Poem: Tennessee

Tennessee

“What is your name?”
She asked the little boy with no shoes.
The boy looked at her and said,
“Tennessee.”

She asked the little boy with no shoes,
“Where are you from?”
“Tennessee,”
the boy told her.

“Where are you from?”
The woman in Alabama asked again.
The boy told her,
“Tennessee.”

The woman in Alabama asked again,
“What is your name?”
“Tennessee,”
the boy said with some confusion.

“What is your name?”
The woman now puzzled asked.
The boy said with some confusion,
“Tennessee.”

The woman now puzzled asked,
“Where’s your mother and father?”
“Tennessee,”
the boy said with certainty.

“Where’s your mother and father?”
The woman, just trying to understand asked again.
The boy said with certainty,
“Tennessee.”

The woman, just trying to understand asked again,
“What is your name?”
“Tennessee,”
the little boy said.

“What is your name?”
The woman asked, hoping the boy would understand.
The little boy said,
“Tennessee.”

The woman asked, hoping the boy would understand,
“Will you come somewhere with me, so we can get you some help?”
“Tennessee?”
A question was asked with tears.

“Will you come somewhere with me, so we can get you some help?”
The woman asked as she fell to the ground in despair.  Looking at the boy,
a question was asked with tears,
“What is your name?”

Advertisements

Poem with an explanation: Little Billy’s Birthday

Little Billy’s dad told him he should like football.

Little Billy replied that he did not.

Little Billy’s dad told him that was silly, that all boys should like football.

Little Billy replied that he did not.

Little Billy’s dad told him that for Billy’s birthday, he would buy Billy a football.

Little Billy replied that he did not want a football.

Little Billy’s dad told him that was silly and he would get one.

Little Billy replied that he did not want a football.

 

Little Billy’s birthday came, and his dad gave him a football.

Little Billy looked sad.

Little Billy’s dad asked why he looked sad.

Little Billy replied because he did not want a football.

Little Billy’s dad said that was silly, that all boys should like football.

Little Billy replied that he did not.

Little Billy’s dad said that all boys like football.

Little Billy replied that he had told his dad that he did not.

Little Billy’s dad said that Billy had not said anything like that.

Little Billy replied he had.

Little Billy’s dad said that was not true.

Little Billy replied he had told his dad twice.

Little Billy’s dad said that Billy was ungrateful.

Little Billy asked his dad why he would buy him something he knew he did not want.

Little Billy’s dad said that Billy was spoiled.

Little Billy asked his dad why he couldn’t have gotten him something he liked for his birthday.

Little Billy’s dad said he should be happy he got anything.

Little Billy asked why his dad had treated him this way.

Little Billy’s dad did not understand.

Little Billy asked why his dad had to do something to his son rather than for his son, even on his birthday.

Little Billy’s dad did not understand.

Little Billy asked why his dad could not have just been nice to him on his birthday.

Little Billy’s dad got mad, cancelled Billy’s birthday, and sent Billy to his room.

Little Billy sat in his room alone.

Little Billy stayed awake until 12:00:01 am.

 

This poem is about a little boy’s birthday.  It tells the story of the boy getting a present he did not like for his birthday.  Rather than it being a poem about an ungrateful child, it is a poem about a boy whose father doesn’t listen to him or care about his feelings.  The present the boy got was something his father wanted him to have, but not something he wanted.  The idea of the poem is that the father is concerned with his view of things and doesn’t care about his son’s view, even on his son’s birthday.  This reflects their relationship overall.

The poem starts before the boy’s birthday.  He is having a conversation with his dad.  His dad thinks his son should like football, but his son doesn’t.  The dad doesn’t listen to his son and dismisses him.  The dad feels so much that his son should like football that he tells him he will buy him one for his birthday.  Twice his son says that he does not want a football.  He is dismissed by his dad.

