Paper Bones

Paper Bones

by Sherry Rentschler

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Overview

Who says poetry has to be boring?
Why can't poetry be an adventure where you discover heartbreak and "happy endings" as well as sorrow and emotional drama? Who says poetry has to be dull and archaic instead of thrilling or even funny?
Adventures await in this poetry collection filled with stories and tales of humorous moments, chilling anecdotes, and sorrows to break the heart. Experience poetry as voyeur, culprit, victim, and coach.
Examine the teenager who barters her soul just to get by, or the woman who runs away from an abuser, or the abused who, sadly, never made it out. Laugh with the inexperienced young lovers or sigh with profound joy shared between old married couples. Rage at apathy, sneer at ineptitude, then meet a living nightmare. Finally, stand proudly beside sacrifice and honor.
Within these pages, the familiar unfolds in fresh, poetic rhythms with unique viewpoints. Far from boring, this is poetry for everyone. With luck, the verses will etch themselves in your heart and live forever in the bone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481766869
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 07/10/2013
Pages: 114
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.27(d)

Read an Excerpt

PAPER BONES


By Sherry Rentschler

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2013 Sherry Rentschler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4817-6686-9



CHAPTER 1

    Organ Grinder's Secret

    Tunes plucked in a hurdy-gurdy are
    discordant notes from an angry ukulele
    picked and pained like old scabs and
    old love songs, too cliché to remember,
    like some people.

    Razor blades, though dulled with use,
    are easy to manipulate. Cut deep,
    and dull can do the job. Blood is
    indiscriminate, like sharpness,
    like some people.

    Slice off the membrane of the music box.
    Peel back the skin to reveal
    shiny bones in a hollow shell,
    embarrassed, naked, raw,
    like some people

    who crank melodies from their lives,
    empty of nerve and honed like new razors
    easily used up, echoes of an exposed lyric
    too obscene, to plagiarized, to forget.

    Like some people.


    Trill Allegretto
    duet of meadowlark and nightingale

    Perched high and alone, sweet bird of day
    warbles her clear, whistling song
    of solitude, content of earth meagerness
    in gentle warmth of muted grays and browns.
    She prefers singleness to crowds,
    open spaces, freedom, and a clear view of heart.
    Those wings -- small and delicate --
    form one edge of a shadow's side.
    Bright-eyed, undaunted,
    walking, not hopping,
    happy in light's play --
    stalwart, northern meadowlark.

    The sunlight curves; dusk tickles day.

    Cloistered in brush, hushed night-singer hums,
    his soft trill of yearning, a simple sigh,
    unnoticed for the thicket and veiled wood,
    camouflaged in russet and brown.
    He prefers thickets, nestled in the vale,
    sharp-eyed, hidden, called to shadows,
    a herald to the twilight drawing nigh.
    Mating call, a last sweet surrender,
    to stealthy, shadow's underbelly.
    He is night's last goodbye –
    clever, dulcet, wistful --
    gentleman, southern nightingale.

    They meet on the edge of the sky --
    odd, loving couple; Heaven's harmony.


Dust of Me

Frustration.
A vermicular disease
fed by the parasite
of Man's borderline
Confidence and Ennui.

Love.
A fluke of Man's heart.
A wake between
Empathy and Apathy
and the need to smile.

Hate.
A resolution of Man's Self.
A subconscious diversion
of Greed and Jealousy;
a self-satisfying pity.

Lust.
The fear of Man's inadequacy.
An embarrassment of impotence.
A fluency of delicate desires,
subversive revolution of the body.

Emotions.
The natural holocaust
of Man's true Self.
The illogical surrender
of composite stupidity,
a truce of mind and heart;
the Defense against Man.
    Changing Clothes

    There are moments when we dress with emotional fashion:
    linen for lament, chiffon for sweet chagrin,
    sometimes taffeta - frayed and tattered - for tormented longings,
    yearnings woven into yarns, chintz for childish formality,
    cold hearts netted by nostalgia and even friendship's flannel.
    Threads binding these garments of our heart's closet
    are easily snipped or torn by muslin misadventures.
    Protective, we pack away our finery for special occasions,
    like seasonable, sensual silks.

