When a Story Bleeds Into Poetry

Can a chapter of a book be summarized by Poetry?

    Poetry can allude to books or movies or wars, but it’s a quandary to consider how much the casual reader can know (it’s a running joke in science and math that when one doesn’t want to have to explain an assumption or premise to say, “… as is obvious to the casual observer.” Oh geez, I see now trying to find that expression that I remember it wrong, and they even have an acronym for it: IOTTMCO [Intuitively Obvious To the Most Casual Observer] ).”
    So, anyway, I’ve been looking through the poetry archives and notice a few poems I wrote alluding to “The Blog That Would Destroy the World.* ” Some seem obscure to me now but one of them I think can stand alone. Spoiler alert: I’m going to give a chapter excerpt to show where it came from, but if you want to have an unbiased opinion about whether the poem can stand alone, you can skip it.
    After I was given the honorary title “Kvizee” (Royal Magic Poet), I rode in a limousine with Her Majesty to visit a wheat farm before heading back to the Palace (Kmpamew)

 CHAPTER NINETEEN: Driving Back to the Kmpamew

    by Douglas Gilbert
A Gavicte is like a “Chief-of-staff” or a senior advisor. Aipnijtku is a military rank like “lieutenant”.
    Entry 215: It should have been a relaxing ride but assassins were waiting to attack.

In the morning at the Cottage, Zawmb’yee was all excited, because at the last moment she had invited Naztko to come to the Kmpamew with her for a visit. She was going to ask Naztko to be her Gavicte to replace Gavicte Yenkoi who she no longer trusts — she was sure she’d get a unanimous vote by the Grand Council to appoint him. This way, the two palaces would work together. We had gone in a convoy destined for the Kmpamew. There’s a new secret tunnel that could get us there. But along the way we were going to visit a wheat farm.

    The Jicnie packed up all our things in the first car that we usually take, and Naztko would be in one of the back-up cars. He said he’d talk to us at the farm. He told us that we should enjoy the ride and he’d talk to us then.
    Zawmb’yee and I got all comfortable in the back of the limousine, and off we went.
We passed through the forest on a road that meandered past stands of London Planetree, Black Locust, Black Cherry, and Pin Oak trees, with gentle brooks and creeks speaking in ripples. But we passed them by gracefully around gentle curves and while in the forest were never up a creek, and we brooked no wild things at all like would be done in a forest of dreams.
    In an hour we came into a clearing of meadows and of farm land on a straight road. The clouds had run away and the sun illuminated clearly every blade of grass, every speck in the road.
    Zawmb’yee said, “What a perfect day,” and she looked out on both sides. She pulled down the divider so she could look out the front. “Good morning,” she called out to the driver, “Aipnijtku Yathyaz, how are you?”
Yathyaz said, “I’m fine Your Majesty. Isn’t it a great day?”

“Yes, Aipnijtku Yathyaz, it’s a very clear day — um excellent visibility for driving…”

“Fevepo, pcapdyntpa!”

“Yes,” said Zawmb’yee.

I turned towards Zawmb’yee and said, “What’s that about?”

“Something needs his urgent attention so he asked permission to abruptly end the conversation,” Zawmb’yee whispered to me.

The driver was looking around in all directions. “Tpa!” he shouted.

“What’s that?” I whispered to Zawmb’yee.

“He’s telling the car’s sensors to send out as much data as it can,” whispered Zawmb’yee.

Zawmb’yee looked out the front windshield, “What’s that?”

“What’s what?”

“Up ahead, it looks like a porcupine crossing the road.. except that… um”

“Except what?”

“It’s moving robotically and oh-geez-hell-Kievifwa. Watch out!”

What looked like sharp quills or spikes shot out of the creature like missiles and punctured the tires. The car spun out of control, and there were big explosions. The doors of the car were blown off and we were thrown out onto the road. I landed on my knee, Zawmb’yee on her side. Twenty men appeared out of a field of Sunflowers and grabbed Zawmb’yee.

“Let go,” she screamed, “you vgnamo. Help Yathyaz! Help let go, let go!”

    Yathyaz tried to help, but they knocked him down. Zawmb’yee continued to scream and kick. They dragged and carried Zawmb’yee one hundred feet down the road, tied her to a fence, gagged her, and pulled out knives. I limped after them as fast as I could go but kept falling and I was still too far away to help her when they started shouting. The back-up cars had been hit with explosions too. “Kill her,” I heard the tall one say. “Righteous tyranny of the Gods can NOT be malice. Let the least of us wound, the greatest stab her through the heart and the fearful give the coup de grâce.”

