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13.5k · Jun 2014
William A Poppen Jun 2014
She fascinates men
like a fused corolla whorl
attracts birds and bees
9.8k · Aug 2015
Steps to Rejection
William A Poppen Aug 2015
There must be a next step --
all middle steps appear broken

Spit out like a used razor blade
sitting with *** 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?
9.7k · Feb 2016
Night Lights
William A Poppen Feb 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
7.7k · Nov 2012
Will He Write About Me?
William A Poppen Nov 2012
She heard that he’s a poet
and wondered if he would write a poem
about her.

A wave of her
shoulder length strands of pleasure
should flag down nearly any man
with an ounce of testosterone.
She wondered if she had a poem in her hair.

She spoke a few soft words
layered with one of her smiles,
the kind most guys adore
because they don’t know if it means
to come closer or to leave her alone.
Perhaps a poem rested in her smile.

If she had cleavage like Jayne Mansfield
surely he would
form lines about her in his mind
and feel compelled to tell the world
how she captured his ****.
She wished for ******* with a poem in her cleavage.

She touched him.
He seemed open to her arm around his waist.
A poet felt like any other man.
She pressed closer;
perhaps he sensed a poem
in the warmth of her lean figure.

Later in bed,
he stayed close, their legs entangled
unlike anything she could remember.
She wondered if there had been a poem
in her *****.

She wished she smoked
and noticed that he didn’t.
Perhaps if they shared a cigarette
he would be enticed by the drift of the smoke from her lips.
Was there a poem in her sensual exhaling?

He seems so Hemingway,
mysterious, yet open to each moment.
Her mind played his movements
like a video tape recorder.
She wondered if she should write a poem about him?
Was there a poem in this experience?
6.8k · Jan 2017
Contain My Soul
William A Poppen Jan 2017
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,
6.4k · May 2014
William A Poppen May 2014
To disguise our sin of greed
We debate philosophies
And justify our economies

Our sins cannot be covered
By shouting explanations
4.8k · May 2014
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
William A Poppen May 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
3.9k · Jul 2015
Did You Miss Me?
William A Poppen Jul 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
3.4k · Jun 2014
Fear of Authenticity*
William A Poppen Jun 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.
3.1k · Aug 2016
August Breeze
William A Poppen Aug 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
3.0k · Dec 2014
Anger Steeps
William A Poppen Dec 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.
2.7k · May 2014
No Need to Mow this Spring
William A Poppen May 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.
2.7k · May 2013
The Gathering
William A Poppen May 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
2.5k · Dec 2013
William A Poppen Dec 2013
To disguise our sin of greed
We debate philosophies
And justify our economies

Our sins remain uncovered
Despite our explanations
2.5k · Nov 2014
Do I Love Her?
William A Poppen Nov 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.
2.4k · Jun 2014
Fear of Delusion
William A Poppen Jun 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
2.4k · Jan 2014
William A Poppen Jan 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.
2.4k · Nov 2015
Do Peace
William A Poppen Nov 2015
We know what peace is
And we know how to do war
Now, let us do peace
Inspired by The DalaiLama

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.
2.4k · Aug 2014
Contain My Soul
William A Poppen Aug 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?
2.3k · Oct 2013
William A Poppen Oct 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
As you explore
warmth, texture
the moment of
a hug that says
good morning
2.2k · May 2012
Soft Silence
William A Poppen May 2012
Knee joints pop
With sounds of aging
As his haunches settle
Into the resilience of ****.
He is seeking a soft silence,
Reverence for universal truths
And a communion with the
Silence of the moment.

Thoughts bounce through his mind
Like static on a distant radio station.
Memories of past silences come  
Like a prairie wind.  

Soft silence settles around him
While his mind tries to forget
What harshness silence has nourished
During his lifetime.
2.2k · Sep 2014
Dead Tree in the Forest
William A Poppen Sep 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?
2.0k · Mar 2014
William A Poppen Mar 2014
I settle near the Camellia  
as good fortune  
surrounds me.  

I wonder
how does  luck grow
leisurely around me?

I can't  recall pushing
a  lucky seed into moist dirt
of  a weathered slip ***.

Many friends and siblings feel
battle fallout as Zeus and Hades
hurl bolts of catastrophe at them.

