Collateral Damage, by Debi Swim

Collateral Damage
by Debi Swim

grief did not ask if it could come.
nor beg my leave. nor was civil
in any respect of civility…barged
in, she did and changed my life
again. Beside the thin ghostly
lines marked in rows over my heart
she, with surgeon’s precision, scalpel’s
keenness cut the wound with one swift
straight slice removed another part
of my heart, daubed the blood, and sewed
with the finest measure and skilled hand
the daintiest seam that would in time
leave the faintest trace of white. But, I
disappear one small piece at a time
leave behind the rasp of withering husk.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 250.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.
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Poets Parlor – https://fmeoformyeyesonly.wordpress.com/

The Voice In My Head, by Debi Swim

The Voice In My Head
by Debi Swim

This poem doesn’t want to be written.
Its voice taunts me that I don’t know
enough. It shouts that I am not a poet,
for goodness sakes, who do I think I am?
Well, obviously, I’m not a Poet with a
capital P but I do write something I call
poetry and what does it matter if I’m
not published or well known or whatever,
my voice trails off softer and softer.

The voice snickers.
All the great poems, she says, have been
penned, all the great topics taken. All the
glorious words, lissome phrases, perfect
forms used. You, she sneered, are too late
to this hallowed task. Just a want to be.

Well, but we can’t all be a Dickinson, a Heany,
an Oliver, or a Pardlo. Besides when they first
got those itchy fingers and those emotions
clamoring to be thrown up like yellow bile,
and hurt that throbbed like an abscessed tooth,
well, did it all come out ready for publication
or did it all come out in a rush of whooeeee
I needed that. I needed to say that. I NEEDED
to hear myself say that.

Okay, so answer me that, voice. But, voice had
left. Voice had no more sneer or snuff left. And
I thought, humph, well, and so. I am going to
write me some words. I’m going to let these
words speak for themselves and if, if, IF, they want
to tumble into a poem, well, okay, then. Like, I
have anything to do with it. When the words want
to come, when they are ready to be born, when that
head crowns, baby, you got yourself a lusty cry of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 248.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Picturing You, by Debi Swim

Picturing You
by Debi Swim

Old photographs and 8mm home movies
boxed and stored away waiting for a
rainy day of perusal and the usual
smiles, embarrassed grins, tears and yens
for those old days, gone days, nevermore days.

Christmases, birthdays, picnics, family reunions,
graduations, weddings, babies, toddlers and teens,
the years fly by like a dream, a stream of poignant
memories and faces no longer seen. Alive then,
long time gone now, just a hiccup, an interrupt

in the continuum of life. And the rain pours down,
peters out, the sun comes blaring through the clouds
and the seconds fly by and here am I wondering
who’ll be next. Someday, on another rainy day,
who will be looking for my face?

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Coming And Going Colors Of Life, by Debi Swim

Coming And Going Colors Of life
by Debi Swim

I began in righteous redness
knitted like yarn into a
recognizable thing. I grew
in darkness, inky onyx,
warm and snug in my fleshy bed.
I came wailing and kicking
purple-tinged, red-faced,
mottled mess of blood and vernix
into the afterbirth of turbulence…
and still I struggle to become,
probably always will, and yet
I’ve made a little progress
toward the coming end when
in hues of blue and parchment,
I’ll close my eyes against the bloody,
mottled mess I leave behind,
and snuggle into the inky onyx darkness
of my alabaster marble rest.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 246.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

An Answer to Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, by Debi Swim

An Answer to Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”
by Debi Swim

Birth is not a continuation, not
a pre-existence of pure light and love.
We did not dance with the angels. Heaven
wasn’t our first abode, but a woman’s womb.
The elements of man and woman met
and mixed and grew in that primeval stage
where the soul and matter become new
then in time pushed into the world without.
And what’s seen are but shadows on a wall
intimating a greater glory, story,
and that is the miracle of our birth –
the acknowledgement there is more beyond
this poorly lighted cave and a hand that
shapes the shadows confirming something more.
And birth begets our immortality.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 231.

