Thursday, April 29, 2010

One minute before burn-out

Another night of lousy sleep,
waking up early, mulling over
and over and over what’s
already facts ... and still
painful, even though I should
be used to it all by now.
I am my own best collaborator,
my own best enemy,
my own worst friend.

Oh lighten up, you master
of self-torture. Accept
the fact that this is not fate.
Get off your serious clod –
you can change it all.

– Lenny B.

Written for napowrimo #30, free day and farewell.

Not the best note for the last day of napowrimo, but an immediate reflection of the mood in which I woke up and thus some razor-edge-of-time reporting. I may yet replace this by something more upbeat.

A great big and heart-felt thank you to all the people who have stopped by to read my contributions and who have commented!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For her

How can one know something
that is going to be in the future?

It happened to me once before,
so I am not that keen on it.

I knew, before the relationship
with N. started, that it would be.

It happened, and two years later
we were about to kill each other

and getting ready for divorce.
And now, with you, even though

nothing worth mentioning
has ever happened, I have

the same feeling of certainty
(sometimes). And no, I am not

pushing it. I can and will not
push you, and I will not be pushed

myself. Everything to be
is to be loving and free.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #28, intuition.

Wasn't happy with the ending, amended it, like it better now.


I don't know, maybe it was the roses
– Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia

– Leonard “Minimalist” Blumfeld

Written for napowrimo #27, let somebody else take the lead.

Quite possibly the shortest poem I've ever written. I could write more about its inception.
First, there was the objective to write an acrostic poem. Second, my friend Chris' wife Rose celebrated her birthday yesterday. Third, when I thought of "rose," the song by Jerry Garcia I quoted from popped into my mind. Fourth, where does "Elaine" come from? That shall remain a mystery. Just like the whole little nothing of a poem, which could be called a "cliffhanger" at best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A bunch of namby-pamby

You can eat my hat
and while at that
starve on my scarf

Feel free to
munch my mustache,
belie my belly button,
scrape my sternum
(but lightly),
chill my cheek,
tweak my beak,
knead my knees,
heal my heels
and muzzle my mouth

But never ever
tickle my toes
‘cause that causes
a sneeze of the nose

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #24, find a phrase.

Actually, I found two – “namby-pamby” (which stands for “childish and weakly sentimental”) and “I’ll eat my hat” and combined them in the namby-pamby poem above.

What is a namby-pamby poem?

Here’s one by Henry Carey to illustrate and deride the genre:

All ye poets of the age,
All ye witlings of the stage …
Namby-Pamby is your guide,
Albion's joy, Hibernia's pride.
Namby-Pamby, pilly-piss,
Rhimy-pim'd on Missy Miss
Tartaretta Tartaree
From the navel to the knee;
That her father's gracy grace
Might give him a placy place.

This satire is on English poet and playwright Ambrose Philips (1674-1749), “who became tutor to George I's grandchildren. The position gave him a status amongst the aristocracy, and he took the opportunity to advance his place in society by writing sycophantic sentimental poems in praise of their children. These were written in rather affected and insipid nursery language, of the 'eency-weency', 'goody-goody' sort.” (Quote from the Phrase Finder.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am a banana stalk

I am a banana stalk and was married off
to a plump guy with an elephant head

But oh he’s so loving, he brings me
good luck, and he’s the son of a god

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #23, unlikely couples.

This poem alludes to Kola Bou, a banana plant, who in Bengal is considered to be the consort of Ganesha.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Letter to his older sister

Dear Mabelle,

I’ll order the squall jacket you recommded,
my that will be one fierce tendril less. I won’t flinch
no more with the crow at the emporium, as I used to,
and feel so small, like peppered rust reverberating.
Now there’s only one thing that remains to be said,
and that is that I dislike saffron, so contrary to your
advice I will not take those pills. CU tomorrow!


Written for napowrimo #22, in which the following words were proposed:


“And the cat came back,”
said the Colonel
Sanders-type Italian
dressed properly
for the Parigi visit,
viz. Basque beret and
long Gréco-style scarf

Up on the balcony
across the street
from the café two
French boys were
showering cat &
caboodle with loud
imaginary bullets

While I was sitting
there sipping
the most expensive
expresso ever, taking
the mental notes that
did elicit this snide
little poetic chit

– Leonard “Been to Paris Again” Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written belatedly for napowrimo #18, meow!

