"Two wrongs may not make a right but a thousand wrongs make a writer.”

Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer Solstice

Strawberry juice on your sun burnt lips
stained fingertips and blackened nails
plucking stems from overripe berries.

You suck the hurt out of your thumb
and scuff the thistle into the dirt
under the heel of your garden boot

and later off with the boots for a swing on the porch
a cup of ice and a bowl of berries
and later still a slice of cheesecake

doused in the juice of all that smashed fruit
and then aperitifs for all your hard work
as we make our way through the house to the stairs

to the bath where coconut breeze soap
from my sister sits fragrant in a dish
and later lathered and bathed and smelling of soap

we move damp down the hall to a room
where the curtains billow out like hand-tatted sails
and the trill of the whip-poor-will calls us to
come, come the day is done.

Inspired by the prompt from Imaginary Garden With Real Toads honoring one of my favorite poets, Jane Kenyon.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Notes From Ohio

Steam rises off the coffee
and an angel peers in the window
to see what I’m reading.

An owl shuffles along a branch
and a dog on three legs sniffs the air.

A stonemason makes tombstones
and a nurse studies the human heart.

The dog watches for the angel
with her bad foot to her ear.

The city sleeps
on a rush of wing.

A daughter's porch is a calm oasis
of mint and spider plants, peppers and basil.
Little pots of sweet peas awaiting
germination line the sills.
She moves them around to follow the sun.

Grandmother had sweet peas around the well pit
strung up with twine to support their wandering way.
A weather-worn board we knew to avoid covered the pit.
We poked around the flowers and played in the dirt.

They’ve all left.
We’re someplace else
and await the sprouting of two green wings
from pots of dirt

Linked to the Tuesday Platform, why do we travel? And Poets United everybody has a heartache.

Happy 4th of July to those of you here, in the States.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Slippery Elm

I have a poem published in the 2019 Slippery Elm Literary Journal.  Sorry for tooting my own horn but it's such a handsome little book with a glossy cover containing stories, short essays and poems for a lazy summer evening, prose and poems I promise will stay with you into the night, and I thought a little self-promotion was warranted. And it's so easy to buy a copy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Poetry As A Stump

The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads brings us Poetry as Insurgent Art  in the vein of  Ferlinghetti.  I wanted to participate.

Stumps line the rim of the ditch
cut down in their youth,
as a tree's life goes.
Roots full of life with a reach
wider than their whacked-off crowns
have nothing now to feed, cut off at the knees.
The parked bulldozer with its claws in the dirt
is poised to make smooth the way of man.
But saplings spring stubbornly from
stumps left alone. The tree remembers.

(The painting is oil and acrylic on canvas by Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. 
                                                       - Chinese proverb

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Malcolm the Cat

Malcolm the cat sits beside the fence
and watches the chickens scratch and peck.
He watches the man fill the water bucket
and scatter the feed.
The sky is gray with March snow,
spring held at bay by an out-of-whack vortex
trees unable to bud, 
birds unable to sing,
crocus unable to bloom.
But Malcolm the cat washes his face and licks his paws and waits.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Why Not

The vase of daffodils
sunshine in a jar
lasted a week on the countertop.
The red tulips matched her dress
and his bow tie.
Easter finery and greening grass
matted and soft underfoot
await the resurrection.
The cemetery
awaits a footing and a stone.
Why not believe as Camus did in French verse—
that two can become reunited as one.

Inspired to breathe by the Tuesday Platform, and in need of music and garden toads,
I ask, why not?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Memories Of Snow

The snowfall that fell in the night
left footprints by my door,
across the porch and through the shrubs.
They snaked around the bird feeder
like a fox and goose game
you know....the one children no longer play. 

Some see this as proof and tabulate gains,
justified in their belief that all stays the same.
But whether man or beast, the intrusion
is plain, how close these things creep
up in the night.  

Did they look in my window
like the cat on the sill? 
Sniff under the shrubbery for grass green there still?
For snow doesn't stay here anymore.
As the drip in the eaves to the bird on a branch,
footprints dissolve like a good man’s intent.
The snow never lasts anymore.

Oh! Tiger burning bright
trapped outside your pleasant home
learn new ways or lose the game.
What good were you anyway?

For Poets United, Climate Change Motif 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Wake

I met a man at a wake who knows
the highest point in the Great Lakes Basin
is a bluff where water drops nine hundred feet
to the untrespassed river bottom,
where the remains of the last wolverine were found
and where wolves crossed.
Others eat shrimp, drink wine and toast the deceased
and don’t know they don’t know
I’m pinned in place like a butterfly in a classroom
while he takes me into the forest to listen for loons.

I met this man who goes to Isle Royale for the silence
not for the call of the wolf
because in spite of what some say,
they might not be there anymore.
A man who pays attention to words
like a craftsman to the tile cutter slicing through water.
When I talk I feel his eyes
listening, listening.
And I want to go on and on about something
so he'll keep looking, and looking.

Was it the sound of water falling
or the warble of a water bird that infected
his story of kayaking on Lake Superior in a storm?
The cry of the loon is interrupted
by the clap of the skeet outside the yacht club.
They punctuate our conversation like a grammarian.
Shooters send their targets flying across the water
with no mind to the wake inside. Life goes on.
You only ever hit what you aim at.

The first time you hear a loon, you know what it is,
like the first time you meet someone
who could draw a map on a napkin you would follow,
but only the loon in lonely decibel can take you there.

Linked also to The Garden's Tuesday Platform 
as we remember Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize winning poet who recently died. From my favorite poem of hers  The Summer Day:  "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"