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Know No More

September 8, 2018

I have cut the plantain grove and know no more
what is to be done.

Potatoes? I must buy them in the market.
Rice spills from its bags. Rice must be bagged!

I have cut the plantain grove and
now there is no place
my sweat may drip shaded.

The green has turned to rust
that holds roots only, roots
that look like worms cut once too many,
the white worms that gather between the ribs
of the drowned then sodden ashore.

I have cut the plantain grove
and now there is no place
where we might meet,
no place to hang your ribbon, to shoulder
your dress;
there is only the rusted earth and
me with worms in my chest.

I have cut the plantain grove
for the soldiers are coming and
there is nowhere for your ribbon,
the shoulder of your dress,
only me here on this red earth
full of white worms.

I have cut my chest and lie like a worm.
And you, where are your shoulders?
And you, what ribbons
your dress?

The soldiers know how to walk
on rice, know how to line up
on potatoes; they don’t bother with forced marches,
on earth that is so soft
before trampled, so red before stained.

I have cut the plantain grove
and hide beneath
what was great and felled.

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This is a rather odd poem, written for an exercise (but it also seems to reflect my feelings about the dismal political climate.) I am posting for Toni’s prompt on Real Toads about the Void as it seems to fit that. Drawing, such as it is, is mine.

Evening Porch

August 30, 2018

Evening Porch

I went out to an evening porch
because a bur bit at my heart.
I could not tell if it was you
or your loss that stung so smart.

The crickets rubbed a murmur synched
to a wholeness I could barely hear;
my forehead had to listen hard
harder even than my ears.

The breeze that rose from somewhere North
felt a bit like fingertips;
you too were raised in a place of cold
but rarely touched my face, my lips.

And yet this sweep of ending day
whose deep’s deep blue except where green
speaks to me of you, of you,
and means what I would have it mean:

that you loved me and I loved back,
that foreheads can be made to hear
(as now beneath the crickets’ arc
the stream’s rush cushions far and near)

so that on the planks I walk
beside a door that leads to light,
beside that blue that you’re blurred in,
I find a seat that bears with night

and try to write there till it’s dark,
write there even in the dark,
letters that feel their way along
this burdened page, unburred heart.

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Here’s a poem for my own prompt – Going, Going, Gone, on Real Toads.

Painting is mine, though not sure it goes with the poem! All rights reserved. 

The Winter of Dreaming Bears (Revised)

July 21, 2018

The Winter of Dreaming Bears

It began with grubs,
which the bears felt, instinctively,
were the hub
of the universe.

Bears always dream a little
of grubs,
but that was a winter of
false starts, faked ends,
and the slips from freeze to thaw,
from thaw to bone rawness, drip back
to ice pick, unmanacled the bears
from their annual
mummification, nudging them
to a snail’s swim,
where their ursine minds churned, overturning
remembered stones, and their paws mimed a scratch
for those whose burrows they could surely feel
within their fur,

while the grubs, also disturbed
by the fits of damp, stayed far
from bear furrows, dreaming as grubs do
of the dead; a corpse a kind of copse to them,
the old home place.

And the dead–-what did they dream of?
They will not say; we can’t surmise–-only
that when we walk a lace of snow pierced
by persistent grasses,
under a sky heavy with new powder
turning to sleet,
we want to believe that we animate
their wintering subconsciousness,

that they long for us in the rapids of their unmoving eyes
not as a bear longs for grubs,
but maybe as that same bear yearns
for the sun when it swathes the night sky,

its glints guiding us
as if we were ships dreaming
that we had sprouted feet
that could walk on water,

and as if we could walk that water,
into a direction that would take us far
from that starred bear, those dreaming dead,
those whom we in fact long for
in those times of cold and dark,
faked ends, false starts.
 
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This is a somewhat changed revision of an earlier poem, this revised for Brendan’s prompt on Real Toads about dreams.  The earlier version may be found here.  The pic is mine; all rights reserved.

Waking

June 24, 2018

Waking

I weep in my sleep, thinking it’s because you’re gone
and never forgave me,
then wake, knowing that I weep
because I never forgave you,

while you forgave me all the time;
it was me
who missed my chance. 

