Real Hope

Real Hope

Hopes fixed on a crucifix,
or mighty Shiva’s stone.
No gods respect such requests.
The disease leaves us all alone

to embrace the only magic there is,
the only solace we can find:
the love of those around us —
which some may call divine.

— by Sabio Lantz May 2020


Promptd’Verse has another call for a “quadrille” (a 44 word poem) with the idea of “fix”.  Seeing the superstitious nonsense that abounds during the pandemic inspired me to jot down this poem. I used this poem to replace one I put here in January but which tens of thousands of deaths later is outdated.

Bless Me

Bless Me

In the US, sneezes receive a “bless you”.
But the Japanese say nothing at all.
I thought Americans were much more thoughtful
until I saw that, though far more concerning,
my coughs, belches, farts and roaring stomach
go totally ignored and unblessed by all.

— by Sabio Lantz, January 2020

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Prompt: De Jackson, @ d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a 44 word poem using a form of the work “roar”.

Awkward Beginning in Japan

For ten years I had been immersed in South Asian culture and languages. I studied both Hindi and Urdu, drummed in a traditional dance troupe, cooked Asian food and studied Indian religion and anthropology. On returning from a year of study in Pakistan and India, I stopped for a short three-week vacation in Japan but I decided to stay and join a Zen temple and start studying Japanese.

I only did one week of Japanese language school before stopping because I found it slow, boring and expensive. But I did learn one very valuable lesson in that week. From the very start, I was constantly comparing Hindi with the Japanese language. In class when I made a Japanese grammar mistake, I would often say, “Oh, I made that mistake because in Hindi we say ….”. Constantly making excuses for myself irritated the other students until finally a bold, blunt colleague was kind enough to confront me saying, “Sabio, we don’t give a shit about Hindi, this is Japan.” And that harsh lesson has served me well in life.

Building a log raft
Safely crossing a rough stream
now he must leave it.
——-   (a Buddhist Parable)

— by Sabio Lantz, January 2020

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Prompt: Bjorn, at d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a haibun about beginnings and new starts.

Ideas that Stick

Ideas that Stick

During my otherwise normal morning shower
a remaining bit of my youth’s Marxism
broke off my back and slid into the tub.

The world’s masses, having no water,
yet alone steaming, safe, abundant water,
crowded in a forgotten corner of my mind
and looked on with envy.
But across my corpus callosum
were classrooms full of academics
glaring at me through their fantasies.

Meanwhile, as my generation’s votes expand,
we suck down the hopes of millennials,
as they ironically compete unashamed
to build convincing deepfake videos
that will feed those masses with ideas
that may not fall off in the shower.

–by Sabio Lantz, November 2019

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Prompt: It is Open Link time at d’Verse Poets, hosted by Grace, where we post any poem we desire.  Here are links to two thing some readers may not be familiar with:

(1) Corpus Callosum: The part of the brain that allows the two hemispheres to communicate cooperatively.

(2) Deepfake: AI used to create images or videos to trick to viewer.

Life

Life

That which grows, multiplies
and invades while laughing
with tears.

Mindlessly striving
for successful
duplication.

Ending only
in pathetic
death.

Repeat
Repeat
Repeat

— by Sabio Lantz, November 2019

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Kim, at d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a series of Tercets which are “about something that grows or multiplies and is in some way invasive.” She then lists a who group of plant and animal species, as if any form of life escapes that description — including us. I’m not sure how to write like Plath or Hughes — both of which are difficult for me to enjoy.

The Suffering of Others

The Suffering of Others

This month I have heard at least twenty horrible life stories from my patients. I am thankful for the privilege to had temporarily shared their pain while even more grateful that I have not had to live it.

In the same month I’ve had several opportunities to share my sufferings with others so as to possibly put perspective in their lives by offering them the chance to feel gratitude that they have not had to live my poor luck.

A fawn and doe stop
surprised by the snap of dry twigs
starring into lulling autumn colors

— by Sabio Lantz, November 2019


Prompt:  Frank, @dVerse Poets, asks us to write a Haibun using the theme of gratitude.  Most of the gratitude we know is a mix of colors. A Haibun is a tight paragraph or two of non-fiction prose, followed by a Japanese Haiku ( a 5,7,5 syllable poem with seasonal tones – I used word count, instead of syllables: English and Japanese languages differ a lot).

I am Poetry

I am Poetry

The bright dancing colors of fish
swimming through my sea cave
along with the sound of droning waves
always keeps me happy.

Until, some poet, somewhere,
gets obsessed with a thought or a feeling,
and yanks me out of my sweet home
and puts me to work.

— Sabio Lantz, November 2019


Prompt: Bjorn, at d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a poem from a changed perspective.

