Life is full of contrasts and paradoxes, things that add up and things that don’t. Things that fall into place, and things that contradict themselves. Take the brightness of dull, for example. Pure absurdity. You’re probably thinking with an accusative scowl and these big glaring eyeballs, What do you mean? That isn’t a thing. It isn’t an expression. You made it up! Well, sure I did. That’s what I do. I’m a maker-upper. Some might call it being creative. Or hocus-pocus. Call it what you will. It has nothing to do with the matter at hand. What I was trying to say before you started staring at me like that is . . . okay, now I’ve forgotten. Ugh! (Rolling my eyeballs.) Wait, where are you going? This is your fault! You have to help me rethink of it, whatever it was!
Admittedly, that could take awhile. My memory’s bad and my brain is soggy. Kinda mooshy. The sponge effect has sailed. Sooooo, while sorting it all out into some manner of perspective, rather than running to hide or hopping the next freight train that rumbles through my head, one might simply contemplate the unthinkable in order to derive the impossible truth from the possibilities. There are so many possibilities, it is practically essential to narrow things down as best we can into a hypotenusethis. (Yes, it’s a word! Two, in fact, squished together!) Otherwise we are certain to be buried beneath an avalanche of the profoundly unfounded and gravely immaterial.
Don’t mind me, I tend to ramble. It’s just how I’m put together, as if I were taken apart once upon a time and the pieces no longer fit. I’m sure there were spare parts left over too. Whatever the case may be, upper or lower, space or mental, I can be very nonsensical. However, I can on occasion be fairly undull. In other words, bright. Which must be the brightness of dull. So I suppose there is such a thing as that particular unfounded profundity. It exists, if only to prove my point. (And then it can go back to the unequator, or wherever such no-sense words reside.)
Wow, this is sheer gibberish, even for me!
In case you haven’t understood a word I’ve said, you are not alone. Most individuals on the planet are in your shoes. Must be some popular footwear! Or maybe they’re in the same boat. Except that it would require a ship. A truly gargantuan vessel too grand in size to float. But fortunately for you, there are dictionaries of the English language available (not necessarily to be used as flotation devices should the ship in question go blub-blub-blub). Probably even for Kindle or Nook or whatever brand of electronic gadget you happen to own (and definitely should not use in water). Myself, I like traditional books. The genuine articles. Page-turners. Physical copies of the printed persuasion. (Equally unsuited for aquatic activities, but at least they won’t electrocute you.)
And then again, besides all that, if you don’t speak English, there are some nifty translational tools you can apply that will decipher meaning or intelligence out of a block of text. Although . . . “My monster’s name is Spot” could end up sounding like “My freckle ate my doctor”. I don’t think that would make any better sense. A freckle doesn’t have a mouth. Everyone knows this. It can’t even chew. Or swallow. And if it could, it has no stomach. Hence, the point is moot. Like so many of my points . . . I must have a cupboard or drawer somewhere crammed with my mootnesses. They do tend to pile up. But that is beside the point.
What this amounts to, in a roundabout fashion, is a preambular introduction to a poetic theme. Whether a moment is dull or undull, striped or polka-dotted or painted blue, whether it floats your boat or sinks it or leaves you without a paddle, it is always a fine time to read a poem. My verse can be giddy. Or mind-boggling. Or chocolatey dark and macabre, as if leeches crawled under your skin to suck the joy and hope right out of your soul (I just made myself shudder). One thing is certain: There is never a dull moment in my peculiar little “oddysseys”. So keep your head above water and smile for the fishes. Perhaps they won’t eat you! Oh, and read some poems! You’ll be richer for it.
never a dull moment
When it’s one of those days
That it’s better to sleep through,
But you can’t stand the not-knowing;
You’re tired of listening for that shoe,
So against your better judgement
You emerge from your cocoon —
If curiosity killed the cat,
You might be sorry pretty soon.
Sure enough, outside the door
Is where the dreadly dross begins
As a paperboy arrives
To promptly kick you in the shins.
What the heck? You gape in wonder
While he presents a blaring banner,
Which reads in boldface KICK ME!
With an ostentatious manner.
You’re disgruntled as can be
So you shake a rankled fist,
But by then the kid is gone
And your anger has been missed.
Then of course the car won’t start,
Or maybe it’s a truck,
And your bike has sprung a flat
Because you’re clearly out of luck,
Forced to hike to catch the bus
Then you wait for quite a while.