Life is unfair.
Meek brothers and sisters will you
inherit the earth or misfortune?

Mishap, misadventure and calamity
do you lurk around the next bend
of my fair weather journey?

Critical comments appreciated
2.0k · Nov 2012
Exotic Omelet
William A Poppen Nov 2012
Your unique omelets
Fascinate me. Like your ***
Always exotic
2.0k · Jan 2017
Pipe Dream
William A Poppen Jan 2017
Illusions of skydiving in a kimono
are not nightmares that awaken her
in a sweat each night

Fantasies of floating like a drone
creep into morning daydreams

Unprepared for make-believe
no kimono hangs in her closet

Each day she stands in front
of her full-length mirror
stares at perceived imperfections
as they thicken before her eyes

Friends don’t notice
each misplaced mole
or cellulite pleading
to hide from any

Co-workers notice her
post-it-note headline

“Intelligent Perfect Women
Skydives in Kimono”

affixed to the cubicle wall

Today results of
her search for kimonos
of various colors
is carefully placed in
a folder entitled skydiving
My wife wonders where the idea for this poem came from.  My answer - I have no idea.
1.9k · Nov 2012
Abandoned in Detroit
William A Poppen Nov 2012
There are walls waiting,


as pockmarks of decay

beside sidewalks

along motor cities’ streets.

There are terminal

and forsaken structures


with ungrateful squirrels

that abandon

attics for creaking kitchens

with corroded sinks.

Un-shoveled snow melts

slow on walkways

unfamiliar with worn heels

or rubber soles.

There are forlorn relics

patient and waiting

for us to join them.
1.9k · Apr 2014
How to be a Counselor
William A Poppen Apr 2014
Reflect, reflect, reflect
Trust yourself and trust your client
Accept those you counsel
If you don't know what to say, smile
Finish on time
Don't talk too much
Show your joy
Hide your judgments
Try to work yourself out of a job
Love yourself
Clarify, clarify, clarify
Stomp out erroneous thinking
Keep Kleenex handy
Not really a poem but some thoughts on the art of helping.
1.8k · Nov 2012
Wrinkle-free Love
William A Poppen Nov 2012
Bed sheets labeled wrinkle-free,
skin stroked
with lotions from
bottles stamped,
“reduces age-lines.”

Crevasses form
and crows’ feet caress eyelids;
folds spread
as little rivers
from her mouth.

New lotions,
more massaging
feed her desire
for perfection. Her glance
catches flaws others ignore.

Love falls short.
Heat from her lover’s body
warms her palms;
fetid kisses barely
brush her lips.

Wrinkle free love;
another misnomer.
1.7k · Mar 2018
William A Poppen Mar 2018
Tonight is a cluster of
Recognitions, remembrances
Mostly reminiscence
Which sift in the breeze
Gusting beneath the temporary
Tarpaulin tent

Backs are slapped
Arms embraced
Smiles predominate
As shiny faces and gleaming  foreheads
Illuminated by flashing cameras
Twinkle like fireflies displaying
In a muggy June meadow

Photos pulled from stained
Billfolds move from hand to hand
Displaying glossies of babies, graduations
Weddings and “The big catch”

Relatives, friends and officials
Find their place on folded metal chairs
For a wedding ceremony

Tonight has become a gathering
Marriage planned for tonight
1.7k · May 2015
Amid Madness
William A Poppen May 2015
There is just enough morning sunlight
filtering through the english laurel
for aging eyes to capture the purple tint
of carnations blooming
in the front of the rocks
jutting toward the porch

Night-time had been colorless
in the midst of a celebration
announced by a sign signaling
an event in the main ballroom

With a loud voice
a long-named minister
toyed with religion
and flirted with comedy
before the silverware
clanged against the china

Boredom captured the moment
in the middle of the clatter and chatter
Even stunning silks and satins
around bodacious behinds
failed to entertain

Now perhaps the oldest in the crowd
he carefully quenches each desire
to know the delicacies of the evening
with the efforts of survival.  He was slowly
dying in the madness of the crowd
My wife commented on this poem with "Obviously you didn't have a good time."
1.7k · Dec 2015
Skirt so Yellow and Bright
William A Poppen Dec 2015
Skirt so yellow and bright

Eyes blue and wide,

with lips pursed right.

