Conveying

From Look Winter in the Face, a poetry collection published in 2015.

Conveying

She moved the potted plants
one at a time
each one relocated
slightly to the left
wiped the counter
shifted each one back
carefully
The whole row done
She hummed as she worked
I listened.

Green-leafed plant and music, 2010 - mail art postcard in mixed media.

Green-leafed plant and music, 2010 – mail art postcard in mixed media.

Context

From the poetry collection published in 2015, Look Winter in the Face.

Context

The poor man he must be exhausted
or have heart disease
or serious sadness weighing on him
to sit down and
groan in such a manner
Sounded like he was going to die
and all he did was sit down
here in the library.
I flick my eyes:
he is reading the paper
seems fine.
In the library
the most timid little noise
flexes its muscles and then
it punches you
hard
Because
you know
The library is
supposed
to be
quiet.

Horsham library #4 small 10-15

Horsham Township Library, PA, 2015.

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week Seven

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

This year, in addition to scheduling the regular long versions, 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.

Today, February 16, 2017, I’m back at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. I got there at ten minutes after eight AM – the doors had barely opened. I checked in and went up to the third floor stacks. Here’s a look back down the stairs:

chc-stairs-2-16-17-small

I turned to my left:

chc-2-2-16-16-small

walked along the windows:

chc-3-2-16-16-small

turned right, and ended up at what I have begun to think of as MY desk.

As usual, the floor was quiet – it’s not a big space, and I was the only one there. Just what I like.

I needed some time to settle down before getting to work. I am noticing the effects of extended living with a disrupted schedule these days. I like a routine and I do better with more space around me, physical and mental, than what’s available right now. I’ve had a busy week with various doctor appointments, including one in which, after months of observation, I learned I now have an official diagnosis of glaucoma in my right eye. I felt a bit frazzled as I arrived for this session.

I decided to walk around the floor a little. Threading my way up and down the aisles, it struck me just how many books are part of a series. I took a few pictures.

I think that if you are a book, there is a nice camaraderie to being one in a line of like-minded volumes.

All right. I sat down at my desk. First, I went over the poems I did on 2/2 – I didn’t look them over in the last session, since I was working on snippets.

Then I wandered around the floor a little more. I saw this step stool – I have always liked this design – you can push it with your foot, but when you step on to it, it pushes the stool down so that it can’t move. This simple perfect solution always delights me.

stool-chc-2-17-small

And here is an earlier version, serving the same purpose, getting books from a too-high shelf, but with a different construction. I noticed this set of steps had a great deal of wear, obviously having been on the job for a long time.

stool-2-chc-2-17-small

And here are a couple of poems from today’s session. Remember, I am showing you the poem as it first appeared on the page. Maybe on another reading I’ll refine things.

This first one was written because we need some work done at home.

7.

The bedroom wall needs repairing.
Plaster cracked. Unsightly
and an affront
to the order I must have
that I can’t live without
that I put so much
strenuous effort
into capturing and caging.
Things go wild
fast
around here. Please
call the painters
today.

And this one, a tanka, was written because of the sunlight glinting on the drainpipe of the building next door.

Tracing a bright streak
the aluminum drainpipe
races down the length
of the four-story building
skidding to a tipped-up halt.

chc-drainpipe-2-17-small

Conclusion

From Look Winter in the Face, from 2015.

Conclusion

Two women sit.
I judge their conversation
carried on with great conviction,
in whispers
over
two soup-and-salad specials
and
over
not soon enough,
as unsuccessful.
The fate of the world clearly left
on the table.

off-kilter-world-small

“Off-Kilter World”, mixed media, 2012.

Complications

From the poetry collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Complications

Is he the one who got married
or the one who took a job in Saudi Arabia?
And if he took the job, what did it pay?
The girl he married, do you remember her name?
I heard he wanted to buy a house in the suburbs
and he had to make a choice did he buy that first house
or was it the other one and
did the house have three bedrooms
or four?
Because
there is so much to remember.

clay tile, 2011.

clay tile, 2011.