OPEN STUDIO POEM #9 coats coax helm ochre A captain stands at the helm in his ochre coat, coaxing the wind into the sails. The artist in her rusty coat coaxes the ochre from the leaves. Her easel is the helm of a ship sailing into the winter sky. His coat of arms: a purple coat on an ochre field, crowned with a silver helm. too many suit coats, too much ochre light, too many vying for the helm, too many trying to coax a resolution from the deep
OPEN STUDIO POEM #8 ribbons ukelele spew The sky spews rain from silver ribbons of cloud. It patters on the roof, unabating: Beethoven’s fifth symphony played by a ukelele orchestra in the park on a moonless November night.
This is inspired by Hannah Dennison's Quarry Project. The dancers float above the water, above the stone, not dancing, floating, below the dancing clouds, the unknowing clouds, above the stillness of the stone.
CAMP FIRE WOMEN
My friend Julie is a Fire Keeper.
Sometimes all night she watches,
holds the flame at the center
of the world. It is her sacred way.
And mine? To search the forest,
to gather the wood: This for kindling,
this for tinder, this for cleansing,
this for a long and steady burn.
OPEN STUDIO POEM #7
words: legs along fire
We go along and along,
our legs aching, shoulders
sore from the burdens
we bear. So many, so
heavy. But the year will
end, this terrible year
will end. It will. We will
build fires on the beaches,
fires on the hilltops,
fires in the deserts,
fires in our own backyards.
We will throw our burdens
in the fires, throw them down,
throw them down in the fires,
open our arms,
embrace our friends
We will remember
how it feels to laugh.
We will remember.
We will. We will.
My neck always hurts in October. All
my life. This year, also my right knee and
my left thumb. Do I mumble now or is
his hearing worse and worse? Things to expect
at my age. Some things I don’t mind so much
and the world being what it is, I don’t
expect to feel happiness too often.
This year, not a single black-and-yellow
garden spider, and I saw only two
mosquitoes all summer long. I look for
congruities all the time and wonder
if this is another. I remember
with some amusement reading all those things
about becoming a crone. Written by
women who weren’t, whose knees didn’t hurt. Who
had spiders in their gardens and lovers
who listened, enthralled, to their every word.
REPORT: OCTOBER 20, 2020
Dark clouds over Buck Mountain.
It will rain.
More sugar-maple leaves on the ground than on the trees.
The oaks and popples are turning.
Soybean fields amber, hay fields cut and green.
Luke’s old milking shed is falling apart.
It’s just a storage shed now,
with the old SURGE and AG JOURNAL signs rusting on the wall
and the little lightning rods standing bravely on the roof.
Last year, a young man took the bend in the road too fast
and the laws of physics being what they are,
he glanced off a telephone pole and ran into the shed.
And died. One of the dead
elms has fallen. Now it’s raining,
and taking pity on the dog, I turn.
Sumac is mostly red along the east side of the road.
If it were colder, I’d swear it was snowing in the mountains.
Jim’s VETERANS AGAINST TRUMP flag is up on his porch.
At the far end of her pasture, his old horse Molly crops the grass.
By nature I am vigilant.
These days, I watch everyone with extra care:
the clerks in the coöp, the pharmacy, the feedstore
where we buy food for the dog and cats and birds,
my friends. Oh, I trust my friends, but—
the friends of my friends?
Where have they been?
How can they do me harm?
This morning, walking the dog
on the sidewalk in town, pulling
my mask up whenever I saw someone coming
a block away, I found myself tired
of myself. We’re all just trying to get by,
doing what we can, what we think is right.
And what malevolence do I carry,
what contagion is concealed behind my mask?
ON MY WAY It was all so familiar—the icy road, the falling snow. The tricycle was bigger than it used to be, less embarrassing for an adult to ride. It took awhile to get across the city street, awhile to see a safe crossing under the glaze of snow. The other side was fine, and I was on my way. Home at last, but boxes all over the table. I opened them one by one, each filled with plastic things: flutophones, cheap bath toys, disposable cups and spoons. Or tin automatons: monkeys playing drums, jumping mice, walking quacking ducks. Box after box until the house was full. When I awakened, I laughed at it all. Not a nightmare, a description. How full I am, these days, of things I do not want or need. And how far must I ride my little trike, in this storm.
Open Studio Poem #3: USE THE WHOLE PAGE
The point is growth toward beginning.
Start again—nothing flat or square—
this time learn to move in three
dimensions—cubic, spherical. Can you
write like a dancer? Paint
like an actor? Draw like—
a potter? Remember knitting—
how to turn a heel, shape
a sleeve from a strand.
DO THAT WITH WORDS.
USE THE WHOLE PAGE.
FILL IT WITH SHAPE AND
COLOR AND SOUND AND FLAVOR—
BITTER GREENS AND HOT PEPPERS
AND LEMON ZEST. WRITE
BIG AND ROUND.
USE THE WHOLE PAGE