You’re determined to be mad,
Though it’s easier to smile.
The carriage hurtles, doesn’t halt;
The thing accelerates instead.
You yell and chase it for a block,
Your face a lovely shade of red
Eventually another number
Pauses near you with a wheeze,
And you board it warily
Just as someone blasts a sneeze.
The only vacant seat you find
Is beside a whooping cougher.
You tell the driver nevermind
And decline the dubious offer.
But the coachman doesn’t heed,
Pouring speed as if to fly,
So you’re flung against the sicko
On his lap and eye to eye,
Where a gust of viral heebies
Is released into your face.
A dripping wreck, you fumble grossed out
To the only empty space . . .
Then learn this guy is a hijacker
From his discomposed expression,
And the gun he’s brandishing
When he makes a wild confession . . .
“Shoot me now!” you sorely gripe,
For you’ve heard a bit too much,
And have grievances yourself,
But don’t use them for a crutch.
“Let me off at the next corner!”
You request of the protester.
“I’m annoyed at types like you
That allow your rage to fester.
We each have our own dilemmas,
There’s no need for senseless trauma.
Find a shoulder to cry on
And please spare us all the drama!”
With this brashly lectured tirade,
You’re kicked off the crazy bus.
Which means you’re back to walking,
As confused as most of us.
There is never a dull moment
If you’re having an off-day.
You will meet the strangest people
When the street sign reads Wrong Way,
Who are short some missing marbles
Or may hum a Loony Tune.
You never know with madness;
Might as well spit at the moon
As reason with a nut-job
Heaven-bent upon revenge.
It’s like trying to rearrange
The basic layout of Stonehenge.
Somewhere that bus is circling
Or another coach the same,
In an endless holding pattern
Of a finger pointing blame.
The offended party’s mission,
To make a statement and be heard;
An act of pain, a memory’s stain.
A bitter thought’s broken word.
We can make the new day sweeter,
Embrace its song within our soul,
Till the clock runs out of midnights
And Life’s jigsaw becomes whole.
Yet for the lost, this very minute
Is too immense for them to bear.
In that hour they need the kindness
Of somebody else to care.
If your day goes off the deep end,
And Life’s turmoils weigh you down,
Reach for something good outside you
That might contradict your frown.
Or try listening to someone;
Maybe they will listen too.
It could mean a world of difference,
As the smallest thing can do.
There don’t have to be dull moments,
We can polish them like brass,
Till they shine like brand new pennies
Bringing luck, a bit of class,
And a smile to be your rainbow
When you’re standing on your head . . .
Sometimes it takes a change of angle
To convince you you’re not dead.
The cretin arose from a dismal deep
Disgruntled and grumpedy for lack of sleep
He tried to roar but could only peep
With a sinister boding of pernicious ignite
Kindlings of calamity, the flint of fright
A momentous occasion at the break of night
He shook his fist for the gods to heed
Enraged at the squawk and his mawful need
A tragic consequence it was indeed
For he went to bed and misplaced his mind
Never a rational thought to find
Insomnial dredgings of a soulless kind
As such it is and such it will be
When the mind’s eye fades and the brain can’t see
One might as well have the wits of a pea
Thus the ogre glowered and fiercely maundered
In other words, he barbarically wandered
He may have even paused and pondered
Forgetting what he would generally do
His natural degree of normalcy too
He had no idea, the faintest clue
But with dubious certainty his pulse would beat
To the criss-crass stumblings of two left feet
A fish-gasp of breath and a craving for meat
This was who he became, not how he was born
We can find ourselves entrenched by scorn
And wake bereft, intensely forlorn
This corroded man did evil turn
From a heavy load and a lot to learn
Yet the sour fate he refused to spurn
There is something to be said for a man like he
Enduring much strife out of loyalty
Who yearns to run wild, go crazy and free
Until he snaps and awakes deranged
His sense clean gone, his life estranged
Priorities jumbled, thoughts rearranged
It’s the dubious certainties that drive us mad
To regret the things we wish we had
Existing in a state of sad
Unless we are forced to make a fresh start
The mindless man returned to smart
But then he lost his heart.
