Monday, November 24, 2014

Dear Troll

living dreary
cement --
in mud.

Here's a generous
donation --
not for more ink
or airtime --

but these funds
are for you to buy
a boxed layer of
protection when you
feel the urgency
to soil yourself
leaving unwelcomed
traces of stink
contaminating our
contagious world.

The thickness
to buy depends
on the amount
and consistency
your negative
criticisms require. I
super absorbant
long overnighters -
with wings
unless you've
graduated from
to diapers.

Nudists on vacation
carry clean
hankies to sit on
when traveling
or dining in polite
company - a mere
courtesy - naked
doesn't leave
filthy tracks.

I occasionally come across long posts with negative reviews regarding books by writers I love and admire. The latest one left me steaming mad and sorry to add to their analytic hits. This is the only way to bloody their nose. Pow. 

Not anonymous  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Still Want Mom

She smeared my
chest and back
with greased menthol
from a blue jar
when toddler croup
barked. Swelled
bronchial tubes
annually cut off
my air supply all
the years during
and after new
breasts had to be
considered and
around. Ripped
squares of towel
taken off a warm
oven rack were
hurriedly placed
on my shy,
worried skin. Bless
the pungent vapors
saving my bruised
ribs a racking--
relief spelled out
for a short breather-
a merciful while.

Old breasts need more
creative ambulation
but my own hands -
missing hers - know
what needs done.

Every year early in November, like clockwork, I get bronchitis. I'm 54 and still want mom to minister to me. It never goes away. I love your hands, mom. And just so you know, I can't manage the back.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

When Books are Problematic





published work
from early
eighteen forty five
till present

How do I justify
the time
and expense?

I thought to leave
them an inheritance
but realize I've spent
a fortune embezzling
the dividends of my dowry
breaking the bookcase
housing collateral
damage. How does one
revoke the irrevocable
trust inherently written
into the pathology
of bibliophilia?

Small Infidelities

Would it constitute
a gross
infidelity if we
with each other

I promise -
no passing infatuation
no dangling obsession.
Ours will be a life long

Dare I caress
your bones? These
spines with soft patinas
tantalize me.
Their modesty
hides cotton rag pages
and front plates turning
into temptations tightly
stacked shoulder
to shoulder on your
library shelves.

The back
of my hand
seems intent on
the buttery
leather bindings
gold embossed
and moisturized with…

what do you use?

I want to inhale scents
where shabby silk ribbons
fall open to favorite spots
where you've resonated
and returned to find familiar
pleasure again
and again.

My tears come
to mingle with the
stains you left on
the page last
time your eyes

There's no way to
launder these
stained sheets.

My fingers need
no training to read
the sensuous
braille configurations
you order words
with. I've practiced
for years by stroking
letterpressed ink
before letting it

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nibs and Blots

Fountain pen
say one should never
let anyone 
 use their pen.   
It supposedly ruins 
the personal aspect 
of a particular
 angle of the nib
worn down
specific to how 
the writer writes. 

Grandma is dead. 
She'd dare me to question
this advice and be happy 
to know the angle
 on her one hundred 
year old Sheaffer's gold
 nib is perfect for me
to lay ink down on 
rough textured tooth. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Table Settings

I'll always set a place
for the nine muses
and all bluestockings

Find a chair for
whimsy, humor,
and rich conversation

But I have no room
for self absorbed

or any relatives who
reside under the same
thesaurus heading

Cut or Comb?

Tangles are tricky -
either fresh and wet
or dreaded 

First let them dry

Start at the bottom
and comb upward
till smooth 

Tangles are tricky
when attached 
to a living host
who'd miss the 
mess if ripped out

Cutting isn't an option -
patience is needed
to avoid bald patches

Knots may be dealt 
with in a forthright
manner using scissors
to discard the offending 
mass of dead strands

This mess won't be missed

Splice it or knot it back
together making
an invisible repair

Knitting and mending 
fishing nets often
requires a swift 
cut in the twisted

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Symbols of Hospitality

the word symbol
was a tangible thing to 
hold in your hand
called tessera hospitalis. 

History says
a small biscuit-like tile
was offered upon entering
a home where the 
host and the guest 
broke it in half -
evermore assuring 
a welcome when
the halves became 
joined once more. 

Someone said in eulogy - 
If you were ever part 
of his life you were 
forever part of his life. 

Sometimes the pattern
and broken edge don't 
match  -
but sugar grains
and salt remains
can be used to mortar

*Homeless Man - the documentary about Rich Mullins mentions this tidbit about him. I learned about the tessera hospitals from Bruce Herman at Kindlingsfest 2014. Attribution….

Imagine a Tree

She lives
in a small apartment
this first
Christmas away from
home. She digs among
nailing crooked arms
to a trunk all overlaid
by vintage music
paper mache'd and
wrapped whimsical in yarn.
She'll decorate it with
sentimental old pieces
of minutia and drape
it thick with lights.

Ginkgo Leaf Study

Oh Ginkgo - 
where does 

Any Apron Will Do

Did the mother
try to shush
her little boy pointing
and proclaiming
truth about
the exposed
private parts
of the Emperor?