“Where is your joy,” she sighs?

Cotton shows years of wear

still flows yellow,  and bright.

Her lean body craves to share

him hard and yielding tonight.

After she threw the bridal wreath

their joy spilled like carpenter’s glue.

No longer did they sample from beneath

yellow skirt and sweater taut and blue.

Her scent is a flower named dangerous,

so he struggles, pulls away; all the while

wanting his graying head to rest

upon her breast and relish the joy in her smile.
1.7k · Nov 2013
Flinty Endurance
William A Poppen Nov 2013
I felt an unusual twinge in my neck
as I turned toward you.

Heavy breathing signaled morning sleep
as my arm reached across your palpitating belly.

These casual cuddles, typical of the start of our day
emit a warmth unlike sunrays or furnace heat.

No use to wake you or tease apart your legs
for seldom do we play.

That may come after morning news is devoured,
bananas peeled and different morning hungers eased.  

Now i rise to consume small pellets of brown, pink,
grey and white chemicals compounded to keep me alive.

There is a stillness downstairs with greetings from a well-worn chair
contoured to support my soul.

Blades whirl overhead churning a breeze
my face accepts upon my forehead.

Now is my time of meditation, my attempt to
listen to whatever god pervades this universe.

There will be no answers, no jolts of insight or revelations,
only small particles of peace to cover my disquiet.

You will lumber down steps with effort accentuated by creaks
and moans that are more pronounced each day.

Our lips will touch confirming both obligation and willingness
to walk beside each other.

I wonder if you think there could be more?  
Could each gaze toward one another be longer?  

Could I unbutton myself enough to see or would you scold me
for such an unrepressed display?
1.6k · Apr 2014
Spring Rain
William A Poppen Apr 2014
The orange fire of morning sky
blazes through birthing branches
green with sprigs of spring.  

Wrens announce their intentions
to live this day as a breeze from the west
kicks buds of oak-leaf  hydrangeas toward the sky.

A grey bank of clouds fights to claim territory.
Soft pit pats, pit pat across patios, sidewalks and roof-top shingles
forewarn the burst arriving against the earth.  

Rain, beloved by some
disfavored by others,
becomes relentless.

Bolts, sharp and direct,
provoke clouds to participate
in the deluge.

Rain, beloved by some
disfavored by others,
shifts gears to softness.

Rain, beloved by some
disfavored by others,
owns the day.
1.6k · Nov 2014
William A Poppen Nov 2014
Flickering blast forth
"It is broken.  It needs fixing"
We know, we broke it
1.6k · Jun 2015
Steep Trail
William A Poppen Jun 2015
Nature's contributions cascade along the steep trail.

Numerous white patches and yellow splotches

set on a blanket of green

amid immense coverings

so blue that it seems parts of the sky have fallen.  

Pinks protrude like boulders in a creek

while reds try to hide around rocks and crevasses.

Faded petals,

past announcements of spring

now reside alongside signs of birth,

buds seeking an identity.

Arrays of mature blossoms parade full and ripe

along a path of short lives and slow deaths.

Fallen relics, grey and mossy

display across the emerald carpet,

a memory of another time.
1.6k · Jan 2013
Walking Through Minefields*
William A Poppen Jan 2013
At sunrise the dew melts into nothing
and the field loses its silver glow
while retaining a tranquility
unbecoming of most minefields.

Brushing his face against
heavy denim material
the curious son hears his father's words,
Soon you will walk across
this field. I will educate you
to step here and step there,
to avoid the hidden dangers
beneath the grassy slopes
and native flowers.

Trust flows from innocent eyes,
uncreased by worry
or the wear of fear,
as the son requests,
Why are there mines among
the lavender and milkweed?

Because the fox must be hunted,
and the deer harvested
as food for our hungry ambitions.
These mines are triggered
by those who justify their sport
as signs of bravery and courage.

At times crazed men ignite the mines
as a show of their rage.  They ****
others among us, even children.

What if there were no mines?
We must keep our freedom,
freedom to walk anywhere,
to say anything
and to plant mines in the field
despite their dangers.

The eye of the eagle
will guide you each
step amid the lavender
and coneflowers until
you are safely to the other side.

Glancing upward, gazing ahead
the boy shares his wonder,
Will I continue to plant mines in the fields
for my children to walk?

