April again: Line one, 2016

Rearranged, and the grammar changed to protect the guilty.

 

LINE ONE, 2016

I have forgotten how to sleep. 

I don’t do things I resist. 

I do not like beets or old goat cheese.

I know what is going on below the surface.

I think I’ll save the dollhouse that my parents made.

 

It was late winter.

We drove all afternoon and into the night

as if the only reality was the car—

He told me he’d killed the coiled dragon

here in this country called US.

So many trees across the path.

 

These levers, bellows—

Tonic. Sub-dominant. Every Good Boy. 

We preferred tunes in the Crixian mode.

 

Don’t think about walking down the stairs.

It’s bad enough falling, or being chased.

All the women in our family have affairs. 

 

If you’re wise,

forget the damned button—

it’s so small.

 

You know the watering can?

It reminded me of that morning. 

It’s best to pretend it never happened.

 

Thanks a bunch, Kari.  Just what I need —to focus. 

What, precisely, is the point?

Not so much the spot of blindness

I might have been. 

 

In the beginning, I thought I’d learn

the way they forget to.

Oh, my vice, my difficulty! 

 

Goldfinches edge the lawn.

Now, I am drawn to gray, November,

the gannets, 

cold chłodnik* green with dill. 

 

Sleep, little one, sleep.

When I was a child, I could fly.

   

*you say “whod-neek” 

NAME THAT ROOT

NAME THAT ROOT

Knobby, greening,  hard white twists sprout in spring.

Planted, they draw stripy bugs who leave orange eggs

and thick red larvae that squash to a gooey mess.

 

Their poisonous leaves  draw spores of blights.

They soften, slime and perish.

So basic their absence can mean famine. 

 

Growing them is a chore, a back-breaker,

but in late summer, grabbling them 

with your grandchild means a feast.

PROVERBIAL

I’m reduced to looking up old prompts and combining them. This is the result of two: “make up the world,” and “new proverb.”

PROVERBIAL

 

In this world, nine stitches

hold Time together.

You’ll  need waxed thread,

a curved bookbinder’s needle.

When you have finished

sewing up Time’s spine,

all the eggs in your basket

will hatch at once. One swallow

will settle on your hand

to twitter up the summer

and two will call from a bush,

then lead you on.

Follow them to a meadow

where a red morning sky

is opening the roses. 

All the horses you have wished for

will thunder from the mountains. 

Choose one and look in its mouth,

but don’t believe a word.

April Collage: Last line, 2015

The last lines from April poems in 2015, tweaked a bit:

 

LAST LINE, 2015

It never even entered my mind. 

Winter gone, and we are still alive,

hearing jackdaws in Ostrowy. 

You can’t miss them—

syrinx and larynx and lung.

 

My friends. And you, too. Definitely you.

One square inch, the world,

always knowing where you are.

Those goldfinches, newly gold, outside my window.

The music pours out.

 

Anyone who loves you will understand.

I’ve been killing for years.

The brown heat lingers

and the white cat won’t leave me alone.

I hold a pair of smooth gray stones.

 

Greek writers praised Donatis of Evorea who died in the 4th century,

a Thursday, at dawn, as oarless as his Nan. 

Always, we remembered his weeping.

He wore an extra-large, cold-weather hat.

He was a sacrifice; every tree paid in pain.

 

Our children are full of our songs,

bottles of water, cans of beans.

They lead me on

while my keys clack down and my strings resound.  

The blessed lick their fingers clean, and sigh.

 

Back when I thought 

I could do anything

the light congealed,

too steep to climb.

Rain.

April Collage: Line three, 2013

Not feeling very creative, so I went to old April poems and took the third line from a bunch of them and this happened:

 

LINE THREE, 2013

Coated with wax and buried, 

I have the power to heal others.

 

I’ve only just learned to be

driven to and fro by words and noise.

 

Don’t come lugging that bag. 

My mind is a jumper of passion and power—

 

not bad for a woman my age.

My hair, my fingertips

 

are ready with yellow flowers,

clouds in their colors:  yellow, purple, blue, gray.

 

I found another wad of wax under my armrest.

I contain you.

FELL SWOOP

 

 

FELL SWOOP

 

Tired at last of myself, 

the way I’ve been for seventy years—

tight and worried, wanting my perfect way—

in a swoop—and was it fell?—I laughed. 

Laughed at the coiled clay vase that wanted 

to be a fish, laughed at the poems 

that wouldn’t be printed in little magazines 

and at my past earnestness 

about the importance of that, laughed 

at my belief that those pants would

make me leggy like the model in the catalogue, 

that this diet or pill or “spiritual practice” 

would fix my — everything. 

