Monday, January 31, 2011

The Record Book

A storm's a coming, Ethel! Batten down the hatches and bring in the mail. Stock up on the essentials, milk and coffee beans, and definitely some GREN heat firewood, which is why I'm heading to Shipshewana on this fine freezing morning, to buy recycled wood blocks from the Amish to feed our wood stove. So far this January is No. 2 in the records books for recorded snow, some 53 inches. The winter of '78 beats it hands down, but still... Riding the exercise bike while watching old Cosmos episodes is not quite the same as the freedom of walking through the woods. I must say, though, Carl Sagan was one snappy dresser. And I have to order a Cloud 9 bike seat. My buns never fell asleep like this when I was out in the woods.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Playing Around

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Excuse The Mess

This blog is undergoing a facelift/tummy tuck, the works. Maybe even botox for the lips. It might be ugly for a while.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In The 3-By-3 Photograph

The ceramic walls and ceilings
Gleam 1950s pink Tamarisk
The appliances whiter than I remember
My father blurry, but smiling
My mother slightly behind
------and reaching
I am alive
but completely hidden
Beneath the Twister dots
My mother blouses in
A cake with nineteen candles
flickers in the foreground
A yellow-ribboned gift waits
For my father
I use a magnifying glass to see
The orange and blue pyramid
On Father's work shirt
Could say Angel's Citgo
Father is holding a May 1964
Copy of Look Magazine
Mother and child on the cover
On Father's fourth finger someone
Has placed a wedding ring


I've gone looking.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Defense

"A sentence is not a rock hard sentence. A sentence can be modified as times goes on."

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The white beacon of
My grandmother's culottes

Blazing in a field of poppies

My memory frozen
In January snow

This dichotomy

The dream repeats itself

A house full of people

A room of my own

My wants are close enough

filling a wine glass

Warm hands pulling

Curtains to close

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Sweet Jesus, once again, after 26 years, I'm sleeping on the floor! Okay, I've found myself occasionally on the floor (or the ground) in the past 26 years, but this is different. In a fit of house cleaning, Gene and I gave away our bed to someone on Freecycle, which is a great place to get rid of stuff you don't feel like hauling to Goodwill. The bed had seen better days. The bed had seen... It was a dust collector. It had scratches all over it from the dogs. It was our comfort zone and it was failing and it was time for it to go. We took it apart to clean it and couldn't bring ourselves to put it back together again. Humpty Dumpty. Oh, the fall! It was a little disconcerting to see it drive away. Someone else touching the family headboard! Someone else... So now we have a mattress resting on the floor and we're waiting for the arrival of some sort of metal frame. Hurry, Mr. UPS! I have new hypoallergenic pillows and sheets and a fine, hypoallergenic mattress cover, but I can't put them on when the mattress is on the floor! A dust mite might sneak over and attack. A whole army of dust mites. I can see it now. A fierce battle and the downfall of our dreams. Nuclear war. The end of civilization.

But that isn't really what I wanted to talk about. I really wanted to say I enjoyed How A Poem Happens this morning. But somehow I got distracted.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friends With Benefits

(I love jury voir dire.)

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I have a question and it may seem a little quirky. Have any of you ever heard of the term "friends with benefits"?


DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What does that mean to you? Let's see if we're all on the same definition board.

POTENTIAL JUROR M: My understanding of it was that as a grown person, if a lady say she got a friend with benefits, it's a guy that's got a job and health insurance. That's my definition.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Going Gila

Winter and I endure each other with very little grace. We used to enjoy each other's company, but, well, things change. We've grown apart. Gone are the days of snow angels. I think it's too much togetherness, really. Too much being in each other's space. We just need some time apart. And so, I've scraped together a few dollars to visit New Mexico. I have a guidebook for the Gila Wilderness and I've found a cabin with a ten-inch telescope and some very dark skies.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Mr. Shark To You

It's cold and sunny in the homeland. I'm staying in and looking out, creating distance until the weather turns, thinking to emerge again in April, or thereabouts. In the meantime, I plan on whining and bitching a lot. It gives me something to do.

Down south, however, Tom has found warmth and sun in Florida. And he's accidentally gone Bombadilling. Last night while walking on Coco Beach he found nothing less than a 2-foot stranded shark. He couldn't quite get it back in the water from where it landed, the tide was coming in, so he finessed it 200 feet down the shore to a pier, stripped off his clothes, and he and the shark waded right in. No one was injured and the shark swam away. I'm not sure if pay-it-forward works with sharks, but maybe somewhere out in the ocean a young shark is having a slightly better day.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

After The Holidays

Our last child leaves
the house before dawn

in a flurry of lake effect
snow. Safe travels!

We make the motions
to become our other

selves again. In the
still dark we make

love, as a necessity,
without foreplay, and

then, while you doze,
I search the house for

every last abandoned
cup, for every stray shoe.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas Bringing & New Year Taking

I love change, I just hate making it. So it's been about ten years since I've gotten a new computer, new software, all that jazz. I upgraded over Christmas, not to a brand new computer, but something newer, with up-to-date software. I can't find a damn thing. But I like it. It's exciting, in a very low-key, Charmi kind of way. Oh, the buttons and bells and whistles!

Christmas also brought the very hefty, kill-any-intruder Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1, which will certainly be a year-long reading endeavor. When Gene is away I'll put Mark Twain at the patriarch place at the table, directly across from the matriarch place, and we'll discuss politics. It will be grand. I wonder what Mr. Twain prefers for dinner.

The new year, of course, will also be taking away, gently, of course, like the Calgon commercial. Gene's headed back to work today, Jo is returning to Humboldt on Wednesday, and Tom will be skipping his first week of WMU by joining the Notre Dame Symphony on Saturday for a musical tour down to New Orleans. Good stuff, all in all.

As for me, my poetry books are waiting impatiently, glaring at me, in fact. It's certainly time.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Gently Read Literature

The January 1, 2011 issue of Gently Read Literature is up, with my review of David Dodd Lee's Nervous Filaments here. Get yourself over there!