2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

For today’s prompt, write a poem about something before your time. Maybe it’s a certain time in history. Or a type of music. Or a story that was shared by friends or family–before your time.

Here’s my attempt:

“A Stroll Through Oakland Cemetery”

Each mausoleum and tombstone
hides away countless stories. From
Margaret Mitchell’s epic love
story to the master golfer
Bobby Jones, this one cemetery
holds its share of celebritites,
but also the first Atlanta
mayor, Moses Formwalt, who served
one year before he then became
a deputy–only to get
killed while he was transporting
a prisoner, or poor Agnes
Wooding, who was buried right here
before the land was sold by her
husband, A.W., to the city.


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517 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

  1. Angie K

    “Winter 1969-70” (Dad was a doctor drafted to Vietnam after my brother was born, I was born in Dec. 1971.)

    A piece of paper, several lines filled
    each day, with happenings.
    He’s healing, he’s growing, you’d be so proud!

    She wipes at the tear before it falls to leave a stain.
    An envelope. A stamp. A light kiss.
    Then off goes the letter, so far away.

    She reads your words to your son
    when they come from across the sea.
    So glad you’re alright, wish I could see you.

    Why do they need to fight, on this other side of the world?
    Keep helping, keep healing, keep safe.
    And come home.

  2. dextrousdigits

    Trying to catch up on those days I wasn’t able to participate


    Jean, Marie, Pierre with other pre teens,
    not yet old enough
    to go on the hunt,
    were instructed to guard the cave
    and gather some fruit, herbs,twigs and branches
    and offer prayers for a feast.

    When they arrived back
    rain was dripping down
    They decided to start a fire
    for heat and light.

    Before starting the fire,
    Pierre took some of the blackened
    charcoal out of the pile
    looked at the other two
    “We may not be able to hunt,
    but we can practice by drawing
    animals on the wall and throw
    our spears at them.”

    Each took a piece of charcoal
    and drew their favorite food on the wall.
    They practiced aiming at the heart
    as they hurled their spears.

    When the hunters returned
    they had had the best hunt
    that any of them could remember.
    Finding the drawings on the wall,
    the leader decided
    the spirits of the animals
    were trapped in the cave
    and resulted in their easy conquest.

    That night there was feasting
    body painting, and dancing.

  3. mschied

    In another time

    I would not stand alone
    just one more wall ornament
    distinguished only by the subtle movement
    of tapping toe which prevents
    my total absorption with the wallpaper

    I would not eat alone
    in my culinary oasis
    surrounded by clinking silver on china
    small talk lapping at me in waves
    cresting over me and consuming
    while my nose remains affixed to the page

    I would not have freedom
    to go where I want
    unhindered by the wants or needs
    of family or friends
    unfettered by the pressures of society
    unable to alter my presence or
    change my future

    in another time

  4. po


    It is Zebra Day
    at the zoo.
    Girls with zebra
    stockings and
    colorful platform
    shoes mean
    there are more
    than zebras
    on the loose
    today in the zoo.

  5. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Mary Ann Cotter Tuohy

    My father’s grandmother on his mother’s side
    was born in 1841, one hundred years before
    her great-granddaughter Marian was in 1941.
    One hundred years made all the difference
    in our lives. Mary Ann was American born,
    descended from Viking invaders, founders
    of the City of Cork assimilated into Ireland
    long before James Thomas Cotter emigrated
    in the early 1800’s to America’s New World,
    thus escaping the Great Famine yet to come.

    In her mid-teens Mary Ann met Mr. Tuohy
    better known as Will who’d fled the Famine
    with his mother Julia Darcy Tuohy in tow.
    We guess his father John had already died.
    James Cotter and Will Tuohy both worked
    for the railroad, crisscrossing the Midwest,
    thus intersected their lives. Will, courting
    Mary Ann, took her in his arms and danced
    her round campfires at dusty railroad sites,
    fiddles scraping, stars winking in the smoke.