I wonder how I hurt you
with that non-forgiving dance,
but you forgave that too,

clasping my hand with your two
with each breath, stop-breath–

 

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For Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, to write a “micro poem.”  Her example a beautiful poem by Rumi, called It Doesn’t Matter.  Drawing is mine; 2018, charcoal on paper; all rights reserved. 

The Grass Said to Me (as I thought of Whitman)

June 14, 2018

The Grass Said To Me  (As I Thought of Whitman)

The grass said to me
”what is a child?”
I did not know how to answer the grass for I do not speak
in shush or spring-back
or any of the many tongues
of green.
I do not feel that I know
how to regroup,
or how to take a death at my roots
and smile it almost equally
into sun and rain–

But this much I do know:
that when a child crawls across me and grass alike,
we all three
grow more alive.
What grounds us cups us gently (even as
laughs tumble)
while what lies beneath that ground strains hard to listen,
and does, in fact, hear,
for the cup that holds us fits too
about its dark grained ear,
oh yes.

 

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Drafty poem for my own prompt on Real Toads to write of “what is….”  Pic is mine .

Hi all!  I’ve missed you. k. 

D is for–

April 4, 2018

D is for

I found me in a whole behind the bookshelf, there in the molding, hanging on to a spine of the Junior Britannica, our set covered in leathery red.

The volume was D; I snuck a letter into it to my dog once because I had killed her and I didn’t know how else to send mail to a dead dog.

Of course, I had not meant to kill my dog but, for a child, result is not mitigated by intention.

Fate had thrown me a hard ball.  It had not been a particularly hand throw, but it was a base ball, and in that game of catch, the trees blurred green and the grass smoothed to ground where I stood beneath a locust’s grape-fingered shade and I just missed–my hands and glove knock knees (at least for that catch), which meant that the ball hit the trunk of the locust, rebounded to the side, then tagged the small dog as she barked and darted at the back of our game in what was somehow the perfect place in the neck to break it, and the dog’s lithe little body immediately lay limp, and though I probably screamed, my re-creations all seem silent except for my mother who ran out of the house, shrieking ”oh no oh no oh no” and not to bring the dog inside.

So my father and I huddled the little body over to the car me kissing its nose in an almost surreptitious way as I wondered frantically whether you could do mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on a dog, but somehow felt too embarrassed even in extremity to ask, while my dad in his own extremity careened us to the vet’s, and when the vet was closed, our family doctor, heaving with every gear shift, even as I kind of calmed, feeling, after my lap wet with warm, that surely if the dog peed she must still be alive.

And I said to the little girl in the molding, who held the spine of the D Junior Britannica, “what are you doing,” and she simply said ‘I’m sorry,” which sounded at first as if she hadn’t heard me but meant, I realized then, that she was simply being sorry over there, actively being sorry, being sorry her/my whole life long, and I said to her/me, “but look, that was many years ago,” and she said, “I know.”

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This is actually a short excerpt from a little book I am working on; it is very much a draft. I am posting it today for Brendan MacOdrum”s prompt on Real Toads, which I am interpreting as a prompt about the panoply of things that make us sing (or at least write.) 

The pic doesn’t really go with the piece!  It’s actually from a different book I am working on!  (A children’s book)  (I have all sorts of highly unfinished projects!)  But anyway, there it is.  It is my drawing, charcoal and pastel.  All rights reserved. 

Morning (Not Quite Sprung)

March 31, 2018

Morning (Not Quite Sprung)

In this house, we hear the stream summers,
but now the burble of humidifier shushes
the dawns,
which still shell us latish
what with the time change.

When I say ”shell’, I speak of opalescence–
not firey bursts of wake-up–old houses built as shields
against weather.

We lie together, bundled oblongs
beneath that pearled arc, waiting to be
cracked open or boiled whole–the days have been
hard lately.

You nest in the covers murmuring
in the blended burble of humidifier and
my elbowed apologies (for all those shifts and sips),
that I’m not bothering you, meaning
stay next to me,
and I say, I will.

 

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Poem belatedly posted for Shay (Fireblossom)’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads urging the use of metaphoric language.   The pic is of a light sculpture by Jason Martin.