Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Friday, September 11, 2020

Remembering the 343


They ran in while others were fleeing.

Hot helmets clinging to sweaty heads

as each climbed flight after flight of stairs

helping, always helping, as bodies streamed downward

while they moved up,

boots so heavy they could barely lift their legs

as they reached another level.

Their breath sounding deep and heavy, hollowing their chests

as their oxygen began to grow low

from effort and time.

They felt the rumble as the buildings fell.

They could not run.

They could not flee.

They died heroes.

I shall not forget the 343.

                    -- A. Firebaugh

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Reading Poetry

Last night I read three of my poems at an event at the Blue Ridge Library. It was called Artistic Hands and Poetic Voices and was held in conjunction with the library, Open Studios Botetourt, and Artemis Journal.

The event was attended by three artists and five poets. About 25 people came, most of them family members of the people reading or showing their art.

I do not like to speak in front of people, although I do when I must. So I was nervous reading my poetry, but I think I did ok.

Me, myself, and I before the reading.

A crowd shot.

Maurice Ferguson, who organized the event, and read poems.

Curt Alderson as the first poem reader. He has a snappy personality.

Me doing my poetry reading. I kept an ink pen in my hand while I talked.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Perfect Day

Waking with sleepies in my eyes
my heart soft from a dream
where people were nice, friendly, calm
life is good.

Shower is hot, bacon is warm, eggs scrambled
like a jigsaw puzzle in a box
a little exercise Tai Chi in the grass
just to be good.

Reading on a novel where the heroine is moving
forward to become a better someone
because character building is what it takes
to make a novel good.

Sipping on a cool glass of water
hearing turkeys gobble in the distance
watching a deer graze in the field
this is good.

Hearing from a friend someone who loves me
regardless of who I think I am because that is
not really who I am
because I am good.

A soft kiss, a quiet sigh, holding hands
in the twilight watching the sun sink below
North Mountain, catching the first glimpse of starlight
oh it is good.


Linking up with Kwizgiver's April Challenge. You can find the prompts here.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thursday Thirteen

It's National Poetry Month. Here are 13 stanzas from some of my poetry. These are actually unfinished. Some I hadn't looked at in years. They were in my poetry folder on my computer.

The day the harpoon
cut my hand in half
I was clinging to you
like a mollusk to a hull.

You flung me ashore,
no water, no food,
left me bleeding in salty
tangy water, with sharks
circling all around.

Dawn breaks down the darkness
sending sunshine trickling
like water over rocks,
gems glistening on sandy beaches.

Dawn beams down on earth
warming soils, bringing growth
to sprigs of trees,
petals to flowers,
soft like clouds.

Dawn shines over mountaintops
sending shadows on towns.
Children quiver, close their eyes,
thank God, they see
a light.

See, the zebra had stripes
with spots and sprinkles
but God, Almighty, looked,
laughed, and lightly sent Angels
to correct His mistake.

The God, Almighty, neglected
to mention His errors
to the writers of His Ways,
those dudes who wrote that Bible.

Like Paul and Peter, the one
with Pumpkins, who splattered and bled
all over some town.

While God, Almighty, watched
Sonny & Cher on a big screen.

Deer bathe serenely in sunlight
Acorns at their hooves.
Autumn comes.

Leaves turn dull brown
flung to the earth
by ruthless winds.

Rains slash skies,
gray, dark, light dimming
like a mother
drowning love.

Autumn comes.
Guns bark out death
while leaves fall
and I leave you.

Jezebel jerks and whirls
a spinning top, telling
tales, mothers’ wail,
waves swell, water falls
people fall, buildings tall
hear the cries
turn of eyes
hearts of sighs
no goodbyes.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 599th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Place I've Never Visited

Maybe the grass is maroon
glowing brightly in darkness
beneath two moons that skim the mountains
made of mushrooms
with a horizon the color of a brilliant sword
honed to the finest point.

Maybe the trees walk in that bright moonlight
clasping hands and greeting each other
old friends with many things and nothing
to say as the long drawn out evening wears on
because this place has no sunshine
not really
only a hazy glaze that brightens into twilight
a shimmer that fades quietly away.

