Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sijo: Total Heartbreak

Haiga copyright Cara Hartley 2017

Knowing that I will never see my feline friends again
I feel a total heartbreak that some cannot understand
If they could only know the home I have found here without them


NaPoWriMo: write a poem about a pet

April PAD Challenge: write a "total (blank)" poem

A Sijo is a new form for me. The rules can be found here:

The Inevitable Legalese and Other Blah-Blah

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the poem is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the poem for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

This poem is published on the following sites:

If you enjoy my poetry, grab yourself a copy of my e-book, available from Kindle for 99 cents.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

the canopy bed

Copyright Jeff Wood on Pixabay

in                                                        my                                    childhoood
room                                           there was a                                canopy bed
and I  dreamed many big dreams of many big things, believing that one day
they  would all come true, but in reality, big dreams lead to massive crashes
my dreams                                                                                     my hopes
came crashing                                                                              down hard
nobody heard                                                                              the sound of
my defeat                                                                                        except me
nobody gave                                                                                a flying damn
I was just                                                                                      a stupid girl
being a massive                                                                            drama queen
one day the                                                                                  canopy was
taken down                                                                                    and it was
never put                                                                                          back up
the little girl with a head full of dreams too massive for this world was dead
I buried her but the dreams continued to haunt me as I tried hard to conform
to a world that wasn't made for, that was filled with disdain for the likes of me
I no longer have a pretty canopy bed upon which to lay my ugly head, I said
to dream that I will wake up pretty and be the toast of the city, it's time to let
those dreams                                                                                  fall dead
don't look                                                                                       back now
your hope                                                                                      died somehow
it was                                                                                             too big
for this                                                                                            little world
now bury                                                                                        your dreams
and step                                                                                          in time
it's time                                                                                          to conform
you foolish                                                                                     little girl

I'm not sure this looks like a canopy bed. I tried. I am dreadful at making shape poems.

I biffed the prompts yesterday (I did the "change" poem two days in a row), so today I'm doing two April PAD challenge prompts: massive and don't look back. The NaPoWriMo prompt was to describe a bedroom from my past.

And now for the inevitable blah-blah.

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the poem is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the poem for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

This poem is published on the following sites:

If you enjoy my poetry, grab yourself a copy of my e-book, available on Kindle for 99 cents.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Come as you Are Party: the kid that couldn't do anything right

23 out of 25 of these fit strongly and one of them fits to a degree. 

Another thing that happened in my house growing up was a lack of privacy. My parents wouldn't allow me or my brother to close the doors to our bedrooms. 

When I was visiting my mother on Wednesday, she brought out a box she had found while cleaning. In it were a card that my great-aunt had sent me, some collector coins, dried flowers, and a still-sealed card that I had written to a person who died in 1980 who had touched my troubled life. I don't know what the card says inside (as I wrote it in 1980), but there was a message to the guy I wrote it for on the envelope. I think I intended to visit Australia someday (I live in the United States) and leave it at his grave, but that never happened.

My mother stood there gawping at my words on the envelope. I took it from her and put it back in the box. I said, "it's a memorial, and it's private."

My parents would always ask me for my thoughts and then tell me I was wrong. 

I started sinking into a depression after visiting my mother last Wednesday. She's always very invasive, always has been. Even when I was doing my insulin injection, I had gone to the living room to do it rather than doing it in the dining room right in front of everyone. She came into the living room and stood there staring at me, which made me uncomfortable as hell. It's not that I care that people know I use insulin, and it's not like anything more than a bit of my abdomen was exposed, but I still felt like I was being scrutinized. I almost sarcastically explained that I was holding an insulin pen, not a rig for shooting up heroin, but instead, I gave her a pointed look and said "I'm just doing my thing here. I'll be out in a minute."

My parents always expressed disapproval of everything about me. Then they wondered why, as a middle-aged adult, I can still be crushed by the odious opinions of strangers on the Internet and why I'm an abject failure of a human being.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

the more things change

The image is a promotional photo that was taken by the real estate agency for the house that my son and I currently live in. This shows a view from the back yard. Click to enlarge the photo.

