Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Poem A Day Project: Home Sweet Home

My friend's husband calls to tell me
she cannot go to the beach
with me tomorrow:
she's coming unstitched with worry.
What if she has an episode?
What if her meds fail?

The problem is she remembers
as if it happened yesterday
what her father did long ago
in that house with no white shutters,
with no softness of gathered sheers,
or clean scent of white cotton.

Hers was an unscrubbed shed,
rugs were stained,
windows small and heavily draped
so light and air could not rush in.

She longs for a house
with a blooming sofa heaped with pillows,
a soft throw for an autumn nap,
sunlit bedrooms painted
in dreamy hues.

A house where childhood
can be transformed.
A lighthearted realm of seascapes,
candlesticks and books.
A place to host family dinners,
share pure embraces
and remember a beloved past.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poem A Day Project Dirge on the Pier

A hundred harbor seals swim
along the pier, all  barking and coughing.
But the bellow does not at first 
disturb the filmy light, 
the fairy shimmer around the sea.
Susan Radlov is dead. 
It's the coughing from below 
these planks that calls 
this shocking fact 
to mind again and now 
the chummy yowl of  harbor seals 
will join the growing list 
of most mournful sounds 
I'll ever hear.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Poetry Workshop (Poem A Day Project)

The poet to my right coils 
and uncoils herself, flattens her chest 
against the table, rolls around in her seat--
She just can’t contain herself in a single form.

Not her on my left with a penchant
for the lost, the brittle, all the hard
things in life, which she reads
to us with twitching eyes, spine pulled 
straight as a rod, her whole body pleading
Don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me.

Another sits so quietly.
Life has scraped her clean, taken her apart 
stone by stone, washed and dressed her
and set her down across from me.
Her poems fidget, search for a place to start.
She asks, Can anyone help me?

All the rest model courteous self-control. 
There’s not a carnival vibe among us. 
We don’t even blink when our teacher
Tells he will soon be dying.

On command we pick up our pens--
our rescue from this shy reserve.
(Just because we’re poets 
doesn’t mean we know what to say.)
We simply share a need for
kindness, for mercy as we force ourselves
upon one another shamelessly.

I'll Miss Him (Poem A Day Project)

He's leaving.
The young man lugging his TV 
Out to that beatup old car
Is happy to be going.
I’ll miss him.
But not how you miss someone
who’s never coming back, not like
you miss the child who hugged your waist
As tightly as he could and cried,
This was a fun day, mom!
I wish I could rewind it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Date (Poem A Day Project)

He talks alot about Lulu.
I know what she likes by the way she meows. 
I can see that cat purring against his chest.
Feel his hands stroking her nippled belly. 
Taste the kiss on my mouth.
That warm tongue lapping 
the little puddle behind my lips.
I can hear him listening raptly
to my meows.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's in My Journal (Poem A Day Project)

Inspired by a poem of same title 
by William Stafford

What’s in My Journal?

Highly  wrought notes 
of discontent--
ungrateful children, 
husbands, colleagues--
their slack performances
portrayed with cinematic flourish.

A messy tableau of anecdotes,  
occasional self-immolations
rescued  by exuberant affirmations:

There's magic when you’re not afraid!

Moods of rapture but also
a tiresome focus on death,

mine especially.

Bursts of discovery: 

Sand pebbles made of crushed bones, shells, 
no two exactly alike!

The incomprehensibility of everything:

What am I but clumps of wildly spinning atoms? 

And questions: Why only two genders?

The search for consolation, 
for understanding,
trails of failed attempts,
of early understandings, 
evolving understandings, 
riotous misunderstandings, 
and despair 
of ever understanding. 

Dismay the mind is immaterial:
nothing solid in here, nothing tangible
and so totally prey to chemistry. 

Protestations about life, 
about this sea of chaos, 
about the absence 
of a universal moral code. 

A fractured collage of memories
I never tire of:
full moons, shimmery seas,
snow peaks. 

Much recanting, anxious dips 
into redemptive fantasy:
A divine creator? 

And blessed moves into mindfulness:

I am the universe and it is me.

But mostly, unconnected thoughts 
that struggle
to connect
for decades,
but always
peter out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Clutter (Poem A Day Project)

My daughter looks happier

than her baby daddy.

At least in this picture 
in my hand, the same hand

that used to hold up

5 fingers to her five fingers 


waited a decade 

till she could count them.

No surprise she hooked up with him.
But astonishing how these puerile 
minds pilot such beautiful faces
(like a plow pulling Arabian horses).

Her beauty still stuns me: The face
of an ageless innocent 
(despite the later mayhem).

Funny how my whole world can
be captured by a single photo,
a thought that sets me back in motion, 
clearing the shelves, ready 
to pack up all these pictures.

I rarely even notice the faces anymore,
Only see the clutter, the absence 
of symmetry in the frames, 
all of which evokes 
the constant need for tolerance 
and proves how many ways things go wrong, 
how truth can be obscured but not changed--
It bashes me in my own home--persistent
and powerful--but I’m impressed
that such an imperfect life as mine
remains so eminently liveable.

Monday, February 11, 2013

No Exit (Poem A Day Project)

On this late afternoon, a yearning overtakes me
when only my eyes and nose stay dry as islands
in a plenitude of liquid and heat,
all the rest submerged,
thighs bobbing, hair spiraling 
like seaweed.

The radio makes noises my flooded ears
have lost sense of, 
steamed skin, cooked bones.

I feel a self disperse, float high
into insubstantiality, into delight
into the last drops of density 

light the window with haloes,
push gently against the glass
ready to make a graceful farewell 
when there's a knock
on the bathroom door, 
a chill in the water
and the noises from the radio 
make perfect sense again.