Parsing the Pantoum

Rules for the Pantoum:
1. Each pantoum stanza must be four lines long
2.The length of the pantoum is unspecified but the pantoum must begin and end with the same line.
3.The second and fourth lines of first quatrain of the pantoum become the first and third lines of the next, and so on with succeeding quatrains.
4.If the writer chooses to rhyme her pantoum (a p.i.a. I avoid when I can) the rhyme scheme of each quatrain is abab.
5.The final quatrain of the pantoum changes this pattern.
6.In the final quatrain of the pantoum the unrepeated first and third lines are used in reverse as the second and fourth lines.

An Aside: The next time I post a pantoum, I shall force myself to rhyme each quatrain.
The following first effort was about an hour in the making.

Rabbits and Turtles Lived on the Leash

Who are these men?
Where are my boys?
They were at breast this morning
I fear these men
have finally snatched them

Hold my hand; stay close; no running boys
One, the oldest, required a leash
Malls, parks, cars, all of them
without me will bite, maybe eat you young men

Rabbits and Turtles live on the leash
Stores carry Mickeys and Minnies
I prefer a timeless beings for my men
There will always be turtles and rabbits

Unthinking mothers buy Mickeys and Minnies
Don’t they know about Steamboat Willie?
Why you’d scarcely recognize him not so with old turtles and rabbits
Mickey has a girl friend, no boat

Today’s young man wants Minnies for Willie
Snatched as infants by console or station
The Rabbit and Turtle are timeless so is a bathtub sailboat
Boys aren’t timeless nor me

Our T.V. I say, has one station
Sesame Street manic Fred a good neighbor
You were thirteen before I told you he and Mr. Welk were dead never fear, never me
as animation history only, I allow the old mouse and his boat

Fine. Now that you are a neighbor
Now that your father is dead
You may drink red punch with the poor, not of your station
Still you’ll learn reproduction from me

I mourn my boys, two now dead
These men have eaten them
I wish they’d eaten me
Neighbor used to say “Sweet enough to eat” Now she was of our station

I miss and mourn and measure them
Big babies fat and long
Now tall and hard and far still they must eat
It’s the hardness cuts and hurts me

Shout dysfunctional! Cry out Oedipal at a mother to them too long
Stupid girl will find out
From my empty bowl you’ll eat with me
Your unborn this morning, this afternoon will be tall and hard and far

Where are my boys?
Who are these men?

I’ll Try Again O Glory. I’ll Try Again: The Sestina I Promised

Sestina Specs
1. It is a poem of thirty-nine lines.
2. It has six stanzas of six lines each.
3. This is followed by an envoi of three lines. An envoi is the short final verse of a poem.
4. All of these are unrhymed.
5. Read slowly; this blows my mind: The same six end-words must occur in every stanza but in a changing order that follows a set pattern. You got that?
6. This recurrent pattern of end words is known as “lexical repetition.” Well, LaDeeFrickin’Dah
7. Each stanza must follow on the last by taking a reversed pairing of the previous lines.
8. The first line of the second stanza must pair its end-words with the last line of the first. The second line of the first and so on.
9. The envoi (You remember him.  Little short guy.) or last three lines must gather up and deploy the six end words.
10. All Sestinas must attempt to answer the following: If a blue eyed bus driver is traveling 55 miles per hour in eastbound lane, with his lunchbox filled with cheese sandwiches, what time will the passenger in the right front seat arrive home?

My First Sestina:

Always a Problem

There was always a problem
something sweaty and knotted and woeful
water coming out of the ceiling
insufficient funds
defrauding of one another
“You just don’t like me,” he’d say.

“That’s for damn sure,” she’d say.
And then holler “What’s your problem?”
Gawd!  She wished she belonged to another.
My  heart and these days are woeful
She’d go but for funds.
and weeps looking up at the ceiling

Once she danced on the ceiling
That’s what she liked to say.
Anytime talk turned to funds
He said “That’s been your problem.”
” O Princess most Woeful”
I’m what you got not another.

Should have considered funds
Waited for another
Wouldn’t have this problem
of the yellow kitty on the ceiling
Here’s bread and jelly you say
She’s a baby, happy baby not woeful

Damit!  stop looking so woeful
Not like there are no funds
Order pizza you say
Pepperoni on one, whatever you want on another
Think about the ceiling
Thinking! Now that’s your real problem

Wipe jelly off wee baby woeful
How? Where will she get college funds
Look at kitty, yellow kitty you say
There Was Always a Problem

It Doesn’t Take Much

to derail me, that is.
Two nights ago, I wrote another poem, a sestina, to be precise. It sucked and yet it fulfilled my promise to you. Remember when I said that every day, I would define another poetic form, then off the top of my pate, I’d write a poem in that form? Yeah, well, the night after I averred that I did, indeed, define and write in another poetic form. I typed it all. And then suddenly poltergeists made it disappear. I did everything to recover it: weep, yell, make threats, light the keyboard on fire…all to no avail. I gave up and went to bed. When sleep finally came, it was fitful. By the time rosy fingered dawn broke, I knew I had defrauded you & vowed to make amends. A lot of you messaged me to say the only reason you don’t shuffle off this mortal coil is because you wait on tenterhooks with bated breath, not to mention eagerly, for my next experiment with poetic form. Lives are in the balance. And don’t get me wrong, I feel really, really bad about it. At the same time, I’m still pretty racked up about my lost effort. I think it may have been Wasteland-good, even “The friendly cow all red and white”-good. I’m not ready to compose another sestina, maybe tonight, maybe. In place of a sestina, please accept this video of the most life-changing moments of my 56 years. It happened on a mountain in Montana. Until the experience began, I was alone. If I could go back in time, get caught in a time warp, and never move forward, here’s were I’d be until I died…wait, you never die in a time warp. Right?

