Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8 -- Discomfort Poem

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  1. Little League

    Here is am in left field.
    The crowd is in the stands.
    Where is Mommy? I can’t
    see her. There she is. The

    batter is at the plate.
    Please don’t hit it my way.
    Swing and a miss, strike one.
    Outside high, that’s ball one.

    Crack, the wooden bat rings
    in my ear. I can’t see
    the ball. Cover my eyes
    with my glove, block the sun.

    Smack, the ball hits my glove,
    my face, my glasses fall
    off my face. I hold tight.
    Everyone is a blur.

    Stumble for my glasses.
    Everyone’s on their feet.
    I throw to the pitcher.
    Where’s Mommy? Did she see?

    1. Okay, that's some real discomfort. That had to have been terrible, but hey you got a great poem from it.

    2. I quit all organized sports at 7. Mainly because my teammates teased me, and we were in first place that year. The first year I played my big brother was on the team, so he protected me. My only real problem was that I was nearsighted, and I couldn't see the ball. I may not have had glasses at the time,but of course they were necessary in the poem.

    3. That's a special kind of torture. If you don't love team sports it's awful. I knew that I was never going to go far when during a race I thought to myself, if I dig deep and find the hero in me and really push myself and win, who cares this is just high school sports. That's pretty close to the moment I gave up on that kind of competition.

    4. yea, high school sports can be brutal. I was pretty radical about team sports. I only caved in Junior high for flag football once. I loved playing neighborhood sports, and have always surprised everyone how fierce I am. I had no fear of pain or blood.

    5. fixed the first line (Michelle pointed out the typo to me).

      Here I am in left field.

    6. love this poem and the sports conversation. i'm another non-athlete who couldn't throw anything, catch anything, or get someplace fast.

    7. Know the feeling Thomas. I have so many poems of this kind.



    Sitting in the proud old boat
    Of creaking boards
    A single oar
    A weekend sacrificed entire
    From morning’s dark til dusk shall fall
    So early?
    This is when they bite boy
    Indentured to a father’s father’s fantasy
    Obligation recommended by affiliation
    Endorsed on every side
    Enforced by unassailable contrivance of affection
    Induction to a secret world assured
    On cloudy green Indiana water
    Tradition rich with arcane terminology
    Antique technologies and rituals combined
    Techniques to be passed down or lost to history
    This is your birthright boy
    Masculine prerogatives to be instilled
    The skill to kill and to survive
    License to inflict pain
    To disembowel and skin
    And kill again or exercise the luxury of mercy
    To be a man is to know why and when
    To understand imperatives
    And enjoy them while maintaining a buzz--
    But Grampa
    Watch and catch boy
    Watch and catch

    Sitting in the proud old boat
    Of creaking boards
    A single oar
    Listening to oft-repeated maxims and self-hypnotic poetry
    Retired milkman in the winter of his life
    Projecting on the modern world his own delusion
    Inducing with the zip of line a transportation
    To the muddy water of a simple time
    Of solid structures
    And respect
    When they stayed on their side
    And it was yes sir no sir
    And when you told em breng a beer boy it got brung--
    But Grampa
    Watch and catch boy
    Watch and catch

    Sitting in the proud old boat
    Of creaking boards
    The day wore on
    And patience was a virtue highly praised
    That and silence and they spring
    From the ability to suffer heat and dehydration
    And a love of insects and warm chicken salad
    But nevermind the silence
    For stories of the triumphs of a bygone era
    Of a life upon a lake and a house three stories tall
    And a family of generations
    Impressive references to distant relations all with Biblical names
    And frequent invocations of nature and of God’s creation
    It’s all around us at the water’s edge
    Where the beer cans float into the branches--
    But Grampa
    Watch and catch boy
    Watch and catch

