#Micropoetry Monday: Opposites

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He was a hard-boiled journalist
who believed that truth was so soon buried,
he would outscoop his colleagues
so that he could put it all out there ASAP;
she was a soft-hearted historian
who believed that by letting the dust settle,
the truth would either present itself
or degrade altogether.

She had an overactive imagination,
he, an overactive pituitary,
yet it was she who told the tallest stories,
him being the only one who understood any of them,
for his head was as much in the clouds
as her feet were off the ground.

He was journalism,
she, reality TV.
When they came together,
they created the fake news
that surpassed every rating
they’d ever had.

#Micropoetry Mondays: Absurdity

Pi

The script was written, & the reality-TV stars were cast.
The Bachelor had to pick one for happily ever after,
tho’ the love story had been written once upon a time.

She was a spelling bee,
always drawn to an English rose or
recreating a page out of History,
but when it came to a Math problem involving Science,
she felt like Barbie trying to get her G.E.D.

The tenants of the Raintree Apartments were complex—
the military wives who cooked the meth,
the potheads who held Ph.D.’s,
the poor Republicans & the rich Democrats,
but all that mattered when a room blew up or there was a bust,
was that they paid their rent on time.

His Randy-ian Ways
She came home to find her husband in bed
with his literary lover, Ayn Rand,
well-hung above their bed,
for Ayn’s virtue was selfishness,
& he, the most virtuous of all.

When she took the self out of selfie,
she was left with half a rule: i before e.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #321, Theme: Gripe

So my husband and I are fans of “Wheel of Fortune.”  We even play the Xbox game, and it can get heated (especially if I “buy time” by buzzing in like I know the answer and take the full 70 seconds to figure it out).  He says it’s cheating–I say it’s smart.

I chose to gripe about the most benign show in existence–“Wheel of Fortune”–the game show that makes you feel brilliant after watching “Jeopardy”.  (Btw, a “fickle wheel” is how AT&T describes the show in their synopsis.)

The Fickle Wheel

Buying unnecessary vowels,
calling letters that have already been called–
it’s not using your noodle, is all.

Listening to the host without the most,
who holds the female contestants’ hands to the Bonus Round,
makes me want to wash my hands and whiskey-wash it down.

Contestants who jump up and down after every triumph,
who use flowery adjectives to describe their significant others,
who rattle off all their kids’ silly, pretentious names,
are just a few of the many gripes I have about America’s game.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #26. Theme: Coined by Shakespeare

For today’s prompt, take a word or two (I took it a step farther and used ALL of these:  http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.htmlinvented by William Shakespeare, make it the title of your poem, and write your poem. 

What you are about to read is truly absurd (which is one of my favorite words, as it can be used to describe many things).  It’s sort of a riches-to-rags story involving a dizzy redhead and is a satire/spoof of reality TV.

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The Madcap Ginger

Lucinda Bahl catered and pandered to the one-percenters,

which was quite laughable,

as she thought they were greedy bastards

behind their majestic swagger.

~

She always greeted them quite obsequiously in disguise,

barefaced and blushing,

in a maid’s uniform concealing her tramp stamp—

a hint at her lower class from Flushing.

By dawn, she cleaned their houses;

by dusk, she cleaned their clocks.

~

In manic states of unrest and undress,

she was quite fashionable with body paint caked on as camouflage,

as she skulked through her employers’ McMansions,

replacing their Jackson Pollocks

with copies that mimicked the worthless works.

~

She was a zany, green-eyed bandit,

dauntless, equivocal and cold-blooded

a klepto with dual personalities,

who often hobnobbed with her alter ego.

~

She drugged (or roofied) her masters,

rolling the women for their jewels,

then noiselessly, in bare feet,

tipsy-toed to the other side of the bed

and reached under the bedroom blanket for the family jewels.

~

Dressed as Greg Brady,

her eyes would turn dark with excitement as she hurried,

finishing with a gust of breath.

Her right hand knew not what her left one did,

and her arms were like those of Olympians.

~

Every year, she would have a baby bump,

which always aroused a kerfuffle.

DNA was a woman’s best friend,

and a compromise would be reached without a scuffle.

~

Mr. and Mrs. would negotiate for the baby,

in exchange for the boodle,

and none was the wiser,

for they didn’t use their noodle.

It was a safe bet for Lucinda Bahl–

this belle of the balls.

~

Being a millionaire heiress herself,

her father being the inventor of the Spice Racketeer,

and collapsible luggage,

she was still lonely.

Prone she was to metamorphize into a generous, frugal soul,

donating plasma for free juice and cookies,

which became a strange attention addiction.

~

Nevertheless, she was remorseless

when she was in her right mind (or left brain),

for she blamed the haves for the have nots,

that littered her lawn like gnomes with their deafening cries,

making her gloomy and disheartened.