This is a long post consisting of free verse poetry and an explanation of the exercise used in its creation as well as some kvetching at the end. If you aren't interested in that sort of thing, please hit the back button on your browser now.

the weather is partly cloudy and fair
that isn't much change from yesterday
although I guess it's maybe a little less windy
the trees are still leafless
I can see them out the window 
of this old house built in 1909
we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here
the cats sleep in sunlight spots around the house
when I was six years old I dreamed
that my mother and I watched EMS crews remove
the dead body of a man in a yellow rain slicker 
who had been hit by a car on Coronado Parkway
the busiest street in Albuquerque
I had another dream about a woman 
wrapped in bandages like a mummy
her face was visible and bore the expression 
of one dismayed by her circumstances
she was resigned to her fate
cognizant of the fact that nobody
gave one single fuck
about the way she felt about anything
her body had been chopped into neat, perfectly equal cubes
about the size of the blocks that children play with
she was still alive beneath the bandages
but the priests didn't care and carried her to the pyramid
where she would be an object playing a role that they desired
her words unheard, her feelings unacknowledged
because women should be pretty, compliant dolls
ogled for their beauty but having no thoughts of their own
yesterday, my son mentioned seeing
a cast-off beer bottle on the side of the road
my town exports oil
my house exports wastewater and garbage
and poetry that no-one reads or cares about
when we drive to Denver
we see train cars with graffiti on the sides
people always think it's okay to ask 
how's your love life 
who's your lover 
who do you love?
I find these questions invasive 
and none of anybody's business
I am too worried about my poor health 
and the actions of the Orange Idiot
to even think about having to entertain a man
who only wants to put his hands all over me
to use and abuse and then abandon me
to hell with all of that
never again
if anyone thinks that they would be brightening my day
by telling me not to give up
that there are good men out there who would treat me right
well, kindly keep that bullshit to yourself
you can sprinkle it with a spoonful of sugar
if that would help it go down better
and then eat it yourself
because I sure as hell don't intend to swallow it
"The Orange Idiot is a Russian plant," I muse
As I sit here in my loose blue Capri pants and a purple T-shirt
and think that I'm not looking forward
to the summer with its relentless heat
I remember back in Albuquerque
my cats Rose and Frisky were both hit by cars
shortly before we moved
a cab driver was shot by drug dealers 
in front of our house
he was paralyzed from the neck down, and I don't know
if the police ever caught the bastards
we moved away from there a few months later
my father was subpoenaed
and had to fly back to Albuquerque for the trial
he didn't have much information to give
but he wanted to help the poor cab driver 
if only to show support for a man 
who would never walk or hug his grandkids again
I suspect there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in late summer
when people want to go out to festivals 
and jump into the hormone mixer
I'm glad enough not to care about any of that
my son told me about a Chinese doctor
who tried to warn people about the Wuhan virus
his truth was suppressed
and he ended up dying from the virus he tried to expose
I hope he did not feel as if he failed
he tried his best to be a healer
the words of those who think too much are always stifled
suppressed, denounced, ridiculed
thinkers are inconvenient
this doctor deserves a posthumous Nobel prize
the Orange Idiot does not deserve a prize of any kind
no matter how much he narcissistically believes
that he is the bigly best
we could give him a prize for being the bigly worst thing 
to happen to this country since the Great Depression
we could crown him Commodus Reincarnated
the emperor who brings about the downfall
of a once-great society
outside my window
little birds sit in bare trees and on power lines
today's headline from MSN tells me 
that the nation now watches as Georgia re-opens
I don't know what to say
other than "I'm not surprised" 
and "that's a bad idea"
my son said the other day 
as we drove to remove more stuff 
from the mobile home that I used to live in
that one of the reasons the Spanish flu in 1918 
claimed so many lives
was because people became complacent 
after the first wave died down
then a second wave hit 
and they weren't taking precautions anymore
technology may change 
but people remain the same
yesterday when I was visiting
my mother showed me an old box 
containing a card sent by my great-aunt 
with two collector coins inside
there were pressed flowers in the box
and a card that I had written
in memory of someone who died in 1980 
who deeply touched my troubled life
my mother pored over the message 
on the sealed envelope
I took the card from her 
and told her that it was personal
I said I didn't want to talk about it
I put the card back in the box
my family wasn't much for privacy
they always wanted to know what I was thinking
and then told me I was wrong
I suppose that's not much different from most people
who always harshly judge those they don't understand
John River said that in this world 
no-one can be different or strange or damaged 
or they lock you up
he didn't mention that they can also sentence you 
to create your own prison of shamed silence
despite assuming the appearance of a free spirit
no-one understands someone like me
it's best to keep quiet 
head down, don't give away too much
no-one wants to hear it anyway
except for unicorns, pegasi, and alicorns
when my son was little, I read him "Good Night Moon"
we lived close to Denver then
in the town where we live now 
if you walk three minutes down an alley 
you find yourself behind a group 
of run-down modular homes
in Denver, you would see the backside 
of dilapidated townhouses or apartments
and the alley would smell of piss and spilled booze
around here, people keep their drinking to themselves
we don't have a homeless population
but many of us would be 
the homeless population anywhere else
if I walk to the edge of town I hear the sound 
of the oil trucks driving by
I fear dying having accomplished nothing
my town doesn't have a postcard because it's too small
on the sign that says "welcome to Grover"
there are some kids and farm animals
I don't want to live in the city again
I'm happy to stay here
I'd be okay with dying here
I just wish my words would be heard first
the Internet has always amazed me
it has the ability to reach billions of people
and yet I am still lonely and misunderstood
with no-one wanting to read what I say


