Showing posts from November, 2013

Iron-On Wisdom

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period."

It's not like I believed you anyway,
but when you asked,
I gave you my heart willingly.

Things changed, though,
didn't they?

You didn't get any better
at honesty,
and I never grew
out of my
childlike wonder,
sipping down my gullibility.
I prefer(red) to be
found guilty
of naivety,
serving my time for that
and not for blindness.

But that old familiar bile
kept riding up throat-wise,
strung to a balloon,
sticking to my tongue,
making it infinitely
harder to speak on your behalf.

There are only so many times,
like my mom told me,
I can be a bridge
on fire,
each board turning
to ash.
ash floats just the same.

-JR Simmang

So many times are we bamboozled by eloquence. My dear readers, try to see through the snake oil. God bless.

What Have I Got in my Pocket, Lily Annie Wright?

I'm unsure why, because it is a recent change, I have started falling into the rhyming trap. I feel like, sometimes, I have metamorphosed into a dapper chap from 1888, swinging around his pocket watch, standing underneath his top hat, waiting on the train, spilling words in rapid succession. SO, here's the most recent:


What have I got in my pocket,
dear Lily Annie Wright?
Is it your gold necklace,
burning evening bright?

It's been so long since I have seen it
tangled in your hair.
Was it I who gave you that?
If so, why don't you wear

it often? Did it slip off of
your chest so pure and true
and folded in the brittle ground?
I guess I never knew.

Or, could it be a brassen key
clinking 'round in there?
It could fit that rusty lock,
the one that's standing where

the rusty door, and hinges too,
swing on screaming wind,
and pierce us through our fragile bones,
and make our dreamscapes bend.

I must confess, for I can't lie
to you …

In 1492

Good afternoon, y'all. It's halfway-ish through NaNoWriMo, and while I haven't been cranking out the expected 1667 words per day, I have been cranking out a poem a day. And that, my dear friends, is still something.

There's an old saying that there's a novel in everyone. I think mine fell out. SO, in the meanwhile, here's a poem about someone you know.

IN 1492

I sit here on my gilded throne, scepter in my hand,
looking past the mizzenmast, in search of our new land.

Three ships, have I, at my behest, flanking either side.
The sun, the stars, shine up above, the moon, she is my bride.

It was surely luck, for me, to strike while the iron’s hot.
Enterprising, yes it was, to reap what I have wrought.

The Queen was on my side, and using all her wit,
told the King, “He’s brilliant, darling dear, just let him do it.”

Less my pride, and short my sight, we plowed into the sea.
Splashing blue-limed waves, and my mistresses three,

set in search for India, for our spices …

Chain-Smoking Jesus, Convo 2

I found myself back at
that ratty diner somewhere close
to closing time,

and he was there,
without a care, cigarette smoking,
him toking long, long drags

and swallowing them completely.
"Hey, stranger," his flowing
words seemingly finding only my ears.

"Hey," I respond, noticing
the spent butts, wondering
if the Lenten Dreams are filtered.

"You have a problem," he starts.
"Partly," I respond, ordering a cup
of coffee, bordering on embarrassment.

"And you'd like my help," he offers,
his fingers drifting mindlessly over
cream, lifting lily-white on his spoon.

"You're doomed." He said, blunt
as usual. "In front of me, I see
a man, free to his own devices,

driven by near- misses, upsets, and yet...
here you are, getting coffee with Jesus.
No one sees us, friend, without judging,

begrudging us for our abilities to do
what only few have dreamt.
You've spent your time regretting,

forgetting to see that the light ar…

Ekphrastic and the Power of Images

I've noticed, over the past few years teaching, that children are more and more interested not in words on the page and the imagination it takes to build stories, but gravitate instead toward graphic novels, picture books, and movies.

I wasn't surprised. Have you seen "Gatsby" or "Transformers?" Those little flicks are candy to your eye-tongues. Gorgeous and thrilling. What's a book? Words, words, words (to quote a little Hamlet).

I learned today that there's a form of poetry that's inspired by artwork, something visual. Again, not surprised, but it made me think. Images are provocative. They're unsettling, comforting, alluring, and . There's an enormous amount of truth in that adage: a picture is worth a thousand words.