    Sitting in the proud old boat
    Of creaking boards
    A single oar
    Implement enough to push us back to shore
    To the reality that the summer had only just begun
    An endless line of weekends floating
    On the algae-laden scum
    It’s just the way it was when I was young
    And spent my weekends with my father
    Learning me to hook the catfish
    Upstate where they swim in swarms
    Tomorrow we can work the other end up near the mill
    And bring in a twelve pounder
    And what a fight that was
    A story for another day
    You’ll understand
    For now it’s getting late
    And twenty miles of road await
    With one unsteady shaking hand fishing for ignition keys
    The other tilting up the lid behind the seat
    And produced the last aluminum beer can--
    But Grampa
    Watch and catch boy
    Watch and catch

    1. I love it. The language is thick and heavy. You can feel the weight of it, and it travels nicely.

    2. Yeah it does. You're really using the poetic devices for what they're worth! Well done.

    3. Also, I really love how you used "watch and catch"


    Your temperature rises in the sun as you watch
    the blue team descend on the afternoon catch
    of adolescents simply attending a pool party
    You’re helpless against their badges and guns
    thinking this sort of trouble has not just begun
    and you’re part of the problem to let it bleed on
    but still, you stand on the sidelines and watch

    1. Fantastic. I love how you used the "Watch" and "catch"

  4. Watcbing my father

    I would watch my
    father look at the sunset
    and catch a tear from which
    he would wipe away from
    behind his
    glasses in one motion
    imagining the memories
    he must have had
    to watch and catch
    his father
    contemplating the way
    the colors did bend
    into a fluid blend
    Like I now
    watch and catch
    the sunset colors
    as they bend
    into a fluid blend

    1. Man, that's a really touching poem. Connection across generations.

  5. I Hate Snow

    "Be careful, he said, as I got out of the car
    "Stay on the path, and don't go too far."

    I dashed down the trail, exploring the snow
    not knowing my day would end in embarrassment and woe

    A quarter mile in, the beauty consumed me
    the drifts, the banks a sky as blue as the sea

    Off in the distance, poking out from the snow
    was the source of the day's embarrassment and woe

    The leaves were deep green, and so out of place
    the flowers were delicate, like grandma's white lace

    I stepped off the path, and walked into the snow
    right into the clutches of embarrassment and woe

    Two feet from the flowers, the ground opened from within
    sucking me in... right up to my chin

    "Don't move," cried a voice, "or you'll continue to go,"
    "Down to the depths of embarrassment and woe."

    He army-crawled out, and saved me, he did
    then balled me out plenty, for being a dumb kid

    "What were you thinking, going out in that snow?
    Don't you know there's nothing there, but embarrassment and woe?"

    "I was looking at the flowers, on that bush, don't you see?"
    "I see," he said frowning, "that bush is a tree!"

    My face flushed so brightly, it could have melted the snow
    with the flames of my ignorance, embarrassment and woe

    Were it not for its branches, I would felt death's sting
    and they wouldn't have found me, till well into spring

    That was twenty five years ago, to this day I hate snow,
    The thought of it still haunts me, with embarrassment and woe

    1. Wow, you really went straight into that rhyme. Funny poem too!

    2. I was going for a Dr Seuss thing :)

    3. I can feel that. The repetition of "Embarrassment and woe" is great.

    4. it sort of reminds me of the earlking or lenore, the story really draws you in

  6. Stupid Northgate Market

    First, I have to walk there but at least it's only two blocks.
    But two blocks can seem like a mile and a mile can seem like 10...
    I guess I've decided that the magnetic strip to keep the shopping carts on the store's property is not nice since I have to carry heavy bags home.
    Oh God, at least their heavy and not "too light."
    I wonder if the stores clean the cart handbar...
    I try not to think of it, even though it grosses me out.
    As I enter through the automatic doors, I feel like people watch me.
    I think they're wondering why I'm shopping there.
    Sometimes Mexican people think I look too white and white people think I look too Mexican.
    But I"m both.
    Northgate is a Mexican market.
    I escape as quickly and gracefully to an aisle...
    Where I practice catching white butterflies of hope that tell me "You are perfect the way you are."
    This is how I keep my composure throughout my trip to the neighborhood store.

