After Reading Another’s Poem Posted For Bloomsday

Posted July 16, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

After reading another’s poem mistakenly posted for Bloomsday

I once visited Joyce’s Martello Tower
the place where he and Kinch ate breakfast,
I always think of the cream in the milk that they poured
into their tea and imagine its paisley
in my own; I too use whole milk, un-
homogenized;
and there I saw a woman (though it was December)
just stepped from the drink, meaning
the Irish Sea, rosy as damask, she rubbed the the apples
of her flesh so as to shine them. All she wore was
a two piece or maybe really just bra and undies, and a grin
as wide as a lifting tide. 

I swim myself, Decembers—
I call it swimming, what I mean is that I take
a plunge and splash into frigid waters and then
come out grinning, grabbing a towel
as bright as a cloud, my skin scoured
by the cold and the rough terry, 
saying yes to everything. 

But the crazy thing (now that I have thought
all of this through) is that, although the poem I read
this morning was posted for Bloomsday,
today is July 16, not June,
and so there was no true call
for this memory of bright waters
and grinning flesh, but there it is,
and yes, I still say, yes.

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Haha.  I confess to often using the Writer’s Almanac as a jumping off place for my own poem, in the mornings, and today, there is a mistaken post for Bloomsday, June 16, which is the day in which James Joyce’s novel Ulysses takes place. Anyway!  (The picture is some approximation of Joyce’s tower at Sandycove, Dublin—you’ll have to picture the woman from the poem!) Have a good day!

Waiting for the Moon

Posted July 15, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Waiting for the Moon

My heart hurts
when I read the news,
so I try to think of how
we waited last night
for the moon. 

In the mountains, it took years
to appear. 

Dew dampening our blanket, we reclined
on two lawn chairs, you insisting on reaching
over to me, though the freeze of the metal armrests surely
pierced your sleeve.  You don’t have to, I said,
but you said you didn’t mind.

We had done other things while waiting—
the dishes, the counter tops, running out every other task
to check the sky, but when (sigh) it was more than forty minutes past
the internet’s appointed time for moon rise in our state,
we simply sat out there, you saying,
soon.

But the moon did not come soon, and so you warmed me with
your arm, and we gazed at the stars in the still-dark sky, some
bright , some (very far) like the pinpoints of a possible
quilt, a couple actually airplanes—all would be just crumbs
in the Webb photographs, I thought, so
tiny, when still,

the moon wouldn’t come, and something huge
and round on one side shot through my vision
like an epiphany, brilliant and sure
but brief enough to let me know that you have to keep looking
if you want to see, and then, suddenly,
a searing rose gold curve burned at the crest of the hillside you
had predicted and I had thought was too far
to the South—

It was so bright we wondered if we should look at it
straight on
but we did look at it,
until the entire shining circle topped
the hill, the trees at its base outlined
in crimson. It had a rather sweet face shaped
by craters and its own mountains, 

and I said, very cold, despite the blanket and
your arm, I think that’s it for me,
and you said, yes, and as we went inside, back
to the kitchen sink, you bemoaned the state of
the world, and I said that we were too old to try
to fix it, that I just hoped we’d have no tragedies
at the ends of our lives, and you said you simply hoped
that we would commit no
unkindnesses,
your own kindness about the only thing
you can control. 

I think of this as I read the news this morning
that so hurts
my heart; that the moon did rise,
and of all the stars
in the meanwhile. 

************************************************************

A too-long poem for today, but there it is!  Am recycling an old drawing, that doesn’t quite fit, but close—it was a much darker sky last night when the moon finally appeared. Have a good day!

In the way that

Posted July 10, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

In the way that

In the way that the sun still lights the sky
when it has sunk below
the opposite hill,
and the moon as white as a cloud
shows
in the still blue,
so, you hold me
in my own heart. 

In the way that tree limbs
make a porthole,
an “oh” in the high green leaves
to the other side
of the valley,
to all that
opening,
so you watch over me
hardly seen. 

And I—what
do I do for you? 
Give thanks.


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A kind of quick draft poem—I’m not sure this drawing works, but one that I had!  Have a good week. 

Realization/Question

Posted July 9, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Realization/Question

I look at an early Degas, and realize that the light shining
through a crack in the door
is a stripe
and the gauze curtains of a window
reflected in a mirror at the back
of the practice room
are simply a wispy rectangle that is, in fact,
on the surface of the canvas, not at the “back”
of anything,
though the piano is definitely
a piano, and the top hat, a hat,
and the dancers as real
as any dancers, meaning
pretty unreal, especially since you can’t, you know,
hear the scuff and pound of feet
that typically reifies their steps, lands, leaps. 