“Halt!” I screamed.

    They gathered in a circle and continued speaking faster, louder. A frenzied one: “Zawmb’yee would fawn to the Council. She would banish our sister Zusoiti who champions the Gods, this Fevepo impostor usurper; she would kneel before the Council and not before the Gods. She, our inferior, would deny Zusoiti her enfranchisement with the Gods who’d paint her with the light of Love and make her Star brighter than the day of this puny planet’s sun. Hasten us all lest we’d be interfered with in our noble cause to stab out the usurper. Draw now the blood of the false High Priestess, each of you in turn with your knife, stab out this blotch… You, Sazrgk, Begin!”
    I crawled closer, picked up rocks to throw. “Sazrgk no! You of the least do not now promote yourself to fiend. Let them have their honors. Sazrgk, take your mercy and go…”
    Sazrgk stabbed her in the shoulder.
    I screamed the ancient kinesis: “T’ukmpuxogt!”
I became splattered in red screams drowning in oceans of slaughter that pulled me out of my mind with a fury that engulfed the sun and made it set in vomit.
    The sunflowers were decapitated by exploding shards of skull, and the headless bodies were strewn across the highway and onto the hoods of the back-up cars.

ENTRY 216

Zawmb’yee Saved From Death

Thus was the High Priestess saved from death, but I had been covered in blood and pieces of flesh. I had felt weak and dizzy. As I was crawling towards Zawmb’yee, Aipnijtku Yathyaz finally came running up the road. I couldn’t go any farther.

“Kvizee Doug,” he said, “are you all right?”

“I could do with a shower…Just a scraped knee, but Zawmb’yee has been stabbed.”

“Argh. Lie here, I’ll get to Her.”

 THE POEM DERIVED

The Knives On the Table

We’d gone in a convoy,
the doors of her car were blown off

An evil twenty swarmed out
from fields of Sunflowers tall
knives redoubtable

They tied Her Sacredness to a fence
gagged her that She’d not reproach them:
their scabbards empty of their treachery

Such evil drawn out
upon the dastardly ceremony
that hides a scoundrel from a conscience

“Kill her,” I heard the tall one bade.
“Righteous tyranny of the Gods
“can not be malice when obeyed

“Let the least of us wound,
“the greatest stab Her in the heart,
“the fearful give the coup de grâce.

Villains, villains, I shouted.

Halt at once this vileness,
these sneezed speeches
a phlegm of your diseased souls

A frenzied one spoke:
Her Sacredness
would fawn to the Council
and not to the Gods

She would banish our Sister
who champions the Gods

This impostor usurper
who takes the crown
would deny our true Priestess
her enfranchisement with the Gods

Let the Gods rightly
paint our true Priestess in
the light of Their Love, and
make her star brighter than
the day of this puny planet’s sun.

Hasten us all
lest we’d be interfered with
in our noble cause to
stab out the usurper

Draw now the blood of Her Falseness,
each of you in turn do act:
stab out this blotch

Sazrgk, begin!

But I crawled closer,
picked up rocks to throw

Thus I:
Sazrgk no! You of the least
do not now promote yourself to fiend

Let them have their honors.
Sazrgk, if you’d save your soul
take your mercy and go

But Sazrgk stabbed her in the shoulder.
’tis true: of weakness cold-hearted, he
did indeed plunge his dagger.

I screamed the ancient kinesis:
“T’ukmpuxogt!”

I became splattered in red screams
drowning in oceans of slaughter that
pulled me out of my mind with
a fury that engulfed the sun, and
made it set in vomit

By T’ukmpuxogt bold
the sunflowers were decapitated
in exploding shards of skull, and
headless bodies were
strewn across the road.

Thus I protect my Love
the only true Priestess.

*Douglas Gilbert, ebook: The Blog That Would Destroy the World,(Amazon: ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08L1CR3Z4 ), 2016, CHAPTER NINETEEN, Entry 215, ISBN 978-1-329-90425-5

She’s Sleeping Around (Draft 1)

She’s said she’s busy ’cause
she’s seeing stars and applauding.

I think she’s seeing
someone named James Webb
but I’ve never seen that actor on the web, or
in the Cannes film festival, and now I’ve
overheard her say she’s sleeping with the stars

I thought she gave up her acting career.

