Poetry Blog by Randy Horton

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M.C. Newberry on The Kids are Proper Communists (Wed, 20 Feb 2019 12:50 am)

Brian Maryon on The Kids are Proper Communists (Tue, 19 Feb 2019 04:57 pm)

poemagraphic on Twenty Ways to Ruin a Poem (Wed, 30 Jan 2019 10:01 pm)

jan oskar hansen on A New Riddle of Cosmology (Thu, 17 Jan 2019 01:20 pm)

Big Sal on A New Riddle of Cosmology (Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:31 am)

Randy Horton on Perception (Tue, 15 Jan 2019 09:40 pm)

poemagraphic on Perception (Tue, 15 Jan 2019 01:13 pm)

Vautaw on Perception (Tue, 15 Jan 2019 11:58 am)

kJ Walker on Advice for Nonbelievers (Mon, 24 Dec 2018 08:39 am)

Randy Horton on Advice for Nonbelievers (Sun, 23 Dec 2018 08:38 pm)

Call for Submissions: New Mills Festival Poetry Trail

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For the second time, the New Mills Festival will host a poetry trail filled with verse ranging from the silly to profound. Accepted poems will be displayed in shop windows around New Mills for the duration of the festival (13 – 29 September 2019). The theme of the festival is “The Elements – Earth, Air, Water and Fire.“ Poems reflecting the theme are encouraged, but poems on other themes are also ...

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The Kids are Proper Communists

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I’ve always supported freedom and equality

I wanted minorities to have equal opportunity.

I believed in promoting a liberal social order,

Showing non-aggression and peace at the border.

I wanted to teach the world to live in perfect harmony,

So that our new Utopia would all be down to me,

But my kids are proper communists,

They want to overthrow the state.

They will give ev...

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agecommunismliberalsmillenialspoetrysocialism

Language and Viruses

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Some writers use poetry

To propound great thoughts

Through deeply intoned vowels,

But poetry is only language,

And you can use it as if

Chatting with a friend

About passing days

And pastimes.

You can pull them in,

Get a laugh or two,

And make them

Trust you

Before thrusting

The knife deep

Into the abdomen,

Drawing it up

Toward the eyes,

As you let...

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languagepoemviolence.betrayalvirus

A New Riddle of Cosmology

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An explosion beyond comprehension sent all

The ingredients of the cosmos careening through the void.

Light, matter, and energy diffused chaotically,

Taking billions of years (as we now know them)

To fall into some kind of order, to establish

Some vaguely predictable interactions of

Cosmic proportion. Somehow, trillions of

Particles began to cooperate to form

Molecules of ca...

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cosmologymeaningpoempoetrypurposetelos

Perception

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What if the hyperreal really isn’t real,

And the news never happened?

 

Our perceptions are just pixels, photons,

Bits and bytes scattered on a screen.

 

Gods and monsters both just

Misapprehensions of a troubled mind.

 

But whose mind is responsible for

The anxiety provoking representation?

 

Surely some eternal consciousness

Has not conspired to create in y...

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For E. Pound from the Thoroughly Smug

I didn’t really understand what you meant

When you said you saw a family picnicking

And they were happier than you,

Even though I felt it must be true.

 

And when you said you were happier than I was,

I knew you weren’t actually speaking to me,

But I decided to stay miserable

Just so your poem would always be true.

 

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Ezra PoundmiserySalutationthoroughly smug

Christmas Rap

I’m sure you can tell I’m

Part of the hip-hop community

So I take every opportunity

To spit rhymes like a hot tap

Gushing cheer in a Christmas rap.

When the weather is cold,

When the weather is hot

My generosity never stops.

I keep giving without a pause.

They should call me Santa Claus.

What? Don ‘t know who I’m talking about?

Then you can give Father Christmas a ...

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Advice for Nonbelievers

You’re not a believer

And Christmas isn’t for you

But you can enjoy

The festive season, too.

Your whole season

Doesn’t have to be wrecked

Just focus on all the

Commercial aspects.

You don’t have to be spiritual

To enjoy lots of useless tat.

Or flashing lights, tinsel and all that.

And there’s no reason

You can’t have lots of treats, puddings

and sweets, or ju...

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Christmascommercialisationnonbelievers

Another Train Song

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Standing on the platform, waving goodbye to yesterday’s train.
Perhaps you wanted to feel you had a little bit of control.
You’re saying you hope that train never comes back again.

 A peripatetic pretense helps to ease the pain.
It’s a phantom journey, but no one has to know.
Standing on the platform, waving goodbye to yesterday’s train.


You collected yourself, stood erect, and hoped to appear sane.
...

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Salutations for Sally

I wrote this poem for my wife's birthday.

Salutations for Sally

The years don’t pass slowly anymore,

But there’s still time for an eternity

In your eyes, in your arms, your love.