    But, love's sheerest lace shows us at our best,
    surrendering us to satin sighs and dreams of nothing less
    than to be fashioned in a velvet veil of voluptuousness.
    Naked, clad in designer's knit, is the last emotional couture
    we gladly give away to be, for love, undressed.


Real Foodies

Bought and paid for,
the crumbs lining the toaster's floor
smell of our tasteful diversity,
our rigidity, our fear of change,
complacent and apathetic,
with obvious gluttonous waste,
discerned from the sheer volume of
sharp-edged crust.

This is who we pretend we are,
wrapped, packaged,
in our designer grocery called "gourmet."
Publicly, we are proud bruschetta after cinema verité,
secretly craving white bread with peanut butter,
inhaled, devoured,
in sloppy, finger-licking privacy
with late-night TV.


    Politics of War
    on the eve of Desert Storm, 1991

    What is the price of being "right?"
    If you speak gently, can you have "might?"
    If you talk tough, must you be feared?
    And if defiant, will you be jeered?
    What is the price of being right?
    Is conviction enough "belief" for a fight?
    How do you defend, what can you do
    against a people who hate, but need you?
    What is the line in the sand really for?
    Are twelve years not enough patience for war?
    Who do we blame when a young soldier dies?
    Do we weep tears for the sand in his eyes?
    What do you say to the Dad and the Mom
    who lost all their children to a terrorist bomb?
    Do we "Cry Havoc!" and let loose the hounds
    over human shields and cyanide grounds?
    How many planes, buildings, and people must blow
    before terrorism and supporters are forced to go?
    Can we live in a world where promises are cheap?
    Do we dare allow honor to fall asleep?
    When is enough "enough" and therefore okay
    to be right enough to vote for war today?
    If we vote for it, can't we also be sad
    about being "right" while flying to Bagdad?
    Perhaps I should ask while singing peace songs,
    what is the price if "no war" is wrong?


    Lessons in Metaphor

    I heard the roses scream.

    From petulant youths and belligerent lawn mowers,
    stems frayed beyond recognition, surrendered,
    fragrance attenuating hours after mindless wreckage.
    Trampled on, hurriedly raked, bruised petals
    shishkebabbed between worn teeth were scooped
    and removed in ignoble bags of shiny black.

    I had to look away.

    Weeks later, I looked askance at remnants
    of that thorny, grim, last visage; curiosity
    compelled me to return, a voyeur to carnage.
    Secret chartreuse buds now sprouted hearty stalks
    of eager, flaming heads. Teased by sweet water
    and fervent sun, nurtured by invisible hands,
    thoughtless death renewed to desperate life.

    I could not look away.

    Tenuous heart and trembling hand reached out,
    caressed perfumed petals, and spent a tear upon a thorn.
    I heard the roses sigh.

    I will not look away again.


    Simulacrum

    Her silhouette drapes sinuously
    across the doorway,
    An orchid, bruised, but not crushed.
    Statuesque.
    Motions so imperceptibly tiny,
    unremarkable,
    except for the eyes.
    Chinese jade set in opals,
    watchful.
    A voice of creamed sherry,
    lips for sighs,
    perfume of moonflowers.
    Swallow, then gasp for breath.
    Ah, curare.
    Effortless walk; even shadows blink.
    No one notices.
    Cigarette smoke teasing,
    escaping.
    Tentative fingers on cocoa lips.
    No, mocha.
    Hands drift, curtains ripple.
    Chills.
    Rustling watered silk on satin skin.
    Damning.
    Behind you, less a feeling,
    more belief,
    like having faith
    (or needing to!).
    Pausing,
    open door to twilight.
    Onyx meets ivory,
    vanished, silent.
    A stamen, bereft,
    resigned, free.
    No one noticed.
    Wait ... for me.


    Little Ponderings
    I & III & II

    I.
    On Principle


    Contradiction comes
    from fearing the power of
    silent convictions.

    II.
    Inside Edges


    If triangles have edges,
    pointed and pointless,
    and people are like triangles,
    mean, and meaningless,
    then people have edges;
    hypotenuse and hypocrisy.