A monster was born on a sunless day
His body contorted, distorted by chance
With mutant cells most foul and fey
Surrounded by chilling circumstance
Death accompanied a misbegotten birth
For a whale lay beached upon her side
The calf had taken everything
Her babe expelled to the sand, she died
The air was gray, his aura bloody
With flesh transparent, a mottled hue
The other whales would flee instinctive
From the ugly-bugly wackadoo
Air-breathing, six-limbed, anomalous
A creature unknown to beast or man
Its countenance was quite unseemly
As if scrambled in a frying pan
A row of razor dorsal fins
Arrayed the crawly critter’s back
Dark eyes aglare, he consumed his mother
She made a satisfying snack
He scurried off in search of prey
For it was almost time for lunch
A monster can get awfully hungry
His life consists of his next munch
A coastal village would do nicely
The odd thing crept into the town
Invading like a spastic space tick
Trembling eager to slurp them down
An ox provided another tidbit
He burrowed his snout beneath its skin
To ingest the innards like a smoothie
Until the ox looked very thin
Those people didn’t know what hazard hit them
Despite their animals losing weight
As the wackadoo fed on human blubber
The fools thought they were looking great
Embraced by the town as their saving grace
The wackadoo never lacked a meal
Their village mascot performed liposuction
On masses of pilgrims who flocked with zeal
What might have been a heinous assault
Became a celebrated event
The town unveiled a statue of Wacky
In honor of an abhorrence that was provident
There is often a bright side to each tale of woe
If you look for the positive slant to things
We exist in an enormous balancing act
And sometimes from bad, a blessing springs.
the brightness of dull
White-hot wrath delivered dull as a sprinkle
Onto shorn edges of sharp tempers dusted by the twinkle
Of a heart’s smolder shimmerously imbued with trust
In a city of immobile monuments to rust
Where lies the double-sided sword of the words once spoken
Against the bifurcated balance of sleep’s eternal token
All that transpired in consciousness or dream
Under a solitary shroud reposes without seam
In unwhispered death where day and night are now the same
The withered remnant of a tale existent by no name
Awaits the stirring embral trace of the will to survive
A spark, a glint of proof that something’s still alive
However virulent the rain of self-destructive contamine
Aligned with genuine disasters like parchment and famine
That once spelled “the end” of an industrial age
Built on steampunk foreign enmities, the stitches of rage
What hands forged together could just as well smite
In the grip of the Fistigoth, held incessantly tight
There the giants and moguls were masters and lords
Ripping out the entrails of tall cities by hordes
While scattering morsels for vultures and crows
A carpet of doom spread by mushroom-cloud snows
And the corpse of Mankind resting in pieces
Can the undead still walk once the ravaging ceases?
Will the brightness of dull ever heal its own rift
From an abundantly impious unhallowed facelift?
We spirits are left to dream life anew
Out of rubble and stubble’s ripe essence astrew
What a shame that intelligence ignored common sense
Or perhaps this grand burgeoning wouldn’t be in Past Tense.
Butterflies, cranes, flowers and swans
Dragons and birds, simple frog designs
Can be wrought from the folds of a paper square
With only some cleverly bended lines
But beware of shapes rendered out of the box
A blueprint unsanctioned by ancient approval
Forsaking tradition with an improvised scheme
Could land you in need of a curse removal
Just follow directions, don’t crease willy-nilly
Or you could wind up swimming with permanent coyness
Unblinking, unthinking, a shrinking violet
At the bottom of a fish pond, staring up joyless
It happened to me when I crafted a slug
Nobody warned me what that might entail
I thought I would try making one my own style
So I furrowed and fashioned an Origami Snail
Immediately an atmosphere of ominous portent
Would darken the day as the heavens did pour
The skies cracked with lightning, a cloud cannon boomed
Wind ruffled spare papers from table to floor
I shivered as cold fingers tickled my spine
Not ever had I felt such impending fear
My snail was untouched by the elemental display
But a tome on paper art clobbered my ear
Plaster fell, then the ceiling collapsed
I was compelled to escape as the apartment swayed
And around me chunks of construction crashed
I fled clutching the snail I had carelessly made
Things didn’t improve when I left the building
The street split wide; Fate was gunning for me
If you value your health, you will heed my warning
Don’t ever an origami shortcutter be
As I cower in the restroom of a shopping plaza
Regarding the mollusk my hands wrinkled and pleated
Inscribing these words on the bathroom wall
I rue the day that I flagrantly cheated
The snail is transforming before my eyes
I toss it to the trash yet it clambers out
Ballooning, enormous, a mouth grabs for my head
As I record my last words with a horrified shout . . .