Archive for May 2014

Rosa Multiflora Gore

May 31, 2014

Rosa Multiflora Gore

Sometimes, I feel a curmudgeon
bludgeoning bush, butchering
blood-red boughs,
snipping grounded throats, clippers straining
at my hip–
but this green deserves
an invader–

So, despite sure wounds,
I wage the losing war, wade in,
lending my mettle
to soft-speared grass, show-spiked
Queen Anne’s Lace, my liege.




Rosa Multiflora, also called rambling rose, is an invasive species that has moved into my area of the Catskills.  The flowers are actually incredibly pretty and fragrant too, but it would, if it could, crowd out all the native plants, and make fields one big thorn bush (a  Sleeping Beauty mid-nap kind of landscape.)  Every once in a while, I undergo battle against it.  (The thorns are everywhere and sharp.)

The poem with title (and even hyphenated words, counting as two–HA!) is exactly 55 words–it was written for Hedgewitch’s Flash 55 prompt on With Real Toads.  (As pretty much always, all rights reserved on text and drawing. )

Trip (Part of the Underside)–Italy ’65

May 30, 2014


Trip (Part of the Underside)–Italy ’65

We dried our underwear
up and down the Riviera.
It waved, not from the boot
of our car but the lip
of its sunroof,
the tourist’s multi-furcated flag (skirt-hanger), ironically
for the Sixties, one of surrender,
pretty much all
white cotton.

We lost a bra once, straps flapping free
on a mountain curve’s swerve–bigger things to think about–
than even my mom’s
double b–

lacing our way by the sea
except those times my dad missed
the turn-off, the day then passing
in granite and abyss, gray-faced–

So, what kind of artist
does that make me?
Thinking of underwear?

Though, I also remember
metal ribs, the patinaed squibs
of deified beard,
the vast muscled heights
of the Sistine,
the surprise of
its many white triangles
(so very like
that underwear
that never quite dried
hotel nights–
we’d packed
pretty light–)

the dark reflections (agony)
of the Pieta,
the foot of some saint smoothed
to a sliver of soap–pilgrims–
the sunburnt eyelids of so many many
tiled roofs–



Another draft poem of sorts–I say draft because it is so hot off the press–for the Real Toads prompt of Margaret Bednar to write a “sketch book poem.”  Margaret posts wonderful drawings by her daughter, Chelsea, who is now studying in Italy.  I include a sketch by Chelsea Bednar above.   (This has been edited since first posting.) 


A Curse Upon

May 29, 2014

A Curse Upon

A curse upon my make-do heart,
that pursed-lips part
that controls the whole,
taking its toll.

A hex upon her
who sets the bar
barring the exit ramp,
sits her double-knits
in the collection booth
(taking the toll).

The make-do heart
that makes my s-peg parts
the square hole,
makes my whole
be still and be quiet,
binds me to a diet
of regurgitated shell–
she means well,
like a brooding mother–
but when, as moving dot
on that fixed spot,
I hear the knell
of hours passed,
whole years–
oh, I feel the toll.

Tube lights buzz above her/me,
while in the distance we
see glow.

A draft poem of sorts for Izzy Gruye’s very interesting Out of Standard prompt on Real Toads to write a poem as a curse.

The Overachiever Lugging Rocks

May 26, 2014


The Overachiever Lugging Rocks

I carry rocks,
which is the kind of work
I always think I like,
only I find these rocks
so heavy that I end up dragging them
with my right arm,
which I think of as my strong one
though it isn’t truly, I can actually lug them
with my left,

in the same way that I think of you inside
as the true me,
the one who has all these things
she must do=
things she lives
to achieve–
only she doesn’t actually live at all
just as my right arm,
pretending dominance,
lets the rocks drag, relying on the strength
of canvas bag and the soft slope
of grassy hill, the sun so hot
that the green

Someday I wonder
whether that you inside, which right this minute
I think of as “her,”
but is also me  always, the one who wants
so much,
will accept the one
that just likes to lug rocks,
that is just happy
getting them to a garden
where they will fit with whatever
is there already, making a place
for themselves, as large rocks do, some kind
of order.



A draft poem of sorts.  Yes, a bit weird.  About the divided self.  And rock-lugging. 


Above is a photo I took today that doesn’t exactly go with the poem, but that a like–a snake between two large rock stairs. 


I am linking this to With Real Toads open link night.  