Yeah, before she became an astronomer
she was an actress, and had a few parts
but didn’t want to sleep with any directors

Now she says she’s in love with the stars.
I think we have to break up now
because she says this James Webb guy
is giving her the big bang

If she comes back
I’ll give her the big bang

The High Price of Gasoline Again: Poetry Edit.

A milder version of this called “Gas Station Owner” was written around July 10, 2008.

Today’s Edit (2022). I don’t know if this version is better or worse.

The Price a Gas Station Owner Pays

The price is set from on high;
the price is too high,
yeah, we know, we know.

The detectives took the swabs,
made the photos. We’re
allowed to wash the blood
off the gas pumps

The Newspaper gleefully
took pictures of the death graffiti,

graffiti to dishonor my wife.
Art critics called it “price gouger”:
daring neo-Marxist street art

Gasoline only earned us hate.
The kid hadn’t come in,
took the day off (too scared)

Cookies and crackers
made us
a little money —
customers think
we’re evil rich

The kid
didn’t show up for the night shift.

My wife took over:
thought her smile
would have to work
like a lightning sale
on an angel food cake,
potato chips, and special
candles for a birthday sale
soda

The detectives took the swabs
made the crime scene photos,
took samples. I’m
allowed to wash her blood
off the gas pumps

Put up a sign:
closed for
the high price of murder

The Medical Examiner soon
will make her into objet d’art pieces
until then…tragic drama

I can’t  bury her
until the critics name her,
a mob condemns her, and

I can’t bury her
until they pry me off her corpse
and close more oil wells for the cause

Replica Mariupol Amusement Park Satire & Poetry (Draft 2)

The Mariupol Replica Amusement Park Near Azovstal (draft 2)
[The Haunted House Tour (draft 2)]

Certain Russian Oligarchs love
dangerous amusement parks.

The chief always says
if one guest dies accidentally
you attain three with largesse.

The building that I guard and show
is part of a haunted house tour —
scares for a known fee — to
include a haunted mill in lore
at no abhorrent extra cost

I’m a night watchman here
with a healing sore throat, but
it’s my job at my steel works

I work the graveyard shift
that begins at midnight and
people incognito who buy tickets
find scary regrets and woes
for entertainment, lo

although my building is just a
derelict steel plant dump
I still scream for believers
when the ghosts show up
though not everyone sees them.

We sell more tickets when I cry.
It doesn’t actually take a lot of acting skill
because the children often say, oh
they want to see the sun, and
my wife, her Mother, and our precious Mikhaila
spoke about sunshine on a video
in a bunker, a while ago.

Sometimes I recite a psalm
to keep the customers calm,
and away from a mockery
I cajole them into not breaking
the apparition rules:

Never tell them it’s “The Light,”
and not the sun they should seek

Besides seeking the sun,
some children ask
where Mommy is.

It can be a problem when
a Mom comes for her child
and they disappear. Then
there can be a shortage of ghosts.

Sad, but in this exhibit
we must consult
“Putnik’s Manual for
The Promulgation of Accidents in War”

The chief always says
if one customer blows away,
you gain back three.
So an accident happens.
Cruise missiles apparently
can malfunction,
or there’s a strategic cave-in,
it is said.

Since we don’t make steel anymore
all of this is necessary, and
we need a land bridge to
the Devil’s headquarters.

The Amusement Park in Replica Mariupol at The Azovstal Steel Plant

The Haunted House Tour (draft 1)
[this first draft is an outline: I haven’t done rhymes and rhythm yet. It may not be worth finishing.]

Certain Russian Oligarchs love
dangerous amusement parks.

The chief always says
if one customer dies,
you gain back three

The building that I guard and show
is part of a haunted house tour
that includes haunted factories
at no extra charge

I’m a night watchman here
with a sore throat, but
it’s my job.

I work the graveyard shift
that begins at midnight and
people who buy midnight tickets
find it scary

Although my building is just a
derelict steel plant
I still scream when
the ghosts show up
though not everyone sees them.

We sell more tickets when I cry.
It doesn’t actually take a lot of acting skill
because the children often say
they want to see the sun, and
my wife, her Mother, and our precious Mikhaila
said the same thing on a video
a while ago.

Sometimes I tell a story
to keep the customers calm
and cajole them into not
breaking the apparition rules:

Never tell them it’s “The Light,”
and not the sun they should seek

Besides seeking the sun,
some children ask
where Mommy is.

It can be a problem when
a Mom comes for her child
and they disappear. Then
there can be a shortage of ghosts.

