Archive for December 2013

A Little Wrung Out Before Christmas!

December 23, 2013
I Have Seeds On My Feet

I Have Seeds On My Feet

Not Quite Ready For Christmas (Maybe)

I sit here December 23rd
in the mind of a dishrag,
not of the holiday sort
with pines and stars
in my threads–rather, one of the loosely cross-hatched,
the sort-of plaids, that sad batch
of the soggy sagged
with distended stripes and nothing
of the crystalline (not even to wipe)
about me.

Dish rags have their uses,
I tell myself–they too stand…slump
before the Lord–

I’m not sure what Lord–one, I suppose,
who passes out loaves and fishes
on plates–

But then, as a wind gust bangs
a window, I see this Lord
as a babe, cheeks round with pablum laughter, High tray
in need of a wash–
and I begin to smile, finding even
a spoon somewhere,
you lying next to me through
the whole of
these long nights–


A sort of poem for the solstice and for those (like myself) not yet on holiday.  (Moan!)  (And I know the cookie doesn’t quite fit!  It’s an old cookie!) (Moan!) 

Have a wonderful holiday yourselves!  And thanks so much for your kind support throughout this past year and this whole blog. This is amazingly my 1700th post.  I am linking it to With Real Toads open link night.  



December 20, 2013



Senseless is–
always; young black man killed
in Mississippi.
Never hurt nobody
with that smile.
It stretches, in the pic,
to his eyes, even his hair grins.
One round to the head
all it took,
three guys who also took
his car.
A week before Christmas,
twenty-five feels just
an infant, lost star, hope, son.


Sorry to be so grim so close to Christmas.  An acquaintance of one of my daughters murdered in Mississippi.  Graduate student at Ole Miss.  Here’s the story.  Too too sad. 

Odd to write a poem about something so serious and stick to 55 words as I’ve done here–but the exercise, in this case for the G-man, enforces a kind of discipline, which I hope is good to express these sad feelings without excess sentimentality. 

Hope to post happier things in the coming days.  

A Winter’s Scene–Upstate New York

December 16, 2013


One set of thoughts on Nelson Mandela’s Death

December 15, 2013


One Set of Thoughts On Nelson Mandela’s Death

When I think of them talking about South Africa, we are almost always at the Hot Shoppes, Friday nights, around a circular wooden table, its brown veneer smeared with sponged shine, swirled by demonstrative maple,

eating from gold speckled trays, my mom finally off the next day, mashed potatoes and thick white plates–

and there is always the word “bloodbath”–which seemed the only possible outcome–mixed in with the phrases “beautiful country;” and “such a shame.”

The shame seemed to arise on several levels–some I could not, as a child, quite trace–but the contours of the word “bloodbath” were easy enough to come up with–gorges slit throats, rivers sliced arteries, valleys marooned–

My mother, at least, was of a mixed mind–pained by the injustice–while her widowed friend who came along with us, had a daughter whose boyfriend was a rich South African, white,  and so, there were these sighs–he really was quite rich–that what was going on was terrible, but not perhaps as bad as red-soaked streets–

As I listened, I would think of the guy who’d just cut my Dad’s roast beef–we lived in the semi-South, and all the workers at the Hot Shoppes were pretty much black–his skin shining so warm in the glare of the heat lamps, the puddling of blood on the carving board and the brilliant droplets oozing from the beef’s crimson core, the starched white hat that implied (without my consciously thinking of it) safety, an acceptance of rules and a life of their imposition–

and I thought of how kindly he smiled, looking over to me as my Dad tried to decide how he wanted his meat done–

and of the carver’s hands, the skin translucent below the lamp, the creases of his palms pink against their tan, the fleshy base so soft around the pine stem of the great grey knife–

I did not even know Mandela’s name back then–nine or ten–but when I did learn it, it came to mean one thing to me–”no bloodbath”–

It was something that seemed impossible–I mean, there were race riots the very next year in my home town, me just eleven–

and I write this now not meaning to diminish the suffering, but only to describe my awe at waters that have washed so blue along jagged coasts, green riverbanks, and of a translucence of flesh/spirit/smile that was completely human, yet able, like the divine, to let there be light.


