Don't let me stop you from running by this morning
I'm just passing through on my way to the greener pastures on the other side
and then on to the creek for a long drink, it's been a long night.
It's early yet and I didn't know you would be out so early with the pink
still in the clouds and a chill in the air, did you know that your hat is
quite unattractive in brown knit with Deer Trail Road Race written on it?
you so totally lacking in femininity while I delicately cross the bike path,
my slender legs and neat brown hooves look so much more
refined than your purple sneakers and dreadful striped running pants.
Next time I see you on the path, please look a bit better and for goodness sake,
run lightly and more quickly, I'll nod in your direction and wink.
everything is there in the boxes,
twelve of them stacked against the wall,
a few more tucked underneath the table,
ok, a couple more in my car, and well,
ok, a red plastic basket next to my coat
on my desk with the dirty coffee cup and
well, ok, my razor scooter is on top of
the file cabinet and a honeycomb panel
from an old experiment is on the floor
I hope I don't trip on it.
ten folded boxes and two rolls of tape leaning against the door
piles of papers, office detritus and more, to pack and seal,
load onto my narrow shoulders and carry across the parking lot
to my new office
all the books I hoped to have read
bottles of ionic liquids waiting to be tested
a motley assortment of jackets and shoes.
the first boxes neatly arranged and labeled
containing a single set of identifiable objects.
I seal the last box late at night
the most random objects piled unevenly inside
marveling at what we gather in our
tonight, I have
wanted to reach across
the table, across the room
to the screaming child and sssshhh'ing
mother, how clueless is she to think
anyone could find her offspring anything but intensely
annoying, as well as spewing germs across the cafe
towards all of us innocents sandwiched between each other, suffering.
it's all text these last few days
like my life, no color, no faces,
no arms, no legs, no trees, no rainbows.
I'm just coughing like the last two months,
the cough that never goes away and never
gives up, the cough that never stops giving.
just white on black, striped socks
inside white to keep my feet warm
in the cold, dank day here in Colorado.
how dare you, weatherman, give me
rain all week and rain today in Colorado
with frost on my jacket when I arrive
at work to match the frozen ice
on my handlebars.
the house is still there
yellow as usual waiting to be
swathed in Christmas lights.
the dog, wagging her tail,
she knew we were coming home today
and wonders if she will get extra treats.
Bed, oh wonderful bed, that does not
resonate with every motion of the Other.
freshly laundered pajamas that dried
in the dry Colorado air to replace
pajamas moist from Oregon
Ah blessed home,
how I love thee.
first thing at home
I'd be up filling the kettle and cutting fruit
checking the news and hoping for the best.
breakfast at a local diner today
a heavy cheerful waitress with crooked teeth asks us
if we plan to buy a car when we meant the movie
the clouds hang heavy over this sky
we are happy there is no rain, at home
the sun is shining and the question would be
what time to go hike or bike, here we
wonder if we need to bring an umbrella
or just the raincoat and what we can
find for lunch, or sooner yet, a good coffee.
no extended family at home, just a black dog
who wants to eat all the time,
she has such simple needs,
so clearly expressed,
so easily satisfied.
if only family were so
thanks to freedom from fog and clouds
from men who jump off tall buildings,
thank you for the freedom to choose
and for the first thirtyfive years of freedom
from bondage and slavery, let me remember this.
thanks for the beauty in the sky and the glint
in her eye, the smile that crosses her face,
for the gap between his teeth and his towering
hug, slightly sweaty after dynamic stretching.
thanks for this life and all it offers, let me
remember the best of this and move
as quickly and quietly away from the
the plane glides through clouds
of rain, torrents of rain filling fields
and roads, rushing rivers around trees
that used to stand on solid ground.
rain, Oregon rain, rain that makes everything
bright green, except now covered in brown
and endless water across the fields and roads,
Oregon rain, the damp and cold darkness
of Oregon rain.
I never look at the stars outside my front door,
the streetlamp glares in my eyes and I turn away.
The Moon hovers among them unnoticed
until tonight in the cold air, my eyes adapt as
I run away from the street lamp into darkness,
the leaves on the trees glisten under starlight,
I see them for the first time in this neighborhood,
my beautiful new running shoes
just a dream, a wager, a wish launched in Washington,
a companion, a friend, a daughter,
a new pair of shoes called to me today,
I followed the siren call of the lightest
footfall on a wooded path, imagining
the wind against my cheeks, strong legs,
my worries streaming behind me,
i can notice the birds in the trees and
see squirrels preparing for winter,
i'll run by them all, and they will barely
lift their heads to notice i have
passed by with barely a sound.
I loved you.
your white creme middle.
soft vanilla cake.
even your wrapper crinkled in a delicious way.
you were a special treat in those days.
I never looked back, though,
after I discovered Little Debbies,
the chocolate crunchy wafers with
peanut butter inside.
their wrappers also yielded a
delicious crinkle and I could lick
the peanut butter off the wrapper
when I finished.
Ho-Ho's were lovely, too.
As were Ding-Dongs,
but Twinkies were a very special treat,
and now, you are gone,
rest in peace.
my flute sits dormant
waiting waiting while I wait
to feel better, enough to play
now and wonder if I have waited
too long, forgetting my lessons
even, never done learning
and it stops while my flute
sits waiting for me to get up
the big bang left us static on our TVs
the sun hid behind the moon
viruses take over our cells, our guns
cannot kill them
so we go to far off places instead.
scientists discovered a new material that
stops micrometeoroids in their tracks
but we don't understand why
like so many things like how the
universe expands in all directions
from all locations
electrons are no longer an elementary
particle; they are made of quarks.