Perhaps she hurriedly
took off her apron
and tossed it
over the naked paunch
parading proud - oblivious
to his pathetic

Did she take her son
home by the hand
the infuriated
mob directing its
anger at him instead
of the crooks who
imagined an easy

Did she reward his
guilelessness by
making another
apron just in case
destiny provided
another opportune time
for him to exercise his
not so little voice?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Saved By It

I only give myself
ten minutes


to curl up under
the covers
wipe my nose
swipe at tears
before the timer
goes off
putting a stop
to indulgent grief
that if left to itself
has enough
momentum to

Kathleen Norris
reminds me how
acedia and ennui
can be disarmed by
quotidian mysteries.
I'm grateful for clean
warm towels to fold
and hot sudsy dish

Friday, November 14, 2014

Enlarge My Heart

Whiners stuck out
in the desert eating
heaven sent manna
without garlic and onions
gave murmuring a bad

When my heart murmurs
atypical it comes out
my mouth and throat - a mixture
of sounds between a moan, a groan
and a gasping whisper.

Tonight we stopped on the side
of the freeway to watch a
rare blackbird murmuration
against a peachy mauve
sunset. I  kept
murmuring as six perfect heart
shapes folded back
upon themselves, blanket like
in silhouette one after the
other. Each one laid on
it's side, stretching.  One
had the feisty tail
of a kite
complete with three bows.
I do have a human witness
who is unfamiliar with

Lover divine,
I would have been
overjoyed with a small
display. Or one heart.

I do love it
when you overdo it,
but take care -- I'm human --
an overdose could
overstimulate the meager
capacity of my heart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Intimate Irony

The Eagles' song -
Too Busy Being Fabulous
gave context for gentle prodding
and spiritual direction. "Be at ease
living with irony," he said.

You have never been
too busy being fabulous.
Thank you, Loverby.

Ironically, this makes
you fabulous.

History of the Eagles streaming on Netflix prompted this.  Earl Palmer encouraged us to be comfortable
living with irony. I keep trying to place it, recognize it, notice it….. and find a context so I will learn.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eat the Props

Will it always be this way?

I see the hand thrown
pottery framed in a
vignette - full pitcher,
waiting goblet, and plate
holding artisan bread
with a perfect crust
curling away from its
maker's mark. All this
rests stylized to the side
of the stage on a white
starched linen table cloth
covering a rustic round

Will it always be this way?

I'm pleased to imagine
these are the very utensils
and ingredients we will
use as sacraments for
one with the other.

Will it always be this way?

The silver trays full of quivering
plastic cups filled
with the perfect amount
of Welch's grape juice passes
down my isle. I take one, feeling
tricked. I pick up a broken soda
cracker, unsalted to fake it better.

Will it always be this way?

I want to stand up and point
at the forgotten accoutrements of
sacred remembrance and symbols
of poetry staying untouched -
merely props used on stage.
I feel a fierce urge to rip the table
cloth out from under the mockery
and shout -- I want some of this. 

Pilgrim, Pilgrim

When said twice
your name
double sweet --
a carte de tendre, 
a path of love --
like Martha, Martha. 

Pilgrim, pilgrim,
appear off the page
appear off the screen
appear off line
appear as a host
appear as a friend
appear as you really are.

I am an earthbound pilgrim
and hear it double sweet
without contempt for lowly,
unlikely pilgrimages.

To be a pilgrim
rather than to appear
to be a pilgrim is how
I hear the repeated,
affectionate affirmation.

The Comfort of Carmelized Crust

Heat sears crust
edges dark. It might
have gone badly -- but
caramelized crunch
sweetened the deal by
interrupting destruction's
efforts to leave burned,
blackened ruin.

Edges curl back
revealing tender
crumbs of mercy.

Pilgrim, pilgrim,
scatter them when you
must find your way back.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Proverbial Sweet Night

There are three things which are too wonderful for me, no, four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:19 

 I must add a fifth.
The way of Linford's
hands upon piano keys.
I weep because it feels 
the same when God 
plays me. 

And a sixth.
The way honey escapes
honeycomb's wax cap.
Is it beads of honeyed tears 
or beaded honey sweat?

And also a seventh.
The way honeyed music
weeps and sweats.
It escapes ivory keyboard
confines, floods the black stage
floor, and oozes thick
and slow over the edge.   

Yes. Do buy Over the Rhine's new Christmas Album - Blood Oranges in the Snow
My favorite is Let It Fall. Find a hanky. Honey and tears heal…… 

Their concerts are warm and hospitable. We can't wait for them to return to Seattle next year. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Snookered By The Business of Poetry

Should I separate
wax and honey from
the comb to embalm
the black feather and entomb
the golden spoon?

Bee keeping lore says
corpses covered in honey
kept preserved without
a stench until buried.

Old blind Huber mentions
intruding rats stung dead -
encased harmless in wax
by vigilant bees guarding the hive.

I scour away the honey puddled
on my table like amber weeping
from wooden wounds.

I puzzle over toast crumbs
picked up and pressed into the tip
of my middle finger.