Friday, November 10, 2017

Her voice

Between sips of French Roast, words 
dribble 
into this white space
and wiggle to life,
to become perhaps 
a poem 
or the last leg 
of one. 

I can do this all day. 

I am in no hurry. 
I can get up any time for a stroll 
then sit down again here 
or in some other cafe 
and read Sharon Olds' confessions 
to loosen my shy tongue 
until words sprinkle around 
and I see some consoling truth 
emerge in this or that phrase 
and then lean back, 
sip more coffee, 
hear thoughts meander 
out of their caves 
down my right hand 
onto this page, 
just as I magined 
all those years 
sitting in that high rise 
looking down on cafes 
where people at small tables 
like this one 
sat for hours 
eavesdropping, 
scribbling. 

Someday that will be you, 

a voice consoled. 
That voice of longing 
that won't die in me.

My new chapbook, Moments of Our Parting, available on Amazon





ttps://www.amazon.com/Moments-Our-Parting-Ellen-McCarthy/dp/1976348765/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509291183&sr=8-1&keywords=ellen+mccarthy+moments+of+our+parting

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

After the trial

After the trial, and what a trial; 
one manages to stand up again;
life wants to go on.

Odd isn’t it?
To love life even though it takes and takes.

When the raft floats away, we refuse to sink
but clasp life’s hand like a drowning child.

No one buries their beloved and leaps off 
the roof. 
Not even Edgar Allan Poe

after loosing the beautiful Lenore,
the light of wants remained lit in him.

Our bodies, these lamps of desire, endure,
tho awake all night, naked and stiff.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Chimes

Wind on metals,

a match made 

in heaven,

a sound fluent 

in sorrow and joy, 

each note 

a simple spirit

that tows me 

from my self 

into the eye 

of a storm, 

a center, free, 

no agitation; 

whatever I do, 

wherever I stand, 

the ting ting ting 

brings me to a pause;

my crouching soul 

stands up 

and bows to it,

feels each note 

enter as a kind word, 

feels the ting ting ting 

of grace, 

the ting ting ting 

of blessing 

come over me.  

I say, gather me 

and ting to me 

and seal me up. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Counting the damage

What if I forget him?
What if he blurs like a good vacation?
Already I have to concentrate, piece him 
together as a puzzle, matching the bits into familiar
body parts--his swollen knee, wrist with
fancy watch, lips pinched into a trumpet.   
What if the pieces tatter? 
Stop fitting? 
What if one day I can’t recall 
but a moment? 
Already a hush settles into every crevice 
as if stillness were normal in our house.
Already I have grown used to having 
no one in love with me.
I frame photos with the breath of panic,
mail his face to everyone.
I will not count his memory
among all the other damage.

Threads

Widows:
Don’t turn away 
from the mirror. 
Keep looking 
at what you’re made of--cloth strong 
enough to be a flag and don’t forget 
he loved you 
for your spine 
that’s not crocheted but woven 
tight as burlap
and because your heart is spun 
of silk, 
its long threads pulled 
from countless other acts 
of metamorphoses.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to remember

For quality memories, first blanche them; 
the dirt will ruin all. 
Peel off the shade before storage. 
Like the day you played hooky 
with a married old professor.
Keep only his grateful kisses,
how tenderly he squeezed your hand goodbye. 
Store only drops of joy, hold on 
to the sweet seeds and juice. 
Memories can be chopped up any way you like; 
almost none can be kept whole. 
So stick with the best parts, the parts least 
bruised and spoiled, snip what lacks the flavor 
of happy recollections. 
I can tell you that grief and other passions 
loosen the tough skins of bitter times––they slip 
off easily. Let the pealed memories cool 
then store them in your heart's larder. 
When you’re ready, behold this delicious jam, 
savor it for the rest of your days.