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thirteen

So here I am, having been struck over the head by Inspiration (as well as encouraged by a fellow author and friend named Lynn Tolson), which suddenly compelled me to compile a volume of my verse entitled Poetic Reflections:  Keep The Heart Of A Child.  It's the thirteenth month and I find my brain waxing astutely — well, maybe it's more "ergutely" but I can't seem to find it in the dictionary; not that it's ever stopped me from using a word so all right then, ergutely it is — about everything and nothing, and anything too, but least of all something in particular.

More precisely, it's the bottom of the month of May.  It's now or never.  If I'm going to do this, if I can ever do this again, it has to be now.  Which makes it all the more difficult to do, I find.  Has that ever happened to you?

This being my thirteenth poetry column, I would love to make it spectacular.  Really offbeatenly outlandishly extra-ordinary, even for me.

No, that doesn't sound quite fantastic enough.  This has to be huge.  Monumentally stupendously extreme.  It is the thirteenth.  My lucky number.  (At least I think it is.  Hard to tell when I have so little luck to compare with my vast amount of no luck.)

As I was saying before I interrupted, being the thirteenth makes this column exceptionally special.  I need to live up to that magnitude.  Hence, how shall I commemorate its grandeur?  I know, I'll write a poem.  But not just any poem; a poem called "Thirteen"!  Or, my devilish second thoughts suggest, should I write thirteen poems?  Hmm . . . glancing at my watch . . . oops, forgot, I don't have a watch . . . squinting at the clock . . . that might take too long.  The month could end and my thirteenth column would be late.  I only have three days left.  Let's see, if I pen four poems and a third per day, carry the tenth, subtract a two, divide by five, I'll end up with . . . I don't know, you figure it out!  I was never very good at math.

Why don't I just round it off and write three?  That's a nice even number.  What?  I know it's odd.  For me, odd is perfectly even!

Where was I?  Ah, three poems.  Instead of thirteen.  I don't know.  Maybe I should write thirteen.  It is called "Thirteen" after all.  It would make more sense than three.  Not that I'm concerned about making sense, of course.  That's usually the least of my concerns.

Am I capable of writing thirteen poems?  I'm not sure.  I've never tried.  Maybe I am.  But what if I'm not???  What if I can't?  What if I fail miserably, crashing and burning the figurative page?

I guess I won't know until I do try.  Great, now I've talked myself into it.  Why did I do that?  Tell me why?

(You don't really have to tell me.  It was rhetorical.  But if you have an answer, please donate it to some poor person who could use one.)

 

 

    THE TWELFTH HOUR

 

I have sailed to The Twelfth Of Never

It's closer than you think

I trekked to The Edge Of Reason

And teetered on the brink

Many moons I've listened

For the dozenth gong to ring

When that Twelfth Hour twi'ly chimed

In the thickened glumst of a ding

I had lingered past The Eleventh Hour

Already much too late

Where curly-toed I quavered

Chill-blooded from the wait

Ears ruptured by the fisty stroke

Of a final thunderclap

With palsied pallor I betook

To aim a mental slap

And heed the booming clamor

Of a voice that speaks no word

Absent any grammar

And yet is clearly heard

I can't explain my reticence

At what my eyes beheld

The moment came and went

A nouncement being knelled

I can't but comprehend it

How deeply overwrought

The specious proclamation

Was frigidly distraught

From that eve I've softly tiptoed

Veering broadly clear of Gramps

His carven somber visage

And grim nerve-biting champs

The rigid tall demeanor

And disapproving stare

Leave no interpretation

Of what he would declare

My heart leaps from my lips

Whene'er those fateful gongs resound

I wish the midnight hour

Was never to be found

It's like a thirteenth story

Stay clear if you are able

Don't venture near or you will star

In an unhappy-ending fable.

 

 

    BUGS

 

Bugs tend to bug me

Especially ones I cannot see

They're annoying and so pesterous

Cute but still confesterous

They don't listen 'less you ask them twice

Or they're a listening device

Bugs that fly and bugs that burrow

Bugs that bite or blight a furrow

Bugs that crawl and squirm and wing

Bugs that chill or drill or fling

Bugs that drive me buggy are

The buggiest by far

Yet I never step on bugs, you see

Cuz they never step on me.