When the boy’s birthday comes, his dad gives him a football.  The boy is sad.  When the dad asks him why, he responds because he does not like football.  His dad dismisses what he says and insists that all boys like football.

The son tells his dad that he had said that he did not like football.  His dad denies that his son said this.  They go back and forth and his son says that he had told his dad twice that he did not like football.

The dad calls the son ungrateful.  The son questions why his dad would buy him something he knew that he did not want.  The dad calls the son spoiled.  The son questions why his dad couldn’t have gotten him something he liked for his birthday.  His dad says he should be happy he got anything.

The son questions his treatment but his dad does not understand.  His son asks why his dad did something to him rather than for him on his birthday.  Again the dad does not understand.  The son questions why his dad could not have been nice to him on his birthday.  The dad gets mad, cancels the birthday, and sends his son to his room.

The son sits in his room alone and stays awake until his birthday completely ends.

 

This is a poem about listening, perspective, understanding, kindness, and importance.

In the poem, the dad does not listen to his son.  He sees the world a certain way, and doesn’t seem to comprehend why his son doesn’t see it the same.  The dad wants what he wants and disregards how his son feels.

The dad didn’t listen to his son and couldn’t see things from his son’s point of view.  He wanted something for his son and couldn’t see past that.  When his son isn’t happy having a day that was supposed to be special for him, turn into a day where his dad imposes something on him, his dad doesn’t understand.  The son is insulted and punished and his birthday is spoiled because the dad thought it was more important to do what he wanted to his son, rather than doing something for his son.  He couldn’t see that his son’s birthday was an important day where his son should be given importance.  He simply thought something and did it.  He didn’t think how his son would feel.  To the son, the day was important for him; for the dad, the day was just a day to do what he wanted to his son.

 

Every line of this poem starts with “Little Billy” or “Little Billy’s”.  While this may seem repetitive, it was done intentionally.  The idea was first, to stress the importance of the son.  The poem is about him and his perspective.  Second, is the idea that Billy is “little”.  He is little for a few reasons.  First, he is young.  He is just a little boy.  Second, in the poem he is meek.  His dad is big and imposing and he is small and helpless.  Third, Billy is a junior.  He is named after his dad.  This goes back to the idea of control.  His dad named his son after himself as a way to control him.

In the first section of the poem, the part before the party, in every statement of Billy’s dad, his dad tells him something.  He doesn’t speak with his son, but to his son.  In that same section, every time Billy speaks, he replies to his dad.  Billy is talking with his dad, not to him.  In this section, Billy’s words are repeated.  His first two lines are the same and his last two lines are the same.  This stresses that Billy was clear about how he felt.

In the next section, Little Billy’s lines continue primarily with the idea of either replying or asking.  His dad in this section says things to Billy or acts.

 

In some ways, this poem is about perspective.  Some reading it may side with the dad, and think Billy was ungrateful, spoiled and should be happy he got anything.  Presumably, there are some who feel that way.  For those he see it from that perspective though, imagine for a moment, if you were a vegetarian, and someone bought you meat for your birthday because they thought you should eat it.  Would you feel like Billy?

Others reading this poem though, may see it from the point of view of Billy.  Billy’s birthday was supposed to be a very special day for him, but it was changed into something else.  Billy wanted his birthday to be special and important for him and it wasn’t.  His dad put himself first, rather than his son.

 

P. S. Do you like poems with explanations? If so, you can purchase a copy of M. Sakran’s self-published collection of poems with explanations called, Understanding: poems with explanations.  It has twenty poems, each with a detailed explanation.  If you like explained poems, you should buy a copy.

Poem with an explanation: Never, ever, ever

What’s this?
 
  It say’s glass cleaner.
 
So spray it on the table?
 
  Sure.
 
What’s that smell?
 
  Maybe that’s just what it smells like?
 
Are you sure this is glass cleaner?
 
  That’s what it says.
 
Alright.
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
(Eating the apple pieces off the table.)
 
Hey, she doesn’t look good.
 
