Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Being sick

the injustice of a runny nose, sore throat
and headache, leaving me sleepless

in my bed littered with dirty Kleenex,
old magazines and Nyquil.

I spilled tea all over the stack of papers
on my desk, otherwise untouched
in spite of “working at home” posted
on the white board at the office.

a neighbor brings over cookies,
I’m too sick to be interested.
I watch a Netflix movie, and
wait for sleep in spite of this

Monday, November 29, 2010

High School Physics Class

 The last poem I posted had this within it, but I shortened it to this...

I was the only girl

sliding wooden blocks down incline planes,
timing the period of a pendulum,
confirming Newton's Laws

as if the planets needed reassurances
as they hurtled around the Sun.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Science Lessons on Thanksgiving Day

I was the only girl in high school physics class
sliding wooden blocks down incline planes,
measuring the period of a pendulum, the
only one on the trail today walking
across frozen leaves watching the tall grasses
bend in the wind, only so far as determined by
the spring constant of each stem, the force of
the wind, and the cross sectional area.
There were no equations, no tests, no boys,
just the grasses, the sun, the wind and me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

in celebration of family,
of those that are far away,
those that are so near their breath
intermingles with my own,
entangled in a familiar way while
sharing that which sustains us,
a home-cooked meal, a glass of
red, a few even, still
warm apple pie and ice cream,
entirely satisfied some wander off
we settle onto the old sofa to
watch a movie, not mattering
what as long as I have his
hand warm within my own.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Second

so many clocks in the kitchen,
why don’t they all tick-tock in concert
do they not know what a second is,
so many billions of a cesium atom’s oscillations,
so many beats of a hummingbird’s wings,
a fraction of  a sigh, the time for an arrow’s
trajectory to finally fall towards earth,
the time they say it takes to fall
in love, the millions to stay
in love.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching the Night

two cars turn left onto a lonely street
tailgates curve around the bend into darkness.

a bus rolls by with a single passenger seated
way in the back; he is reading Lolita before heading
home to a loveless marriage.

Christmas decorations light the street,
two women stop in full view to deeply kiss.

a taxi stops at the red light, a streetlamp illuminates
a plume of exhaust, before it drives away
to destinations unknown.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Escape Eyes Closed

she sits at the dinette
in silence, eyes closed,
listening to her beating heart,
willing the day to lift from her
shoulders, to release her tight
shoulders with each footstep
across the soft bed of
pine needles along her favorite
trail, smelling her body as ice,
snow and rain rippling along
the creek bed, water lifting into
the sky as white cumulous clouds
building to black thunderclouds,
coming down again as rain over
cities, mountains, lakes and
oceans, her feet keep stepping
across the soft pine needle beds.
she raises her arms up towards
the moon rising in the east,
the north star, finally taking
a breath and opening her eyes,
she sits at the same dinette,
body intact, composed of
the same atoms and molecules
as the stars, the Moon, the
rivers and streams.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Melting Butter

launched from knife’s edge
a petite pat of butter arcs gracefully
through the air, landing firmly on edge
in the bottom of the sauté pan.
seemingly defying gravity, she holds
position, one corner pointing
skyward as if held in position by
an unseen partner on an ice rink,
only releasing in the warm applause
of an appreciative audience. 
Spent, she submits to gravity,
all edges find the bottom of the
pan now as the heat penetrates
from below, burners set to high,
the cook waits patiently for the
butter to melt before stirring in
minced onions, cranberries and
red wine, admiring the beauty
of butter spreading across the
bottom of the pan. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picking Milk

standing in front of cooler at Sunflower
I wonder, a gallon or half?  one percent or two?
organic or in “natural” returnable bottles?  Horizon or
Farmers’?  this or that?  that or this?
cream or chocolate milk?  buttermilk or sour
cream for the chocolate cake?  salted butter
or unsalted?  cage free eggs, large or medium, brown
or white?  so I stand there in a stupor deciding
while people are dying in wartime, dying from
malnutrition; I stand here frozen in time,
all brain cells working full time, dumbfounded with
the stupidity of it all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sweeping the Stairs

dirt has filled every corner
swept aside by many footsteps
going up and down, up and down,
wilted leaves fallen from unwatered plants,
clods of dried dirt, dust bunnies.
blue fiber cloth in hand she starts
at the top, methodically moving
left to right across the back edge,
sweeping the pile across the front
edge and down onto the next,
across the landing and down the
last eleven steps to the
ground floor where she finally
pauses to look up at the gleaming
stairs, then carefully brushing
the pile into a small dustpan,
almost tenderly depositing a part
of her life into the trash can.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No more excuses

