My Latest Get Rich Quickly Scheme

My get rich quickly scheme has bit the dust.

I noticed when I went to buy a fig

on eBay what a single cutting costs.

A single cutting costs, on average, ten

or twenty dollars and a fig grows fist.

In just a couple years my sawbuck would

return to me an hundred times as much.

I’m pretty good at growing plants and trees.

I only have to stick them in the ground;

no fuss, no muss, no bother, and they grow.

But being practical, I thought I’d start

by ordering a couple dozen figs.

I even watched a YouTube video

on rooting figs. You stick the cutting in

a pot and in a month or two the roots

will grow and you will have yourself a brand new tree.

Transplant the tree into to a bigger pot

and soon you’ll see that money grows on trees

I might as well grow fifty trees to start

instead of twenty-four varieties.

I’ve got the room for fifty different figs,

and so I figured that I might as well

buy fifty and not just the twenty-four.

So fifty cuttings came. I planted them

and waited patiently for them to root.

And waited patiently for them to root.

And when my patience was exhausted I

discovered none of them had taken root.

My get rich quickly scheme had bit the dust,

or more correctly hadn’t taken root.

An Essay on Poetry

Today’s NaPoWriMo optional prompt led me in this direction:


An Essay on Poetry


I read an article about the line

in poetry and how a poem needs

a longer line and asks the poet, “Does

a break enhance the meaning? And if not

then set a couple lines, or three or four

together into one extended line.

About the time that Kennedy and King were killed

and modernism died to be replaced

by a post-modern mindset, one in which

the world turned grey, and not the kinky grey

of domineering sex, but one where all

the verities were overturned, a world

where everything was always right and wrong;

a world without authority, a world

whose mantra soon became, “Well who’s to say?”

there was another essay on the line

and how and when to start another line.

The poet said you were supposed to end

the line grammatically. You end it with

the ending of a thought, a clause, a phrase;

except for emphasis, the poet might

decide to place important words apart

from where they really should be placed.

Of course the writer was attempting to

create a sense of structure in the line

of poetry that had been disemboweled

when meter was abandoned and then killed.

My favorite, though for how to write a line

of poetry was simply take a breath.

The line is ended when you have to breathe

again. Great lungs equate to longer lines.

But if you smoked, had emphysema, then

your lines would be much shorter. You could tell

a poet’s health by looking at his lines.

A healthy poet writes in longer lines

according to this theory of the line.

Of course it never really worked that way,

and now we’re post-post-modern and the line

we’ve all been writing now is obsolete.

The short line’s out. The longer line is in.

It was much easier with formal verse.

The line is over when you get to ten.

You count the syllables and stop at ten.

Reading Chaucer

For day five of NAPOWRIMO I have sort of followed the optional prompt. At least the optional prompt got me started on the poem for today.


Reading Chaucer


A foreign language? Middle English is

for some. The vowels are weird and you pronounce

each letter as it’s written down. Take “could”

and try pronouncing it KO-OO-L-D

and see if anyone can understand

what you have said. They could of course if you

would read it could. And “would” no longer sounds

like wood in Middle English. Then, of course,

there is my favorite, “love” or is it LOO-va?

Tell someone, “You are the LOO-va of my life.”

and see if it will get you anywhere.

I could be wrong so don’t rely

on me. I’m not an expert, just a fan.

“Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote”

(and don’t’ forget to use a Scottish R)

is how the story starts that Chaucer tells.

You hear the cadence, hear the rhythm? You

don’t even have to understand the words.

Pretend you’re sitting in your favorite bar.

The music’s cranked so loud the words are lost,

and there is just the beat that shakes your soul.

Well Middle English may not shake your soul,

but listen to the musicality.

And even when the meaning isn’t clear,

the sound, the rhythm, and the beat remain.



They fill the shelves, their covers stamped, embossed

with leaves and flowers and a lyre of course.

There has to be a lyre. They’re poetry.

A standard pattern for the publisher,

this one is done in red and gold and black.

The one beside it’s green and gold and black.

There’s others on the shelf in blue and brown

with variations of the same design.

A salesman going door to door would show

his sample covers, show how beautiful

they’d look while sitting on the lady’s shelves

and sell the glory of a well-read home.

They sit on my shelves now with faded spines,

the colors muted, and the texts unread.

They’ve sat on shelves since Lincoln was alive

as decoration, text blocks pristine.

They’ve never once been opened, never read.


Taking Notes

Another meeting. It’s important, and

I can’t be seen just staring so take notes!

I wonder if I can remember more

than twenty lines about the moon. Take notes.

Pretend you’re listening. There’s Juliet,

or was it Romeo who talks about

the constant moon, but he’s a kid

who kills himself and her. And then there’s Frost

who has a housewife or her husband watch

to see if clouds will hit or miss the moon

as if the clouds are some galactic clouds

that just so happen to be floating by,

and if they hit they will dissolve the moon.

And don’t forget the silver moon. “Shine on” . . .

but I forget. It doesn’t matter. Wait,

it’s “By the sea, by the sea, by the” . . . No.

That’s from another song. I’ve got it wrong.

Well Eliot and Prufrock, “Let us go

through certain half-deserted street.s” There’s got\

to be a moon there hidden in the fog.

Well look at this. I’ve filled the page with notes

about the moon. There’s room for one more note

before the meeting’s over so the moon,

and eyes and pizza pies will finish up

the meeting and the page. It’s time for lunch.

Figgy Pudding

The perfect figgy pudding needs a cook

who throws away the recipe and dreams.

Imagine if you will a Thailand fig

that’s redolent with spices, elephants,

monsoonal rains; and cross it with a fig

from Italy, Sardinia perhaps,

to add the sun-drenched beaches, narrow streets,

oregano, and Homer’s wine-dark sea.

Now there would be a fig to dream about,

a fig dessert to end a perfect meal.

Unfortunately, with a recipe

you take a bunch of mashed up figs

and add some bread forgotten in the frig.

Then dump a bunch of sugar in and mix

and bake or fry, it doesn’t matter which,

or boil it pretending it’s a treat,

pretending what you’ve got will be as good

as plump-ripe figs directly from the tree.

Trophy Wife

Well duh! Of course. Like every other man

I went out looking for a trophy wife.

Arm candy. Yah. I know. A shallow pig.

That’s me. But smarter than the other pigs

because I did it right. The other pigs

go looking for a trophy wife when they

are old so they can strut pretending that

they haven’t got a temporary wife,

who only married them because they’re rich.

Their trophy wives are temporary things

who leave them when they’ve gotten all they can.

I know I’m shallow, but I did it right.

I chose a trophy wife when I was young,

and forty years and more she’s stuck with me.

I’m pretty sure she married me for me

and not my non-existent bank account.