    Like Mary Ann, Marian was married young.
    A century apart, each soon had a child, each
    birthed five children, each lost one. There
    the likeness stops. Marian lost her first child
    Mary Ann, her last, and no one could staunch
    the hemorrhaging blood, her body exhausted
    by five births in five years, her own life done.
    One hundred seventy-one years have gone.
    If 2041 sees Marian’s great-granddaughter
    born, how will their lives be alike or diverge?

  6. cstewart


    My mother was happy running on the beach,
    Exercising with the women from work at Douglas Aircraft.

    There was no Ocean Avenue, just sand that
    Led over and further over to the beach.

    Her apartment on Mira Mar street had a Murphy bed
    And a little kitchen to fix some meals.

    She ate avocados and cottage cheese
    And went to visit her friend at her house in South Central.

    They explored the unknown California without people,
    And she said Seal Beach had a lot of seals and no pier.

    Later, after the war, they moved back East
    And took up housekeeping, in a place with no excitement.

    That was still before my time.

  7. foodpoet

    before your time

    Before now
    When memories were sharp
    When you were the code breaking crosswood queen
    But now cannot figure out sudoko

    When memories were sharp
    You helped with my taxes
    But now cannot figure out sudoko
    And me I process your taxes and leave sukdoko untouched

    You helped with my taxes
    Me the inept mathetican
    Now processes your taxes and I leave sudoko untouched
    I look at you and dream of sharp edged times

    Me the inept mathetican
    I look at you and dream of sharp edged times
    When you were the code breaking crosswood queen

  8. Paoos69

    The Intellectual

    Lost his parents as a young lad
    Thrown to the big, bad world
    He fended and he fought
    Like no other valor

    Little to eat, two shirts on his back
    Created a little world
    For his own clever, desiring self
    To the country of mountains he went

    Design, his claim to fame
    Built the Townhall and hotels five-star
    Poured himself in every deed
    The little sapling became a stalwart tree

    Family, fame, sons so true
    By and by his wealth grew
    Yet he remained a sage
    Detached, solitary, though deserving center stage

    Old habits die hard
    Scringed and saved
    Suffered and craved
    Lived alone, and died the death of a bard

  9. ratgirl

    High Functioning

    Mr. Hughes, or may I call you Howard?
    I’m sure we know each other well enough, living
    in the same disturbance as we do, albeit
    at opposite ends of the century. Me, obsessive, you
    compulsive, and also the other way round.

    We’re grifters, you and me
    flashing a series of parlour tricks, one furitive tic
    and then another. Artists of escape, slipping
    out of handshakes, turns of doorknobs, disappearing
    into the safe small sterility of hotel rooms
    and other dark shiny places. Even there our most delicious
    cravings are coated in terror that drops
    into our laps in the quiet late at night. Infected?
    Syphilitic movie starlets? MERSA creeping hot and silent
    Into the divots of another gouged scab?

    We hold the world together with cellophane tape
    and a ton of excuses. It’s a nonstop sideshow
    trick, pulling a neverending rope, hand over hand,
    even as the fibers fray apart. Knotting faster than the human eye
    can see the imperfect spaces that terrify me, the same as you.
    Our fears crossing over through time.

  10. Lynn Burton


    Two old souls found each other
    within the crowd of faceless faces
    and nameless names. With one look,
    one smile, one small word,
    our lives seamlessly became one —
    until it wasn’t.

    There was no denying the attraction,
    the unspoken understanding
    in each moment we shared the same breath.
    I wish I’d known my own heart better, held
    yours tighter as it beat against mine —
    until it didn’t.

    The shocking truth of life’s fragileness
    still haunts me, shakes me to the core,
    wakes me from comfortable slumber
    to remind me that we had all the time
    in the world —
    until we didn’t.

    With no chance to properly say
    goodbye, with so many other things
    left unsaid, I chase your ghost, let
    your presence comfort me, hold on
    to memories I can’t release —
    until I can.

  11. tunesmiff

    (A Shadorma)

    On the beach,
    Orville and Wilbur,
    with canvas,
    courage, wood,
    (and a finger to the wind),
    gave dreams working wings.