All the things observed here truly happened – except that I rearranged them a bit for better effect. Similarities with living persons are definitely intented.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Like sunlight dancing on your skin

Live performance by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

'Til I Can Gain Control Again

Just like the sun over the mountaintop
You know I'll always come again
You know I love to spend my morningtime
Like sunlight dancing on your skin
I've never gone so wrong
As for telling lies to you
What you see is what I've been
There is nothing I could hide from you
You see me better than I can
Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns where I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
'Til I can gain control again
And like a lighthouse
you must stand alone
Landmark the sailor's journey's end
No matter what sea
I've been sailing on
I'll always pass this way again
Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns where I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
Til I can gain control again

(Lyrics and music by Rodney Crowell)

Just like a lighthouse you stand before me

For her


The brief instant the beacon hits you right in the eye,
that flash of time remains engraved

I remember a ridiculous instant in the tea kitchen,
with you standing with your back to the paper towel dispenser,
when you smiled at me and I was close to your face,
a flawed face with not the best of skin,
thinking, “Could I possibly love her?”

And now sometimes I stand next to you
and feel that our bodies are one without touching

I look at your face and
every flaw is a mosaic piece of certainty


But if I asked you if you felt the same,
you’d deny it with the coldest Asian face on earth

I know you would

You’d switch the beacon off, I’d wander off

You’d let me go until you changed your mind,
fearful suddenly of losing whatever I am,
turning the light on to renew the draw


You know I’ll come around again

But sometimes I see doubt come in
(I relish those moments, I admit it)

I see the beacon rotate in the dark,
I know it will come my way

In another instant, when it hits me in the eye,
I’ll know exactly what I feel

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #19, light bulb moments and napowrimo #21, perfectly flawed.

Thinking about what to write for this prompt, the word lighthouse came to my mind, and then a shred from a song I later identified as 'Til I Gain Control Again by Rodney Crowell.

To me, parts of the poem have a song-like quality, which may well be due to its source of inspiration.

The song was covered by many singers, including Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson. Lyrics and a live performance: Like sunlight dancing on your skin.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going to Paris

I'm about to leave for Paris by TGV to spend the weekend there with good friends and to experience Jim Hall in concert on Sunday.

I'm not taking a computer along, so chances are I will not be able to participate in the next 3 napowrimo challenges.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


For M.

Even on Friday
the fragrance
of your perfume
from Wednesday night
kept drifting up
from my coat
when I moved
my head or arms
in some specific way

In the car
on the way to Stuttgart,
in the concert
with the African music
by Isak Roux

Through the air forest
of the landscape rushing by

And in the silence
lingering between the notes
from piano, marimba,
cello, flute and woodwinds

you were –
off and on –
right there
in me and around me

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2010)

This one was originally written in German years ago.

Rendered in English and brought to napowrimo #16 because the prompt ("What’s that smell?") made me remember it. It was originally written on a Friday (hence the title) and was now translated on a Friday. That is definitely beyond coincidence :)

Isak Roux is a South-African composer and pianist who lives in Stuttgart, Germany.

A whole lot essential

I said now's the time
for something a whole lot essential

I said now's the time
to not just know you're free

I said now's the time
to act accordingly

I said now's the time
for something a whole lot essential

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #15, where the task was:
In a nice private place, pick out a stanza, or a few lines, that you like from a poem that you don’t otherwise feel was very successful. Say them over to yourself.
Now hum them. See if you can find the tune.
And now sing them aloud. (Who cares if you can sing? You’re in private. And this is poetry!)
Throwing away the rest of the poem, write two more stanzas (stand-alone or connected) that go to the same tune.
The line from a poem (song) I considered not entirely successful (for reasons of triteness) was "Now’s the time / for something a whole lot special."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Good-bye hello

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go
– The Beatles
For her, as usual


We say good-bye,
each one walks on,
to meet again
and again
to let destiny
take its course


you will not turn around,
I know,
and again,
becoming love
full circle


We say good-bye, you will not turn around,
each one walks on, I know,
to meet again tomorrow
and again and again,
to let destiny becoming love
take its course full circle

– Leonard “Cleaver” Blumfeld (© 2010)

Three poems – two separate ones, which are then horizontally combined to form a third. This is called a cleave.