~

Then it became apparent there was an outbreak

of some disease which caused lots of bloodstained puking,

gnarled knees,

an epileptic elbow,

and an eyeball so lazy it wouldn’t bother to open.

The only cure was a glass of skim milk,

which would ease the discontent.

It was quite the source of gossip.

~

The men (all friends) began to realize they’d been had,

and when Lucinda came to work wearing an eyepatch,

they decided to fix her unwelcome wagon once and for all.

They had suffered character assassination from the media,

the academe,

and from countless anonymous online critics;

they had suffered savagery from their children,

torture from their wives,

who took delight in besmirching them to their mothers,

taking them to court and ruining their lives.

~

They wanted to charge Lucinda with unlawful seduction,

though they realized it was all circumstantial evidence,

for Yonkers was going bonkers with it.

~

Lucinda’s hair was no longer lustrous like sunshine,

her face radiant like moonbeams,

but lackluster and flawed.

She looked like the low-rent kind of broad

who lived rent-free in her head.

~

Lucinda the Accused,

became Lucinda the new star of TLC,

with lots of advertising from social media,

and with the backing of varied sponsors such as

Eastborough Baptist Church of the Quiverfulls.

~

“The Real Housemaid of NYC”, her label,

was obscene, but marketable,

and the gnomes had their hero.

Many assumed it had been a premeditated publicity stunt.

It was unreal, monumental,

this champion of the “working class”,

who was just a rehash of white trash.

~

She became a fixture on the cover of Starr–

a courtship that would last for 15 minutes.

 

However, it was never enough exposure,

and she got a show on MSNBC.

Hardly impartial,

but an open platform to rant about the dangers of breathing

and anything Bush,

pandering to their audience of 1000,

impeding her stardom.

She missed the ratings,

and so she filmed herself submerging in a bathtub of iced tea,

complete with a Dalmatian,

uploading it to YouTube,

becoming a cult sensation.

~

However, her girls, once fans, had become jaded,

even though she got an interview with the President,

who was quite a pedant,

much to Fox News’ amazement.

~

Her daughters remained with their sperm donors,

in their birthplaces in the five boroughs of New York,

becoming Olympians in pole-vaulting.

~

Lucinda’s ill-gotten gains dwindled,

and she retired from her life of psychosis and crime,

feeling more secure in a place she belonged–

the last star of “Stars Behind Bars”.

~

She’d reached her summit,

like a great mountaineer,

but at the end,

had groveled for a sex change while on the mend.

~

The buzzer went off,

and Lucinda, now beached

and pumped full of meds,

awoke from her little trip back in time,

feeling tranquil without a dime.

~

Tis the end of my ode to those who dream of a life of reality stardom,

and to those who watch it.

Reality TV, and The Reality of the American Economy

I am not a fan of reality television, with two exceptions:  I love “Shark Tank” and “MasterChef”.  I consider most news programs (on any channel–network or cable) reality TV, since news is more talking heads, opinion, and speculation rather than facts.

I used to watch “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” (a guilty pleasure that left me as unsatisfied as a box of Little Debbies–the commentary on realitysteve.com was far more entertaining).  I even used to miss a favorite yoga class to watch it with my mom (not before the days of DVR, but we’re always behind the times about ten years when it comes to technology).

I enjoy “MasterChef” because I like to cook.  I love “SharkTank” because I love the entrepreneurial spirit–I hope to one day invent a product that makes me a millionaire.  Not sure about starting a business, though.  According to the Sharks, you should spend 16-20 hours a day on your business.  If I didn’t get at least seven hours of sleep a day, I can’t think clearly.  When Mark Cuban talks about how he used to eat ketchup and mustard sandwiches, well, all I can say is, “Really?!”

I don’t think you have to starve yourself or go without sleep to be successful.  I think you just have to be focused, work hard, and it does help to start small.  I am amazed at the number of people who go on there and they’ve mortgaged their house and went deep into debt.  I know what Dave Ramsey would say about that, but I also know he doesn’t believe you should go into debt to go to college (which I disagree with, to a certain extent–if you’re getting a degree in Art History, yes, but engineering, no).  I look at college as an investment in one’s future.

There was one lady who started her business with two hundred dollars–money she’d made one summer from cashing in aluminum from old windows her husband took out (he was some kind of contractor).  She even taught herself to sew (which I can’t even fathom because that was one of two classes I flunked in high school, that and geometry).

Now that admission segues me into talking about the product I’ve created.  However, I not only have to learn how to sew to make this work, but I would have to secure a patent (which would be very expensive).  I’ve made a very crude prototype (there’s a word I learned from the show) for myself that works great.  I think there is a market for it.  However, the uncertainty scares me.  I may not be too big to fail, but I am too poor to fail.  I am not a salesperson–I am an inventor.  Just like I love the creative part of writing, I hate the marketing/business part.  I would be totally fine with receiving a royalty off of every sale–just make me money!  I don’t want the headache of running a business.  I really don’t.  I believe in simplifying life, not complicating it.