  What’s wrong?
 
She’s breathing funny and her eyes look bad.
 
  What’s wrong?
 
It’s okay. It’s okay. We need to take her to the hospital.
 
  Oh no, what’s happening!
 
.
 
.
 
.
 
(ICU, machines blinking)
 
(Tears, shaking, rocking back and forth)
 
Hello?
 
  Yes?
 
We’ve run some tests.
 
  What’s happening?
 
It seems to be bug spray.
 
  Bug spray?
 
Did she drink it or play in some grass with it or get it on her hands?
 
  No, never.
 
Well, she got it in her somehow.
 
  What’s going to happen? Will she be alright?
 
Well, the thing is …
 

There are some things that are just plain wrong. One of those things, is when there is a spray bottle or other container that says one thing, but there is something else in it. This can happen when the bottle or container is empty of what it originally had, and someone fills it with something else because they needed a spray bottle or container at the moment.
 
Never do this.
 
Never, ever, do this.
 
Never, ever, ever do this.
 
It is wrong. It is very dangerous. First, what is added to the container, may react with what was in it before. Even if it was cleaned, it can still react with residue. Second, what is added to the container, might react with the container itself, causing a reaction. Third, often the new container isn’t relabeled. This can cause confusion. This confusion could lead to many bad things. Fourth, even if the container is relabeled, the relabeling may not be clear because the container might still look like what it was before.
 
Again,
 
Never, ever, ever, put something in a container other than what it is labeled. Ever.
 
This poem, is about the consequences of doing such a thing. In the poem, an empty container of glass cleaner, was filled with bug spray. Somebody did this, because they thought it was convenient at the time and they had intended to relabel it, but never did.
 
Later, someone uses the container to clean a glass top table. The table isn’t wiped completely and after a child eats apple pieces off of it, the child gets sick.
 
The point of the poem, is to make a point:
 
Never, ever, ever, put something in a container other than what it is labeled. Ever.
 
Hopefully it has made the point.
 
Never, ever, ever, put something in a container other than what it is labeled. Ever.
 
In terms of form, the poem has three sections. The first section is about the cleaning of the table. The second section is about the apple being eaten. The third section is at the hospital.
 
With the exception of the parts in parenthesis, the poem is a conversation. In each section, there are two people speaking. The change in indention, signifies a change in who’s speaking.
 
In the first two sections, the child’s parents are speaking, and in the third section, a doctor is speaking to one of the parents.
 

P. S. As a note, there will be no new blog post, tomorrow April 14, 2017, on this blog.

Artwork to inspire poetry: blueish flower

blueish flower

This artwork is a blueish flower.  This kind of flower has been on the blog before.  This particular artwork is an altered photograph.  A few steps were taken to turn the original photograph into the artwork here, however, they were fairly simple.

Here is a poem inspired by this artwork:

Lying in the grass,
the dog sniffed tilting its head,
she ate her first peach

 

P.S.  M. Sakran is currently accepting poems for consideration.  A poem sent in has an opportunity to be published on this blog.  See the Considerations page for more information.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: The play

Hey, the play’s beginning.

What do you mean you won’t be there for the start?

What else do you have to do?

Alright, fine, when the lead actor calls for audience involvement, you show up.

Hey, the play’s a third of the way through, the lead actor’s calling for audience involvement.  What you’re supposed to do first, is make a lot of noise.

Now watch the play.

What do you mean?  What’s wrong with the lead actor saying their lines behind that wall most of the time?  It’s for dramatic effect.  Don’t you know about theater?

How many times are you going to go to the concession stand?  You’ve missed some really important parts.

What’s that?  Oh, the lead actor’s speaking in Dutch.  You do know Dutch, right?

What’s that?  You have to go make a phone call?  Alright, but this is a good part coming up.

Hey, you’ve missed about a quarter of the play with that call.  What?  Oh, what happened?  Well, that guy there, well, he used to be married to her over there, but now he’s married to her over there.