  12. cajun75


    Men live and die by the sea
    Neither a wife’s arms nor the hugs of his child
    Can compete with the lure of the sea
    Not even life itself

    Grandpa worked the docks and ships
    In Merry Old England until
    One fine day he set sail with his wife
    And children for the land of opportunity

    Opportunity was there
    More children arrived
    And grandpa worked the docks and ships
    Providing for his growing family

    Grandpa loved the sea
    Until that fateful day
    When the sea claimed another one
    And his life itself was taken

  13. Sam

    Before. Tribute to F. Scott FitzGerald

    Slipping through corridors, laughing with statues,
    As skies gray and twist,
    To the mood of your wit.

    Holding on, as she slowly slips away,
    into her fiery mind,
    With the beat of your heart.

    Wishing that you could, like the ink in your pen
    Drain yourself of the day.
    Instead you keep every thought
    marred on your mind
    Like unwelcomed ink blotches,

    Or creases in a page.

    Dogeared by her charm,
    She’s kept you in place
    In the middle of a slowly churning storm

    That builds as you fade.

    Bound ceaselessly.

  14. kingac

    Anyone Who Had a Heart

    I wish I could have been around
    to sit on a writing session between
    Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

    When piano keys pressed caused
    melodic rainstorms to wrap themselves
    tenderly, caressing lyrics; swaddling them.

    Horn sections bleating sensorial
    overloads, stimulating emotions from
    the floorboards that extend all the way
    through the ceiling, into the attic, and above
    the roof.

    -John Pupo

  15. JRSimmang

    Before us was them.
    Those renegades,
    rising up from cruel oppression,
    placing fingers on strings,
    voices cocked,
    gripping tightly onto the sound that
    changed the world forever.
    Existing somewhere between rhythm and blues
    the antidote burned.
    Poison poised outside the speakeasy,
    anathema brewing inside.
    They drank of the draught,
    its inocculation
    savagely speeding its sanguine cleanse.
    Jump, jive, and wail if you have a soul.
    If not, do it anyway.
    Big suits,
    big hats,
    big band,
    big business.
    Are you ready?
    It’s time to dip, baby.

  16. Akua

    Un Historia

    They left the coffee-rich blue mountains
    to meet on a straw seated subway train
    They talked gentle politics, business,
    Roosevelt was wonderful
    and by Garvey they’d remain
    proud of a place they never knew

    He would fly back over the sea he had sailed
    from a place with no electricity
    but the coconut polished floors gleamed
    wide verandas opened to the valley
    where colonial castes prevailed
    chains he loosened and shook free
    left that warm island, unbound in New York City
    claiming a new destiny a new history

    He understood cricket but loved
    Democratic baseball, his easter island head
    in overstuffed chair, fragrant, listening to the radio
    play by play, talking about Jackie Robinson,
    Hank Aaron, those sacred Sundays in Jamaica, Queens

  17. shann

    Fanciful attraction

    What a time it must have been, mamma,
    when big cars full of cheap gas
    took to the pavement, in the summer
    you could drive about anywhere

    in a halter top and linen shorts
    with cuffs and ironed creases,
    you were a pretty girl looking for fun,
    face freckled, brown hair in a knot.

    When you met daddy, did you
    go to Corpus Christi right away,
    heart full of hope, have corn dogs,
    and cold beer on the beach?

    The war was over and plenty
    was the word on everyone’s lips-
    he was handsome, on the G.I bill,
    full of adventure and jokes.

    it’s not easy to think about
    you as a young secretary,
    smoothed-faced and careless
    taking up with a sweet talker

    like him, you didn’t worry at all
    about someday and what if,
    no one ever does in the beginning,
    when the light dances on the water

    making the moment look pretty good
    even heading home with me in your belly
    cruising north till the salty water
    disappears behind a stand of lanky pine.

  18. Jolanta.Stephens

    They were happy
    And carefree
    Long haired
    And wild
    And partying
    The epitome of cool.
    They wrote songs
    Around fires
    Whatever they wanted
    Drank just as much too.
    Tiny waists
    Cinched and buttoned
    With patterns flowing free.
    They were young
    And wild
    They danced
    And lazed in the sun
    They worked hard
    And played even harder.

    Then I came along.

