Monster on the Bus

MonsterMonster on the Bus

Look, look, I am a headless monster
with his jacket pulled over his wild hair
and zipped as tight as his father’s hand on a bottle
the future class clown wove his arms, growled
and chased the gleeful girls around the bus stop:
a colorful start for our first day of school.

Awkwardly eager to also befriend screaming girls
and impress the other strange boys
I tried the spooky prank too:
up over my head
zipped tight
Grrrrrrrrr!
It worked like a charm.

Yay, here’s the bus!
But, oh boy, my zipper was stuck.
I panicked, and still a monster
I went up the bus steps.
Yet this cranky bus driver
would tolerate no monsters.
No foolery on my bus
and kicked me off the bus.

I ran home a crying monster
— well until I figured out
how to slip of out my constrictive costume.

My mother was righteously furious, but not at me.
She drove me to the school and scolded the principal
who then scolded the monster-squashing bus driver.

Fifteen years later, when he was her boss,
the principle and my mother laughed over this story
My Mom loved teaching, and was a student advocate.
She never squashed my inner monster
nor that of any child blessed in her care.

— by Sabio Lantz, August 2015

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Prompt: Yes, true story. Gabrielle, at d’Verse Poets, challenges us to: “Think about what the first day of school evokes for you.”  For anyone interested in another cool experience I had seeing children getting on their school bus, see this post on my other blog. Oh yeah, the pic by taken of me by my son today — thanks pal.

What . . .

What …
… brought us in play [unmei]
… yet kept us pristine [sekinin]
… then caused our undo [miryoku]
… finally made deepest friends [en]

by Sabio Lantz, August 2015

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Japanese Echo Vocabulary:

Doubt_WelcomePrompt: Mary, at d’Verse poets, challenges to write “Echo Verse”.  I did not enjoy the examples forms we were shown because they were too repetitive, so I put my echo in brackets.  Many of you, like me, think in more than one language, and so I put such thinking in this poem: the echo uses the part of my brain which often chirps with deeply rich Japanese abstractions.  Sorry to make readers labor through the languages, but in exchange, I kept the poem short.

Returning

The Audio Poem:

Prompt:
Doubt_Welcome

Björn hosts Open Link Night at d’Verse Poets Pub where he encouraged us to post audio versions of our poems. So above is my first attempt.  The written poem can be seen below. Oh, and by the way, this poem is not really about kayaking or radios.

As my sticker to the right states — questions, doubts and criticisms are welcome!! Please make me a better writer and thinker — tell me what you think (uncensored). And though compliments are fine, they are not what I covet.  I love questions and doubts.

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Returning

Today my car radio crackled:
familiar songs were muffled
and the voices unfamiliar.

That’s because yesterday I kayaked:
a strenuous, delightful escape
over smooth, hypnotic waters.
But loading my kayak for the journey
required retracting my car antenna.

Now returning to my familiar world
I must put my things back in order.
So I reached out my window,
pulled the antenna back up,
and the songs were once again
crystal clear.

—by Sabio Lantz, August 2015

Righteous Self-Harm

Righteous Self-Harm

when driven by our Fears
to actions not our best,
we hurt ourSelves not them
— our inner self confessed.

recovery eludes
an unrepentant Heart.
our blindness block our minds
— again we fall apart.

’til Freedom is our goal
and Happiness our aim
our fears will rule our soul
and blame will maim and shame.

—Sabio Lantz, July 2015

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Doubt_WelcomePrompt: Today is a Blue Moon, the second full Moon of the month, and Victoria, at d’Verse Poets, has asked us to write a poem in common meter, taking care to add texture by using one or more of the tools chosen by Emily Dickinson to spice up the ordinary. (see Victoria’s post for a list of those tools)

I added these techniques of Dickenson to my common-meter poem: (1) capitals (2) an emotional topic (3) dashes. And by using the seriousness in the words, I hopefully mitigated the sing-song effect. But unlike Dickinson, I am not fond of ambiguity, though I love raising questions. So perhaps I did not subvert the common meter enough to reach Victoria’s calling. Let me know what you think.

Nature’s Apathy

Nature’s Apathy

A deer was veering swerving cars,
until she was hit square on by ours.
Her death made it oh so clear
that we should not run from our fears.

Sad at the loss of my best friend.
Angry for his life’s early end;
I saw a roadkill squirrel’s form
showing me nature’s apathy toward gore.

The World cares not for my soul,
Nature offers us no special role,
but to live and die like all the rest
no greater than the smallest pest.

—Sabio Lantz, July 2015

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Prompt: CC, at D’Verse Poets, asks us to “Write a poem of 25 lines or less about how nature has healed, soothed, or inspired you.” Nature can sooth suffering by telling us we are not alone. She reminds us that we too are animals, treated no better and no worse.

India Train Hopping

India Train Hopping

As a vagrant son, in voluntary poverty
I once trained-hopped through India.

Fellow poor Indian travelers
would offer their generous calloused hands
to pull me up and join them on the trains’ roofs.

And as we enjoyed our free ride around Bharat,
my companions stamped out smokestack cinders
burning through my kurta and pyjamas,
kept me low under tunnels
and secured me from rolling off while sleeping.

The camaraderie was enlightening:
no nation, no language, no color divided us.
Poverty and the rush of a locomotive
bonded us like brothers.

—by Sabio Lantz, July 2015

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Prompt: Billgncs @ dVerse Poets asks us “to think back on our life and write about trains.”

Notes:

  • smokestack cinders“: Back in the day, the Indian trains on which I rode were coal driven with sparks flying out of their smoke stack. See my story here in prose on my other blog.
  • Bharat” is the Hindi word from “India”. It is what Indians call their own country.
  • kurta and pyjamas” are the traditional clothes for Indian men — which I wore constantly.

Ten Thousand Things

The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 42

Ten Thousand Things

A small serene plaster Buddha adorns my neighbor’s porch
and its singular peace greeted my morning walk.

Siddhartha: calmly focused on one thing.
One thing only — how perfect!

But I lie: I don’t want to be a Buddha,
nor embrace any fantasy of a blissful One,
I want the ten thousand things.
All of them, fully!

Walking further I startled a naughty bush
harboring the unlikely miscegenation
of a robin and a sparrow
who quickly giggled off in flight
landing on an unattended gutter
boasting with flowering grasses.

A curious cat watched cautiously
as I refreshed my face in her lawn sprinkler.
Crows crassly cawed at each other
and a rabbit hopped off to hide in nearby shrubs.

The Ten Thousand things danced,
and while one is fine, many are better.
I wanted to follow them all — wallow in them all.
The world is far too rich to homogenize
and sanitize into a monotonous unity.

–by Sabio Lantz, July 2015

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Prompt:  Anthony at D’Verse Poets hosts Open Link

Notes for readers:

  • The quote is from the Tao Te Ching: an ancient Chinese Taoist text. There, the interplay of Ying and Yang are said to account for the multitude of things in this world. And though some may idealize the Dao, I love those 10,000 things.
  • “The Buddha” is a title (the Awakened One) given to Siddhartha Gautama, the supposed historical Buddha.
  • Much of Western Buddhism has a “One Thing” spin to it — a New Age Monism. But many forms of Buddhism are anything but monistic.  Also, some flavors of Christianity try to use their god to homogenize reality (see this post).
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