Thursday, March 28, 2013

December Morning

December Morning

December morning, well before the start
            of memory or planning for the day,
            just half-awake I hear the birds at play
            and give no thought to how things fall apart.
I lie so still I know the secret heart
            of all that breathes and all that drifts away;
            and as the room dissolves from black to gray
            I think of X-rays and the doctors’ charts. . . .
. . . a year ago? The day they broke the news
            I still recall the tremor in your face
            and walking to the car on stumbling feet
and fearing every little pain or bruise.
            Last night I reached to find you in your place,
            forgetting, and touched only icy sheets.

Today was my first full day off from work in about three weeks. I have done a little writing, but very disjointed and fragmentary. Lucky for me, Sam Peralta over at tonight's dVerse Form For All has us writing Miltonic sonnets--and one of my fragments lent itself easily to the form. I was able to keep the meter and the rhymes very close, with the ABBAABBACDECDE form. I also tried to stay true to Milton's ordinary use of indented lines. Happy writing, all! Hopefully I will not be called in to work tomorrow, and I can do what I enjoy--reading and commenting on y'all's wonderful poetry!

[Edited: I need to pay better attention before posting. I removed an extra "?" in l. 9 that remained after moving some phrases around. I kept playing with that line, and still do not care for it as it is. Maybe later.]

Jane Kenyon: Cleaning the Closet

This must be the suit you wore
to your father's funeral:
the jacket
dusty, after nine years,
and hanger marks on the shoulders,
sloping like the lines
on a woman's stomach, after
having a baby, or like the down-
turned corners
of your mouth, as you watch me
fumble to put the suit
back where it was.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Western Dreams

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words iconic, lithe, edgy. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. I offer my apologies to both communities for linking when I am not sure how much I'll be around this week to read and comment on others' submissions. Overtime, sick kids, you know how it is sometimes. But this just rushed out of me in response to the 3WW prompt, and it had been so long since my last writing. 

Western Dreams

Dad followed a dream
out west, the iconic west,
to do better for us,
success as sure as the sun
rising. I had my own dreams
of cowboy hats and hitching posts,
of lithe flames of midnight
campfires licking the darkness,

but we lived in a house
much like our old house, and I went
to a school where the cocksure kids still
pointed fingers like blue-steel barrels.

So much the same,

yet the soil smelled different,
even the sun felt different
on the skin, like wearing
a stranger’s shirt, and Dad
grew edgy, hitting me
when the zipper of my winter coat
stuck hard in the fabric, frustration
not directed toward me, per se,
but toward life in general
and I happened to be nearest.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Emerson: What is Wisdom?

To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

--R. W. Emerson, from "Experience"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marilynne Robinson: What Are All These Fragments For?

For why do our thoughts turn to some gesture of a hand, the fall of a sleeve, some corner of a room on a particular anonymous afternoon, even when we are asleep, even when we are so old that our thoughts have abandoned other business? What are all these fragments for, if not to be knit up finally?

--Marilynne Robinson, from Housekeeping

Thursday, March 7, 2013



There they are again.
Faint thuds, incessant,
demanding attention
like an unlatched
barn door banging
in the winter wind.

Perhaps that’s all it is,
a door ajar;
or a pile-drive pounding
columns for the overpass
that will (we are promised)
help us navigate
the snarling traffic;
or the boy two streets down,
imagining a game
on the line, dribbling slowly
as he readies for the
final shot.

But I deceive myself.
I know if I travel
a few miles southwest,
past the spoiled Ogeechee
and twisted pines,
I’ll see mangled earth,
I’ll feel air crinkle
with concussive
power. Ft. Stewart
trains for death.

they’ll set their sights
on flesh, on foreign
barns and bridges,
just as hopeful as
my neighbor kid that
practice pays off.
This is a second draft of an earlier poem--still not fully satisfied with it, but it seemed to fit tonight's prompt over at dVerse, where poets Victoria Slotto and Pamela Sayers have us writing about our places of residence. I live in Savannah, GA. I could have written about a lot of things, for Savannah is a city of wonderful beauty and history. It is also a military town, with three bases within close driving distance. I chose to write about that.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Heaven and Earth

I haven't written in a few weeks--work and winter colds have left me feeling a little strung out. Linking this little piece to dVerse OpenLinkNight, hoping that you all will join in and share your little piece of heaven and earth.

Heaven and Earth

It’s good to think
high thoughts—
our brains lightly brush
the heavens, lifted from earth,
drawn above plodding feet
into the beyond—

but at times we must rest
our heads in the tall grass,
as when we were children,
to smell the slow decay
and make peace with
our native home.

Edited: A few hours after posting this I realized a stray line had made it through the cutting process, making a very strange first stanza. Now removed for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Michael Manring's Enormous Room

Back in the day I played bass guitar. Still have one tucked away in the closet, and once in a great while I give in to the urge to get it out and play a little. One of my all-time favorite bassists is Michael Manring. Incredible technique--and though some purists might think he's gimmicky one cannot help but listen and watch in awe when he completely masters the instrument as in this video. When the camera pans around, watch for the expression of the guy sitting behind him. Yeah, that's my thoughts exactly.

Emerson: The Poet is One Chasing Beauty

Even when Emerson says something I disagree with--which is often--I still like the way he says it. Here, I like both what he says and the way he says it. 

[The poet] pursues a beauty, half seen, which flies before him. The poet pours out verses in every solitude. Most of the things he says are conventional, no doubt; but by and by he says something which is original and beautiful. That charms him. He would say nothing else but such things. 
--R. W. Emerson, from the essay "The Poet"