Archive for July 2015

In the Mountains (Late July)

July 27, 2015


In the Mountains (Late July)

By evening, Fall has come.
All day it pushed against the sun,
which fought back with a full
as if grandeur could sunder thunder,
as if the hulking bulk of cloud it broke
into beamed heavens
would not more heavily
as if it could shun time
with shine.

Until, after yet another rain, Fall
staked its reign, if just
for a foray, infiltrating
shaken leaves that, like riddled battlements,
will soon be blown sky high.
My sleeves already
are pierced, even as I hold tight
my arms,
and my face finds an old pallor
in the gloaming.


Very much a draft poem for Margaret Bednar’s “Play It Again, Sam” prompt on Real Toads.  This one responds to an archived challenge by Kerry O’Connor to consider cadence in free verse.   I had several additional lines in this poem–a whole assortment==but got my husband involved as an editor–he is very much of the less is more school–so leaving it here. 


On My Bike

July 24, 2015


On my bike

The wind held my face
in its hands
in the way a grandmother might smooth
the face of a girl, telling her
she is beautiful–

And though I knew that the wind
had no such hands, and I
have no such face, and that there might not
even be many
such grandmothers,
this much I also knew–that the wind
touched me, the notion of beauty
in its grasp,
and that, when I looked back
into its face,
such face as the wind has,
it whispered, with assurance, you too.  


A little found poem, linked nowhere!  Old pic, sorry, though same bike!  This has been edited repeatedly since first posting. 

Process Note – (for any interested) ==I first wrote the poem with the “held” and “clasped” in the first stanza–then switched it to “stroked” (“with”) and “smoothed,” which was first posted version (MZ saw).  I went back to this version as it seemed less redundant to me and also, somehow, the words more unusual in this context.  But certainly any thoughts are welcome.  (I don’t think I’ll change it–for a few minutes anyway–ha–as need to just let it sit a bit.)  

PPS And finally–thanks to Hedgewitch’s comments–I’ve moved to a third version!  k. 


Walk in the Woods

July 24, 2015


Walk in the Woods

I read this morning that walking in nature quiets
the frontal cortex, frees
something, but I walk so fearful of bears this evening
in this all too natural wood, my frontal cortex busy
with bewaring, that anxiety cantilevers a small cellblock about me,
a prison of projection my sneakered toes shuffle forward,
my knees bang into, and that I only break through
to start
at the flickering of moths in the fiddleheads,
the shifts of darkness
against dead trees,

until, bowed by own nervous system, I try simply
to keep my head down–what I don’t see
won’t hurt me–
(the fact is I am thrilled whenever I see a bear,
I keep telling myself)
and now my brain’s sovereign is
the brood
as I replay with blurred certainty the bared foolishness
in the mails I sent today,
every sop of misrendered advice,
sighting in the brain-garbled distance
sure evidence of cortex’s demise, underlined
by pre-demise inadequacy–

It all comes to the same thing, truly–
a fear of bear racing–(a chase I’ll surely lose even tumbling downhill
where they’re supposed to be at a disadvantage)–
and a fear
of the embarrassing–

Then, I remember–and now I’m trudging uphill (where I’ll be too slow
for any bear, so try not to physically look back)–
that a dear friend died
five years ago today.

She would have liked to live
to fear foolishness, even maybe
bears. Yes.

I can’t find anything
freeing there,
until I arrive, in the green stumble, at one of her favorite stories–
a time she greeted a doctor, after sitting in a hospital chair all night, next to a sick son,
with a long string of dental floss impossibly stuck
between her teeth–you know how early
they make their rounds–how neither she
nor the doctor mentioned
that long crooked dangle
as they both tried to seem supremely
competent, focused on charts
and probabilities, the boy’s
soft breathing.

And foolishness, bared, suddenly doesn’t seem
so bad; being a know-it-all not so appealing
in the context of
an afterlife, the knowing of
what’s next–

Almost home, I think of her round smile–her teeth were
quite big actually, her smile bigger,
a flash of incisor at each side–

Almost home–
and I think
of her
round smile.

Sorry sorry sorry for the length and the fact that it’s not really a poem, and that it’s so much like all of them lately, but here’s what I’ve done for Grapeling’s “Get Listed” challenge on Real Toads.  Ps==drawing mine, an old one–the bears are really not that big here!  


Midtown Midsummer (Morning)

July 22, 2015

This picture is not a true depiction of Central Park in the morning.  The pic was actually taken in the afternoon.

Midtown Midsummer

Morning park feels like yesterday’s
shirt, worn, but rested right now
from a night on the bedroom floor
slumped just below
the blow of your best fan.