And last night I split a bottle of Switchback

with Jean and we laughed at our husbands’ old jokes 

during what would once have been 

a nervous attempt at “dinner party” 

and we made spontaneous 

ice cream sandwiches for dessert 

from crispy brownies and ice cream 

straight from the carton, and I’m still laughing.

LOCATIONS

LOCATIONS

“. . around the edges of oddness”

        ~A Bluebird Fairy by Emily Anderson

 

You won’t find it 

in halls of ivy, or

in the chambers of kings.

It isn’t between the covers 

of carefully curated 

volumes available only

to members with reservations.

Never in anything 

organized 

by color or size.

Never in anything glossed

or listed or rewarded. 

    But look!

It’s teetering on a tooth

from a reconstructed

conodont. Spinning

on the rim of a sixpence

balanced on a pole

balanced on the rubber

nose of a clown

riding a unicycle on 

a tightrope stretched

between a stormcloud

and the beak of a raven.

It’s lurking in the garden dirt

under the left thumbnail

of the weaver’s second

daughter. If you want it,

you might start there.

GARDEN PARTY

Garden Party

in honor of ol’ Walt Kelly

We are dancing on a dingbat 

in the fury of a gale

while a wiley alligator 

winds a kitestring on his tail,

and we do not have to worry 

if the fury can’t abate,

for the foolish old bassoon man 

has a catfish on his plate

and the streamlined fancy foremast 

casts a shadow on our fate.

 

O, the moral of the story 

is the wellspring of the fool,

and the quarrel of the sorry 

is the spinning of the spool.

 

When the roses grow forgotten 

in the gardens of the moon

and the chickens all fly skyward 

on the string of the balloon, 

when the demons do their darndest 

to knock acorns from the tree

and the long-awaited pirate ship 

comes sailing from the sea,

then we’ll know it’s time to cut the cake 

and have a cup of tea.   

 

O, the moral of the story 

is the wellspring of the fool,

and the quarrel of the sorry 

is the spinning of the spool.

 

I wrote this ages ago, in imitation of the great Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” poetry.

DOUBLE DACTYLS

 

DOUBLE DACTYLS

Written over a period of several months. Try it sometime. . . 

 

1.

Hopalong Cassidy

rode into London, his

horse was worn out from the

long ocean dip.

 

Hop said “The horse is so

antediluvian

next time I’ll make it an

aeroplane trip.”

 

 

2.

Thomas Sterns Eliot

wrote lots of poetry,

most of it excellent;

much of it sold.

 

Thomas, however, was

malasartorial–

pants were too long, so he

wore the things rolled.

 

 

3.

Theodore Roosevelt

went out a-trampling in-

to the deep forest in

search of big game.

 

There by a brook sat a

parasaurolophus–

long thought extinct, and

as huge as its name.

 

 

4.

Little Red Riding Hood

minded her mother and

went to her Grandma’s a-

long the right trail.

 

Wolf never met her, so

characteristically

old Jakob Grimm had to

make up the tale.

 

 

5.

Susan B. Anthony,

activist feminist,

thought if she worked hard she’d

get things to change.

 

Who could have guessed that such

antiestablishment

patterns of thinking would

still seem so strange?

 

 

6.

Frederick Wertheimer,

great Common Causer, be-

lieves the campaign style is

wicked and wrong.

 

Most politicians, so

unsocialistically’re

happy to sell out their

souls for a song.

 

 

7.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

dressed in his Sunday best

called on Rebecca of

Sunnybrook Farm.

 

He never liked her, so

unsympathetically

twisted her elbow which

caused her great harm.

 

 

8.

Jolly St. Nicholas,

frequently flying, one

eve in December a-

bandoned his flight:

 

“I’m sick of being so

omnidirectional.

Christmas be damned, and to

all a Good Night.”

 

 

9.

Princess Elizabeth

learned about protocol,

minded her manners and

kept her nails clean.

 

Good that she did, given

heritability:

when she was grown, they sang

God save the Queen.

 

 

10.

Jacqueline Kennedy,

so very stylish–de-

signers kept busy cre-

ating her shifts.

 

When she was widowed, she

un-Cassandra-ically

didn’t beware of a

Greek bearing gifts.

 

 

11.

President Kennedy

lived in the White House and

said “For your country ask

what you can do.”

 

I think up dactyls and

hypercompulsively

save them in notebooks.  So–

how about you?