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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Announcement

It's likely that I'll be closing down the Tambourine early next month. I'm planning on trying to get some of my poems into print periodicals. Previous online publication, including on blogs, often renders a poem ineligible to appear in print.

I've enjoyed the six-year run of this blog, and I cherish all the encouragement from those who visit these pages. I pledge to keep the "regulars" alerted to anything I might be doing online in the future.

I would like to thank all the readers of the Tambourine, be they frequent or sporadic. It's a joy to know that on occasion this haphazard poet has done something that somebody else seems to like.

Peace, blessings, and light to all.

And thank you.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Killer Poem

Reader, you've been villanelled to death:
Limericked, coupleted, doggerelled to death.

If I've tolled you once, I've tolled you a thousand times:
No man is an island. Knelled, belled to death.

Your Irish eyes squint at ancient pages
In Celtic lettering. Book-of-Kelled to death?

Rhymes assault your ears from the nursery:
Little-lambed and farmer-in-the-delled to death.

On Cupid's bow, how are my heart-strings bent:
O Stella! I've been Astrophelled to death.

This impecunious oenophile, poor wino,
Drinks on the cheap. He's muscatelled to death!

Starting earlier every year -- Halloween? Really? --
The Christmas season. Joyeux Noël'd to death.

Her mind was a victim of glossy magazines:
Cosmo'd, Vogued, and Mademoiselled to death.

Talk-radio addicts binge on bluster:
Bickered, shrilled, harangued, and yelled to death.

The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.
Sylvia Plath's line. Arielled to death.

If I were a rich man, I'd biddy-biddy-bum ...
You'd find yourselves Zero Mostel'd to death!

Like Terence Trent D'Arby in 1988,
The weary world's been Wishing-Well'd to death.

Ground Control to Major (or Minor) Tom:
Where's the Rocket Man? Jet-propelled to death.

A Rootin-tootin' Ghazal

This poem has no GMO's! It's gluten-free!
It even defies gravity! Isaac-Newton-free!

The night owl's eyes prevent the morning watch,
But I would have the wee hours hootin'-free.

My calculator's batteries are drained:
No abacus for back-up. Computin'-free.

I gave away all my Jethro Tull albums:
My classic-rock collection's flutin'-free.

Rare is the corner on my side of the tracks
That's drinkin'-, druggin'-, prostitutin'-free.

Knotheads and Leftpapas debate, trade barbs:
I'll switch the channel to stay disputin'-free.

In my home office, it's always casual Friday:
I don't dress up. I'm three-piece-suitin'-free.

Buy me a seat on the Amtrak to Chicago;
I'll leave South Station on the 2:10, free!

Where have you gone, Boris Nikolayevich?
I liked Mother Russia when it was Putin-free.

Missing his target by miles, Thomas engages
In a round of not-so-straight shootin', free.

Friday, February 24, 2017

After Blake

A squirrel on the cold brown grass
Defeats the loutish and the crass.

A sparrow on the bare black tree
Makes boor and braggart bend the knee.

A cardinal darting through the hedge
Sends solemn hearts over the edge.

A puppy on a supple tether
Brings bright flowers in winter weather.

A kitten at its playful frisk
Leads timid souls to take a risk.

An eagle on the tall lamppost
Silences every blustering boast.

A crow that pecks in a lonely field
Compels the pushy oaf to yield.

A pigeon waddling in a puddle
Dispels all doubt, clears up the muddle.

A snail inside its wee shell curled
Brings light to a self-darkened world.

A duckling bathing in the brook
Asks hasty eyes to stop and look.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Prayer

A chilly January night.
Fingering a wooden rosary,
I sit on the third-floor balcony
In a darkness here and there
Dotted and streaked with light.
I'm dressed in winter pajamas.
No one save Heaven can see me
As I look up at the Hunter's belt,
Down at asphalt and grass.
The light traffic of Route 60
Hums within sight and hearing
Just past the hundred-yard path
In front of my apartment building.

It's thirty, thirty-five degrees.
I wrap this cold around me
And my sluggish senses waken.
I drink darkness like water
And listen for whispers of mercy
In the endless star-sparked sky.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Clean Sheet

Winter morning. Sunrise, moonset.
Spidery branches of bare trees.
Lucent blue skies. Eighteen degrees.
Clean sheet of morning light
on which I dare to write the word
in tentative penmanship: joy.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sustenance

We go crazy for honey and syrup,
for sugar and sweet chocolate,
for rich pastries and sumptuous
desserts. But we are nourished
by humble roots and plants,
by common fruit, by daily bread,
by pure familiar water.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Two in the Morning

It's Wednesday, two in the morning:
instant coffee and an English muffin.
Chilly in the kitchen. Forty degrees
and a cold black rain outside.
                                                I complain
to the four walls of my apartment. I complain:
There is beauty that I cannot dance with.
There are songs to which I don't know
and will never learn the words, poems
which my voice is too dusty to render.

I wish I were young. I wish I could sleep
eight hours each night. I wish I lived in
Montana. I want to visit holy ground.

Announcement

It's likely that I'll be closing down the Tambourine early next month. I'm planning on trying to get some of my poems into print...