 

 

    INTANGIBILITY

 

There's a curious state of being

In which the opposite is true

Everything that should be isn't

Like a model without glue

Or a parallel dimension

Where the negative is plus

Factors are irrelevant

And sums just don't add up

At times I find my brain fogged in

Reality quite blurred

So dazed that what is tangible

Is actually absurd

Where what's aligned is unlined

A fancy isn't free

My head spins round a little bit

Amidst conversity

I tend to wander through myself

Hoping for a ride

When what is tactile seems less firm

Than what I feel inside

Neath this alternate abstraction

Where my dreams are all concrete

Emotions solid objects

And wholeness incomplete

I can skip with glee around me

Every secret I can tell

I can reach and touch my hopes

Without a wishing well

Have you ever been to Never?

You'd know just what I mean

I can't be any clearer

Than what I haven't seen

When an outside-in mood passes

It is best to bear and grin

Allow it to romp freely

And a loser just might win!

 

 

    AN EMPTY BUCKET

 

I've come across an empty pail

How shall I use it up?

Would the bucket be half full or empty

Like the riddle of the cup

If I only find enough

To occupy the lower part?

Would the answer represent my bent

What lies chiseled in my heart?

Is it weak or sturdy?  Does it have a leak?

Should I carry it up or down a hill?

Was it cast aside or is it lost?

Would each step cause what it holds to spill?

Am I able for the task at hand?

Might I lose my grip and let it slip?

Will I drop the bucket or, worse, kick it?

Could my lummox feet clodly trip?

So many questions fill my head

Perhaps I'll leave it blank inside

Pretend I never chanced upon it

And let someone else decide!

 

 

    RAINY DAYS

 

I cherish umbrella weather

Especially in the Fall

I wore a yellow slicker

When I was very small

I love the whisk of raincoats

The gleam of puddled ground

The sheen of rain-washed streets

Where colored lights abound

 

Most of all what I adore

Is when I'm dry and warm

Hearing droplets march across the roof

Safe from any storm

To watch them decorate the glass

Of doors and windowpanes

Much like a French Impressionist

Dabbing paintless water stains

 

I treasure scenery washed by drizzle

A sky streaked by javelins

The atmosphere of a moody day

Boughs abrim with crystal gems

I thrill at rhythmic folk ballets

Cascading to their own beat

An orchestrated dance of drops

As if the rain has feet.

 

 

    GRUESOME TWOSOME

 

What is a gruesome twosome?

Why can't it just be one?

Why not a gruesome threesome?

Why can't a crowd be fun?

If grues must form a partnership

Consorting netherlandish

Accomplicing each other's deeds

However underhandish

I'm sure they could be any number

A million, billion, trillion even

A countless pack of swarming pals

Would leave the normals grievin'

Why bother being petty

When they could be much more

A monstrous congregation

A reekish freakish horde?

Imagine if they banded such

How gruesomer those grues would be

How scary and unnerving

The world would seem to me

I think I'll stop complaining

And be grateful when they're few

In fact, I'm feeling fonder

Of an ugly gruesome two.

 

 

    AN UNBALANCING ACT

 

Balance is important

Quite vital to our health

It makes us wise and keeps us safe

It brings us untold wealth

No wonder I'm a wreck

And poor in every way

I'm juggling cross-eyed on one foot

All I can do is sway

My life is out of whack

Perspective all askew

There is no middle ground

I'm lurching fro and to

It's very difficult

To find the means to cope

I'm teetering, it seems

Across a thin tightrope

It's very hard to sleep

When I'm afraid to doze

And scared each time I breathe

A gnat flies up my nose

In water I would sink

Too stiff to stay afloat

I worry I'll get fat

And cause myself to bloat

I fret that I'll get sick

Which makes me ill from fear

Sometimes I worry I may worry

It's terribly severe

Enough, I say!  No more!

This unbalancing act must end

I can't abide my shaky side

I've drifted round the bend

I need to gain some symmetry

I need to find some poise

It's time to stand on solid land

Embrace a world of joys.

 

 

    THE POEM I MEANT TO WRITE

 

Is it a heinous crime

To compose a poem that doesn't rhyme?

I should think it would be worse

To write a poem that wasn't verse

 

Whilst rummaging my heart

For a likely place to start

I devoured what I had scribbled

And found my couplets nibbled

 

I decided best to scrawl

Whatever lines my thinkings drawl

And thus I penned a draft

That made me seem a quarter daft

 

The ache of inspiration pounds

An uproar of jagged breaking sounds

As the torrid rapture of my brains

Trembles numbly through my veins

 

Alas, whatever comes of it

I can't seem to bring myself to quit

I'm compelled to chew a trifle more

Let the crumbs of pairings dust the floor

 

And while I glibly gnawed

Mindful that my verse was flawed

My cheeks an inken mess

I forgot what I wanted to profess

 

I'm afraid that in the end

I couldn't say what I intend

The poem I meant to write

Didn't rhyme, but this one might.

