* Alchemy Farmhouse *


Last Night
March 18, 2008, 10:57 am
Filed under: poetry

We buried you by

St. Patrick’s Day moonlight,

one with a shovel

one with a pitchfork,

the flashlight on the ground.

The churchbells next door

rang out at eight as we began,

and I cried because they were the last

of the day that was your last.

In each and every armful of earth

more grief seeped out

more grief built up–

as if the release signaled the need

to manufacture more.

I could hear the water in the pond

–it was the first time I had ever noticed it from that spot.

I looked to be sure you

would face the moon–

I knew it would move,

but I wanted you where it was tonight,

when I layed down with you

under a blanket

under your tree

under our March sky,

bloody in the truck bed.

We buried you tonight,

by three-quarter moonlight.



Poems from the city
March 7, 2008, 8:19 am
Filed under: poetry

NYPL

grey light

blue sky

through wrought iron

window panes

the New York

Public Library echoes

with  a

hundred thousand feet

all treading

the same city’s water

all waiting for

the same spell to break.

Hallways & Jamaicans

With a lantern

big enough for

an opera house,

this hallway

lights the way for

the Asian man

in student’s clothes

the Slavic woman

in the green coat

two men with peppered hair

(the lantern glinting off their gilded  eyeglasses each)

and the security guard

who has just made me vacate

the stairs and move to this

glorious marble bench beneath

the bust of John M carrere.

I wanted to smear the island honey out of the corners

of her words

with wintry, thirsting fingers.

Did she ever look to her childhood shores

and know someday that she

would guard this grand space

in the grandest of places?

Waiting, @ 40th & 8th 

people walk by

all waiting for a train

One says “I love you”

another spat to the right

one holds a baby

another wrestles with

unbalanced steps

–a childhood affliction, a sewer grate incident, an act of God?

To the left huddle a sampling

all clad in crayon-colored sneakers

walking past with samba sounds

and  hooded  parkas more suited

to a lone taiga

than this underground waiting room

And a new woman

sits where the toddler just peed  his pants

–too soon for me to warn her.

Artists with portfolios, old men with plastic bags

a young boy with a measuring tape and soccer shoes.

they carry all the parts that make them whole,

the things you can’t make up.

The human story

Any one of them could be

someone I’ve known

any one of them could be

someone I will know

share bllood, share breath, share bourbon with

in this life

or another.

Did I go to kindergarten with you?

Will my son kiss your daughter’s lips

one day when they are conceived and grown as we?

Will I ever see you tear

down your Chinese screen of

train pretense?

Morgan Freeman with a limp just passed

and Dylan Thomas layed across

the bench one night

just before he broke a bottle

to let lennon

come sliding out into the city.

Was it fate that by dropping

my bottle cap just now,

I am destined to embody the

germs of all who have drank from this place

before I?

That when I screwed it

back in place,

I linked that

hydrogen and oxygen  to

generation upon generation of subway taking-

flower bouquet holding-

love in the last car-

walk-up tenement greatness?

Without another sound,

I swallow this city down.

 



Marital Bed
February 22, 2008, 9:58 am
Filed under: poetry

I return from reluctantly

letting the dog out

to see my husband’s trespassed

well over the invisible divide.

I slide back under the blanket

from the edge of my side

and inch toward his

salt and pepper head

freshly shorn,

and cabbage round

–uniform in its leaves and curls.

the dog takes his own place

again, he is the divide,

and husband has no choice

but to roll back to his page,

on the side that if we were a book

would make us backwards like the Torah

whose readers do not believe they are reading backwards

only in another order than those who

invented Christ.

He grimaces as he wrenches his arm out

from under me,

the penalty for border crossing.



For Her
February 11, 2008, 9:19 pm
Filed under: poetry

I found a piece of your hair

on me today

and it’s been more than two years

since you became the trash

(I secretly fear)

in someone else’s can.

I know it was yours

because it was not mine

and it was not his,

and for the way it was so blonde and

strawberry-dipped at the tip

–I can picture it now.

But in the moment,

I picked it off

my sweater

my hand about to drop it onto the vinyl-tiled floor

(you would have tap danced on floors like this)

and leave it to be swept up,

away,

like all the other evidence that you ever

lived,

scraps that you left behind

–so many then,

so few now

here and there only on an old sweater.

