Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 34

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.


On August 23, as soon as I got up, I decided on the spur of the moment that I’d marathon today. I’d been thinking tomorrow, but suddenly this morning it seemed that things would be better arranged if I did it today. Plus, I felt like writing and thinking and visiting the library. Sometimes you just have to go with the impulse, don’t you?

After arriving at Chestnut Hill College I checked on the squash. Still there and still alive and growing.

The crepe myrtles have started to let go of blooming and are now on to getting ready for fall and winter as they progress on their annual path through the seasons.

This is the last week before school starts at Chestnut Hill College. There is an air of anticipation and I feel it as I go into Logue Library. Late summer colliding with fall: there has been only one library visitor since I was here last week, as I see from the guest book. In front of the library, a van is filling up to take the girls’ soccer team (I think it was) to an offsite practice field.

On my way upstairs, I looked through the mezzanine on the second-floor stacks to the main reading room. I love this room and especially now with the crepe myrtles crowding the windows.

I took a short walk around, looking at book titles. I chose non-fiction books with intriguing, alluring titles to photograph. And here they are with what I thought about them.


All right – third floor. My desk was waiting. The air-conditioning was not working, so I opened some windows. The day is cooler than the previous sultry ones this week and a nice breeze was blowing in. It felt nice to be connected to the outdoors today.

I did a lot of short work today. Just in that kind of mood. Hopping and skipping.


But here is a longer poem. I based it on an experience I had this weekend – the scene was next to a park where I ran.

10.
The new houses
lined the street
set close in stark bare yards
summer hot sun finding every detail
and none of them the least bit
unsuitable or soiled
yet. The highway looms
above the new houses
the neighborhood a strip
along the route of thousands of cars
a day. Triumphant
a billboard
enormous
flashes its set of messages
over and over
prescription drug problem treatment
dry your wet basement prevent mold and illness
tickets now for the fall football season
apple orchard picking for all ages plus corn maze
A hawk flies over the new houses
learn to drive a commercial truck in two weeks

Three haiku. The first one is for the recent eclipse; the other one prompted by a brush I accidentally let dry, the third one, well, just from somewhere.

3.
Restless butterfly
wings hollowing out the sky
biting at the sun

4.
Portrait half-finished
inspiration cut off short
paint dry on the brush.

11.
Fed up. Patience gone.
Slap the little snitch silly
and take her ice cream.

I don’t know where this one came from. I do read a lot of crime fiction.

13.
His wife made his lunch
She had a careless hand
hundreds of pills later
the symptoms were very apparent
See here
You haven’t answered my questions
said the police detective
What more is there to explain
she said.
Our family doctor
prescribed all manner of noxious supplements
to help get rid of the extra pounds
of husband. Which it did. A tremendous piece of luck.
She clapped her hands on a mosquito.

Now, some Little Vines.

a.
lying on the carpet
lying on the sidewalk
lying on the floor of the shower
Stop lying.

b.
I know exactly who I am
a symbol of confusion
the innuendos you try to swat away

c.
A very charitable family but
bear in mind that rat poison
can strain ties.

g.
I’m not ignoring you I just don’t like you
I am
a ruined landscape covered in leafless trees

j.
Is he drunk, your uncle
or is this
a homemade therapy session

 


Thank you for reading! Until next time.

Solo

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

Solo

I have always liked being in places
where other people aren’t.
I look for places and go to places
where other people aren’t.
When I can’t manage that
I think myself into places
where other people aren’t.
Notice I don’t say
I like to be alone
but really
that is what it is.
Don’t be offended
that I prefer my own company to yours –
it’s nothing personal –
but I do like to be
where other people
including you
aren’t.

“I Am All Alone”, mixed media, 2010

Set In Motion

From Catch Up With Summer, 2015.

Set In Motion

The promised thunderstorm
advances.
The wind rises
tossing the trees
A yellow leaf flutters
across the window here
down, up, spiral around
and then I see
it’s not a leaf
but a butterfly
disappearing into the dark

“Approaching Storm”, collage, 2006.

