New Year’s 2011
It’s time to stick twelve knives in the old guy,
drain blood from bad lusts, burn husks of habit,
drape hopeful names over the new-crowned self:
Me the Active, the Temperate, the Brave–
honors I will drop, deed by same old deed.
About the form
The form of this poem is one I invented, and call the lipquin — for lipogrammatic quintain. The rules:
- Five lines
- Each line has the same number of syllables
- Line 1 cannot contain the letter “a”
- Line 2 cannot contain the letter “e”
- Line 3 cannot contain the letter “i”
- Line 4 cannot contain the letter “o”
- Line 5 cannot contain the letter “u”
Fishing Stockton Lake
Up close, the curved wall of the dam
looks like a spill of rocks. I consider
crawling over them to a better point,
but it’s just me and my daughter here
and if I twist an ankle, she can’t carry me.
I do teeter across them later, when her cast
goes wide and tangles in the lone bush.
I search for flat surfaces, test each step
before I trust it with my weight.
Just as I start to unweave the nylon
through the weedy branches and pink clusters,
she says, “Dad, a ferret!”
After several seconds, I see it:
not a ferret, but an otter, twisting
easily through the jumbled stones.
It passes almost within reach
on some mission that doesn’t involve us,
and vanishes. I free the line.
My daughter baits the hook and makes
a perfect cast, but the fish ignore us,
and the bird wheeling overhead
on our same quest doesn’t find us
worth warning off. When a family of five
crashes down the trail to let their toddler
splash among lost lines and rusty hooks,
we pack our tackle and disappear.