Trouble in the Keys

I’m a little worried, lately

that my words are up to something

mildly nefarious.

It’s not a mutiny just yet

but insubordination

is undeniably on the rise.

In ways subtle and nuanced

these alphabetic characters

are skittling out of line

Look! these just

S  c  r  a  w  l  e  d their way over here.

They have dragged me into

conversations when I wasn’t

quite prepared and pull me

deeper in their witty repartee

leaving me to tongue-trip

in the wake of innuendo

flirtation or smart-ass comebacks

wisely left unstated



There was that time                                   e


I sent them on a missive                   n


and they went off on this odd t

e   r   b   o

p                      l

y                             i

to return eventually, on a h                                  c arc


Time and time again

I find I’m sweeping

up behind them

as they drop crumb

trails of implications,

connotations and second guessery


I arranged them in a montage

all artistical and fancy

they left me hanging

with some dangling participles


I have this sneaking suspicion

they are writing checks

I most surely cannot cash

now I’m hunting for receipts

digging through the trash


I crafted a tasty mélange

mixed metaphorical medley

they wrote it prosaically

in meteorological meter

like a simple simile


I frequently discover

my meanings have gone missing

between the text and subtext

context and supertext

(oh wait that’s superscript)

and while I’m fighting

stubborn formatting

the onomatopoeia

went swooshing off the stage


Sometimes, exasperated

I take a handful of the buggers

throw them against the page

just to see how they’ll behave


set to take their marching orders

others slump and fade

bored and disaffected

while still others

take off running

at some other poet’s bidding

the rest fumble


while they wait

my misdirection


With all of these vocabularies

Mein Gott!

how did this happen?

they promised

eloquence and lyricism

led me out

on a cracked limb

all I can say is

Qu’est-ce que c’est


Hey, how did this get here?

48 thoughts on “Trouble in the Keys

  1. Fun!

    This was one thing I LOVED about being a creative writing major before the Internet (and just on the verge of Word). I used a word processor for all of my shit. I could manipulate my words and letters without cussing up a mother fucking storm, literally cut and paste stuff in, color, scribble, bleed on stuff, and whatnot.

    I even “wrote” a poem once by throwing sponge letters soaked in paint at poster board – well, it was a group project because of the difficulty involved (i mean, we had to go outside to do this. That professor expected entirety way too much from us, but I digress).

    This Internet bullshit makes creativity boring sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are my favorite person in the world right now. What you just did with words was a tour de force, the likes of which I have only imagined. Amazing! You’re my hero. I don’t think I can overstate this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I couldn’t tell. I think I need to start writing more physically. Meaning, with a pen and paper. I compose almost entirely at the keyboard because I like to edit as I go, and save my work in two or more places so I have backups. I think if I wrote when the mood hit me, I might have half a shot at coming up with something approaching this.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I used to speak into a recorder on the way to work, and then transcribe it when I got there. It was handy to ‘compose’ like that, stream of consciousness observations and philosophy, but man, what a pain in the ass to type.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You never like your own voice, usually, because it sounds different out loud than it does through your skull. I got used to it, though. I had to rewind and replay many times while transcribing, and I discovered I hate all other drivers on the road at all times. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes! I’d be in the middle of some exposition, and then say “OH COME ON, ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?!”
        Sometimes I wouldn’t edit that out. lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m glad you’re laughing. That’s good!
        People would slow down for flurries. Flurries! I’d be in the middle of talking and say “Jesis, these people… if I threw an ice cube out the window right now there’d be a 10-car pileup.”

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I wouldn’t actually do it. I’m not sure how wrong I am – it might cause something bad.
        I have shot a woman with a water pistol before, while driving. I just happened to have one, and she did a U-turn right in the intersection in front of me because she missed the turn for the post office. So when I passed her, I shot her. It was instinct. And hilarious. No one was harmed, don’t worry.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh, I had similar thoughts once. My attempt made me laugh. This is brilliantly amazing.
    (And also that you threw in the word onomatopoeia, which i haven’t seen in a while and reminds me of a person extremely dear to me. Sigh.)
    Here’s an emoji to make this more heartfelt 🔖 ( I think it’s a luggage tag, I never use it, so it’s consequently special. I had to scroll a lot to get to it. Lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes, the words, they took on a life of their own, and, we’re just, “agents” which they came out of…but, they are, our words, regardless, we just don’t have a clue where or how they’d come…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this! This is the best, funnest and most uplifting work of yours I’ve read yet! Words often refuse to cooperate with me as well, but in this piece I find not only peace and comfort in relating with your struggles, but with the way you present it I also find joy and fun in the commiserating together about it!
    I’ve had a soft spot for shape poems ever since I read “400-Meter Free Style” by Maxine Kumin 20 yeara ago. This seems to be the season for shape poems for me — everywhere I turn lately I see them: I used shape poem techniques in my essay “Swimming In the Pool of Life”; justastar1in100 recently published a shape poem called “Waterfall”; and now I read one by you. Wow. I’m feeling inspired to do a Google search tonight and read a few more!
    Thanks for the joy!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s