Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trudy, from Cameron Parish

I recalled her from summer break last year
with long legs and a confident smile
acting like she owned the beach
permitting the rest of us to be here
so long as we kept our distance
and minded our manners

Sometimes she’d sing in a high, soaring voice
sometimes she’d mutter and scold
and while I couldn’t make out the words
it was clear she got the blues

Someone done her wrong
somebody left her
her heart was broken
her life was over

But something was different this year
this year she sang like she meant it
because someone had done her wrong

Every place she traveled
everywhere she slept
everything she ate
everyone she loved
all destroyed

She could still fly and sing
as well as any gull on the gulf coast
but I had to wonder
if that were enough

If her life depended on staying up forever
depended on someone hearing her song
would I see her back here next year
with her long legs and confident smile?

~ J. D. Mackenzie

Inspired by the Poetry on Wednesday prompt, What's On Your Mind? From Rallentanda's evocative list, I chose Environmental Issues.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homage a M. Prevert

Comment trouver les mots
à la fois brefs et constants?
On a tant vu,
tant aquis et tant perdu
Comment nommer
la seule chose qui tient
en ce moment même?

J'adore être ici
ma table à ce café
Chateau Margaux
qui sent le chêne limousin et le cassis
une bonne cigarette anglaise
la laine douce et souple
et le parfum inégalable
de Paris en automne

J'aime Gaston
la sérénité au poil
pas de jugement
il est tout amitié et affection

Je suis rassuré
qu'on peut me reconnaître
sans m'arrêter
sans s'attendre à un tête-à-tête
c'est me respecter

Je suis reconnaissant
que les jeunes poètes enthousiamés
ont cessé d'appeler
pour sonder ma pensée
ou pour me connaître autrement

Qu'y a-t-il à ne pas aimer?
Qu'ai-je perdu?
Qu'est-ce que je n'ai jamais connu? su?

Je la joie de cet instant
le présent sublime
l'actualité transcendante

English Translation

Homage to M. Prevert

How can I find the words
both brief and enduring?
Having seen so much
gained and lost so much
How best to name
the only thing that matters
at this very moment?

I love it here
my table at this café
Chậteau Margaux
redolent with Limousin oak and currant
a good English cigarette
the comfort of soft wool
and the way only Paris
can smell in autumn

I love Gaston
all serenity and fur
he never makes judgment
only friendship and warmth

I am relieved
that some people recognise me
but rarely stop anymore
and do not expect conversation
this is respect

I am grateful
that eager student poets
have stopped calling
wanting to know my mind
or other ways of knowing me

What is not to love?
What I have lost?
What I have never known?

I love the joy of this moment
the sublime present
the transcendent now

~ J. D. Mackenzie

[Inspired by POW Week 11 prompt: write a poem in the style of Jacques Prevert with some French sprinkles, featured at]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

So, You Really Want to Direct?

That’s it?
So you really want to direct?
You think it looks easy?
Maybe it only looks easy
because I make it look easy
Maybe if you knew how hard it is
to get most actors to act
then you’d mind your own business
of flubbing lines and tripping on your tonsils

This is inane
You have no script
You have no budget
You’ve given no direction
I am a professional!

Try something else

I’m your new Patriot Act
Everything breath you take
I’ll be watching you
Even when you’re sleeping
Especially when you’re sleeping
Except you won’t know it’s happening then
But I’ll be here stalking you

Use your imagination

How about a close shot?
Since you were too cheap to get a real location
let’s do this scene close up
dressage scar and all
no room for error
no need for second takes

Dig deeper

Well, here we are lost on an island
and our options for optics are quite limited
use that if you like for an ophthalmology exam
but don’t even think about it for gynecology

I need more anger

Who’s tripping on their tonsils now
Mr. ex-boyfriend director?
Did you even know I played Portia in Ashland
and all three witches in Macbeth
when the other two called in sick
because I could?
And where the hell is my Evian?

Much better
We’ll work it out in edits

~ J. D. Mackenzie

[Based on the following Poetry on Wednesday Week 10 prompt: the prompt for this week is the photo shown at]