Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29 Ode

Ode to Spring

Even willows drape yellow.
Red maple buds
Burst now, suddenly open, green.

Sixty-three degrees
and girls hear the call of their skin--
Show me show me show me--
prance around in tiny shorts
while boys jump off rocks into chill pond.

Nearby, peepers start up chirping
and salamanders follow their lovingly built
crossing, avoid being squashed beneath tires.

Amherst buzzes with it: the light!
Forsythia! Rhododendrons and daffodils!
No stopping it now.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28 without something

Without the train’s whistle,
I wouldn’t look up every so often,
asking, what’s that music?
Is an organ playing somewhere?

I wouldn’t think of Emily Dickinson
hearing the same train a little ways
down the track, some time ago
or remember the retired librarian
who gave a little wave and a smile,
and jumped in front of the train.
Without the train’s whistle,
I’d likely forget the music of distance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27 In the this of that

In the clamor of innocence
longing to be knowledge,
unwary children jangle like spare change
in the pocket of God’s cargo pants.

Forgotten hitchhikers climb pillars
of broken thumbs, trembling with error,
squashing berries of lust.
At last the hush of razors.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26 Lead or follow

Marriage: a dance

His daily whims
take the family
through complex choreography.
We become a team of ginger
rogerses (backwards and in high heels).
Today he thinks we should move to Utah,
ski all winter and trap stallions
in the spring. Tomorrow
he’ll decide a hammock
for our little yard will suffice.
We count our blessings
his father made him fear boats.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25 Falling

Birds falling from the sky
Trees balancing on branches
Roots like antennae scraping clouds
Searching for a signal where
where is the nest
With its pale blue eggs
Has your vacuum inhaled them,
Sent them through the void
Like a message to the conductor
Of the train twisted orchestrally?
Clap, ye martyrs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24 Poem on Prayer

Cheating at Prayer 1

It hurts! It hurts!

With mother, band-aids
Appeared, bearing lady-bug
Designs. With God, a nod


Cheating at Prayer 2

You don’t love me.
If you loved as much
as the preacher says,
I’d be happy.

Happy. Hmmm. I see.

Cheating at Prayer 3

This is really the last time
I’m asking You for a favor.
If it doesn’t turn out right
I’m done.

OK then.
See you tomorrow.
Same time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23 quit what you’re doing

Dear Sisyphus,
thank you for showing me
just how ridiculous
I am with my inability
to admit I’m beaten,
even after all the tortoises
have finished the race
and are hoisting
their well-deserved pints,
toasting their glossy publications.
This persistence is no virtue,
this continuing to write poem
after dreadful poem:
it’s just habit.
What else is there to do,
but push that stone?

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22 Only

An only child,
the only one
to hear
angry words sparking
through night air,
falling as dust
behind the couch.

Only the child
remembers, tries
to make sense
of the jagged words,
still glowing in her mind.
Could she be sure
they were really screamed:
the accusations,
declarations of despair?

Under the couch,
she finds only
gum wrappers
and a forgotten doll.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21 second thoughts

Second thoughts? That would require
excavation—an archeological dig.
I’ve been through third, fourth
and well beyond thoughts, am quite
deeply immersed in the infinite loop
of regret. How far back
does the chain of blame go?
Birth, conception,
parental conception, the
cries of the persecuted, the exiles,
the wanderers on the earth.
The hemlock swaying so abashed
by the wind, beaten into showing
its lighter leaf undersides.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20 message in a bottle

No need for rescue;
I never did learn
how to hold my fork.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19 Love and anti love

Love: a Literary History

First came Love Story
with the profundity we pre-teens
lapped up: “Love means never
having to say you’re sorry.”
Our parents recoiled with rightful horror.

Then we read Fromm’s The Art of Love,
and explained it to ourselves
and each other: all I can now recall
is egoism a deux,
which does explain quite a few.

Next we all spied in Nin’s House of Love
excluded from the feasts
others enjoyed.
Hints of lesbianism and incest
but whose was that hairy chest?

Once I read a book that said Love
is God or was it the other way
around, or ought it not be a reflexive
statement anyway, if love is love
and God is within, without and above.

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18 “Like”

Like I always said,
no one can predict:
you just can’t tell

Like I would have listened
had anyone warned me
but no one did: no one ever does

Like there’s any point
Like anyone ever learns
any way except the hard way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17 Big Picture

Transfiguration refigured

Fighting sleep in the blinding light
the first thing to do is make tents?
Peter runs off, gets goat skins and ropes
and while the cloud is trying to encompass
them, and God is trying to be heard,
the disciples are busy hoisting
and raising as if it could be contained.
But the dazzling brightness
keeps blazing through,
burning holes in the goat skin,
brightness not stopping
God still shouting
and nothing stops it all
from disappearing,
going back to normal
so that everyone wonders
whether any of it really happened,
except now there’s a piece of charred goat skin.

Centuries later, it's a piece of a tapestry,
the face of love gazing out into the cathedral
but finallay shimmies off a spider,
spins out into a spiral galaxy,
the face had only been holding its breath
wincing in the flashbulbs of our folly.

April 16 snapshot


Snapdragons spoke easily to me
a gentle touch opened their jaws
for velvet voices:
Yellow wisdom
rich red remarks.
Why are they silent now?