 

 

    MY EAR HURT

 

Have you ever had an ache

That seemed to move about

As if it owned a pair of wings

Or wiggled like a snake?

The reason for my query

Is that my ear just hurt

But then again it didn't

Like the flitting of a fairy

A mystery pain that came and went

Gone too soon to diagnose

That vanished in a poof of wonder

Without an incident

That left without a trace or clue

It's hardly worth a mention

My ear hurt then it didn't

I don't know why I'm telling you.

 

 

    PICKING BERRIES WILD

 

Age creeps upon us every day

Swiping the future brusk away

Before we know another year

Will inexorably disappear

The present slips into the past

Subsiding relatively fast

A moment lost cannot be found

Its endless possible not rebound

Though memories flip the pages back

To hours of plenty or of lack

In mine I happily aft would stray

To fleeting glimpses from yesterday

Of picking berries wild

When I was but a child.

 

 

    THE ODDNESS OF UNEVEN

 

Isn't it rather strange

That uneven has such oddness?

Did it ever make you wonder

If it's more or if it's less?

Does it wobble when it rolls?

Does it bump when it is tumbled?

Have you ever given thought

To why a murmur isn't mumbled?

 

I think you miss my point

That uneven is a strength

This is something to consider

Yet certainly not at length

For such a rumination

Would at most be slightly short

As you couldn't give much thought

To a matter of no import

 

Isn't it quite senseless

To have an empty speculation?

I'm sure there is no purpose

Behind this vapid contemplation

It is never wise to aim one's thoughts

Toward matters in great haste

As for the oddness of uneven

There is no time to waste

 

And if pondering the impeckable

Leads my cranny to conclude

That my crock is cracked, my deck unstacked

Well, there's no need to be rude!

Here, though, is the rub

What I simply cannot figure out

If uneven is so odd

Then what is left to doubt?

 

 

    ARMOR

 

I wish I had a burly suit

That makes me larger than a brute

A thicker coat of shiny skin

To shield me when I'm feeling thin

An armor-plated garment

So dense no one could harm it

That I could wear all day and night

Embracing me when there's no light

This armor would defend my name

From slings and flings and unfair blame

And I might never take it off

No matter how they scorn or scoff

The rants of bullies could not pierce

The fists of foes, however fierce

Could neither bruise nor bring me down

I would be someone of renown

Instead of just their punching bag

A dupe to mock, a target to nag

I wish I had a coat of steel

So I wouldn't have to feel.

 

 

    THIRTEEN

 

Why avoid the inevitable?

Rotten luck will surely find us

If you hide you might miss good luck too!

Misfortune serves to remind us

We're better off when we would strive

To find the brighter half of things

There is no curse if we don't believe

That every failure stings

 

It doesn't bother me a whit

Encountering those dread thirteens

I'm impervious to the hype and myth

I can't care less what it means

We're bound to flub or flop at times

Mistakes will happen to us all

It's standing up again that counts

Upon each ungainly fall

 

Hence am I delirious

Every Friday The Thirteen

It might be dour, it might be sour

It may irritate my spleen

Or it could be jubilantly filled

With miracles and rich reward

It may my best time ever be

I could even be quite bored

 

Don't let thirteen intimidate

Like a rhino in the room

Be the master of your attitude

Welcome sunshine or the gloom

If you're like me you won't mind the dark

And thirteens will lift your spirit

Either way be sure to laugh out loud

So the gremelens will hear it

 

They would try to undermine your mood

And drag you to their lowly heights

When it's up to you how you should feel

Don't let their frantics give you frights

Smiling is a staunch defense

Grinning causes them to groan

There's no better way to brush them away

Than to make the day your own

 

Thirteen is nothing to apprehend

It's a number as you know

Superstitions can encumber

When you're afraid to let them go

My philosophy on such matters

Is enjoy the wealth of tales

And fear not the fear of fear itself

The devil's in the travails.

 

 

It appears I've managed to achieve my goal.  And on the very last day of May.  Perhaps I should celebrate by adding a thirteenth chapter to my poetry volume.  Thirteen is a nice even number, don't you think?  (You should know by now that I mean odd!)  Yes, yes, that's exactly what I'll do.

And so I did.

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Lori R. Lopez

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