the final stanzas are missing
and I didn't notice having read too many already
embarrassed at my insensitivity to
William Meredith in his rendition of
the Wreck of the Thresher
instead of turning to page 389 to
link the errata to the poem, I reach
for another piece of tiramisu chocolate
absconded from someone else's
the necessaries spread out on the floor
underwear, big coat, toothbrush as Jenny will not be there
no one to tour London with or smile at
and who will smile back
a book, a Nook,
inside the bag
and make sure everything is there
that can be taken.
it's blows from the west every day at noon through evening
when we all move from the plains towards the mountains
from work towards home, from banks of computer screens to
crocuses beaming up from frozen soils
we lean into it
our overcoats buttoned tight
determined to reach
it's a book about a bridge in Spain
that was clear early on in the book.
a quarter way into the book,
ok, I get it, it's a story about a bridge
and a few people, some American guy
from Montana who carries explosives
and sleeps in a robe, one different from
my bathrobe, for sleeping outdoors in snow.
ok, the bookmark tells me I am two thirds
done and the pages are so thin and so
heavily loaded with ink,
Pedro, Rafael, ..and oh, yes, Maria,
and horses fall dead next to their soldiers,
explosions ricochet across the hilltops
mixing fear and courage, betrayal and loyalty.
only a few pages left, the bridge lies in pieces,
as did their soldiers
as the bridge is gone, so ends the book.
in this moment,
I don't care if there is war, famine or strife
for this moment there is only air streaming across
the hole in this flute, the vibration reverberating through
my fingers, into my hands, across to my heart
or not, depending on the day, but doesn't matter
really because in that moment, the worry of war,
famine or strife does not matter
it's nice to have a break.
He's not sure she will be able to read it
beyond to see that it is in sections
1, 2, 3 and 4 with a pause
between 3 and 4, a hesitation....
she will wonder at the space
what will be revealed and will she
want to know,
or maybe it's just a natural pause
when he looked out the window of the cafe
at some passersby and his pen slipped away.
his writing got larger and less legible as if
hurrying to finish and she wondered at his rush
she, still in her pajamas, the steam from her coffee
rising to her nostrils, no rush for this letter to end
why must it end this way, a pinched signature
at the bottom, no room for love.
Four seemed excessive,
really too many, they are way too rich,
we need to lose some holiday weight,
S. is leaving for Denmark and he won't
be exercising as much, J. is working too much,
we already each ate one after eating
mozzarella cheese balls and salami,
really, it's excessive.
Ana and I write poetry every Monday and come up with all sorts of prompts. This one was from our last Monday. If I used a prompt from today, it would be about frustrating computers, bad model runs, cutting your arm off in some desolate canyon...shall I go on?
your worst fear, that I will run away with another man,
would it be better if it were a woman,
how about if I moved to Paris alone,
the small suitcase near the coal closet hurriedly
packed with a few items,some lingerie and socks.
would it confirm your fears about me, or do those
fears reside in such matters as restless leg syndrome
which kicks up at midnight, or bad breath
even after brushing?
I want to confirm your worst fears about me
so we can both sleep well at night knowing
I can do the worst thing imaginable
and we will survive it.
I go to neighborhood meeting for the desserts
the chocolate cookies with pecans
the molasses and lemon bars lined up on
a white platter, the bowl of strawberries.
zoning, community garden, sidewalks
and liability digested alongside chocolate,
washed down with several glasses of wine
why else go to neighborhood meeting?
your curly hair with the flat spot on the back of your head in
the morning when you roll out of my bed, comforter in a crumpled
pile off to the side.
baking cookies and never getting around to decorating them
they still tasted good and disappeared somehow
the sound of creaking stairs
a Beethoven concerto with a few missed notes
the stack of used tea bags is only half as tall
even though you never leave yours out
a pile of boots, a jacket, a square cut purse
all the little signs of you, gone,
I always play flat
she sticks me with her bow on long slurs
I can't quite hit the high "E"
she misses the B flat most of the time
between the can-can and William Tell
we mercilessly slaughter the score
and laugh to tell about it.
A simple predictable life with lots of naps
preferably to the steady drone of master's snoring.
A rawhide half eaten, securely held under a right
front paw for enjoyment.
A dog wants her walk in the early morning
after a pre-breakfast to provide energy for
her full body wag, for sniffing that tall stand of
grass by the fly fishing shop, or for leaving
his personal signature behind.
he wants to nap after breakfast to recover from
his exertion as he listens to his mistress talk on the
phone to someone she loves.
dogs hate conflict.
if she has to go to work, they want access to the couch
even though they know that they are not allowed,
if found, they will slink off with guilty eyes.