Process notes: If you believe in God you have a concept, whether accurate or not, of who and what God is and what your relationship to God is. As a child I picked up the thought that babies came directly from heaven. I no longer believe that we have always existed but that each child is a new and unique being. And if the theology I have been taught is right then birth begets immortality. I do believe, as Wordsworth says, there are “clouds of glory” to be seen in nature, and though they obscure the whole picture, they do reveal a portion of what’s beyond.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Reign Over Me, by Debi Swim

Reign Over Me
by Debi Swim

I’ve a thirst and a hunger,
that scratches my throat
in sandy abrasions and a claw
in my stomach tearing and
whumping at its emptiness.
I want to be filled, sated,
gorged, glutted, quenched,
nourished like a calf at the teat,
like tree roots by the river,
like sails billowing with wind.
Life is just not enough, to live
and to die and to never touch
the supernal, to become nil.
Laugh if you will, sneer at my
simplicity; pity my pining
for God, for the true mythology
of the Holiness.

I’ve a yearning and if you’re alive
you’ve a yearning, too, the soul
within craving to connect with the
soul of the Otherness, the Mysterious.
That’s why we are drawn to the sea,
drawn to the stars, drawn
to things vaster than we.

 
Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 223.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Hound’s Tooth Sharp, by Debi Swim

Hound’s Tooth Sharp
by Debi Swim

Remember that jacket you wore?
Black and white hound’s tooth,
wool blend paired with a straight
skirt, hem just at the knee – sleek,
sophisticated. It said I am somebody
look at me, look at me.
I admired you. You were the prettiest
Mom of anyone outside of TV I knew.
But, you always pushed me aside in
your affections. I was the oldest, gawky,
plain – I think I reminded you too
much of a rocky marriage. I was a pawn,
tug of war, with his parents. Unfortunate
for me, even after Daddy died.

The pattern of our relationship
is hound’s tooth sharp.
Seems there is always a bite
behind the smile. I wait for the nip.
It’s made me gun shy, careful,
getting just so close, but no closer.
The irony is that now you want
to love me and me to love you. You want
that relationship my daughters
and I have. I’m sorry we can’t be closer,
but I can’t break through this pattern.
Black and white checks hound me.
I do love you but not wholly.
I love you carefully, reservedly. I stay
safely in the margins of the pattern.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 221.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Life Quest, by Debi Swim

Life Quest
by Debi Swim

I’m in that in-between stage
of middle-aged and Old but not
as dirt, nor elderly, but definitely
senior. I’ve given up on dyeing
my hair and wearing three inch
heels or really any heels just a
wedge but always sensible shoes.
I’m at that age where there’s more
time behind than in front and more
of me than there used to be and most
of it crinkly but on the positive side
I wonder more, am less cocksure,
stance more grey than black and white
It doesn’t matter near as much
what I want to be when I grow up.
There’s aches and pains in all my joints
and a drunk controlling my gait.
But, I’ve lived, overcome, survived,
thrived, trusted, loved, birthed, laid
to rest… been human, abided, steady
to the end and have what I always wanted-
growing old with someone just like you.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 220

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Black, by Debi Swim

Black
by Debi Swim

I’m writing an ode to black
misunderstood, abused, lack
of frivolity, sober, tacked
onto the back of despair. Unfair.
Black has depth and richness
mystery and glamor within us
making red redder, enhancing,
entrancing, like the ebony sheen
of the raven, the placid shade
between I lay me down and sleep
counting dark sheep with a tender
heart all part of twilight and surrender.
It is a contender for favorite color–
hats, cats, licorice, espresso, Van Gogh’s
background that pop the poppies
no melancholy in their enthusiasm.
All praise to the black dark chocolate
sweet, confident, sassy, bold. A chasm
of ebony, sable, inky, pitch, coal.
When truth is told, before
creation all was black, now
everything is stitched at the seams
with black… is beautiful.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 219.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

How Does It Feel?, by Debi Swim

How Does It Feel?
by Debi Swim

When death is summoned to do his duty
is he emotionless and unyielding
even as he bends over a child’s bed
or a man pleading at his wife’s side?
Are there ever times he drags his feet,
hunches his shoulders, tries not to weep
when coming to the scene of a burnt home
or wretched twisted metal on the highway?
Does he know some sacred secret that
eases his conscience, lightens his load?
Is he a reaper grimly scything the wheat,
harvesting souls for a fiendish yield
of banshee screams and sorrow’s tears?
Do wars, nature’s wrath, and terrorist
random pickings just fill his inbox with more to do?
Maybe he is just content with his job security
on a planet where life is so little valued.
But, I hope when he comes for me
he shows a little compassion.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 217.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.