THUMB THING

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I wish I were deft as young chums
who know how to twiddle their thumbs
typing texts of their own
over cellular phone
as swift and correct as they come.

But I’m not only old, I am dumb
and forced to the pure tedium
of one finger indexy
(it’s not very sexy)
O fee, and fie-fo, and fo-fum.

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THUMB THING

ISLAND

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My “guest poet” this time is Langston Hughes, American,1902-1967.
He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City. He famously wrote about the period that “the negro was in vogue”, which was later paraphrased as “when Harlem was in vogue”. It’s a little poem I memorized long ago and sometimes recite to myself.

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ISLAND

Wave of sorrow,
Do not drown me now:

I see an island
Still ahead somehow.

I see an island
And its sands are fair:

Wave of sorrow,
Take me there.
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ISLAND

LAST CAT’S CONUNDRUM

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Where did everybody go, do you suppose?
I thought I had them counted, every nose
going about its business everyday—
dog in the grass, cats in their litter tray;
now eat, now sleep—precise punctilios.

It started when one of the ones who wear the clothes
left us, went wherever someone goes
who never comes again. That’s when I began to say
where did they go?

Later on, my brother cat lay down and froze
in a forever sleep.  There was such weeping; flows
of tears like rivers. Then, oh, no! The dog fell prey
to that inscrutable. I feel as if I’m yesterday,
trying to know, waiting for my eyes to close—
where did everybody go?
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LAST CAT CONUNDRUM

DUMBFOUNDED

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dumbfounded is a place
cut like a chasm in the gut
a sharp and instant color of
the space between two moments
dark and seeming without cause

one goes there not by choice
but as the pawn of psychopomps
whose garbled voices suddenly
make clear demands from under
customary drapes of gauze

then nothing is the same
not the piano or a slice of bread…
to breathe is stunning…one cannot
remember the cat’s name…one moves
slowly like a walking bruise

who said time heals all wounds?
who said time wounds all heels?
it matters not…with time the place
dumbfounded turns to so much sand
easily shaken from the shoes
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DUMBFOUNDED

BY THE ANDROSCOGGIN

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The Androscoggin flows, cliff-sheltered,
hidden by a thickness of great pointed firs,
so we cannot see it from our windows
though we know it’s there. Sometimes we hear

after a freakish torrent of hard rain
its rushing over rocks—the ones we hop
when crossing—and we’re sidelined for awhile.

The local ducks, deer, foxes, skunks
don’t seem to mind; they let the river
have it’s way—grow wider, deeper,

curving slippery as silk over the falls,
roaring down to swirls of sudsy turbulence
then calming to black pools of mystery.

Only the hand that winds the clock of thought,
the sleepless eyes that worry out the window,
know an urge to push the river toward the sea,

while among the firs, small bright eyes
caught on the dark like stars fallen to earth,
watch, and don’t agree or disagree.
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BY THE ANDROSCOGGIN

THE CHILD INSIDE

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In the belly of all beginning, big as a pea, is the child inside;
rolling salt of the spume, of tears, of the sea, is the child inside.

The trouble with floating?  Habits accrue against floating, they
grow like barnacles, heavy, sinking the glee of the child inside.

The dark in a stranger much older, much larger, manipulates,
teaches a sorrow, impresses a dark tyranny on the child inside.

Replace the true face, deface with tattoo, learn what to do, and
for others change or cover the caged agony of the child inside.

Even the seemingly suave may be suddenly taken with urges
unkempt to disrupt Miss Manners At Tea, by the child inside.

A tiny detector of bogus, though paused or muted at times,
still writhes against snake oil and hyperbole in the child inside.

Call me by name, please notice I came, I was here
I am me!… persists the perennial plea of the child inside.

Toddle first, toddle last, time siphons the juice from the bloom;
still there, still at work, is the sweet bumble-be of the child inside.
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THE CHILD INSIDE

A FIB

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Of late the inventors of poetry forms have caught on to a gimmick, now floating among the arts, of using the Fibonacci Sequence as a model for composition. It’s a mathematical sequence of numbers in which each member is derived by adding the previous two numbers. By definition, the series begins with 0, 1.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,…..
The poets who like to count syllables have adapted it so that each line of a poem is to follow the sequence by its number of syllables. They call it a “Fib”. This is the first one I have ever written, and likely the last.

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A FIB

Oh
yeah?
Really?
You think so?
This is a poem?
Then I am Marie Antoinette
driving a purple corvette as I text this vignette!

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A FIB