Archive for October 2013

Meatpacking Plant

October 17, 2013

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Meatpacking Plant

Underage, she worked
under her sister’s name
for months,
metal fingerguard sweating, nearly mis-
slicing when the managers, all men, sidled up behind,
hot breath
at her hairnet,
chortling over
the blood in her cheeks–
sure that they could tell.

A year after leaving, needing something temp, she applied again
as herself,
explaining that she had, in fact,
experience.
They kept their distance
showing her out.

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Here’s a little poem for Mama Zen’s prompt on With Real Toads With Real Toads to write something for Boss Day in 67 words or less. (This is 66 minus title–sorry, MZ.) It is a true story of my mother working as a young girl during the Depression at a meatpacking plant, posing as her older sister because she was not old enough herself to work.

I’m sure that it was a pork packing plant, but I have this picture of a cow ready, and it’s such an innocent little cow, it seemed somehow appropriate.

Unredeemed

October 14, 2013

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Unredeemed

They were green as cash and though I glued them
in their rows, I never got a chance to redeem them,
careless enough

that once I went to J.C. Penny’s Lost and Found,
down in the basement like the sheets,
looking for my bag, brown and tassled–
but instead retrieved a black patent leather
I’d lost some years before,
my Sunday School purse, unsnapping it
to my book of saving stamps, though the Tru-Value Store no longer was
in business–

Redemption is something I find hard
to get right–
take certain things I’ve done=-
matters of life and death–at least, of a good death–
acts for those I loved–a taste of honey, an insistence
on no more pain, even just the lending
of a rose-fogged lens, doctored
remembrances–
I could line them up in a book,
but there’s no cashing in

acts shelved low in the heart.
I might wish they could be lost,
but they’re forever found–acts that seem to have acted
on their own, but that, in fact, were acts taken,
and the price I pay is a price
I will pay always–
the price of love.

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Here is a very belated poem for Fireblossom’s Friday (Shay’s) prompt on With Real Toads about redemption.  I am also linking this to the Open LInk Nights on With Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub.  

I have revised since posting a couple of weeks ago as I do not think people really “got” the poem the way that it was written–the problem with posting too early.  It had read

and the price I pay is a price
I will pay always, the price
of loss, the price of love, not
an even exchange.

But the poem is really about acts that we take out of love for a person, especially a sick person, acts that could be viewed later as hastening their death–I’m not talking about illegal acts, but merciful acts, and yet one does revisit the decisions always.  Anyway.  I don’t know if anyone will revisit this poem!  But I’ve changed it now.  k. 
 

Duccio’s Pillow

October 13, 2013

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Duccio’s Pillow

Duccio paints a pillow
for the Madonna to sit uponna, shaped
like a hot dog,
its countours long and thin
as the old-man babe who’s perched within
his mother’s dark robe,

itself a distended globe.
All is flattened
in the foreshadowing, incipient chiaroscuro
of what’s to come, except
for that brown orange pillow
that billows just a bit where
the Virgin doesn’t sit.

We all need salt softness
somewhere.

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A draftish poem for my own prompt of Poetics Italian-STyle for dVerse Poets Pub.  Duccio was an early Renaissance Italian painter, painting in the late thirteenth, early fourteenth century in Sienna.  From my high school foray into art history,  I always thought of him as the painter who made  hot dog pillows that the Madonna sits or lays down upon in the various scenes of her depicted life.  I’m not sure that this is a certified art historical fact as I did not actually find any mention of it in rooting around for this poem, though certainly the pillow above would qualify.  

Below is another Duccio, and below that, my own version of an early Renaissance painting.  (Guess which is which.)  (Note, “chiaroscuro” is a technique of painting using light and shadow to sculpt images–the technique was truly developed a little later than Duccio.) 

Note, that I have edited since first posting.

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How We Grow To Care– Dave King

October 10, 2013
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This is just an imagined image– I don’t think it really looks like Dave–I’m not a portraitist–but I just did it to express affection.

When you read someone’s poetry, you cannot help but get a sense of their personality.  Poetry tends towards the personal.  “Blogged” poetry (posted so quickly after initial creation) is perhaps even more personal.  Often the blogging poet does not have the time, or the wish, to insert the levels of separation that might arise from extended periods of revising, sticking into a drawer, revising again.

There are some  poets you get to know even better than others–not necessarily because the poets are confessional.  These poets just have “friendly” voices.  When you read their work, you feel like you are sitting down with them over a cup of tea.  Often they share something  that is even more warming than the virtual hot drink–they share enthusiasm, passion, determination, wonder–a vision and a voice–their truest selves.

Dave King, a poet who blogged at http://picsandpoems.blogspot.com, was one of these friendly voices.  You understood reading his poetry that this was a good man.  His death was just announced by his family on his blog yesterday;  I, and many in the online poetry community, have been terribly saddened by this news.

Dave’s work was insightful and clever.  Some of my favorite pieces are the sketches he wrote about village life in England when he was growing up (around the time of World War II).  The sketches are simply so much fun–they recreate this world–its rich quirkiness–its kindness and harshness, its quintessential Britishness–

Dave also wrote a lot of poetry exploring nature, physics, rather deep philosophical questions.  He wrote about people for whom he had cared–his students, his friends, especially his wife.

He had a wonderful visual sense–he occasionally posted a painting he had made, and wrote  about the act of painting, also about the act of seeing.

Dave also used his wonderful poetic voice to support the work of others.  His comments buoyed me up many many times when I just wasn’t sure that posting my poems was worth the effort.

Please do go check out his wonderful work.  The last pieces, written in sickness, are transformative.

Finally–I never met Dave–I’ve seen just a small picture of him.  So I know the above, meant to be a younger Dave, does not truly look like him, and I really hope the drawing doesn’t offend anyone.  (I’m not terribly good at portraits.)  My thought was just to illustrate the way a face becomes part of one’s context of the world–even a face one only sees in a little corner of a blog post–how strange it is how these creative online exchanges can reach across ocean and skies all the way to hearts and minds–

(I am linking this up to dVerse Poets Pub where Brian Miller has made a small homage to Dave today.)

Evening

October 7, 2013

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Evening

I walk out into air
too soft for fall.
It catches the hillside
in its net; I think of the filmy scarfs
old ladies wore when I was small
to shield their permanents.

It catches me too,
as if I were a tendril that might stray
from some cosmic ‘do
if given half the chance.

And I would.
The insides of my days,
so clockworked, cog-clogged–permanently, so it seems–
that even the caress of this weather is at first a heaviness
to be slogged through.

The ladies hurtled in their scarves
from door to door, car to church, store to kitchen, knots tied
beneath chins, whirls of tease and tame
perseveringly preserved–

How much I owe them, I tell myself, grass pressed damp
against my shins, then wonder what
exactly–this tangled mop, these clumsy boots, the insistence
that I should at least feel
worthy of love.

In the veiled reds,
greyed golds, so much leave-
taking–at the end, the scarf was worn simply
against cold, white strands loose
on pillow–the air too soft
for fall–I walk out in it.

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This is very much of a draft poem for Kerry O’Connor’s terrific prompt on Real Toads to try to write something influenced by Denise Levertov. I had read very little Levertov before the prompt, and I cannot say how this is influenced by her work, only that I read several poems and then came up with this. I really don’t think it’s “there” yet, but there it is. I am also linking to the open link nights of  With Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub.  

October (why am I not) Surprise(d) (Dear John) (The Great….)

October 5, 2013

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October (why am I not) Surprise(d) (Dear John) (The Great….)

Come on, Pumpkin.

No!

Seriously, let’s not go through this again.

Wanna!

All we’re doing is going to the doctor, Pumpkin. You heard me make the appointment a long time ago, right? It was all agreed–

Don’ want ‘ppointment.

Remember how even Uncle Roberts said okay–

Hate Uncle Roberts!

–what with that great big hole in your head.

Hate head.

And all those foot wounds–

Wah!

I mean, I told you not to play with those pistols–

Wanna. Wannagun/wannagun/wannawannawanna gun!

And, by the way, Pumpkin–.

Mmmph…..

It’s probably not great to put them in your mouth, what with the 
powder burns and that big toe looking so–

Mmmph! Mmmphmmmphmmmphmmmphmmmph!

Yes, I know you suck, but honestly, Toots–

La La Lalalalalala (hands over ears.)

And blocking traffic is just plain–I mean, look there’s a milk truck waiting to pass; think of all the little kids that need their milk.

LALALALALALALALA! (arms and legs flattening onto the concrete. Correction, legs and one arm.)

Whoa! Could you please stop waving that thing around! I mean, you might actually miss your feet some time.

LA!

Okay, I admit it…so, it’s not just the hole in your head the doctor should see–there’s this other huge hole that’s opened up–you know, on your–

(Hands go to backside, face turns even more orange–)

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Here’s my offering for Brian Miller’s dVerse Poets Pub prompt on pumpkins.

Being There (between the covers)

October 3, 2013

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Being There  (between the covers)

Oh, the places you’ll go–
the odyssey
through the looking glass,
the voyage out
to the lighthouse–

Everything is illuminated,
darkness visible–
the red and the black,
the wind in the willows,
the shining
leaves of grass,

Goodnight moon.
Far from the madding crowd,
the sun also rises,
pale fire.

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Okay, I’m not sure what it means either, but here is a “spine poem,” written for Samuel Peralta’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub.  It also happens to be exactly 55 words.  So go tell the G-Man!

For those who may not know, a spine poem is poem “found” in the titles of books.  There should be a photo of all the books. I’ve been traveling tonight and had to come up with books that I know I own in one form or another.  I just could not get a photograph of spines together. (And I’m sorry this pic also doesn’t really suit the poem!  Tired!)

  The titles in the order of appearance are by Jerzy Kosinski, Dr. Seuss, Homer, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Jonathan Safran Foer, William Styron, Stendhal, Kenneth Grahame, Stephen King, Walt Whitman, Margaret Wise Brown, Thomas Hardy, Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabokov.

I am still very uncertain of the poem’s title–if not the books’ titles–I may change when not trying to fit into 55 words.  (Hint hint Galen!)   Actually –I’ve edited this since posting. I meant “between” the covers, but put “under the covers!”