If you enjoy my work, please consider purchasing a copy of my current poetry collection, Another Autumn, for just 99 cents on Kindle. 

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the poem is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the poem for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

April PAD Challenge: write a change poem

NaPoWriMo: Take five minutes to fill out the Almanac questionnaire and then write a poem from your answers.

Five minutes, my ass.           

Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: partly cloudy and fair
Flora: trees still leafless
Architecture: an old house built in 1909
Customs: we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Mammals/reptiles/fish: cats
Childhood dream: I remember two very vivid dreams from when I was six years old. In one dream, my mother and I watched as EMS crews removed the dead body of a man in a yellow rain slicker who had been hit by a car on Coronado Boulevard in Albuquerque. This was a very busy, fast-moving, and dangerous street. 
The other dream involved a woman wrapped in bandages like a mummy. Her face was visible and had an expression of someone saddened by circumstances, resigned to her fate, and cognizant of the fact that nobody gave one single fuck about the way she felt about anything. Her body had been chopped into equal cubes about the size of the blocks that children play with.
I honestly feel that both of these dreams were precognitive revelations of the way my life would play out. I have always felt like I'm an observer rather than a participant, and I have always felt ineffective when it comes to helping others because I have no resources to offer. Regarding the second dream, I have ended up being a fractured person whose hopes, dreams, and very self has been cut up and shaped to fit certain roles that others think I should fill with no regard whatsoever for what I think or feel. I am disrespected, disregarded, meaningless. I am unheard and unloved. I am not a human being, I am an object. I am nothing, I am no-one, and I don't matter a bit.
Found on the Street: a cast-off beer bottle
Export: waste water
Graffiti: on the side of train cars
Lover: what is this "lover" you speak of?
Conspiracy: The Orange Idiot is a Russian plant
Dress: loose-fitting blue Capri pants and a purple t-shirt
Hometown memory: My cats Rose and Frisky were killed by cars. A cab driver was shot by drug dealers in front of our house and left paralyzed from the neck down.

Notable person: the Chinese doctor who tried to expose the Wuhan virus before it spread and later died from it. He deserves a posthumous Nobel prize. The Orange Idiot does not deserve a Nobel prize.
Outside your window, you find: little birds and bare trees
Today’s news headline: Nation watches as Georgia re-opens. Good luck with that. My son was saying the other day that one of the reasons the Spanish flu in 1918 killed so many people was because people became complacent after the first wave died down, and then a second wave hit and they weren't taking precautions anymore.

Scrap from a letter: My mother found an old box and showed it to me when I was over on Wednesday. There was a card in it from my great-aunt which included some collectible coins. There were pressed flowers and a sealed card that I'd written to someone who had died in 1980. The card was sealed and I didn't read it, but my mother pored over the message on the outside of the envelope. I told her it was personal and to please put it back in the box. I was reminded that my family never had much regard for my privacy or my personal thoughts. Of course, this isn't very different from most people.
Animal from a myth: unicorns, pegasi, and alicorns
Story read to children at night: good night moon
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: the backside of dilapidated modular homes
You walk to the border and hear: the sound of trucks going by
What you fear: dying having accomplished nothing
Picture on your city’s postcard: my city is a very small town. It doesn't have a postcard.

This work is cross-posted in these places:

You have to be able to smell your audience, and the main audience at Publish0x stinks for this kind of post. They are primarily looking for information on cryptocurrency and other investment information.