  19. drwasy


    It was ordinary rope
    the type used to bind parcels to carts,
    or carts to horses.
    You thought nothing of it,
    I am sure, when you left
    your crooked house
    down the steep wending steps
    through the iris and gladiola,
    to the dirt street and Sir’s house
    to mop his floors, polish
    silver that saw you
    reflected, blond and worn.

    When you left,
    I am sure, you thought nothing
    of the rope on the basement stoop
    or your son in his room
    coughing red streaks
    on his hand, his shirt,
    his wall, the floor, not yet a man
    but more than a boy.

    I am sure, when you left,
    You thought nothing
    of your husband sawing logs,
    sweat staining the once-white
    shirt, the rasping making music
    with the chortle of finches.
    Perhaps you smiled,
    Happy to soon have shelves
    promised last week, not knowing
    he took the coffee you made
    before you left
    with sips from the bottle squirreled
    in the dank corner where you
    kept your canning jars
    and spiders kept their eggs.

    You thought nothing of the rope,
    nor of the solid oaken beam
    transecting the basement ceiling,
    I am sure, and neither did he,
    but perhaps he thought of it
    only after he found the pistol
    too poor for bullets,
    and in the heat of morning sunshine
    and liquor, perhaps he heard
    your son rasping,
    perhaps he saw the rope,
    and thought something of it.

    Better late than never. Wrote the poem but alas, no internet access until now. This poem relates the suicide of my great-grandfather, an immigrant from Finland, a man I never met but whose wife, my Mumu, kept me close. Peace…

  20. Arrvada

    In a time long forgotten

    In a time long forgotten
    At least I would like to believe
    There was beauty and magic
    And they were more than make-believe
    Elves and fairy, troll and sprite
    Roamed the hills morning and night
    In a time long forgotten
    Long before I was born
    There were beings of power
    From which legends were born
    In a time long forgotten
    A time long before me
    In a land far away
    Beyond the bright shining sea.

  21. ellanytdavve

    My Father Was a Gypsy

    Passing rocky ballast piles,
    Crossing the churning Sound
    in a small boat
    Arriving on a beach
    with no footprints
    Finding a crematory
    on the leeward side of the island

    An adventure for a young girl
    A thoughtful journey for a father
    A place to share with her mate,
    her children
    long ago, now.

    That deserted beach walked
    by ancient natives who left
    mounds of oyster shells ,piled
    under the spreading live oaks and
    very little else to be found now.

    But the ghosts of them gather
    at the campfire, the passing
    of their story, one to another
    making sure
    they are n’er forgotten,
    making sure they are
    n’er forgotten.

  22. Miss R.

    The Morning in the Garden

    Would I have been there,
    Had I been there,
    In the garden?
    Would I have opened
    My aching eyes
    Before the first light dawned
    In the hopeless sky?
    Would I have sought
    The agony and solace
    Of that place,
    Wishing for rock
    To shatter like my heart?
    Would there have been
    A sliver of hopeful memory
    Urging me towards that tomb?
    Or would I have
    Still been sleeping
    Only to awake too late
    And too confused?

  23. Shreedhar

    Just YOU.

    Long before you were wife, mother, breadwinner,
    you must have been just YOU.
    Days, when you too dreamed in technicolor.
    When you were allowed to be just, YOU.

    And then came he.
    Through him, me.

  24. DanielAri


    and their calls continued fainter when the light
    inside went completely. Alice has her history of
    competitive play. The youngest sibling by eight
    years, she was home while the rest were at school,
    in her dad’s hair while he worked in the tool shop
    and in her mother’s while she cooked and canned.
    Her mom called a game of hide and seek, counted
    loud to a hundred by fives and forget about her
    five-year old, figuring Alice had found something
    more fun to do after ten minutes. But fifteen ‘til
    dinnertime, one child did not answer the order
    to wash up for table. This was before abductions
    infested front pages, but it was no less a panic.
    They ran calling through the house and all around
    it. Her oldest brother, who could drive now, took
    the car. They made phone calls and the police came.
    Inside one of the empty rain barrels, under the lid
    she had pulled over herself, Alice discovered she
    could laugh and weep at the same time, and both
    while completely silent. She was cold, cramped,
    terrified and unassailably, gold-medal victorious,
    which is why I hesitate whenever I notice she’s
    made a pot of tea and taken out the Scrabble board.


