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The final challenge for National Poetry Writing Month, Day 30, is “Write a poem about something that returns.” In Arizona, that’s easy. The Ice Cream Man usually waits till Spring, and

the prodigal ice cream man

do the ice cream folk of the valley of the sun

hibernate? or do they attend symposia on mind control via

maddening repetitious music, or do they have to sabbaticalize

away from kids and/or stickiness for some

therapeutic silence?

don’t know. DO know

that our neighborhood guy is back, and I again wish

the culture would change and let him use a mix tape instead of that grotesque

“DAAA Da Dah dada daDA daDAA da [beat] Da DAA daDAA da [beat] Da DAA daDAA da [beat] DAAA Da Dah dada daDA daDAA da [beat] Da DAA daDAA da [beat] Da da DA da…dadadadaa. DadaDa DADADADAAAA!”

the upside is that he remembers me, and that my order is always for five generic fudgy-sickles, and he gets to keep the change.

we transact quickly, he smiles, I hold my catch by the wrapper-ends so they look a little like caught trout, and i go back to my apt,

open the freezer door, put four in, and then, like always,

decide to eat two instead of one.

 

Challenge: Write a paean to a pet, past or present.

I have written at least three poems about this friend of mine already, but I could write dozens more, so…

William Doglas Bowers

I was his man Gary just as much as he was my dog Bill. He once stopped

Dead in his tracks after he sprang from the screen door after a cat, because when I said, “Bill! No!”

it was more than a command. A tether, not a leash, connected us.

My daughter Kate gave him his name. His full name, William Doglas Bowers, had the same rolling cadence

As General Douglas MacArthur. It almost always suited him. But when he cowered

Against me, trembling, needing more shelter than our house, during a crack-lightning thunderstorm,

he was Bill, the big waif, and I felt huge

that I could stop his trembling with my arms.

I sentenced him to lethal injection after the heart-rippingest week of our time together. He was ribs and uncontrollable saliva and neverbebetter,

and again there was no trembling as he ceased, and he never closed his eyes, he just left, and then it was one of those orange Costco-y carts

to get his body to the parking lot, and then a hoist into the back

of the pickup, and home, and a plaster pawprint all claws, because

I couldn’t press hard enough, because I still didn’t want to hurt him, and then easing him

into the hole my friend and I had dug the day before, and words

from my daughter and my then-wife and me,

and then reuniting William Doglas Bowers with the Earth.

Three months later, walking with my daughter, I burst into tears. I hadn’t been thinking of him, but his name came up.

Eleven years later, here we are. I use my mind

to hologram him hrumphing contentedly

at my feet. I blink and blink.

Today’s challenge: Write a poem about a bedroom.

Yesterbed

The boy swims up from slumber and is awake. In this huge strange bedroom of his rich aunt, beneath a densely-woven top sheet and a quilt kaleidoscopably checkerboarded, with a few

Disattaching squares flapped open, there is extra heat across the boy’s legs

And he sees it is brought by bright sunshine, its bedfoot dazzle aswarm

With dust motes, and the boy in a flash realizes that he has been breathing this fine dust, and it is either this

Or the engulfing eiderdown pillow that gives him his one-nostril allergic shutdown. His nose will clear up if he gets up and walks around some. The old bed

Is with its high frame and thicker mattress and springs a sort

Of parachute-jumping-place for the boy, for his stubby boylegs dangle well above the floor, so that when he pushes off

He lands with a jolt. His feet feel the tight tiny curlicues of the weave of the Persian rug. His bare feet rather enjoy the breaking-through-mudcrust sensation

As he walks to the bookshelf. Aunt had told him “Some of your father’s books are here.” CAPTAIN OF THE ELEVEN

Must be one of them. It is probably about football rather than war. But there is DAVE DAWSON AT DUNKIRK as well so who knows. A quick peek confirms

Football. Wow, what thick pages! What weird, laughy dialogue! He puts the book back

And pulls out a pink one: THE PRIMROSE PATH by Ogden Nash. Nash was the “Candy is dandy,

But liquor is quicker” guy. The page he opens it to has a caricature of Adolf Hitler on it, who must have still been alive, because underneath the four lines are “Some day some talented belittler/Will pen a Valentine to Hitler./That gory bigot pedagogical,/Adolf, the Primrose Pathological.” The boy, twelve but fairly bright, sees that this IS that Valentine, or anyway an instrument of belittlement,

And context clues hint that a “pedagogical” person must be a dictator, and a “Primrose Path” must be a bad choice someone is lulled into taking. He checks the copyright date–1935–before he puts the book back. So the Holocaust had already begun…

The boy notices that the bedframe is carved wood, and that in addition to the elaborate, bird-crowded carving at the headboard, the very legs and feet of the bed

Are intricately carved as well. The feet have feline pawish claws. The bedposts–so that’s what a bedpost looks like!–have a swirl to them a bit like the torch

Of the Statue of Liberty. As the boy heads out the door to the preparing-breakfast rattle of the kitchen downstairs, he finds a ditty he never knew he had in his head, asking

If the bubblegum had lost its flavor/On the bedpost/Overnight.

Today’s challenge: write a poem-form review of something that ordinarily does not get reviewed.

contradictory crown

burger king to their discredit offers to children

a piece of cut card stock purported to be a crown

and it looks like factory seconds at a party store whose factory firsts are pathetic

but tackiness of the merchandiseaside this crown respresents a perpetuation

of all that is wrongheaded and atavistic about values and priorities

 

it maybe argued that a company called “burger king” is stuck with certain baggage

but imagine if they took the card stock and made of it an education opportunity

then changed the name and direction in one fell swoop with “burger origami”

can still be the home

of the Whopper Crane