Language Barrier

Poetry Challenge Day 305 (Fri Aug 5)



A California-based nonprofit,
Earth Species Project (ESP),
is planning to use machine learning
to translate animal communication
into something humans can understand.
Unfortunately this will not
help us understand Republicans.



Having A Bad Day

Poetry Challenge Day 304 (Thu Aug 4)



I’m having a bad day.
What do you do when you’re are having a bad day?
Drink?
Cry?
Get Angry?
All of the above?
I wish I had the answer.
The reality is,
I don’t think there is an answer,
unless it is time…



Fairness

Poetry Challenge Day 303 (Wed Aug 3)



It has been pointed out to me recently
(as the result of an unfortunate event)
that life is not always fair.
What we do when confronted
with a situation that is complex,
and not altogether our fault,
is what determines the kind
of person we are.



Perchance to Think

Poetry Challenge Day 302 (Tue Aug 2)



I think better
when I’m lying down,
when I have my eyes closed.
It is then I have the most profound thoughts.
The problem is,
I can’t remember them
in the morning.



Pissed

Poetry Challenge Day 301 (Mon Aug 1)



I will probably write this every day for the rest of my life — I love writing. The trick for me is saying something. The good news is I don’t really feel any pressure to say something. For the most part, I don’t say anything at all. I get as much or more joy out of putting pen to paper and watching words appear on the page as I do putting down words that say something. It’s a marvel really that I made it through college. I won’t tell you what school I went to because I don’t want you to write to them and ask to have my degree rescinded.

I remember fondly one class where I got a higher grade on a final paper then another student (one I thought was my friend). She questioned me about the grade and asked “how I managed it.” Some years later she was working as an Assistant D.A. in the small town where I lived. We had stayed in touch occasionally. One evening I had a severe asthma attack and I called her to ask if she would drive me to the nearby hospital. She told me she was too busy… I guess she was still pissed about that final paper.



Planning

Poetry Challenge Day 300 (Sun Jul 31)



never write down today
what you plan to do tomorrow

always decide what today holds for you today
when you can actually do something about it

You’ll be much happier
and you’ll make better decisions

If you must write down
“things that need doing”

write them down and then
throw them away

they will come back to you
if they are important enough



Do you think Sisyphus wrote down a to-do list every day?

The Rule of 3’s

Poetry Challenge Day 299 (Sat Jul 30)



Never drive more than 3 hours in one day.
Be in camp by 3pm.
Change your underwear every 3rd day.



Writing

Poetry Challenge Day 298 (Fri Jul 29)



It doesn’t matter
if you write anything
worthy of being read by anyone.

If the act of writing
helps you in some way,
then it is worth doing.



The act of writing keeps me sane. I suppose you can consider that a help.

Truth

Poetry Challenge Day 297 (Thu Jul 28)



How do we discover truth
and use that to gain personal knowledge
and overcome adversity?

Emerson tells us
to trust ourselves.

Thoreau tells us to look to nature
rather than human institutions.

William James tells us to examine
our experience to find truth.

Truth is revealed
through effort and personal discovery,
along with just a bit of help from nature.



Attention

Poetry Challenge Day 296 (Wed Jul 27)



Whoever or whatever commands your attention
shows the world what you believe.



Good Day

Poetry Challenge Day 295 (Tue Jul 26)



This has been a good day so far.
It’s sunny.
I discovered brioche donuts.
I found a pen that makes me smile.
The author signed his book for me.
I took a stroll through the Pike Place Market
to watch the flying fish.



They’re dead, but they fly nonetheless.

New Book

Poetry Challenge Day 294 (Mon Jul 25)



When I get a new book
the first thing I like to do
is turn each page,
stretching the binding
to give the book a broken in feel.
This is an oddly satisfying experience.
If I were a poet,
this is where I would
astound you with a metaphor
which relates that to something
truly profound.
I’m not going to do that.
I break new books in this way
because I enjoy doing it…
Sometimes I read them.



Exposure

Poetry Challenge Day 293 (Sun Jul 24)



I don’t want you to see
what I’m writing here,
should you happen to oversee.

It doesn’t matter
that I think of you are
someone I can trust.

How much of ourselves
can we expose without
loosing ourselves?

Perhaps I shouldn’t be worried,
since I’m not sure myself
who I really am.



Congratulations

Poetry Challenge Day 292 (Sat Jul 23)



My doctor wrote this in my after visit patient notes:
“Congratulations on your mastery of French Sign Language.”