  25. carolecole66

    Pearl Harbor

    The Japanese attacked
    and life hit fast forward,
    a frantic adrenaline rush
    they married instead of dated
    procreated shaking fists
    against death
    the suddenness of it all

    and of the end . . .
    homes, wives/husbands,
    children, full-time jobs
    they looked around for dreams
    they left behind
    and quickly recreated lives
    in images they had never
    quite imagined.

  26. Michelle Hed

    Losing Time (a Kyrielle)

    Do you ever wonder what life
    was like a hundred years ago?
    Was it full of fun or of strife?
    Wondering why time lies so low.

    Carriage rides for a Sunday drive,
    fresh air, sunshine and fields to hoe –
    new inventions poised to arrive
    wondering why time lies so low.

    Electric cars were new, in style
    but life had a trickling flow –
    being indoors was kind of vile
    wondering why time lies so low.

    There was plenty of time to do
    your chores, work your job, kiss your beau
    and still have time to dream anew.
    Wondering why time lies so low.

    Or was the life they had as fast
    as ours today, just different so
    we romanticize on our past?
    Wondering why time lies so low.

  27. Ann M

    Turquoise, gold
    and silver are gone from
    the tombs. Carved slabs
    of the sacrificed
    and masks of the dead
    are in the museum.
    We climb narrow steps
    to the top of the temple
    and walk across
    the dirt plaza,
    where thousands gathered,
    fought and feasted.
    All is silent, except
    for an old man
    calling out to tourists
    to buy souvenir rocks.
    In the distance,
    other mountains are far off
    and the highways
    and city are not visible
    The sky is pale and hot.
    There’s no wind.
    So we find the canopy
    of a very old tree,
    climb into the shade
    and listen to leaves, rustling.

  28. taylor graham


    It happened before my time
    in her life. Unplanned backyard breeding
    in a cluttered bungalow. The owners were away.

    Without my knowing, as if another age,
    another history, she was born blind into the puppy-
    dark. First to escape the whelping-box.

    All her littermates moved on to new homes.
    She was passed over. Untrained. Learning life
    by teeth and bark. At last she was sold,

    bought, and soon returned. Too much,
    too smart, too hard.
    So how did we find her, or she us?

    Sheer accident. Yesterday.
    This morning she pulls me at the end of a leash –
    will she ever learn dog-manners? –

    down concrete stairs of an unknown city
    into April springlight. Up 13th Street, startling
    at her reflection in glass; showing me

    the scent of white begonias;
    adventuring sidewalk, as strangers debark
    from sighing buses. Bark. Greeting?

    Accident creating our brand-new world.

  29. Tanjamaltija


    And she shrieks.
    The Spring Equinox begins, and the sunlight shafts through the main doorway
    As she begins her dance of 3600 years ago.
    The tethered bull quakes, for it has smelled death.
    Her steps are light and her long, dark, Mediterranean hair flows
    Rhythmically to the music
    And the chants
    Sinuously and sensuously she moves with the grace of a lifetime of service
    In homage to the Fat Lady goddess.
    Of Malta, the Island…
    The omphalos of the World.
    She weaves in and out of the coralline limestone post-and-lintel constructions,
    Oblivious, to everything but the rhythm
    Of her own movements, mirroring those of the branches.
    To the beat of the lambskin drums
    And jarring rattle of hog-bone shakers.
    The wind howls.
    The priest raises the knife;
    The animal’s life blood spurts
    And the dancer sinks to the ground,

    And the orgy begins.

  30. Uma

    The Rainbow

    Plumeria falls on soft grass like dreams that keep coming.
    The wall wheezes with her asthma, the plaster falls away
    like rain of stone dust, and his eyelashes gently dip down
    with pain as she rasps for breath, wrenches fist of space in lungs
    as plumeria falls soft on grass and dreams keep coming
    of her pale skin flushed like the fine watermarks on marble.
    He holds her gaze, draws her to the portico of sun shine,
    slats of stained glass break into splinters of rainbow on her:
    the blood drains from her face and lips turn blue. Blurry eyed he
    sees plumeria fall on grass, dreams of her coming back.