That said, I know I would have to agree to have my product manufactured overseas to cut costs.  I am okay with that.  I’d prefer to have the label “Made in America”, but it just isn’t feasible when you’re just starting out.  There was a man who pitched his idea of some kind of pick-up truck add-on, but he was adamant about it being made in the USA to help bring jobs to his impoverished town.  I get that, but until you become big, you can’t afford to do that.  He made zero profit.  If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone else.

The reality is that we’re a global economy.  Ninety-nine percent of people just aren’t willing to pay more for something of the exact same quality, just to get that “Made in America” label.  Most of them can’t afford to.

I’d love for all our goods to be made here, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen.  We’re a consumerist society, a service-based economy.

Right now, I am focused on trying to make more money, to help give my family a better quality of life.  Sometimes, in order to achieve the American Dream, one must be flexible doing business beyond her borders.

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Balancing Acts

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Beginning in March, my life will be a stay-at-home mom by day, student by night, and employee by/on(?) weekends.  I just got hired at a food co-op, an industry I actually care about (natural and organic foods).  I’m one of those people who always has about seven different projects going on at once, just as my mind is like having seven tabs on the computer open at the same time.  I won’t have as much time for writing as I do now; l miss that extra time already.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve been burning the two a.m. oil every night this week, trying to make up for time I haven’t spent yet.

I have a novel (“The Rise and Fall of Alfred Bomber”) that, after eleven years in the can, I’m going to finish editing and submit to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest; the book is about a Mormon missionary who returns to his hometown of Sidney, Montana (where I was a live-in nanny for nine months about a decade ago) to find that his brother has come out of the closet.  There is also the subplot of the mysterious and elusive “Summertime Rapist” who haunts the tween girls of the town, as he only attacks after the final thaw.

Then there are the three novelettes (see the Sarah Lea Sales page) I am editing for submission to Amazon for digital publication, as there isn’t much of a market for novelettes.

I am also querying and entering as many contests as I can.  My goal, once I start this full-plated schedule, it to submit at least one piece a week, while producing at least one piece or chapter of a longer work in that same time frame.

Since becoming a wife and mother, no longer living solely for myself, I’ve learned to manage my time better.  I think that [time management] is the key to prosperity (see Dave Ramsey’s list, “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day”).  I simply don’t have the time to accomplish all I want to if I spend too much of it watching TV.  I’ve since learned to be choosier with what programs I spend time watching.

I discussed the list with my parents, who interpreted it in an entirely different way than I did.  They saw the list as effects breeds the cause, whereas I saw it as the opposite.  The reason the poor watch so much reality TV, they said, is because that’s all they can afford to do.  They can’t afford to go to plays and to the opera and such.

I saw it as if you don’t spend too much time watching reality TV, but doing (not watching) something more productive, you’re more likely to be successful.  I’m not saying everyone who watches reality TV is a cretin (Megyn Kelly watches “The Bachelor”), but I know television watching has taken the place of book reading for many as the preferred form of entertainment.  When one watches a television program, they don’t have to use their imaginations, but when one reads a book, their imaginations have to fill in the blanks.  One of the preschool teachers at my and my husband’s church said that it wasn’t unheard of for one of her students to inform her that there weren’t any books in their house.  Some didn’t even know how to use a crayon!

What many people don’t understand is that kids don’t have to be entertained all the time.  They may whine at first about wanting to watch TV, and parents let them because it assuages their guilt (that’s my armchair diagnosis), but they’ll get over it and find something else to do.  I think all kids have imaginations–they just need to be given the opportunity to use them.  Maybe kids just don’t have enough work to do anymore to keep them busy.  I told my husband if Hannah ever says she’s bored, she’ll be given something to do that won’t be fun.  That is one sentence I am not going to put up with hearing in my house.

It seemed to bother one of my friends quite a bit when her young daughter said their house was boring.  A few of us told her to give the girl some chores.  What kids need to realize is that life isn’t going to be exciting all the time.  Sometimes it’s routine and mundane, and that’s okay.  There is a time for everything.

I’m no fan of Dr. Phil, but I did agree with him when he said bored people were boring.  I have to say, though I find some things boring, I, myself, am never bored.  I’m not a workaholic (I’m a big believer in having a work-life balance), but I do believe staying busy keeps us happy, as long as we make time for our family and friends.

If we have too much on our plate, we put too much stress on our body, but if we have too little, it leaves us feeling unsatisfied.  As long as we’re always working to achieve that balance, we can live full, happy lives.