(The wood of that imagined floor
has been sanded, by bare soles, soft;
its varnish long
walked away, leaving a cool in its planks
that the weave of the shirt would now seem
to carry,  if, that is, air were linen,
and linen, aged oak.)

And you are conscious,
walking through this day that does not yet
to your body but still supports itself
a breath or so away,
of things you really mean to do sometime,
other days you want to live–like that bright one slightly buzzing
with bug and sun, in which,
beneath a great straw hat,
you will paint landscapes from life
leaning over watercolors
before a spread
of cattails,
and a few in Lake Como, which you know nothing at all about
but whose name connotes blue
misted by wine; and a couple starting with oatmeal
on the Isle of Skye–you add those in just
for the sound–
but mainly days, many days,
before your own wooden table
and your own unwooden
computer, in the company of words that hold hands
to catch a story as if it jumped
from a burning building and those hands supported
a strong round net–

and before you know it,
you’re at 59th Street, a/k/a Central Park South, and tourists,
whose shorts are the color
of street maps, fold over one or the other,
and the curb is cross-hatched
by stain and plastic,
and the light on everything
from buckle to windshield, coffee cart to
door-manned lid, glares
rather than shines,
and you understand
crossing Fifth Avenue at 57th Street,
(just to the front of Tiffany’s where, this early
in the morning, the windows show only
small backdrops of dusky harbors)
that your time must be plotted, alloted–
allocated (which since it has four syllables
must surely be the best term for
this job) if you wish to get
anything done at all–

and you notice, traversing the grid,
how the crosswalks fade in the center
of the tar, and how the words holding the net
for your stories seem to veer slowly,
h’s tripped by d’s, m’s crowding–

Impatient, you dart across the lowering
side streets–
54th now, maybe even 53rd,
even before the light changes,
even when a truck is coming,
in some pretense of saving time, counting
that you can make it.

Another draft poem, or maybe little story.  I wasn’t going to  link this up with anything as it is so long, but will try Real Toads open platform very belatedly.   Thanks much for reading!

I am posting with it an old picture of Central Park, actually from a very hot afternoon rather than early morning.

In the Blink

July 19, 2015



In the blink

Rocks wink at me
like bits of moon
from the bottom of the stream,
ripples wisps of cloud
on a breeze-blown night.
How do we not understand
that life has gone by
before we even turn
our hearts?


A draft of sorts.  Posted for myself. The pic is mine–an old one.  I’m sorry that I did not take one today when the water was so clear, and the rocks so reflective. 


July 18, 2015



We lost the trail in the darkness,
made so much worse by the fog,
so switched children.

You took the little one, cocooned
from stick and branch,
passing the older from shoulders that broached,
as you tried to lead the way,
encroaching trees.  It seemed

forever.  Bracken up
to the knees, crashes half-caught,
I whispered to the child postured sureties,
all the while thinking screw
the contact lenses, maybe we should
just sleep in one of the small ravines where we slid
without meaning, leaning
into wet leaves,

until a long downward stumble
yielded to a field we knew, a field
found new,
and the child I could have carried forever
grew instantly so heavy
I could hardly move,
there, where the uncanopied moon silvered
rain-slivered stalks
and the road shone like a striped ribbon
wrapping a gift
called soon.

I think of this now–the flashlight’s gaze
dazed only mist in the darkness–
when I try to think about

I think of how humans stretch what they are
to shelter another,
as if they were tents made of
some miracle fiber, as if their strength
were truly tensile-

But what was graceful that night was not the way I carried the child
until carrying could be put down–
because there are plenty of parents, surely crowned
with grace, who have not been able,
to carry children
through their nights and fogs–

but that I so wanted to carry her,
grace more the gift of caring than carrying–
the gift of somehow lifting up
one’s self,
what makes us try, impossibly, to be as true
as the blue about the late moon, mornings,
and, nights, to hug another as closely
as haloed glow encircles
that reflective rock.

I can feel still
the pressure of small arms, legs,
making conscious my own contours,
as we both
held on.

A draft poem for my own prompt on Real Toads to write something sparked by the idea of grace.  Honestly, I wanted to write something much shorter than this, but this is what came to mind.  Check out all the wonderful poets at Toads and congratulations to Kerry O’Connor, the founder of the blog and Toads Community, on its 4th anniversary.  Congratulations to dVerse Poets Pub on its blog anniversary. 

The pic above is mine. As with the poem, all rights reserved. 

Talking of Shorter Days

July 17, 2015


Talking of Shorter Days

We are shortened.
An invisible hand presses
upon us.