It is a golden room, more ochre than yesterday’s dusk
when a peach swallowed the sky, the fields, the house, even
the garage, and the taillights of a car driving beneath darkening trees
accented the whole
as perfectly
as the violin case in the Degas moves our eyes
to the center of the dance floor
and I thought
why doesn’t someone paint that car,
those tail lights? Our own moments of glow
museum-worthy, at least worth
looking at. 

Yet we/I hold ourselves apart from so many
moments—from taillights bright
as rubies, and peach skies that are
so brief—
We don’t even rehearse, simply hold
ourselves in reserve, waiting for a mirror
to fill the foreground, and for light from a crack in a door
that we keep quite closed.

But (in the middle of these woes),
the morning, this very morning, smiles
its hello’s,
and the painting (exasperated) says to keep
on my toes,
and time, cutting in, gives me another chance
at the dance,
so many stripes
of light.

*********************************

Another poem for today, based in part upon an early painting of Degas in the Metropolitan Museum, called the Dancing Class.  (The link to the painting is there.)  It is something I looked at as part of a wonderful drawing class taught by Peter Hristoff, an artist/professor at SVA, and Alice Schwartz, a curator at the Met. 

Dove Morning

Posted July 8, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Dove Morning

If sound were light, one
mourning dove
could bring the day,
its call a beacon beckoning dawn,
a sweet sun, not a blistering one,
a refuge from the night,
if sound were light.

If sound were water,
the interval of its call,
the rise and fall,
and the three tones after,
would float you in its lap,
a silky nap of lake or pond,
if sound were water.

But sound is sound,
and has gone to ground
just now, and how,
I wonder, the dove done,
the day already a hot one,
will I get through it—
keep true to those three
even tones that steady
that rise and fall, all the sounds
in the bird’s call—

************************************

Another draft poem.  Have a good day. 

Very Human

Posted July 7, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Very Human 

She calls everything, even parts
of her body, “he—“ the breast so heavy
with its hard mass, the small foot puffy
as risen bread, the line of sores that we put
the special powder on,
the light, the glass of water—“put him there—“
the pants, the wallet,
the edema sleeve we decide it’s fine to just
forego today—

the seatbelt, the foot (in its shoe now) which needs such heft
to lift, “okay, he’s in—“
the waiting
car door.

Of course not the nurses, who say the sores, side effects
of the chemo, are looking better, “keep up whatever
you’re doing—“

Is it something about her generation?  That so much of the “other”—what has
to be maneuvered, cajoled, placated—is male?

But I am also of that generation
and live in a world of “its.” 
“It’s got a bunion,” I complain or my own foot, or
“I like it here,” of a clock (whose tick
is always “its” tock), me who silently expresses preferences
for cold hard facts, and difficult acceptances. 

So I don’t think the “he’s” are generational, but arise simply
because she lives in such a lively world, even in the face
of disease. A world in which lamps
have personality, pets
are people, her feet companions (beings to be sometimes scolded, sometimes
soothed), bits of her body somebodies
who can be persuaded to hopefully
come around—
She works hard on such persuasion, and (for the most part) cheerfully,
as I with all my “its” realize
I have something to learn.  

*********************************

A draft poem of sorts.  Have a good day. 

The pic, one of mine, is imperfect for the poem, but I like it!  As always, all rights reserved to pic and poem.

Sherbet

Posted July 5, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Sherbet

We felt in the morning that we should try
for red, white and blue,
but more comfortable were our shorts the color
of sherbet, which we wore,
darting fast as fireflies, until
as twilight deepened,
the sparklers were passed
into our grip.

We did not need to be told
not to run with them—
awe and a little fear pulled our skin back
from our outstretched arms, which made their own
outer space, galaxies fountaining
at our fingertips.

Soon (as we felt control) neon squiggles grew
to loops then our
whole names—
you could see the haloed letters
if you looked—

Years later, I lay with my children
on a blanket in damp grass, scanning the dome of sky
for shooting stars.

Faster than fireflies—you had to keep your eyes open
not to miss them
there….

There…..

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A belated poem for the 4th! The pic is from a new little book called Bug Cars. Right now it is only available on Blurb. (Sorry that I’ve been so absent–I’ve been working for days on a poem inspired by the Dobbs decision, but haven’t gotten it right–probably too much anger there.)

Take care!

