With Day 13’s poems, I got the best of both worlds: poetry and music. I asked you to write a poem that’s inspired by a song or lyrics from a song. Most of the music that inspired you was already known by me, so I found myself often humming the songs as I read your poems. Lots of fun, for sure.
Anyway, have fun reading (and humming) the highlights.
Inspired by Song in C by Cary Hudson
“…takes a swig of whiskey
He says boys
This here’s parardise”
The smell of catfish frying in the hot oil
Hushpuppies bubbling up to the top
Fills the night air with a heavenly aroma
Making the men hungry.
The beers iced down
Getting colder and colder,
Better and better
Making everybody thirsty.
Jimmy Ray picks up his guitar
Plays a song about his dog.
Some of the men want to tear up
They shake their head instead
Grab one of those cold beers,
Some a nip of whiskey.
Because most of them knew that dog.
Songs like that cut straight to the matter,
No doubt about it.
Jimmy Ray picks up the pace a bit,
Plays a song about his truck, the girl that left him.
The men really like that one.
She was such a bitch.
The night goes on
Them sitting around the fire
Cooking up good food
Playing songs about life
Enjoying their southern paradise.
patti williams |pwilliamswriterAT NOSPAMaol dot com
Inspired by “Blue Bayou”
(Roy Orbison & Linda Ronstadt)
The ancient Cyprus stand patiently.
Their branches, gnarled with age,
draped in tattered gray shawls of moss.
Gators float lazily in the sluggish pools,
waiting for dinner to swim by.
Catfish snuggle into the muddy creek bottom,napping in the heat of the day.
Here and there a sunbeam slips through the dark green canopy.
The small shack is dark..listing slightly on it’s wobbly stilts.
It is afternoon on the Bayou.
Quiet, sleepy, waiting…for me to come home.
“I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong, that I know I am… the luckiest.” –Ben Folds
I feel like I’m apologizing more and more
these days for the past I treasure, but,
I’m sorry that I defaced public property
to propose. I’m sorry I thought the best
way to explain how you’ve affected me
was to write a poem about erosion (you).
I know it may not’ve been the most tactful
approach to a proposal, calling you erosion
then graffiti-ing up Balboa Park that Thursday
when Nepalese police shot labor strikers
entering Katmandu, and the Solomon islands
rioted deep into the night, but you said yes.
The only explanation for the Nepalese
and the small island’s full-scale riots I can figure
is that we offset the global equilibrium, somehow,
with the weight of exuberancy I carried
as we walked to the Prado, engaged.
We left the world slightly off-balance.
And I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous,
when Ben Folds claimed to be the luckiest,
when the backyard was dimmed to table-candle
light, and we swayed to the music, half-dancing
and half just feeling the world rushing us toward
tomorrow, and the next day and the next day,
and I swear, it’ll take an icepick lobotomy to remove
that moment from the tight clutches of my brain.
So don’t even think about it, Ben,
that song belongs to me now.
Zebulon Huset |zebulonhusetAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
“It was 3 AM when I heard the sound”
Jonathan Coulton-“The Big Boom”
By the time we heard the sound
it was already too late.
We knew that more were bound
to suffer Michigan’s fate.
In the mindless din of screams
and stray car alarm peal
we watched as the stuff of dreams
brought a nightmarish ordeal.
The rising of the sun
just made the sight more appauling
as we heard that one by one
all of the cities were falling.
Now forced to move by night,
just one thing is understood.
We’ve all given up the fight,
hope is now gone for good.
John H Maloney |callentureAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
(“Now I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come; And I believe it could be, something good has begun.” Cat Stevens)
Dad and I sang it in the car,
on the way to school,
And, as a child,
it sure was easy to believe.
it’s easy to smile when
drinking from honeysuckles,
and singing with a cool dad is your life.)
Life gets older,
things get colder.
and “what are we going to do?”s take over.
And yet, in my mind,
I can hear our voices.
They sing to me as a reminder
that life is oh so good.
Especially when you still have a father,
and three daughters,
who you sing Cat Stevens with.
Cheryl Wray |cherylwritAT NOSPAMaol dot com
The following prose poem was inspired by The Birds’ Turn Turn Turn which was, in turn, inspired by a passage in Ecclesiastes. I am dedicating this to my mother who broke her Bird’s lp accidentally and who has not forgotten the lyrics.