 An attentive doctor reads the patient profile prior to the patient’s visit…

When We’re Gone

Poetry Challenge Day 291 (Fri Jul 22)



What will become of us when we die?
There is no evidence based answer,
so I hope for the following:
I hope all our anger will be revealed to us
so we can see how harmful it has been.
I hope all our stupidity will be revealed to us
so we can see how harmful it has been.
I hope all our love will be revealed to us
so we can see if on balance,
we have been part of the solution
or part of the problem.
As long as we keep love on our minds
we have a chance to be
part of the solution.



It would probably be a good idea to read this before starting each day…

Daughter

Poetry Challenge Day 290 (Thu Jul 21)



Happy Birthday daughter.
Of all the things that could be said.
Of all the things that bring me pride.
You are at the very top of my list.

Not a day goes by
that I don’t think of you.
Perhaps you find that hard to believe,
I understand… still it’s true.

If I could give you anything in the world
I surley would (besides my love of course).
But for now, this simple poem
will have to do.



I have been gifted three times, and grateful for all three.

Roe v. Wade

Poetry Challenge Day 289 (Wed Jul 20)


An open letter to Clarence Thomas @law.gwu.edu regarding Roe.


I cannot begin to tell you how wrong you are.
While we live under the constitution
and it is the framework for the law of our land,
no document can survive for 250 years
without respecting the legitimate will of those governed by it.
I’m not referring to the will of the minority,
I am referring to the will of the majority.
Overturning the law of the land that has been extant for 50 years,
and is currently the will of the majority,
is not only turning a blind eye and a closed mind to your judicial responsibility,
it is also fundamentally misunderstanding it.



Wrongness

Poetry Challenge Day 288 (Tue Jul 19)



Something is wrong
when you hear the phrase
“I’d rather cry in a BMW
than smile on a bike.”
I was riding my bike
from Seattle to Portland.
A fellow stoped me and
told me I had a nice smile.



Aphorism

Poetry Challenge Day 287 (Mon Jul 18)



An idea delivered in a terse manner
is sometimes referred to as an aphorism.
My poetry is more aphorism than anything else.
(That may be overly self-complementary, I admit.)
Your mileage may vary when it comes to
any possible benefit derived
from the ideas presented here.



STP Day 2

Poetry Challenge Day 286 (Sun Jul 17)



This is the 11th year for me.
I love the memories as much as the experience.
“Free”
“Homemade”
“Banana Bread”
“Just Ahead”
This year I blow past them,
but I give them a big wave.



STP Day 1

Poetry Challenge Day 285 (Sat Jul 16)



I have forgotten how hard this is,
at the same time how much enjoyment it brings,
riding a bicycle for 8 hours.
Who would do such a thing?
I don’t have an answer for that one.
I think it’s about the challenge.
It’s part of my make-up.
Being sickly as a kid does something
to you, warps you in a way.
But I’m not the only one,
there were 6,000 others,
all with their own
private reasons.



Ooooh, What a Lucky Man He Was

Poetry Challenge Day 284 (Fri Jul 15)



Ooooh, what a lucky man I am
to have three children
all of them wonderful persons.
Can there be anything better than that?



Title courtesy of Greg Lake. Inspiration from his song “Lucky Man.”

Wondering

Poetry Challenge Day 283 (Thu Jul 14)



We go through life wondering
about a lot of things:
Are we a good parent?
Are we a good partner?
Do we treat others with respect?
These are possibly the three most important
questions we can ask ourselves.
It is especially nice
when someone tells us we are
one of those things.
Affirmation helps us keep going,
it is also a gift.
A gift that we can take with us
whatever we do.



I often “wonder” if this poetry project is a good exercise. I think it is, and I think Billy Collins would agree. Billy is not just a Poet Laureate, he is the most popular poet in America. He writes poetry that people can actually understand. I suppose it’s fine that there are poets writing words that are both beautiful and hard to grasp. I suppose we have to read that sort of poetry from time-to-time, but it is rare to find a Billy Collins poem that does not speak directly to your head and soul at the same time. It’s probably too much to say that I try to write like Billy Collins, but he has been a huge influence on me and one of the very reasons for this project. I don’t profess to have anything like talent, but I do think that admiration and emulation are no disgrace and can lead to marvelous self-discoveries.

Dear Diary

Poetry Challenge Day 282 (Wed Jul 13)



Dear Diary:
I’ve been telling myself all week:
“Hang Fauci.”
So I went ahead
and put up his portrait.



How Far Can You Go?

Poetry Challenge Day 281 (Tue Jul 12)



T. S. Eliot said:
“Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out
how far one can go.”

I heartily agree.
This has been one
of the driving forces
in my life.