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15 Profile

Blitz poem (but shorter) to the Old Man in the Mountain (also known as Profile) of NH

Face Up Now

Mountain top rock
Mountain top face
Face of a man
Face of a God
God’s sign
God of interstate
Interstate through a Notch
Interstate by Frost’s place
Place in New Hampshah
Place in the universe
Universe wide
Universe cold as ice
Ice sheet receded
Ice age eroded
Eroding continued
Eroding never stopped
Stopped the face
Stopped the falling
Falling overnight
Falling into day
Day of wreckage
Day of emblems lost
Lost the symbol on coins
Lost the image on signs
Sign of permanence once
Sign of transience now
Now we gaze at crumbling
Now we hike and ski alone

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14 MYOB

Thank you for your interest
in reading this poem.

Its contents are classified
however, and the remainder

of its lines will be

April 13 relationship poem

The Old Neighborhood

Maida was friends with Maddy;
When they fought, one would be my friend instead.

Occasionally, we all tossed a frisbee in the street
Calling out when cars drove by; watching for dog doo.

We loved the young man who worked in the candy store;
His ponytail and scraggly beard. How much candy we bought!

The old Armenian lady raised the American flag every morning;
We called her the flag lady and she never spoke to anyone.

After she died, the old man saw me smoking,
Begged me to stop: cancer had killed her.

Our cat named Sam found his way into Sam Coleman’s basement;
Trapped there for days, making a mess.

Only the Millers put up Christmas trees and lights;
Still Nic Cage shot a scene from Family Man in front of our house.

I was a skinny girl, so the obstetrician next door called me fat.
The old maple tree died and they never planted a new one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12 A FORM

Sevenling (that a crow)

That a crow
could so pester a hawk, flying,
while below, a cat eats grass

That students quail in the distance,
essays await grades
books go half read

Pursuit isn’t always pretty.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11: “Maybe”

Maybe the voices in your head
don’t stand a piccolo’s chance
in a herd of tubas of being heard,
but it can’t hurt to keep tuned
in to the reedy hum. Because
if every single imagined heaven
is possible, and they cancel
each other out, what happens is
that nothingness, which may be
someone’s version of heaven
but not yours so keep screaming.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 9 time of day

6 a.m.

With a gasp that soon
subsides to wheeze,
the coffee maker awakens,
sending delicious steam
into the kitchen.
In the bedroom, the cat
smells it first and starts
kneading the blankets,
preparing for the dollop
of catfood soon to appear.
The old man reaches for the remote
and wide-awake people briskly proclaim
what could be seen by opening curtains
if they were remote controlled
instead of poor handmade relics
of hippy past. So the weather report
must provide the clues
about the chasm of day about to open.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8 celebration

How long does champagne stay bubbly?
The bottle, still beribboned,
is in the back of a closet,
where the cat dwells, when scared.
It was given to me for graduation,
but I wasn’t thirsty then.
How about the 50th birthday? Well.
Not yet. When?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7 What If

What if my siblings had been human,
rather than four-footed and furry,
and I had been inspired to mate
with my own kind? Would I have
a happy brood, like our Madonna
of aptly named Fisher Street,
one of whose five children bears
the same name as my only cat,
and the child smiles
and smiles at my face if he knows
some joyful secret about me?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 6: Don’t this, that

Don’t be a stranger, visit more often,
but you won’t, because strangeness
encases you like mist,
its empty scent.

Iron kettles filled with water,
placed on a wood stove,
daub the air with gentle moisture
and the scent that is nameless,
like you, my lost friend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5:Goofy poem

Perils in the tot shop

If you don’t like giraffes,
this is not the shop for you;
go next door to the monkey store.

Monkeys with bananas
and evil grins, clinging
to trees with twizzly tails
and not a monkey mommy to be seen.

Is this really good for babies?
Doesn’t anyone surround them with lambies
anymore? Kind, gentle, fuzzy lambs
romping on mythic meadows
soothed when we were young.

Babyhood now: it’s a jungle!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4

The Queen of Slumber

Denizen of the doze,
guided by purring one’s
expertise in the realms
of relaxation, soft sheets
melt into piles of pillows.
Lavender is lovely but
even orange ginger,
despite its claims,
barely causes a stir:
consciousness lingers
a wakeful second or two more
then the delightful drift.
Greedy to prolong the moment
when, still aware, she knows
she is destined to sleep.
Pleasure at its purest.
She will wear the crown of dreams.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3 “the world without me”

The pole that holds the bird feeder
would not have been stuck into the hillock
behind this house, nor the birdbath
bought and filled. So the jays
would have flown by,
far overhead, never squawking
about some paradise sprung up below.

When snowdrifts shortened the distance
to the feeder by a good two feet,
the squirrels learned it was possible
to achieve nourishing bliss.
They have not forgotten the lesson
though the snow has melted
and they leap, impossibly high, to devour.
This discovery of their potential
would not have been made,
a loss to squirrels everywhere.
Who says I don’t matter.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2: postcard

Postcard from almost spring

The bulbs have sprouted by Moonbeam’s grave.
When they flower, white blossoms
will remind us of white fur.

I have doubts about the hydrangea,
which last year, eked out one blue flower
but spent this winter under snow.

Will keep you posted.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1 2011

Prompt: What Brought You Here.

A noble deed,
drew me out from garbage,
where my first gasping breaths
sucked in rancid sardine scent
but mother’s milk was fine,
the space warm, the dark comforting,
and a muffled drone of traffic sounds
soothed us to sleep.

A box brought us then
to a house, loud and bright,
where feet approached without warning
and hands lifted me to terrifying heights
then put me back in the box.
They meant well.

I have adapted
to a life of proper baths,
regular meals, petting.

Yet sometimes, I remember
that great metal tunnel,
resonating with my sibings’ purrs,
and I yowl
once, maybe twice.