May 24, 2014



There’s a leak in my consciousness
where the heavy flows go,
the bury ‘em and the can’t-
the swirled sediment of this world
(as I take it in.)

Until that gelid effluence, trapped
in the elbow of heart,
swells beyond pool,
and every pipe, full to bursting,
breaks into a fugue of requiem–

Slowly the overflow
is over, the roar absorbed
into a sussurus
of sad here now.

It is just the way it is
for some,
the tune borne,
the one they were born
to whistle.



A poem for Play It Again, Sam on With Real Toads, hosted by the wonderful Margaret Bednar (with pictures by her talented daughter–this is not one.)  The prompt I have used was one  about figurative language.


Milestones? Mushki?

May 24, 2014

IMG_3557 - Version 2

Today feels a milestone of sorts.  (If milestones are things one trips over rather than markers that stay decently to the side of the road.)

This is my post number 1801 on this blog.  (One thousand eight hundred and first.)

That is rather hard for me to believe.  (And, I’m afraid to say, the number makes me feel old rather than accomplished.)

Secondly, although I haven’t fully approved proofs of my upcoming novel, “Nice,” I’ve sent out the last versions, which if I’ve expressed my corrections properly, will be approvable.

So, now, ever trying to avoid all the things I really should be focusing on in my life–i.e. family responsibilities, job, house–I am thinking about my next writing project.  (Okay, okay–I do focus on family responsibilities!  Yes, I know, not as much as I should–  I’m trying, Mom–)

My plan is to work next on revising an old manuscript of a children’s novel.   I think the level is sometimes called “middle-grade”.

I am embarrassed to say that this particular novel was first written by me eleven or twelve years ago.  I then spent the next several years trying to make it more saleable–i.e. commercial–

Then, liking the book less and less (even though I also wrote a sequel), I just gave it up for some time–

But now, I want to resurrect the manuscript, revise it one last final full time, and publish it myself, because it is a sweet novel, about, essentially, a girl and her dog–

Here’s the big barrier–trying to figure out which of about twenty versions/drafts to use as the basis for the final version.  The earlier ones are more wordy, but possibly sweeter–those drafts are more like the old-fashioned children’s book (something written to be read aloud to children.)  (The book in that incarnation was called “Sally and Seemore and the Meaning of Mushki”.)

The later drafts are more spare and possibly seem more like books written by a professional children’s book writer.   The later ones may be more child-friendly in that they have fewer words and possibly more momentum.  (The later title was “Dogspell”.)

For years, I thought I was right to move in the direction of the later drafts–

And yet–

And yet–

And yet–

I was never happy with them; I felt I had whittled out something–a slower and more contemplative way of looking at the world–that I just kind of liked–

But I really do want to finish with this now.  And maybe the earlier ones are too wordy?   And should one ever go backward instead of forward?


Retreat–After Some Time Spent Macrobiotic

May 22, 2014


Retreat–After Some Time Spent Macrobiotic

I wanted to control fate, tried my diet.
I wanted you to not be lying
when you said you loved me, so looked to yin
and yang for answers, as if the singing
of souls might be harmonized and made bright
simply by eschewing milk–it made one cry–
supposedly–even if not spilt–
just as other foods were dogma-bilked
to make one cold, hot, mad. So, I would eat
and not-eat myself to some high state
of calm you would adore. But then we stayed
where cheese was melted much, meditated
for days silently–yogurt–and I,
for reasons too painful to describe,
really needed it–your back, your profile
telling me even across still walkways, halls,
that I could not be your one and only–
I wept, sobbed, knowing it was not the dairy.

A drafty poem, written with slant rhyme (or imperfect rhyme) for my prompt on dVerse Poets Pub and for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads, about pathetic fallacy. Check out the prompts and the wonderful poems they’ve generated.

Process Note–Macrobiotics was/is a dietary program based very loosely/vaguely/dogmatically on ideas of yin and yang and balance, with the idea that certain foods (other than brown rice, and certain lesser amounts of beans, seaweed, locally grown vegetables, pickles) are best avoided for physical, mental and emotional health. The picture above is supposed to be brown rice in a cup/bowl.

