The International Imaginarium For Word & Verse For July 26th, 2022

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to our very first edition of the International Imaginarium for Word & Verse (which is the new name for the Virtual Poetorium) posted last night on our brand new Imaginarium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://internationalimaginarium.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-international-imaginarium-for-word.html

I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby for being the Imaginarium’s very first featured poet, Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta) and Noah Sweet for contributing to the Imaginarium’s very first group poem, and (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, and Diane Puterbaugh for participating in the Imaginarium’s very first open mic. I have decided not to repost the entire International Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetoriums because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post the poem that I closed this month’s Imaginarium with. With the Virtual Poetorium, I normally would close with a poem of my own, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom and dad recently, especially since their 63rd wedding anniversary would have been just a bit over a week ago on July 19th. They both passed away quite a few years ago, my father in 1993 and my mother in 2013. Although I don’t know if my father did (he was fairly secretive, and might have hidden it from me), my mother wrote poetry throughout her life and was a big influence on me becoming a poet myself. In fact, she was often my co-host when I ran my first poetry venue The Poet’s Parlor. So I decided to close the first Imaginarium with what was probably my mom’s most popular poem (and one of my own personal favorites) with many people fondly remembering it and requesting for her to read it at The Poet’s Parlor throughout its thirteen years of existence (I hope you will enjoy it as much as they did and I still do):

My War on Slugs

I have declared a war on slugs,
not bugs or drugs, but slugs.
You know those nasty things
that look like snails without a shell?
At least, you can eat snails
(if you like that sort of thing).
I can’t see much purpose for slugs.
They leave a slimy goo behind them
everywhere they go. Even on your hands
if you touch them. It won’t wash off,
even with soap and water.
The stuff has to be scraped off.
Every time I pick cherry tomatoes,
I get a handful of slime & slugs,
and have to throw away all
the tomatoes that they touched.
I tried picking the slugs by hand
into a tin can, but it’s real messy
even with a plastic bag covering my hand.
One day I picked over 250 slugs,
but there was still hundreds crawling around.
I figured there had to be a better way,
finally deciding to try a friend’s advice.
“Get a quart bottle of the cheapest beer”
She said. “Go to the discount liquor store,
it’s cheaper there than the grocery store.
Put the beer in a pie tin,
and watch the slugs go at it.”
So at the age of 72,
I bought my very first bottle of beer.
I didn’t know what to ask for.
Rather embarrassed, I asked for
the cheapest, biggest bottle they had.
I tried to explain what it was for,
but the cashier, a young man, just stared at me
A customer told me where the beer was.
I picked up one bottle, paid for it,
then got out of there fast, my face burning.
First I tried a couple of shallow pans.
The slugs soon found it, drank & left.
It seemed to me they were much happier.
Then I used narrow deeper bowls,
sinking them down into the ground.
This time they drank, fell in, and drowned.
In a couple of days, the little bowls were
packed like sardines with dead slugs.
I then needed more beer. This time I marched
into the discount liquor store, my head held high.
I went right to the beer, picking up two bottles.
Two young men and several customers
were at the check-out counter. When I paid
for my beer, I didn’t even explain
what the beer was for. As I was leaving,
they said “ Have a good evening, Lady,
have fun!” I really didn’t care this time
what they thought because the beer really works!
Although the battle isn’t over,
I’m sure I’m winning the war:

The slugs ate my tomatoes.
They just ate and ate.
Because of that,
they sealed their fate.
I threw a party
and served them beer.
So now, the slugs
are no longer here
.”

—Pauline Szlosek

The Virtual Poetorium For May 31st, 2022

Dear Readers,

I have some major news about the Poetorium to announce! First, it’s official – our live Poetorium at Starlite shows will finally begin again (after a hiatus of two years due to Covid) with our first show to be on Thursday, June 30th, 2022, from 7 pm to 10 pm at the newly reopened Starlite Bar and Art Gallery at 39 Hamilton Street in Southbridge, MA. With this new development, you may be wondering “What will happen to the Virtual Poetorium now that the live Poetorium shows are beginning again?”. Although there certainly won’t be one next month in June, I am committed to continue doing them at least for now, already having scheduled some wonderful featured poets for July and August. After that, we may still stay monthly (with occasional hiatuses) until the end of the year, but next year in 2023, it most likely will change to quarterly, with a new edition every March, June, September, and December (with perhaps a special Halloween-themed Scaretorium in October). It will also probably undergo a name change to avoid confusion with the live Poetorium shows. I promise I’ll keep you updated on this blog as the status of the Virtual Poetorium changes, but meanwhile, here is the link to the May 31st, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://poetorium.home.blog/virtual-poetorium-may-31-2022/