A Poem a Day Probably Won’t Help as Much as an Apple

So, here’s what I’m going to do. (Ever notice how NPR people  begin whatever they’re about to say with “So”? I think they think it makes them sound smart but every time I hear it, my brain says “a needle pulling thread.”)  Anyway, so here’s what I’m going to do. I am going to write a poem right here every day. I like rules. (Especially when I am making them)  These are the rules for this endeavor.

1. I shall write a poem here every day.

2. I shall write a different form of poetry every day.

3. I shall write “off the top of my head” every day.

4. I shall not agonize over these poems I write every day.

5. I shall not go back and change these poems I write every day.

6.  I shall make each poem I write about the same subject every day.

7. I shall leave it to you to decide for yourselves what that subject is.


The first poem will be a Villanelle. (Now there’s a word that makes a person sound smart.) Different poetic forms have different rules. I did not make these rules, so I don’t much like them. Had I made them, they would be far less picky. Nevertheless, it is my intention to obey. Here are the rules of engagement for attacking the villanelle.

1. The villanelle is a poem of nineteen lines.

2. The villanelle has five stanzas (chunks) each of three lines with the final chunk having four lines.

3. The first line of the first stanza of the villanelle is repeated as the  last line of the second and fourth stanzas. (very tricky, those villanelles.)

4. The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. (I can see this is going to be an awful experience)

5. These two refrain lines follow each other to become the second-to-last lines of the poem. (These rules suck.)

6. The rhyme scheme is aba. (No not The Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen. That  Abba has two b’s.)

7. Each line must contain at least one swear word.  (Psych)

Welp, here goes nuthin. My first ever villanelle:

Freedom, Independence, Solitude

I have gone away,
Your heart is closed to me,
There is nothing left to say.

No never to know a wedding day
No, that will never be:
Nothing to do but go away.

Strength, jest and play
are your hearts only key:
There is nothing left to say.

I am insufficiently gay
Can’t afford so high a fee:
Nothing to do but go away.

My poor attempts at play
match for yours will never be:
Nothing to do but go away.
There is nothing more to say.

This is positively hideous. But I did obey the rules.

So (“a needle pulling thread”)


My Phone is About to Die

and so I tap out the first entry of the new year, the first entry in months, the fourth entry total. See, I quit. I quit because I felt stupid. I was only a little way up but I looked down. So, I inched back to the ground and scurried into the dunce’s corner where my head & my heart always remind me I belong.

Yeah, the battery is about to die. If I’m going to post this, I can’t agonize, can’t make it precious. So here’s my first entry for 2014, my first entry in months, only my fourth entry ever. I know “entry” isn’t the right word but I can’t remember what is the right word & the battery is about to die.

And someday, so will I.

And so I tap out the first entry of the year, the first entry in months, only the fourth entry ever and I try not to give a damn.

How Many Posts Must a Man Write Down Before You Can Call Him a Blogger?

Got a Haircut Yesterday

Tell me something. How often do you want to hear from me? Every day? Every other day? How about every day I post? Some days I don’t want to post. Instead, I prefer to ruminate on the night, one year ago, when my 21 year old son and I watched my husband’s car be struck from behind by a drunk man driving an Audi 107 miles an hour. The drunk was unharmed.  The drunk lived. When I walk down that road, I’m gone for the day.  But a blogger’s got to blog and a readers got to read.  How much of this blogger’s blog do you readers want to read?

I Have a Question

I don’t know much about blogs.  I never read them. I’m too afraid I’ll run on to some wannabe writer, whose words swoop and soar and sizzle and swing. Then I’ll know that person is good and I suck. Is a good blog always about a single thing?  Take this one. Since it’s called Writer’s Blech,  should every entry be about writer’s blech? (see definition of Writer’s Blech in the first entry) I would contend that any time I’m writing, I’m experiencing Writer’s Blech so anything I write, is writer’s blech and thus fits hand in glove into a blog called Writer’s Blech. What dear (non-existent) reader do you advise?

Blech Speaks: “This is a maudlin, self-serving thing to write about…er uhm…about which to write.”

Dear Reader, ( Who are you kidding?  No one is going to read this.)

Consider yourself warned. (“Consider yourself warned?” Who says “Consider yourself warned”? There is no “yourself,” anyway so button mash whatever you want to button mash ( OMG! OMG! Question mark inside or outside quotation marks? Period inside or outside single quotation marks? Wait, why are you using single quotation marks?  Why are you using any quotation marks?  Remember when you were in graduate school and screwed up quotation marks and that old dude, Harrison T. Messarole, an editor of the OED) Is that how his name is spelled? [was spelled? He’s got to be dead. He was old as dirt 34 years ago] or is it with an ‘e’ [as in casserole] was astonished that you had been promoted to middle school without having mastered the nuances of  quotation marks.) (close parentheses now?) (Later?) Whatever. (Did you really type “whatever”? And “OMG! OMG!” You never use “OMG!” Are you freakin’ 15years old?

“To be a writer, one must write.”  WhooWheeee, look at me. I just wrote 167 no wait, 168…169…oh sh*t words.  Hah: 174…(Ellipses! Ellipses? Are you nuts? Ellipses are SO for amateurs.)


First post. Already I say Blech. Blog name:  Blech. Subtitle:  Blech.  Post title:  Blech.   Me blogging:  Blech.  Me writing: Blech.  Me not writing: Blech.  Blech. Blech.

If I want to write, why don’t I?  If I’ve wanted to write since I learned to read, why haven’t I?   If I want to write every minute of every hour of every day, when will I?

Writer’s Blech: noun the indefatigable, intrusive, internal voice that bellows, bawls, and barks:  ” You are no writer. You are no writer. You are nothing. You are nothing.”