Quirky From Afar

Quirky From Afar

Sadly waving on
wonder why there’s no endless splash

The water seems shallow
the music seems cool

Oh sorrow drowning girl
wonder why she’d die
shed her feathers in the waves

So many young song birds crash
and fame’s not much of a crumb

Guess she’s a bye-bye
pretty song bird up a stage tree
who’s never seen an ocean wave hi

Oh that sad lady
sitting in the catbird seat
wonder why she’s
never seen the sunrise smile

To me, I’ve
heard a mournful lady,
wonder why she’d die

’cause flattering and fluttering
fan cats purr and fan chicks peep

and no I’m not
exactly a fan, no not exactly, even though
she makes showy new arrangements,
makes a scene without a melody, upscale
variations and inversions on the sorrow sparrow

wonder why
she’s never seen an ocean wave hi

I mourn the fallen
song birds at dawn
with oatmeal, but sometimes

lunch is best
at breakfast time
with appetizers at sunrise
by the ocean

Birdies in the dawn
have worldly songs I know,
choreographed for the video

The trouble with the quirky world
is few singers will have an
elegant soup for breakfast,
will not take my silly advice for
the morning lunch of desire

pizza with me, and
anchovies for seagulls
opus no. 4, symphony 2,

won’t minister to the minestrone
and are left with a cereal for the showy birds

I make soup for breakfast sometimes
just to watch the mist fog up the
window glass of dawn
where nothing can be a scene

I have a showy tablespoon
with a fancy engraved handle
for my lonely soups, for sometimes
it’s better to sip carefully than
be scorched with hot sorrow

better to look out the window at
feathers and upper blue cool dawn,
better not listen to orange songs
and be juiced

Screeching birds in the dawn
have angry tears in the rain, secretly
curling up with a soupy turmoil
a noodle that no one is willing
to unravel, and many unwilling
to spoon out comfort to them

These are the famous agonies
I think I know, though
being nobody of renown,
such unseen sorrow has
no publicity value, has no way
to monetize a cry, can not
get this tune on the charts, but
she has a beautiful way
to monetize sorrow

Seen that young beautiful girl
who might have been near
where I could have praised
her feathers of flight
her perfume of happiness,
could have spooned out
a dollop and a dabble in magic
like I once thought I had.

I’ve seen her dance
in the bubble and cage
of the obscene show-biz scene
seen many be too serious about trivia

Oh magnificent party girl, don’t die young again,
young girl with the band and groupies

If she’d leave her toady agent and her dreams
and let me be a non-toxic chatty drug, ha
I’d sing nonsense with her
because I am profoundly silly, and
I wonder why she’d die even with the
praise of her fans, and no I’m not
exactly a fan, no not exactly, no it’s

just that I’ve heard her scream famously
and I’ve screamed alone, because
I can’t seem to compose the song of my heart
as well as she who is talented, lonely, and sad

Maybe I could’ve been her odd high
the quirky no one who’s not hip
and hears her secret silent cries
that fans and agents never hear
when they feed her any drug of the day
she thinks she wants, and if in a haze
she keeps on chirping
I’ll pray for her, because
she is so beautiful and
of course, sexy, but
that’s not the point
though they say it is

Oh hey, I know about loneliness
and when she dies young
I will wonder why talent doesn’t matter
and why I never met her

Can’t say if I would have mattered at all
can’t say if I would have been more than a quirk
or a mere jerk, but she will die young probably, and
maybe I would have given her an hour

Urgently
an hour is all I need
to love being with a song
a rhapsody in grace
so blue toned, but I’ve

seen her on
a stage tree perch
in the catbird seat

and though she
lets the fawning cats meow
she can not requite the clawing

Still I wonder why
beautiful girls die young
though they can sing
sorrowful chirps and dirges on key

And I wonder if
I could have sailed to her
an admirer in a crow’s nest
who loved her more than a fan

— Douglas Gilbert

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17 thoughts on “Quirky From Afar

  1. I think it’s turned out great and I agree – the 3rd person does work better for some reason. I like the “stage tree perch in the catbird seat” and “fawning cats meow”, i think all the new lines are good and I also like the new ending stanza, it seems wistful in a way or like at least someone thought about maybe loving her, even if no one ever really did love her for real. I suppose that’s better than never being thought of at all, even if it’s still just as lonely.

