Tennessee    1936 -    
William Poppen is retired and spends most of his time writing poems, taking photos, and hiking. Published in New Millennium Writings, 2007-08 and The Creative Writer, 2008. His photos and poems have been published in on-line publications Cat’s Meow for Writers and Readers, The Hiss Quarterly, Chantarelle's Notebook and the ... Read more
William Poppen is retired and spends most of his time writing poems, taking photos, and hiking. Published in New Millennium Writings, 2007-08 and The Creative Writer, 2008. His photos and poems have been published in on-line publications Cat’s Meow for Writers and Readers, The Hiss Quarterly, Chantarelle's Notebook and the ... Read more
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Jun 10, 2014

She fascinates men
like a fused corolla whorl
attracts birds and bees

#flowers   #bees   #bird   #attraction  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Feb 15, 2016

I was told when six
lighted smokes show up for miles
during a blackout

Toward home, Christmas eve
lighted candles on tree bough
pierce through dark windows

Moonlight can become
bright enough to cast shadows
beneath my movements

#haiku   #darkness   #night   #light   #lights  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Aug 1, 2015

There must be a next step --
all middle steps appear broken

Spit out like a used razor blade
sitting with ass cheeks
barely on stone steps
face burning beneath the acne
swelling across the cheek,
It must have been her pimples
why else would anyone reject her?

I wonder
how our great creator
built a vessel
strong enough
to contain my soul?

Each day my spirit fights
against my skin with violent
jolts as a young bird
seeking exit from a cage.

Unfettered psyche
free from me
bounces among clouds
rolls through deserts,
climbs volcanic ridges
migrates with birds in flight.

Curious instincts guide
my vital force inside and out
like honey bees
scour zinnias in full bloom.

Dare I release my spirit today?

Free spirit, soul,
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
May 31, 2014

To disguise our sin of greed
We debate philosophies
And justify our economies

Our sins cannot be covered
By shouting explanations

#sin   #debate   #greed   #inequality  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Dec 22, 2014

Dishes clang loud against the sink
Metal spoons bang white ceramic 
   Anger defies lifelong contract
Sacred and sealed with tears and tact
   Adhesive is this stone of hurt
Lumped solidly within her throat 
   No easy atonement comes forth
Nor minor distraction does soothe   
   Her rant gathers no audience
No recall of what stoked this fire

A revision of "Anger in the Kitchen" Written in eight syllable lines.
#anger   #hurt  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
May 26, 2014

* “Except for needs I can pack everything I have 
into my old black sea-bag.”  *

"I wish I had written that line,
I said loud enough for him to hear."

He shuffled around in his stool
and raised his cup to get  
hit with a refill.

Frustration wiggle I call it,
you know like when your dad
couldn’t let you struggle with a puzzle.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
announced his irritation
"Where have you been,
swimming shallow side?"

"I stated swatting away needs
like mosquitoes on sweat
when I was seven."

He peered past his coffee,
furrowed his brow
and rubbed his tongue
over his lower lip.

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,
why do you keep saying that, I asked"

"Guess you’ve never been in the military.
College man I reckin,
fancy degrees
and you don't know Alpha Zulu?"

From Alpha Zulu by Gary Lilley

Alpha Zulu in the NATO phonetic alphabet
#whiskey   #tango   #zulu   #alpha   #foxtrot  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Dec 17, 2013

To disguise our sin of greed
We debate philosophies
And justify our economies

Our sins remain uncovered
Despite our explanations

William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Jun 22, 2014

A sigh signals some sort of disclosure.
– glancing over his eyeglass frames
at the slow downward tilt of her chest
her gingham blouse rises again
as she inhales energy for her words,
words intended to clarify or confuse,
he does not know.
His own exhale and a frowning brow
signal that he is listening-
to judge whether her statement
is real or fancy.
Her words a mercury for her mood
no gauge left as he guesses
seeking to understand her,
to crawl through her veins like a virus,
to know her every desire,
every expectation, even every fear.
He is adrift in his own flaws,
unable to grasp precisely her feelings, her expressions.
His distrust is great whether of himself or of her.
Salt honesty with caprice and tasty fare is spoiled.
Gripping the arm of his chair,
muscles straining to lurch forward,
he escapes toward the door
leaving her words
to fill the hollow behind him.
Tomorrow he may choose valor,
today the fear of authenticity scares him to his den.

"Man, perhaps alone of all living forms, is capable of being one thing and seeming from his actions and talk to be something else." Sidney M. Jourard, The Transparent Self.
*This is a revision of a previous draft.
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Nov 18, 2015

We know what peace is
And we know how to do war
Now, let us do peace

Inspired by The DalaiLama
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dalai-lama-terrorism_564b8975e4b045bf3df16e75

Also inspired by Rev. Rob Giesslmann
in a sermon where he said.  "I pray for the time when we stop praying for peace and start doing peace.
#war   #peace   #lama   #dalai  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Aug 14, 2014

I wonder
how our great creator
built a vessel
strong enough
to contain my soul?

My soul fights each day
against my skin with jolts
violent as a young bird
seeking exit from a cage.

