Poetry by Deborah P. (Debby) Cooper

TITLE POEM FROM THE CHAPBOOK Venus on the Half Shell

(with apologies to Sandro Botticelli)

Scallop shell serving as her barge / She's blown by angels to the beach,
Encountering her first mortal there. / A human woman, young and fair,
Extends a cloak (size extra large) / To clothe her, lest all men beseech.

The arriving goddess seems to feel / Embarrassed as she vainly tries
To hide herself behind her hair, / Having suddenly become aware
Her nakedness she can't conceal. / In confusion she averts her eyes.

Goddesses don't give much thought / To trivial things like being nude--
This problem she didn't contemplate, / Not suspecting that ill-humored fate
Would set her down and she'd be caught / Where nudity's considered lewd.

Now, let's ask Venus for the story / Of the work that's Botticelli's glory:
"No word," she says, "is ever spoken / About the fact my neck is broken.
This major cervical transgression / Gives my face that strange expression."

"And I'm neither prude nor overbold--/ I asked for clothes, since I was cold.
The angels blew me toward the beach / So the cloak would be within my reach.
Sandro painted this in late December; / I caught a chill, as I remember."

****************

FROM THE CHAPBOOK Observations of a Dinosaur

DINOSAUR WITH METRIC FEET

I'm a dinosaur poet--I'm quite obsolete, / For poetry now has no rhymes and no feet.
While we needn't submit now to sing-songy verse, / We have a new problem which I think is worse.

By poetical standards, my tastes are eclectic; / Good poems don't need to be rhyming or metric.
But can't I insist that their meaning be clear? / Obfuscation is passing for brilliance, I fear.

I just read some poems; they're thoroughly shameless, / And so is the publisher (who shall be nameless).

You bushwhack through the thick underbrush words clinging to you smacking you in the face assaulting you from every side you are powerless to escape this overgrown verbal foliage that surrounds you and is so dense you cannot penetrate it maybe if the poet had given you the reader a clear thought to follow you could use it machete-like to hack your way through to a meaning but no such luck there is no clue of any kind to the path out of this jungle it's like William Faulkner at his worst with no punctuation so being utterly frustrated you raise your voice and curse and shout--

In short, what in hell is this poem about?

Now, free verse can be most effective, / And using metric feet's elective.
It's not a case of right or wrong--/ There's many ways to sing a song.
But in the name of charity, / Let's cultivate some clarity!

****************

FROM THE CHAPBOOK Chortle Blossoms (entirely humorous poetry)

STELLAR CAREER

In my forties I ran several races / And won ribbons--not due to my pacing
Or my skill or my speed, but because / No one else in my age group was racing!

I think that would not be the case now, / With seniors more active than ever.
(Opportunity offered me once chance / To feel undeservedly clever.)

As a runner, committed I wasn't; / I did not persevere 'til I dropped.
The thing I enjoyed--I'll confess it--/ Was how good it felt when I stopped.

***************

FROM THE CHAPBOOK Talking Back

WINTER SONNET

New England winters are less harsh than (say)
Those of Bemidji, Minnesota, or
Alaska or Siberia, where day--
Daylight, I mean--creeps out a closing door.
New England's less extreme; I'll even state
You might see scenes from Currier & Ives.
If snow was ALL one had to tolerate--
If shovels, slush, tire chains, and scary drives
On ice did not exist, I'd like the snow.
(When I see grown-ups with proclivities
For angel wings and forts, I know
As kids they had no snow activities.)
Cold weather emigrants like me don't fuss--
We simply live where snow won't come to US.





PUBLICATION CREDITS FOR DEBBY COOPER

PUBLICATION in the following periodicals: Candlelight Poetry Journal, Capper's [a Midwestern tabloid featuring short verse], Comstock Review, Galley Sail Review, Lucidity [featured poet], Medicinal Purposes, Mobius, Nisqually Delta Review, Oatmeal & Poetry, Poetry Digest, Poet's Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, others. Publication in numerous anthologies, as well as other prizes and awards.

PUBLISHED CHAPBOOKS (32 to 40 pages each):

Venus on the Half Shell (Small Poetry Press, CA), September 1996.** (second edition 2004).
Observations of a Dinosaur (Shadow Poetry, MO), April 2004 (wide range of topics).
Chortle Blossoms (Shadow Poetry), August 2004 (entirely devoted to humor).
Talking Back (Shadow Poetry), February 2005 (takes issue with various opinions).
Rays of Light (Shadow Poetry), November 2005 (non-standard spiritual poems).
Feline/Canine: Cat & Doggerel (Shadow Poetry), March 2006 (the title says it all).
Pizza for Breakfast (Shadow Poetry), March 2007 (about food, literal or figurative).
Grandma's Top 40 (Shadow Poetry), October 2007 (miscellaneous favorites).
** One of three first prize winners in a contest for published chapbooks, 2003.

PUBLISHED MINI-CHAPBOOKS (8 POEMS):

Inglish: A Weerd Tung (Bear House Publishing, TX), October 2007.
Football Widow (Bear House Publishing), February 2008.
Confessions of an Alto (Bear House Publishing), June 2008.
Unvarnished Opinions (Bear House Publishing), December 2008.

MEMBERSHIPS: Ina Coolbrith Circle (San Francisco Bay Area, California) and CFCP (California Federation of Chaparral Poets). Poet has received prizes and honorable mentions in various contests of these two groups.
To contact: debby@edcooper.com



Right: #2M6753-Half Dome, left, Liberty Cap, right, and Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Below: #128514-Profiles of George Washington, left, and Thomas Jefferson, center, seen from top of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Photos by Ed Cooper, as they appeared in calendars.