To Everything There Is
This is the season of forgetting. You send me emails with details that cannot align themselves with the stars of our past; the experiences you have had that cannot have ever been. Later when I enter your room you look blinking, pulling a memory that will tell you I am your daughter. I read to you from books until you fall asleep and your lids flutter. Do your memories come out to play in your dreams or are your dreams as confused as you are when you lean over my shoulder to try to discern the words you yourself taught me to read when I was the child, confused and grasping to find meaning in the glyphs, trying to remember the sounds of letters. When I visit and your face shows you know me, I forget not to cry and want to say a child being held instead of letting you go ever.
satia |satia62AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com
LOVE SONG ON THE INNER LOOP
“This could be the end of everything…”
–Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know”
Wipers smear, taillights flicker red,
then fade; the world a greasy rainbow residue.
She sips tepid coffee as the radio
drones its headlines into tinny white noise –
Gunman opens fire, Marines press to remove Iraqi
forces, Turks angry over House genocide vote –
then segues into scratchy guitar wails
of unrequited love that curls
through a grey crush of monotony.
The familiar yearning flames from her gut
to her chest, catching her mid-sob. The sky opens;
God slices through the lifting fog
in brilliant gilded diagonals; for a perfect instant,
the City’s towers puncture the horizon,
shimmer into opalescent minarets, the receding cloudbank
transmutes into snow-capped pinnacles.
She smiles through her sip, and her heart
wings East, over the ocean to another continent.
Linda |drwasyAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
(Inspired in part by Hurt – Johnny Cash version)
I sit alone, always alone, speaking to no one,
talking to myself. I cut my skin, trying to feel
something, anything. Even pain is better than
this absolute nothing. Can you hear my cry for
help? You see the marks on my arm. “Why did
you do that?” You ask. “I don’t know.” My reply
is quiet. I wait for the yelling. “Shouldn’t do that.
It’s stupid.” You turn back to your coffee, fixing
your makeup. I watch you. I want to be you, cold,
aloof. I return to my room, listen to the music of
your youth. Old records that try to speak to me. I
cut my skin, and wonder if these records made you
Susan M. Bell |maylandwritersAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
When I’m 64
I must remember to remind
my children not to let me
wear white anklets and plastic shoes
not to mention a flowered muu-muu
even when no one is at home.
Renee Goularte |share2learnAT NOSPAMsbcglobal dot net
“Glory days well they’ll pass you by
glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye”
physical game, mind game, winning game,
not just a game,
an all consuming struggle to the pinnacle of success.
Play the game on and off the court.
Be on top of your game
front the post, box out, take a charge,
sprint to the help, rebound,
stand alone on the foul line
she shoots, she scores.
The roar of the crowd,
fast break, take it to the hoop.
The buzzer sounds
the team remains unbeaten.
smiles through tears,
the Lady Spartans pose
state champion medals around their necks,
standing for a moment in the glory days.
LBC |lcaramanAT NOSPAMtwcny dot rr dot com
The Highway is a Clogged Artery Through the Heart of it All
“And you wake up
to the sound of a horn
that reminds you
that you’re not dead”
— “Traffic” – Chad VanGaalen
I am well-travelled
but only between
two cities; I am
radio has been
asleep for two
years, I have too
to think about
people are passing
by with bodies
in the trunk
it is orange
barrel season: every
inch of us
In the fast
we are large
out of gasoline
in the right
I am headed
the wrong way
k weber |ilovehateyouAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com
So let go, jump in,
what you waiting for?
It’s all right
cause there’s beauty in the breakdown-
It’s so amazing here
Let Go by Frou Frou
I want to turn the left side on my brain off-
unclasp the heavy buckle
that binds my heart closed,
swing doors and windows wide
to sun and breeze,
rush of love in and out;
I want to live at the centre
and breathe everything.
Jacquie Wareham |wareham dot jacquieAT NOSPAMgmail dot com
“Go ahead with your own life leave me alone”
(Billy Joel–My Life)
It wasn’t my first affair, but it was my first divorce.
Fall of 1978.
I was driving down the highway from my disastrous job
With Billy Joel filling my head
When that old American Motors Eagle caught fire.
I grabbed a blanket from the backseat
(you can imagine why that was there),
jumped out of the car and opened the hood.
Flames were all over the engine.
I just started beating them with the blanket yelling
“I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life!”
The flames died.
I started the car and drove on home
for the last time.
The flames were dead.
Nathan Everett |nwesignaturesAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com