Poetry Tag
Extemporaneous Poems by Judith Laura

These five poems were written by Judith Laura under various screen names in "Poetry Tag" chatrooms in 2000-2001. To play Poetry Tag, one poet makes up the title of the poem and then "tags" another poet, who immediately writes on-screen a poem to go with the title. The titles given to Judith for these poems were: Confusion in Shame, Black- Eyed Susans, Death, Desperate Heart, The Korean War. The time elapsed between when the title is given and the poem is written is usually less than a minute (and for these poems was more like 20-30 seconds).  Apart from correcting spelling/typos, these poems have not been altered (even including line breaks) from what Judith posted extemporaneously in live chat.  

Confusion in Shame
She hit the wrong key
in her terror
to speed through life
like a poem unwritten
and midst a string of polka dots
green on the page, dancing like
she let fly
showing the confusion
she had tried to keep hidden
‘neath a bravado of pain
and a red face of shame.

© Copyright 2000 by Judith Laura

Blacked-Eyed Susans
Black-eyed Susans
are really
daisies, or so
they say
you see them stretching
in the field
each May
but I think they are
a flower apart
darker they flow
than their counterpart
and so I pluck them
one by
and hope their rays
will bring some fun
or at least some lightness
to this heart
too weighed down
from being so smart.

© Copyright 2000 by Judith Laura

Like the flash of light
that precedes birth
you speak to me
of the stench of night
when you move closer
to me, asking
did you use deodorant today?
And I turn, sighing, and say, stroking your
thigh, does it really make a difference?
When we all will decompose
like a Brahms sonata played backwards
like the Wasteland recited forwards
like a raincoat opened suddenly on a sunny day
and you roll me over on my back and you say,
how could you be so careless?
to forget the ban?
the roll-on?
Or a least you would think the solid
and I slide off the bed
away from you
like the last breath
before death.

© Copyright 2000 by Judith Laura


Desperate Heart
t flutters at first
when I think of what I need
what might be coming to me
from the green black purple depths
of eternity seeming to be but an instant
and the flutter would not seem to you
unless you knew
what disparate thoughts tug
not at my heart
but my mind
spinning whirling until like a slide down a
descending spiral
I slip off the cord of life
and at the bottom, though you would think it would be
my heart still pounds
desperate to climb up again to reach

© Copyright 2000 by Judith Laura


The Korean War
Sandwiched between THE BIG ONE
and the one no one wants to talk about
it was never a war they said, simply
an action
a conflict
and some seem to think it was all one
big MASH episode
yet I know one
who gave it much
and much it gave him too
as he sat in his bunker in Orleans
protecting the French from the commies
working out various codes
and the coda
crawling over the nonexistent landmines
and into the goldmines
coming home at last to his kingdom
in Princeton
yet failing
to complete
the project
or even
the war.

© Copyright 2001 by Judith Laura

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