I can't say that I've been entirely happy with my experience using Publish0x. I don't really have any complaints about the platform itself. Overall, it's great, although I really wish there was a feature allowing me to switch to HTML for post creation. It would make my life a lot easier. I love the idea of being able to receive tips for my work, although I rarely receive such, which is discouraging. My complaint stems from the fact that the main users of Publish0x are the wrong audience for artistic and creative bloggers.

I continue to use Publish0x as a platform for publishing creative posts because of the ease of sharing these posts with a potential audience. It's discouraging to look at my stats for posts such as this, which involve views but no likes or tips. I wish there was a setting that I could utilize to prevent posts like this from showing up in the "new posts" feed. I don't want to waste people's time, but I do want to utilize the advantages that Publish0x offers.

So far, I have been posting to BitPatron, Ko-fi, and Patreon for a week and have acquired no subscribers. I share these posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn and they generate no response. I get views on Blogger but very few responses. My books have almost no audience, and, consequently, very few sales. I am extremely discouraged.

I have stopped saying that my work's lack of renown is because it's bad. I know it isn't bad. It just doesn't appeal to the general public. This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to me, because I don't appeal to the general public either.

I have found myself becoming (more) depressed since restructuring my blogging procedures. Getting used to my new system is stressful. The fact that it hasn't brought me an increase in audience size or support is depressing. I'm not sure how long I should continue with my new system before calling it quits and going back to primarily using Blogger, where I also had a minuscule audience who rarely engages with my work and provides even less conversion to products sold.

I don't know, Man. Money and popularity shouldn't be the reason for doing creative work, but having none of either kind of sucks. I can only assume that I'm crazy because I keep writing even though the numbers show that my work is an abject failure. 

I'm pretty sure that I need to increase my dosage of Fukitol.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 21: Senryu: A Troublesome Choice

a choice I don't love
moving forward, evolving
pragmatic or cold
This Senryu addresses my personal dilemma regarding archiving a creative blog that I started in 2011. In fairness, I didn't start heavily using it until 2018. The blog gets a lot of views, but these aren't translating into sales for my work. So I am trying some new approaches. Maintaining this blog was adding to my already heavy workload, so I made the decision to archive it, and I'm not sure it's the right decision.
I created this post for the April PAD Challenge prompt to write a love or anti-love poem.
Like the Haiku, a Senryu is a form of Japanese poetry using a 5-7-5 syllable count. The difference between a Haiku and a Senryu is that a Haiku is about nature and often includes a word indicating the season in which it was written, where a Senryu tends to be about personal matters and is often sardonic in tone.
If you are interested in reading more of my poetry, you can pick up my first published volume for just 99 cents here.
Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley
This piece is cross-posted to:

Poetry Twofer Tuesday: NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 21: Lost in Translation

Image by SilviaP_Design from Pixabay

Today's exercise from NaPoWriMo asks us to take a poem written in a language foreign to us and attempt to translate it without knowing the words. I decided to use "In Ithilien", which is written in the fictional language Neo-Sindarin, and give it a crack. This poem and more were found on this website. The original words and translation belong to their creator.

Original Poem
I laiss i-ferin thuiar
I 'wilith lim echui aur.
I mrethil peliar duiw laiss
Af filig linnol der' ennas.
Vi Ithilien, dôr lenthir lind
Gorain nesta velethril nín.

My Translation
I but a lass did travel there
I went off to lands beyond
The world is perilous to a lass
A feeling of loneliness inside me
In Ithilien I found myself
Going nowhere with none but me

The Actual Translation
The leaves of the beeches breathe
The sparkling air of day's awakening.
The birches spread the buds of leaves
For the small singing birds to linger there.
In Ithilien, land of the tuneful waterfalls
Wandering-together heals my beloved.

This poem will not appear in my forthcoming poetry collection. It is an exercise primarily utilizing work created by another poet. 

If you are interested in reading more of my poetry, check out my first poetry collection here.

Text copyright Cara Hartley 2020 except as indicated.

This post is cross-posted to:
Plus my mental health side blog on Blogger which has virtually no audience and which I don't care to cultivate an audience for. It mostly continues to exist because I have OCD and have an obsessive need to categorize things. 

I am not using "OCD" as a euphemism. I literally have this condition. Using health conditions as adjectives or euphemisms isn't cool. 

Free Education
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is not one size fits all. It expresses itself differently in each person who has it. Not everyone who has OCD is a germophobe with an obsessive need to clean. 

I'm not germophobic and, unfortunately, someone killed my inner housekeeper. 

