On Sunday mornings, I escape
to wait in line with jaws agape
and scope the sugary landscape
of rounded shapes, of rounded shapes

From the case, glazed bodies gleam
filled with jelly, filled with cream
and twisted cinnamon daydreams
Their silent screams, their silent screams

penetrate my helpless brain
and though resistance I might feign
my diet’s headed down the drain
‘cause donuts reign, ‘cause donuts reign

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EL-EM-EN-OH-PEE!

ABECEDARIAN is an ancient poetic form based on alphabetical order. Generally, the first line begins with the first letter of the alphabet and subsequent lines begin with successive letters until the final letter is reached.  My friend Chevvy wrote a really impressive one last spring; click HERE to read it.  Mine is a simple list compiled from the pages of my gratitude journal.  Try one!  What inspires YOU?

abc-2

INSPIRATION A TO Z

Autumn, Apple Butter, Aurora Borealis
Blizzards, Baby animals, Baking cookies
Cloud formations, Candles in windows
Dandelion puffs, Dreams remembered
Earth and Echoes and Earflaps on hats
Farm markets, Fireflies, Freckled Faces
God, Gratitude, Guacamole with chips
Handwritten letters and Happy endings
Inner vision, Imagination, and Insanity
Jazz saxophones, Java, and Journaling
Karma coming full circle, playing Kazoo
Libraries, Life Lessons, and Loving arms
Muses, Memory, the Moon when it’s full
Nature, Naptime, and a New Notebook
Orchid blossoms, Oldsters with attitude
Pet antics, Prompts, and Practical jokes
Quiet mornings, Quilts stitched by hand
Rainbows and Random Acts of Kindness
Serendipity, Syncopation, Street Music
Teachers, Time alone, Thunderstorms
Underdog victories and Ugly Umbrellas
Volkswagen Busses that go Vroooom!
Wonder, Wood smoke, Window seats
X on a treasure map, XXX’s and OOO’s
Yoga in motion, Yakking with my sister
Zinnias flanking the Zigzag path of life

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OH, OH, OH, I’M ON FIRE

The RONDEAU is yet another French form.  Each line has eight to ten syllables that flow in an undulation of upbeats and downbeats.  The first line begins with a refrain and ends with a rhyme.  The refrain (A) and two rhymes (a and b) are woven through the fifteen-line structure in the order demonstrated below.  Online sources cite this sequence as the most common of the variations that exist for this versatile form.
In addition, I managed to kill two prompts with one poem, #11 Night and #12 Change.  Call it cheating if you want; I’m calling it ingenuity.

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AFTER THE CHANGE

Aa    On restless nights post-menopause,
a       as hormones yield to nature’s laws,
b       dreams disrupted by hot flashes
b       In their throes, she madly thrashes,
a       and her sweat-damp nightgown claws
a       as though its neckline were the cause
a       bemoaning sleep as once it was
b      Cool water on her face she splashes
A      on restless nights
a       Back to the bedroom she withdraws
a       to wrestle in insomnia’s
b       firm grip until, at last, she crashes,
b       up again as fever rachets
a       and manly snoring shakes the walls
A      on restless nights

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MORE AAACKS THAN BILL THE CAT!

A great place to utilize poetry is in writing SONG LYRICS, our Tower Group assignment for the next meeting.  My answer to the challenge is a simple limerick series (like last week) with a refrain.  More Trump bashing?  You betcha.  If “the Donald” wants us to quit roasting him,
he needs to stop pouring gasoline on the fire.  “When you put it that way, it sounds like a pack of blatant, stupid lies,” someone remarked.  Umm, yeah.  That’s pretty much the definition of “alternative facts.”

donald-1

JUST OUT OF BRAIN-WASHINGTON
(From Trump’s Lips to Your Ears)

Refrain:
Believe in alternative facts
Whoopee for alternative facts!
Put the truth on the shelf
and keep telling yourself
“I believe in alternative facts”

Believe in alternative facts
All you need is alternative facts
Disregard honesty
and repeat after me
“I believe in alternative facts”