Wet Footprints

WetFootprint

Wet Footprints

Sometimes I leave a soaking footprint
mindlessly in the life of someone
much like I do on my morning bath mat
when I pop one leg out of the shower
to grab a towel to dry myself off.

It is a wet step, a clear mark
that slowly blurs into their fabric
joining all the other mindless steps
taken with some other goal in mind.

— Sabio Lantz, November 2019

Three Social Signals

3 Social SignalingThree Social Signals

Boastful bottles of whiskey
line the walls of bottle-keep bars
throughout salary-man’s Japan.

Gorgeous, leaf-stained kept pots
awaiting their owners, line shops
in many Taiwanese tea houses.

These objects allow a delicate display
of status versus generosity amidst dialogue.
Like American cocktail parties’ guests.

— by Sabio Lantz, November 2019


Prompt: Kim, at d’Verse Poets, challenges us to write a 44-word poem (a “Quadrille”) using a form of the word “keep”.

Supplemental Info:  (1) Bottle keeps in Japan, see here.  (2) Taiwan Tea House (2) Similarly, some Taiwanese tea shops keep their own personal tea pot (an expensive one) and cups, on reserve in their favorite shop.

Yayoi Kusama

Prompt: Victoria, @ d’Verse Poets, asks us “to write an ekphrasis using a work of pop art”. Below I have chosen to jot a “poem” about the Japanese artist/poet/writer Yayoi Kusama inside of one of her works. Click the link to read Yayoi’s unique biography.

Yayoi

Evolved Love

Evolved Love

Our friendship faded a few years ago,
but as we walked through the refreshing woods,
catching up on our estranged histories,
our gaits synced and our shoulders grew closer.

Her laugh, as always, was contagious
and we melted into our friendship once again
only this time deeper as we both realized
our new potentials.

The old forest leaves smelled beautiful.
and on parting I was as awkward as always with her,
giving only her forehead a careful kiss,
puzzled if this was our new beginning.

— by Sabio Lantz, October 2019

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Prompt: This October, Anmol @ d’Verse Poets challenges us to “write a descriptive piece about an interesting person you met today or profile a loved one and write about the things as they transpired with [them] in the focus or perhaps do a self-portrait.”

Poetic License

Poetic License

Licentious
like the rest of us.
What’s all the fuss,
about that old cuss?

This ain’t no novel
don’t need to grovel.
This ain’t no journal
of a haughty colonel.

I ain’t no hack
needing your feedback
with my feet kicked back –
no heart to attack.

Spell, rhyme and reason
are freezin’ in this season
givin’ your mind a little teasin’
with a bit of poetic treason.

‘Cause I’ve got a license
— a poetic license
lets me do as I please
no gettin’ down on my knees.

—- by Sabio Lantz, October 2019


Prompt: Open Link Night on d’Verse Poets with Grace.  Most folks rarely want frank feedback on their poems, and often counter unwanted feedback with “back off, I’ve got poetic license!”

My Mind Munches on Mathematics

First, it boils Boolean bubbles,
kneads knotted notations,
marinates messy Mandelbrots,
pickles peculiar permutations
and finally garnishes it all
in glossy graphs.

Then, after such preparation and feasting,
I occasionally remember to eat food.
What a tremendous waste of time!

— by Sabio Lantz, October 2019

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Prompt: Lisa Fox, at d’verse poets, challenges us to write a poem about her nemesis, food.

Yúan

Yúan

‘Tis not the knots that support our lives
but the threads that links them all.
‘Tis not the beliefs we hold so dear
but their weavings that stop our falls.

Thus two nests may differ in every way,
yet support young and old alike.
So judge not the details in others lives,
but the beauty in the ways they combine.

— by Sabio Lantz, 9/26/19

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Prompt: Björn, @ dVerse Poets, asks us to use metaphors.  “Yúan” is part of this blog’s name, follow this link to learn more if you are interested.  As always, critical feedback is welcome.

 

Candide’s Theodicy Dizain

If volcanos sprayed delicious rainbows
and earthquakes were charming soft melodies.
If childhood could never be outgrown,
and ticks were not the hosts of lyme disease.
Then faith would be an easy evening breeze.

If we all could enjoy stock dividends,
and cocaine were a vital vitamin,
then free will would not be a tricky brew.
If our gardens were suffice to attend,
then “the best of possible worlds” is true.

— by Sabio Lantz, July 2019

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BTW, I prefer poems with obvious titles, and poems written so anyone can understand without guessing.  Yet here, I have consciously violated my own preferences.  And so, in repentance, I offer the following:

The Challenge:

Rosemary, @d’Verse Poets, hosts the Form Challenge introducing us to “The Dizain”. Troubadours (singing poets) in medieval France, employed many forms with one family of those forms being “The Ballade” (a “dancing song” — not to be confused with a Ballad). All variants of the Ballade had three characteristics:  (1) had lines with the same syllable count (and sometimes the same meter), (2) had a strict rhyme pattern, (3) was composed of fixed stanzas. The “Ballade Supreme” had 3 stanzas of 10 lines each. The Dizain was merely an evolved shorter form, being one of those stanzas from a Ballade Supreme — with some splitting that stanza in two.  Its rhyme pattern must be ababb / ccdcd .

