Saturday, July 1, 2023



Poetry's Secret Sauce


I long to write a poem

that's more than just a jumble of words,


something that melts in your mouth

like a popsicle, its cherry juices running

down your chin, getting sticky on your hands,

ruining a clean white shirt, you put on

to impress a fastidious young lady.


I crave to write a good sentence

with fragile feelings built into every phrase,

which leaves readers busting down the doors

to hear more well-crafted lines

bursting with melancholy tears.


There might even be a verse,

that my mother would call her sisters about,

explaining my son wrote that,

and they would say, genius, pure genius.


For now, I am stuck with popsicle sticks and glue,

trying to create a Picasso or a Rembrandt.


I need a Poetry for Dummy's manual,

preferably on YouTube,

with lots of simple-minded instructions,

on ways to avoid being accused of plagiarism.


Self Talk


Each morning about seven

a man clads in grey shorts and workout shirt

walks by our house seemingly talking

to himself about a Netflix movie he saw last night,

his need to go shopping for deodorant,

or some other form of drivel – of course

he's not really talking to himself,

just married to his cellphone.

(too bad he doesn’t talk about his sex life)


Then there’s Sam walking

on the treadmill at the gym,

singing the words to a raucous song

only his earbuds can hear,

sometimes banging out the rhythm

on the machine with his hands.

(it’s hard to be near him fearing he will fall)


The man who puts out the vegetables

at the grocery store talks to himself,

saying things like, nice color, smooth skin,

good size, nice fragrance, looks fresh

as he professionally stacks

the incoming treasures in the bins.

(tempted to walk by saying bananas suck)


My mother was of a similar persuasion,

she’d murmur phrases throughout the day

about the weather – nice outside -

or a spring flower she saw in the garden – nice color -

even the score of the Dodger game last night,

she never seemed bothered about,

not getting a response.

(wish Hoffman would learn how to pitch)


Our dog barks for no reason

discernable by any of us, sometimes just

a single yap, other times a sustained series

of yowls or just a low guttural growl.

We suspect he’s tired of just sleeping

on the coach and being ignored.

(despite his yamerings, he’s still ignored)




I was born a porcelain teacup,

with acrylic painted bluebonnets

on the outside, a dragonfly

gracing the inside of my delicate

thin skin, my handle a perfect fit

for a small hand that grips lightly

with a pinky finger pointing

at something on the ceiling,

though it could be just for show

or an affect peculiar to the hand

owner's generation.


I'm bathed in perfectly steeped tea

at a perfectly desired temperature,

set upon a matching plate

festooned with spring wildflowers

a lovely golden retriever and

a monarch butterfly that

just has made the journey

from its winter grounds in Mexico.


My brother is soup bowl,

obviously from a different mother,

more about him latter, right now

I'm about to be sipped. 

Rain, Hot Chocolate and Border Crossings


They warned us all week storms were coming,

shedding proverbial buckets of wet where too much

had already fallen, sending rivulets down the street,

over the curbs, up driveways until all was leaked.


Old dog stood panting at the door, needing to go outside

and pee, making me wish that long ago I'd fooled him into being

a cat who knew how to use a back porch litter box, instead

I suited up, waded outside, until we found high ground under

a leafed-out water oak, where dog squatted, did what he needed

to do, then headed back inside to be blow dried, while I shed

clothes, and hoped my wife had finally opened the packet

of Mexican chocolate we got on our trip south, had inspected

at the border(s), the Mexicans wondering what

we were smuggling out, U.S. border patrol wondering

what we were smuggling in.


The steamy chocolate tasted less good than it had

made the right way by local ladies in a village we'd visited,

but perfect for what had become the drench of dampness

that looked like it would continue for several days.


Touch Of A Gentle Spring Rain


Notes fall softly like glowing raindrops

on the pearl white piano keys,

tinkles of joy that stir memories

of a bygone lazy afternoon

when it rained, each drop touching

down gently, stirring emotions

that feel like a cup of tea,

a sweet biscuit that melts, not

crunches, in your mouth, a puppy

curled against your feet after

an exhausting bout of tail chasing,

the sight of a deer that stands

silently at the edge of the rain

spattered woods, feeling

safe, as puddles form among

the bluebonnets and Indian

paint brush.




PETER A WITT is a Texas poet and a retired university Professor. His poetry has been published on various sites including Verse-Virtual, Indian Periodical, Fleas on the dog, Inspired, Open Skies Quarterly, Active Muse, New Verse News and Wry Times. He also writes family history with a book about his aunt published by the Texas A & M Press, and is active birder and photographer.

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