Roll Sheet

My entry for day 4 of the 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: “take the phrase ‘(blank) Sheet,’ replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem.”

When teacher’s gone away, children untamed
assume different names. Desks rearranged
by chemistry rather than tyranny
sits friend beside friend; why wouldn’t they attend?
Near-sighted students no longer need glasses
when they can sit in the front. They see fine–
and listen too–when needing not to squint
to read the teacher’s chicken scratch,
when the substitute remains blind
to the antics that happen behind her back
and focuses instead on teaching math
and science and words beyond “No!”
or “Stop!” or idle threats that rein no beasts
but rather docile sheep who never bleat anyway.
No longer centered in the front, the brats
fall to the back and play with their phones
to the pleasure of the rest of the class
that finally learn something about math.
For once, the roll sheet has everyone
in attendance, ready to learn as desired.

Fleabag

Wrote this for day 15 of the Writer’s Digest April PAD Challenge: “Write an infested poem.”

That French bitch brought home fleas–
refugees from the tramps
she beckons from alleys.
The vermin make their homes in my stucco,
blot white-washed walls with foreign specks,
and nibble at my well-lubricated chest.
Did the alleys not offer them enough
to fill their dirty families? My leftovers
could feed an African family for a year,
but these bloodsuckers want much more
than what I toss into the black and brown bins.
They want to turn my country home
into a hostel for whatever roach
will come. Rats, frogs, everything but the wasps.
What happiness can they find here?
Air conditioning, broadband, satellite TVs
won’t feed them. Will they follow me to my office
and multiply until I’m the minority
forced to seek sanctuary in the alleys we built
for them? The bombs set off don’t help;
they breed like dirty, brown bunnies
and have hard shells that could survive hell.
I might as well burn down the house
since I can never tolerate this itch
that gnaws my nuts, my chest, my fists.

I finally had the bitch put to sleep;
I claimed she was a stray.
I still keep pictures up of her
at home, at church, on bumper stickers and shirts
to prove to the world
I loved Liberty.

Morning Star

Day 23 of the 2012 April Pad Challenge by WritersDigest.com.

Horizon beneath the onyx canvas
bleeds with a watermelon tinge.
The rooster’s crow, the alabaster kiss
herald the Sun’s resurrection.

Specters congregated to haunt the night
exposed to be but naked trees.
Chills of Winter fog dissipated by
effervescent threads from the Spring.

Star from the East, ascend to the mountain–
beatify the forsaken ground.
Blunt the chill’s sting with golden redemption–
adorn the Earth with ivory crowns.

The starless night struck by the tangerine tint–
asunder dashed by the Morning Star’s ascent.