WHY?  WRONG?

Why?

When we were young we lived a dream
That we would never die.
When we were old we were all told
By Death, “That was a lie.”
As one by one the truth had come,
And we began to die.

And so the wit worked from this folly
Comes to ask why you’re so jolly;
Why you still live life
So unconcerned
So very unprepared
To die
?

Wrong?

If this is all there is
Then eat, drink, and be merry;
Be what the modern men call cool.

But if you’re wrong
You’ll come along
And find you were
A fool.

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © November, 2013)

Remember Jesus? (sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”)

No one remembers Jesus;

But Christmas even has his name.

And if you say you love him

People will say you’re deranged.

Back on that first Christmas eve,

No room in the inn.

I guess even here today,

People still turn Him away.

 

How can I sing of Christmas

And never even mention Him?

I guess that it’s because He

Makes us think of all our sins.

What if it were your birthday

And we sung to someone else;

A funny guy in a big red suit,

Snowmen, and a bunch of elves.

 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

(Oops, I mentioned him.  Boo-hoo!.)

I guess I upset someone

And broke one of your new taboos.

Yes, I know eventually

I’ll be locked up, beat, or shot

For speaking inappropriately,

And doing what I should should not.

 

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

Had a very shiny nose.

But why should we think of him

When Je-sus-is-the-wo-o-ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhne!

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © December, 2012, for a public holiday reading)

MY RESPONSE TO JOHN KEATS FAMOUS POEM, “ODE TO A GRECIAN URN.”  HAPPY READING…

As an introduction to this poem, please note…

1) The 1st line of each stanza contains a portion of words or phrases used in the controversial last two line of Keat’s “Ode to a Grecian Urn.”
2) The rhyming scheme used is an exact mirror of Keat’s poem (except for the addition of one extra beat in the final closing line).
3) This poem particularly contains, in its entirety, both my analysis and response to John Keat’s poem, “Ode to a Grecian Urn.”And now, please enjoy reading…


AN ODE I OWED AN ODE GIVER

 O’ ode giver, is that all

That I with noble brow and heart may bring?

The monarch made to rule the skies – here falls,

Abides the branch, and stays, and spreads its wing?

To miser ‘lone the gold spread there across?

To clip the pageant of its soaring train?

To let what should extend and soar on wind

Be lost be lost to nights of pouring reign?

Intricacies of wonder wonder-lost;

Palaces of stair stepped flight ne’er to ascend?

 

Beauty do I here behold that fades;

External shall the inward there declare

More than the butterfly that doth evade

Un-powdered hands that reach and stroke the air;

For here upon extension of a tree

That lifts and lives its glory through each season,

Must I be bound – the prisoner of vain pride,

A ‘pillar there returned cocooned from reason,

Appalled to find it rotten here inside…

Despite this wrapped imploding vanity?

 

Ye all on earth must to yourselves avow

The temporal cannot bind the rising free;

The soul within that chafes against the now,

Remembering and returning eternity;

Hear the chuckling roll within the well,

The one the rope pulls up days by and by,

‘Til face to face becomes the countenance,

And you recall the anguish when you fell,

And first forgot that all that are shall die

Then curtsy to repeat and greet remembrance.

 

Oh, ah, all ye need know from birth was given,

Yet as the lights grew bright you plagued the sun

And drank the night until the moon was hidden –

Angelic navigation all undone;

And you the haughty brute howled loud and long

At nothing!  Having wiped the real regard

From ceilings of a planet’s unreached height

To echoes of a once enlightened throng

To crack the mirror into a thousand shards:

Missiles inescapable afright.

 

What is truth?  Pilot to Keats have asked;

Who deign to fix the center of the sun,

And profit not like those preferred to bask

Within Kryptonian sunny rays, with more to come!

And so Eternity looks down aghast

At those who seek to freeze her brother, Time

At those so blinded by their miscast sight

At those who speak to end this subtle rhyme,

Who chant – “We the subject of our past

Beg new regard to ease the burden of our blight!”

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © August, 2012)

HANG UPS (a comedy skit with moral inference)

Message #1:

Hi!  [Pause]  It’s Art.  [Pause]  I…I just met you in the club…  Are you there?  [Pause]  You told me you’d be home by 1, and that I should call you about 2…  Its 2 now!  [Pause]  Hello!  [Pause]  Are you there?  [Beep!  Phone hangs up.]

Message #2:

Hi, Angela!  I guess you didn’t make it home like you said you would, or… maybe you fell asleep and can’t hear me, or…  [Lowers voice]  Are you listening?  [Pause]  Maybe you are.  Maybe… you’re like me.  Sometimes when I… I lay in bed in the dark, I can hear things better, see things; think – [Beep!  Phone hangs up.]

