Your Heart

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.

Your Heart

Pages in a book
each one with a set of words settled in together
holding each other up through bad times
occasionally dissatisfied with placement or juxtaposition but
what a party it always is when someone drops in to say hello.
The only thing is, visitors never stay long. Always just passing through
like the pens
the typewriters the computer programs
the brain
that wrote these words and put them here
all long since separated and gone on to somewhere else
but these words –
you can riffle the papers all you want
shake the bag of personalities up and down and over
skip ahead, look back –
you’ll find your friends here
the re-reading of their familiar faces
as satisfying as opening
the door of your own home
the view spread out in front of you
Reassurance
and renewal.

4/24/16 for 4/23/16

Note: I don’t know what happened to the photos that belong with this poem. Sometimes things get confused.

You can fill in your own images here today, I think.

 

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Insider Knowledge

 

From Spring Cleaning, 2015.

Insider Knowledge

Three small children
two girls and one boy
three years old
stand in a tight circle
in the center of the playground
shrieking without words
as loudly as they can
They stop
They shriek
They run a few steps and turn back.
There is no knowing what to make of this ritual
But it’s very satisfying to assemble
and make yourself known
together with others of your own kind
isn’t it?

Clay Animals Group of Three March 2011 BW enhanced small

Clay animals, 2011.

You Have To Learn

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

You Have To Learn

The decision was difficult.
There was much deliberation.
It was a sacrifice.
Anyone could see it. It was important to see it. It was essential to see it.
I will give you this much, you said
You may have some
but not enough
and not what you wanted.
I will keep the rest of it
here
on display.
It will help you in reflecting upon your nerve in
having a want.

Silverware Drawer #1 small

Surgery

From the collection published in 2015, Spring Cleaning.

Surgery

The only sound I hear
is the squeaking of the wheels
the rest a blur around me.
It’s not good because I need to understand
things
and I’m instead listening to the
creaking noises
my thoughts seem to make these days
as if they could use a shot of oil to make the little wheels run
on the track
without that awful racket
While I consider where to make repairs I realize
all of a sudden
that’s what I’m here for
It terrifies me
I had forgotten for a minute but it’s back now and
the wheels of my thoughts squeak as I progress
down the white corridor with the bright lights
lined along the ceiling one after another stretching
off into the distance and reflecting off
the white tile floor.

upon the floor. 9-15 small

Artist trading card,  2015.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 16

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

Here I am at Brendlinger Library, Montco, on April 19. Another chilly gray day as I drive through Ambler, PA – here is my traditional intersection shot, and I do wonder when that yellow store to the right will get rid of the snowflakes in the window? Maybe that is what is holding up warmer weather?

montco 4-19 #1004

Arriving on campus, I see blooming trees. I am heartened to think that they are going ahead and doing their spring thing, no matter what the weather cues are. I appreciate it.

I settled at a table on the main floor in a spot I’ve been favoring recently near the stairs.

montco 4-19 #4001

The library is busy today – school will be coming to an end in a couple of weeks or so. I heard students talking about exams in several subjects, including one guy who told a friend he was studying for an accounting exam starting in 15 minutes. I found myself hoping this was not all the studying he was doing, but since he did not sound panicked, I figured he just meant he was going over a few key points. Yes. I am hoping.

I had edited last week’s poems at home yesterday, so today I was working on new poems and Little Vines. I am closing in on 1000 Little Vines (written starting last April) and I think I’ll make a print book of them all on their own when I get there. I would estimate 2 or 3 more weeks. I hoped to have time for a Minuscule, too.


All right. Here are some samples of today’s work.

How does anyone ever know what to want?

2.
Been going to here
and going to here
Got here
realize I was already here
a while back
had refused to notice it
because
I
Because I

Sit down
with a thump
hmph
to think it over
the chair is overstuffed
the seat cushions cold
damp
you know that feeling
I sit here long enough I’ll warm them up
but
the chair says
hmph
I take it as a comment
Now what?

Yes. This is me. In tanka form.

5.
Arthritic big toe.
Of all the joints to seize up.
A snort of laughter
when it’s sympathy I need.
Please respect my vintage toes.

I know all about this kind of carpet, being a teenager in the 1970’s, when pretty much everyone I knew had it. We did too. But – this whole poem is made up. Imagination all the way. Although I did pull out a dark green version of this carpet from a dumpster in 1980, to use in my first apartment. And when I left that building, I put it back in the dumpster for someone else to take. It showed no wear. More than you needed to know, I guess.