no more excuses
too dark to soak up the sun
leaves still sodden from snowfall
too dark to follow footsteps and dodge ice patches.
too full to get another bowl of ice cream, another
cup of tea, the dishes are done, the dogs are fed,
the boyfriend is busy, too.
no more excuses
to delay what needs to be done,
the opening of the mind, creaking
notwithstanding, night has
come, light shines on
books and papers,
sit under the light
and begin.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Snow the morning of Veterans Day

and birds perched on the empty feeder
looking at me dolefully, their red breasts
reminding me of those whose lives have
been lost at war this day, Veterans Day,
those in trenches, morphine coursing
through their veins to stand the terrible
pain, the cold, the loneliness, the bullets,
OK, I said,as I put on my slippers,
scrounged for bird seed in the basement
and shuffled through the snow, so little
to ask in response to such sacrifices.

I highly recommend reading Three Day Road about two young Canadian (Indian) men who go to war. The reference to morphine comes from this book.  This book woke me up to the horror of war.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the impersonator

she sneaks into small dim rooms
with her pen in hand ready to
forge signatures for children who
have skipped school, for small time
felons, and single mothers who
want to divorce deadbeat dads.
her clients wait impatiently but
she takes her time studying each
signature, crossing every “t” and
dotting each “i” so no one will
ever know the difference. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

sun rain snow

in the morning the crackle of leaves
under bike tires, sun shining through
the few remaining leaves, jacket
stashed in the rear basket.
in the afternoon, heavy grey
clouds laden with rain falling
on my helmet, cold wind cutting
through my jacket on me,
no longer in the basket, no sunshine,
later, snow falling gently on
wet sidewalks and streets.
winter has finally arrived.

Monday, November 8, 2010

editing:a prose poem

the longest sentences without any punctuation spill across the page down the page across the page the reader no longer able to follow the stream of consciousness flowing from her fingers typing across the keyboard now no longer even correctin gtypiosthatseem to flowendlessless andmakethe readingevenmoreconfusing and teriblydifficulttoreadafterall and so I stopped reading and put in punctuation marks, brutally ending sentences.  Just like that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight savings

It’s dark already, before dinner
before a glass of wine the neighbor
brought over, bless her in the darkness.

It’s too early to go to bed,
the dishes are undone, the letter unwritten
next to the fountain pen, ink of darkness.

It’s too early to sleep, the pages
lay open waiting to be read, the
light is turned off, I am in darkness.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Language and Equations

to hold is to forget,
love means nothing.
the product of electric field
and charge is force;
automobiles start with the turn
of a key, trains run on time.
make nothing without words,
let me be the one you never
forget, but remember that
the sky is blue for a reason.

I've been taking a poetry class and have come to appreciate that poetry can have its own rules and patterns not unlike some we have in science.  Several of the lines pulled into this poem are from Kay Ryan's Languages Lessons 1976 where love means nothing in one line, but then make nothing without words in a line later.  Like we would say A = B on one page of a textbook, then B = C later realizing that A = C.  There is a beauty in both worlds. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cours: a definition

qu'est-ce que c'est, cours?
she furrowed her brow,
they don’t have them here,
only in Paris, Madrid or Prague
the “cours’ where children play
behind solid stone walls, passersby
only glimpse a small segment of
the parabolic swing of a child
screaming with delight before
she jumps off onto a verdant
soft lawn sprinkled in fall leaves.
She wasn’t sure how to translate
this word “cours” because we
don’t really have them here
but I knew I wanted to spend
time there playing and laughing
where I had never been before.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Watching him wash the dishes

I watch from the dinette
as he puts on the too small yellow
latex gloves and my flowered apron.

He changes the station to KBCO
from NPR, the noise of hard rock
fills the air: I put an ear plug
in my one good ear.

Most of the dishes end up washed
but a few linger on the counter
waiting for me to finish
the job.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fire Pit: A Clanging poem

Our poetry teacher works with mentally ill people and a common manifestation of schizophrenia is clanging, a type of speech where the person mostly talks nonsense but in rhymes.  This poem was written in poetry workshop last night during free write.

fire pit,
spit in my face
pace! space
me out, man
damn I'm real
peel off me, dude,
my mood,you're
lewd, man damn
spit at me
be see me lee
pee on me
wet debt, I'm set!
get regret, hot
fire, inspire
you're all a liar
admire me

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poetry Workshop

each carries a sheaf
of words in sonnets
rhymes couplets
offerings for a night
gathered around hissing
flickering flames
we bow to each other
capturing words
unspoken undertones
of lives not yet