Maybe the animals talk and there are no people
not people like we think of people, anyway
and the beings that inhabit this place do not
destroy or create hierarchies or consider one
better than another because they know
true equality exists only when you can see
that the planet will outlast you
and you're only an ant, if they have ants.

Maybe this place exists in the Delta Quadrant
far away in another galaxy
light years and generations away
a place I will never see
or maybe it is on the dust mote
beneath my feet and I am the shadow,
my sneakers the moons
my heartbeat the rhythm,
the only sound of this world.


Linking up with Kwizgiver's April Challenge. You can find the prompts here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My Lovely Rose

Come live by me, my lovely rose
whilst I bad poetry must compose.
Your smell so sweet, your petals so dear
fill me with longing when you are near.
Your beauty bids a sunflower blush
and makes an evil wind fall hush.
For none compares to your fragrant kiss
To love a rose is to live in bliss.

Monday, January 15, 2018

When the World Smells Like Dead Pig

You don't want to eat
or drink, really, because
dead pig makes you want to gag
but there it is, a smell
trapped in the pockets of your sinuses.
All you can do is smell it,
hope that the antibiotics
do their thing and clear your nasal passages
so that the stench goes away.

As things clear up you start to think maybe
you should eat something again
(lost three pounds so far)
or at least drink a Boost
and then you read your Facebook page,
see that the White House Press Spokesperson
doesn't know how to change the settings on
an Amazon Echo
and blames Amazon
for her own failure.

Then the husband who doesn't believe in conspiracy theories
tells you he thinks the missile mistake in Hawaii maybe
wasn't a mistake but preparation
because we're going to bomb somebody
just to see a big boom.

You see words like shithole and president in the same sentence
then hear about earthquakes, mudslides, fires
and third-world countries in Alabama,
and after a while
you start to think it isn't just your sinuses
causing you to smell dead things.

Maybe you're smelling dead things
because after one last stupid tweet,
morality and all that is good in this world
rolled over and died.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy - 2017

I heard the news today, oh boy.
Gunman in the streets,
people running around in sheets.
Nothing made me laugh
Death and destruction in my path.

They marched the streets in Charlottesville.
In Las Vegas an old white guy set out to kill.
People running everywhere
Trying hard just to get out of there.
Politicians sent their "thoughts and prayers."

I heard the news today, oh boy.
Statues pulled down from their bases
Angry smirks on unfriendly faces.
People of color, and rightly so,
kneeling on astro-turf before the show.

The guy in the White House could only tweet
evil words of fear that had no beat.
No song to cover all this hate.
All the lawyers want to litigate.
No time to change the world, it's much too late.

I heard the news today, oh boy.
Hurricanes wiped out cities and small towns
When people cried, the White House tore them down.
Watching women's rights decline
Makes the Handmaid's Tale seem just sublime.

People dying every day
mass shootings now a news mainstay.
The only country here on the earth
where guns are worshipped more than any birth.
Tells me how little life is really worth.

I heard the news today, oh boy.
Spittle flying from the mouths
of angry white men from the south.
Seems they've had enough of me
and every woman who denied their blow-job fantasies.

People safely locked at home
groceries brought to them now by wordless drone.
Hell's here now, we've let it win
no need to die for our own sin.
Maybe time to try again?

I heard the news today, oh boy.
I could only turn away
I have nothing left to say.
No way I can help, I'll just cry
And wonder how many more today will die.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Bumbling Earth Journey

