Archive for April 2016

Moving Round the Maypole

April 30, 2016

IMG_3653Moving Round the Maypole

Some nights they’d bang out the metal cannister of rolled-
up screen and cart out the magically upright projector case
with the hinged clasps, and play, after many gasps
of exasperation,
home movies.

Time seemed to tick with remorseful determination
on the rebound, tsk-tsking as the film
unwound, chittering
in reverse,

and always at the tail of what should have been
a family movie (meaning including me),
my brother, stepped awkwardly
towards us, with a twist of crepe paper
at his fist, in a circle of kids that conspicuously did not hold
his little sister.

How it blistered–my brother who didn’t even like
crepe paper,
my brother who walked
when he should
have danced,
my brother whose smirk seemed almost a smile
in the camera’s swerve,
as Mayday caught his crewcut
in its sun’s bristling

How strange that in the changes
of age, I now would happily give my brother
all the May dances
in the world
(having felt
the fall–)

and give him too
so many other mays: may
you be happy. May
you be free.  May
all beings be happy
and free–

and how is it, that honestly.
I don’t think enough of all
these mays
nor of all
my true brothers

in this world
of hinged rewind,
clasped metal.


Final poem for this April 2016, for Magaly Guerrero’s prompt on Real Toads to write of maypoles.

I want to thank again Kerry O’ Connor and all the prompters and poets at Real Toads who have made this such a sustaining month for me.  And all readers and commenters!   Thanks so very much.

Photo above is by Meredith Martin. 


April 29, 2016


I look out at my parents’ patio, pained
by the presence of
the absence of
my dad, the gaps
in his smile when aged, glints
of gold filling.

I don’t see him especially
in the “new” cushions (now old
no matter how saved when not in use) and in
the even older cushions now used mainly
by geckos–
where he once lifted thinning limbs
in time to a music that was also old then,
beloved tunes I have to work to catch
in a flash in the brain pan, glints
of gold


Very drafty Instapoetry for Bjorn Rudberg’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem what one sees out a window in less than 100 words.  I am visiting Florida right now, so wrote of that. 

This poem is also some consecutive number for April, National Poetry Month. Photo is mine and basis of poem.  I am quite worn out at the moment, and may be late returning comments. 

I thank all for their support and inspiration in this month of poetry.  

Would-be Novelist Asked What She’s Really Like

April 28, 2016

Working with....Lappup

Would-be Novelist Asked What She’s Really Like

In a far car whirring
past corn,
we played a game of what breed of dog
we’d be if dog-born,
what flower, what tree–so hard
when what you knew you were
was not what you preferred;
easier to name an uncle as German Shepherd,
an aunt as violet.


Draft poem for Mama Zen’s prompt on Real Toads to write about who you truly are in 50 words or less.  This is (I’m guessing) probably my 30th poem for April, as I think I was a couple ahead. A recycled drawing (of mine) , of typing with lap-pup (Pearl!) 


April 27, 2016



He played as if the keys were hair that had been brushed
a hundred times a day many hundreds
of days–this is not to say that the piano sounded like hair but like
much care, silk spun
into flow, flow woven
into bell, as if he rode
a length of knell–one knew he must have learned
to ride it
in the way that a stream might learn to swell
and then subside, as if he’d studied the teachings of glisten
and undertow–

Earlier in the day when I thought of practice, I thought of how you’d hardly had to work
at pretending I didn’t exist,
how quickly you perfected my nought, how
when you seemed to see through me, I even for some while
ceased to be–

And then there are words
like cantabile–
their sound paralleling
their significance–

Time is a word
like that–with both long I and silent

What I mean to say is that there is always beauty
somewhere, working diligently
to come to our attention, as
we in turn strive to pay attention–
or, the opposite–
as we don’t strive
to pay anything,
as we simply listen for the hard-earned that’s learned
to be given,
as we practice listening
with all
our hearts.


Yes, it’s weird. But it’s late in the day and late in the April game here!   Draft poem for Real Toads for a super interesting prompt by Rommy about tea ceremony.  Here I am thinking about an aspect mentioned by Rommy about much practice making for the best cuppa (and focusing on the idea of practice rather than tea.)

Cantabile is originally an Italian word, used in musical notation to mean singingly (often as a direction to a pianist to play singingly or sweetly.) Pronounced  (sort of) can-tah-bi-lay.

I will be traveling Thursday but hope to get to reading other poets soon.


Ma Belle

April 26, 2016


Ma Belle

We have many calls in which she mainly talks
about the phone–”this one” that’s
“not working” or–”wait”–this one
that’s “better.”

I should write her more letters.

