April 22nd poem

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Unequal Bittersweet

"Having passed April's low hurdles, I feel you like a corner."
--Maureen Thorson, "Rocking the Pathetic Fallacy"

1.
There were further portents
Like Jane Eyre's split oak
Jung's split table when he split with Freud
Johnny Cash cracking the ceiling with his thought vibrations

The family photo falling off the wall

One plant growing tall, the other stunted

One year, I carried a blue rock with me everywhere
or green-- the rock was green
I can feel it in my palm
hidden in my coat pocket
when I had to be on a bus
in a city alone
on the way to a job

unmoored
but holding my power
in my little raccoon hands on the bus

In other years, 
the presence on the ceiling

the dream of someone throwing a baby
someone catching it

The door ajar

2.
How many more Easters do we have together?
It depends what you mean by we/ by together

3.
The baby slouches in his stroller in a red hoodie,
the velcro of one red sneaker undone, as is his preference
tousled brown hair,
gold in it in the son sun

He is tired
covers his ears when a siren goes by a few blocks away
makes a gesture when he wants another ice cube
fingertips of each hand to the thumb, tapping his hands together

This is a person doing the hard work of understanding more words
than he is able to speak

There's a grace to how he's doing it
(knock wood.
dress a decoy of a boy so the gods or devils don't know where he lives
or know where he lives.
daimons, not demons my motto.)

A few people in the neighborhood look at him appreciatively, slouched there,
cooler than Iggy Pop.
"Man is together," one woman even says (or something like that).

We will make our own luck.
Nobody here but us chickens.


April 21st poem

Monday, April 21, 2014

False Cup-and-Saucer

It never occurred to her to be conventional.
Sometimes she wished it would.

April 20th poem

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Have Hitched My Wagon to a Star 
(a collaboration with Todd Colby)


Here, I'll explain it to you with this white board. 
I'll mount it on a Show-Go-Round and make it revolve 
when I have another lesson to teach you. 
The kind you can sink your teeth into, as per your 
email sent to me on 4.2.14. And I quote: 
"There is a plausible heap in the works, 
that's why I am committed to the worst in you."
You will sing another tune when you learn
the truth of our situation, how I've tied
myself to you and tied this suitcase to my
wrist, as per your email on 4.12.09. And
I quote: "I can really talk to you, you know?"
On the other hand, there is nothing but blood meal
to consume in this cramped apartment, that and some
stewed carrots with rice (I know you love that).
Thus are we are tied to each other.  Thus do we wander 
through the desert.  Thus is some inexorable third entity
tied to my wrist, dragged along with us. Do you want 
a smoothie? Would you like an afternoon  alone with 
200 messages? What is "beyond unacceptable?"
You always understood me so well, even that time
you asked if I was a replicant or a star being from
outer space like Jeff Bridges in Star Man. 
But as I explained that fateful day: I get my news 
from cable & my wine from Trader Joe's.  I am 
only too human and fallible. Don't tug on the rope, dear

April 19th poem

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Heavy Bonnet

"Hope for everything, expect nothing."  --Ron Padgett

What percentage of people I know have told me what percentage of their secrets?  (The fact that I am curious but not overly concerned about this makes me easy to be friends with, if you ignore the megrims.)

*
I am not in Seattle.  I am not in Nepal.  I am not even in Heidelberg.  I haven't left the neighborhood today.  I'm inside a cave-like cafe sitting on a high stool. The abundant sunlight flashing off cars bounces off my peripheral vision.

*
What percentage of people are psychic on the subway?  Are they concerned about me?

*
Certain odd little thrills:  Speaking to the man behind the counter in between hiccups.  Seized with the fleeting sudden thought, "I will move to the Florida Keys and grow my hair!"

*
Looking back through this notebook, I see notations about exercising my "subtle body"; what a falcon signifies; a Russian ice dancing pair and their program on the theme of madness; the emotional toll taken by a very cold January and a very cold February.

*
A woman who leaves her mouth opens at the end of sentences stands in front of my table talking on her cell phone.  She is saying, "Everyone's all like 'salted caramel,' like a sweet & savory thing."  Thing-uh.

*
A page that list points on my plan.  The first item of the plan: Get a lucky break.

*
A gentle psychic gesture toward marveling.

April 18th poem

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Day in the Life

A meal of oatmeal and organic bananas? I'm thinking and nibbling
on chocolate, Friday April 18th, 3:03 pm.  Lifting the filter I see
there's more coffee and do a "I see there's more coffee" dance.  The green
on that scrawny tree seems to be alive.  The sky is doing that thing
where it's glarey and white and overcast.  It's like someone trying
to be kind to you through the filter of their hangover so not really
caring.  Earlier a drama teacher in someone else's clothes and mustache
socks came to watch my son.  I descended to the underworld.  I emerged
two neighborhoods over where people seemed real today (Greenpoint).
I bought a bagel with scallion cream cheese on my way, thinking
"Oh!  this is the deli where I went with the Soy Bomb guy that time
I accidentally got drunk, having had drinks before dinner and during
dinner with the artists and the psychotherapist and forgot what
neighborhood I was in but it was here, I guess?" I never even realized
those were the days, I guess?  I guess those were the days. Tomorrow
I promise to write a poem that isn't about writing itself. Or I'll put on
sack cloth to go with my new hair ("shorn").  I'll put on art clogs
and call it a day.

April 17th poem

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Signs and Portents

Once nearly twenty years ago, she had become oddly immobile after her second year of grad school.  Immobile may be the wrong word.  Reluctant to leave the house, maybe.  Looking back, she could recall odd details like pausing at the end of her block on what was probably a beautiful summer day to look at a black bird with iridescent-flecked feathers (at the time she thought it was a grackle, but later learned: starling).  The bird had a small, evenly-shaped stick of some kind lodged in its beak in a way that looked uncomfortable and, strangely, menacing.  She decided it was a bad sign and went home to drink iced tea and sleep on the couch with the blinds down.  Before she'd left campus, she'd checked out most of the books by Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster she hadn't previously read, having decided that she would become a Woolf and Forster scholar, and she moved her reading chair into the middle of the room and made a stack out of the books, then sat there reading them one by one and moving each one from one side of the chair to the other.  Later, she drove her small car into town and stood in the back room of a used bookstore in front of the shelf that held the letters and biographies of Woolf.  It took her a long time to decide to buy Quentin Bell's biography, which was a first edition and expensive, and she began to wonder if anyone was watching her stand in front of the shelf, holding the large book and then putting it back again multiple times.  At some point, she must have spoken to the man she was sporadically seeing, indicating to him, possibly indirectly, that leaving the house had become difficult.  One day he surprised her by bringing her another large stack of library books.  He had decided to become a scholar of contemporary Mexican American literature, and had further decided that she would enjoy reading all the books of poetry and fiction that the university library had by Mexican American women.  He came to her door looking somehow contrite and surprised her with these books, so she put those books next to her chair and read those, as well.  It was a very large stack, and many of the books were set in the Southwest, a place she had never been and still hadn't been to this day.  What seems strangest to her now when she looks back on this memory is her one omission.  She could never make it through Woolf's The Waves and still hadn't read it. 

April 16th poem

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Settled

"So much khaki and uncombed hair!" is how my mom described the Unitarians that time she was trying out being a joiner.  Another time we got the giggles when the white gospel troupe very solemnly intoned, "For-- I-- shall-- consider-- my-- cat-- Jeoffry---."  Still, the decision is clear:  once I'm settled, I'll join a gym with childcare and whatever denomination has childcare and a tolerance for pantheism. 
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