“Some lady thinks this is the quiet car–“

May 21, 2014


“Some lady thinks this is the quiet car–”
Anonymous but not unplumbed passenger

Dear man, the back of whose head is crew-
cut in front of me.
I really don’t want to hear about
your relationship with your father
Memorial Days–
how he only cared about himself
and you were stuck doing nothing
except that one time you stayed over
a drug store in Rehobeth
and your grandma came too
and she told him a thing or two–

I’m also not truly interested
in your brother who just
took off, had friends/adventures unlike you, who didn’t,
so you say, know how to socialize.
(Why am I not surprised
to hear that?)

Or how you love car trips
(believe me, from this train seat where
I was sleeping till your cell rang,
I wish you could achieve that love.)

I’m sorry but your trip to Rome doesn’t actually sound so fabulous,
not even the FANTASTIC Vatican–

Nor do I much care
about the person on the end of your line who is helping
with your healing process–

I confess that it bothers me that I am so eager
to shut down your narrative since it involves matters
that I myself might write of at some length–

Outside, the crinkled surface of blue water shines with a startling brilliance
through trees, their limbs managing delicacy
despite the blur, the green glowing by–but you have your curtain drawn–
oh, why would you want a window to distract you
from your flow–
and I wonder, with as much focus as my disrupted
internal monologue can muster, if I am trying to shut out
your landscape of gab
in some parallel (if not striped woven)

“That’s what I said,” you throw in,
and yes, I think, we know.

A poem written on an Amtrak train for Mary’s “quotation” prompt on Dverse Poets Pub.

I’m sorry; it’s an old picture that doesn’t quite fit. All rights reserved though.

ps==this poem slightly edited since first posting.

Across the Bridge (the day before giving birth)

May 18, 2014

Across the Bridge (the day before giving birth)


I walked and walked the whole day through to give
my baby the idea that Brooklyn
was pretty nice, a place she’d like to live.

Even with the fear of bladder buckling,
I crossed the Williamsburg–quite a feat–
no baby was I.  Still, dear Brooklyn,

I whispered, at the water’s wished retreat
(as belly nosed its way to other shore.)
Yes, crossed the Williamsburg on swollen feet,

but baby still stuck fast; she needed more
than just the span of river crossed to coax
her belly to nose its way to other shore–

So, sure, I told her, we would be good folks,
and promised too all I could of this side’s world–
spans that were just, rivers not too cross to coax–

for I so wanted to know you, little girl,
I walked and walked the whole day through to give
a promise I could not make–that this my world
was pretty nice, a place you’d like to live.



Here’s kind of a weird poem–a terzanelle, which is combination terza rima and villanelle (meaning that it has interlocking rhymes and lines)  written for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads. Check out Kerry’s prompt and her own poem for a much better explanation and version of the form. 

The morning before a funeral for another–out for some air

May 17, 2014

The morning before a funeral for another–out for some air

From its handsomeness
and smallish size, I know
it must have been hers
and hesitate.
But it’s a raincoat
left in the hall closet
and it’s raining too hard
for no cover, so
I put on what’s not been worn
for ten years
and jog/walk out.

Buttoning the collar–it’s cold
in the rain–I catch the scent
of her lipstick–
a perfume of waxed
a favorite scent, but I inhale
as much as I can, so that my breath
is out of sync with the
slow fall of my feet
through the sluiced streets,
then the damp tow path.

Though, even as I’m conscious
of the particularity of her
in that scent,
I know that what I’m really trying to find
is life itself, life
after death–
some whisper from the ghost
of lipstick ten years gone
of the soul’s

As I turn
towards the river, a cardinal settles crimson
on the misted rail that separates the walk
from the muddy flow, less
than an arm’s breadth
Just on, come roses,
a profusion of pink-red,
and beyond, a perfect cadmium line hangs
like a sign
from a man’s neck–the leash
of the dogs he lets roam-

and I see now in the scent at my own neck,
her smile, a bright crescent whose shape
I try to compare to a sliver
of sideways moon, but that I realize,
as I jog on, is more truly like
the outline of a child’s palm cupped
to receive wonder–

suddenly there is a surfeit of water
everywhere–the path gleaming,
the river swollen, a fountain someone forgot
to turn off, and there–
and there–
a splash in the current
of something adept at surfacing
and diving again
that I never quite
catch sight of.

Here’s a draft poem, written just for myself, that I am also posting to With Real Toads Open Link Night.  I call it a draft.  I have a strong inclination to take out the entire third stanza.  It’s also been suggested to me that I should take out the leash!  Any thoughts from readers would be much appreciated.