Message #3:

Angela!  Look!  You were the only one in that place who seemed intelligent.  You seemed like a really nice person to talk to.  You seemed like someone that could be… that cared … that… you know… that gived a damn!  I mean… Ugh…  You know what I mean.  People these days, well, of course, yeah, I know we’re people too, but… well, what I mean is… all of us.  People, we – [Beep!  Phone hangs up.]

Message #4:

Where can the summit meet the sky?  Why does the moonlight make you cry?  Why is the corner of a cave more secure than the face of… one who seems so pure?  Why do we wonder asking why?  Why do we…  Why, why… why?  What were you doing in a bar so late anyway, when it seemed like you should be home with someone who looks better than me.  Why are you not picking up while I ramble thus?  Are you really someone I can trust?  Did you come home at all, or hook up with somebody eh- [Beep!  Phone hangs up]

Message #5:

Its me, Angela!  I kept my word, Angela!  I ain’t no stalker, and you obviously ain’t no talker.  And excuse me if I rhyme occasionally.  I’m a poet, Angela; but you never got to know it.  My father told me, “If you find a girl in a bar, you’ll lose her in one later.”  I think ol’ Papa was right.  But you’re the one that lost out, Angela.  ‘Cause I’m a descent guy that knows how to love and take care of someone.  Anyway, I timed your machine.  So enjoy a life filled with, Beeeeps!  [Beep!  Phone hangs up]

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © September, 2012)

A LITTLE LESSON IN WRITING

The following is a flash fiction piece entitled, “One Night.”  Read it and then compare it with the excerpt from Hamlet Resurrected, given below, that it was later developed into.  By comparing the two, you will be able to see how it was reformatted from flash fiction to stage presentation.

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity.  There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction.

ONE NIGHT

Music in the distance, but it wasn’t this.  No, nor the stillness of everything else.  Just that one thing; that thing so gradual; that inability to shift. 

It was obviously a carryover from the womb.  A comfort enjoyed each night, as he lay upon his bed; now withheld!  He could not turn to the side, he could not cup his head in hands, he could not bring his knees gently to his chest, and so he could not descend back into restful sleep and solid slumber.

Were there players in the village?  Their revelry increased?  And what was that pressing against his knee?  And that dream, fading away as all dreams do; hard to remember, like something so very long ago. 

They love their rhythm, don’t they?  They must be shuffling, keeping time.  Yet, he is more concerned with what he feels against his back, against his arms, against his side; and his eyes opening to touch the utter dark!

Those drums!  Damn the revelers; those drums!  What is this?  What? 

And then he remembers: prince, poison, sword; something wrong!  Something!  The dream; it was –

The beating, the beating, now pounding from his chest!  Yet, he can almost, almost… There!  His hands next to his head, pressing up with all his strength.  Nothing!  Nothing!  Smashing with his elbows, pressing with his knees, but nothing, nothing yields!

He can no longer hear his own heart; silenced by the scratching, and then the screams!  His voice, his pain, his fingernails torn to shreds!

Now, he is transformed again; whimpering, the immobile, the undead!  The sound of his beating heart returns; overwhelming all but this, “Laetres, if this be you, then the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet is also… buried alive!” 

And he wonders, will the noise ever end!

Now read what that grew into in this excerpt from Hamlet Resurrected: 

SCENE 1  Inside the coffin of Laetres.

The scene opens with Laetres lying on a wooden board that is lifted slightly from a flat position into an angled one, slanted just enough for the audience to see him.  There is a faint rhythmic sound in the distance.

NARRATOR    [Speaking from somewhere behind the curtain.]  Music in the distance, but it wasn’t this.  No, nor the stillness of everything else; just that one thing, that thing so gradual, that inability to shift.

It was obviously a carryover from the womb.  A comfort enjoyed each night, as he lay upon his bed; now withheld!  He could not turn to the side, he could not cup his head in hands, he could not bring his knees gently to his chest, and so he could not descend back into restful sleep and solid slumber.

The rhythmic sound grows slightly louder and faster.

LAETRES      [A recorded voice, portrayed as his thoughts.]  Were there players in the village?  Their revelry increased?

NARRATOR    And what was that pressing against his knee?  And that dream, fading away as all dreams do; hard to remember, like something so very long ago.

The rhythmic sound continues to gradually become louder.

LAETRES      They love their rhythm, don’t they?  They must be shuffling, keeping time.

The perimeter of a coffin begins to slowly rise up around him from the board that he has been lying upon.

NARRATOR    Yet, he is more concerned with what he feels against his back, against his arms, against his side; and his eyes opening to touch the utter dark!

The rhythmic sound is now loud and clearly mimicking the sound of a heartbeat.

LAETRES      [Recorded voice ends.  He is now speaking audibly.]  Those drums!  Damn the revelers; those drums!  What is this?  What?

