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I received this game for Christmas and the possibilities are inspirational. The rules: draw a prompt card and use it to inspire a poem that uses some of the 12 “paint chip colors” in your hand. In the vein of Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, the person to play the prompt card judges the “best” poem. This is, however, also a one-player game.

Here are two I’ve written. Paint chip colors indicated by Italics.

 

Paint Chip Poem I

Far, Far Away (Prompt)

 

Others celebrate, black

tie around long, thin necks.

 

But me, I’m on pins

and needles,

 

Preparing for

total eclipse. 

 

 

Paint Chip Poem II

 

This Is How It Will All End (Prompt)

 

It’s always on the tip 

of the tongue, preserved

 

like an heirloom tomato

clinging to the lettuce

of your salad days. But

 

the reflection in your eyes

reveals the stones in your pockets, waiting

 

as the babbling brook

swells to tsunami.

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~An Ode to Hugh Hefner on the Day of His Departure

Where the hell were the grown-ups

that blissful afternoon

when Geoff and I unburied

that stack of Playboys

in a Canadian closet?

 

We spent that balmy midday

draped over twin beds, hunkered

down to learn what adults had

refused to tell us

 

from those glossy pages –

the airbrushed women,

the naughty cartoons,

the articles that everyone

claimed to read.

for Martin Espada and the other 1% on July 4, 2017

 

I read somewhere, long ago,

That in an orbit of the sun, four seasons,

Past birthdays, holidays, and one-quarter

Of an election cycle,

99% of Americans fail

To buy books of poetry. Yet,

 

We wonder what’s gone wrong with this country.

Hull of old memories,

Bebop and slow dances,

Soda-shoppe sundaes

After school, you-

DJ’d them all

With a quarter request

And the push of some buttons.

Records dropped

45 rpm and the long arm

Lowered itself onto each

Groove like a gentle

Lover. Scratching

Melancholy moods

And soft air.

Where your records are now

Melted ashtrays, ornaments

Hanging on diner walls, and

Skeet targets,

Digital music – so pure

And perfect, convenient –

Will never be

As romantic as

Standing arm

And arm above

The Wurlitzer choosing

Our favorite song.

~June 7, 2016 – Poem almost every day

There is an art to choosing
the day when students
recite the words of great

writers, knowing Fate
will say, “No.” Or is it winter?
Twenty-one below with wind;

no kindergarten and all else
must wait. And so, our contest.
Mittens, scarves, boots

will be late. No snowballs
will fly. Organizers
email judges, contestants,

Performers – all – to say
Poetry is once again delayed.

Poets are the unacknowledged legislatures of the world.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

Spray paint it on the wall, black

can and a stencil worthy

of the death penalty.

 

Art, when illegal, is the only force

that’ll get us through. Williams

and Shelley knew well the danger

 

of the word. When words

penetrate a scull

fortified by propaganda is

 

(lies, and repetition, and fallacies)

antipoetry. And

the men with the guns

 

and the butter

 

will clomp a menace up the stairs

to your carefully decorated apartment-

right out of an 80s music video on MTV.

 

Then, will you hide behind gauzy

drapes or greet them

with your machete of words

and watercolors?

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