Background to my poem:

Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a French witty philosopher, wrote a satirical short story about a fictional character called “Candide” who went through his horrible life confronting the Church’s ridiculous theory at the time (Theodicy) that the horrible suffering in this life is necessary if humans are to have free will.  To the Church, this is the “best of all possible worlds” God could have created. So I used this ancient French form (1400s), honoring the French man’s doubts (1700s), set to modern circumstances (2000s).  I hope one or two of you have read this far, otherwise, my poem will be rightfully obscure to but a few. Smile.

Heteronyms

Heteronyms

I’d prefer to play a loud vibrant bass,
than faithfully fish for an occasional bass.

I’d rather shoot an arrow from a bow
than do a slow yoga sun bow.

I’d bet rhyme would make you more content
than all of this linguistic content.

— by Sabio Lantz, July 2019


Prompt: Grace, at d’Verse poets , asks us for a 44-word poem with the word “sun” somewhere within. Here I hoped to make silliness of English wind like the wind through my poem.

Prompt: Sarah, @ dVerse Poets, asks us to write a poem about a market. So I have written about a market visited and understood by all.
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Markets of Superstition

Incense, gongs and chimes
sutras, surahs and verses that rhyme.

Spirits, saints, angels and more
Ways to get through heaven’s doors

Markets of faiths – holy din –
promising ways out of horrible sin.

Amulets and prayers promising to protect
the trusting, abiding and faithful select.

“Your children will be moral in all their ways.”
“Your grandkids will visit you on holy days.”

Oh, how do we choose the best product to buy?
Doesn’t one have to be just perfectly right?

Or maybe they all are equal fictitious errors,
to lure us into their sanctimonious lairs.

— by Sabio Lantz, June 2019

Prompt: Merril @ d’Verse Poets challenges us to write about the theory of everything (TOE) or something about theories.  I am being indulgent here and writing a prose-like composition on the theme.  As always, corrections, questions, doubts, suggestions and chastisements are coveted much more than bland compliments.

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The Beauty of Failure, Imperfection and Yuan

After years of experimentation, I return
over and over to three stances I try to nurture:

Hexagram-41(1) Failure

I use to be a Christian, a Marxist, a Vegetarian,
an Acupuncturist, a Libertarian, a Mystic,
a Buddhist, a Homeopath and many more.
I have failed and given up on all of them.

But the identities to which I am most committed
are those of a failure and ignorance–of these I am certain.

We foolishly thirst for theories that always work:

the towerIn government:
socialism, capitalism, communism and anarchism.

In normative ethics:
Consequentialism, Pragmatics, Deontological, and Virtue Ethics

In psychotherapy:
Behavioral, Cognitive, Humanistic, psychoanalysis

In diets:
Carnivore, Vegan, Macrobiotic, Mediterranean, SAD.

In religions:
Need I list them? So many gods,
so little time to choose,
while we all eat, sleep, work, love,
fight, play, fear, hate and die — no matter our choice.

imperfect pottery(2) Imperfection

We should never strive to be perfect —
not even near perfect.
We should, instead, strive to know
our twitches, kinks and weaknesses.
We should treasure insight into our imperfections.
Then, instead of struggling to change them,
we should learn them, feel them
and guard others and ourselves from them,
or get use to them and maybe even love them.

Yuan_black_script(3) Yuan 

“Yuan” is a Chinese word
for vibrant meaningful connections.
While being comfortable with ignorance,
embracing imperfection
we should value Yuan
more than happiness.

Excuse to Connect

Prompt: Gina, @ d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a nonfictional Haibun (short prose + a matching haiku) around the idea of a picnic. For today’s poetry pole poem, I posted Max Garland’s “Happiness“.

Sumo 1

More than Meets the Eye

There was a town jock
head thick as a rock
mascot.
The girls would all gawk
while geeks would all mock,
hotshot.
Very stiff in his walk
this comes as no shock,
robot.

All thoughts complete crock
from pot round the clock,
brain rot.
High, listening to Bach
his mind did unlock
forethought.
Cheering fans did flock
he showed his best block
and squat.

— by Sabio Lantz, April 2019

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Prompt: Grace, @d’Verse Poets, challenges us to write a “Lai” — a very old French form: one or more stanza each be exactly 9 lines with repeated syllables of aab,aab,aab rhyme in the stanza and exact syllable counts of 552,552,552.  I have seen this poem form used well with humor, much like a limerick, so I gave it a shot and added a home-made montage of borrowed images for fun.