April 11, 2009

Poems for April 8th, 9th and 10th, 2009

For April 8th, a short solo renga. I use a very liberal, westernized set of rules for writing renga. Even so, this might not qualify. The first stanza is supposed to be a haiku: I don’t count syllables for haiku, but I do try to avoid simile and metaphor. If the second line doesn’t break that rule, it comes awfully close.

rise to feed

spring evening’s rain
pecks at the lake
fish rise to feed

we made out by the soft
light of the t.v.

she liked it dirty,
the bronze of her sculptures,
stained by life

he’s come from first confession
to first liver spot

yes, i burned ants.
i’m ashamed, but miss
that crackle, that smell.

paperwork from my old job
–into the bonfire!

–Carl Bettis


I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of alienation poems. Maybe someday I’ll stop writing them. Not just yet, though. Here’s my April 9th poem:


he has dried his heart into jerky
he chews it for flavor but doesn’t swallow
he used to be an important man in his life
one night he left himself at work
next morning he was gone
he is thoroughly documented
he carries both requirements and design on a thumb drive
he can be reconstructed whenever it would be useful
so far he hasn’t had the need
if his wife has noticed he’s missing she hasn’t said anything
last week he went to church
God wasn’t there either
and hey if it doesn’t bother Him…

–Carl Bettis

(On an unrelated note, judging by my recent compositions, I seem to be fixated on dried foods lately.)


April 10th: speaking of alienation…

To The Alien

“Human: the animal that makes boxes.” –Isem Goins

I was born on Earth. My species–
we make boxes. I lived there in a box
that was sectioned into smaller boxes,
worked in a box, kept my shorts and socks
in sliding boxes, watched a box for pleasure.
Our cities: boxes stacked, nested, crowded, sprawled,
filled with people riding in boxes, eating from boxes.
We build boxes for our children, our elders,
our sick, our gods. “Outside the box”
is a magical phrase to us, a box of words
that contains escape, air, creation.
Outside is the Earth, which isn’t useful
if you need to hold or carry your stuff.
I was born there.

–Carl Bettis


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