He is now fully surrounded by the perimeter of a coffin.

NARRATOR    And then he remembers: prince, poison, sword; something wrong!

The top of the coffin (covering him from chest to foot) is lowered down.

LAETRES      Something!  The dream; it was –

The sound has now escalated into a very distinct loud heartbeat.

NARRATOR    The beating, the beating, now pounding from his chest!  Yet, he can almost, almost… There!  His hands next to his head, pressing up with all his strength.  Nothing!  Nothing!  Smashing with his elbows, pressing with his knees, but nothing, nothing yields!

LAETRES      [Commences and then continues to pound and scratch at the top of the coffin; and simultaneously releases a volley of screams.]

NARRATOR    He can no longer hear his own heart; silenced by the scratching, and then the screams!  His voice, his pain, his fingernails torn to shreds!

The lights shut completely off for a prolonged period of 15 seconds; with nothing occurring other than the loud sounds of Laetres scratching and screaming to get out of his coffin.  Then, with the scratching and screaming continuing, the lights begin to fade in and out, at approximate intervals of 1 second on, and 2 seconds off – thus signifying the passage of time.  Then, suddenly, the noises cease and the lights remain on.  A long silence then prevails, interrupted only by…

LAETRES      [Whimpers and sniffles quietly without stopping.]

NARRATOR    Now, he is transformed again; whimpering, the immobile, the undead!  The sound of his beating heart returns; overwhelming all but this…

The loud sound of a beating heart recommences.

Laetres, if this be you, then the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet is also…

LAETRES      …buried alive!

The top missing portion of the coffin is now lowered into place, with a loud thudding sound.

NARRATOR    And he wonders, will the noise ever end!

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © July 17, 2012: This comparison was given the day I completed “Hamlet Resurrected”)

AM I

Was I black or was I gray,

Or am I just a man today?

I guess it’s up to what you say,

 But leave it up to me

And I’ll climb out the crayon box,

And take the subway from the Bronx,

Or walk out of L.A.

But it’s not up to me;

‘Cause if I knock upon your door,

Or dare to shop within your stores,

You’ll come take me away

To places I don’t want to be;

And shackle me to clarity,

Where I will finally know if

I am black or I am gray.

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © January 31, 2012, for Black History Month)

THERE

The tower cannot hold

Nor the annexes suffice

The human heart that rises up

And escapes into the Light.

 

Yea, ‘though the Devil be enraged

And a troop come marching out,

True hunger and thirst for righteousness

None of them can e’er surmount.

 

So unto thee who be unfettered

be unshackled from a lie,

Behold the galaxies and touch the stars

And in reality realize

 

There is a path to something greater

Than what the confined say is great,

And you will find it in Christ there beyond

The straight and narrow gate.

(Written by Abel Prudhomme, © January 5, 2012)

12 thoughts on “Still writing…

  1. This is beautifully written! And I think “There” is actually perfectly fitting as a title. For me.. there is a sense that the poem hints at questions of life, purpose, the universe and beyond, and the poem itself directs attention to the answer, which is emphasized in the end and the idea is then tied into that single word. Well done!

  2. In the end, it always seems that
    what I wrote actually wrote me.
    Some may seek to express themselves;
    and yes, I seek this too.
    Yet I wait until what wants to be said
    overwhelms me, leaves no room for me,
    and fills each space.
    Until there is only what it says,
    and I speak no more.
    Until it finishes and I return
    to read, to wonder, and reread
    what someone else seems
    to have placed upon the page.
    And then I realize that it must be mine;
    Because each time I read it
    my soul is opened back again!

  3. Good one, There! Remember good old “Madison” days when you recite those old “rugged” poems to me? Your poetry now is changed for the better, me think! There is grace abounding even to the barest lines. Keep up the good work, bro! Si vis pacem, para bellum. But if you seek a poem title, “Soul Rising” would suffice.

  4. Stand up for what you believe! ” I’m black and I’m proud” is a quote I believe in, and this poem was well written on how we still get stereotyped by most of society. Continue making a difference with these words of wisdom for us young cats, Abel! Peace and blessings, my brother!

  5. A lot of wisdom, knowledge, and re-awareness being dropped in here. Great poems Abel, they were very heart felt.. They raise alot of eyebrows and emotions, but people need to hear about that side of the fence, which many people are oblivious to, or uneducated about.

  6. Florence I had a chance to view your poems. keep up the great work. the young man that was murdered by zimmerman in Florida Zimmer man should install this poem in his mind for ever is one black or gray. probably in his mind he may always know in his heart black grey and any other color except white. this short poem will be good for zimmerman when he is in prision he can meditate on those words of wisdom. ones life shouldnt be on colors but what exudes from the heart.

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