9.
You might think shag carpet
went out with the 70’s
but well-preserved versions
still exist. Check out the floors
two houses down the street
my grandmother who
still has a green-gold mix
wall-to-wall
in the main rooms and hall
tie-dyed near the phone table
where my cousins spilled bleach
when we were teenagers
but the chair mostly covers it now
Don’t ask why we had bleach in the living room
I do not remember.

The carpet
has made cameo appearances
in countless family photos and
and dramas
I remember one incident
my uncle
lost his car keys
and we crawled on the floor
combing the strands with our fingers
until we found them
under the dining room table
By then he had sobered up
and we could let him drive.

Over the years
despite pleas to remove
from trend-conscious family members
my grandmother has refused
to let go of the carpet
up to now when
at this late stage of things
she wants to install
manufactured wood flooring
for a more modern look
Why at her age
she must rejoin the masses
after decades of living a widening divergence
from mainstream flooring options
I do not know. I’m heartbroken.

I plan to take a suitable quantity
of green-gold
from the curb if I have to
excluding any tie-dyed sections of course
It will make a very nice
area rug for my den

Next thing you know
she will be getting rid of the swag lamp
tassels and all. I make a note
to keep my eye on it
too.

Little Vines. I made an epic number of them today, down to kk.

 

b.
a mental link
with the poisonous ant
ouch it could kill me

d.
idol status
cyanide
mixed with snide

e.
traffic jam
car marmalade
let’s avoid pedestrian jelly

f.
mix concrete at faster and faster speeds
your goal
a sonic boom inside a sidewalk

g.
I sang on stage
made your ears hurt
you were real nice about it

i.
your mind sparkles
like that jar of red jelly
but something is wrong with the flow valve

j.
escaped
or liberated
yes I am divorced

s.
a pale shimmer in the back of my brain
like stylish champagne
another premonition

t.
driving lessons aren’t cheap
french fries win no arguments
the bees sting you on your face
and for ten cents I’d eat the soap myself

u.
don’t you think a tearful headache
deserves pajamas and slippers
a bowl of that fast-acting vanilla ice cream?

v.
the ball point pen
sputtered along the page
a former colleague who used to have a lot of style

x.
no soap old geezer the lip man said
nobody cares about the negatives these days
when we’ve got the internet

y.
now where is my super-light
subtle and unstable
conscience?

aa.
the old technology
never worried just believed
a long list of mystery ingredients made it work.

dd.
we are best friends and we don’t know why
the professor and I
we’ve checked and rechecked our calculations
we are still best friends and we still don’t know why

ff.
so loud and you need sunglasses
there’s no air like this city air
I love everything about this burg.

gg.
oh no it’s an emergency
multiple calls from neighbors
resident spotted wearing non-conforming sneakers

hh.
green smoke in the elevator
no wife and no bridesmaids either
Leave now we can’t wait until it starts to make sense

ii.
point of impact my heart
you fried my electrical system with one look
I love everything about you

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

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There’s More to Life, For Some People

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

There’s More to Life, For Some People

Five rows across
Four up and down
Except in the last row to the left
Only three
because a floor support pillar
hesitatingly intrudes itself
into the office grid.
Each desk
Metal with a Formica top.
Two drawers stacked at the side
one shallow one in the middle
the more to encourage the staff to
observe security and return all files to the file room
which will be locked at five fifteen each evening.
Each employee
Facing forward, eyes down
phone conversations limited to work matters only, please.
At the break, it is permitted to stretch legs
and look out the
enormous glass windows forming the back wall
of this busy workplace
See the city spread out below for miles and miles
Take in the soundless splashes and shouts
of the swimmers in
the rooftop pool of the hotel next door
the blue water
sparkling in the sunshine

Landscape Rocks surrounding a split blue pool 9-15 6x6 small

Acrylics, 6″x 6″, 2015.

What You Need

What You Need

It’s so chilly gray and damp
but it’s spring now and that makes it all right
unless it doesn’t because you’re just sick and tired of
gray damp and chilly
From the winter, I mean.
But try to put that aside. Notice instead
the inky blue-black waters of the creek
writing out a prescription for
something different
from chilly damp and gray.

black and white tree beside a creek 3-13 4x4

black and white tree beside a creek: mixed media on 3/8″ board, 2013, (4″ x 4″)