  7. Good poem. Well done! I feel discomfort there too!

    1. Thanks so much Mr. Brantingham. Lol

    2. I really like this one too. the title is awesome and just pulls us in.

    3. Thanks so much Stephanie :-)

  8. watch this:
    i have diarreha
    in Paris
    and i have to walk to the hopital americain
    from the bus
    for miles.
    i have to stop every few minutes
    to catch myself
    from spilling my insides
    onto a very fancy street or
    should i say boulevard.
    a friend is with me but we don't
    know where we are going. noone
    seems to understand our broken
    la diahree, I keep on saying la diahree
    til we finally make it into the doctor's office
    and guess what?
    he's not American
    bur British and he writes
    something on a piece of paper
    and sends us back out
    to walk
    to the drugstore --
    it starts raining and watch this --
    we just start to laugh.

    1. Wow that's uncomfortable! Love it. Love your use of "Watch this"

    2. Hilarious and awful experience!! I love it.

  9. Not that is uncomfortable

  10. yeah "watch this" really hooks the attention. BTW, i am jealous of your name. Stephanie Barbe Hammer. That is the name of a poet. I've wracked my brain for cool sounding pseudonyms and nothing I've ever thought of comes close :)

    1. Yeah, her nickname is "The Hammer" which is cooler than hell. Sometimes when I go vegetarian, I have people call me Brantingcarrot, which you could do too, but that's not terribly cool.

    2. But you have a great poet last name Mark.

  11. Yeah Brantingcarrot doesnt really stand up to Barbe Hammer (I mean wth). However I might have to have people call me that just because of the extraordinary karmic qualities that would derive from there being two people in the world called Brantingcarrot. I mean what are the odds. I bet they don't even have a name for that number.

    1. hilarious. Thanks Mom (Barbe) for giving me your name as a middle name. but Ahab Brantingham could be something, and of course the other way to go would be Lil Brantingham or BrantingHAM38.
      or even B. Ranting Ham.

  12. Also Molly Neeley sounds like a pseudo. I want to say "you should tone that down, nobody's going to believe a pseudonym with that much assonance" lol. Very cool. I always thought John and I were cheated. With a last name like Brantingham, a poetic man would have had the sense to play up the elaborate and dignified vibe. I should have been Beauregard Bartholomew Brantingham (B.B.B.) and John could have been Lazarus Peregrine Brantingham. "I say, L.P., whatever shall we do today?" Four letter names, that is a missed opportunity of tragic scope.

    1. When I was young, I was glad Dad didn't give us Quaker names, but now, I don't know. I think you and I could pull off Ahab or Cyrus.

  13. Here's a poem that fits your prompt, though the incident didn't happen outside. I was inspired by the prompt to write it:

    The Truth About Rules
    In second grade, under the steely
    eyes of Mrs. Lissy, who looked
    like Olive Oyl, and never smiled,
    I raised my hand and asked to be excused.
    The teacher shook her head
    and wouldn’t look at me again.
    I knew it wasn’t fair since
    I was young, just learning
    all the rules, and thought the teacher
    above all would honor them.
    I was still too small to understand
    the only rule is power; I had none.
    Had I known, I would have left the room
    since all the others would attest
    that I’d done nothing wrong.
    But I thought rules were absolute
    And feared the teacher above everything,
    afraid she’d smack me if I disobeyed,
    and so I didn’t move, held it as long
    as I was able, then peed my pants,
    hot sticky urine running down my leg,
    into my neat white socks,
    black patent maryjanes.
    Of course the others laughed,
    a nervous sort of laugh because
    it wasn’t them, but could have been.
    I ran out the door and didn’t stop
    until I reached my house,
    my best friend following behind.
    No one punished me or told me
    I was wrong to leave the class.
    But I was spoiled for rules.
    I knew that they were just a story
    adults fed to kids to make them mind.
    The lesson that I learned that day
    is one that I’ve remembered all my life.

    1. That's great Robbi. I really love these lines: "I was still too small to understand
      the only rule is power; "