Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Time won’t come out to play
It won’t bargain
for a return trip
or make an exchange of
…a year, a week, a day
For any reason
No matter how devout

Wrongly condemned prisoners
Released after decades
Must hate time
For not opening up
And giving back
what everyone agrees
should not have been taken

Or a persistent old scientist rediscovering
a forgotten element
He once encountered as a young lab assistant
The one that could have made all the difference to his life experiment

Killjoy time
Has firm rules against a do-over.
And I suppose it likes having sayings written about itself…
If I knew now what I knew then…
Making up for lost time…

Since time won’t play along
I compensate in the present  
Willing as much experience
into a single moment  
as can be allowed.

Take that -- time.

Friday, May 16, 2014


They’re demolishing the brick colonial
The one on the double corner lot
That stood for 75 years
For two generations of one family.

They’re cutting down that 150 year-old maple
The one that stands in corner of the double corner lot
One tree, 150 rings
Shade from spring to fall.

The tree goes first
It took them all day
To chop off its limbs
Cut down its trunk
And grind up its stump.

A perfectly good tree
Offering up another generation of green in May
To the brick house in the corner of the double corner lot
150 years gone in a day.

The house goes second
It took them two days
To smash its brick and mortar
The second floor first
The first floor last.

A perfectly good brick home
Ready to offer shelter to another family
On the corner lot
75 years gone in two days. 

For more poems see http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Sunday, May 4, 2014



A Boy's Lost Instructions

There was a final time when you said, “I’m going out to play.” But you never realized it was final... 

1.  Parachute Man

My Grandfather fell to earth in a WWI parachute
fifty years later
he taught me how to make a parachute man
with a handkerchief, string and a lead sinker
You folded the handkerchief in squares
and tossed your parachute man into the air
Nowadays most men don't carry handkerchiefs.

2.  Talking to Kites

My father showed me how to send messages
up to kites
He used old memo pads with his company logo on them
and we'd write notes
How are things up there?
tear and tape the sheets around the kite string
He'd give it a slide up the line
and off it would go spinning around till the message was delivered.
Today stunt kite flyers would not sit still to send a message.

3.  Burning Buildings

In the fall
we would burn piles of leaves.
Sometimes my father would clean old boxes from the garage
and use his pocket knife to cut out doors and windows
to make it look like a building.
He'd also cut a hole up top and insert
a cardboard paper towel tube.
The box would be set on top of the burning leaves
till the fire reached underneath
flames would flicker inside the windows
smoke would billow from the tube
and then the box would flame into a dark brittle crust.
Too bad you can’t burn leaves anymore.

4.  Backyard Cannon

I can't remember who passed on the secret instructions
but it was known among boys my age and time.
Four Seven-Up cans, top and bottom cut-outs
connect to a long stick
load with a tennis ball
fuel with lighter fluid        
and with the right technique
you could fire tennis balls into the air and over your house.
Today the neighbors would call the cops
and put you on a list.

I wonder about the lost knowledge from all
other grown up boys
of all the other ages.

The House at Night

The House at night
Reminds of how it was to be a child
When everything was safe and secure
A small light in the kitchen
The hum of the dishwasher
The House is at peace
It's done its duty for the day.


For more poems go to Verse Virtual  http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rock Out to this Latest Poem

Lake Michigan Rock

Mineral striations
of green, red and brown
compressed into a sleek shape
minding its own business
since the Precambrian Era
present for the movement of glaciers
across the landscape
unknown to me
until twenty summers ago
when I pocketed
that formation
of history and art
and took it home
to hold
as a paperweight.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


 Photo (c) John Kropf
Two new poems of adventure near and far.

Everyone should have a backyard
at least once in life
You can dig to China
Play badminton
Tend to your hydrangeas
Pitch a tent
and camp out with your best friend
Mow a lawn
Sun bathe with a cool drink
and if you wait long enough
watch the stars and galaxies reveal themselves
You can rake leaves
and send them back into the sky
by bonfire
And if you ever dig all the way to China
you could end up in someone's backyard.