And if I keep them instead,

I might recreate you

resurrect you

only to touch you again,

for a moment.



A poem for a student…
February 5, 2008, 4:13 pm
Filed under: poetry

For a student,

For a student,

My words probably won’t
mean much to you
until the gale winds
are at your front
and the unforgiving sky is steely
But value then
is better
than no value at all,
and so I will explain:
Life is a stark wilderness
and your time here is not
only the training center
but the last filling station before you are unleashed.
The homework you blow off
might have been worth some trail mix,
maybe the odd dry pair of socks.
Group projects are a ropes course;
you’ll know now how to save a colleagues’ life.
Essays are hot meals
and firewood at the ready.
Tests could earn you a blanket, pray,
a sleeping bag.
If you should be so lucky,
so clever
as to study,
they could even be a tent.
So the next time you look at me,
or better yet,
refuse to meet my eye or my assignment,
ask yourself
what you’ll be taking into the woods,
and if you’ll survive that wild.

My words probably won’t
mean much to you
until the gale winds
are at your front
and the unforgiving sky is steely
But value then
is better
than no value at all,
and so I will explain:
Life is a stark wilderness
and your time here is not
only the training center
but the last filling station before you are unleashed.
The homework you blow off
might have been worth some trailmix,
maybe the odd dry pair of socks.
Group projects are a ropes course;
you’ll know now how to save a colleagues’ life.
Essays are hot meals
and firewood at the ready.
Tests could earn you a blanket, pray,
a sleeping bag.
If you should be so lucky,
so clever
as to study,
they could even be a tent.
So the next time you look at me,
or better yet,
refuse to meet my eye or my assigmment,
ask yourself
what you’ll be taking into the woods,
and if you’ll survive that wild.



winter poems & photos
February 1, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: photography, poetry

 

 

 

*Snow poem*


Wet snow

painting on cheeks

like candy coating

around

and around in a steel barrel

we tumble

to bring out

the shine

 

church bells before the hour

anticipate a longing

killers shadowplay in the background

house lights hazy behind me

–like no glasses on–

from this twilight storm

 

Two shorter days remain

until the cold releases

slightly

slightly

and slighter still

and the light will

grow again

as winter persists

a white orange

unpeeling and

unrolling under my skin.

 

 

*Winter year*

I woke up a dozen years older

And when I opened my refrigerator,

Each annual was an egg—

Categorizable

Tangible

poachable

 

But not in my dress

Not in my looks

Not in my heart

 

I play the teacher

And cry the teenager

I play the wife

And bleed the daughter

I play the adult

And hear the child

 

To you it was a cigarette ash

To me it was the forest fire.

 

 



some new poems
January 30, 2008, 9:51 pm
Filed under: poetry

A few new ones written during Mid-terms–I love it: kids take tests, I write poems. Yes, please.

The Gift 

I am confused:

If each day is a gift,

Then why do we waste it working?

Am I reading my gift improperly if I so selfishly believe working is wasting it?

Or, contrarily, am I simply in the wrong line of work if I so do feel that way?

If each day is a gift,

I wish to rise early, savor a good portion of the morning unwrapping it,

A solid amount of time admiring its many uses

And clever attributes

And still have many hours to amuse myself with it down by the shore

Before I enjoy its company for dinner

And delicately

Wrap it again in anticipation of its

Delicious disrobing tomorrow.

 

If everyday is a gift,

I’ll need no receipt.

 

***

 The French

This room is full of posters in French,

‘And if I am to believe them,

Then the French eat chocolate, pet cats, and smile beneath the Eiffel Tower

All the livelong day.

Their funny hats sit just-so atop their well-postured heads

Ballerinas dance only for their delight

Their avant-garde fashions make them obvious as exit signs

Glowing their demon glow

At the end of nearly all hallways,

If I believe the posters.

 ***

Not a one-room schoolhouse 

 

When the heater stopped working,

What did I do?

I called the custodian,

That’s what.

Even though I wanted to be free from

Small

Oscillating

Sleek

Robotic

Warmth wavers,

And instead remember wood stoves,

If I were to forgo aid and dream instead of feel,

My nose would run

And no one wants a teacher like that.