Bad Poetry

There is a lot of bad poetry in the world. Here are a few of my contributions to the collection.


Sing to me softly
and play on your mandolin.
Sweet summertime is over
and winter is rushing in.

Tell me a story
and don't ever shut the door.
I hear the darkness calling;
I'm coming once more.


In some near barn a pitchfork lurks
and tugs at me, though miles away.
And at the center of the celestial murk
a somewhat subtler tug holds sway.

Mortar and Pestle

Where once your fingers spices ground
I found some dust and clove and cardamom.
Your garam masala fingerprint;
now dwindled to the dearest pinch.

And how should I consume it hence?
Savor each speck in straight sequence?
Or favor my curry in one fall? Swoop,
a lofted waft into my soup.

But then...
spare years of machine-made mixtures
will grind, blind, against my tumblers.


The world
  on whose shore I tumble
  released by towers of water
  which vaporize to steam ships
  and cloud the vaulted ceiling
  where radiant air veils novas
  which answer distant beacons
  signaling the center
  from which the spreading masses
  return to homogeneity
is spinning.

And I
  who conned the frigate
  which clove the tumbling ocean
  which hid a thousand chasms
  of mysteries and wonder
  from ultraviolet fingers
  of gamma radiation
  which ravish the dry lakebed
  and petrify the forest
cannot stop it.


Concave Polly and Convex Frank
Have a floating mortgage at Flatland Bank.
Their assets safe behind a line,
Accruing interest, a point at a time.

When Concave Polly was just a little crescent
Her concave mommy gave her a present.
A crocheted shawl woven on her loom.
A gilted quilt to line her womb.

But Convex Frank's convex daddy is dead.
A convex bullet clove his convex head.
And thus Frank's path has been set free.
Or at least as free as a wedge can be.

Diary Man

When Diary Man inscribes his annals,
he dots every I, and checks every dot.
Describing in perfect, exhaustive detail,
the life that a faithful diarist has not.

For a perfect description can not be rushed.
It is painfully writ and stakingly read.
Leaving barely enough teeth for a brush,
a peck on the check.  And then off to bed.

What I'm Not

If I were a frog I'd jump.
But I'm not, so I'll lump.
If I were a lizard I'd leap.
But I'm not, so I'll sleep.
If I were an eagle I'd fly.
But I'm not, so I'll sigh.
If I were a tuber I'd lay.
And I am. Here I stay.


Swing your knees. Feel
the wire connecting
your gut to the earth
below.  Contract and
the ground up
bridging the span
like an easy chair.

It's plain the plain roof
your perch, cracked,
black and peopled with steel
mushrooms and paper copters
holds the history of your planet
whose clouds attract the buzz of jets,
whose capitols are distant tumors.

Swing your knees
on the edge of your
your fulcrum being
your ability to fly
or perhaps to choose to fly
or tuesday.

Friendly Ghosts

In Caspar's lair, 'tis sometimes said,
A child will meet a floating head.
A friendly boy with woman's voice.
Be not afraid, you have no choice.
Immortal toddlers find no offense
at goblin games which make no sense.
And gentle boys who love the zoo
befriend the gnu, kudzu and you.

At what age did you surmise,
your unpredictable but sure demise?
And when you go will you remain,
To haunt the hills, the dell, the plain?
to free the lion, to ring the bell,
to rollerskate on ice. To dwell
in laughter, lonliness or pain?
To flit and hover, round the flame?

Gang aft agley.  Our plans afoul.
Our passions twixt the twisted trowl,
And o'er the plain, the wasted view,
you'll leave me, or I'll leave you.
Eventually we'll all be there.
All friendly ghosts.  No hide nor hair.
The zoo is empty, the doors a-creak.
The earth inherited by the meek.


At five or six I knew Peter Pan
was an old lady on TV, but still
I clapped my hands. Tink flew again

Like the umbrella in my Shirley Temple
bits of balsa and a coiled roll
of chinese newspaper but still
I held it above my head in the rain.

It made me laugh and why not?

Now Steve says the bit of paper in his ear
is a radio transmitter.  He's been hearing
transmissions since the pediatrician
implanted it there.

Just now it amuses me to believe. I still
have a splinter in my palm from sixty five.  Look
through the wrong end of the binoculars
you can pull the elephant out (or the stick
up your ass that's been there all this time).

All these years I had my own stick
on it's own station: Delightful diversions
of fibonacci flowers and fractals and...


Now my brother and I in our sanity bubble
share secret transmissions on radio paper
and the rest of you, and your sticks, can go
on speaking incomprehensible chinese
if it amuses you.

Adventures of the Flying Babysitter

When Jill kicked the bucket
the cool water fell down the
grassy slope
bathing the bare feet
of Billy, Boy Babysitter
and conferring
the power of flight.

Although acrophobia
limited his altitude
to 3 or 4 feet,
he flew, nonetheless.

The inventors of Hermes understood:
feet, properly attired,
are organs of flight.

All poems copyright © 2001 Jim Bumgardner