  31. omavi

    Tears of Cleopatra

    I think she wept, yes she must have
    Wept when it all fell apart
    A beautiful queen a lovely queen
    But she could not act like a queen
    She ruled a land where only rulers were men
    Beautiful visage she wore the crown and the beard
    Seductively gifted she play grown men games
    See from the distance the threat that comes
    Her defense was as a woman not
    Anything coming from a kingly man
    Seduction was a tool
    Femininity the secret play
    She work the levels of power
    Made grown play the games she dictated
    But all most fall
    And nothing, even empires, deny final decay
    Even passion turns sour
    When kingdoms are the commodities traded
    I know she wept at the realization
    That this too will pass
    The golden becomes tarnished
    The great fall beneath the wicked lash
    But glory will never crumble
    From forces coming in
    She whispered to the wind
    On this last breathe
    I am the greatest of all queens

  32. Jaywig

    This morning I was unable to leave comments, (the screen kept telling me I was posting comments too fast and should slow down) so I’m doing a joint accolade here: I especially love the family stories of justLynne,Connie Peters,Jannilee (ah! your compassion!), ceeess, Janet Rice Carnahan, Walt Wojtanik, Jane Shlensky, zevd2001. And then there were the others – Jerry Walraven’s “Moanin'”, Imaginalchemy’s “Thoughts from the Dodo bird” and “The Invention of Time”, Linda Voit’s “Before my big entrance” and the conversation between De Jackson (Of Parks & Buses) and Marie Elena (Two Navy gentlemen). Every one of these poems touched me, moved me, and sometimes amused me. So thank you to this wonderful group of word-crafters for giving me such a gift to start the day. 🙂

  33. Jaywig

    Day 5 – something before my time

    (after watching Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide, Parts 1 & 2)

    the soil of my country
    where lichens bled
    and chemistry
    turned sand
    to iron, zinc, silver, lead.

    Even now
    saltbush claims
    old ocean beds
    and where I walk
    I see an arid future
    where the past
    is spread.

    Old land, old earth:
    they say here
    you can see the birth
    of living forms
    that thrived
    where was a dearth
    of oxygen and H2O
    and all we deem has worth.

    Is it dead?
    Crossing by train
    I feel a certain dread.
    But in the mining town
    let red soil run through my hands
    and feel the heat
    of living earth instead.

  34. lionmother

    The Lost Boys

    Grandma had a routine
    when she visited her
    husband’s grave
    She stopped at
    two small graves
    on the other side
    of this pocket sized
    cemetery overwhelmed
    by Brooklyn streets and
    the sound of the el
    She strolled over and
    stood in front of these
    tiny markers while she
    and my mother recited
    once again the same
    story of how beautiful
    they were and how
    fast they went as the
    epidemic claimed mostly
    the young and left a hole
    in the family and sorrow
    still in the hearts of their
    mother and sister over fifty years
    later and I watched each
    shed tears dripping on
    the soil as both of them
    found the tiniest pebble
    to place on the top of
    the stones.

  35. MeenaRose

    Innana, Where Have You Gone?
    By: Meena Rose

    Here I am, I heeded your call.
    How could I not?
    Every cell in my body is
    Encoded to hear your call.

    Where have you taken me?
    When is this time?
    Where is this place?
    What do you want to do to me?

    Innana, why have you forsaken me?
    Who are all these women
    I see?
    Innana, please speak to me.

    Child, you have forgotten your lineage.
    Why have you let the world
    Forget me?
    Child, come to my temple and pay homage.

    Rise, Child, Rise.
    Bring back my message
    To this blighted land.
    Hurry, Child, end this demise.

    Faceless destroyer, formless power.
    You erased my legacy,
    You destroyed my temple.
    I will restore my power.

  36. vincegotera

    Oops, forgot to send in my Day Five poem.

