Archive for September 2013

“Come here, Doll”

September 29, 2013
Photo by Margaret Bednar

Photo by Margaret Bednar of doll house rooms at Art Institute of Chicago

Come here, Doll

He looked down at his large hands,
the thumbs, to her,
like hammers;
then up again, slyly shy,
as if he peeked out from under
his own forehead.

Winked, eyes bright as the crinkle of cellophane
off a Dutch Master,
spreading out his arms,
come here, doll.

She went over to him–what else?
He pulled her into the spread
between his legs.

She smelled, from there, his aftershave mixed
with cigar
and the hard bristle
of his face, muscle,
the heat like another biceped limb
beneath the fold of clothes, holding her
in place.

She did not quite know
what to do in that place,
so tried to hold herself against
his holding, to hold herself in, to make herself
just as small as she could get,
to not let herself
touch anything.

A draft poem of sorts for the prompt of Margaret Bednar on Real Toads, featuring doll house rooms from the Art Institute of Chicago.  The photograph of one of the doll rooms is by Margaret, a wonderful photographer.  The prompt calls for a poem about place–I got focused on the doll aspect, but I think the poem is also about place, in a way.

When the Bloom’s Gone

September 28, 2013


When the Bloom’s Gone

I knew for certain when we wed
we’d make our bed in a dandelion head.
Even cowslips were too darn costly
for those who lived on kisses mostly.
For all that ever touched my lips
were yours and, with them, arms and hips,
and all those bits that make us whole,
the byways traveled to the soul.

We hungered so for lovers’ food
we met in fields aside the wood
to feast ourselves upon a meal
not yet stamped by church’s seal.

Now you have gone and I remain
with only tatters of dandelion mane.
I drape them on my arms and hips
but would find more cover in cowslips.

My name’s been dragged full through the mud;
my story fodder for gossips’ cud–
they tell me that a widow’s weeds
would have far better filled my needs

but I remember nights in bed
with auraed spore just overhead
like wisps of cloud and star at once–
oh yes, they’ve shredded these cold months–
yet still I wait in balding home,
edged by dry and sharp rhizome,
for to taste once more your love
with dandelion sky above.

Here’s a poem for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt by Claudia Schoenfeld featuring the cool digital images of Catrin Welzstein, one of which may be seen above. (More of Catrin’s work may be found at

Mariano Rivera In 55

September 27, 2013


To Mariano (Rivera)

Mariano, you’ve been our man
pitching better than anyone can.
When you jogged out onto the field,
the batters knew they had to yield.
Your cutters cut them down to size–
New Yorkers, awed, dissolved in sighs!
Good old Mo, we love you, man,
the greatest closer in the land.

Mariano Rivera, beloved by all New York (I love you MO!) retired yesterday after, in typical fashion, striking out all four hitters who stood before him. This is a revised version of a poem first posted after Mariano’s 602nd career save– a record– a couple of years ago. The picture doesn’t do him justice, but since it’s mine, it at least doesn’t infringe on anyone’s copyright!

And because the poem minus a certain last name, included for non-New Yorkers,has only 55 words! Tell it to the G-man (who tends to have very good judgment but may be misguided enough not to be a Yankees fan.)

Also, there is a super sweet posting about me by the wonderful Australian poet, Rosemary Nissen-Wade on Poets United.


September 27, 2013



When I was small, I saw menace
in my bedroom closet most mid-nights,
the silhouette of vacuum cleaner
draped by Sunday School dress
taking flesh.

In terror, I called to my dad, who stumped
from my parents’ room, legs stiff
with varicose sleep, while my feet
never felt so light, two bright arrows darting
across the bows of safe passage.

Now that I am old,
menace haunts me
more directly.
Silhouettes of past acts lump
into embered coals, sit unswallowable
yet still swallowed in ribs’ grate; inadequacy
plays me like a cellist high on crack; and,
in the wakeful darkness that substitutes
for inner eyelid, I pray for a father–someone who, like mine,
will signal me into the haven of all okay.

I hook remembered words like hallowed charms,
new ones like “may peace,”
onto the shorting links of a heart that must be unwound,
uncloseted, pried hard, to make way for even a slip
of grace.

I pray, if there isn’t a father, that my call alone
might take me by the hand, but I pray
to a father.

Here’s a poem still-in-progress written for Victoria C. Slotto’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write about something difficult, using imagery. (I don’t know about the imagery.)

I hope the poem is not seen as sexist. The place I’d run to when my father saved me was my mom’s twin bed. (Twin beds–their marriage started in the fifties.) But I was raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition, and was not Catholic, so I can’t help thinking in these kinds of terms. Also, my own father was a particularly nurturing person, the most loving I can imagine. I miss him every day.