There's the task of the poet and writer. A poet attempts to squeeze a thousand words into fewer words, and then take that quotient and divide those words into still fewer words, until we find the one word to fill t…

Once an Old Flour Sack

Winter comes early and stays late
'round these parts. Wish I could say
I greeted it with a firm handshake,
and we spent all night wondering why
these days the weather tells us it's
coming in our knees and knuckles
and the last game of the World Series.

The winter didn't take a hint though,
and when we finally got tired of its company, it raged on,
insecure and angry.

Mid-December, the heat went out, and my girl found her old bear.
It was a hand-me-down, torn and tattered like all them kid's books bears.
I can't remember where it came from, because
I think,
when I got it,
it was a hand-me-down too.
She snuggled him up close around her neck when the
chill seeped under the window and waged war on the fire.

That thing would dance in the morning with her,
both in their jammies,
eat with her at lunch,
(their favorite was mac 'n' cheese)
listen to her secrets,
hold on to her secrets,
squeeze her hand as hard as she squeezed his.
Close enough to be a friend,
real enough to breathe.


Time's A-Changin'

I've been staring at my grandfather's hands for the better part of an hour,
just letting my ears do the hard part,
trying to hear over the wheezing, hacking, cough.
Smoker, 63 years. The doctors said he wouldn't make it past 60 if he didn't stop smoking, but here he is, in his rocking chair, 80 years old, rocking, rocking, and drinking whiskey like rain.

His hands, yellowed and twisted, wrinkled and finite, twirls the lunt, toying with it.
He takes a deep breath rattling, and tells me about the time that he
hefted his hammer over his shoulder and walked with his lunch pail
two miles every
goddamn morning
to get to work.
His shoes were worn sole-thin, torn breeches, and his jacket was only warm in the summer.
He piled his hat atop his head,
and let the wind ride him north to the factory, where the light bulbs wouldn't build themselves.
16 hours. 16 hours and the whistle would blow like a wish.
There'd be a rush to the door, but not too fast because they all knew t…

All Who Wander

It certainly was nice of the city
to redo the benches along
this walkway.

I’ve been telling them for years that
what draws people to the parks
is the moment where they can
still down for just long enough
to hear the bird-brides in the trees
and the lake nymphs sing-song
making the waves kiss our feet.

You can’t catch it if you’re running.

You have to sit, and close your eyes,
and take in breeze like an old lover’s ash.
That’s why the benches are the draw.

That’s why I don’t leave.
Some people tell me I’m lost.
I disagree.
I’m waiting for the perfect moment
when someone sits down next to me
on these perfect benches
and hears the story the trees
and the lake,
and the rushing rain,
and the grimacing dogs and cats
whisper to me when I sleep.

-JR Simmang


They’ve done it, finally making the roads safer by slowing down your car for you…
Daily, the cars slow down without the wired-weird headset, distracting themselves
and doing the hard work anyway. Safer? No. Distracted? Yes. It’s called an iPhone.

At the red light, I daydream. I dream above traffic, dream into the
faux leather seats of my sedentary sedan, and pick my brain
to pick a place where the air conditioning is powered by the surf,
or where the only honking I hear comes not from the cars in the
but from the beaks of the geese, strutting along the surface,
bowing their heads to one another as if asking for a dance.

I’ll join them, of course, if they ask. I’ve wondered what their feathers
felt like up close and personal, because the last time I tried to pet
a goose, it bit me, its single toothed beak tearing into the fleshy…

It's NaNoWriMo, and I'm sitting with Humpty Dumpty

My books are in the works outside of the blog. Simply, there are too many words to put up here, and I don't want to release my ideas until they're finished. So, this month, for NaNoWriMo, I'm not only participating in the novel part, but I'm also challenging myself to write a poem a day. This one was written yesterday.


slain thusly,
body on the floor.

Sword rusty,
though trusty,
swimming from the shore.

Hat’s gone too
with his ‘do,
rolling off to where

Oh so few
have see true
brilliance shining there.

Decades rush
past the hush,
his body becomes dust.

His head’s mush,
garden lush,
Buttons gathered rust.

Till these days
someone says
his forgotten name,

Above the bay,
his soul stays,
appearing heart, aflame!

Headless corpse,
empties ports,
while the captain’s head

haunts the courts
(and resorts)
not knowing that he’s dead!

-JR Simmang