I want to thank my fellow bloggers (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, Poetisatinta, Goutam Dutta, Selma Martin, and tommywart for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Once again, I have decided not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Poetorium group poem (which is always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium). I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason, the response to the group poem this month was tremendous with the number of contributions being probably the most we ever had, and making this perhaps our longest group poem yet. I want to thank Karen Durlach, Ariel Potter, Tom Ewart, Robert Eugene Perry, Howard J Kogan, Selma Martin, Angela (aka Poetisatinta), and the slew of others who wish to remain anonymous for contributing and making the following poem possible:

May Is the Month…

May is the month,
Most pleasant passage
Spring coolness bridged
To Summer’s swelter
Offering a brief glimpse
Of a temperate paradise.

May is the month
To take nature by the hand
Dancing into silent space
Wearing blossom as a gown
And hawthorn
As your
Crown.

May is the month
Of our mothers and May flowers,
Of forsythia and bloodroot,
Violets and sentimentality,
Both genuine and commercial.

May is the month
To tend the garden,
Pull the tools from the shed,
Pinch the weeds from the ground,
Watch your arteries as they harden,
Probe for parasites that are ahead
Of time, boring into the soiled bed
Of your body, leaving you to cast around
For straws that won’t leave you dead.

May is the month
I mourn my mother,
Alive but estranged,
Close in miles
But faraway in heart.

May is the month
Of war on Ukraine
And here at home the war
On the last seventy years
Of progress in democracy.
It’s a May that makes me mad.

May is the month
The air conditioner goes in
And we are not yet
Sick of the heat.

May is the month
The cat escapes onto the air conditioner
And balances on the box outside the window
Until tempted back inside with a bowl of cool milk.

May is the month
My beloved and I sip
Lime rickeys, listening
To a creepy podcast
While the box fan spins.

May is the month
You begin to sweat at the bus stop
(Masks suggested but not required)
As people board the WRTA
Bound for downtown.

May is the month
Sweaters go ignored
At the Goodwill, and
Thrifters sort through
Secondhand sunglasses and visors,
Shorts and sun hats.

May is the month
Of come what may,
Swan song for Spring,
Harbinger of Summer.

May is the month
Of maybes, but a maybe that will be:
There be rain, there be sun
There be color, there be breeze.
There be hellos, there be smiles
There be you, and there be me.
There be less worry, there be more love
There be fecundity, there be more hope.

May is the month
Of “May Be”:
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be blessed
May you find peace
May you find courage
May you find joy
In May, may you Be.

May is the month
Of may we, oh! may we unfurl our treetop leaves to bask in the sun?
May we, oh! may we thrust our tender green tips out through warmed soil?
May we, oh! may we blossom brightly and smile,
Welcome widely to dragonflies, butterflies, wasps, and bees?
Yes, oh yes!
May is the month of YES.

—The May 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem

The Virtual Poetorium for April 26th, 2022…

Dear Readers,

Here is the link to the April 26th, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure: https://poetorium.home.blog/virtual-poetorium-april-26-2022/.

I want to thank my fellow bloggers (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, poetisatinta, and tommywart for graciously accepting my invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. Once again I have decided not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Poetorium group poem (which is always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium).  I want to thank Karen Durlach, Dwayne Szlosek, Ariel Potter, Howard J Kogan, and poetisatinta for contributing and making the following poem possible (I hope you will enjoy it):

Photo by Paul Szlosek

Six Different Ways of Looking at a Dandelion

I
Pinching out early weeds from the March mud,
Wet roots giving up easily,
Leaving naked beds to welcome new seed
Careful to leave the rosettes of jagged leaves
That promise of dandelion,
Their golden smile not a weed here
Until their white fluff flies off
To harass the neighbors.

II
Do the mayflowers tremble
When they hear the dandelion roar?

III
Dandelions delight the early bees, frustrate the lawn perfectionist
delight the poet by rhyming with Mayan and Zion
implying there there is a dandelion
in play in the deepest yellow-headed way

IV
“Do not cut off the dandelions’ heads!”
I cried to my father at five years old.
“They are tiny yellow Muppets,
And I love them…”

V
Dandelions are a nuisance to a perfect lawn.
But such a perfect pretty flower of bright yellow
It is bright like the sun,
but if you put the dandelion flower under your chin
your chin will become yellow with fun.
People want to know how it is done.
And you will tell them it is magic
(That’s how it’s done…)

VI
The dandelion’s feathers
have already flown
their offspring rise
and lean towards the sun
peeking over wild grass
sunbeams – everyone.

—The April 2022 Virtual Poetorium Group Poem