Archive for January 2013

Feelings On Inauguration Day

January 21, 2013
When I Hear Patriotic Songs Jazzed Up (No Offense Intended)

When I Hear Patriotic Songs Jazzed Up (No Offense Intended)

First, I want to say that I’ve never heard an “artistic” rendering of a patriotic song that I did not detest.  I mention this with no particular animus towards James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, or Beyonce –none of whom I actually listened to during the inauguration.  (The minute someone starts singing a jazzed-up, drawn-out, wailed, yodeled, syncopated, or otherwise individualized version of any of My Country Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful, God Bless America, or the Star Spangled Banner, I find I have to either mute the sound, or jump out the window.  Oh why oh why oh why can’t someone just sing one of these beautiful songs as written?)

Second, I confess.  I do not love Michelle’s bangs.  I love her  – and I do understand the urge of someone turning 49 to look like a retro teenager– (I’ll even go so far as to agree with the President – sure they look great – she always looks great.)  But.. (there’s so much hair it’s a bit hard to see her face.)  But enough said!  It’s fine to try something new!

And I did. in an earlier verion of this post, feel that poet Richard Blanco and the minister doing the final invocation could have cut their remarks a little in light of the cold, and the length of the ceremony and the large magniciation — but I know they were doing a great and wonderfully inclusive job.

So  putting the irritation and pettiness aside, what do I feel?



(Okay, okay–and I thought the President’s speech pretty great.)

(P.S. sorry to seem so curmudgeonly.  I wrote this last night, late, after a fair amount of traveling.)


January 20, 2013


Untouched (or re-touched.)

No one stung either, thankfully.

At Cross Purposes

January 19, 2013


At Cross Purposes

My points, to you, seem hollow,
faux arguments, foe arguments,
spent shells of zero caliber–
fibber blanks that might nonetheless
mess up all that you hold dear
(fear mainly, rage–of course, stuff–
toughness). It’s rough how this world,
swirled in a rifling that won’t be aimed,
lames us, though both want it to behave,
be saved. You imagine your self
pure self – there at the ready,
steady-handed–while I’m not sure
your bullet will hit its mark,
parking its lead instead in my
bystander’s heart, or another–
mother, brother, neighbor, son–
one of our own, ’cause you and me–
we–for all our lingo–stock, cocked,
locked–ram into a single barrel,
peril, sorrow, recoil–

Here’s a double-barreled sort of poem (draft) responding both to the dVerse Poets Pub Prompt hosted by the far-ranging Fred Rutherford relating to writing in foreign languages, and to the Real Toads prompt hosted by the wonderful Hedgewitch (Joy Anne Jones) on chained rhyme. Both have written super interesting articles with great original poems. Check them out.

(The foreign language here, for me, is gun talk. Chained rhyme is a form where the last word of each line rhymes with the first word of the next. Sort of, in my case.)

“Remembered Blue” Flash Friday 55

January 18, 2013


Remembered Blue

When I think of blue,
my closed-eyes mind sees green–
sheen of Minnesota lawn stretching flat
past pasture, where behind a straggle-wire
fence my grandmother straddled, impossibly,
a horse called grey as white
as her own curls, so very long ago that all
I truly remember is awe
as huge as the sky.


55 belated for the G-Man.  Go tell him to have a great weekend.  You too. 


January 18, 2013


This is from the Ikebana Show – “Waiting For Spring” of the Sogetsu Society NY Branch at the Nippon Club in good old NYC.  The three women who made this incredibly cool piece with flowers and boxes and green willow sticks are Chizuko Korn, Shizue Pleasanton, and Yoko Ikura.

I do not really understand Ikebana – Japanese flower arranging. I know it requires attention to angles and ratios and textures – many of the students of Ikebana at the show – demure and dignified Japanese ladies, some with grey hair, also had really cool combinations of clothes on – pearl necklaces and rhinestone pins, laquered flowers on black pinstriped lapels. A couple of others (younger women) just wore pink kimonos. Somehow it all sort of worked.