Showering With Shanti (Peace), Goa

September 23, 2013

Showering with Shanti (Peace), Goa, Sometime in the Early Eighties

Her name was Shanti and she craved
my shampoo.

We stood in a bucket shower, a stall

of tangled vines. She was a Citizen
 of the World,
she said (though her accent spoke

of the States)
and asked, breathlessly,
if it 
was Herbal Essence, and could she please please

borrow some, extending arms thinned to ropes

from a while in India.

While I was just visiting, no matter how long It felt,
so squeezed a gob
onto her waiting palms, and then, 
as they waited longer, another gob.

She pressed the pooling gel

onto her splayed part, right in the center of wet hair

already flattened, closing

kaleidoscope eyes.

I don’t know anything
about her experiences of peace,

but there was bliss–
her whole being–from lathered crown

through smiling fingers, nose, thighs, shins–a stream

of shine, freckles dwarf stars

in a bubble of–It comes in Strawberry?

I squeezed more into

her outstretched palms; she passed them

over shoulders, belly, hips, then cupped them

to her face as if they were a conch shell she might blow,

a prayer that she might call, an answer
to called prayer.

At the time I felt rather glad to be myself,
my ticket home safe
in my zipped passport pouch,
but in years since, I’ve thought of her face

more often than I care to admit,

wishing for at least a piece 

of what she found that day
in between the pour
of pink shampoo and washing
every bit of her, shaded
by tangled vines.

Here’s a sort of poem I wrote thinking about h Mary Kling’s “peace” prompt on dVerse Poets Pub over this past weekend. (Shanti, sometimes spelled Shantih, means peace in Sanskrit.) If you feel like you’ve read about this story before, you may have, as I wrote a prose poem about it some time ago. I did not specifically re-write the prose poem for this draft, but when I went back to check it, I was amazed at the similarities. (I don’t know if that means that the story is true to memory, or that I easily get into ruts. Agh.) (I am posting this on iPhone right now but will include link for other prose piece later if any one is interested. I think it was called Duty/Calls.)

I am also linking this to the open link nights at dverse poets pub and real toads.

Full Moon, Out Walking In the Grass

September 21, 2013


Full Moon, Out Walking In the Grass

Studding the greyed tangle–glints;
dew, drop-lit by night-donned light.
We shift booted steps to the side trying
to slip into our shadows
as if to make more space for this moon,
as if we, dark moving clods, could also spark
paled fields,
as if it were the sidelong cast of our gaze that netted
when, in truth, every star not seen overhead
joins us here–how rare
to walk through such
condensed blessings–our pants’ legs
soaked to the knees,
we laugh, laugh.

A draftish sort of poem for Marian’s Harvest Moon prompt on With Real Toads.  My camera is out of gear at the moment, so this is a photo of a full moon from last year, which was on a much bluer night than the one the other day.

Love Poem In 55 (and on a Friday) (and finding peace)

September 20, 2013


Love Poem

Forget about supportive.
You make collapse possible,
disintegration a reasonable
alternative, falling to pieces
a waystation, respite.

I don’t know about safety
in numbers; I’m sure of only one
port in a storm.

The well of your chest smells
of fleur de sel, and carries a kiln
that fires all clay new.

Here’s a nearly belated 55 for the lovely G-man.    I am also posting for the  dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt re peace, hosted by Mary Kling. 

Note – the picture above is not of my dear husband.  For one thing, when he wears a tie, he tends also to wear a jacket.    


The Ballad of Zeus, Hera, and Our Bodies Ourselves

September 19, 2013

Zeus Giving Birth to Athena, as Elephant (Ouch!)

Ballad of Zeus, Hera and Our Bodies Ourselves

So when Hera, she was ragging,
I turned to her and said–
Can’t take this women’s lib talk
from a deity I’ve wed.

All day over ambrosia,
all night over retsina,
you whine about the female
and the way that males demean ‘er!

Choice? I said.  You’re a goddess!
And by they way you got those pills?
you know the ones the humans use–
I think they’re called Advils.

‘Cause my head hurts something beastly–
oh sure, all men are swine.
But this hubby needs his Ledas
and a swan is not porcine.

But–ugh–my head is splitting
and swelling up so big,
cramping and contorting
hard as Jagger at a gig–

Help, Hera! Help me, Sweetie–
What?  Don’t forget to breathe?
Is that all you’re gonna tell me
when my brain’s bursting its sheathe!

What’s this?  Wah wah!  A baby?
Oh God–(that’s me)–but Hell–
Okay, her toes are very cute,
but my head don’t feel so well.

I can hear Poseidon’s chortle–
Hades’ quake like a jelly roll
served up on a vibration plate
in his most shallow hole–

What’s brought me this wee darling?
That Titaness I ate?
I never thought just swallowing
could put me in this state!

I mean, I’m still that big strong guy
with thunder under thumb–
but could ya’ help me with the diapers,
you little honey bun?


This is supposed to be in a ballad form for the wonderful prompt by Tony Maude over at dVerse Poets Pub, and also a soliloquy of Zeus for the wonderful prompt by Kerry O’Connor at With Real Toads.  Kerry asks us to impersonate a deity in modern times.

The scene takes place as Zeus is about to deliver Athena from his forehead.  Zeus, although paired to Hera, was quite the Lothario.  His lovers included Metis, one of the original Titan gods who was expected by soothsayers to have two children by Zeus, first, a girl and then a boy who was destined, if he lived, to overturn Zeus.  In order to beat the prophecy,  Zeus swallowed Metis, but after he had impregnated her with Athena.  Athena was subsequently born through Zeus’s forehead.

In order to stick with my strengths, I’ve portrayed Athena as an elephant.

In DC Across from Arlington

September 17, 2013


In DC Across from Arlington

I walk in my hometown to and from
a business meeting, wanting to weep,
your grave across the river,
and me caught in
such boxes–money, time–
stuck fast
in fast-moving side tracks.

I know the shape of your stone
from seeing others, and, from the diagrams,
what it should say, and I’ve seen
the clipped expanse of grass where
it’s supposed to sit, which my brain folds into
the oblong vista of sky and riverbank seen
from a landing plane, there, just beyond
a runway–

But I walk an asphalt street, walled in by architecture
shaped like faked honeycomb, interlocking
chained links,
while you, my dear, lie
over a bridge I don’t see how I can cross

There are, my memory believes,
winged horses sheathed in bronze
upon that bridge, their nostrils flaring
in full vigor, feathers woven like outstretched

The street narrows, is sided
by actual houses, faced
with actual brick, and their individuated crumbling
softens the air I walk through, as if it were
your pardon, as if even stone could forgive
when broken down for parts–

And how astonishingly lucky I have been, I think,
to have known such love, without
condition, though I cannot say the thought
makes me more cheerful, that it lifts
me like a flying horse, or sends a current of wind
or river or freedom against my cheeks–

only that it shifts
for a moment
the lids from all known boxes, letting in
sharp corners of fresh blue.

Another draftish rather gloomy poem (sorry!) posted for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. Also, sorry that I have been traveling and quite busy and fear I haven’t been able to return visits from commentators–will try to do this shortly. k.

Old Dog

September 15, 2013
By Kathryn DeChairo

By Kathryn DeChairo

Old Dog

First hard frost
and when I take you out to the ice-furred grass,
you stand stock still
as you always do these days,
then edge blindly towards the side of a stone step,
nudging away from collision only just
as I bend down–all normal enough
for the now you–

until after taking your next stance,
you begin to heave, something newish,
torso jerking in waves of disjoint
that bring up nothing,
and there is nothing I can do
but wait until you’re still again, then pick you up
so that my fingers do not interlace your ribs, at least not
with pressure,
and hold you in the folds of my nightgown, which I realize
from the sensation of sleeved seam
against my cheeks
I’ve put on inside-out
in the rushed near-darkness–

Hours later, I wonder whether that was comforting,
the flannel worn next to my skin
smelling more of me
than the patterned side,
and think how rare it is
to have a well-adjusted being in one’s life
who actually seeks out
one’s smells–

But at dawn I think only of your trembling
trust, and worry, as I carry you,
about how mute you’ve become,
though you still manage to communicate so well, I keep
telling myself, the way we know
each other–

My husband scrapes a porthole in the windshield,
leaning towards me as he drives
to peer through. Taking me to the station,
and we talk of what, next, how, until
as my tears run into
the roar of the defroster, he reaches from the wheel
to pat my leg, which is when, I realize,
that we truly speak,
at least, understand–


Here’s a draftish poem – I’ve cut a lot that maybe should be put back, and put back stuff that maybe should be cut–for a With Real Toads challenge hosted by the very talented Canadian poet, Grace,  and featuring the art work of Kathryn Dyche Dechairo.    The above is a painting (or mixed media piece) by Dechairo, called “Barren.”

Those who follow this blog will know that the old dog in the poem is Pearl, 18, who is actually doing pretty well (for 18).  This was written about a not-great morning, but it is not, thankfully, every morning.