The Bumbling Earth Journey

requires courage, stamina, footprints
and unknown companions
walking in circles on an island
in the black void of the cosmos
a trip of crises in each valley,
heroism on each ridge,
despair in the flatlands
plastic in the ocean bottoms
a globe mapped by the senses
sight showing no horizon
your heart pounding out
you are alone
you are alone
you are not alone
the ancestors breathe on your neck
their visions flowing in your blood
inflaming you to a ballet of action
you continue their work
without knowing what is in the book
or if the heavens are overhead
or simply the grass beneath your feet
forward backward present
this is your time their time your children's time
each a speck of history
all standing together
alone and not alone so we seek
the alone, find the mountaintop solitude
hike through life
striding step by tiny step
smashing ants and bypassing bears
the trek growing longer the stops
shorter the needs lessened by the breadth
of the journey toward liberation
that place where you see what the smog covers
the arena where vulnerability peeks out
and says no really, you are strong
no pain will stop you for the adventure
has only one ending
death is safe and sweet
tell it to come
you will not be alone
it is not a new sun exploding in the universe
only change, a mind-darkening sleep
while the world moves on
step by step, others following in your footsteps,
your work now their ancestral beat
as you whisper in ears latched onto the drumbeats of war
like the wind you sigh peace in the face of hard things
remember I came before, I moved forward,
my journey taken for you and with you
the circle continuing in the heat and snow
ever-changing as the beauty of universal order
our journey now unfolding, evolving
the breathe of creation itself

                                   -- Anita Firebaugh

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday Thirteen

In the year 2018
what was good was now ugly, not clean
with the rules all sent out the door
the middle class all became poor.

In the year 2019
All was brown, nothing was green.
The streams ran brown with dirt and slime.
And no one called it a crime.

In the year 2020
America was no longer the land o' plenty
Nothing there unless you were the 1 percent
Most folks couldn't pay their rent.

In the year 2021
No more elections, Democracy was done.
They tore down the Statue of Liberty
Because the copper was worth money.

In the year 2022
The people cried out, what can we do?
No one heard their simple pleas
So they turned to anarchy.

In the year 2023
While the rest of the world feel to its knees
American bombs made the sky sing
The guy in charge named himself king.

In the year 2024
Europe decided it wouldn't take any more.
Their forces gathered one by one
To teach America that it was done.

In the year 2025
The old king fell over and died.
His sons and his daughter too
Took over so they could rule.

In the year 2027
All the religions preached about heaven
said this time was the judgement day
so we should all fall on our knees and pray.

In the year 2028
Spite and malice, and lots of hate
were the things that people felt
as all the ice caps were lost to melt.

In the year 2030
With the streams and air both too dirty
people dying in the streets in pain
their skin burned up by acid rain.

Now it has been 13 years
In that time humanity disappeared
We sat and watched while the world was destroyed
by the corporate good ol' boys.

They died too with their money in hand
It couldn't save them from a polluted land.
But now the Earth, free of humanity
Will make herself green and clean.

Woe woe.

With much apologies to "In the Year 2525" is a 1969 hit song by the American pop-rock duo of Dennis Zager and Rick Evans. I wrote this in 10 minutes (this morning!) whilst under the spell of a mild fever because I have some kind of respiratory thing and this is part of my feverish visions.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 493rd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Don't Try to Call

Don't Try to Call
By Anita Firebaugh

I will not answer the summons
to buy and shop, to spend and purchase
the products I do not need.

I will not heed the hue and cry
to partake of that which brings no fulfillment,
the ever-growing collection of things

which mean nothing but dust
collecting on shelves that mean nothing
because they are never seen.

Instead I will listen to the whispers
of wind as it sings through my windows,
Gaia calling out in her quiet voice.

I will feel the delicate softness
of a butterfly kiss from the insect
or a child or the skin of my lover's ankle,

The dirt in my palm
is money that brings me flowers
and beauty come sunshine in June.

With the noise turned off,
electronics thrust away,
I am content in the silence.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Time Keeps On Slipping

The kitchen clock stopped
at 7:42 a.m. while I was in the other room
being spooked by a shadow in the mirror.

I wait now for the phone call
because I know someone died,
stopping time.

And if the message goes unheeded
I shall return to the mirror
peer into the glass.

In there, I will see infinity
my eyes looking in
looking out again.

My doppelganger trapped
beyond my reach and grasp,
a smile crinkling around her eyes.

Death behind us, infinity too
its darkness reflecting back
in and out, in and out.

The over-ripe banana in the trash
sends an odor wafting to my nose,
sending me back to the kitchen.