My unfettered soul,
free from me, would
bounce among clouds,
roll through deserts,
climb volcanic ridges
and migrate with birds in flight.

Curious instincts would guide
my vital force inside and out
like honey bees
scouring zinnias in full bloom.

I wonder, should I release my spirit today?

#soul   #spirit  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Nov 19, 2014

Standing before her
on one foot,
as though surveying
a Renoir,
he is overwhelmed by splashes
of red from her nails,
her lips.
Shifting to level
he is entranced
by her blue, twinkling eyes,

His gaze is one of awe.
Uncritical he hears
her hair sweep
across her shoulder,
as rustling wind blown
across West Texas
fields of barley.

Her words
cool his bare toes
as though dipped in
Box Elder creek’ s flow through
rocks, eddies and fallen limbs.

Her moves
have the grace of cirrus skies,
he thinks
this is my picnic spot,
my settling spot
fit to build a cabin.

Then he knows,
love is here.

#love   #spot   #picnic   #entranced  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
May 22, 2014

No sickle bar churns
repetitiously clanging two notes
while grasshoppers and field mice
scurry to survive the blade

Now yellow bulldozers with humongous tires
roar like thunder in a rainstorm and
scrape away black loam leaving
clay as red as fresh beets

There is no funeral for the hay meadow
that is dead and put to rest
without a tombstone

I am open to suggestions for a better title.
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
May 24, 2013

Perhaps they expect a pool
offerings of rare coffee
from Ethiopia

Instead of
a view of hydrangea
plus pale ale in mugs

Conversation entails
irrelevant niceties
of trivial events

Smiles exchanged
chairs rearranged
subtlety reigns

Another chance
to touch humanity
willfully aborted

William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Jan 5, 2014

She never noticed
books of poetry.
Her life was busy
with empathy
for those troubled
from pains scratched
on psyches from
neglect, abuse
or sacraments to fallen Gods.

She seldom heard music
except when,
heartsick from lost love,
she wallowed in vain misery
or during her youth when
hit parades blasted from
solid state radios
in dashboards, or from
jukeboxes flashing
come hither.

She thought little of flowers
nor paused to note scents,
shades or grace on
stems of green.  Her head
was busy with
important matters,
day-to-day grinding
away on work or play.

Now alone,
she absorbs whiteness from
clouds,  motion from birds,
or fragrance from flowers
with senses dulled by
age, injury or illness.
She sifts through her
day looking for
fresh tranquility.

William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Sep 10, 2014

Stark among the lush of youth

tall, unashamed

no leaves twirl downward

no fertile blanket of rot

to feed saplings

fresh with green sprigs.

Many seasons

they have tasted your sustenance.

Do they regard your wisdom

whispered in the mountain breeze?

Do they believe tales told of

life on the hill,

of cycles of torrents, droughts,

penetrating frosts and mountains

of drifted snow?

Do they devour the lore

falling among the leaves?

#death   #trees   #forests   #aging  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Jul 15, 2015

I returned home

on Palm Sunday

to find knockout roses

behind my brick mailbox

parading their first blossoms of spring.

I found candytuft

faded to green,

safeguarding scattered sprinkles of white

for me to view one more day.

Fallen pink petals from dogwood trees

fluttered through a whimsical ballet

to entertain me on a ballroom floor

of Kentucky bluegrass.

Dogwoods, azalea, and periwinkle are different.
Something happened 
while I was away,
while I snapped photographs

of starfish captured by the sand

when evening tide

quickly rolled out to sea.


Blossoms opened

as other petals
faded and fell.

Fresh blossoms flowered

and youthful buds now greet the sun.
Did you care that I was gone

in the midst of your glory

to savor other beauties
different joys --
did you even miss me?

. . .  upon returning from spring vacation to the beach
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Jun 5, 2014

His mouth puckers to the side,
his brow furrows when aware
an assumption crawls around
in the wormwood of his mind.
  
Every  misconception,
unrecognized at first
swells within, until
his error bolts forth
like lighting on the prairie
breaks the swelter of
a summer day.

Meditations sooth his disquiet ,
perplexed by her perfection
he searches for scars in blossoms,
and defects in tree leaves.  His mouth
grows dry as he mumbles
"there is no perfection."
If he finds a flaw
upon her cheek,
or a birthmark
on her shoulder
will his love fade?

Eyes staring ahead,
his mind in a trance,
he ruminates phrases
" stay open," "remain tolerant"  
wait for flowers to bloom,
rains to come and
her to remain
incomprehensible.

#fear   #delusion  
William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Oct 8, 2013

Find the small of her back
Feel for the round, the ridge
Notice smooth never varies
Find the texture
Along the shoulder
Overwhelmed and
engrossed
As you explore
warmth, texture
the moment of
a hug that says
good morning

William A Poppen
William A Poppen
Aug 20, 2016

Some days
the wind blows in
gentle massaging gusts

Today a temporary
wisp rushes
through the tall
oak leaf hydrangea
pushing the brown and green
branches dressed for August
to wave at me through the window

Saying no more
it dances away
like a ruby throated
hummingbird seeking
it's nectar

wind, august, breeze, hummingbird
 
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