National Poetry Writing Month 2020, Day 5

The prompt for day 5 is to use Jim Simmerman’s Twenty Little Poetry Projects prompt to write a poem. I didn’t use all twenty, but otherwise didn’t do too badly. I was partly inspired by the coffin photo from an article in The Stranger, which got me—again—on the subject of covid-19…

The world’s gone all Brady Bunch opening credits,
but no Alice this time around.

The coffin, grey, leadened by lilies
spilling onto the pavement;
there’s nothing to do but wait.

The rusted blossom of incompetence
ponders the spelling of “cockwomble”
and wonders who he might ask
to use it in a sentence—preferably one that’s about him.

But there’s no time to wait—
hungry hippos have chartreuse aglets on the ends of their shoelaces,
but need help tying their shoes because they can’t bend that far.

Someone in the press corps secretly suspects
that the senator from Kentucky is hiding
either the virus or the vaccine in his wattle;
Mitch McConnell will maintain he is hiding nothing,
that those hippos with chartreuse aglets on the ends of their shoelaces
came uninvited—and you try escorting a hippo out of the press room
without dissatisfied reporters shouting questions after you.

‘Urusei na, omae’, he mumbles to himself…

Meanwhile, I hear some folks have taken
to keeping a bat by the door.
Not as an exotic pet, but in case of prowlers—
these days I think any burglar would be afraid of a vampire,
especially one with 106 RBIs and a .331 batting average.

’Cause you’ve got to watch out for those rigors [ˈrī-ˌgȯrs];
the governor’s brother already chipped a tooth, and my dentist
won’t be back in the office until mid-May at the earliest.

The coffin, wrapped in plastic, now buried under lilies
spilled onto the pavement;
only the photographer is left to wait.

(5 April 2020)



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