I learned alot of wrong stuff in school.
We move sluggishly all because of
the Higgs boson, I'd rather move
more quickly today.
the drugs better kick in soon
after nine days of pretending
I wasn't sick, ignore a sore throat
and maybe it will go away
sulking from lack of attention.
no such luck, my voice cracked,
my body ached, miserable crud,
how I wish you would vacate
my premises, please drugs,
kick in soon.
that night we walked gently, quietly
approaching the Memorials to those who have died.
from the winter grass of the Mall, we gazed skyward
at the one for he who led them into battle against the British.
ahead another leader who fought for the rights of all
in a united federation with a heavy, but righteous, heart.
to the left and the right lay the memorials to those who have
died in more recent momentous struggles
World War II and the Vietnam War.
A column and stone wreath for each state encircle
a fountain, so many droplets flung wide, their
moment to glisten in the spotlight before falling to
join the others in the endless stream of life and death.
thousands of names carved in black glistening granite
Richard, Peter, Timothy, Lee, Randy and Carol.
the trench of war is long, lined with so many names
the spotlight is on them this night
here amongst us few wandering
amongst the newly placed wreaths
kneeling for a moment next to them
to read the few lines left behind.
oh they're good alright
slathered with additional butter and jam
cappucino in a tall glass, a crown of white foam.
the sun warms our faces out on the patio
on the day in November where
one expects the chill of a winter
instead we bask in his warmth of his victory,
even the sun is shining.
in the Library of Congress, we find
Jefferson's library behind curved glass walls
next to the door leading to
our library, our books to pick up, to rub the
pages between our fingers, to wonder at the
knowledge that is held there in black type
pressed into white
how can we keep our eyes on these pages
as focused rays of sun sweep from table
to table as the moon traverses the sky
all this driven by our movement in this
we can read all about it in
the Library of Congress.
the coffee shop is called Pound
the baristo calls me "young lady"
and thanks me for being so patient
as if it's a rarity
i drink red wine at a picnic table
with young people who don't know me
no baggage, only disinterest after
a reluctant smile in return.
no schedule, no relationship,
no work demands, nothing but
falling leaves onto Pennsylvania Ave,
my president still in office
safely tucked away with his family
only a mile away.
i feel happy.
nothing to do but peer over the
top of my reading glasses at the
couple kissing good-bye
outside the cafe window.
I look over a sea of white male heads, many balding,
a few women tucked in the back, I'm used to it.
if they find you beautiful, they don't make eye contact.
I didn't care, I was so happy about the next four years;
most of them, being white males probably voted for Romney,
that was his demographic, I could have a moment of
lording it over them and they could appreciate someone
wearing a red floral skirt from Iceland, an informative
presentation that carried them along like the molecules
in my talk, arriving and departing with characteristic
dependent on temperature and time,
they got up obediently to go have a coffee,
bounced against each other before readsorbing
onto their chairs for the next talk.
Chuck is snoring in his lazy boy, Irene sleeping under her
hand-crocheted pastel cover, I watch the red flood stop,
even Obama looks to win Paul Ryan's state, sweet victory.
Stephen would be admiring these big leather Lazy-Boys
that recline fully to horizontal, and they rock, too.
I sit on a chair, its seat cushion still wrapped in plastic
looking over the sleeping beauties in front of me,
my heart leaping in my throat that our president looks
to win, maybe we can hope for a better future after all.
you've got to be kidding me
these people really exist? like
the federal contractor guy sitting next to me
working for some non-descript defense agency
flipping through his magazine
page after page after
fricking page of ads for assault rifles,
articles on when you'll need your weapon
to work NOW, knives, generators,
more guns, a caricature of those
we laugh about from
the city down south of us,
it's real, don't laugh,
I doubt men obsess over what to wear
when they are surrounded by men all wearing the same thing
a sport jacket, a button down shirt, maybe a sweater, some
slacks, no cleavage, mostly beige, homogeneous.
women obsess mightily, slacks or a skirt, a dress?
not too manly, not too feminine, that one is a shapeless sack,
but that one's a little too low cut, the slightest hint of
a cleavage, no, that won't do, oh that skirt again, but
it's always so fricking cold in conference rooms,
so we obsess the night before about what to wear
at these conferences where everyone seems to be a man.
we knock on doors in the night
clipboard in hand, fingers clutched around a blue highlighter.
who will answer the door, what mood, a smile or a frown,
a slam, a NO, an appreciation, we don't know until
the door opens and someone appears
we check the appropriate boxes and hope our
guy will win in four days, for four more years.
We stand as one nation, not two,
not rich vs poor, not white vs black,
no, we stand as one, whether we like it or not,
we are one nation, one set of neighbors,
we squabble, we fight, we disagree, but
at the end of the day, we must stand together.
I stood there, not 50 feet away from Barack
and I have to admit, was reminded, reprimanded
in fact, for my all too often classist, snobbist way,
we do all rise and fall together in the end.
I was inspired, reminded and honored
to be here to hear our great President.
If you haven't voted, vote, if you haven't
helped our president get re-elected, get out
there for a couple of hours to knock on doors.
We'll see you out there.