Random Luck

From Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Random Luck

In today’s lottery
I drew the number bringing with it
a world of misery in five short minutes
with
me overhearing the story through no fault of my own
I was just there but
a bystander to the hurt
involving
the party on Saturday night and he got drunk
they came home only for him to
berate her half the night for having too good a time and to
roust the family early this morning
to get to mass all of them even the kids
dragged out of bed and good clothes thrown on
and get in the car hurry to church pray to make up for all the
ugly
and it’s still in the air.

Church at Corner of 15th and Linden Allentown PA paint chip small

Photo printed on paint card, church in Allentown PA, 2013.

 

Midpoint

From Look Winter in the Face, 2015.

Midpoint

The house is sold.
There’s no coming back.
You’ve been
cut loose from the world
and for all you know
it feels like dead might feel
you
hoping to end up somewhere but right now
it’s all just
in transit which is exactly
nowhere.
The truck pulls out. You follow. Good-bye.

Clay tile – truck on a bridge, 2014.

Permanent Unravel

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

Permanent Unravel

When I answered the door
I noticed
Insects had chewed
holes
in the last green leaf left on the branch
on the bush beside the porch.

The visitor to our house
wore a black shirt
I would have thrown in the trash.
Thin and tired,
the shirt
had two holes worn through its right sleeve
near the shoulder
reminding me of the tattered scrap
of the last green leaf
only worse.

The memory of
hands too nervous to be still
the sadness and failure and
misery-shredded peace of mind
lingered
after the visitor to our house had gone.

I couldn’t get
the image of the black shirt
out of my mind
The idea of it
is fastened down tight inside my head.
It will be a while

before I’ll forget that black shirt
the two holes
the leaf
the gnawing away of the fibers
the fraying apart of the whole

12/7/15

There Are Other Aspects to Consider

From Autumn Opens a Door, 2015.

There Are Other Aspects to Consider

The dictionary lies open
on its stand underneath the window.
The exposed pages are dusty. No one
uses this book anymore. A collection of words
you can put your hands on and it goes weeks without
consultation. It hurts me. I turn the page to release
a new set of words.

I read a column
of the words I have just liberated.
I whisper some of them
aloud.
I pay my respects to this book that
holds the
thoughts yet unformed
of every one of us
and I hope
it is enough.

Dictionary in front of window, Chestnut Hill Collage Logue Library, 2017.

Implacable; Sage

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

As a note, I did two poems from these photos – couldn’t seem to make them go into one piece. Sometimes that happens.

Implacable

I am hard. I am straight lines and sharp points.
You bet you know
who I am
when you touch your finger to my edge
and it bleeds. I hurt your feelings in so many ways.
You recognize your own face in my shiny-surfaced smile.
You see your own initials stamped on my hand.
I tell you
what you don’t want to hear
What you have locked up, double-locked, triple-locked,
what you wanted to store behind the rotting wood door
covered in peeling white paint. I know your secrets
I keep your secrets.

11/11/15

Sage

You tell me everything
even when you are
hollowed out by age
your leaves are sparse
and some branches
have none at all.

11/11/15

Artery

Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. (Read here for the first one and explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea.) I like doing this form of minuscule story. I can handle two sentences, I think, and it is fun.

 

Rain spotted the lenses of Isabella’s glasses, blurring her view of the dark slick highway, empty at this time of night except for two tiny headlights far out beyond the last building in this one-horse crossroads. The lights brightened, grew larger, and turned to red as the bus blew by without stopping, Isabella’s view of the dark slick highway blurred by tears behind the lenses of her rain-spotted glasses.

Why here? Why not here?
Arrive at a beginning
Or let it go by?

(Haiku 335)

House at night, mail art postcard, 2015

Reluctant

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

Reluctant

Some stubborn ones refused
or were just not interested but
it didn’t matter. In the end
they had no choice.
The lease clearly stated
the final date the premises may be occupied.

Now
it is the last day.
The windows of the building are
blank. Opaque.
The impossibility of staying behind
only now
coming to be more than an idea
in this morning
the sky blank
opaque. You must go soon
passing
the other buildings along this street
The lights in their windows
glowing behind the curtains
but now you are
understanding
one day
they will be blank
opaque
empty
too.

10/22/15

The Weight of It Is Too Much

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

The Weight of It Is Too Much

I see your green turning to yellow and soon
your leaves will fall off and you’ll be
brown bare stems. That’s what you are
and that’s what you will return to being.
Green and leafy
is only
for a little while.

10/21/15