I have an obsessive need to categorize things, I have a strong preference for odd numbers for no logical reason whatsoever, and, most detrimentally, I have hoarding tendencies which make getting rid of things that most people would have no problem disposing of a struggle for me. 

My son and I are working to correct the problems this has caused and he is working on not allowing it to become as much of a problem in his life because he has the tendency too.

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Monday, April 20, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 20 + April PAD Challenge Day 20: A Gift Wrapped in Horror

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

could it be a gift
exposing social failings
in isolation
not everyone has to work
in external location

~sly has spoken~

image copyright juliahenze

NaPoWriMo Day 20: Write a poem about a gift

April PAD Challenge: Write an isolation poem

I have felt for years that certain jobs could be done remotely. This would both reduce the amount of traffic on the road, resulting in reduced pollution and reduced stress levels, and would allow more disabled people the opportunity to work. I would like to think that maybe some companies will see the proverbial light and continue to have certain jobs be done remotely. I won't hold my breath, because experience says that people are stupid, apathetic, lazy, and generally evil, and I don't trust them to do the right thing.

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 19 + April PAD Challenge Day 19: Message to My Past Self

Background image copyright Skitterphoto on Pixabay
Click to enlarge

The text follows in case you're on mobile 

 Dear fucking moron,
Instead of worrying so much
about what people who don't matter think of you

Instead of always having to buy
The latest and greatest whatever
and spending money like it's going out of style

Instead of worrying about finding
a man to complete you
and hopefully not beat you

Try getting your shit together a little bit
so I don't have to end up broke and broken
cleaning up the remnants of what your out-of-control self
left behind for me to deal with

Your future self

NaPoWriMo: Make a walking archive
I didn't exactly do that. I found an image with a bunch of stuff in it that worked.

April PAD Challenge: Write a message poem.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 18 + April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 18: The Happiest Days of our Lives

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Saturdays of youth
a precarious respite
a week of struggle
hearing messages of hate
that stuck forever with me


NaPoWriMo: Write an ode to Saturdays

April PAD Challenge: Write a message poem

It's time to stop behaving as if the scars on the inside are trivial.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 15 + April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 15 + Words for Wednesday: Blue Dream

Image by Sandra Myles from Pixabay

I am your blue dream nightmare sunless sky
drawn from the depths of forgotten traumas
a thousand brisk switches leaving bloody trails
the gold within my heart not worth the trouble
aggressive word witch with a way to walk that says
stop where you are, stay the fuck away
I am not your delightful, delicate princess
not your pretty pop tart teen queen dream
hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I
am scorn personified
I'll tear out your throat with pointed teeth
I'll rip out your heart with my bare hands
I am ground glass in your hipster latte
I am claws scraping over metal in a dark alley
I am a decaying, dirty city, ugly and gritty
I spit your name black from my mouth
I despise and disdain everything you stand for
and contrary to what you have told yourself
I wouldn't want to be like you
shallow and flighty, fading to nothing when exposed to light
blowing on the whims of any breeze that happens by
you are nothing and nobody, a Barbie doll princess
but looks fade and boys cheat and if your worth is tied up
in whether or not some creep thinks your tits are fine
and your ass is hot
then you will live your life chasing impossible perfection
botox and liposuction and spending each waking hour
obsessing on whether your ass is too fat
I am the nightmare you so fear becoming
old and fat and unwanted and pissed off as hell
I'm waiting for you around the next corner
so if you don't want to waste your life fearing becoming
what we all one way or another eventually do
concentrate on what's inside, on your soul, not your looks
on your skills and your truth and the strength of your self
youth is here today, gone tomorrow like a popular song
but the blues lives forever
real, gritty, unpretty
tarnished, unvarnished
sometimes mean as hell
taking shit from nobody
surviving with the middle finger flying high
to stupid conventions
and soulless fucks
who want to steal your thunder
'cause they've got none of their own
the blues can be your best friend
but the blues can fuck you up 
the blues don't bow down to nobody
the blues don't get played for a fool
so be your own dream
not what someone else tells you
don't be a bubblegum pop tart illusion
be true to yourself
be the blues

The Ornery Fucking Old Lady
Not apologizing to anybody

NaPoWriMo: Write a poem about your favorite kind of music.
Blues is the backbone of rock of any genre. The blues is real, bare-bones, angry, no-bullshit music with a story. The blues doesn't ask you to be pretty or happy. The blues is real. 

April PAD Challenge: Write a dream poem. I'm pretty much everyone's worst nightmare.

Poem Genre: Slam poetry

Word List