Category Archives: villanelle

Since I gave up chocolate for Lent

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A little Lenten silliness to start National Poetry Month. 
This one’s in the form of a villanelle.

 

Since I gave up chocolate for Lent

I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent
on things that are frankly awful for me
since I gave up chocolate for Lent.

I’ve purchased eighteen cheese cakes, blew the rent
money on baklava and gin – honestly,
I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent,

but it’s been huge. I doubt Father Bill meant
it to go this way, but my friends agree:
since I gave up chocolate for Lent

I’ve gone downhill. This cocoa fast has sent
me to the mall to dull my misery.
I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent,

but I’ve gained sixty pounds and put a dent
in my 401k. Screw charity,
since I gave up chocolate for Lent

I have lost all virtue. I’m hell-bent
on survival. God, bring Easter quickly!
I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent
since I gave up chocolate for Lent.

 

Seventeen

Seventeen

It’s a whirlwind season in my home life. Graduations, college preparation, combing through old pictures, casting off items we forget we had and certainly will never use again.  Everyone is drifting – not in a bad way.  But we are definitely coming un-stuck from each other.  There is nothing to prepare you for this kind of pulling apart.  Everything tastes bittersweet.

In the middle of all of this, I wrote a villanelle – about change, and love, and seeing the ones we love with new eyes. For my father, for Father’s Day.

 

Seventeen

Suddenly, he won’t talk to me:
He’s become a steel curtain.
It’s just the way I used to be

with my father, too, half angry,
half amused at the old cretin.
Suddenly, he won’t talk to me

about even simple things. We
are strangers more than next-of-kin.
It’s just the way I used to be –

I remember the agony
of this age – the man-trap he’s in.
Suddenly, he won’t talk to me

except on days he needs money,
and really, is that such a sin?
It’s just the way I used to be!

I don’t take it personally –
this is a game a dad can’t win.
Suddenly, he won’t talk to me –
it’s just the way I used to be.

 

Blaze

 

Not so long ago, I inherited a coat that had belonged to a far-flung relative.  I learned a lot about him from what I found in the pockets.  The more I learned, the more I appreciated the man.  I wrote this villanelle in his honor.

 

Blaze

The coat is surely from his east coast days
those years in Boston no one talks about
when he untied the strings a thousand ways.

I find a matchbook from the nightclub BLAZE
unopened in a pocket – without doubt
the coat is surely from his east coast days.

I think of him on stage, the thick-breathed haze
above his head and how the crowd would shout
when he untied the strings a thousand ways,

so far from home, a farm boy in that maze
of all that drugs and rock n roll could spout.
The coat is surely from his east coast days

and now I smile to think of all the ways
he honored her along that sacred route
when he untied the strings a thousand ways.

I treasure every unstruck match that says
some people love home best by getting out.
The coat is surely from his east coast days
when he untied the strings a thousand ways.

 

Never skip breakfast…

 (a villanelle)

How many animals are there
Teeming before my hungry eyes?
By this point, I don’t even care.

Just cause I’m single, it’s not fair
To choose me. Don’t you realize
How many animals are THERE?

All I’ve done, all day, is to stare,
Then name each beast. I can’t disguise
By this point I don’t care

If the names make sense. I might dare
To skip some! Tell me, O Most-Wise:
How many animals are there

That I can grill medium-rare?
Names can wait! Just serve ‘em with fries.
By this point I don’t even care.

There’s only so much I can bear
Before I start to fantasize.
How many animals are there?
By this point I don’t even care.

To share with friends over at the marvelous dVerse Poets Pub.

Thank you for calling

What pain I endure every time that I say,
“We apologize unreservedly:
Thank you so much for calling; have a nice day.”

Your son cut his hand when he started to play
With the chainsaw you bought? Well, duh! You see
What pain I endure every time that I say

We’re sorry to losers like you, sharks who prey
On flesh like lawyers? When I gush brightly,
“Thank you so much for calling; have a nice day,”

What I mean is, “Get lost, you leech-head, and stay
Out of my way or I’ll show you clearly
What pain I endure!” Every time that I say

How I feel to my boss, he turns me away
With, “The customer’s right, just make them happy.
Thank you so much for calling; have a nice day!”

Well, he’s wrong – there’s no way we should have to pay
For your stupidity. It’s killing me
What pain I endure every time that I say,
“Thank you so much for calling; have a nice day.”

Passion wagon

(Hey, the lockout is over – here’s a villanelle for the NFL – for friends over at dVerse, a great site to check out if you haven’t already.)

You wonder what it is I’m thinking of
As we are locking lips here in the car?
I have to say my heart is filled with love

For all creation – the bee, the wood dove
And giant men in spandex near and far.
You wonder what it is I’m thinking of

As you fumble with the seatbelt and shove
Me backwards, inflicting the biggest scar
I have? To say my heart is filled with love

For you is true, but it is not enough.
You know how my libido seems sub-par?
You wonder what it is? I’m thinking of

Owners and players standing hand in glove
Proclaiming peace like buddies in a bar.
I have to say my heart is filled with love

For you, but mostly ‘cause you’re splayed above
Me like you caught a touchdown from Bart Starr.
You wonder what it is I’m thinking of?
I have to say, my heart is filled with love.

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