Driving Rain/Fear/Car

Posted June 24, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Driving Rain/Fear/Car

Fear draws fate, dread
a magnet.

I think of the young boy in trial
little league who, terrorized by
the hardball, invariably pivoted
into the pitch. 

In my case, it’s the car.

A few days ahead of a longish drive
I check the weather, then obsess over the hourly
projections looking for the window
when it won’t rain, or if it must, then not
very much.

“Showers” are heavier than “rain”, right?
I go through the tenths of the inch at all the various
projected times, both here and there, hoping for coordinated
“cloudy”ness—

The day itself dawns dry and I change
my whole schedule, determined to leave in
fifteen minutes, dragging the dirty clothes
from their planned wash—where I’m going has
a machine—

But (fifteen minutes has spread into forty-five)
now the sky is puffing over—the trouble is that I just haven’t driven enough—
I lived too many years
in New York City—

I make myself leave, and soon marvel
at how even when it does rain, it is manageably sprinkly—

But the most difficult part of this trip is the last
ten minutes,
when the route runs into one highway then veers into
the left of another highway,
and then takes an almost immediate exit
four lanes
to the right—

Just as I get to those highways, what may be called
“showers” but should be called “torrents” flood
my windshield,
swish, blur, swash, blank—

I try to make the wipers faster, but they wipe
as fast
as they will go, while I am frozen—wait, keep your foot
on the gas—for I am now
in the left lane, the fastest of four—

I tell myself that I could just stay on this highway—who cares
about the exit?  There are other
exits—

But my fear tells me that I cannot stay on this highway, for I cannot see
the highway, I cannot stay on a highway
that I cannot see,
so, slowly—am I going
too slowly? I try again to activate
my foot, make myself peer
into the slosh shown
in my rear-view mirror, make myself trust
in ten grey feet
of swish and the strength
of my signal light, and will myself
to the right, and again, to the right, and yet again,
to the right—

Beethoven consoles me, and Pablo
Casals—and there in the blur
is the sign overhead, and a voice says unsympathetically to take
that exit and I peel off, and now, that I am
 the only person in a single slowing lane, the rain too
slows—I do not honestly believe
the sky is malicious—

I feel, I suppose, a sense of accomplishment, but also
vulnerability, stupidity—
as adrenaline slowly dismantles the tower
it has built inside my chest, that place
with a view. 

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Very much a draft and probably not a poem!  Have a good Friday!

All rights reserved to text and pic.  Pic doesn’t really go with post, but has rain! 

Moving the Piano

Posted June 21, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Moving the Piano

The wind blew so hard it seemed that it might lift the wood
like a sail,
but it only whipped at the pants,
of the two short men, who felt obliged, at that point, to prove
their own strength. The legs of the beast—that is, the Upright—
transfixed as a bull’s
at the bottom of a high stoop, bruised grass beneath it, and uneven
frozen earth. 

So, slowly, with arms stretched like cords,
legs braced, spines pushing a weight that pushed
back, flngers as clenched as at a recital, the men
shifted the dark wood—you could feel the ivories’ smirk—

Until they were in. 
The men laughed then companionably, bending back one hand,
then the other, and closed the door to shut out
the wind’s harsh howl.

Wheeled the piano now, well, more or less wheeled it,
to its allotted spot—it was like a small triumph
of the human spirit—
the making of our own
music.

************************************************

Another drafty poem. The pic was the only piano I could find (that I had made.) The one in the poem is an upright not a grand. Have a good day!

The last time I saw my father

Posted June 19, 2022 by ManicDdaily
Categories: Uncategorized

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The last time I saw my father

He was so serene, I marveled how the undertaker
had gotten him
exactly right; his face back to a dignity it had always had
in illness, and also not;
his features so sweetly defined, not blurred
as they could be
by pain or anxiety—

He had never been fearful (not for himself), but he had worried deeply
about those he loved—why were they so determined
to take chances?
Or, much more insistently:
what would happen to her (my mother) when
he was gone?

But the last time I saw him, his face
no longer fretted—I had seen it before they fixed him too
and I know—
I know—
he no longer worried, and it wasn’t because
of any lessening of love,—

So that when I weep now,
it is for myself only, not for his loss of life,
but for my loss
of him—

I do not worry about what
has happened to him, where
he has gone—
With both hands, with his own face,
he gave me some measure of freedom
from that— 

There is simply a kind of love you cannot bear
not to have any more,
even when
you still have it. 

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Draftish poem for Father’s Day. Have a good one!

ps – as always, all right to text and image reserved.