Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Picnic at the Lakeshore

Remember the afternoon at the lakeshore

Finding the man on the stairway
Stunned you. Really

Suspended in the hammock listening
To the lake stroking the shore

Blue stones skipping across the surface
Rising, shaking the water from your hair

His hand cupping your fingers. Feeling
the snap of his wrist at just the right moment

Releasing the stones

Monday, January 29, 2007

Meyer and Thile Play Slow Fast 5/4

(Here's my mild bit of erotica for you. Sorry about the incessant rhyming. And I know, it really isn't in 5/4.)

Leaning forward in the amber
Listening, the notes are quiet, very low
I’m not sure I like what they’re playing
Maddening how slowly Meyer drags the bow
Thile’s fingers hover fretful and tentative
My God, just begin the frickin’ show.

All right, they have my attention
They’re starting something new.
Thile nods to pick up the tempo
Meyer smiles, shakes his head no.

Chasing time around in their pockets
I’m starting to feel the flow.
I’ve drifted to the clouds on the ceiling
Water drops glisten on the surface below
And the man in the balcony is winking

Lying back in the amber
Listening, your notes are quiet, very low
I’m not sure I like what you’re playing
Maddening how slowly you drag the bow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wonderful Typo

If you collect such, Google News has a wonderful typo headline right now: Palestine Leaders Plead for Clam on Streets of Gaza. At last. It's the very thing I have been waiting for.

Stone Soup

It's snowing, there is a ham bone in the soup pot with some onions, and my erotic poem is done. I think it's tame enough (and humorous enough) to be posted, but I'll let it set awhile before serving. And last night reading Louise Gluck I saw words streaming down into my consciousness. A man skipping stones on the surface of my body. Amazing what poets will allow you to see.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Okay. Before you get all psychotic about the grief poem and whether or not I need to go into intense therapy, consider this. It's a moment that I can recreate and show you what grief looked like at a certain space in time. I knew poetry, in one way or another, was going to be a major pain in the butt. I am definitely not posting the erotic poem here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


(A revision of grief poem so it is intelligible, or more so, perhaps. Still, reading it to myself, the rhythm still feels off, like it ends too quickly or something.)

It’s been raining. Overhead, reachless
Water drops glisten across thick power lines

The pavement, too, shimmers, wet and black.
The cloudy backdrop, heaven, falls steel gray

And the gray boy still lies on a pier at the river
The man in yellow pajamas stops turning in his hospital bed

The woman in the garden puts down her shovel
To gather up the pieces of her fallen white hair

Their lungs have stopped expanding
It’s no longer possible to pull in air

Choked with river sludge, vomit, red packs of Winstons.
What the hell is all that crap doing in there?

Drink this coffee, take a nap
Maybe you’d like to journal, write something

When they surface remember
Keep breathing, keep pulling in air.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Okay. So I deleted the last post because – I don’t know. It felt clunky, or something. But no matter. I enjoyed a good concert on Friday night, Edgar Meyer (bassist) and Chris Thile (Nickel Creek mandolin player.) It would probably be better to try to describe it in poetry, but maybe later. If you read the first post, you got the general idea.

The next poetry assignment is out. So, write about death or an erotic experience, 19 or 27 lines long, include the words clouds and water. The form is your choice. Two out of my three family members have expressed their opinion that death is preferable to eroticism. I love my family, but… I’m tired of writing about death and grief. So eroticism wins. Cover your eyes, plug your ears, do what you have to do.

And lastly, a side note about all the shouting on Sunday night. We live in Indiana. We are not FIPs (fine Illinois people.) Certainly you can understand where your obligations lie. Colts.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Round

I woke up sick this morning, lying flat out on the bathroom floor, shivering and sweating. Either poetry doesn't agree with me or I have the flu. I apologize if you had any close encounter with me yesterday. I didn't know. On the other hand, if fear of poetry is the culprit it is not really contagious, so in that case you should be okay. To that end, we didn't get to the dreaded timer thing in poetry class, you'll have to wait for Monday for that exercise. But if you'd like another of David's assignments, try this one, the one I'm trying to revise. Write a poem on grief. Include these four words: distance, harsh, drink, heaven. Write the poem in couplets. Make it 20 lines long, 5-14 syllables per line. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Go. Revise a little, but not too much. Endeavor to persevere. Try not to think of killing the white man.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jesus' Poem

Jesus' poem got buried in the comments, but I dug it out.