Only I think she likes–”wait”–
“no, let me try
this one–”
She doesn’t actually have
so many.

We proceed
by misdirection–
“Thursday,” I say;

She tells me of the one, two, three, four, five
saved meals (on wheels)
that we can have when
I come”Tuesday, right?”
“wait–let me try
this one–”

It almost sounds funny
written down.

draft little poem for Real Toads Open Platform and some number for April, National Poetry Month. 


Where From

April 25, 2016

Where From

There was a sloped curb,
concrete not stone,
that was my home.
Its lines were not blue
like the lines on a page,
but straight enough
in the warp of curb world.

It gathered in its grooves and on
its lap, the wilt of cherry blossom,
and, in fall, the slug
of leaf pelt.

It held the backs of my legs,
when lonely, and the slap
of bare feet, when charged,
and when it rained, a small barge
of blossom or leaf might float
in its shallow, lit by the light
that breaks through low-
slung clouds,
like that light that shines
from the planes of stained cheeks
or the angles of bangs
pushed back–  It was that
kind of place.


draft poem for some day in April, for the Real Toads prompt by the wonderful Susie Clevenger to write of where one comes from.  I’m probably late returning comments; will do so soon.  Pic is by Diana Barco from my book of poems, Going on Somewhere (though this a new poem written for the prompt.)  

Poem for April, Upstate New York

April 24, 2016

Poem for April, Upstate New York

With sore knee and stick staff,
I upwill the hill, hoping to see
new calves,
slowly, yet inside-hurrying, as if a crud
could dull their blind-white masks
before a cud can even be chewed (not true)–

still I step-stumble, excited and trying for fast,
through mounds of clodded grass-ground,
till at last I’ve found–

The mom sees me and immediately starts
her sure scuttle
while the little one, brown-blinking through cut-outs
in moon (new moo-n)
wobbles wonderingly after—

and I stop, wanting to follow, but not
to push them on–

Why do we write of such things,
and call them poems?

Better: why write
of anything other?


Draft draft poem for Bjorn Rudberg’s  post on real toads to write a poem using “kennings” –compound and kind-of made-up words.  My not very good pic of new calf and mother.  All rights reserved.

So far, a little ahead of the April game of a poem a day, I think, but heading into some busy days.  Sorry if slow returning comments. 

Considering a Game of Shakespeare

April 23, 2016

Considering a Game of Shakespeare (Where You Have to Choose One Item)

If I could only keep one Shakespeare bit,
it would be the Complete Works.  Oh, sure, I hate
the teeny print–so hard for me to peer at,
squinting–but the malignancy of that fate
would be my fault (and not the stars). I mean,
not from stars do I myopia pluck.
For how could I foreswear yon Cassius lean
in favor of plumper Bottom, pricked by Puck?
Pass over Fools? Forego Mercutio?
I don’t wish to clean my hands of their quick bluff–
I confess I’m not in love with bold Banquo
but forget the pretty chickens of MacDuff?
Better to lug huge book than choose just one–
my love more ponderous than any ton—


A bit of a joke poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads concerning the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.   Various lines are, of course, cribbed, but last (which I’m rather proud of) is Cordelia, Scene I, Act I, King Lear.)   

Dancing with the Stars

April 23, 2016


Dancing With the Stars

When we hear music of the spheres,
a circle dance unwinds our gears,
a cog goes ping, pied orbits sing–
“hear” means “see” in belled sky’s ring;
and all that’s night in us does pray
for light steps in the coming day.


Some poem for April, National Poetry Month, and for Gillena’s prompt on Real Toads about fashioning words for a dance on Earth Day.


When Elephants

April 21, 2016

Christina's pictures 398
When Elephants

I read a book
“when elephants weep”
about tears that look like tar, as impossible
to scrape away

about the grief
of elephants–the messages
sent through shaken

and then I put the book
on a shelf made of composite wood
and only every once in a while, would catch
the title etched grey along
black spine, maybe while fetching
my raincoat–

wanting somehow not to feel,
to cover, how our world eats
I don’t mean meat here, or only–
cows with their kabuki faces
in spring, elephant calfs pink
as raw steaks–

but how we eat land,
trees, air–

and how so many only worry about elephants as large canaries
in this
cold mine–

Oh Christ, we think,
unable to number the species
whose paths we’ve crossed–

another draft poem for some day in April, for the heck of it, and also for Fireblossom (Shay’s ) prompt on Real Toads about elephants. (Second of those–neither is a great poem! Agh!)  Pic is of some old bones at the American Museum of Natural History (I believe some here may be of elephants/mastodons given what looks like a bit of tusk protruding.)