Photo of my cat from British Museum.

Photo of my Egyptian cat from British Museum.

“Time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back.”
“O sacred cat! Your mouth is the mouth of the god Atum” *
Nine lives, “tick //TocK//tick” clicks the art of

space and form moving first largo then allegro vivace.
The andante sonata of life becomes the sound of
the way Rome looks, stays as eternal as love.

Purple-ribboned skies extend the emperor’s roads.
Then shadows, dark as catacombs,
frighten the bravest of crows and chanticleers.

“Let no Chaldean clairvoyant compute your
time of existence” nor guess your chosen one.
Cats and men have died for love–

but for living we are born,
not to worship fresh fears
or build shrines to cool starlight.

Feline grace scrapes against walls of slavery,
the terrain tilts.  As the poles waver at twilight,
rain settles and sleep silences.

Drip-drops even-out the hours,
turn minutes into eons,
count the grains of star dust.

Pain arches, bell-curved like the cat’s back,
intensifies and diminishes, a life wave.
Corinthian columns march,

dreams creep onstage, move
to the center mark and wait
while the spotlight stops.

There “make-believe” enters stage right
waits on an iron balcony
by a wall of red bricks.

The masquerade proceeds.
Where birds perch,
day mews on the night.

1. Egyptian hymn from the 4th Century BC*
2. Horace *

From Claudia’s Poem: 2 lines: ” time’s measured in a thin line on a cat’s back” and
“tick //TocK//tick” to respond to the challenge prompt to use a line from Claudia or Brian’s challenge poems. Posted for d’Verse Poets Pub MTB challenge 2/26/15.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 2/25/2015



Argument for Free Verse                                       Argument for Form

And then
you let it flow.
It’s easy-like, just think!
You write your gut, what aches down deep,
take off the chains of form, of rhyme, of beat–
write free! Get rid of rules that tell
you what to say in rhyme,
that orders feet.

yourself in form;
let rhyme yield memories.
Compose set-time to bring to life
the musicality of images.
Experience the thrill of sounds
that rush the wind with fire
of metaphors
and verse.

Throw out
ideas of form,
the last resort of those
who have no passion of their own —
those youth who haven’t lived or aged shades
still hanging on to dreams of art.
It’s time to break the rules.
with clout!

So bored
with this drum roll!
These cries of lazy minds
that choose to vomit words, then serve
up prose disguised as ugly poetry,
refuse to learn their craft, refine
their lines,  deride the skilled
with angry, strong

To praise
ideals in form,
hide –bound to metered rhyme
obscures reality. The scars
of life, the wars of hurt, the private angst
that teaches strength, that burns the soul
inflames our minds — become
the howl, the source
of rage.

To smooth
the furrows out,
reduce to essences,
extract the purest feelings with 
the finest words that spring from ironies,
analogies in praise, despair
or passion’s depths. The goal’s
to sing  and plumb
for truth.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.24.14 * All Rights Reserved
Both sides written in the © Quarrel Form (or Falling Diamonds) that I invented and am using as a challenge at dVerse Poets Pub for Meeting the Bar. The form begins and ends with 1 foot iambic. The subsequent lines increase by one foot iamb to whatever desired length of  iambic feet probably not exceeding eight and then decrease by one to a one foot iamb for the end. The only rhymes must be in beginning and end lines.

The Dirt People

A Dust Bowl farmer digs out a fence post to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Okla., in 1936. © Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

A Dust Bowl farmer digs out a fence post to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Okla., in 1936.
© Arthur Rothstein/ Library of Congress from NPR

They were people of the dirt
life hung on a loosened nail,
barbed-wire lay like promises broken.
all their lives — all they knew.
Their kids, offshoots
of the mandrake root,
full of it – dirt, dirt, more dirt.

