Reading & Writing Poetry
Bed Bedlam Spending over a thousand bucksfor a box spring and mattress, alwayspisses me off, every decade or so--even though my bulk has createda form-fitting crevice on my sideand everything rolls to the center;even as back and neck aches aremuch too morning prevalent, evenwhen informercials late at nightshow blow-up photos of the dreadeddust mites that gorge themselveson my constantly shedding skin cells,after flipping the mattress 57 timesevery which way to find the level--and then there is the eternal quandary about “which” mattress to buy, a waterbed or the sleep-number mattress,or the bowling ball mattress, or the onewith the wine glass that will not spillas a child leaps up and down beside it?For God’s sake, this is not Henry VIII’s spaciouscanopy bed, or Gauguin’s panda ma palm mattress,or Cleopatra’s goose-down love nest completewith cheeta-skin pillow cases, or Andy Warhol’sCampbell Soup-shaped bed, or Jackie Gleason’shuge perfectly round bed, or Winston Churchill’sbulldog-shaped day bed, or Bill Clinton’scigar-shaped napper--and besides, these nightsmy wife and I spend more time sleeping in ourrespective recliners than in the conjugal wrestling matcenter piece in our bedroomanyway.Glenn ButtkusJanuary 2011
The cat-curled cradleof dreamssang its siren songto leaden eyelids. Choosing to close my eyesreleases the tiger of imaginationto prowl, un-caged,digging its claws in phantom reality.When I awake the adventureis written in strewn bed-clothesand straggled hair.
Apologies for a bit of bit of doggerelDown with duvetsDuvets are devilish, duvets are trouble,whether they're KING-sized, single or double.Beginning the night all fluffy and plump,in next to no time a monstrous lump.Slipping and sliding all over the sheets,exposing his bottom, her bosoms,their feet.He nabs it this way, then yanks it that, frustrating the Mrs, alarming the cat.To change the damn thing you need a degree,In stuffin' n' holdin'-duvology.Goose-down, duck-down and how many togs?The cover all retro? Or squiggles and blobs?I treasure my sheets. I bless my blankets.The Lord be praised, the lord be thankED.
I am reading bedtime stories to my daughter, three teddies, a pedigree horse and two angels; re-telling the tale of Moses, as plastic Barbie with blonde hair stares up with blank blue eyes. I am nearing the conclusion where he is banished from kissing the sacred soil of the Promised Land despite surviving the Passover, pestilence of locusthe parting of, and crushing water wall of the Nile. She placed her tiny fingered hand over the pages of the Childs Bible, indicating that we’d finished.Looking up at me she said “Dad, why didn’t God just do what you and mummy do, when I’m tired and grumpy - and put him on the naughty stair?”
bother, the web deleted a line...Swaddled like a baby in a floating reed basketI am reading bedtime stories to my daughter, three teddies, a pedigree horse and two angels; re-telling the tale of Moses, as plastic Barbie with blonde hair stares up with blank blue eyes. I am nearing the conclusion where he is banished from kissing the sacred soil of the Promised Land despite surviving the Passover, pestilence of locusthe parting of, and crushing water wall of the Nile. She placed her tiny fingered hand over the pages of the Childs Bible, indicating that we’d finished.Looking up at me she said “Dad, why didn’t God just do what you and mummy do, when I’m tired and grumpy - and put him on the naughty stair?”
Story of Beds.My first bed was metal painted white,Coloured Dutch boys in baggy trousers dancedtheir paint pealing with help from small fingers.We moved from Herne Bay to Sidcup, nothingmemorable about my next bed, wooden I think.I joined the Guides, went to camp slept on ground-sheets, hard earth beneath.Sea Rangers was fun, we slept four to a punt.I fell in the river twice at Henley. At nightwe spread the awning providedover big iron hoops, slept soundly.Later when we all had jobs, we hired two houseboats on the Norfolk Broadsstopped at riverside pubs and drank ShandyI slept on the Sea Sprite. The war meantthere was no petrol so we were towed upstream for a change of scene.Soon after this I began a wonderful marriage lasting for 57 years sharing the double bed in which I now sleep alone since my dearly loved husbanddied four years ago, a teddy bear for comfort.His dressing-gown hangs on the door an empty pillow beside me where his head should be.
This pillow is where your head should be, my dead love.And yes, when I change the bed I change your pillowcase.Every now and then the dog asks to share this old bed andI say no. Rarely now do I put out the breakfast thingsfor two, or get in the passenger seat of the car and wait.But I don’t read the Guardian any more, I never really did.I get the awful Daily Mail with its rightwing fascist populist unacceptable views. I watch the ITV news. I watch Neighbours.And Home and Away. Trivial storylines plucked from nowhere.The dog and I are thinking aboutbuying a new bed.
A Trail of FeathersWhen I saw your house emptythe rose bush dug upa faint trace of bicycle trackI wondered what happenedto the pillows, we rarely sleptin the bed, preferring a quilt on the floor, planted pillows in front of an orange fire, undressedby flame, night slipping its tongueunder the hem of moon, hushing eyelids, searching for stars in the darkof damp hair, exploring pathsover moorland skin, each feathera door that led us home. firstname.lastname@example.org
The truth is I read in bed, there, I've said it!Let's put one thing to bed, these days I need glasses to do it - that's the truth, not a manipulation like a faked orgasm, or, imagine that I drowned my neighbours cat. Why? Because it was evil, it pooped on my patunias, it ate our pet gerbils, or because I'm a bad person, a control freak. In the end the cat is still deceased, and that's a truth.
Thanks so much to Glenn, Keith, Catherine, Martin, Mary Rose, Stephen and Eileen for posting your poems. They were an enjoyable mixture of irony, social observation, lyrical reflection, humour (that has to be the funniest rhyme: blankets/thank-ED!)and controlled grief.My favourite phrase from all the poems posted was the following in Eileen's poem, A Trail of Feathers:night slipping its tongueunder the hem of moonIsn't that so wonderfully sensual?And the next prompt follows hot on the heels of these comments.
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