Lost City

To the untrained eye
it was nothing
But when I heard they found the lost city
covered in the sands of the high desert
I thought of
the last inhabitant
on his last night
inside the the city walls
and how he walked away from its crumbling ruins
into the morning sun
turning the city into a tomb

But then I had to think
of the first person
on his first night
who settled on this hillside
and decided at sunrise
that he would turn his camp into a city

©2014 John Kropf
For more poems go to http://www.verse-virtual.com/

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Odyssey at Roslyn Metro Station

De-training on the upper platform
commuters sprint
from the downward escalator

Their broken formations
rush toward the closing doors of the Orange Line
with the same desperation
as Greeks storming the walls of ancient Troy

My escalator’s steady ascent
toward the light
converges with three beautiful women
who descend opposite
like the daughters of Demeter assigned to the Underworld.

I could be as Orpheus and rescue them
but they don't seem to need rescuing
and for that matter
I'm not much with a lyre

Instead, today is the day
when I break the surface
enter into the light
and know my good fortune is enough
to buy that winning lottery ticket.




Ask the Help Desk

My processor needs a core capacity
set to imaginations of Beethoven and Botticelli.

Reformat the Operating System
to run on the collective soul of humanity.

I’ll need a search engine
that provides results from all parallel universes.

Expanded memory capacity for
all space and time.

Connect the router
to the mind of God.

A webcam that records all dreams
with external back-up for everything.

For more poems go to Verse-Virtual at http://www.verse-virtual.com/writers.html

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Two Short, Dark Poems

Desolation Haiku

Bag flaps in bare tree
white wire hanger in dark closet
frontiers of sadness

Morning Commute: December 9,  6:38 AM

at the station

in a dark, steady stream

Everyone on the platform
in layers, hats and hoods

A vision out of the Dark Ages
congregations of 10th Century Monks
in their over-sized
cloaks and vestments
or battle weary soldiers
waiting to board landing craft.

Our train arrives
door chimes
form up
under the rain
and board
in silence
assigned to our congregations and battlefields.

For more poems go to http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


 The Last Day of Childhood 

Friends would marvel
at two rope swings hung from the rafters

One thousand feet of newsprint slung on a spool
with a bucket of American Crayons (not Crayola)

Supplies to build great structures of the world
Legos, Tinker Toys, and Lincoln Logs
carried by caravans of Tonka Trucks

Superior to the Great Library of Alexandria:
picture books on geography, WWII, treasures of the art world
American history and Charles Addams cartoons
Archives of Donald Duck, Batman and Archie comics
        --selected by my sister
        --bought by my mother
        --read my me
        --and hauled away by my father

Off in the forbidden realms:
my grandfather's workbench
and its cast iron vice
that clenched and healed
dolls, bikes and chairs

In the opposing corner
whiteness and humming
of an ever industrious
washer and drier

Gurgling and rumbling
in dark rivers below
lies the crocodile of a sump pump

Tucked in a recess
like a scarab beetle
a dusty old bowling trophy

A royal chamber
enshrines artifacts as sacred as
treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb

And now
as distant as the buried bones of a lost caravan

When we left the house
my father inscribed his own hieroglyphs
on the center basement beam
abandoned to later civilizations.



That cocktail party you
never attended
for whatever reason
--you were too tired
--you had to work late
--you didn't like the host
--the last one was a zonk

Was where you were going to meet
the business connection
that would lead to the perfect job
the lifelong friend who would one day
help you out of a jam
the woman who would be
the romantic love of a lifetime.

You would have been the perfect guest
throwing off witty bon mots and
making clever repartee

you made your way home
to open a six dollar bottle of red wine and
flop on the couch to watch
a rerun of The Office
you'd seen twice before

But tomorrow
you may have another chance.