Each moment a step to infinity,

But time doesn’t march, it ascends,

And we rise on the years,

Sadder, yes, but wiser and

More loving, more understanding.

And you lift everything around you

...

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agingbirthdayeternitytime

Close to the Flames

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I stood outside the gates of Hell,

Ready to dive headlong into flame,

But you put your hand on my shoulder,

Turned me toward you and kissed my face.

You held me tightly against you and promised

You’d protect me for all eternity.

You assured me I was one of the good ones,

And I never should have been in this place.

You led me from the depths to a softer light,

And we lay,...

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Twenty Ways to Ruin a Poem

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It’s best to sneak up on the reader.

Change the meter,

Change the rhyme,

Change the tone,

Or change the subject.

Try to do something unexpected,

Like confessing a crime

Or secret perversion,

Even in a

Short poem.

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crimeperversionpoempoetryunexpected

To Define a Thing

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He broke her spirit when he declared

He didn’t even know what love is.

She had only asked a simple question

As she planned her own future.

Whilst he resisted closing his options,

He never noticed how open hers were.

She awaited his answer as her suitors

Sat on the sidelines biding their time.

 

He pretended he didn’t understand

The comfort of constant companionship

...

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feminismlovemasculinitypoemrelationships

Confessions

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At the interview, she said,

“These are some designs I’ve been

Working on since I got out of jail.”

 

On his dating profile, he said,

“I’ve finished the last course of antibiotics

And feel I’m ready to date again.”

 

At dinner, she confessed,

“I listened to a Justin Bieber song to see what it was

And I ended up listening to the entire album.”

 

At the office sexu...

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confessionslieslovetruth

Get to Know Me

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If you’re a poet prowling in penumbral light,

Staggering through shadows alone and lost,

Praying for a spiritual Sherpa to

Take you to atmospheric heights,

Or at least pull you from chasmic depths

And save you from the crushing pressure

Of self-loathing and free floating anxiety,

You should get to know me.

 

If your addictions are afflictions

You can no longer bear an...

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existencelightlove

Cultivating Life

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A traffic jam that spans an entire epoch

Is followed by daily punishments of

Dreary Sisyphean meanderings,

Followed by even more traffic

In sweltering heat and sticky humidity.

 

With all energy drained from

Lungs, limbs, and mind,

He shuffles into his house

Seeking only relief and brief reprieve.

 

As he unbuttons his soaked shirt,

“Do me,” assaults his ears

...

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Tortured Metaphor

The idea for this poem was to have Metaphor itself tied to a chair and tortured with bad writing. I have a feeling the bad writing comes through, but the meta-metaphor and overall conceit for the poem may be lost. But I guess writing is, in a sense, experimental, even if it isn't falsifiable. So, whatever, here is the poem.

Tortured Metaphor

 

Every rendition begins with shackles,

And ...

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bad writingmetaphorpoemtorture

Judging the Judge

Mark Judge knows the judge,
Maybe a bit too well,
The judge wants Judge to fudge,
But in time truth will tell.

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FeminismKavanaughMark JudgeSupreme Court

The Terror of Physical Education

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It seemed you never put down your club

With the handle wrapped in cloth tape.

You patrolled the hallways, playground, and athletic fields

Like a sadistic southern sheriff overseeing slaves.

You thought “abuse of authority” was your job description

As you terrorised children with the constant threat of violence.

Each look, each word, each step you deemed unacceptable

Was met wi...

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child abusecoachingphysical educationpoempoetry

Hagiography

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In the Halls of Knowledge

The Great Men shared their wisdom

With emperors, kings, monarchs, and generals.

Great women shared their insights and guidance, too,

But their words are stored in different wings of the Great Hall.

It was the Great Men who laid the foundations

For civilisation, for democracy, for tyranny,

Architectural planning, sewage, and war.

It was the Great Me...

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confuciusdespairerasmusgreat menhagiographyhumanitiesseneca

Dead Fathers

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They say we carry the dead with us,

And most are surprised by the weight.

We hoist them up on our shoulders,

And imagine our strength is adequate.

 

But invariably we fault and stumble.

We stagger and trip and fall

We can’t see a way out of this trouble

Each partition becomes a wailing wall

 

We drop them in the middle of our marriage.

We trip over them when we try...

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ancestorsdeathghostspoemrhyme

Transatlantic Verses - online open mic

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I am hosting an online open mic using Zoom.us conferencing software beginning at 7 pm (UK time) on 1 July 2018. We will use Zoom.us teleconferencing software (meeting ID 260-756-986) and take turns reading our poems out as you would in a physical open mic. With luck, we will have a few poets from Britain and a few from the US as well. If people join from other countries, that is even better, but t...