Hold on.  What’s that?  Hey, do you hear that?  They are saying the lead actor has to leave the play.  They need someone to take his place and finish it for him.  Hey, you’ve been watching the play right?  Hey, over there, this person here can take over.

Don’t worry.  You’ll be fine.  How hard can it be to finish an actor’s role in a play you’ve only seen part of?  Here, here’s the program from the play.  It should be enough to help you.  You’ll do fine.

 

This poem is about an adult child settling a recently deceased parent’s estate as well as closing out their life.  It uses a person watching a lead actor in a play as a metaphor.

In the poem, there are three main people: the lead actor (representing the parent), the person watching the play referred to as “you” (the adult child) and a third person who is also watching this play.  This third person is the one speaking in the poem.  Their words are the only one the reader directly reads.

The idea of the poem is to express the difficulty involved in settling a parent’s estate and closing out their life.  The idea is that a parent has lived a whole life that the adult child was only part of.  Now that adult child has to figure out aspects of their parent’s life from incomplete sources and close things out.  The child has to figure out all sorts of things: bank accounts, property, vehicles, a will, bills, debt, credit cards, mortgages, insurance, etc.  There are also things like: email accounts, social media accounts, personal items, etc. to deal with.  Information about these things may be unorganized and limited.  The idea is one of dealing with uncertainty.

The idea of the poem is a simple one: How does a person close out another person’s life, when they only know so much about it?

Now, as a point, there is obviously more to dealing with a parent’s death besides the practical matters addressed by the poem.  Those things are obviously very important, they are just not the focus of this poem.

Here are what the different paragraphs mean:

First paragraph: The third person (not the parent or the adult child) announces that that parent has been born.  This is the start of the play.

Second paragraph: The third person is questioning the fact that the adult child won’t be there for the start of the play (i.e. the start of their parent’s life).  The idea here is somewhat metaphysical in that the third person is questioning someone who is nonexistent at the time they are being questioned.  The idea in the poem though is simply to say that the adult child missed the start of their parent’s life (and therefore begins the idea of lacking information).

Third paragraph: This continues the idea of the second paragraph and is meant to be a little humorous.  The thing that prevents the adult child from seeing the start of the play, is their nonexistence at the time it starts.  The third person in some way questions what could be so important that they miss the start of the play.

Fourth paragraph: The third person is telling the adult child that they can basically start watching the play when they are born.  The idea here, is that that is the moment when the adult child can start to see their parent’s life.

Fifth paragraph: When the play is a third of the way through, the parent’s life is a third of the way through.  At this moment, the adult child is born.  The third person says humorously that the first thing they are to do is make noise.

Sixth paragraph: Here the third person is telling the adult child to watch their parent’s life.

Seventh paragraph: The idea here is that while a child is watching their parent’s life as they grow up, they are actually missing most of it.  For example, the child does not see their parent at work.  The unheard words of the adult child at this point are basically saying that they are having trouble understanding the play because they can’t hear or see parts of it.  The idea here is to stress that the adult child will have limited information later.

Eighth paragraph: The idea here is that the third person is criticizing the adult child for missing parts of the play.  The idea is that the child grew up and had a life.  They missed parts of their parent’s life.

Ninth paragraph: The point here is that the adult child, because they lack certain knowledge about their parent, has a hard time understanding certain things about their life.

Tenth paragraph: In this part, the adult child grew up and left home.  That is represented by the phone call.

Eleventh paragraph: Here, the third person is saying that the adult child missed a lot of their parent’s life when they left.  They try to summarize what happened while they were gone.

Twelfth paragraph: This is where the parent dies.  The adult child at this point has to take over, settle their parent’s estate and close out their life.

Thirteenth paragraph: The third person states the main idea of the poem, that it is difficult to settle someone’s life when you only know part of what has happened in it.