Verses:
My inaugural crowd was so vast,
it’s sure to remain unsurpassed
That people would think
a few marchers in pink
had outdone us, that leaves me aghast
(Refrain)

My cabinet’s filling up fast
and seats for advisory staff
A fluke that their owners
are generous donors
who stuffed my campaign’s Super-PAC
(Refrain)

The intrusion by Soviet hacks
to manipulate votes that were cast
was nothing but rumor,
a scheming maneuver,
pioneered by irate Democrats
(Refrain)

Shut up with the yakkity-yaks
about showing returns from my tax
The public and press
couldn’t care any less
so forget it, that’s all in the past
(Refrain)

Bowling Green coverage was lax,
but now that we’ve issued the facts
the Circuit Court Judge
who wouldn’t be budged
will be bringing my Muslim ban back
(Refrain)

Vetting in the aftermath,
based on dozens of terrorist acts,
will bar Yemen and Syria,
Somalia and Libya,
Sudan and Iran and Iraq
(Refrain)

I’ll repeal the ObamaCare Act
toss that nonsense into the trash
The poor and oppressed
will have open access
to the privatized plan we’ll enact
(Refrain)

The Mexican Wall is on track
and they’ll pay for it all, so relax
An astute business man,
I have things well in hand
Under sanctions, Nieto will crack
(Refrain)

Ignore all the Standing Rock whacks
set on blocking the pipeline contract
Army Corps engineers
say there’s nothing to fear
There’ll be no ecologic impact
(Refrain)

And by the way,

Ivanka did not get the axe
At Nordstrom’s, she’s selling like crack
So don’t wait to peruse
her fine jewelry and shoes;
they’re flying right off of the racks!
(Refrain)

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IMPEACHMENT RHYMES WITH ORANGE #ALTFACT

This week on JustJoan42, we welcome our old friend, the LIMERICK.
A limerick is a five-line form with a waltzing beat that often involves bawdy humor.  The first, second, and fifth lines contain seven to ten syllables, rhyme with each other, and conform to the same rhythmic pattern.  The third and fourth lines are shorter, rhyme with each other, and have the same rhythm.  Perhaps the most famous one begins this way:  “There once was a man from Nantucket…”  Google it if you’re unfamiliar.  WARNING: this poem is political.  Believers in alternative facts may wish to put their fingers in their ears and hum until it’s over.

red-button-2

OPEN LETTER TO THE SENATE

I’m sure Bernie didn’t envision
his campaign would end in recision
His bump from the race
left us in a bad place:
Trump or Clinton, a dismal decision

I held out until the last minute
amid warnings Donald might win it
The odds seemed remote
but I cast my blue vote
To be honest, my heart wasn’t in it

I paled as Ohio turned red,
fighting panic as westward it spread
I threw up a prayer
for the country’s welfare
and uneasily tossed in my bed

I woke the next morning unrested
Seems popular vote had been bested
Why do we acknowledge
the electoral college?
Red’s so-called win hotly contested

Despite opposition’s outrage,
the U.S. became Donald’s stage
Teamed up with Bannon,
another loose cannon,
he’s gone on a reckless rampage

His cronies warm cabinet seats
Detractors are out on the streets
He pokes other nations
and threatens relations
with his inappropriate Tweets

Senators, please take a stand
and impeach this tyrannical man!
Before it’s too late,
pry our nuclear fate
from the grasp of his miniscule hands

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RESOLVE TO GET INTO SHAPE

I joined the local gym last summer with that goal in mind.  I wanted to do water aerobics, so I bought a patterned racer-back swimsuit that promised to camouflage my (many) figure flaws.  My hopes were high, but everything else hung low.  Strangely, not one of my classmates seemed bothered by their own shape; they moved freely and joyfully around the pool.  They reminded me of my childhood self, playing in
the sprinkler in the navy blue bathing suit my aunt made for me, which inspired the following SHAPE poem.  Creating a shape poem involves arranging your words into a particular form on the page, thus adding
a visual component to your piece.
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AFTERNOON DELIGHT, which I posted last summer, is another example of a shape poem.  Add a little imagination and the sky’s the limit.

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