    1. Thanks very much. I think maybe I figured it out: When I say “you ought to this or that”, I’m talking to an imaginary person because she’s not really listening. But when I say “she ought this or that” I’m talking to the audience of the poem so it feels more real. So in the first instance the audience is overhearing me talk to an imaginary person, whereas when I write in the 3rd person, the audience and I are all musing and speculating together…. hmm, oh, maybe this is what some critics of past poems were trying to tell me, but I didn’t understand because they were using fancy and technical vocabulary — I think they used to say, “the poem is not accessible”. And I said, “huh,whaat?” I like using this tense or that tense. And they said the reader can not relate or some such and I was just mad and annoyed and had no idea what they were saying.
          I think this has worked out better than the 1,000 pages I had planned and I didn’t even have to leave out the Crow’s nest and the meow.
          It’s very mysterious nevertheless that with a few changes I can feel the emotional content come alive. This at last has warmed up the room and it feels less drafty.
          Phew, that was hard to wait for something but easy when it came… or eureka or something… OK, on to the next draft(no, no, just kidding). I’m done.

      1. hmmm…well I think all your poems are superb – those critics didn’t know what they were talking about. But I guess when your writing for a large audience of people maybe it has to be extra accessible so all readers can easily relate?
        1000 pages would be an extra-extra epic poem! But it did all come together nicely (without all the extra pages) and I agree that it feels left drafty. Eureka! and Cheers!

    2. Thanks. I’m glad you took the effort to work on the breezes. I misspelled drafty too a few times. And I think it’s true that when the left drafty and the right drafty push against each other that a calm forms. I think I did a less daffy misspell too. The print is so small and the f and t run together so it’s hard to see anything.   I t   t o o k   a   f e w   d  r  a  f  t  s   t o   p u t   t y p o s   i n   t h e   b r e e z e   a n d   o n   t h e i r  
      w a y.

    3. Gee, I was trying to demonstrate typos or something and it Helped me by taking out spaces. Then I had to use   to put the spaces back sort of and not quite because then it helped me by breaking words at the end because it was sure the separated letters were not words… Well, OK, I’ve succeeded in getting a daffy drafty comment with left and right aspects. Serendipity orr nottt

      1. The left drafty and right drafty (ha!) I think it might take an equal amount of both to find balance in the drafts. That’s funny that it helps you by ‘fixing’ it for you. I guess wordpress has an editing program of some sort? When I took typing in high school they taught us that at the end of each sentence you put two spaces before the next one. I guess the rule has changed now because WordPress always takes away one of my extra unneeded spaces. I try to stop adding the extra space but it must be a force of habit type thing because I still do the double space almost every time.
        I like your daffy drafty comment – even if WordPress made you do a lot of extra work to accept it that way.

    4. Thanks. I think it’s best to keep the habit, because when you do a long manuscript somewhere else or for a book, you’re going to need the habit to be able to type fast and correct for your book or article. Yeah, when I took typing in high school they told us to leave two spaces after a period. I’m so glad they said that if you’re going to do science and research and other things in college you’ll have to write long papers typed correctly and you should know how to type. It was sort of an in-between era where it still wasn’t “macho” to take a typing class and it was just at the beginning of electric typewriters and there were no personal computers. There were still male news reporters and male writers who prided themselves on typing with one finger. Hmm, now that I think about it, they must have been victims of this prejudice because why didn’t they take up typing in High School? I think especially for the older reporters, males did not take cooking classes(or good grief “home eco” or whatever they called it) or take typing. Wow, it does seem silly now to look at male writers typing with their one finger. Hmm, before the computer era or at least in my Mother’s era, in business males hired female secretaries to do all their typing. Yeah, if you look at the old movies, it was always “take a letter” dear. Even the private detectives in the dumpy office had a secretary who did all the typing. No males were typing in the old movies, well certainly not with both hands.

      1. I couldn’t imagine typing using the “hunt and peck” method all the time. I bet i’d get so frustrated and aggravated. Yeah I remember seeing the secretaries in the old movies. Kind of makes me think of that movie Psycho, wasn’t she a secretary and was supposed to take that money to the bank? The main reason I took typing is because at the end of my junior year I would’ve had all the credits I needed to graduate but it was the first year for their portfolio requirements and I had to take one math class in order to finish the portfolio. So pretty much my senior year would only be one math class. BUT if you took typing as a junior, then your senior year you could have an office related job and leave at lunch time as part of the co-op program…so that’s what I did. I had a couple hours each day at school going to art and math class and everyday I’d leave at lunch time go to Balloon Express to make balloon bouquets. It wasn’t really an office job but I did take orders over the phone so I guess it counted somehow. I loved my art classes too though, I even got a partial scholarship to Boston University’s Art program. Sadly, it just wasn’t enough of a scholarship for me to be able to afford to go there…

      2. Sounds like fun: The Artist Counting Balloon Bouquets. I took a physics class over the summer in my junior year to have room for one college level class in my senior year. It was a big mistake: it just made more room in my first year of college to take harder classes and fail…

    5.     Sounds like fun: The Artist Counting Balloon Bouquets. I took a physics class over the summer in my junior year to have room for one college level class in my senior year. It was a big mistake: it just made more room in my first year of college to take harder classes and fail…
          If you got a partial scholarship, you must have had some artistic talent that could have been developed.
          It’s unbelievable to me that it was sink or swim in my first year of college and they let me sink and waste my life. I was all alone without any competent help… I think there must have been many other people like myself that they threw away… and when I was failing my Calculus math course, I went in agony and desperation to my Math professor and he said, “Some people are just not good at math,” or some such… Then many years later I retook a Calculus class and did well, but it was too late, too much damage had been done… and many, many years later I finally got my degree but so what, I was a wreck… I have my pretty diploma in the closet and it’s worthless to me.