Sometimes, it’s the hand
of the market–
Adam Smith’s dowser–
its forked-tongue stick-thumb heavy
on our heads.

Other times, it’s the gravity of Newton,
the gravity of events, the grave, and, of course,
the grave. 

But, then, there’s also
the gravy–
that soppy flow of marrow and stock
that runs between us, you
holding my hand.

I tell you that when I grow even more
you must put stones
in my pockets,
then prod me towards
the pond.

You answer that you’ll photoshop
the Monday crossword–that’s the easy one–
so that it looks
like an impossible Saturday’s–

I revert
to the stones.
We’ll get so strong, you say,
walking around with rocks
in our pockets.

I picture you, then, leading me on hikes
through the forest, the legs of our weighted pants dragging
through the leaf mold, our pants
that already need to be hemmed,
though somehow we never get around
to it;
for the invisible hand does not hold, just now,
a needle.



A draftish poem for Kerry O’Connor’s Real Toads’ prompt on writing with “voice.”  This one, with all its convolution and goofiness seems to be mine, or at least one of them.  The pic is mine as well as the poem; all rights reserved. 

I call it a draft because still changing. (I think maybe the “Good” should read as “Ah”–any thoughts? ) 

Begins With S

July 12, 2015


Begins with S

Then there is the slithering
of snakes inside–
those stretches when Esses
eat you, slit
your “it,” style a switchblade
as salvation.

You mishear their hiss
as ‘yes,’ sliced
permission.  It’s also the hiss
of histrionic, suffering’s
seductive backwash; still,
it speaks to you–

until, at last–before
at last if you’re lucky–
you see, as if unhooded,
how unoriginal are
your sins.

Re-surfacing, you stitch.
Sew tight the lips
of the wound.
Smear the stains into some swath of something,
scarf the scar with some swath of something,
something busy, patterned,
something that won’t
show dirt.



Poem of sorts influenced by the brilliant but very dark poet, Paul Antschel, who wrote under the name Paul Celan in response to Grace’s prompt on With Real Toads.   Grace gives a brief biography of Celan, a Romanian Jew who survived World War II to become a poet, professor and translator, dying of  suicide in 1970.

The pic (of a turkey vulture) as well as the poem is mine.  All rights reserved.

PS – process note–Ess is a spelling of “S” and “esses” –S plural.  Esse is also the German word for eat (I think?)  and Latin for to be? (I think.)  (Not completely sure how that relates to the poem, but why I spelled it out.) 

Early Evening, July

July 11, 2015

DSC00382 - Version 4


Early Evening, July

The hay just mown,
birds fly low,
wings holding light
like fingers round
a great candle.

Field just shorn,
insects shown,
wings alight
like wax ringing
a bright candle.

Days new mown,
summer shorn,
gold ring circling
to down-faced

Lord, have mercy
as time feeds on,
wax eaten
by a held candle;

new mown hay,
wing-blown day,
gold ring


A draft poem for no prompt.  I’m calling it a draft since I’ve done about a zillion versions in the last day and am by no means sure this is the best, even adding things I probably shouldn’t as I post.  But I’m a bit anxious to move away from it for now. I wish all a happy weekend.  (The pic above is mine; as with the poem, all rights reserved.) 

I am linking this to Real Toads open platform.   

(Book) Skywalker

July 9, 2015

(Book) Skywalker

Still, there’s sky in the air,
and, light on the blacktop
of this country road,
I say that what I’d like to be
is a person who walks all day.
Preferably holding a book, I add
with unusual frankness, to you
for whom the world outside
is usually enough–

And you, who knows what I do
when alone, especially in the City when not
in the fold of you–how I follow an arrow of page
through lines of print and people, cross blocks
of blocks, that is,
how I read, walking,

grow serious, saying,
you better watch out down there,
you’ll make yourself a target–

not understanding the cover
of cover,
the shield of
one’s own corner, carried,
how those there, yet not there,
(like the sky in this grey day’s air),
(I’m talking about characters) serve
as my personal pages,
while the page itself makes
my weather–
and how can anyone who holds
a small separate sky
in their hands, be harmed, I want to protest.

But don’t.
Don’t even tell you how surprisingly well
my feet read the street
with my other soles–

Because I must confess, thinking it through,
that wheeled fenders seem
extraordinarily insensitive
to sky,
so vow silently to look both ways
on those read streets,
and also, you know,

A rather odd poem for multi-taskers or escape artists (like myself).  I am talking here about reading a real book, not phone, which I have done for many many years.  I am posting  for the With Real Toads prompt of Ella about things you’ll never grow out of.