Lightly, under sprinting clouds

We find each other translucent.

Heavily: blades and blades crush and stab

Underneath us. We find ourselves

Hiding in our angles, in the shadows

Of our pleasure. The collar chokes,

Pinches, ebbs, flows, tighter, tighter-

Wooden smells, pine and oak, cherry.

Heavily, under melting clouds

I find myself obsidian.

Lightly: verdant stains burn impressions

On my skin. Pulsing muscle, steady drops

Race the rabbit to its hole.

Sixteenth Birthday

Beneath an ice-glistened foresty canopy
Wet black tree trunks surrounded by
Burnt-yellow grassy fields

And the swans still swimming
Past November warnings.
Because I don’t know the names of
Complicated colors, I can’t tell you how I feel.

Pink-green fields in January
Sixteen deep red roses on her birthday.
Almost-men smoking sweet brown cigars
Outside in the dark winter rain.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rebecca's Verse

I'm down at Potato Creek, snuggled in a cabin watching the icy trees. Rebecca was kind enough to give the poetry thing a go. Here's her untitled creation:

Lightly, under sprinting clouds
I run against the translucent blow
Of cooling wind that seeks my collar
And clings to my skin as sensate pleasure

I shake off the burden of a day
Gone wrong and the wooden smile
I wore to fool the foolish
Folk I served who thought themselves worthy

Genuine goodness turned to product for trade
I am paid to be tame, a benign rabbit
But now I run and growl and sing – fire and storm

Friday, January 12, 2007

Alice is Sleeping

(Yes, I know, the syllables aren't right and I don't have enough lines and I hate the last stanza...)

Observe Alice and her rabbit,
sleeping lightly, under sprinting clouds
Don’t disturb her pleasure

Eyes open she runs a labyrinth
of brightly painted wooden doors
dragging a translucent collar
for all the kings horses to see

But watch how she is sleeping
Like one suspended between
Two worlds, timers and baseball
and soup pots, nudging aside
foresty dreams.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Icy Ways

At last I’ve discovered what kind of poetry writer I am. Frigid. I am so proud. Perhaps there is a frigid poetry writer’s contest I could enter, make it an event, something.

Anyway, here is the assignment I froze on.

Using the follow phrase and five words, write a 13-line poem. Each line should be 7-11 syllables long. Spend no longer than one minute writing each line. Obey the time limits.

1. Lightly, under sprinting clouds


I’ve sent the assignment to my poetry writing friends. Maybe they can show me how to unthaw, unlock the mystery of my icy ways. In the meantime, write me a poem. Obey the guidelines. Follow the rules.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

January Springs

Snow lovers white in the forest
Burpee red on the counter
Jackass Max curled up in a C
Beowulf tiptoeing through
toast crumbs
Family routine

Dreams surface on the river
Plunging rapids brown and
white and green
and pink
Fields in January

That damn butterfly still flapping
Its wings

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Switching Places

The long-shadowed winter days are upon us, minus the usual cold and snow. We went walking in the moonlight last night and my husband taught me something I didn't know. The moon and the sun switch places in the winter. While the sun is low on the horizon, the moon is high above us. Of course this makes sense. How could I live this long and not know?

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

The City of Falling Angels was too rich for my taste. I yawned and fell to dreaming of my jobless cousin emerging as a creative genius, respected and well known. Grandma finished sorting all the puzzle pieces while I conquered the sky, in all of its various iterations of blue. Leonard Cohen spoke in the dining room. Hallelujah or some such thing. The sailboats remain to be unraveled. A gunshot, or maybe a lighting bolt, shook the windowpanes. We all went out to look, but couldn’t see anything. So this is January, the start of the new year.