The clock still sits at 7:42.
Then the battery, with one last twinge of energy
moves the minute hand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sometimes I Go Insane

My brain hangs up on crazy thoughts trying to learn what life has wrought.
The day's plan's out of hand and there's no one to understand.
I still remember I was a fool when I was a child back in high school.
I believed in country, law and rule; I hoped for something grand.

Now I've learned evil always wins. The good has lost, we start again.
I have no idea where we begin to bring out the best in men.

Now for 40 years I've stood by watching while the people cry
and wondering how to create change.
I never thought it'd come to this: a lying ass, a tiny fist and me sitting here making up a list
of the things that are now deranged.

Did you listen when the people spoke? Have you been sleeping, have we woke
to find that giants seldom dream?
Have the inmates all been set free? And have we lost our sanity?
What it is, is what will be and all we can do is scream.

We can shout it out from the high roof tops, spin in the streets like wayward tops
but no one really hears a thing.
So when we set out on a victory march, that's really just a creative arch
We walk so stiff, we're filled with starch
Yet we'll make our voices ring.

And we'll be shouting, hell yes, we'll take no more. We're here to fight and settle the score.
We'll pull our hearts out of the drawer, or this will be the day that we sigh.
Or maybe this is now the hour we die.

I met a friend who pulled me close, but it turned out she was just a ghost
She whispered, run, head for the coast.
And I could not comply.
The people I thought were truly good were not from my neighborhood
We all did the best we could
And now we say goodbye.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is That You, Raj?

Down is up
sideways is reverse
changing lines crisscross,
run parallel, arrange themselves
perpendicular, move to form
irregular quadrilaterals.

Maybe I am in Sheldon's 2D universe,
a holographic theory,
I see only the sides of obtuse triangles
and I don't even like math.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Poetry Awards Contest

Last week, the Botetourt County Libraries held its poetry award ceremony at the Fincastle Branch Library.

They had a nice crowd. That's my husband in the far right, red shirt and hat.
Library Director Steve Vest was master of ceremonies. He read winning poems if the poet did not put in an appearance.
Charles Finn was the contest judge. He has done this for a number of years.
One of the young award winners.
This fellow's poem was actually a song, which he chose to sing. It was about rock 'n' roll. My husband and I appreciated its message.
My hubby took this photo of me reading my poem. I also took a moment to put on my teacher hat and congratulate and applaud those who submitted a poem. I believe I called it a "quiet kind of courage" and was pleased to see one mother reach up and pat her son on the back as I spoke. I could see she was proud of him.
This is my poem and the 3rd place ribbon I received. The judge's comments were very complimentary.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


He lay on the couch night after night,
mouth open, the darkness of the room
filling his mouth, and no one knew
my father was eating his children.  He seemed to
rest so quietly, vast body
inert on the sofa, big hand
fallen away from the glass.
What could be more passive than a man
passed out every night--and yet as he lay
on his back, snoring, our lives slowly
disappeared down the hole of his life.
My brother's arm went in up to the shoulder
and he bit it off, and sucked at the wound
as one sucks at the sockets of lobster.  He took
my brother's head between his lips
and snapped it like a cherry off the stem.  You would have seen
only a large, handsome man
heavily asleep, unconscious.  And yet
somewhere in his head his soil-colored eyes
were open, the circles of the whites glittering
as he crunched the torso of his child between his jaws,
crushed the bones like the soft shells of crabs
and the delicacies of the genitals
rolled back along his tongue.  In the nerves of his gums and
bowels he knew what he was doing and he could not
stop himself, like orgasm, his
boy's feet crackling like two raw fish
between his teeth.  This is what he wanted,
to take that life into his mouth
and show what a man could do--show his son
what a man's life was.
In honor of Women's History Month in the United States, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite poets.
I became acquainted with the work of Sharon Olds in the late 1980s. This poem was in her first poetry book, Satan Says.
Olds was born in 1942 in San Francisco; she is about the same age as my mother. Olds received her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University.
She won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and has won many other awards for her work. While she has not yet passed into history, her work had a profound effect on me while I was an undergraduate at Hollins College. I went to hear her read at Roanoke College in the early 1990s.
I own many of her books and they are among my prized possessions, especially the autographed ones. She has 11 collections of poetry.
You can listen to her read a little and discuss a poem in an interview with The Guardian here. Search for her on youtube and you can hear her read other poems, too (though I could not find her reading Saturn). If you like poetry and are not familiar with Olds, I urge you to give her work a try.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The River James

The James River flooded earlier this week, reaching flood stage of about 21 feet. We went to Buchanan to view the river late in the day, and the waters had already receded several feet and flooding was no longer a danger to the town.