More poems at Verse-Virtual http://www.verse-virtual.com

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Winter arrives as death
but when winter departs does it die?

That patch of snow
the last one
the scab
left over from winter’s fight

Arriving at night
as flurries and fanfare
It disappears in the day
silently shrunken by the sun

I was against it
but now I’m for it
because I realize it’s the underdog
that is destined to lose
at the end of the season

More poems at Verse-Virtual http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Everywhere and More

Everywhere and More

A short bus
ride away
from world’s end
and around
the block
from the empty quarter
lies the last
strip mall
complete with
nail salon
mattress store
dry cleaner.

More poems at Verse-Virtual http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Saturday, March 8, 2014



There go
those computers
and that Internet

Like Shakespeare
shaping the King’s English:
     --networking while multi-tasking.

Oh yes,
but how can you
control language
when you can see
futility of French language police

We could
take it off-line
off the grid.

But even then
digital bard
is programing
our tongue.  

More poems at http://www.verse-virtual.com/john-kropf.html

Saturday, March 1, 2014


New and Short.  A poem entitled Refund


I pay
five dollars
to watch
turn poor
I want
my money


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Driving the Shadows

New and short poem on the road of evening shadows.


Longleaf pines conspire
to strike the road
with slatted shadows
An off kilter picket fence
pointing to the setting sun.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014


The demand of poetry is that it keeps on coming.  Two more -- one for the technology minded and one head scratcher.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Two new poems: Beauty Substitutes and Dark Odyssey. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A new shipment of poetry.  Asking life's questions--are you mad or bald and who is the future madman.  Enjoy. 


False Dilemma     

The gods said
examine your head
you can either keep your hair
or your sanity
I kept my hair


Future Madman

Your morning visit
with news and coffee
Past and Present
Three of you
here and now
but always
shadows at the door
It's Future -- eternal party crasher
“Wait, I’ll be with you in a second.”
“Not a chance,” snickers Future
running down the street
like a Halloween prankster
laughing like mad.

©2014 John Kropf

Friday, January 31, 2014

New Poems: Words from Not Myself and Seasonal Change


In the bungalows of happiness

householders put up their

can goods of well-wishes

Out back
the kids are

stoking bonfires of resentment

in derelict steel drums

Darkness and winter

are waiting at the end of the street.


I’ve been put in this position before.
Waking up in the middle of the night
to utter phrases
not my own
(and with no one to hear them).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Poetry of Grocery Bags and Hot Coffee

Coffee, Your History

Dark redeemer 
    carrying legends of Sumatra, Arabia, Columbia

Creator of cultures
     fuel for a Sufi’s whirling dance
     drink of protests by patriots 
     in the days of revolution
     drunk in heroic proportions 
     by Balzac and Beats
     made mad by your power

Drunk black 
     by my father 
     on the troop ship
     far side of the Pacific
     World War Two
     because green skin of slime congealed 
     on tins of curdled cream

The history 
    of why I drink you as a I do.


Friday, January 24, 2014

The End of August

The End of August

In the morning
even the sun is a runny red yoke
reluctant to rise above the horizon
its tired rays bathe the street in sepia and melancholy

Your lush green lawn of May
is now a patchwork of dead spots and desiccated wisps
like the whiskers on an ancient holy man

A scattering of scorched brown leaves
-- the ones that weren’t strong enough to make it until October --
lie in the backyard like a school of beached Starfish

In town the streets are empty
public places without any public
as if its part of some government experiment
vaporizing all signs of life
except the white noise of the cicadas

Or maybe everyone has gone
to the beach to swim and sleep
trying to forget the end of summer.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Branching Out

Fellow book lovers,
I hope you'll allow a slight diversion after 100 book blog posts. 
You might be interested in a new minimalist poetry website--Verse Virtual.  Two poems per poet, no ads and always updating content.   www.verse-virtual.com

hope you'll have a look.