In terms of form, this poem is presented as a one-sided conversation.  Only one voice is heard: that of the mysterious third person.  The adult child and the parent are not heard from directly.

*****

Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

Post Series: Poems with Explanations: Waiting in darkness

covered in darkness
sitting between the two walls
waiting for the noise
walking down the concrete rows
mind lost in all the boxes

 

This poem about is about a child and her mother.  The mother of the child works two jobs, one of which is a second shift.  The child is left home alone during this shift.

In the poem, the first three lines are about the child and the last two lines are about the mother.  This poem is a tanka, written in 5 7 5 7 7, and this form lent itself to the two subjects of the poem.

The poem starts (covered in darkness) with the child home alone at night.  The child is scared.  The fear the child has is conveyed by the idea of darkness covering.

The child doesn’t sleep because she is afraid.  Instead, she stays awake and sits on the floor in the corner of her room (sitting between the two walls).  She is sitting in her pajamas, with her knees up, her arms around her legs, and her head down.

In her fear, the child is waiting to hear the noise of her mother opening the front door (waiting for the noise).  She has stayed up before and knows what the sound of the key turning the lock sounds like.  She is anticipating the noise.  She wants it to happen.  When her mother comes home, she will feel comfort and be able to sleep.

The next two lines of the poem are about the mother.  She works in a warehouse.  There are rows and rows of shelves with bays.  The bays are filled with boxes.  The floor is concrete.  The mom walks down the rows (walking down the concrete rows) loading things onto a cart to be sent somewhere else.

The mom’s job is demoralizing.  It is dark, everything is gray and brown.  There is a certain sound to the place.  The job is tedious and monotonous.  As the mom does her job, she just passes the time and turns her mind off (mind lost in all the boxes).

One interesting aspect of this poem, is the idea that it does not come to a conclusion.  The poem shows the daughter sitting in her room afraid and the mother at work.  In the poem, the mother is never showed coming home.  The daughter’s fear is never relieved.  This poem looks at a specific moment that recurs, but does not, in some sense, finish the moment.

*****

Do you like poems with explanations?

M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!

To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog.  Above is a poem with an explanation for the series.  This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book.  It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.

Poem with an explanation: the boy and the monster

There the boy stands,
alone.

He is helpless,
with no strength,
with no weapons,
with no armor.

It is worse.
He is weak,
he is tired,
he can hardly,
stand.

There,
falling from the sky,
is the monster.

Large,
grotesque,
it stands,
its teeth,
shine,
its arms,
wave.

It roars,
it towers over the boy,
it is fat,
and ugly,
and hideous.

It roars at the boy,
and says,
he will,
die.

The monster,
rears back,
and moves forward,
to consume the boy,
with one bite.

The boy stands,
crying,
and is scared.

But the boy,
the boy alone,
is not alone.

Soldiers fall from the sky.
They stand between the boy,
and the monster,
and pressing buttons,
a force field appears.

The monster hits the field,
stumbles back,
and in a rage,
swings its arm,
to swipe the soldiers away.

A burst shines out,
and then another,
the monster falls back,
other soldiers,
from the behind the boy,
fire their cannon.

The boy,
does not know,
where the soldiers,
come from.

The monster,
does not know,
where the soldiers,
come from.

The monster roars,
and shouts,
that it,
will kill the boy,
and that,
the soldiers,
are nothing.

The monster tries to leap,
forward into the sky,
but in a flash,
its left arm,
is torn away.

There are more soldiers,
countless soldiers,
they surround the boy,
their lasers,
and cannons,
and bombs,
are deafening.

The monster,
cannot be seen,
from the explosions.

In the distance,
there is smoke,
and chants,
and voices.

The boy huddles,
on the ground.

The vast space,
is now covered,
with soldiers,
one picks up the boy,
holding him,
and speaking softly.

The boy smiles.

The monster is dead.

The soldiers cheer.

 

This poem is about a small boy with cancer and the innumerable number of people who help him beat it.