Archive for June 2012

“Parkinson’s (Father)”

June 30, 2012


Parkinson’s (Father)

My brain, see, now has to consciously
tell my feet to move.

I mean, he tries a laugh, your brain
always tells your feet to move
on some level, but now
I have to remind them how.

I do see what he means soon enough, as
my father, the opener of all
that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all that needs to be kept safe, targets
a key towards a door as
one might aim a dart, his forearm moving
back and forth as if to throw it,
though he pushes now–
here–here–trying spots about the knob
as one might poke
a needle into the fabric backing a button, pricking
one’s way to its eyes, or as one
might thread the eye
of the needle itself, poignantly.

But the disease progresses, as territorial
as Genghis Khan, and soon all
the buttons in his world are blocked, refuse
to be battened, will not even
be pushed down, until finally, his own eyes
seem locked behind the placket
of stiff lids.

I see the strain of forehead, the
conscious manipulation of muscle, nerve,
above struggling chest, until at last
the mottled blue of his pupils targets
our own.  I love you, he whispers, the opener
of all that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all things safe.



I wrote the above for dVerse Poets Pub‘s Poetics prompt of “buttons,” hosted today by the indefatigably kind and creative Brian Miller, but I am also linking up with Real Toads for their Open Link Monday.

Secondly, a big apology to my father in absentia – I am not sure what that drawing is supposed to be- it looks nothing at all like my father, or even really like a man, or a button come to think of it.  But I was at the hairdresser today in honor of Nora Ephron, and that’s the drawing I made, thinking of Brian’s prompt.

Do check out the wonderful poets at dVerse and Real Toads, if you have the time, and also check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

Park Bench, shaded, lit, leafy (night/day NYC)

June 29, 2012



“Box” – Square Poem

June 28, 2012



I squeeze me, fitting into box;

squeeze all rounding, as sharpness shocks

me, rounding on even muted plaints,

fitting (as even sides) soul’s constraints

into sharpness. Muted soul’s clamped voice

box shocks plaints, constraints–voice noise.

The above is a “square poem” written for dVerse Poets Pub “Form For All” challenge, hosted by Samuel Peralta, and based upon a matrix form developed by Lewis Carroll in which the poem reads both horizontally AND vertically, with the first line of the poem made up of the first word of each line; second line made up of all the second words, etc.  Sam has a wonderful article about the form, so check it out! 

In the case of my poem, PUNCTUATION is very important, as I only intend for pauses to be taken where punctuated, and not at the end of each line.  I tried to make my own recording to illustrate that but so far I haven’t been able to upload it.  (Probably for the best!) 

Aside from checking out dVerse Poets Pub, also check out my books!  (If you have the time and are in the mood for something silly or elephantine.) Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

“Through Tattered Clothes” – Shakespearean (?) Sonnet

June 27, 2012

“Through Tattered Clothes Small Vices Do Appear” (Before Going Out Almost Anywhere)

Even nearing ninety, she changes,
then changes again; electric rollers
a must as twixt mirror, clothes, eye ranges–
“They just treat you better,” (some shoulders
padded, all lined) “if you dress up a bit.”

The sins she tries to hide: that she was poor
as a child; that she lived on a rick-
ety run-down farm that had no power,
no water–she switches to  yet another
suit, navy better cover for that farm’s house–
And her sister, never quite right (a shudder)
in an age when right (beneath her bright, bowed blouse)
was required–and all her lifetime’s care
of her– smoothed now beneath the just-curled hair.

I swore not to do prompts for a while — just too busy–but here’s a sonnet (of sorts) written for Kerry O’Connor’s challenge on Real Toads to write something based on lines from Shakespeare and also posted to Imperfect Prose (though not prose) where Emily Weirenga writes about how we are held by thepast.   In this case, my title is taken from some favorite lines from King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI):

“Through tattered clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.”

World Financial Center At Dusk With Matching Basketball (Downtown NYC)

June 26, 2012



June 25, 2012



Silence falls like a velvet bell,
clapperless–a rehearsal only–
but reverberant, quivering
like a kitchen table
slammed to wall, slabbed
fist, smashed
bottle, strangled ululation of
sob–till “super,”
calls the director (like a conductor turning
triumphant after the loosening
of that final orchestral knot), “just great.
Take five, guys.  No,
better make that ten.”

Lights blink (gaze after
dark) and the younger actor, the one
who still holds a cowering
balance, left hand upon center stage, half-
topples, shaking his head, “whoa man, that was
And the veteran,
because emotion can never
be old hat, reaches quickly
to his propped fedora, swiping below the brim, his forehead,
eyes, as he pulls himself across that bridge of
craft, which has supported his shape,
voice, the planned span of time and space, like borne traffic,
but where he truly reaches is
deep into the flow below that bridge, a burning artery
that runs from lungs to loins, through longing
and blood lust and
the softest murmur of the heart, this Lethe
where he loses himself
on cue.  So,
he wipes its damp
onto the back of one hand as he reaches
the other to help up his fellow player, hazarding
a smile.


Poets! Question :  I have redone the first line about twenty times–I had “Silence falls like a velvet bell,” and I’ve now gone back to it!  I had had Silence knells a velvet bell,”  then “Silence rings a velvet bell,” “silence tolls a velvet bell,” “silence clangs a velvet bell,” “silence falls like the dome of a velvet bell==”  “silence descends like the dome of velvet bell.” Any thoughts?

I am posting the above draft poem for Tess Kincaid’s Mag 123 and also (unless I have time to write something new!) for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  Tess posts a photographic prompt; the above is my version of it.  (The image is, I believe – though wasn’t conscious of when writing – from  Orson Welle’s A Touch of Evil.  I am not a big Welles’ fan and really was thinking of any actor.)  Check our both Tess’s site and dVerse for wonderful poetry.