A heavy masculine voice
cracks the north wind

If I train you well, . . .
If I train you well.

(with Eddie Eagle)
(information about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program of the National Rifle Association,  
Eddie Eagle is a registered trademark of the NRA
1.5k · Oct 2013
I'm Having an Affair
William A Poppen Oct 2013
with Mary.
I  was seduced
in Barnes & Noble,
lured to the  poetry section
next to coffee and pastries.

I touched her Blue Iris,
fondled  her Red  Bird
and recounted why
she wakes to watch
the early sunrise.

She looked better than I remembered
in a brown jacket
with a striking
emblem of a bear
on the front.

She took me to her tent
near Truro
and told me of turtles, toads,
hermit *****,
and her fear
of ridding her garden
a small harmless snake.

I spill my passion
on the ground — our bed for now — beside her.
Under her cover
she shares phrases,
moles, verbs,
and curves
of sweet new perceptions.

We are intimate beyond belief.
Her verbal kisses
bring sweat to my palms.
I’m high, hallucinating
on Mary
my drug of choice.

I’m having an affair
with Mary Oliver.
1.5k · Nov 2013
Hiking Cumberland Trail*
William A Poppen Nov 2013
Snap, *****, snap -- twigs break underneath
Each burst is music fed deep into her heart
Balmy air blows crisp across her cheek
A kiss as sweet as a daughter's caress
Pride inhaled with each labored breath
Seventeen miles of inclines and slopes
Over fallen trees and swollen creeks
Intentional steps, stitches of success sewn into
the blanket of her soul as she
wanders along the path of her
journey to renewal
1.5k · May 2012
Morning Mist
William A Poppen May 2012
Her brow furrows
as if etched on flint

deepens gradually

as his heels click

in cadence toward the door.

She feels unworthy of his love

but knows he will return.

When love comes like a mist in the night

accept it as a nourishing dew.
Know that mornings may

present a threat of rain
to capture the mist

only to send showers later.

No one earns love,

love comes to be consumed

like grass absorbs

the offering of the morning.
Revised, 7/2/2014
1.4k · Feb 2013
Two Bluebirds
William A Poppen Feb 2013
Bluebirds, matching set
Follow along as I hike
Flitting on phone lines
1.4k · Aug 2016
Blurry Photos
William A Poppen Aug 2016
His eyes squinted
carefully scanning
three hazy photos
taken in black and white
undated of two mountains
rising behind a bridge
crossing a river

Was it France?
Arizona, Dakota
Probably not Dakota
Few hills there
Maybe along the Danube
Yet no signs of vineyards
along the river banks

Travel broadens one
with indistinct memories
Places that inspired
yesterday and today
remain as slight fabrics
and experiences
absorbed and fuzzy
resting in a corner
of his mind
1.4k · Apr 2014
Pages Unread
William A Poppen Apr 2014
Aging arms splotched with purple and red
signs of tangling with jagged dead branches
among white pines along the back of the yard
reach for a copy of Ted Kooser's Flying at Night.
Pages flip for a stop here and there
to read Sunset, Carp and Spring Plowing
Envy swells inside him with the realization
that he will never write such fine poems
which prompt memories of childhood adventures
living rural among tiger lilies blooming in meadows,
newborn calves teetering toward first steps,
and freshly spread manure capturing the scent of fall air.
His fingers still grimy from early morning planting
place Kooser's volume carefully beside his empty coffee cup
content that he is blessed to have discovered it
that day hiding next to classic tomes by Shakespeare and Whitman.
He rises to tackle digging potholes for double begonias
to decorate his yard and and to dream of pages unread.  (more about Kooser)
1.3k · Jun 2014
William A Poppen Jun 2014
She swells
from her anger
until blue rivers
flow down her legs
as distinct
as though traced
by a tattoo artist.
He toils, resisting
temptations to apply
the balm that soothes
her soul, she boils
from residue
that falls
on her trail
as they walk together
through her daze.
Resentments sweep
across their fertile minds
caught among this labyrinth
of dreams, desires and fears.
They weather persistent
torrential storms  
pelting their being.
William A Poppen Mar 2014
Like the oak leaf hydrangea bud in May,
like the squirrels infest backyard  bird feeders ,
and like the train whistle echoes in the hollow
rolling through white pines and serviceberry branches,
her trust, in the shape of soft smiles and morning kisses,
permeates his every breath .
A short free style poem in search of a title.  Please suggest one.
1.3k · Aug 2014
Dim Lanterns of Joy
William A Poppen Aug 2014
Any brighter and
streams in the ditches
would look like Cuyahoga River
across Cleveland during the 1960's

