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When Pepper Ain’t Pepper

Black Pepper hails from India
while Cayenne Pepper comes to us from Mexico.
You’d never guess today
because origins tell us little.

Sichuan Pepper is citrus,
which my son calls Electric Lemon!
With all these misnomers,
you’d think we’d learn not to trust labels.

— by Sabio Lantz, June 2017

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Prompt: Kim, at d’Verse Poets, challenges us to write a Quadrille (44 word poem) using the word “Pepper”. Three different plant families Piperaceae (black pepper), Nightshade (capsicum: cayenne pepper) and Citrus (Sichuan pepper) all contain peppers but that is all they have in common — a name.

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stormA Woman named “Storm”

Storm rolled into the party
expecting all eyes blinded
by her lightening appearance
and all ears deafened
by her thunderous New Age wisdom.

Yet, she opened her mouth
and clouds thickened,
bright colors dulled and eyes rolled
like waves over a murky pond.

— by Sabio Lantz, June 2017

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Prompt: De Jackson, @ dVerse Poets, challenges us to write a 44-word poem (a Quadrille) which uses the word “storm”. I have shamelessly used this chance to introduce one of my favorite comedians, a pianist and song-poem-ballad writer, Tim Minchin. This poem is inspired his “poem” called “Storm” — click here to see the YouTube presentation from whence the pic above was lifted.

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Beware of Similarities

Though I can’t see in your car window,
you appear to be a driver, just like me:
Your car is clean and your tires full;
We are both driving nicely down the road.

Then suddenly, I am ripped from my car
and I sitting in your back seat.
Your girlfriend is screaming at you
and the car stinks of cheap booze.

You are waving your hands angrily,
conducting a symphonic cacophony of curses
as the radio blares rageful rap
and then you turn to yell back at her.
Zap ! I’m back in my car.
I watch your car suddenly hit the lane divider
and crash into two other vehicles
which also look just like yours and mine.

— by Sabio Lantz, June 2017

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Prompt:  Open Link Night at d’Verse Poets, hosted by BodhiRose.

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More than a Baseball Game

The baseball game was enjoyable
not for watching players standing still
like cows in the field
with only an occasional crow flying overhead
as a rare car drives by ignored;

nor for the beauty of its dull field:
a meticulously-short carpet of grass
worn by years of fruitless prayer
one generation after the next;

nor for the joy of watching three men
reading each others’ twitches
like a lily-pad frogs plotting for their fly
ending in one quick climactic swing
hit-or-miss, with neither brilliantly exciting.

nor for the mystery of men underground
climbing out of their dugout like locusts
for only a very brief life
filled with sighs or buzzing applause.

But instead, the game was enjoyable
because my love sat next to me:
Our conversations danced with laughter,
our gestures full of playful teases,
and we rolled in food and drinks.

For desert, my mind gave me short illusions:
the field glowed a bright green
and stood up like a dog jumping to the window
when a car pulls in the drive way.
The clouds puffed up and drew the players skyward.
The baseball diamond, shook and rose off the field.
And everything thing inanimate, animated.

My mind serves up such gifts occasionally,
and what better place to share them but in a poem.
Yet they pass quickly, like the game, like this poem
but deep shared love echoes forever, it seems.

– by Sabio Lantz, May 2017

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Prompt:  Paul, @ d’Verse Poet’s Pub, give a pleasantly vague prompt by discussing “underground”, inspiring us with a poem by Seamus Heaney and song by The Jam. I wrote this poem after returning from a baseball game — not something I do often, but would do again with her in a second!

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It can take so many years
to understand all the truths
of a single moment.
Samantha Hunt

A Single Moment at a Diner

To my right: dirty glasses shattered;
Out the frosted window: a car zips by
packed with children waving their arms,
and their Mom yelling “Stop that!”

Everyone turns toward the frustrated waiter;
The mother looks down at her buzzing phone;
and a cold wind sneaks in
behind another customer entering the diner.

Screeeeech! The mom stops just in time,
and her kids’ chaos grinds to a frozen silence.
Puzzling over lost accounts,
a man at his laptop near the door is chilled.

Behind me, on a reluctant date,
a woman is glad for these interruptions —
the shattering, screeching and shivering:
and asks herself, “Will he ever call?”

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Prompt:  Grace hosts OpenLink Night at d’Verse Poets.  I’ve generally dislike quotes before a poem and am not fond of fictitious poetry but this quote from a story I read inspired me to break both my tendencies. What a joy to be different than who we usually are!  The poem is a bit unpolished — so please write criticisms or suggestions instead of compliments, if you can.

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A Pakistani Feast

A Pakistani Feast

I was an honored guest in a small mountain village for a meal of goat. The recipe was elaborate: decapitated goat head, cranium removed, brains scooped out and sautéed in a rich, mouth-watering curry sauce. The brains were then put back in the head and we all took turns slowly spooning them back out to eat with our rice. Desert: the goat’s eye was reserved for me.

After the evening feast, I walked home alone on the silent, moonless mountain path drowning in moral guilt. I swore then-and-there to never eat animal flesh again. It became one of my many-to-come intense life-changing events. And like those other impressive worldview-altering experiences, the effect did not last. Seven years later I started with fish (a swimming vegetable), then chicken (at least they don’t have lips) and then returned to being an unrepentant full-blown carnivore though I’ve yet to eat out of a skull again.

savory breezes
ripple on a curry pond
a story-frog jumps

— by Sabio Lantz, May 2017

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Prompt: Bjorn, @ d’Verse Poets, requests a Haibun (a true story ending in a Haiku) which involves a recipe. I imagine many will write stories to beautify and accentuate a common recipe, while I may have gone the other direction by writing about a bizarre recipe story which then jumps into blandness.

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My Mysterious Woman

Herbals, Witchcraft, Sorcery?
Teasing like trochaic syllables
wooing this reader
deep into romantic trance.

How did you steal my heart?
Sweet foibles
like inconsistent verse
begging for rhyme.

You draw me back for read after read
with bewitching meter
cascading clashing consonants
and vowels bowing before the tao.

Ying and Yang
Rhetoric and Slang
Lord Buddha!
Tell me how your magic works.

— by Sabio Lantz May 2017

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Prompt: Grace hosts Open Link Night at D’Verse Poets Pub.

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