      1. The balloon shop was fun, it just didn’t pay very much. But it was still nice to not have to sit in high school all day. Those were some of the worst years of my life. I seriously have very few truly good memories from that period of my life. Every time I’d think things were changing because something good would happen, something five times worse would be right around the bend. I switched schools halfway through thinking it would get better but it was even worse. All I wanted to do was graduate as quickly as possible and get out of there. That’s why I skipped so many elective classes and was trying to graduate my junior year. I did have a lot of artistic talent but i haven’t done anything with it in years. I decided to go to local schools and get the basics out of the way because it was cheaper and then reapply for scholarships later on. I got through two semesters of college but started getting really sick and couldn’t make my classes so I dropped out. It took five years until I found out on my own that it was lactose intolerance making me so sick. So I didn’t graduate…I guess I could go back and get student loans and owe a ton of money for a degree I probably wouldn’t use but to be honest I just don’t have the drive for it anymore. All i ever really wanted was a family to love. I suppose my son and I (and our dog) make a pretty good family…hehe.
        It really is sink or swim in college. I don’t think the teachers really care because if you fail, you’ll just have to pay take their class again if you really need the credit. I was never good with math, especially when they started throwing letters in there…algebra made no sense to me at all.

    6. Once upon a time, Jane and Joe sat at separate tables. On their tables, Jane and Joe had equal amounts of magic beans. One could easily see that Joe had 5 magic beans on his table. Jane tried to hide her beans. She placed a napkin over some of her beans. One could clearly see 2 beans on Jane’s table and some others hidden under a napkin where Jane had written a big red X. Jane and Joe both had the same number of beans on their tables. Joe, it could clearly be seen at 5 on this table. Jane had 2 and some hidden under the big letter X.
      Jane         Joe
      2 + X      =      5

      Everybody’s been talking and everybody knows that Jane and Joe have the same number of beans. If Jane were hiding 3 beans under her napkin then she would have the 2 that we see and 3 more that she’s hiding. If that were true, she would indeed have as many beans as Joe has, because she would have the 2 that we see plus the 3 that she’s hiding for a total of 5 which is the same number that Joe has. X is 3, the hidden number. I don’t know why Jane is hiding 3 beans. If when she turns her back I eat the 2 visible ones, I don’t think the equation will work… Um, well, unless I eat 2 of Joe’s beans too so that they are equally robbed and so both will still have the same number leftover. If I eat 2 of Joe’s beans he will only have 3 left, and if I eat the 2 visible of Jane’s beans she will only have the ones hidden under the napkin.
      Jane     =      Joe
      x      =     3

      Oh gee, I don’t know if this is going to post right. But I thought I’d try some Algebra…

    7. Oh gee I hope I put the edit in on time before anyone read it. I was so busy with the spacing that I made a big mistake and Jane and Joe knocked over the tables before I could count everything again and they were both mad that someone stole their beans…

      1. hmm..well i think Jane and Joe should go plant at least one of the magic beans. Maybe a beanstalk will grow and they can climb it and go on a grand adventure. Or maybe the beanstalk will grow more magical beans that grant wishes when you eat them. Maybe if you feed a magical bean to a cow it’ll become magical too and will be able to jump over the moon. Hey diddle diddle, i wish i could play a magical fiddle…
        I didn’t see your comment before you edited it but I’m sure that Jane and Joe are both relieved that they still have their beans.

    8. I’ve decided to keep the cow and the fiddle. I don’t think the guy who wants to sell me some magic beans is legitimate. I think Jane and Joe should get some hamburgers and indulge for a change. I think they’re a little bit too obsessed with beans and giants. And they shouldn’t be sitting at separate tables. Yeah, I don’t know why they would be counting beans — they could be counting blessings and other je ne sais quoi ha hurrumph

      1. ha hurrumph made me giggle and so did the being obsessed with beans and giants…
        The burgers do sound like the best idea though. I was kinda confused as to why they were sitting at separate tables counting beans anyway when sitting at the same table would be much more fun (and a lot less awkward).

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