Lauren Celebrates National Poetry Month



Once again, ConVivio celebrates National Poetry Month with a series of ‘poetic’ posts. Today we are privileged to feature some recent poems by Lauren de Vore, a published Bay Area poet who has appeared on ConVivio a few times before as a Guest Poet.
Enjoy!

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Reflections on Events, Current and Otherwise
As much as I try not to dwell on unpleasant things, they have a nasty habit of intruding, kind of like the whine of unseen mosquitos that drives one indoors on an otherwise lovely summer night, into my thoughts and poems.  Thus the following…

A short soapbox rant:

Shout it from the Rooftops

Shout it from the rooftops

Shout it from the pulpits and the streets

Shout it at the gas-n-stops

Shout it in your texts, your posts and tweets

The emperor is naked

His crown is but a fake orange lacquered mop

His palace is a house of cards

His courtiers a bunch of spineless fops

Look behind the backdrops

Look past all the bombast and the pomp

Look beyond the photo ops

He’s in bed with those who own the swamp

See the cheating and the lies

See the malice and the venal spite

See how freedom bleeds and dies

Each time hate and chaos trump what’s right?

Blind are those who will not see

Ignorant the ones who will not think

Fight, resist, unwaveringly

Else into that stinking swamp we sink

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Some questions asked and answered:

Because

The paleo man hefted his club,

Brought it down hard on the paleo deer.

Eyes stared back from the blood-soaked ground

Asking why, why do you do this to me?

Because I have the club and you do not.

The lord of the manor lifted his crop

And slashed it across the peasant’s face.

Sullen eyes glared up from the mud

Asking why do you do this to me?

Because I’m of the purple and you are not.

The whaler launched his harpoon,

The big game hunter sighted his prey

And sapient eyes gazed back through the lens

Asking why, what harm have I ever done you?

Because I hold the weapon and you do not.

The slave owner cracked his whip, the officer swings his baton,

A mother, a father raises hand or fist,

And innocent eyes, the eyes of the beaten ask why.

They’re stronger, they’re meaner, they’re in command,

And you, poor soul, are not.

The faith-fueled fanatic waves his torch,

The zealot of left, right or center his flag,

With nary a care for another’s pain, nary a thought

As to why each hates the other one so,

For they are righteous and everyone else be damned.

A god in his heaven rallies his wrath,

His thunder and lightning and hurricanes,

And hurls them down hard onto man below.

And man in his clueless disbelief

Asks why, why do you do this to me?

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Observation on the dubious value of barriers:

Walls

Barricades, fences, and walls

Partitions nature abhors

In the end, every one falls

Over all, time’s army pours

Palisades, ramparts, and dikes

Constructs of hubris and fear

Mindset of rulers and reiches

History’s lesson is clear

For every wall, build a door

For every fence, build a stile

Never forget what they’re for

Else to the despots, seig heil!

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Commentary on apparent American values with regard to immigration:

Immigrants

Two caravans head north,

Driven forces beyond their control.

The miles are long,

Grueling and perilous,

Fraught with predators of every ilk.

Death and despair

Thin their numbers,

But the caravans push on,

Sinuous entities seeking

A land of peace and plenty,

For there is no going back;

Going back is certain death.

Far better to venture into the unknown,

To hope against hope,

And trust whatever powers there be

To guide them to safety.

And when at last they arrive?

Jubilation greets the one,

Reverence and joy, festivals and delight.

And the other? The other is met

With guns and walls, with scorn

And denigration and detention.

Two caravans of immigrants

Seeking sanctuary.

Who knew one had to be decked

In orange and black butterfly wings

To be welcome.

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In memory of Sandra Parks, Steve Slaughter, and the countless other victims of senseless violence:

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Cogitations of a sleepless night:

Past Midnight

It was one of those nights

When her brain wouldn’t turn off

As she lay in bed, a lone soul keeping vigil

While the rest of the world slept.

The grandfather clock in the front room

Te-tick-tocked the seconds away,

A-lone-all a-lone-all a-lone it repeated.

Yet she did not need a clock to tell the time,

For the radio was quietly playing,

And on the radio, it’s always past midnight.

The measured cadences of NPR

Or the late-night DJ talking, talking, talking

To himself, to her, to the brother-slash-sisterhood

Of night owls and insomniacs,

Unknown to each other yet connected

By invisible airwaves. Soon the night

Will turn to dawn and she will rise

To face the day, but it’s always

Past midnight on the radio.

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And in the night, remembering…

Empty House

She wanders through the house, its lone occupant.

A faint trace of her youngest lingers in one room

And if she looked she’d likely find an old shirt

Or shoe, but she closes the door and wanders on.

It used to be so full of noise and bustle,

Husband and children and critters, everyone

Rushing this way and that at the top of their lungs.

But the hamsters and fish and dogs grew old and died,

The kids grew up and away, and the husband

Took up with a new and improved model of wife.

The house is silent now, dust-free and orderly

After all the years of nagging and fussing

Over messy rooms and muddy floors. Everything

Is just the way she likes it. Only it’s not.

For the house is empty, and she’s becoming

A ghost. Maybe, she thinks, she should get a cat.

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Visioned while standing with my horse as he grazed in the morning sun:

Ah, To Be Grass

Supine I lie

Face to the sun

Earth bed beneath

Taste the rain, the fine champagne

The dark aged chocolate loam

Root finger toes reach out and grasp

Holdfasts to the world below

Chlorophylled, wind-waved

My hair covers the rough

And smooth like a velvet shroud

Trodden, trampled

Grazed, parched, fired, frozen

I am dis-tressed

Beaten down, but not beaten

For come rain, come spring

All is green again

Ah, to be grass

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Reaction to being addressed by a server too young to know better:

Ma’am’d be Damned!

When did I turn from a miss to a ma’am,

      From mademoiselle to madam?

The face in the mirror looks mostly the same,

      To all of my teeth I lay claim,

I’m slim in the hip, my pulse doesn’t skip,

      On mem’ry I’ve got a firm grip.

With gadgets and tech I’m fairly adept,

      Up with Kimmel, Colbert I have kept;

Though hip hop and rap leave me quite cold,

      Lin Man Miranda is gold.

I love anime and practice feng shui,

      So what is it gives me away?

Have I some aura, some faint pheromone,

      Does my voice quave some telltale tone?

For I’m forced to admit, I’m tempted to spit

      Or at least indulge in a snit

Whenever I’m hailed with madam or ma’am,

      That unwanted age-implied slam.

Can you not see I’m just ent’ring my prime

      With many a hill yet to climb,

And per adage most sage, years are no gauge

      Of actual sine qua non age.

So till I start flaunting sensible shoes,

      Start dying my gold-y locks blue,

Until I appear in bright purple clothes,

      In red hats with feathers and bows,

Humor please, if you’d be so polite,

      For someday you’ll be in my plight;

Say ms if you must or miss if you will,

      And all will be cool, will be chill.

I may be old mutton dressed up as spring lamb,

      But madam’d or ma’am’d I’ll be damned!

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