Sad, but in this exhibit
we must consult
“Putnik’s Manual for
The Promulgation of Accidents in War”

The chief always says
if one customer dies,
you gain back three.
So an accident happens.
Cruise missiles apparently
can malfunction,
or there’s a strategic cave-in,
it is said.

Since we don’t make steel anymore
all of this is necessary, and
we need a land bridge to
the Devil’s headquarters.

Nightmares

    A funny thing happened in a search for old poems maybe worth saving for a new book. I found an old barren poem (Nightmares) that’s in one of my books and I wondered if it was worth repeating. There was a short blog discussion about it which brought up an interesting subject. But before that here is the little trivial thing:
Nightmares

Dearest precious child with nightmares,
I have a white-light love to envelop you.

Let me reach you nocturnally,
so you can feel my dreams for you
to fly your joy across the heavens
eternally my lovely cherub, because
this night I am here at your bed and blanket.

I tell you: you are strong against monsters,
just because I know you’ll hold onto my love,
and blue eyes, my sacred child,
take my sword of love and
fight every dragon, please, dearest.

    Well, so, that was nothing. As I was saying…
    I remember a long time ago, reading about the Senoi tribe in Malaysia and how the whole tribe discussed their dreams and it was considered very important. It was a fad for awhile and then seemed to disappear. I never quite got into it, but I remember remarking that it’s a shame that when children in our culture have nightmares we just dismiss it by saying, “it’s only a a dream; don’t worry about etc.” And we have no solutions to offer them.
    So anyway, I decided to do a search for the Senoi and dreams and found an interesting article by G. William Domhoff:
Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement
G. William Domhoff
March, 2003

Domhoff, G. W. (2003). Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement. Retrieved November 11, 2021 from the World Wide Web: http://dreamresearch.net/Library/senoi.html

[Revision: Stewart’s version is mythology — The Senoi didn’t actually do any of this dream work. Whether the dream techniques work or not is a different question. But the Senoi didn’t actually do any of this. Wow, a whole movement based on false anthropological data. Well I suppose you can have wrong data right theory. I suppose it’s like calling something “animal magnetism” even though it has nothing to do with “magnetism.” But the actual attraction does exist.]

“For the Senoi, life is a veritable dream clinic. The concern with dreams begins at the break of day. ‘The Senoi parent inquires of his child’s dream at breakfast, praises the child for having the dream, and discusses the significance of it,’ reports Stewart. ‘He asks about past incidences and tells the child how to change his behavior and attitude in future dreams. He also recommends certain social activities or gestures which the dream makes necessary or advisable.'[8]”
[8. Stewart, “Mental Hygiene and World Peace,” p. 396: K. R. Stewart, “Mental Hygiene and World Peace,” Mental Hygiene 38 (1954):387-407]
P.S. Ut oh, there is a dark side: a difficult life with fear, thunderstorms,hookworms, tigers, bogeymen, and spirits… (see chapter two)

What Fate Sees (revision 4)

There have been too many cliché tears shed over the many revisions of this poem. I don’t know how much meaning has been added or washed away in the editing process. This might be the last attempt before I storm out of the room.

What Fate Sees (4)

Once I wrote you a rain song
when soaking-wet you cried.
What became
of the rain?

What reigns over sorrow’s dampness,
if fates of clouds are puffy things
where vitiated drops precipitate
a pitter-patter palaver melody

Into songs you sing me reigning deeply
but you won’t sing me sweetly if it rains

Take heed, it is clouds
that sorrow oceans make

though clouds disdain
to hide with façades
a face rain pained.

Indeed
draw this fantasy near:
the day’s eye sees sigh-birds,
like Daisy flying high

Been lackadaisical days
since Daisy left, yet
lachrymose skies do hover

’tis her storms that remain always
yes indeed it has; I remember

’twas the evening before the day
when Christmas was canceled that
doom came to day’s eye, and
visions of the night
died down and out:
storms.

You left to write.
Stayed away. From afar
you’ve composed me into your sad songs
’cause you don’t sing me anymore

’twas a brain-ache story storm
in a thunder-face rain, oh

Lachrymose Daisy dear, know
I’ve written lachrymal songs ’cause
you don’t sing for me anymore.

The thunder-face rain
fate says to suffer, or
eke out a lachrymal grief

Been trying to believe
you never really cried
never really screamed, and you
were just a character in a song.