There is no fire, only flies
who make bright their bellies
and flash for show like the perverts
in metropolitan inner city parks

Enticed to the flies, like moths
to the ceiling globes,
we gather jars and lids
with air holes hammered hard

No walking as we streak
along gravel roads built after WWII
when rationing was lifted
and road speeds jumped

Flies caught one by one
are smashed on white tees,
luminous signals for drivers
alert to the folly of our play

Our madness endures
until Ball  jars become
dim lanterns of joy for us and jail
for the bugs doomed

to die before daybreak
until swept from the garage
floor as we plot our assault
on airborne glimmers along
tonight's roadsides
1.3k · Jun 2014
Until the Spring Unwinds
William A Poppen Jun 2014
Together amid greenery and blossoms
they stand shoulder to shoulder, narrow eyed
and fixated upon bursts of golden daylily.

More than spring mingles in the mist
more than heat flows between them
mystery envelops them

There was the first time she held a clock
a miniature spring operated swiss piece
forbidden, still she opened the back

Movement, synchronized with sound, churned
tick, tick, tock, tock, steady clicks
worked the hands notch after notch

Would she let what was between them
work without her fingers, incited by catlike curiosity,
prying open the back of him

Stare at his insides, his tick, tick, tock, tock
until she sees him as a machine
turning until the spring unwinds?
1.3k · Feb 2014
William A Poppen Feb 2014
Scarves. high collars,
or extra mascara
hide the brownish-purple
disfigurement wrapped
around her throat.

Part of her being
is scarred with
remnant traces
inflicted from traumatic
scenes endured
during his rage.  

Horrific echoes
careen around her brain
like video clips replaying
the self-hatred he
spilled upon her.

His crazed lashes
struck her
bone deep.  
Musty smells
from those moments
linger among her nostril mucus.

She carries on
distracted with moments
near tranquil music
or beside still brooks
and squawking crows.

Each day she captures
views of sunrise
and sunset while chanting
mantras to unknown gods
striving to complete
her forgiveness.
William A Poppen Mar 2014
In the fog of war
Decisions are made in haste

In the dew of night
Misinformation prevails

In the heat of noon
Soldiers await their orders

In the day’s tumult
Dead bodies drape the landscape

In the daze of war
Mistakes are often concealed

After the war’s fog
May the truth be ascertained

In the dew of peace
* Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she's responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.  She used the term "in the fog of war" in her comments. Hilary's comment prompted the poem which I present here.  Comments are appreciated both pro or con.  The poem was originally written as sets of haiku.  I changed these to alternating lines of 5 and 7 syllabi, a form that as far as I know does not exist.
1.2k · Jul 2015
William A Poppen Jul 2015

Hospital chlorine, splash of lavendar
mix with baby powder as she guards her newborn.

His fingers brush the fur on her collar,
while he helps her with the car door.

Wisps of spring
breeze through her auburn hair.

He captures her grace
soft as a red fox.


Shorter steps carry them
to and from their Taurus.

Hand-me-down walkers and bassinets
feel the weight of their grandchildren.

Welcome Guests stitched in black and red
greets overnighters in the nursery.

Seventy years old in her black shawl,
his hand cups her elbow, "Steady dear, steady."
taken from page 60  **Honey & Darkness**,(2009) iUniverse,Inc.: New York
1.2k · Aug 2015
Swimming in Molasses
William A Poppen Aug 2015
Like swimming in molasses
trying to ascend
hoping to begin
to get where I want to be

Swimming in molasses,
can’t get there from here
as a robot in first gear
trying to go with the flow

Swimming in molasses
waiting for the gooey
mass to warm
for me to find my way

Swimming in molasses,
Grandma’s Gold Standard all natural kind
dark, black-brown viscid glue
that holds and restricts

I’m swimming in molasses
deliberate, lethargic,
lagging, leaden, swirling toward
the promise that awaits me
depression, blues
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