Category Archives: Poem

Hesitation

 

Hesitation

As I recite my Sunday Psalms,
two butterflies alight like balms
upon the leper’s outstretched palms.

Thus nature intervenes and calms

the remainder of my qualms.
I fill the beggar’s hands with alms.

 

The prompt word today was “qualm.”

Night Chorus

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Night Chorus

Village dogs out in the dark—
first they howl, and then they bark.

A filling moon spills from a cloud.
That’s when the dogs become so loud.

Each of my dogs is in his bed,
though they’d rather be outside instead.

My dogs and I silent and still
as outside voices speak their will.

The little burro brays consent.
Wind in the palms nodding assent.

I have my qualms about leaving Morrie and Diego out all night to converse with the neighbors.  I spoil all their fun!!!

If I Follow the Wandering Poet

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If I Follow the Wandering Poet

Who cares
if I swim naked in my pool?
All other human occupants
have left this neighborhood behind,
leaving more room
for possums, skunks,
birds, scorpions, spiders
and me.

I keep a closer company with them
than I do with any human these days.
This week, I talk to the large caterpillar
who seems to sprout two crystals from his crown
as he sits for a day on the Olmec head
that guards my swimming pool.

Back and forth, back and forth I pass,
adding a look at him to my lap routine.
For one long afternoon,
he sits still—like Alice’s caterpillar,
but hookah-less,
meditating in this grey place.

If he were on my Virginia Creeper,

I’d be repositioning him
to the empty lot next door, but here
he seems to be a guest; and so some etiquette
keeps me from altering his placement
as he sits on stone, moving his suction cups in sequence
now and then only to alter his direction, not his territory.

Perhaps I’ve stayed too long
in this one place.
That wandering poet within me
may have somewhere it thinks I need to go.
If it creates a good alternative, 
I might follow in much the same way
that I have come to this point
in my poem.
Blindly, in a maze of words,
open to what comes next.

The prompt word today wasmaze.” This is an extensive rewrite of a poem written three years ago.

Reincarnation


Reincarnation

Two things of value that are fleeting––
life and love both set hearts beating.
Both sadly lost by types of cheating:
one by libido overheating,
the other just by unwise eating.
Once over, though, both bear repeating.

 

 

The prompt today is “temporary.”

“Unexposed”

It is the difference between that present handed to you by a person who says, “It’s only a tie,” and a package under the tree squeezed and prodded at—perhaps a corner loosened or a hole poked in through supposed accidental handling, pondered like a good detective show. Who wants these mysteries revealed before their time? What value in the present whose contents you already know for sure?

The magic of Christmas for some is that faith that the girl, untouched by human lover, gave birth—and it is that sort of faith that “saved” the world. If we knew the whole truth of that story would all it prompted fall into the hole covered all these years by mystery? The whole world seems to be standing more on what we don’t know than on what we absolutely know empirically—what we can prove.

Unexposed

And so I look at the picture of my young mother
in her cotton housedress and saddle shoes
holding her baby in front of her in her stroller,
whole contraption, child and carrier,
a foot or two above the ground,
and there is mystery in the reveal.

I do not hear what transpired to cause this pose––

whether my father caught her carrying me
from the porch to sidewalk and said,
“Here, Tootie, turn around,” and snapped the picture,
or whether my older sister planned the pose.
Perhaps some movie star was snapped in a similar scene
and my mother and sister, like two conspiring fans,
planned the shot to steal the glamor formerly reserved
for “Photoplay” or “Look” or “Life.”

There would be no reel-to-reel
in any normal person’s life for years.
No movie camera to tell me exactly what my mother and I were like
 before my memory took hold and even then,
what I remember of childhood is
more like reflections in a lake that color and change
depending on the clouds or rain,
distorting the light like moods.

My Aunt Peggy’s house,

always remembered as feeling like
the color chartreuse,
and I will never know why––
that smell of a friend’s house that became associated
with her memory more than any concrete proof of
the spinning film of a movie projector.

I do not know my mother’s voice at thirty.
I did not witness myself since birth
by either sound or sight.
There is a different mystery
to a past caught
in boxes of Kodacolor prints
curling and yellowing in a closet
than one documented like a science experiment
with every event taped and filmed.

Where does the mystery of you reside when you see yourself
so clearly, as others have seen you all along?
What does it leave for you to try to discover?
No tapes.
No film.
No Internet.
No Skype.
No YouTube.
No home movies.
All of our pasts were once wrapped up forever
with only our fingers poking in the edges.
Only our voices asking,
“What was it like the day when I was born?”
What do you remember about the day when. . . .?

(This is a rewrite of a poem I wrote three years ago.)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/exposed/

Planting Seeds: NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 22

Planting Seeds

My father planted row on row,
straight furrows where the wheat would grow
nourished by the winter snow.

He knew the how of planting, and when.
He’d watch for all the signs and then
plant his yearly crops again.

Though farming’s in my family tree,
the seeds I plant are furrow-free.
I scatter seeds, then let them be.

Fanned out by an erratic hand,
they grow wherever they may land,
or thirst and wither where they stand.

If planting were a matter of need––
if I’d a family to feed,
of course, I’d plow and water and weed.

But as it is, the mystery
of what might grow means more to me
than the science of agronomy.

And though he worked from dawn to dark,
Dad’s life was anything but stark.
He paused to watch the meadowlark

and trace its flight from post to limb.
He watched the clouds catch light, then dim––
and a single drop course down one stem.

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt today had to do with planting a garden.