Scale and Ratio

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

Scale and Ratio

The early part of the summer and
everyone is full of praise for the state of things.
Such beautiful weather so nice to be warm and see the sun
Go outside wearing shorts! Find those flip-flops! It just couldn’t be
better.
Time passes and summer gets old
Everyone complains the thunderstorms the heat
the awful oppressive humidity
the sunburns.
All of it is true. All of us so fickle.

“Sunburn” – mixed media, 2011.

Restless

From Catch Up With Summer, 2015.

Restless

I replaced the cookie sheets
even though I don’t bake anymore
because they were rusting and hard to clean
so
in the case that I should ever want to bake again
I will be ready with the new ones.
I am not sure why I did it but
it seemed a small enough change
and I felt the need of one.

“Mom is going to cook something” — mail art postcard 2013.

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 33

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.


On August 17, I was back at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. It was a very nice day to be out on the road.

There is a subtle air of increased activity here. I feel it. Cars in the big parking lot, people walking around the campus. I notice some guys playing tennis – they don’t look like summer campers to me. Students come back to campus next week; maybe some sports teams are already here? Is tennis a fall sport? I don’t know.

I checked on the squash vine on my way up. It’s still hanging in there, literally and figuratively.

I took a short walk before I went into the library. I’ve seen these signs around campus.

They refer to Maxim 55 of the 100 maxims composed by Father Jean Pierre Medaille, founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, one of the short sayings he wrote in the 1650’s for the sisters to use as guides to live by. “When you serve the dear neighbor, do it with an unselfish love and generous heart.” (information from the August 2017 issues of Connections, the college’s newsletter.)

These signs, and others reinforcing the college’s dedication to caring for all and against hate, have been up for about 7-8 months. I have felt this care from the staff at the library myself, and I have really appreciated it. I think the school lives its mission.

On my way to the library, I noticed the cornerstone of the main building, St. Joseph Hall. Full of symbols; I do not know much about them. I will do some research, I think. Everything has meaning and is trying to speak, if we can hear and listen.

And this fire hydrant. The colors really are something, aren’t they? I don’t know who chooses what paint to use, as there is no universal hydrant color, it seems. Just needs to be kind of flashy. I like that.

I cannot forget the crepe myrtles. They are still in bloom. But now, you can see they are beginning to become their autumn selves; some blooms are fading and there are less of the bright ones.

I went to my desk at on the 3rd floor. In a couple of weeks, I will be joined by students and the quiet will be – not so complete. How will I react? I admit I am looking forward to having some students around again myself. And if I get tired of noise, I am more familiar with the building now and can find a silent space, I feel sure.

 


All right. Today’s work.

This one is a palindrome poem. I learned about them some time back from Jane Dougherty. I wrestled hard with this one; it has taken weeks. Oh dear. And if it doesn’t work out right, don’t tell me. My head is still spinning.

5.

Before long.
Exhausted trees
waiting for relief
branches overloaded
thick crowding leaves hanging limp.
Heavy dense air deceptive
so still
summer afternoon thunderstorm

coming

Thunderstorm afternoon.
Summer still so deceptive
air dense
heavy
limp.
Hanging leaves crowding
thick overloaded branches
relief for waiting trees
exhausted long before.

I wrote this poem having been prompted by a sighting  in Center City Philadelphia last week. Seersucker suit. I wonder if this will be my last poem on this subject or not.

4.

End of summer
The promise of a hot day
breathing out from building skins
still warm from yesterday
the concrete humid
the plate glass windows misted
the sidewalk in shadow
A ghost in a seersucker suit
crossing the sunny street
across waves of baked asphalt smell
Striding past the department store windows
reflecting forty years of summers
only the ghost and I can see.
Turns the corner.
I run to catch up
the sound of heels tapping light on the pavement
leather briefcase in hand
summer-weight suit bagged out in the seat
I follow the ghost
around the corner
and disappear.

 

Now, some little vines…

a.
Dusting the shelves.
The stars said it can’t wait.
Better not disappoint them.

d.
was it sugar or salt
the thought of it
too much for his sanity

e.
she kept a diary,
perhaps a bad idea.
he blackmailed her.

g.
You humiliated the poor man
a decent man in spite of everything
and it’s nothing a good pair of tweezers wouldn’t fix

j.
sweaty muscular men
screaming and in quite a state
it was beyond embarrassing


Thank you for reading! Until next time.