They farmed it such a long time.
What came from it, not even green words,
mosquitoes, heat, and lung disease.
A bit of water carried in pails,
poured by sunburned hands
to coax the sands.

drifted by wind,
spilled on tables,
filled window sills,
stuffed the furniture.
— dirt
In the sugar bowls and salt shakers;
on the playing cards;
on the paper dolls, gritty when cutting out;
caked on marbles in the circle;
creasing the cigar treasure box
— dirt
where the children played hollow eyed
living rusted lives in crusted disappointment.

Later the peanuts pushed out of the cracks;
melons grew, then split by heat
they ate their hearts.
Wind roared, sand pelted, snakes rattled
and all the spirit did was blow.

They were the people of the dirt.
They moved from one place to another.
The dirtiest was the dug-out–
living there, not clean
but at last cool; they eked out a living
from a little rain or making repairs in town.
Yet ever they moved on — until typhoid
caught them up and burials weighed them down.

Only dreaming of clean
cut from pages of a magazine:
running water, indoor plumbing
china, silver, a crystalline vision,
instead of dirt
between those pages, they’d find
a place to stop,
a place to learn,
and time to read.

Posted for my article on Beat Poetry @dVersePoets
The after-effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl as well as having come through WWII greatly influenced and affected the Beat Poets. Many blues songs which spoke about pain, loneliness, poverty, and loss filled their poems. I chose to present this period of my maternal family. This isn’t quite a protest poem but in a way it is. This was a government caused catastrophe. The poor farmers had been paid to plant the same crops without rotating year after year with government subsidies. Ignorance and greed again caused this horror of the 1930s.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 10/13/113


Found on wiki-commons

I pass the portal into the land of the forgotten;
loneliness, a morning mist, obscures the day.

It rises to the limbs of trees hung with shreds
of faded lingerie and laddered stockings;

baby clothes and evening gowns rustle
on the ground scraping shoes with broken heels.
A vague tinkling music box melody with missing notes
wafts in, loops an oscillating plinking on the breeze.

The lonely mist watercolors shadowed forms
where sadness softens contours of the left-behind.

I stumble through the deepening fog seeking reasons;
cloaked shapes move past at the periphery of memory.

I hear myself calling, moaning in misery, the mystery’s
a shroud that’s wrapped me alive, wanting, needing.

Beyond these clouds lies my fate in some inky pond
and I advance seeking someone to take my hand.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 8/7/2012 * All Rights Reserved

The Empress (of Peace)

Cries in the spray; howls of wind
echoing growls of thunder, louder
as rain spits mud at the dozing herd,
the trough is empty and they now gaunt.
Knowing only the fiery heat of
a persistent sun, swatting flies
settling on flank and lash,
the mud-drops cool, provide relief.

Diseased thought born in thick blood
driven mad with heat and passion
flares in earth’s souls. It perpetuates
the sear and carnage wrought by
violence, revenge, more violence–
eternal wars of the tribes who want;
fired by the fires of never enough.

The slip stream slides, clouds rolling,
building higher, white dreams
whipped stiff with hope, hinting change.
There benefactions dimly dreamed lie
beyond the murky cast of smoke and ash.

Out of Empyrean, a dream perhaps,
where an ethereal beauty shines like a
monstrance, a sceptre. Her heart
like a cut and polished jewel,
a beacon for calm that bestows cure.
She waits shimmering at the edge
of the earth’s meniscus extending
an offer to end the wasting drought.

She holds out her miraged boughs
heavy in summer heat. Sticky-ripe. the
pomegranates fall spilling seeds on
the desolate land. At once, a new
tree sprouts, a bird sings, a pool shines.

The promise of water and wheat abundant
gleams in her distant eyes.
At last the lost souls cease their cries;
sheathe their weapons.
Take up words in a body determined,
a tribe unified to one purpose.
Her promise discerned–
not misery, but peace that yields bounty.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 6.25.12 * All Rights Reserved

Hosting the event this week is Brian Miller
Join us there by linking your poem and reading your fellow poets!