AND, if you have time, check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

A Pleasant Break – Still Lives with Dog and Elephant

June 24, 2012


Sometimes, when tired or stressed, it’s nice to do something, make something, simple–say, a drawing of an elephant and dog, without even an attempt at particular meaning–hidden or obvious. Just elephant, dog, bowl of fruit, flowers. (I do worry a bit about the dog on that high stool, but am going to dispel those concerns for now.)

“Schadenschaden” (Why NOT Me? – Gig of the Would-Be Victim)

June 23, 2012



Like a golfer in search of a handicap,
he found himself mired in schadenschaden–
sadness at another’s sorrow, a slap
face-felt at the sight of their tear-sodden
victimhood, superior martyrdom;
schadenfreude cast to the old school, those
who did not, in the night-dark of some
disappointed sheets, self-scold, “you fool,” then pose
as Rimbeaud’s more tortured kid brother, the “should-
have-been-even-greater than–, but-for’ kind
of guy, some sad sod so clearly struck by
circumstantial lightening that no one could bind
him to words like “his own fault.”  If fucked by
life quite obviously, you had a real gig,
he thought, like that poor bugger there, the pig.


It’s always dangerous to write a poem from a voice that is not exactly admirable, but also, I hope, fun.

The above was inspired by the dVerse Poets Pub “Poetics” prompt on “logophilia” hosted today by Anna Montgomery and Claudia Schoenfeld.  Anna, a great wordsmith, challenged us to write something relating to words, perhaps even coming up some new ones.   I do not actually know if schadenschaden is a new word since it is, more or less, German, a language that I do not speak.  The idea is that it’s the inverse of schadenfreude (taking joy in the misfortune of others).  In English, we often talk about “sour grapes,” yet another variation.

Have a great day, check out dVerse and all the great poems based on this prompt.

AND if you get a chance, check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, and Nose Dive, perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

“Mind Wave (For Virginia Woolf)”

June 22, 2012


Mind Wave (For Virginia Woolf)

One bemoans but understands
the stones,

thinking of a mind that, like
a wave, washed crevices, even
those not known
to be inlets, seeping between grains
of sand, nuances
of dust; a fractal mind that
traced a perimeter so much bigger than
its area (a coastline infinite, if intricately
measured, no
matter the isle’s square miles)–

A beam-from-a-lighthouse mind that
in its illumination of
what was writ got all
the way to “q”–a quadratic of empathy–a mind
that could put itself in the shoes of
any person, beast, street, room–its floorboards
creaking–shaping the handle of a pen knife, the tug
upon a mustache or
heart, a woman’s carried bag, time, space and, finally,
ash, the blitz
of two generations.

One thinks
of the fatigue of
impersonation, the burden of voices
heard, articulated, not
drowned out–

A mind that got to “q” but not perhaps
to “r” as in relief or respite, that, sleepless, heedless, seething
as a wave, sought weights against such

one hates the stones–


I wrote the above poem (and made the drawing) for a prompt made by Fireblossom to write about a famous person for the poetry blog Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.  Virginia Woolf, great lyrical writer of the twentieth century, and certainly one of my favorites, died by drowning herself, after filling her pockets with stones.

“Butler” (Poem about “Place/Setting”)

June 21, 2012

Place Setting (Napkin, Knife, Butler)

His hands a monument in themselves,
the fingers Trafalgar columns, tensile
dolmens, though not monumenting beauty
so much as making it. There was nothing
not worth doing, if done well.
A deep well was the
laundry sink, one whose whitewash
rusted blood-blue about the drain, though
he used shallower basins for
the napkins, a glisten
of salt, and, too, a secret substance (champagne) for
the stubborner stains, a fluid he also applied to
shoes aside the polishes, – cordovan, ebony,
jet– words rolling
off the tongue like pitches surmounted–those napkins,
once de-stained, folded,
sculpted, pressed, an origami of named magnificence–such
decadence to sit on a sodding lap–but he didn’t really
care for that part, it was
the spectacle. the gleam
and flow upon
the board–the mitre: linen trained to pray; the
napkin squared
upon napkin frame; the lotus, petals starched; fashioned
one by one upon
an ironing board anvil, felted white
above chintz cover, a flowery green/peach that might have graced
the wallpaper of a boarding house hyphenated on sea; his silver
knife blades mirrored
your nose sniffing the acrid de-tarnisher that blackened flesh and possibly
someone else’s soul–not, seemingly, his–the ink of the Magna Carta still
fluid in his veins, and beating
Hitler.  What he craved was
excellence and, yes,
its particular acknowledgement,
(which his linen marvels drew)
raised in a London orphanage,
where kerchiefs looped necks, and
corners tucked, and praise, perhaps, was
doled out, if at all, like biscuits at tea, sparingly. The evening pumps
he shone upon the enameled washing machine
and proudly showed off (as worn
by hand)–the crafting
of beauty always something
of which to be proud–glinted
like Andromeda in opera’s
velvet night;  the water glasses
sparkled too, every single bit
as much as the wine.


The above draft poem  (revised this AM again) was written for the wonderful prompt by Victoria C. Slotto for dVerse Poets Pub to write about “place/setting.”   (Yes, I know; I’m not sure this is what Victoria meant.)  It is based upon Leslie Lowndes, who made a living as a chauffeur/butler, was originally a Cockney from London, and also one of the most wonderfully kind and talented persons I’ve ever known.

The picture is of a light sculpture by Jason Martin, which, when lit up (in a not very good photo)  looks something like this: