Looking out my Rented Window

The benefits of renting abound,
and one benefit is letting fallen leaves lie.
Mind you, I love raking leaves, to some degree,
but I also love watching them sit,
get wet and heavy, change colors
and not feel that mixed feeling
of procrastination pleasure and guilt.

Looking out my second-floor window,
I wonder if the squirrel
right across the way, in his tree,
is looking out his small window
and smiling because those leaves hide the acorns
which he may now procrastinate storing
as his naps get longer and longer
and the snow has not yet fallen.

Maybe Mr. Squirrel is daydreaming
about his black-pointy ear cousins
in New Mexico
just as I daydream of our last trip there
or wonder about my Dad in Florida.

But I shake my head and realize
that Dad is not there any more,
and my Mom is not in Ohio.
And squirrels don’t procrastinate.

I’d better get on with my day.
This window has offered me sights,
and daydreams,
but I have chores to do
before my love comes home
even if leaves are not on the list.

——————-

Prompt: Criticisms, suggestions and more are all welcome.  Vacuous, perfunctory comments not needed. d’verse Poet’s Victoria asks us to write a symbolic poem. The symbols here, if not obvious, are the window, the leaves and the squirrel. Victoria posted a beautiful picture by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) — one of his hundred moon images, see number 91 here (this is image is not flipped like hers was, lol).

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River Monster

Attach6113_20160520_210740River Monster  (a Haibun)

Very few people will ever join me for pitch-dark evening kayak river outings. Perhaps it is the deadly silence, the engulfing mists, the dark, deep creature-filled waters or maybe just the possibility of drunk motorboat drivers that has them politely declining my offers. But it is exactly all those things that thrill me.

I knew better than to fear a visit from dangerous river fish, of course, well, until the night I pulled my kayak out of the water and saw a fisherman standing next to his fold-up chair and six-pack, pulling back on his severely bowed fishing rod. “Give me a hand here, will you, friend” he urgently requested of me, “I got something big.”

“Surely it is a log that his six-beer imagination has him excited about”, I thought, but I decided to help him gather equipment as he pulled in his catch. We were both surprised at the world-class catfish that he towed onto the shore. “Quick, grab a shot for me.” And after taking his picture, he let the monster go back into the river to enjoy a few more centuries scaring away the weak hearted.

deep river mischief
snag’d ashore for a snapshot
swims away
s
..m
……i
……..l
……….i
…………n
……………g
………………!

— by Sabio Lantz, December 2016


Prompt: dVerse poets requests a poem (or in my case, a Haibun) with the word “visit”.  This is a true story with a picture I took that evening on the Ohio River.

Japanese Turnstiles

The Winking Japanese Turnstiles

I was one of many commuters
arriving at the Osaka subway
and like river eddies,
we were spun out to our destinations.
To numb the long commutes,
we each paid small heed to paths
unless some needed decision
yanked up our awareness
like a turnip
soon to be shredded
into a delicious daikon salad.

Slugging through the subway,
suddenly I was awoken
when the turnstile seemed to come alive.
A sparkle of light made her wink at me.
A machine wink, a wake-up wink.
Right before churning of us mechanical humans
into the mixed salad of our working lives.

It was a cute wink,
and I thanked her for taking my ticket
as I caressed my way past her smooth bars
and wondered if she felt our communion too.
Odd how that moment
even with cold steel
made me feel human again.

Out on the streets, we all scattered
like the muons and baryons
at the Large Swiss Hadron Collider
where above, cows eat docile
over possible world-ending collisions
beneath their hoofs.

In the same way, below me
the turnstiles kept churning out the Osaka commuters
while offering them occasional winks
to remind of them of who they could be.

— by Sabio Lantz, December 2017

————————————————————

Original version follows, prior to critical feedback — thank you qBit.

Japanese Turnstiles

I was one of many commuters
arriving at the Osaka subway
and like river eddies,
we were spun out toward our various destinations.
Each of us were using as little attention as necessary
to numb the drone of our ordinariness
until some needed decision
yanked up our awareness
like a turnip about to be shredded
and eaten with sushi.

I was awoken for the same stupor
when the turnstile in front of me
winked as she saw me coming.
The irony was laughable:
she was supposedly a mindless machine
yet she churned out all of us mechanical humans
into the mixed salad of our working lives.

It was a cute wink,
and I thanked her for taking my ticket
as I caressed my way past her smooth bars
and wondered if she felt our communion too.
Odd how that moment made me feel human again.

Out on the streets, we all scattered
like the muons and baryons
in images shared by scientists
at the Large Swiss Hadron Collider
where above, cows eat docile
over possible world-ending collisions
beneath their hoofs.

In the same way, below me
the turnstiles kept churning out
more and more barely-conscious beings
while offering us occasional winks
to remind of us of who we could be.

— by Sabio Lantz, December 2017

_________________________________________

Prompt: Feedback Poetry is studying Billy Collins

The Poor

The Poor

As the poor become more miserable,
as the destitute become more hopeless,
it would be so much more comfortable
if they would just evaporate
instead of cluttering up my sweet town
and knocking over my delicious margarita
placed so carefully on my private reserved table.

— Sabio Lantz, December, 2017
— on vacation in Santa Fe


Prompt: Open Link night at d’Verse Poets

Which are you today?

Which are you today?

Good poets are like some lovers.
We are enamored with their phrasings,
their views of the world, and their newness.
But after reading collection after collection,
well…

Some lovers are like bad poets,
only valued by a precious few,
but properly read,
they rock.

by Sabio Lantz, November 2017


Prompt: Mish @ dVerse Poets asks us to write a 44-work poem (a quadrille) using the word “rock”.

Why I don’t visit the coffee shop so often

I thought to go to the coffee shop,
as I got up early this morn’,
I thought of the smiling service,
and the atmosphere so warm.

I thought of the men alone,
sipping coffee with paper in hand,
or those on laptops typing
and of the chatting with friends.

I remembered those frequent days,
when I used to do just the same.
but in the bed next to me,
is the woman who changed my game.

— Sabio Lantz, November 2017


Prompt: d’Verse Poets Open Link Night. Another autobiographical poem. Suggestions, criticism, question — all are coveted.

Shaking My Child

Shaking My Child

The house was a rental
and I was napping on a floor-mattress
with my two year-old son but woke
to a sparking flash with a scream!

My eyes opened
to see my boy thrown by a jolt
away from the old air conditioner
after he had played with its plug.

My boy, new to the world, almost left me
with dreams and hopes stolen
by someone else’s bad wiring.

Seeing he was fine I took a second,
to relieve my irrational male anger:
I kicked the air conditioner
and ripped the wires from the wall.

The electrons flew back in fear
down the 100 year-old copper wires
into the Victorian basement
where the ghost of the original owner
still mourns the loss of her son
to the rose spots of typhoid fever
in the 1885 Pennsylvania epidemic.

We all three shook
my boy, the mourning mother and myself.
Fear, sorrow and anger crowded our home.
But my boy was still screaming.

So I shook him, “Shhhh!”
then woke from my stupidity
and I thought of all those who hurt their children
with misplaced anger or sorrow or panic.

The Victorian mom gave me a hug
in support and forgiveness,
and left her home, for the long sleep,
and my son and I laid down and slept again.

by Sabio Lantz, November 2017


Prompt: Feedback Poetry asks us to write a poem inspired by lots of readings of Billy Collins’ poem.

Here are the Traits of Billy Collins that I tried to emulate:

  • Accessible
  • Narrative/ Conversational
  • Surrealistic Insertions

Honest feedback only please.  Suggestions and criticism coveted. Thank you.