A Football Shoe Tossing

How the white football cleats arrived hanging from the overhead cable at Clearwater’s Philip Jones Park in the North Greenwood neighborhood is no great mystery, but why, and by whom? A few possibilities:

  • Bullies;
  • In celebration at the end of a successful season;
  • In commemoration of their use by a player who had outgrown them and is finally getting that new pair;
  • Pranksters (see Bullies);

in my neighborhood
sports shoes dangle from wire
how many tosses?
In darkness or in light of day he flung
and flung again until the cleated shoes,
enjoined by laces over wire hung,
a myriad of reasons why to choose.

And not just any pair of shoes are these
ensaddened white designer football cleats,
that flew beneath a player's nimble knees
how many touchdown runs, or sprint repeats?

A perfect step into the dewy grass,
uniting fingers with the spinning ball,
but whose feet wear white cleats beneath the pass,
the one who runs, or he who slipping falls?

What dreams now hang and sway from copper wire,
What dreams fulfilled, or burned in funeral pyre?

A Blank Renku [1] [2], by Paul Guernsey, © 2019


[1] blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.
Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to Terry Pratchett’s game of THUD.

[2] As noted in the definition of Blank Renku, variations are expected. In this case, in “A Football Shoe Tossing,” the author has chosen to extend blank verse into a formal Shakespearean sonnet. Might require a bigger Post It.

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Refrigerator Magnets 015 Range Time

5 mm Bucky Balls at 2 m


ears plugged and covered
muffled pops of cannon shots
ready to defend

of patriots with hearts of steel respect
of metal blue and powder cased in brass

chests reverberate
groupings tightening each day
holes punched through paper

[blank renku] by Paul Guernsey, 2019


blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.
Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to Terry Pratchett’s game of THUD.

Refrigerator Magnets 014

Jupiter Life Forms

Arthur C. Clarke’s gas-based life forms on Jupiter can grow to be several miles in length. Their delta-shaped predators cut them in half. Like Earthworms, each surviving half regenerates and resumes growing to full size.* This is the creature’s only known reproductive method.

*I read Clarke’s book several decades ago and may have made some of this up. Corrections are welcome.

Paul Guernsey, 2019

The State of Poetry Now? — Human Pages

Are poets today largely talking to themselves? Are many of them happy to do so, locked away in academia or whatever other cloister? Are the ones who want a wider public, and who want to take on larger subjects, just curating their shelf of books for future generations to find? I heard somewhere that after […]

The State of Poetry Now? — Human Pages

[see also, my article: Poetry Lives in the Land of Verse]

[see also, my article: Beowulf: listening for alliterative verse]

[see also, my article: Free Verse: Prose, with Style]

[See also, this link to my English Literature professor’s article: Houpt: Literature’s debt to the language and intent of the Bible ]

Refrigerator Magnets 013 The Joy in Mudville

[Hats] Baseball Cap

“…And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, …”

from Casey at the Bat, by Ernest Lawrence Thayer – 1863-1940


The Joy in Mudville

The joy in Mudville was not wholly ground in dust that day,
For cellebration on the mound rewards the victors’ play;
And while each Mudville fan did sigh and bow his head,
A mighty whooping dogpile crushed the pitcher without dread.

They raised him up upon their shoulders high for his campaign,
and brought him to the lockers as they doused him with Champagne.
They set him soaking back to Earth, still grinning victory,
And raised a boisterous chorus shouting, “Phinney! Phinney! Phinney!” [1]

[fourteener/ballad] by Paul Guernsey


In honor of “Casey at the Bat”, by Ernest Lawrence Thayer – 1863-1940

[1] “The poem was originally published anonymously (under the pen name “Phin”, based on Thayer’s college nickname, “Phinney”).[2]”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_at_the_Bat
[2] Gardner, Martin (October 1967). “Casey At The Bat”. American Heritage. 18 (6). Retrieved 20 October 2012.