    Bathsheba’s Paramour

    Uriah, son of Heth, why won’t he go in to his wife?
    Damn him! I have called him home from Rabbah,
    from harshest battle, to give him this, his own lily
    among the thorns, the choicest fruit, the rose of Sharon
    within his own garden. And he says no? Uriah must
    serve the King always, here in the castle, he says.
    His men are at siege against the Ammonites, he says,
    and he will not disrespect their faith, their sacrifice.
    He will not disrespect me, my service, he says.
    What of his oath to defend my crown, God’s city?
    What of that, upright Uriah? Go to her! Her breasts
    are two baby deer fed on flowers, her eyes are purest
    white of doves, her temple a split pomegranate
    amid her sweet curls. Even the King could not resist
    her myriad charms, though try he did. O yes, try
    he did. Well, then, Uriah, back to the battle you go.
    A letter will you carry, giving your general Joab
    my orders, the King’s desire. Uriah, I offer you
    the chance in the thickest of the fight to prove
    your fealty to me, your master, your true King.
    O brother, yes, you will fight, and you will be
    lauded forevermore as the brave, loyal lieutenant
    who laid down his life for the Kingdom of Israel
    and Judah. Yes, let it be so. I wash my hands of it.
    The Lord speaks . . . I merely pass on His word.
    I am Moses . . . I merely bring down the stones.
    Yes, Uriah shall go to the stones. And Bathsheba,
    abandoned by her Hittite, like so much spoiled milk
    dashed to the dirt, she shall bear Kings. Kings, I say.
    Kings of Kings. Yes. Yes. It is the will of the Lord.

    by Vince Gotera
    Blog: The Man with the Blue Guitar

    If you look on my Day Five blog post, you’ll see that this poem was inspired by another poem written by my Poem-a-Day buddy Catherine Pritchard Childress.

  37. DanielAri


    and somebody, in my imagination a farmer, bearded,
    splashed a blessing of moonshine on the salty soil
    one morning and broke ground on the main house
    where over the years a chicken farm grew, gripping
    the foothills within sniffing distance of the broad bay.
    Eggs, fryers, stewers, fighting cocks and breeders—
    but mostly eggs—plus a vegetable garden—came up
    at the time our neighbor Kato’s grandpa was just being
    born in the city, which would have taken our farmer
    two days to reach by horse and buggy, before bridges,
    riding the long way ‘round south then north again—
    and what a glorious passage through the womanly
    hills oscillating green and brown, and between her
    hip curves, the glint of Poseidon’s gates, and at last
    fetching the bustling four-story city with its balconies
    and dust and everything commercial—and, of course,
    its endless hunger for eggs—but no tomatoes. Our
    farmer sells the eggs, takes on his weekend delights
    and makes the return trip back to the farm, with its
    endless tide of scratching feet, pecking beaks, and
    pooping and pooping—and that’s why, Mrs. Krause
    we have beefsteaks and cherries, romas and brandy-
    wines, red and running wet as drunkards’ noses while
    just down the street, you and the mister get no luck
    with your tomatoes.


  38. Christod

    Before you were you, you were disco lights
    and white suits that boggie wooogie woogied
    down a parted dance floor, slick as the quiff
    you built for the girls to wink at.

    Before you were you, you were purple hair dye
    and one gold hoop that shifted each shoulder
    from side to side at a crowded gig, stiff as the
    stool you rested a boot on.

    Before you were you, you were a mustache
    and plaid pants that made feet tap in turn
    with hand claps at a smokey pub, smug as the
    lady you just sent a drink to.

    Before you were you, you never had a me
    and the rest, they say, is history.

  39. donnellyk


    He’ll be cunning and his beauty will fool you
    you will have a child who you will let break you
    you will see that he soon will forsake you.

    Another charmer will come in to protect you
    and buffer you from the fear that fills you
    the prince will have shining armor that blinds you.

    In the void that looms large within you
    he will plant seeds times two that will craze you
    beyond the father who ridiculed and berated you.

    You will be screaming in the prison that they made for you
    you will find that you cannot escape you
    leaden sorrow and strife will disease you.

    At death’s door your thoughts will swirl ’round you
    you will wish you had listened to my fortune telling you
    you will leave yearning peace that was not meant for you.


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