In 1985 the river overflowed its banks and nearly wiped out both Eagle Rock and Buchanan. That flood remains a high water mark for those communities, and those of us who remember that dreadful November day recall it with a shudder.

When we were by the water's edge, the river was lower, but still angry, and you could smell the sludge and stench of flood waters. 

You can see from the wet marks on the piling that the river had been much higher before we arrived.

From news footage, I know that the water was around this sign and up on the grounds we were standing on earlier in the day.

An angry river is not something to dismiss. It's very dangerous.

The entire parking lot was underwater earlier in the day.

Normally the whole of this sign is visible, and the ground beneath it is dry.

From The River James
By Mary Johnston

. . .

"Three hundred miles
     Runs the River James
Bubbles cool the mountain springs,
     Slides the narrow stream.
Maidenhair and rhododendron,
     Flame azalea, dogwood, laurel,
Roots of helocks,
     Giant hemlocks,
Where the Indian kneeled,
     Cupped his hand and drank cool water

. . .

"Danger and woe!
     Flood -  Flood -
Flood in the James,
     The ancient, mighty, tawny James!
Over the rocks at Richmond,
     Between green islets,
Murmuring, rushing,
     Beneath the city of the dead

 . . .

"The children play,
     The lover smile,
The old folk rest, 
     Beside the James."

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Mending Wall


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.

To celebrate, I thought I'd share with you an old poem I wrote back in 2007. I shared it then and will share it here again today:

You must have your cookies on*

Attention winner, you have been approved
but your account needs to be updated.
I looked at your pictures.
They are hot.
I have an inheritance
to invest in your country
but we were unable to process your most recent payment.
Now add this gem to your radar,
realize your manhood's full potential.
All signs show that this one is going to Explode!!
You can use it as a lovely gift;
give me a call;
Our agent will immediately commence
the release.
*I wrote this from the spam in my email.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Thirteen

The Eclectic Thirteen!

I think this might be some sort of poem.

1. Dancing with myself, feet moving fast like a cat with paws in heated coal.

2. Heart bursting, blood rising, chest heaving as if breathing through bonds made of coarsely woven cotton.

3. Never knowing what is next not needing to know but wanting to all the same.

4. Breaking down beating up feeling sick, sorry, silly, and sad, emotions bursting out like firecrackers in flames.

5. Life never ending but ending soon nearly gone and then what who knows maybe deep darkness or luminescent light, blind either way.

6. Feeling the beat, the beat the beat the steady heady knock and rhythm, aching down into the soles of my muddy bare feet.

7. Look at the moon, see it high, sky high, feeling it ride the rhymes of the sun and the tide and the hold it has on the streams of my soul.

8.  Drinking tea and rocking, rhythmically rocking, like a rollicking rascal with roiling energy, see it bursting out as I break into song.

9. Seeing myself move like a shadow a shade the ghost of me mewling melodically as I dream in the deepness the dank and the downers.

10. Needing to feel like the world knows who I am but knowing that the world doesn't dare can't care the world too busy bustling with burgeoning beliefs we are all trying to climb from the pits of despair.

11. Feeding the senses with sunlight with sound with sensual sustenance knowing it's mine its yours its ours we're all one if we would only turn to face one another not say hello with the backs of our heads.

12. Gathering rushes making baskets opening closing finding new tomorrows when the yesterdays are in play the way of the weaver and the joy of today.

13. Knowing love is luscious lonely lurid a longing we need yet we slight its sounds, ignore its lure when it lands on the ladders that lead to our heart.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 282nd time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.