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onlineOpen MicpoetrySpoken Word poetry

Ode to Eve Libertine

In 1981 Eve Libertine punched me in the head

The monotony of matrimony is calamity

Binding binary boxes are worse than death

She fucked the patriarchy with eloquent temerity

Women aren’t possessions and men aren’t protectors`

 Love as a transaction is a stifling contract,

Together we can all be our own liberators.

Radically free in the face of existential facts.

 

In 198...

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CrassEve LibertineJoy de VivrePenis Envy album

Slave to the Algorithm

I don’t want to drive engagement.

I don’t need your gratuitous clicks.

I won’t beg for attention with

Pics of kittens sleeping with chicks.

 

I don’t need your engagement.

I won’t ask if you’ve used a skate key.

I don’t need any silly test to

Know you are as old as me.

 

I don’t really care how you engage.

I won’t tempt you with an opinion poll.

No one really ca...

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algorithmfacebooksocial mediatwittervalidation

Living in the Future

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I live six hours in the future,

Relative to family and other loved ones.

I wake each morning to news of the world

As the Atlantic Ocean shields them

From dreadful awareness a bit longer.

 

I know the missiles are airborne,

The tsunami approaches,

The revolution has kicked off,

Or just that the avocado yield was low.

 

I’m fighting the urge to scream,

To call, to...

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familyfatherhoodfuturetransatlantic

In My Arms

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I found a picture of you in my arms,

Sleeping securely, safe from harm,

As you knew it, anyway.

Your trust for me was complete,

You wanted for nothing

And thought of my love only

As often as a bird thinks of sky.

You didn’t yet know people

Can go away or even die.

 

I know how things changed,

But I can’t bear to think of it.

I picture you now, with your love

...

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childrenfatherhoodlossparenthoodpoem

Seeking Joy

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At an unprogrammed Quaker meeting

The spirit moved someone

To remind us to find our Joy.

 

After, a friend said she would

Find joy in a nice boy toy.

Or maybe it was a toy boy.

She said one is a boy

You’d like as a toy

And the other is something

A boy would like to play with.

 

We giggled at that,

And I was reminded of a joke

About a party where everyone

...

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joypoemquakerseeking

Writing Through Illness and Grief Group

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While mourning his daughter Tullia, Cicero took to writing a book of self-consolation. Thinking himself the inventor of this type of self-help, he said, “Why, I have done what no one has done before, tried to console myself by writing a book.” (This is quoted by Han Baltussen in the Nov. 2009 issue of Mortality in an essay titled, “A grief observed: Cicero on remembering Tullia.”)

I certainly d...

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bereavementconsolationgriefillness

Bob War (Ode to Humane Farming)

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I was an adult before I realized that barbed wire is not called Bob War, because that was how my grandfather pronounced it, and he happened to be the person who mentioned it to me most often, as he was the person who would always tell us kids that we needed to help repair the fence. Some concerned neighbour would call to tell him some of the cows were out, and he’d tell us to grab some Bob War and...

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animalsbullscastrationcowsessayproseveganvegetarian

New Mills Festival Poetry Trail

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I'm putting together a poetry trail for the New Mills Festival. The festival begins 14 September and runs for three weeks. Poem will appear in shop windows throughout the town. We will have a round-robin poetry reading for participants on 26 September 2018 at The Butterfly House at the Torrs. The deadline for submissions is the end of May, but I'm accepting poems as I go, so it is best to get them...

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call for submissionspoetrypoetry trailsubmissions

Writing Prompts

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Stare at a blank page or screen until you feel an overwhelming compulsion to fill it with letters. If you are thinking about something, write it down. You once said you spend too much time ruminating. What about? While crying, you once said everyone hated you. What do you think makes you so unpleasant? You’ve had more than a handful of lovers. How did you attract them? You’ve had more th...

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writers blockwriting prompts

Lonnie's First Christmas Pudding

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Okay,  listen up, y’all.

I spent Christmas in England,

And this is what I saw.

They got something called a Christmas Pudding

I don’t know why--it ain’t got no pudding in it at all.

It’s just a big fruity mess

Rotting in fat and alcohol.

First they take dried fruit, sugar, and peelings,

Mix it with some flour, spices, eggs, and brandy,

Add some stuff I can’t remember,

...

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alcoholchristmasChristmas puddingpuddingTexas

What I Never Told My Students About Descartes

When teaching Descartes, I dutifully described his dualism in detail.

 I discussed his importance as the father of modernism,

But also his common ground with scholasticism.

 

Together we examined the ways he attempted to prove God

And the reliability of both mathematics and his own senses.

Also, some biographical information including his early education,

Military service, tra...

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decartesdualismfeminismgodphilosophyrationalismscholasticism

Love Like a Cliche

You are certainly not a metaphor,

But you may be sort of like a simile.

You are my rudder and sails on a turbulent sea.

You are like a force that guides and propels me.

 

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clicheloveMetaphorsimile

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