Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tess Knew

Tess knew the soul
Could fall away from the body
And fly to a distant star.

But a star is not always needed.
A school lunch line will do.

A menu, a list, a structure.
Grey lima beans.
A place to sit down and consume.

My soul stood in the school
Lunch line once, while my body
Drug itself through dark water

Feeling for a drowned lover.

A star is not always needed.
A school lunch line will do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Never Happy

Occasionally I find the need to say something, like, I'm not dead. It's just the end of the semester. You know. The good news is that in a week I will be able to write words of my own choosing, read books of my own choosing, sweep the dog hair out of the corner behind the Victola, plant a few things. The bad news is I'll be away from the writers and their voices. What is a girl to do? Complain, I guess. How about you?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


In the naked moments
After lovemaking my husband sees
His grandmother
The one he never knew

She leaves the wood-framed
Black and white portrait
Breathes her spirit
Against my skin

I am the woman
Traveling to Marquette
Pleading with the prison warden
Release my man

She is the woman
Making love to my husband
Pressing her breasts hard
Against his skin

I hate having to explain myself; it is a sure sign that the poem hasn’t succeeded. But there you have it. This poem probably is nowhere close to done, but still I wanted to post it in the aftermath of the shooting events of yesterday. Now you’re really confused. What the heck does anything in this poem have to do with shootings? Well, I’m going to tell you. It has to do with our connections with other people. We reach across generations and decades and find the same desires and needs. After 9/11 some of us started focusing on our differences in very negative ways. Some said, circle the wagons. (Am I ever going to get to the shootings/shooter? Yes. Be patient.) I believe that circling the wagons is ridiculous. You’re raising your eyebrows. You know I live inside a small community, I have a tight family. Everyone around me knows all my missteps (otherwise referred to as sins.) I have safety nets surrounding me. (Too many sometimes.) I don’t need to circle any wagons, they’re already there. Yes. Yes. But still, a shooter, disconnected from my circle, could come. How can we stop this? By circling the wagons tighter? No. We can only stop the craziness by connecting the potential shooters to the community, by finding the connections between us, by healing the disconnects. This is something that can’t happen while we remain inside our circles. We have to go outside and rub up against other people and find our connections in larger spheres. No, the poem doesn’t say all that. And really, I don’t want it to. I just want it to point to the connections.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Morning Light

See, dragging out the recycling in the morning isn't so bad after all. If I would have stayed inside I wouldn't have noticed this early tulip in my messy flower bed. I'm constantly surprised by what I find in my yard. I plant things, but my friends and relatives also plant things, often without telling me. Sometimes they will leave a message on my answering machine, "About that row of hollyhocks, that was me. You might want to water them in a couple of days." But just as often no one says a word. I just find things in the spring. As to who planted this tulip, who knows?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Unsuspecting Fruit

I am worried about my two pear trees and my cherry tree. They are trying to bloom. The pic at right is one of the pears, all swollen in anticipation, not suspecting the fickle nature of an Indiana spring. This does not bode well for September and my pear butter dreams, to say nothing whatsoever about cherry pie on the 4th of July.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Out of Reach

(There are pictures I'm not quick enough to snap, times I don't want to intrude. I wish I could show you the amazing arc this man made with his arm.)

The woman at the ocean
Sits bundled in blankets
Just out of reach
Of the swishing sea

The fisherman in her vision
Stands alone casting
His line in an arc
Into the foam

A young boy
Treads the sand
Back and forth
In between

Friday, April 06, 2007

The North Carolina Zoo

Asheboro has a very nice zoo, as zoos go. It's huge and wooded and fairly nature like. Jojo just read The Scarlet Ibis for her English class, so we snapped some pics of these guys in the aviary. They're gorgeous. It was also very cool to watch the giraffes move. Breath-taking even. But the best part of the zoo trip came as we were leaving. There were so many people at the zoo that we were constantly being brushed up against. As we were approaching the exit, once again, I felt someone extremely close to me. And then, a small, soft hand took my own. I looked down to find that a young boy of about seven had mistaken me for perhaps his mother. I said, "Sweetheart, I think you wanted to hold someone else's hand." Then I felt bad for calling him sweetheart because sometimes boys don't like that sort of thing. But he was fine. He took the mistake in stride, turned back, and found the hand that matched his own.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Moments of Glow

Day one and we made it as far as West Virginia. There are no pics yet. We did see some nice wind turbines lopping through the air in Pennsylvania in a little valley there. We’ve decided to head for the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, the ocean. Like the desert, the ocean is foreign to me. I don’t think I could live with it on a long-term basis, but it’s nice to see.

The trees we saw in Pennsylvania had an expectant glow, reminding me of Jennifer, who at any moment (maybe even already) will be giving birth in a hot tub. These life cycles spin me around. My daughter’s hands on the steering wheel look so delicate and fine, almost like the day she was born. We stand in these moments with all the other moments crowding around. Spring blows in visions of my father, an oh so young 29-year-old on a motorcycle with beautiful flowing black hair and a scruffy beard, man of the ‘70s. Sometimes I recognize his spirit in other men that I’m around. My heart tightens when I have to keep driving and pull myself away.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Palm Sunday

It’s a beautiful, quiet Palm Sunday. No tornados. In their various corners, our dogs are gnawing bones. The college kid has taken the teenage chic to spend the weekend in the men’s dorm with him. I am probably a bad parent for letting her see the things she’s going to see. On the other hand, I would probably be a bad parent if I didn’t let her see the things she’s going to see. Next week she and I are hitting the road. She has a brand new driver’s license and a week off school for spring break and both are making her itch. One of these days, too soon, she’s going to drive off on her own without us and see the world. I hope she’ll call. In the meantime, I’m skipping school to ride beside her. We’re not sure exactly where we’re going, aside from North Carolina and the Asheboro zoo. I’ll post pics and try to write poems, but lately the poems seem harder to come by.

In the mean time, if you need some mental exercise, here’s a couple of David’s poetry assignments for you. I can’t say I enjoyed them, or liked the results I got, but perhaps it will be better for you.

Poem 1

1st person, 16 lines, more than ten syllables per line, 15 minutes

Include: Laughter, Spigot, Oak trees, Rust, Wagon, Creek, Sarcastic, There was a sound like the rush of flames

Poem 2

1st person, 14 lines, more than ten syllables per line, 12 minutes first draft, 2 minutes second draft

Include: spark, mirror, smell, collar, transition, burned, withered, There is never enough

Poem 3

3rd person, 18 lines, more than ten syllables per line, 15 minutes, use “hawk” and “giant clock” in end rhymes

Include: vase, rain, giant clock, hawk, sighed, blister, mindless, the bed was all torn up