Archive for October 2011

Scary Thought, Scary Number (7,000,000)

October 31, 2011


This Halloween (that is, today, October 31, 2011) is the estimated birthday, according to the U.N.‘s Population Fund, of the world’s 7 billionth person.

I love babies, and a lot of the news stories on this subject has shown some very cute ones (as well as some slightly less cute red squiggly ones.) Even so, the number is kind of frightening. It is a number that is significantly more than twice the world population in the year of my birth. (And, though I often feel antediluvian, I’m not truly.)

There are some (particular those who oppose birth control) who feel that those who are concerned about these escalating numbers are selfish, anti-human, anti-life.

In my view, the opposite is true. Yes, I admit that I do like the notion of a world that still contains empty spaces, that still allows people the possibility of moments of solitude, that does not use all its resources in energy and food production, that is not cut up into little tiny squares.

But I am also worried (as I think many are) that if humans don’t try to exert some kindly control over population, natural forces will exert more drastic controls–famine, disaster, war, disease.

It’s all just kind of scary.

Not a Happy Trickster

October 31, 2011


Magpie Tales (89) (“These Words Are No Nest”)

October 30, 2011


This is a post (1001th – an apology to those who subscribe) made for Tess Kincaid’s Magpie Tales. Each week Tess posts an interesting photograph as a prompt. The above is my personal take on the photo–I’ve revised it a bit to fit in with the poem below, a sonnet of sorts.

No Nest

These words are no nest.  They won’t warm you
when I’m gone.  You won’t be able to tuck
your head under a t, though it starts true,
slip fingers down n‘s curve, deftly pluck
replies from even the unsilent e‘s.
They won’t warm me either–no echoes
in ashen brains, though spread upon a breeze.
As twigs and hair and grass and dust close in,
words will be somewhere else; just as what peeps
behind these eyes, this voice, this flickering
insistent maw of self, will, at best, sleep
long.  But for now, I’m here, a bickering
steadfast word monger, building a place
of syllabic lingering, would-be embrace.


(I am also linking this poem to The Poetry Palace weekly poets’ rally.)

Apple of my Eye? (Apple IN my Eye?) Revenge of the Falling Fruit

October 30, 2011


I wake today with my first black eye ever.

My husband tells me it’s an opportunity for great story telling. I can alarm people with tales of “you should have seen the other guy” i.e. him.

The fact is that I was attacked by an apple. Maybe I should say “counter-attacked”–I was, at the time, prodding the tree with a stick. (Yes, there was also occasional whacking, but the word “throttling” is definitely not appropriate.)

Snow was coming. The tree was still laden. But the apples were too high to be picked on branches too high to be shaken. Hence, the stick, hence, the prodding, hence the face turned straight up to the potentially falling fruit.


One hit my eye socket with a force that would have shocked even Newton. The eye itself was covered by a lens which may have been good for the retina, less so for the upper and lower lids, which were–and here the word may be appropriate–throttled.


Oh, you, you apple of my eye–I think I’ll have you baked.

(P.S. This is my 1000th post on this blog. I’m not sure what that means exactly, other than that I seem to have had a fair amount of spare time on my hands over the last couple of years. Still, it does feel like a bit of a landmark, particularly in light of Nanowrimo -National Novel Writing Month- about to begin. Hmmm…..)

Fall Snow (Snow Fall)

October 29, 2011

Conversation Poem? (“No Good Answer”)

October 29, 2011

dVerse Poets Pub has a poetics challenge today, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld (who lives in Germany but writes beautiful poetry in English)  asking for a “call and response” or conversation poem.

The poem below is a conversation in which one person speaks in words, the other gestures.  it’s a pretty grim poem, sorry.  (Please remember it’s a poem, i.e. work of art! )  Also note that, although it rhymes and has line breaks, pauses should really only be taken where punctuated and not at the end of a line.

No Good Answer

She took a brush and hit her hand,
trying hard to make a stand.

“Just go,” he sighed,
“it’s just not working.
You’ve got to know
I’m not just jerking
you around.
No, it’s just the way I am is all,
I’m not the one for you at all.”

She stuck a tack into her wrist,
showing him a bloodied fist.

He shuddered, turned aside his head,
“It’s time for me to go to bed,”
then left her for their one spare room,
while she sat on beneath a gloom
of fear
that she would stop the pain
so that it would not come again.

But she was frozen, could not move,
luckily, perhaps, since all self-love
had vanished
just as his had done,
not to be found under moon or sun.

Friday Flash Fiction 55 – “Both Desperate”

October 28, 2011

Both Desperate

Hit, it still had flight
in its front legs.  The man dragged
it by its antlers off the road,  crouched
on its neck with a knife.  It bled
in dark gulps, still tried to rear, roared.
He laid the hand not pressing it down
upon its shoulder, as if to calm,
as if touch could.

This is my 55 word story (not including title!) for the G-Man.  (Thanks, Mr. Knowitall, for the incentive to compress this scene.)

Quick windy video of Occupy Wall Street (Nightfall in Zuccotti Park 10/27/11)

October 27, 2011

For any who are interested, here’s a super quick and unfortunately extremely dark video of Zuccotti Park tonight. It actually is super dark down there.

I have better pix, but this gives some small notion of the wind (and this was taken before the wind really picked up.  There’s rain too.)   Protesters were doing the normal speak and repeat routine, but umbrellas were inverting and many people just huddled in tents, hoping not to be blown away.  (Sorry it’s so dark–can be seen better full screen.)

Conflation in Poetry? Hmmmm…. “Far”

October 27, 2011


As followers of this blog know, I’ve gotten very involved of late with the dVerse Poetry Pub, and poetry in general.  (There is nothing like community for stimulating work. )  The prompt today by Emmet Wheatfall deals with “conflation,” what I think of as piecing things, often disparate, together.  I don’t know if this poem totally qualifies, but it is a poem I’ve had on my mind, and that I re-wrote (and improved) with the idea of conflating themes in mind.   


We pushed from cold night into a Chinese restaurant,
the fluorescents reverberating like the din.  One waitress
wiped the table, burnishing smears into reflection;
 another balanced a rounded pot of tea and a fist’s stack
of cups (their sides glowing, incongruously,
with little seeds of translucence, grains of rice
made glass), the pot so full
that tea brimmed to the edge of its
spout with every shift from level, hip
or wrist, a
glimmering lithe tongue.

A man in my group had, some time before,
lost his adult child.  It had been sudden, she
had been young.
It was hard for me to look at him,
each expression–his patience
with the waitresses, concern about the chairs, even his
cold-reddened skin—a riddled mask
over the shear of loss that had left
the merest sense of face, worn
like the extremity
of an icon, the bronze saint whose foot has been rubbed
to a bare grip, slip
of soap, by petitioners who have
prayed to be washed clean, not of sin, but suffering.

The teapot begged to be poured; the waitress ran its
gulping stream over the beaded cups, steam rising into
air that ached to be warmed, the door, the night, opening
always at our side.

I could almost not look
at the man, as if his pain
might brim over,
scald me too, and yet another part of me,
what I like to think of as a part
that catches light like the curve of
a cup, or perhaps a part that is
dark, swirling, like the grain in the veneer
of even a plastic tabletop, that part that
somehow recalls a tree (or at least, the idea
of a tree), shifted my chair closer, wanting
to  drink with him that
fresh, hot tea, 
anything that could pass for succor.

Hunkering down in Zuccotti Park (“Occupy Wall Street”), a New/Old meaning of TARP

October 27, 2011

Cold and very wet in downtown NYC today. Tarps over both the tented and tentless. One of the best signs I’ve seen.