Poem written in response to the Musical Monday Poetry Prompt on Living Poetry

At risk of sounding Unrefined
I don’t like Debussy’s Clair de Lune
Notes run on
Into dreamland I nod

Give me a good symphony
With percussion and timpani
Better yet, give me Gershwin or jazz
Or a good big band

The French claim world cultural prowess
But I prefer the music
Forged by the creative friction of the
Huge and diverse American experience

Silent about cheese

Young glutton

Apparently G.K. Chesterton once said that Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. This dearth of cheese poems in the cannon ends here and now.

There was a young fool from Leeds
Who was exceedingly fond of cheese
from Africa, India, Kalamazoo
Processed, Artisinal, fresh, and aged too
He ate the whole lot
til his tum was a pot
that gluttonous fool from Leeds

For Ukraine

Poem in response to Living Poetry’s March 14 prompt: attack, exist, roll

CNN: Survivors emerge from rubble of theater in Mariupol (3/17/22)

Roll into available shelter
when the bombs fall

Attack the weak link
in enemy lines

Melt into the surroundings
exist to fight another day

America’s thoughts and prayers
are with you

Cold WW III has started
Ukraine is the tinder

Bandage on Concrete?

My sister, JeanMarie Olivieri, is a great poet and writing coach. She has been cheerleading and supporting me in my nascent attempts at writing. I was empowered to start writing by following the Living Poetry blogs. The first Monday of every month is a picture, also called a Visual Poetry prompt.

Living Poetry Visual Prompt – 2/7/2022

Bartholemew Barker found this lovely picture, which inspired the following American Haiku

Band-aid on Asphalt?!
Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan
came in the nick of time

Be terrible and have fun

Jean Lafitte National Visitors Center Courtyard in New Orleans, LA

We went to New Orleans for 3 days, after Christmas but before the highest season of Mardi Gras and stumbled upon this site on our second day there. We were told about an African drum circle on Saturday. Arriving early to check out all the exhibits, we waited for the circle and dancer to come together. There were just 5 of us, another couple, and a young man who wandered into the courtyard from the street.

The percussionist, Michael, gave us our parts to drum and the young man danced with the dancer, Kelly. My husband turned out to be pretty good at this, but I was terrible. Michael handed me a shaker that could do minimal damage to the aesthetic. Younger me might have been embarrassed or worse yet, just stop. But really, who cares?

Michael and Kelly were as gracious and lovely as one could hope. I had more uninhibited fun than in a long time. Since the pandemic started, my existence shrank to the four walls of our home for 165 hours out of a 168-hour week. Like everyone in the world, the stresses have gotten to me although we have not endured as much suffering as others. NOLA trip was a tonic, providing relief and joy.

One more thought to share. I am a huge fan of the U.S. National Park Service. If anyone ever visits southern Louisiana, there are actually 6 locations for the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve. Lafitte is a controversial character by 21st century standards, a Frenchman, a pirate, and probable slave trader who copped a plea deal with the US government. He had been arrested, but offered to provide material support to Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans in exchange for a full pardon. I guess that is why he has a National Park named after him.

The slave trading is hard to swallow, especially given the events of the last few years. I think that the rangers get a lot of comments from visitors. The ranger I spoke with was careful to say that he was a man of times. I hope that the site stays open, still under Lafitte’s name, because it gives us a place to consider the past, but also way to build new realities for the future – hence the importance of the African drumming program one Saturday in January.