I imagine the laughing hyena
is sad sometimes, and
the minor bird doesn’t feel major

they all have a scream
they all have a cry

Is there any way these are
a cathartic dip in the mud
with a wash and dry, no

trying to be in the movie of life
without a fun stunt double
lets falling hurt so much
makes singing turn sour

Let them say
the cartoon version is
funny enough to
laugh and cry and hiccup

But I haven’t seen it yet

Daisy has made me write sad songs
’cause she won’t sing for me anymore

What Fate Sees (2)

What reigns over sorrow’s dampness
if fates of clouds are puffy things
and vitiated drops precipitate a
pitter-patter palaver melody

But you’ve drawn me into sad songs
’cause you don’t sing me to sleep in the rain.

Indeed it is clouds
that sorrow oceans make

though clouds disdain
the using of its façade
to hide a face rain.

Draw this fantasy near:
the day’s eye sees sigh-birds,
like Daisy flying high

Been lackadaisical days
since Daisy left, yet
lachrymose skies do hover

’tis her storms that remain always
yes indeed it has; I remember

’twas the evening before the day
when Christmas was canceled that
doom came to day’s eye, and
visions of the night
died down and out.

You’ve composed me into sad songs
’cause you don’t sing me anymore

’twas a brain-ache story storm
in a thunder-face rain, oh

Lachrymose Daisy dear, know
I’ve written lachrymal songs ’cause
you don’t sing for me anymore.

The thunder-face rain
fate says to suffer, or
eke out a lachrymal grief

Been trying to believe
you never really cried
never really screamed, and you
were just a character in a song.

I imagine the laughing hyena
is sad sometimes, and
the minor bird doesn’t feel major

they all have a scream
they all have a cry

Is there any way these are
a cathartic dip in the mud
with a wash and dry, no

trying to be in the movie of life
without a stunt double
makes falling hurt so much
makes singing turn sour

Let them say
the cartoon version is
funny enough to
laugh and cry and hiccup

But I haven’t seen it yet

Daisy has made me write sad songs
’cause she won’t sing for me anymore

Counter

This is a composite or combination of reject poems from 2019 from various alter-egos. I think it has good enough transitions to work. Maybe? I don’t know. I’ve been talking to myself and for now we think so. One of the many was called “Counter” I think, but it’s interesting that there are many “counters”: one who counts, encounter, counter-intuitive, countertop etc. Hmm, encounter from Latin roots of “in front of” sort of hides where the idea of calculating or counting comes from. Where you can see something, you can count it, or meeting it can lead to a confrontation or fight.

Countertop

Counter-intuitive that
I would search for souls

if I am alive to
be the mockingbird, he

who counts the day as nightmare
to search for souls to count
to search for songs to sing

Am I one or none
undefined
unloved
the counter

or do I have a chance
to learn my own song to

make it possible that
you will see me fly to
see how my eyes shine
when your love is staring
when your look changes

but it is needed that
we need a lot of things to eat
like the food of love and

I’m hungry for you:
I want a chance
to respond with
more than a
comfortable touch, and
let us soak up more because

you are invited to attend a formal dinner so
wear your public face but
come naked

Unbidden Dickens In September (Draft 1)

A Lady left behind in the rubble
a woman left behind near a school
a girl left behind as a slave.
Two Septembers.

Once a warning, and
a strike back.

Next time, a leaving with
the Emperor’s dishonor:
Americans left behind

A Dickens of a time,
a tale of two elevens.
A tally of sin not permitted.

September 11,
Emperor Joe bides his time
while his merchants of spin
weave a cloth of obfuscation

The count of his sins, no,
a tally ban instead.
The Emperor wears a mask.

Some have a natural immunity to lies,
some succumb to a reign of terror

Except for ‘un règne de terreur’
Truth has a head

In a public square
a hickory guillotine waits

dickens, Dickens, and hell,
a trounce ran out the clock
“Hickory Dickory Dock”

=====

Unbidden September 11 (Draft 0)

Unbidden Dickens

A Dickens of a time,
a tale of two elevens.
A tally of sin not permitted.

September 11,
The Emperor bides his time
while the merchants of spin
weave a cloth of obfuscation

The count of his sins, no,
a tally ban instead.
The Emperor wears a mask.

Some have a natural immunity to lies,
some succumb to a reign of terror

Except for ‘un règne de terreur’
Truth has a head

In a public square
a hickory guillotine waits

dickens, Dickens, and hell,
a trounce ran out the clock
“Hickory Dickory Dock”