    Love's Last Stand

    One lazy, foggy, August evening,
    Love and I sat down to dinner,
    and, with warm red wine, we spoke
    about lovers, losers, and winners.
    "It's all in how you play," Love said,
    "It's just a gambler's game.
    Unfortunately when the deck is dealt,
    no heart remains the same."
    He laughed then said, "The deck is fixed,
    and all my dealers cheat.
    It's the way you play the game, you see,
    I'm never caught; I can't be beat."

    He paused in silent reflection
    as I mulled around his boast.
    Then feeling a smile surround my mouth,
    I raised my glass in a toast.
    "To Love," I said in my wickedness,
    "Let him beat me if he can!
    Let him cheat me if he dares!
    Tonight is Love's Last Stand!"
    His eyes grew wide with an evil glitter.
    as he accepted the challenge in kind.
    I shivered with just the tiniest tingle,
    not knowing the game on his mind.

    "Poker," he whispered, "We'll play for keeps.
    There are eight hands to a deck.
    We'll play them out, the last to fold,
    will be heart-broken and wrecked.
    Now ante up," he sneered at me,
    and amazed, I asked, "with what?"
    He winked and smugly replied, "Your heart,"
    presenting me with a deck to cut.
    Into the night we played ceaselessly.
    Love's gamble increased by the hour.
    Gleefully he bested me time and again.
    My heart faltered under his power.

    I firmed my resolve and set my jaw,
    determined to play out the game.
    His evil smile haunted my aching soul
    and caused me to shout his name.
    "Love! You bully! You emotional liar!
    I will never admit to defeat!
    I'll see you and raise you, unendingly,
    and now I call, you devil's cheat!"
    On and on we continued our play
    until the eighth hand was done.
    The count was in; the pot was lost.
    He beat me seven hands to one.

    Only four cards remained in the deck.
    I gambled on one last stance.
    High card, one draw, low man out ...
    "Love," I pleaded, "one last chance?"
    With a malignant smile, he agreed
    to a final gamble, one last shot.
    He saw the fear of defeat in my eyes
    then he drew, his mind on "the pot."
    The grin that I saw sent chills down my spine
    as he announced with a note of finality,
    "It's been fun and you've been so very kind."
    Then he rose to take his leave of me.

    In a moment I knew the game was played out
    as he laid down his card and rose to depart.
    His card was death, the Ace of Spades,
    but he lost to me and my Ace of Hearts.
    So it was that Love was mine that night,
    and my heart is ours to keep.
    The final irony he'll never know.
    (You can't out cheat a cheat!).
    Although he played with the skill of his trade -
    guile, emotion, and time -
    on the last card True Love holds the ace -
    Faith! – so the pot was mine!

    You must brave the risk if you take on Love.
    The game is always lost if you fold.
    You must challenge Love to the very last card,
    and take refuge in the heart you hold!

(Continues...)

Excerpted from PAPER BONES by Sherry Rentschler. Copyright © 2013 Sherry Rentschler. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword....................     xv     

