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Author Archives: Puff Of Smoke Poems

Last Straw for Me and Superstition

In the alley behind
those raggedy apartments–
door-sized broken mirror
leans against the dumpster
Enough!
As if they needed
any more
of your bad luck

all forgotten

he forgets, then forgets
that he forgot

Do you remember?
is the forbidden phrase

the list of things forgotten—
broken window, unpaid bills,
car accidents, names—all high
on the long, long list
of things I wrote down
looked at, wondered, worried

like kindergarten or an old song
that’s all long ago
now the forgotten things
unwritten
go out into a field
scatter themselves
breed wildflowers or weeds
depending on time of day
or who is looking out the window

Someday, I’ll gather them up
as many as I can carry
as many as I remember
a huge bouquet of incident and echo
I’ll toss back to the ocean
to drift or sink
be forgotten again
to wait for Vishnu
asleep on the waves

Sidewalk Poet

You give the topic—
I asked for a poem about
being a sidewalk poet
When the poet handed it back,
I felt that true poem tingle

My friend said, with authority
Poems are supposed to be Read Out Loud
so I let him, holding out this freshly-hatched magic.
All was well until he finished and asked the air
Well, what does that even mean?

It means that for a minute
I lost my daily battle to be
more open-minded and forgiving
towards those who see the world
differently than me

It Means It’s A Poem,
is what I wanted to shout
but didn’t

A Poem Means What It Means

this year’s spider

one year, it was a huge barn spider
above the back deck door

This year’s spider
built her web
between the clay pot of coleus
and the shady corner
of the porch railing

housekeeping in summer
is mostly sweeping cobwebs
from chairs, tables, porch railings
to keep away the whisper of webs
and the skittery feel of it on skin
but always, there’s one spider I see
whose hard work, though
bloodthirsty
reminds me of Charlotte despite myself
This year’s web is decorated with dropped
orange petals from the hanging begonia
Breeze and petals waft through her work
beside me as I write her poem

ninety percent of American homes have air conditioning

is one new thing I learned in this heat wave

here, instead—
wind and maple tree
sing their green summer song
cooler than jazz
cooler even than the oscillating fan
rattling away indoors, humming to itself

from July

last night, 8:30,
dusk
the dog and I sat on the front porch steps
he leaned on me and we watched
the moon rise over the treetops
on our quiet street
where everything whispered, evening

nestled

landscape as rolling as a Rubenesque mama
Nestled is the only word for
how these houses fit
into these hills
Around the next bend
a front yard wizard carved
from one enormous tree
In his raised hands
nestled—
a carving, perhaps of a wolf’s head
or the face of the North wind

shell

A poem in haste,
puppy anxious for a walk

do not grow that tempting
impenetrable shell
do not bury yourself

Let the world
have its way with you

if you let it
and if you are
one of the lucky
this world will
crack you open

plastic Ken doll

not only ghosts and the living.
Objects speak, too

Sometimes, I stop listening
they disappear or fall asleep

Other times, more persistent objects
throw themselves at my feet—
Like you, plastic Ken doll torso
headless, arms and legs gone
at rest in the funeral home driveway
I see you, forget
see you, forget again
After days of this, you’re muddier
and more battered
but still there so I eventually choose you,
write you down on paper,
Here You Are—no cheap joke
about a blind date (Because you’re headless, see?)
Just this—my thank you note
for your steadfast reminder
to notice the world

A Hundred Falling Veils

there's a poem in every day

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment