Thursday, April 30, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 30

The last prompt: "Farewell"

GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
We are the ones
who say goodbye to all that,
the latest stomach aches
from eating too many sweets,
blood on our calves
from walking through briars in the field,
the lonely echoes and dead sparks
inside these bodies we live in.
Goodbye to all that.
We are so alive and so afriad

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 29

Prompt: "Never"

NEVER THINK OF PRAYER
Never think of prayer
as an obligation.
Pray to your confusion.
Ask that you not be felled
by sinister thoughts
of obliteration.
Pray not to become,
only to be.
The world is visible.
Pray to see.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 28

Prompt: "Sestina"

SEND ME

If you love me, send me to Avalon
Send me, else my spirit go down
Send me, knowing I’ll never come back
If you love me, let my body be forgotten
Let it be the empty space in all your houses
If you love me, send me to the land of apples

All life begins with the taste of apples
They grow no better than at Avalon
From their taste grow the strongest houses
Houses in which we will never fall down
In which the best in us is never forgotten
Spirit made of apples has the strongest back

For my journey I will stiffen this human back
Already in my mouth is the taste of apples
Spirit red, spirit green and gold, never forgotten
I’ll find my spirit in the orchards of Avalon
And there I’ll freely tear my body down
I must make space for the spirit houses

I want to live in the spirit houses
Send me, I want to never look back
The body does what it does, goes down
The body falls like the ripe apples
Fall in the land of Avalon
Where spirit is not forgotten

What I really am, you’ve already forgotten
My spirit has had no place in your houses
If you love me, let me go to Avalon
If you love me, let me go back
I know I can only live with apples
Let me go before my spirit falls down

Already my spirit is falling down
But something in me hasn’t forgotten
My tongue still remembers the taste of apples
In dreams I look out windows of spirit houses
If you love me, let me go back
Back to apples and back to Avalon

I will journey to Avalon and be light as down
I won’t be back; I’m glad my body will be forgotten
Give me spirit houses, give me the sharp taste of apples.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 27

Prompt: "Longing"

LONGING
The cafe,six in the morning.
He tears toast into tiny pieces.
When somebody
else comes in, he looks up
from his plate.

Monday, April 27, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 26

Prompt: "Miscommunication"

CONFERENCE
It was Fall semester, near
Christmas, and the rain
was turning to icethat was going tick-tick-
tick on the windows.

He was telling me about the day
his dog was hit by a car
and the dog was not
dead, but suffering.
I only wanted to get home,
which was forty miles
away on country roads
untouched by salt
trucks or plows.

He was telling me how he
had to do the manly thing.
Only now do I realize the
importance of the story.
He had taken the gun from its
proper place.
The dog could not have understood
what this farm boy
was there to do.

He was there to shoot her,
he was telling me, and she licked his damned hand.
We say our animals understand us.
She could not have understood
why the gun was about to go off, and
it was because he loved her.
I only wanted to go home.
Ice hit the windows.
For a moment that was the only sound.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 25

Prompt: "Event"

MENTAL EVENTS

Our lives are important.

We cannot predict tomorrows or todays.

Our condition is a cosmic tragedy and
cannot be improved.

Our lives are hideous and amazing.

We cannot be giving away our hearts just
to be stepped on.

Our lives are too short.

The easiest way to find something you
have lost is to buy a new one.

Our lives are changed forever.

We cannot be giving away...
We cannot be giving away...

Our lives are ours alone.

Friday, April 24, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 24

Prompt: "Travel"

I won't be posting my poem for April 24 here or at Facebook. It is too closely related to the work I'm doing on my novel and I'm not ready to make it completely public yet.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 23

Prompt: "Regret"

THE ABSENT SIBLINGS
I used to speak of them
as though I was the lucky one,
the one who survived nine months
in the mother's belly,
the one who lived to eat
chocolate, have sex before
marriage, marry, and have children
of my own who I imagined would
be tiny replicas of myself.

My absent siblings never died;
they were lives which
never happened.
When did that change?
When did I give each a face?
One a sister
who would have saved me
the other a brother
who would have sent roses
on my birthday

There's a wound now,
and luck has nothing to
do with my life.
Now I must learn
to live without them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 22

Prompt: "Work"

NIGHT WORK
is when my goatish self
becomes my sleek cat self
no more nibbling at garbage and grass...
night work is blood work.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 21

Prompt: "Write a Haiku"

Deer standing in field--
I long to touch it, but why?
Way to forgiveness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 20

Prompt: "Rebirth Poem"

A REBIRTH POEM
should be easy to write
but not today
when I am undone
by the simplest thing:
It's raining, the
car won't start,
and I've someplace
important to go.

My husband
tells me each disaster
is simply the price
for breathing.

It's April,
the same month
my mother died.
It was ten years ago.
When they told me
I noticed the
trees were just
getting their leaves.
I remember thinking,
She would have liked this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 19

Prompt: "Anger/Angry poem"

LIGHTNESS
Anger should not rule us.
Let Death rule.
Go to a junk yard or cemetery
& resurrect.
Fill the sky with lightness,
wise Knights in rusty armor,
little animals that
tunnel in the dark,
lips & eyes, lungs breathing
ever more gently.

(I think when I revise this I may say "little animals that tunnel patiently in the dark)

Mr. Toad-4


Mr. Toad-3


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mr. Toad-2


Mr. Toad

I had fun taking photos of this toad that Allen fished out of the pond for me. I have a cheap digital camera, so I was happy this one turned out so well.
MR. TOAD
Pimpled knot of skin.
Nostrils blinking like eyes.
I turn you over
& you play dead--
belly like cornmeal.
Webbed feet
in an attitude of prayer.


PAD CHALLENGE, April 18

Prompt: "Interaction"

STARMAN
We no longer have the old gods
to birth us to wonder.
Movie characters change us in small ways.
We cry in the dark where no one sees us.

Give us the being of pure light
who will visit us from a star unknown
become like us, suffer the needs this body has
for sex and Dutch apple pie.

We seem to have the galaxy to ourselves.
When the beloved dies there are no second chances.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 17

Prompt: "All I Want Is..."

All I WANT
is to sit in my yard today and every day
watch the cats go down to the pond one
by one to take a drink.

All I want is to walk past the brown
leaves collected in the old glass
bowl left outside the door this winter
hear the blackbird on the limb
ruffle its feathers and call
hear the other one answer
from a far part of the yard

All I want is to be there when the frogs
let loose the whirring in their throats
and then stay silent a long time
turn and see my husband looking at me
say to him I'm not much to look at
hear him say Speak for yourself
say You're stuck with me
hear him say That's music to my ears
Peel an orange
throw the rind by the busy
mound of ants

Thursday, April 16, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 16

Prompt: "color"

SEEING RED
I'm seeing red today
my father in a southern springtime
raking and burning
deadfall from the pines
a huge red ring of fire
blackening the earth.
Our kitten runs to him
jumps the flames
loses all
whiskers in that bold action.
I think of that kitten
whenever there's something hard
I must do
and my father raking his
piece of ground
the red ring around him
getting bigger, spreading
out to burn the world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 15

Today's prompt: change up the title of a published poem.

A GIFT
Someone has left for me,
wrapped in a brown paper sack
on which my name is written
in blue,
a gift--
the Journals of Dan Eldon.
Inside is an unsigned note
saying, Come let us
explore and record, with
the eyes of a child,
horror, irony, traces of
paradise, traces of hell.
The note ends,
Enjoy.
A number of poems have "gift" in their title, including "The Gift Outright" by Robert Frost and "The Gift" by Li-Young Lee)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 14

Prompt: "Love or Anti-Love Poem"
I did this quickly, between classes!

WHERE IS LOVE?
He's never had the right maps
never known the right roads
always the crumbling
the falling apart
a twisting in his bowels like
Adam and Eve fleeing
going where the righteous hand
sends all bad people
the million dollar question
is, "Where?"

Monday, April 13, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 13

PROMPT: "Hobby"

I KNOW NO HOBBY BETTER THAN SLEEP
(for St. John of the Cross)

It is only called sleep--
It is rapture.
It is where the deer
goes in search of her
stag who lies wounded,
high on the mountain,
next to green waters.

The stag burns.
His wound is red.
The skin is transparent
over his ribs so that the
clenching heart is seen.
Soon, he will be cooled by
the ecstasy of her flight.

The hobby completes.
I am deer and stag, both--
the two have but one feeling.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, Aprl 12

Prompt: "So we decided to"

SO WE DECIDED TO
(for Robert Frost)
keep vigil
over our empty spaces
& the hawk floating above
so that we need only
to open our mouths
for the other
to say
I hear you

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 11

THE OLD ONES

1969 Volkswagen Beetle.

Ivory, the color of old bone.

One antenna.
Asymmetrical.
Warrior that has lost something in battle.

Hubcaps, rusty due to piss from the old
cat Sam who repeatedly marked it as his own.

Sam's skull.
Now rests on the mantel.
We found it years ago under the pokeberry.

Friday, April 10, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 10

Another poem written quickly. Prompt: "Friday"

IT'S FRIDAY,
raining,
and I'm on my way to work
in the ancient Volkswagen.

Lately, I've been privy
to a number of human
unkindnesses of
the generic sort.
The usual sniping and
jockeying for impenetrable position.
Also yesterday a colleague told me she
once fell down stairs
on campus. People stepped
over her to get where
they had to go.

Unkindnesses, even the usual
sort, build up in you
after a while.
They make you afriad
of what will happen next.

This old volkswagen, so good
on gas, is never good in
the elements. I can barely
see out the glass.
There's so little between
me and a world that
feels alien today.

What will we do
if we need each other's
help and grace but find we
don't have them to lean on?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 9

Again, I wrote this quickly between classes. I had no idea what to write, so I just went to the Poetic Asides site, clicked on comments, and composed right there. I made very few adjustments. It is what it is.

ONE TIME

Sometimes I wish my memory
started at eighteen
when I married.
That's when the
good times started
to roll,
not before
when I felt extraneous and
just tried to stay out of
everyone's way.
As a rule, I
don't like thinking about childhood.

Except there was one time.
Grandmother
was dying.
My brother told me so on
the way home from school.
I held it in until
I walked through the front
door. My mother was sitting
in a chair, facing the door
as if waiting for me to walk through.
When I saw her I
burst out crying.
She touched
my hair and called me baby.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 8

The prompt for today is "routine."

NOT MY USUAL ROUTINE
(for Goethe)

And so
I saw this thing again
as though it was of
another
world.
I recognized it
not for what it was
but as something
I had once
known,
but forgotten.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Haiku #193

Stepped over a mud
puddle this morning on the
way to my office

PAD CHALLENGE, April 7

The PAD prompt for today was to write about something "clean" or something "dirty." Well, they asked for it.

I had to do this poem quickly between classes. It was sparked by a conversation we had recently in my contemporary poetry class about sex in poems and an e-mail received in my inbox today about a rape that happened on campus on April 5:

DIRTY SEX, DIRTY POEMS
We shouldn't speak of sex in poems
because sex is dirty
the proper place, as we all know,
is in a nudie magazine
that must be hidden from children

We shouldn't speak of sex in poems
the proper place, as we all know, is
in an e-mail from the campus cops
saying a student was sexually assaulted
by someone she knew and saying we
must be wary of those who may be friends
of others but not known to us
God help us all
Please God save us from dirty sex
Please God save us from dirty poems

Monday, April 06, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 6

The prompt at Poetic Asides was to write about something missing.

SOMETHING'S MISSING
This is the woman that left
Arizona sun and moved to
gray Minnesota
with a man that promised
to take care of her and
her little children.

He was neither caring nor
smart: For instance, in
speaking of the thousand
dollars she'd made caring
for a dying relative,
which she loaned
to him and which he
never paid back,
he said,
"She borrowed me the money."

He wasn't the person she thought
he was when she moved in with him.
But he was the person she thought
he was when she moved out.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

PAD 5

I'm not posting my PAD poem for day five here (about a landmark) but I wrote another one which I will share here. It seriously needs much more thought. But here is my beginning:

Car Crash Memorial Crosses
When I see them along highways
a black mark touches my lung.
I imagine the mark showing up
in an x-ray and my doctor
prescribing a complicated treatment.
My next breath is painful and short.
For a moment I wonder
if I will be able to go on.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Alternate Poem

The PAD Challenge today was to write about an animal. I didn't post the animal poem I wrote for Poetic Asides because I'm not quite ready to do so, but here is a poem I just wrote to make up for the one I didn't post earlier. This needs a lot of work! But it is a beginning. The mayfly is going to be a big part of my second novel, and I've been needing to poetically explore the topic. So here is a first attempt:

MAYFLIES--
--the beautiful other.
Who wouldn't
want to mate with them:
They have paired genitalia!
Their insides
are filled with air.
Some float to the ground
while mating.
Others keep flying.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 4

I won't be publishing my fourth poem here. :-)

Friday, April 03, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 3

Poem 3 for PAD.

THE PROBLEM WITH FAMILY
(for Clark)

(1)
Mother might tell
you, for instance,
"I like the way
you turned out."
Or father might
say, "I'm sorry
I'm not around."

(2)
You grew up in a circus,
were nursed by goats
and schooled by acrobats.
Before bedtime you
sat on a bed of nails
while the tiny man
in a black tuxedo
combed your long hair.

(3)
Pipe Dream.
Dark joy.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

PAD CHALLENGE, April 2

I had to compose this one quickly because my day is really full and goes on into the night. This is my second poem for the Poem-A-Day (PAD) Challenge

EDVARD MUNCH'S "PUBERTY"
She
sits on the edge
of a bed, her arms
hiding her nakedness,
her body slight,
pink root,
thing to be eaten,
neither woman nor
child,
human without
a way back
home.

PAD CHALLENGE, April 1

Along with many others, I have taken on the challenge of writing a poem a day (PAD) during National Poetry Month. We post our poems at Poetic Asides. The best will be chosen for a free eBook. I'm doing it to keep the creativity flowing. Each day of the month, we are given a prompt. The first prompt is to write a poem about origins. Here is my poem for April 1:

Crow used to be white.
His feathers were translucent,
like crystal. His song
was soft, like leaves
waving on stems.

That was before rain,
before he put on his black
coat & hunkered down
in noisy resignation.

Listen: he's picking
through your
trash now & laughing.
Before long, he'll peck
out your eyes.

Crow makes no excuses
for his behavior.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Haiku #192

New discovery!
On my chair,
dead moth in its tattered coat.

Haiku #191

Cold spring night...
Put more wood on the fire!
Oh, my hair smells of smoke.

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych

Wishing

Wishing

Little Deer

Little Deer

Transformation

Transformation

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

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