Introduction....................     xvii     

Organ Grinder's Secret....................     1     

Trill Allegretto....................     3     

Dust of Me....................     4     

Changing Clothes....................     5     

Real Foodies....................     6     

Politics of War....................     8     

Lessons in Metaphor....................     9     

Simulacrum....................     10     

Little Ponderings I & II....................     11     

Love's Last Stand....................     12     

Nostalgic Gluttony....................     15     

Crime of Passion....................     16     

Call 1-888-784-2433....................     17     

sHIVaree....................     18     

Paper Bones....................     21     

The Apologist....................     22     

Little Ponderings III & IV....................     23     

Peanut Butter and blood Sandwiches....................     24     

High School-foolery....................     26     

Turkey Trip....................     27     

Amusement Park....................     30     

Handmade....................     31     

The Paper Cut Murder....................     32     

Woman....................     33     

Man in the Moon....................     34     

Living the Fantasy....................     36     

Twist of the Tongue....................     38     

Brewing Bruises....................     39     

I Wish You Joy....................     41     

What Size is Love?....................     42     

Repechage!....................     43     

The Hangnail Prison....................     44     

Color Me Divorced....................     45     

When Rachmaninoff Smiled....................     46     

Life's Bonfires and Beatitudes....................     48     

Unsolved Miseries....................     49     

Common Needs....................     51     

Handle With Care....................     53     

The Novel Under the Bed....................     54     

Cloistered....................     55     

Heartbreak and Other Sounds....................     56     

Yesterday's News....................     58     

Let's Pretend....................     59     

The Flip Side....................     61     

Aftershave Turned Vinegar....................     62     

Love Among the Mushrooms....................     63     

... and out of town....................     64     

Serial Before Breakfast....................     66     

Space Shuttle Columbia 9 a.m....................     68     

Mirror Mirror....................     69     

Aw-tummm Onomatopoeia....................     72     

Original Poetry....................     74     

Waiting in the Quiet....................     77     

Poeme Noir....................     78     

Who Will Remember?....................     81     

Last Lessons....................     83     

Fuzzy Slippers and Cold Cream....................     84     

Acknowledgements....................     86     

Special Acknowledgement....................     87     

About the Author....................     89     

Index....................     91     

Customer Reviews

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Paper Bones 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
PJ_LaRue More than 1 year ago
Paper Bones by Sherry Rentschler is proof that poetry is not a dead language or bygone art form. As I read her book, I felt emotions slice through my soul. She moves lyrically from hate and indifference to love, and then from despair to hope. While this book has reflections on domestic violence, it also covers love, the loss of a close friend and so much more. It's a dance of words and emotions choreographed from a lifetime of experiences. The poetry also shows that abuse is not just for the lower class or the uneducated. She proves to be well spoken and well read, but her meaning is still understood if one isn't as well educated. You won't miss her point when she draws her pen across the pages. Two of my favorite poems were "Call 1-888-784-2433" and "Peanut Butter and Blood Sandwiches." They appealed to me for personal reasons I cannot disclose without revealing her punch lines at the ends of the poems. But my absolute favorite was "Repechage!" and alongside that, I adored "Love's Last Stand." They sever the haze of abuse and leave one knowing that hope is stronger than hurt, bruises fade and given the right circumstances love will prevail. Ms. Rentschler's book is a finalist in the 2014 Readers Favorite International Book Awards. If I were on the panel, this book would win hands down!
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tania Staley for Readers' Favorite Every once in a while, a book of poetry comes into my possession that forces me to share it with others, whether they consider themselves poetry readers or not. Sherry Rentschler’s book, Paper Bones, is one of these books. As I read her poems, I wanted to share them, if only to hear them said aloud. In her introduction to the collection, Rentschler states, “I don’t know if I will ever call myself a true poet,” but I will do it for her. She is a poet in the truest sense of the word. Someone who sees the world in a new light and shares their insights with the melody of their words.  Her poems have the ability to both enchant and haunt the reader. Rentschler’s poems take on often clichéd poetic topics, such as love, loss, and depression, and explore them in new and profound ways, sharing her perceptions of these experiences with honesty and creativity. For example, in her poem “Love’s Last Stand,” one of my personal favorites in the collection, she equates the act of falling in love with a game of poker, with the love interest playing a gambler who has never been beaten and the potential suitor playing the adversary simply trying to win one hand. Like many of the poems in her collection, this one is clever and whimsical, yet at the same time shines a glaring light upon the serious issues of the topic. In this poem’s case, the games we play in love. Paper Bones is an excellent poetry collection that I will recommend to all the poetry readers in my life. I highly recommend it for both scholars of poetry and those just beginning to explore the art form. I truly hope that this is not the last I will read from this outstanding poet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the hardback. Dust cover was cool. Liked the color. Inside I was kinda surprised to find photography but thought it was a nice touch to the poems. Added a layer to their understanding. There is a poem in the book same as the title of the book and tho they may relate, I think the title has more to do with poetry being a part of us. One poem I liked a lot was "Heartbreak and Other sounds." Rentschler's descriptions are eerie. And the picture that goes with it really makes you think about the kids on the street selling themselves. There's lots of other stuff in here too like HIV, suicide and women who are abused. I like the poem about the Space Shuttle too. I was surprised how easy to read it was. Never liked poetry in high school but in college they made us read a lot. I wish I had this book then. Thanks.