Modest Horizons

From Refuge, 2017.

Modest Horizons

a head of cabbage
has no recall
of any time
when it was
something else or
somewhere else
besides being
a head of cabbage
in a garden
because
it wasn’t. But
everyone needs something
to dream about
other than
cole slaw.

3/17/17

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Housewife Hit Squad

From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

Housewife Hit Squad

Would you take a look at that
A swarm of dust coalescing in the air
advancing on me and my
hygienically clinically laboriously
clean living room
that I am cleaning
And I took the time to put on a pair of
high-heeled shoes to do the job, too.
The sheer nerve. Get back
I tell you Go back. I have no conscience
I have no mercy. I enjoy the process of
killing your kind
and I’m very good at it.
You have been warned.
Back off.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2018
image 8

10/8/18

Large Artist Sketchbook 2018 Image 801

 

This poem is from my Large Artist Sketchbook 2018. Similar to my previous Large Artist Sketchbook 2017 and Small Artist Sketchbook 2018, I created artwork in a book over a period of time, 2017-2018, and later wrote poems to go with each image. All poems were published in the collection Unpredictable Hue in early 2019 (without their illustrations).

In the sketch book, the poems are on the facing page for each picture – here I am only showing you the illustration. Each poem is numbered according to my master list and the date refers to when I wrote the poem, not when the illustration was done.

Read and enjoy, and thank you!

 

 

Resume of a Good-Enough Wife

From the collection published in 2017, Refuge.

Resume of a Good-Enough Wife

I did have nice skin
not too wrinkly
My hair was tastefully touched up
and sprayed smooth
I wore my diamond chip earrings on good occasions
with the blue suit that was always just right
if you ignore that one time
when the hem was torn out and repaired with tape.
I wasn’t as fat as some
I never asked why you liked fried eggs
or coffee out of a jar
I just made them.
I guess
it all depends what you want out of life.

3/17/17

Vandal

From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

Vandal

I drew the line in red. Not red enough
Not thick enough not strong enough.
Splat. Another egg
flattened on the concrete wall
running itself in aggressive streaks.
Surround and obliterate.

Gravity and paint and a strong arm throw
My lack of intention too strong
for the line I drew.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2018
image 7

10/16/18

 

Large Artist Sketchbook 2018 Image 701

 

 

This poem is from my Large Artist Sketchbook 2018. Similar to my previous Large Artist Sketchbook 2017 and Small Artist Sketchbook 2018, I created artwork in a book over a period of time, 2017-2018, and later wrote poems to go with each image. All poems were published in the collection Unpredictable Hue in early 2019 (without their illustrations).

In the sketch book, the poems are on the facing page for each picture – here I am only showing you the illustration. Each poem is numbered according to my master list and the date refers to when I wrote the poem, not when the illustration was done.

Read and enjoy, and thank you!

 

 

Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 15

The Marathon journey is in its third year. Put Pen to Paper is the current incarnation.

 

 

 

On April 18 I was at Montco in the Brendlinger Library. A typical April day, cool and gray.  Look here, a photo from the intersection of Spring Garden and Butler in Ambler. It’s been some time since I showed a photo from this location, on my way to the college.

Butler ave 4-18-1910

Some of the trees on campus have new green leaves…

Montco 4-18-19 #28

and some don’t. Look at how green the grass is, though. Spring is here.

Montco 4-18-19 #19

I went up to College Hall

Montco 4-18-19 #34

and set up my table.

Montco 4-18-19 #43

It’s still National Poetry Month. I decided to try another blackout poem and picked one up from the table. I also took a poem in your pocket offering though I’m not sure if it’s today or left from earlier. No matter, I’ll pass it along.

What about today? I’ve accumulated poems from earlier weeks that I could not get happy with – as I’ve said, I’m changing routines in my everyday life and it’s occupying poetry space in my head.

Also, I think I’m getting pickier with my work. Since I’ve said so much in writing already, anything I say now had better have something to say, if you know what I mean. Luckily, there is no shortage of things to write about this in world, or ways to do it. A reassuring thought.

Anyway, what this all means is, I started off by looking over the earlier-written poems. And I did get through the blackout exercise – nothing great, but for the first time I’ve tried one of these, I was able to stagger through in semi-coherent form.

I also did a whole group of poems prompted by this page of cut-out phrases.

Montco 4-18-19 #61

It’s interesting – some days I can look at a page like this and get nothing from it – then another day, the whole list is leaping out and begging for inclusion. Today was one of the latter days – good! That’s fun.

At lunchtime I went to the grocery store café for lunch and to work on Little Vines. By then the sun had come out.

All right, here are some samples from today.


Here’s one of those hangover (not hungover!) poems:

4.

Feeling the raw edges of it
I think of a knife
taking the first peel of skin off the beet
the first stroke that scrapes away
the sharp line that separates
the moment when there is no going back
the pause before the second cut.

You know how you think of it
this kind of thing
feeling the raw edges of it
with your fingers
holding the knife.

The blackout poem – as you can see from the photo, it came from text from a translation of Beowulf.

6.
we have heard from many:
the friendless fate repaid in wealth
the folk who a good heaven sent favor
for so long a while
endowed with renown
willing
at the fated moment
to shelter
while the leader
ruled

Montco 4-18-19 #52

These two short poems came from the phrase page.

7.
And then
to catch a train
unaware
we might have been friends
it seems the most unfair truth of all:
the idea that
it was always five minutes too late

8.
Something soft and scandalous
about your feelings
I was narrower about things back then
I was lonely but
not lonely enough.

So did this one, come from the phrase page, I mean, but it’s a bit longer. I think the people in this poem, well, they have issues.

13.

For a change
I’d like to say
started off the conversation
I waited for
what he’d like to say
for a change
hoping I would not have to answer
That’s the last thing I would want
wondering if I had sat here long enough
to be ready to be let down gently
remembering the last time
when he said
Wouldn’t it be nice if
and
I replied
I’m not going to cry anymore
but I didn’t say it out loud
then
of course
and I won’t now
either.

Little Vines

a.
I agree with you
alarm clock
it’s very early

c.
Bad weather
why can’t you divide it
save some of it for later throw it out mail it away?

d.
what it feels like to a client
one more unpleasant
oof right in the stomach

e.
leaves on the ground
in the air
it will end with me in the cemetery

f.
the man I am today
the one I made clean
did he lie to me?

g.
high-flying golden kites
pink clouds at sunset
like greasy potato chips in a punch bowl

i.
looping handwriting stay clear
bulbous l’s and o’s careening along
underhanded and out of control

l.
the knife in the drawer
the knife in the hand
the filleted business partner lying on the carpet

m.
To the big eye watching over us
I advise you just to say Thank You
Any more than that and you give it ideas

n.
For the first time
I figure I might be ready to tell the truth
so that you could leave home

p.
because two hundred people said so:
the gossip circulated
like holes through Swiss cheese

q.
backdate the document?
there are second chances, yes
but they usually don’t work backwards

r.
the thumbtacks in a jar
a wedding gift
representing married life

s.
the postage stamp
set askew on the envelope
the wedding invitation misfolded inside

w.
there is the certainty of it
of something feeling true
as plain as the hands on a clock

z.
now that we agree about bodybuilders
let’s try backhoe drivers
then kosher butchers

 

Thank you for reading!

Bequest

From the collection Refuge, published in 2017.

Bequest

Would anyone like to guess
where the workmen are now
who put this building together
sixty years ago
In the cemetery
I figure
while I stand
eating an apple
leaning on the granite windowsill
looking out through the glass panes
set in place sixty years ago
by those workmen.

3/9/17