Chicken

From Spring Cleaning, the collection published in 2015.

Chicken

The library book is overdue
the fine is four dollars and
rising every day and you search under the seat in the car
in the bookshelf in the living room
in the closet in the kitchen.
You just can’t find it.
They have sent you two notices and
you are beginning to feel
odd
even driving past the library
never mind the thought of going in
and explaining.
You just don’t want to.
Meanwhile
all this time
the library records are wrong.
The book is sitting on the shelf.
On the shelf. Safe.
You don’t know a thing about it
because you have exiled yourself
from knowledge
via spinelessness.
It’s just a library book
for heaven’s sake.

Upper Moreland (PA) Library, January, 2015.

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 16

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 April 20, I returned to Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. After chatting with the student worker at the front desk (I was interested in the outcome of her job interviews; I’m glad to say she landed a job she was very happy with), I went to my desk on the third floor.

The library was silent at this time of the morning – added to the gray mild day outside the windows, it made for a perfect environment for concentration.

I had decided to do three things today: write new poems, review last week’s output, and to work on putting together the book I am planning to compile from the first 13 weeks of the Marathon. I know I had earlier decided not to do this last bit during Marathon time – but I thought – what is Marathon time for but all things to do with my poetry work? There is no quota of poems to be written or edited or even considered.

The Marathon is not about goals or accumulating. It doesn’t have to be so rigidly defined that I feel I’m following a syllabus. Or that I have to do things the same way each week.

Nope. I’m eager to write and I’m also enjoying the process of creating another volume of poetry. That’s where I am now so that’s what I’ll do.

So, I remove yet another brick from the wall of incessant usefulness and productivity that has been an obstacle to enjoyment all through my life and replace it with a little box holding a fountain pen and a fancy-paper notebook with a few poems in it. I think that’s a good day’s work right there.

OK. Back to the library. Before I got to work, I took a few pictures of something I enjoy about all buildings, including this one – the repetition of forms. I have made only a few pictures, and they are views you have seen before. But I encourage you to examine them this time in a different way, and to look around and notice the rhythm of ordinary objects all around you in their everyday working arrangements.

I’ve turned them black-and-white, because I think it really shows up the forms included.

All right, here are a couple of poems from today.

7.

Her gray suit
a little tight in the skirt
Black leather high heels
scuffed at the back
No one notes these details
She’s moving faster
than they can be taken in.
The hem of her jacket
held up with tape
Her lipstick melting in her purse
She shouts at the bus
as it passes her
even though
it’s not the one she wants
She is not a person to notice
daffodils blooming in the rain.

And this one – I took pictures of trees yesterday on my trip along the Green Ribbon Trail in the Fort Washington State Park, meaning to use them as inspiration for paintings. I used a few of the photos for poems today – here is one of the results.

3.

Started off standing straight
like everyone does
then
pushed off balance
some parts damaged and
others removed
without my permission
in a hurry.
Came to being bent down
Acute-angled to almost fallen over
Redirected and
reached for the standing straight
Come over, say hello.
I’m not much to look at
but
you are
looking at me
aren’t you? Yes, you are.

Thank you so much for reading. See you next week, I hope.

Change of Emphasis

From the poetry collection published in 2015, Spring Cleaning.

Change of Emphasis

The wind blowing across my knees
because I’m wearing shorts
first time this season.
Outside here in the sunshine
a little chilly, maybe, but
I cease to notice it
when
I trap a yellow jacket
as I cross my legs

Wasp nest on outdoor light, February, 2015.

Calling Up

From Spring Cleaning, a collection published in 2015.

Calling Up

The pale sky uncertain if it will progress to blue
or remain a washed-out gray
but the wind is whipping
it’s hat-blowing-off strong
and so I know
the weather is changing but which way will it go
I don’t know but I do know
the plants in their pots lined up for sale
at the store
are set outside to tempt shoppers
I am tempted
and so
I will set my thoughts toward blue skies
and buy a pot of pansies to bring them to me.

“Fanciful Flowers” – fabric wall hanging, 2000

Bully

From Spring Cleaning, a collection published in 2015.

Bully

You
Hold it out
I reach for it
You
Pull it back to your chest
Laugh.
You, not me.
I do not laugh because I do not think
anything is funny.
You
Hold it out
I reach for it
You
Pull it back to your chest
I hit you good and hard
You drop it
I grab it and run.
I think you might have done better
to pick another mark.

“Taken Aback”, 8″ x 10″, 2016, acrylics