This cleave was written for napowrimo #14.

What is cleave poetry?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem Starting with a Line from Norman Dubie

In the near field an idle, stylish horse raised one leg
In her living room in the city of S. her alarm went off
Mine went off ten minutes ago and now I’m sitting here
spouting early poetry having to do with a stylish horse

She is fighting to shake off the softness and warmth
of pillow and cover and embrace
I’m letting the horse put its stylish leg down on the ground
The cold of a cold April morning is seeping into my bones

– Leonard “Far Field” Blumfeld (© 2010)

The idea of napowrimo #13 was to take a line by Norman Dubie as a first line and title the resulting poem “Poem Starting with a Line from Norman Dubie” – both of which I did.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One night in Addis Abeba

For her

Had we listened
to the voice within us,
we would have pursued
careers in diplomacy.

I would have studied
African languages,
as once intended,
majoring in Ethiopian.

You would have gone
to Moscow, as your father
had planned for you,
to ultimately join the corps.

We would have met
at a party hosted by the
Kenian embassy, both
unattached, and shared

a taxi when leaving.
We had the driver
take us to Sebastian’s,
where we had cocktails,

looked into each
other’s eyes, eventually
kissing across the chasm
between the communist

and capitalist worlds,
allowing the voice witin us
to speak and outline brightly
our future.

That did not happen, though.
All we have now is
an obscured variant, with the
feeling of potential lost

and but a skeleton of what
the scheme of fate and time
might have had in store.
We both muted that voice.

– Leonard “Had We But” Blumfeld (© 2010)

Written for The thing you didn’t choose, napowrimo #11 and Vicarious at One Single Impression.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How can I be so right so wrong

For her

It’s strong and wild like the wind on the Kazakh steppe
It’s having seen the world in pink and now all derision
It’s horse sausage imported and dropped
It’s that glow that made her shine throughout
It’s telling the truth even though it turns against onself

– Leonard “Right and Wrong” Blumfeld (© 2010)

Unusual love (“think of your current love, your current obsession or the one who got away”) for napowrimo #8.

she's been thinking

there's this guy I kinda like but have no use for
who's been mooncalf lovesick for me for years
and my mooncalf unwed mother girlfriend
who's been looking for a suitable guy for years
so why not get together this guy and my unwed girlfriend

- Leonard Blumfeld

Would that qualify as a tanka about love, funny side up for napowrimo #7?

Monday, April 5, 2010


The frozen swirls
may want to speak.

Of clouds, perhaps,
they've been in.

Of drifting clouds
they traveled with,

the lands they

the continents.
Tell that to

the tips
of a pair of shoes,

tell it
to frozen grass.

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2010)

Written and posted for "converse with images" (napowrimo #6).

Saturday, April 3, 2010



Laughing, I ran away from Manoj.
He’d won a kiss from the spinning bottle –
but I felt like making him work a little
before consenting.

From the clearing I went into the evenly
planted pine rows, hiding from Manoj
behind one. I heard him shout, run by,
went round the tree to avoid discovery.

He shouted about the mansion
at the end of the forest, I peeked
and saw it. Not to go in there,
he said, that it was forbidden.

It drew me. I waited for Manoj
to rejoin our friends, who were
singing and laughing in the distance,
and then went closer, to the black

iron fence. The place looked
deserted except for vivid reflections
in the windows. Flashes of people
and violent changes in temper.

A breath of air struck my neck,
as from somebody close by.
I turned, and there was no-one.
Eery, I thought, and noticed

that daylight had clouded over.
Now there was sooty dark
and a shiver as from an impending
storm. Not to worry, I told myself,

you simply walk back. But my
friends’ merry noises were gone.
I walked and again felt a breath
in my back, longer this time,

more forceful, as if from giant
lungs. And there was noise
to it, the suppressed roar
an immense animal would make.

I stood and turned – not a thing –
turned and resumed walking.
Roar and cold air, an impatient
howl. I turned and saw –

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2010)

This is a rather free retelling of what I remember of the beginning of Raaz (Secret), a Hindi horror film from 2002, which, very quickly and successfully, sets up a scary atmosphere with very simple means, so that this fits in very well with Napowrimo #3, Scared yet?.