Poet’s Corner: Sluper Slop Slunday, Summer of ’99, Teardrops of a Dahlia

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

Sluper Slop Slunday

Today is the day of screams, frights, and delights
It’s the day of forced flight
The first Sunday after Jack-O’-Lanterns reign
In the midst of rain, wind, and muck

Each one has been painstakingly chosen
According to shades of green, yellow, white, and orange
Some smooth, others bumpy, and a few like sandpaper
Full of rot and near the end of their road

Each squash gets picked by two teams
The ugliest ones chosen as captains
They will certainly last to the very end
And hopefully be the go-to-gourd

One team patrols the outfield, the other in the infield
The first volunteer is placed in the catcher
Long, black strands of rubber are pulled back taut
And then it flies!

It soars into a beautiful rainbow arc
And seemingly floats through the crisp Autumn air
Then falls into a downward spiral and obliterates on contact
Way farther than any gourd expected

The impact site is full of seeds and stringy innards
A mishmash of orange, black, and brown putridness
A moldy odor wafts through the air
Loud cheers rise up and high-fives are shared

One by one they are all launched
The field is soon littered with pumpkin corpses
The outfielders slipping to and fro
Chasing them down while measuring the varying distances

The football-shaped pumpkin is crowned the winner
All that is left behind are gigantic orange craters
The teams dive through their self-made messes
Another Sluper Slop Slunday to add to the highlight reel

Mark Chamberlain

~ ~ ~

Summer of ’99

Silent swishing paddles displace the still water
curling outward in billowing patterns
Majestic mountains reigning over the waterscape
a gentle wind urging the elongated coral blue kayak forward
Angling toward the ever widening mouth

Bald Eagles swooping downward for bright scarlet prey
humpies and silvers splish-splashing away in earnest escape
Wildflowers populate the silt and sand choked waterline
fuchsia fireweed popping up in clumps like miniature bloom cities
Invading bees swarming the towering residents

Cruising along Loop Road at 85-100 psi
Floridians, Kansans, and North Dakotans snapping pics away
Jesting that the best way to scare a bear
is to bring a good pair of running shoes and a slower friend
For you only need to outrun your friend, not the bear

Just around the next bend, the main event appears
buzzing levels of excitement ready to burst out
The iconic glacier comes into cinematic view
oohs and ahhs litter the main aisle
Needless questions bunching up like a bad wedgie

Navigating around calved off azure and white blocks of ice
Walled off by glacial erratics strewn chaotically
Inside a cavernous space, icefalls cascade into chilled spillways
varying tints of azul seen through transparent ceiling and walls
Clouds overhead blot out sunlight, revealing hues of deep cobalt

Ascending up over the channel, river, lake, and glacier
the metal mosquito flitting up into the moraine-encased icefield
Stepping onto a frigid, icy netherworld in special boots
crevasses, moulins, tarns, kames, and kettles Holocene remnants
Overwhelmed by sheer wonder and awe–truly spectacular

Mark Chamberlain

~ ~ ~ ~

Teardrops of a Dahlia

Somewhere in the dark of night
storm clouds gather and rage
Spitting out its fury here and there
it doesn’t last long and suddenly its gone

I fall back asleep, wondering if it was a strange dream
wasn’t there a bit of a ruckus outside?
I’ll never know I guess
wait till the morning to see

As the morning sky begins to stir
dark clouds scurry away
The backdrop canvas switches over to day
Letting light pour in from everywhere

The brilliant colors of the Dahlia are now visible
fuchsia, pink, yellow, and red-orange
From one flower to the next
the colors vary, mixing into a mashup

Some blooms are bright at the middle
while others ripple to the outer edges
All are coated in translucent raindrops
dotting petals seemingly at random

As the sun comes high over head
the precious raindrops begin to wane
So much promise and life in each drop
it’s a shame to watch them evaporate away

The raindrops remind me of a teardrop
that falls from the sky effortlessly
Whether it be from sudden happiness or sadness
they all fall as teardrops of a Dahlia

Mark Chamberlain

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My name is Mark Chamberlain and I’ve been writing poetry my entire life. I joined the EPIC Poets group in June 2020. I enjoy writing poetry because it’s the opportunity to express not only what you observe in life, but also the emotions and feelings attached to different experiences. In 2021, I got married and became a husband and a dad overnight. For me, every day is an opportunity for growth and learning new things. My family is living our best lives full of cats, flowers, veggies, and laughter… 


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