After a full day of naps, walks and food,
a dog wants a good night's sleep dreaming of
chasing, and catching, an endless supply of cats and
I watched them from across the restaurant laughing
and discretely asked the maitre d' to bring them the finest bottle
of wine for their enjoyment
they looked around the dining room in bewilderment, passing over
young couples in love, families with small children, finally settling
their gaze on an older gentleman in the corner nursing a brandy
after a fine meal
they'd never guess it was me even as I removed my
camera from its case to capture their smiling faces.
while cars slide into one another
wheels careening, spinning backwards,
horns blaring, fingers raised, voices steaming windows
I ride silently only the creek gurgles to me
under her icy stole, my bag dusted in snow
tires leaving only signs of studs
diamond studs on an icy
he was talking but the words made no sense
jumbled as they were, his mouth not even matching
I noticed his corduroy pants and wondered if his wife had bought them
of course she did because his shirt is green silk
and before her, he looked so bad, really bad, I can't even remember
what he wore, just that he looks so much nicer now
and he stopped suddenly and asked me if I was tired
and I said, yes, I'm so tired and then I noticed his shoes
were new and stylish and we decided it was time for
me to go home.
in the distance
a light bobs up and down
they run in tandem
their shoes crunching in the snow
in complete darkness
intertwined voices project forward
fade behind like the whistle
on a passing train
the headlamps pass
A "3" and a "2"
no, too young for me,
let's roll again.
"7" and "5", too old
I'll take you, "3" and "5",
you're available and close by
even if you do have "2" dogs.
when we meet I will share
my "4" and "7" over a
red sangria and we'll sum it up
"3 + 5 + 4 + 7 = 20"
I'd prefer a prime but perhaps
having a range of summations
and multiplications might work
better in this complicated world
If not, I'll roll again.
chicken soup, French bread and Brie,
wine, warmed peaches and cinnamon ice cream
Spiegel im Spiegel,
Scotch dance, Minuet and
Moon in the Ruined Castle all flute
singing as the dogs' eyes drift towards
closed, their breath even and calm,
never mind the applause, a sleeping dog
they will look inside my brain
and decipher chemical signatures,
tapping their pencils on special papers
with insurance company stamps
as letterhead, they will decide
if the combination is acceptable
for a full day of construction or
waitressing, while I wait for the
conclusions for doing rocket
I already know
why do they ask?
the path looks softer to the west
but I am heading east towards somewhere,
I"m not sure where sometimes in the morning
I wonder where I am
or where you are, where are you
on your path, is it heading south this spring
shall I join you in this mystery or join the local
co-op or play my violin every evening a
warm cup of coffee steaming on the dresser.
this path wanders so aimlessly, I don't
know how to steer yet, the rudder is
stiff, where do I apply the oil.
an audience of one trying not to smile
which would make me laugh, looking serious
and attentive, Buddy at his side
looking the wrong way, such is my
audience of one.
I almost laughed anyway while trying to keep
my wandering thumb in place, my lips placed
correctly, the pads of my fingers over the holes
all without cracking the "E", that most unstable
of unstable notes, the gnome.
and suddenly my two pieces were done, I
hadn't laughed, I didn't forget the pieces
in the middle, not too many notes cracked,
The grey smear along the hallway wall; painted over after years
of dog running along the hallway, rubbing his side on the way
to wake up the lazy ones still sleeping in bed.
the broken lamp shade; fixed years after the edge
chipped off from an overly rambunctious swing towards
what future we didn't know, couldn't guess.
the brown carpet stained in shades of brown tire
tracks, dog tracks, human tracks; gone, ripped up,
replaced with a noncommittal smell waiting to be populated.
a stovetop spilled over with the vestiges of paleo meals,
a countertop gone speckled, a refrigerator hiding
remains in its dark recesses, the bulb never changed;
replaced with gleaming stainless steel appliances.
the fox is no longer on the wall, she hangs over
a fireplace somewhere else, the mildewed towels
tossed in the fabric recycle bin, unneeded bike parts,
stained clothing, broken vacuum cleaners, ugly dishes,
excess silverware streamed out of the front door, clothes
reassembled in other closets, the front door shut
waiting for someone new to unlock it and walk in.
he slammed his finger in the door
I loved the car, I did not love him.
She drove off every night in the sleek yellow lozenge
we ate meat loaf and washed the dishes
III. Saab Sonnett
every else carpooled in a Subaru wagon
we drove in the Sonnett, his hand on my leg,
our bucket seats touching. Adulthood
IV. The Justy
Three cylinders of raw power.
V. The Prizm and the MiniVan
we are now mature adults.
last year I vowed to touch my toes sometime in 2011,
yes, without bending my knees!
and I did, I did, for a day or two, and declared victory!
this year, a year of alphabetical reading, from authors
starting with A heading
likely not getting there,
reading through pages previously turned,
books dusty from waiting on tall bookcases
for me to pick them up,
check the penciled in
price on the inside
cover, the first
step on our
OK, I still have to finish For Whom the Bell Tolls, which is kind of hard to get through, I admit...and I can't use that book for my "H" because I started it in 2011.