PS – since posting I have been told that half of the students in the classes taught by the society in New York are American and half Japanese, both men and women. Sorry for any inaccurate impression that I may have given in my post, as I really only attended the opening and did not mean to give any false impression as to the Society or classes.  It was a great opening and is a wonderful exhibition.

“Woe (the You) Is Me”

January 17, 2013


Woe (The You) Is Me

You’re wrong. Tick.
You made a mis-tock-take.
And now there’s no clock–tick
that can be turnedtock–
back–tick. The stock prices
dropped–tick. The man kicked
the buck—tock–with the t’s-tick
not crossed–tock–nor the i’s dotted–tick–
fuck; the whole thing a mess-tock–
’cause you made a miss
yourself a mistook–
tock– you less than a tick, miss–
You less than—

This really is a draftish poem for the terrific and exacting Mama Zen at With Real Toads to write something (in 75 words or less) about “the hard stuff.” For me, making a mistake–becoming conscious of making a mistake–is an extremely unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, it is one I have with great frequency. (You’d think I’d get used to it!)

Here’s a reading. I’m not sure I got the tick/tocks right, but it will give some idea–

Speaking of Real Toads – Isadore Gruye has very kindly interviewed me there today.  Check it out!  

Midtown Blues?

January 16, 2013


I Heart Beat

January 14, 2013

Image by Kim Nelson (used with permission)

I Heart Beat

I heart you sky
I heart you blue
I heart you cloud
I heart you true.

I heart you here,
there too and fro’–
I heart you now
and then and mo’.

I heart you even
when eve do fall–
(and adam too)
I heart you all.

So, lord, don’t hurt me–
jes’ hold me tight,
so’s I can ear
your heart all night.


Here’s a sort of ditty for With Real Toads, Kerry O’Connor, and a prompt focusing on beautiful images made by Kim Nelson. Don’t know about the last two stanzas!  Had something lighter –but you know me – if I can add some gloom, I will!  Oh well!

I am also posting for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. 

“A Mother’s Loss”

January 13, 2013


A Mother’s Loss

She was my first friend my own age
to die. Not by accident, not
by her own hand, but with
advance notice, and against
her will.

She tried to block it, to barricade death’s door as if
with couch, desk, table, only she
used organs–

The teen-long legs of her daughters dangled
from the arms of chairs in her last room–while her own
arms–arms that, not long before, would have lifted a car
if it had pinned one of those girls–tendonned the

I tried for poetry–she liked
poetry– but all I had rock-solid
was Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” and as
uplifting as those words
might be – I will arise
and go now
– they were chunks of pavement
in my mouth, the roadway stuck
below the pinioning car,

her clenched face drawn
to different lines, lines that resisted
far shores, lines that radiated only
towards the two girls lapping the stiff-backed chairs.

Batting away silent
linnets’ wings, her croaked voice stretched across
the tubelit glimmer: have you
finished your homework?
Did you get enough
to eat?

At her memorial some weeks later,
her daughters, poised women,
shook hands with all who came.

Sorry to be so gloomy of late! (I think I need more sun!) The above poem, about which I am still very uncertain, was written for the dVerse Poets poetics prompt hosted by the wonderful Stu McPherson on growing up. I am also linking to Real Toads Open Link Monday.  The photograph was taken by Raquel Martin (with, amazingly, my iPad). All rights, as always, reserved.

“Changing the Dialogue” – Flash Friday 55

January 11, 2013


Changing the Dialogue

“A rose by any other name–”
Shakespeare says–of
smells and sweetness.
But in an age of spin and
“handles” turn the top.
So, why not tell it like it is
(but freshly scented.)

Rename “pro-gun control” –
“pro-choice” – women’s fight
against governmental

“teachers and parents” – VIPs.


55 for the G-Man!