Here’s a draftish prose poem written for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads, to write a personal response to the death of Nelson Mandela.  Like all of us, I’ve got many responses, but this was one set of memories that came up.  I’m also linking belatedly to  Mary’s dVerse Poets Pub prompt about light.

Insomnia- – Friday Flash 55

December 13, 2013



I remember
nights slept–
I mean, I don’t
remember them,
memory rolled shut
like the lid to a
business, closed-
for-the-day, the only trade
on its corrugated gray waves
that neon graffiti
tagged REM.

Oh, for those hours that abandoned me
in their not-wake,
oh for that now not-here,
oh, for that dark night’s alley.


Here are 55 insomnia-honed words for the G-Man Mr. Knowitall. Ugh. (That’s to myself only, not the wonderful G-Man.) I have cheated a bit through the hyphenations. (For those 55 sticklers who do not believe in hyphenated words being a single word, cut out the last line!)


December 10, 2013


I ride the trainline on which the tragic tragic MetroNorth accident occurred just after Thanksgiving. I had ridden the northbound line since the accident, but yesterday was my first ride going south, towards the City. Here is a pic I took shortly past the site of the accident. I confess I was not thinking about it directly, but more about the beauty of the snow until I realized how dramatically the train had slowed. The picture was taken in color and has not been edited in any way. (For those who do not know, this is at the edge of the Bronx.)

Sad Something

December 9, 2013


Some of the things that happen when you put a dog down.

You become conscious, in the middle of the injections, that there is no going back.

How soft their bodies are, as the vet turns them over, in the case of a small body, looking for a vein.  And warm.  Even that fur that got so matted as they aged, that you could not torment with brushing any more or too many baths.

You realize, looking, that one reason you have always loved the dog is simply because it is beautiful—-even a dog not at its best–and how amazing it is, if you have not always felt beautiful in yourself, to have this beautiful creature love you back.

It fell asleep in your arms, what with the sedative, and is not in pain now and maybe you should run away with it before they give the death solution.

But how long it seems to breathe, its veins collapsed so the solution does not carry.  The doctor says you might want to look away as he points the needle at the heart itself.  He is kind but in a hurry.

You do turn away, thinking of the two women in the parking lot earlier–an old lady who looked half like a fairy tale godmother, half like a gnome, short squat her face all pink and dimples wearing a large turquoise cape, which may have been meant for hip length but descended to the ground.  A bit odd-looking but not unattractive but then her daughter (I’m guessing) who got out of the car too seemed to have inherited all the gnome aspects with none of the boppity boo- her hunched shoulders leading straight into shrunken hips, actually her head leading straight into shrunken hips–her body seeming almost a cork with facial features painted on and stuck black hair–but she smiled, she hugged the old lady, she laughed, and in the midst of their good-bye, she pulled from one of the cars a perfect Papillon–well, that kind of dog always looks pretty perfect, what with the symmetrically stroked fur, and heart-pointed face/muzzle, and the cork woman held the dog above her own tubed face, beaming love, and the dog looked down from her grasp, beaming uncritical, if slightly distracted, cuteness, and then the dog was brought to the face of the old boppity-boo woman who smiled, playing with its paws, and to the driver’s window where some similar loving interaction happened even just through a crack in the glass–oh such enthusiastic happiness–until the cork woman finally took the dog back to her own car where she and the perfectly beautiful being that attends her in a way that, you know, a human Papillon might not, drove off into the muted distance.

And my poor little still-soft dog, who has done that for me, lies now on the metal table which has these clouds on it, smears from being wiped down through long-pawed days– and they ask do I have something to hold her in, and I say yes, pointing to a cloth bag, but they suggest plastic–bringing a dark garbage sack, which my face must say is too much, but the nurse mumbles something about leakage and how I can always take her out again and I thank her and even help hold wide its dark lip as we slip the dog inside, so that it–and now I’ll say she–for she was a girl dog–stays even, and so when I do take the dark plastic in my own lone arms, I can be sure that what feels like the head is held higher than the rest, the way that one might hold a child, or anyone truly.


So sorry to burden readers with this–many know I lost my 18 year old dog just after Thanksgiving–and am still thinking of it–a short prosey drafty piece.