Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem for April 27

Big gap here in the poetry...things have been busy, to say the least. So, now I'll be playing catch-up for awhile.

there are poems to write
and images of eggplants
and goddesses that need

into the wet, vibrant
language of paint
and canvas.

there is wool to be felted,
quilts to be sewn, beer
unbrewed, money somewhere
to be made.

but it all must wait
for now,
my hands are full

with my child
in the heart
of childhood.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19 and SO FAR BEHIND!!!

I'm not giving up. I'm still going to write a poem for each day of this month. But it is definitely taking some time.

I've realized something important...there is great truth to what Alice Walker said when I saw her speak a few years back in Hickory: Writers need TIME. In order to write, you must have a lot of down time. You must have a lot of alone time. You must have time that to others looks suspiciously like loafing, but which is really the incubator for creativity.

Without time to stroll around your yard talking to trees, time to sit perfectly still and stare aimlessly at the moon, time to lean back against a wall and feel the cool of the earth against your legs...without this, the brain has no time to process images...to do that alchemy that is turning an impression into words.

And sadly folks, this is a thing I do not have right now. My days fly by in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, meal-cooking, laundry-doing, question-answering, tadpole water-changing, boo-boo kissing, kid-ferrying, toddler-cajoling insanity. I careen from one needy person to another administering love and food and occasional reprimands and by the end of each very long day, after all the little monsters are tucked in their beds, I crumple into a shapeless heap on the sofa, barely a single brain cell sputtering.

This, my friends, is the stuff of life and often the stuff of inspiration, but it doesn't allow me to write a poem every single freakin' day for crying out loud! (((sigh)))

Alas, I shall perservere. One day I will actually get to my goal and have a full April of poems here for all to read and enjoy or else grimace at.

So...poem for April 15 is this:

Do you know what this is?
asks my neighbor's daughter
who is three. I look at her
etch-a-sketch with one square
and one rectangle one
inside the other, and I say,
It's a building.

Well, no, she says, of course
not. So, preoccupied
with grownup things, I mumble,
It's a box, because that is what
I see. But her sea-green eyes crackle
with mirth at my stupidity
and she patiently explains,

It is a robot tummy.

And so it is.
She is absolutely right.
And for just one moment
her fairy hands have pulled
me, dark and ponderous,
back into the light
of childhood.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poem for April 14

Ack! Still a day behind. Story of my life...always playing catch up.

This morning, thanks to a cool story on NPR, I learned that coincidentally April is National Poetry Month! How apropos. Obviously the National Poetry People found out about this blog and decided to make a national observance in its honor. Or not. Funny that I had no idea about that when I came up with the idea to do this (originally considered a "good" idea and now considered a "what the hell was I thinking?" idea).

The NPR story was also interesting because they had some lady from the National Poetry People Thingie read some favorite poems by some amazing poets that I didn't all catch because my toddler was repeatedly telling me "no" about breakfast and my son was complaining about having to do carpool. One thing I did catch was some poems by William Stafford, whom I used to read a million years ago, but have since forgotten about. Ah..the craftsmanship! The skullduggery of his words. Inspiring...and terrifying...to someone who who loves the art but putters pathetically with it.

And so, on with The Show...

There are days -
whole days -
that are a frog in the throat,

a pencil with the eraser
chewed off,
a spoiled pear.

There are days
that are two flat tires
in the rain with no spare,

a pimple on the end
of your nose or a worried
hangnail that won't come off.

I sigh through them,
these stingy days, or yell
and burn the scrambled eggs.

Sometimes I cry
along with the babies when the sun
pulls up stakes for the night.

But it's all good in the end.
The sun comes shuffling
back, rubbing his eyes,

and I remember
that this is just where we are
and this is just what it is
in the here and now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poem for April 13

Behind again. Yesterday was insane. And Veda won't sleep...less than normal, even. Which means no free time or down time for mama. (((sigh))) On the bright side, we do have a bunch of new tadpoles in the family now...5 Japanese Firebellies and 1 Leopard frog who was a freebie from the pet store because he hitchhiked in with a school of goldfish.

Being not-quite-two,
the world is a full place
and sunshine endless.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12 Poem

feels like a dishrag
in a kitchen that feeds
a big family
who has no dishwasher:
frayed at the edges,
soft and holey
in the center,
and faded all over
from too much wear.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

catching up...Poem for April 11

I miss that old place
up on the hill and way
out there in the middle
of nowhere.

that creek sang to me
like an eager lover
all night through open
wavy-glass windows.

the sweetgum trees sighed
and shook their heads
at my young, unrooted,
and artless ways.

It is joyous and sad that
without me the arrowheads
still doze beneath the pebbles
in the creekbed,

the winters still wrap
the dry hayfields
and proud little house
in a quilt of silence,

and spring still pops
each year like an imp
from behind the clouds
to claim it all in the name
of No One In Particular.

Still owe this one for April 10!

Wow...I'm behind. This stinks. So I'm going to do a cheap trick here and write a little haiku for April 10, then hopefully catch up (with maybe another haiku?) tonight. At least, that's the plan. Wish me luck!

several platoons
of sugar ants marching to
my kitchen scrap pail

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poems for April 9 & 10

Well, again I have to do two poems in one day because I never got time to sit down yesterday and write. This is hard! Between working and being mom, there is no time for things like writing and exercising and reading and contemplating...important things, but during this phase of my life, they go by the wayside. Ah, well. Here we go...

I think the real American Dream died
somehow, sometime
in the cold of the night
and no body was ever found.

No somber obituary was written,
no grand eulogy was delivered
in a breaking voice
before a weeping crowd.

Our Dream slipped away from us
quietly, frail,
her heart hollowed from neglect,
already become a hungry ghost

while we worried with prejudice,
felt our hearts break or soar
for unreal lives on a flat screen,
shopped for Rollback specials at box stores.

That one's been floating around in the brainpan for a few weeks...not fully formed. I think the above was just a draft. A direct response to my recent unsavory dealings with banks and bureaucracy and a resulting new understanding of the general fragility of "durable goods" such as houses and vehicles and such.

Will have to get to the next poem later. For now, I have to work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Poems for April 7 & 8

Ack! I didn't write a poem yesterday! I fell asleep on the futon last night watching "Sherlock Holmes" with a belly full of wild mushroom enchiladas and tres leches from Limones (hurray for tax refunds!). So, I owe two now. Guess I'd better get cracking.

The asparagus
crowns, long and wild like witch hair,
green magic inside.

Okay. There's one. Now, there's this other I wrote in my head and forgot. Let's see if I can find it...

When the rain started
after lunch, the whole world
inside this house

went to sleep
like nursing babies
in the hypnotic blue.

But the world outside
our walls split open
with a rush of color:

lime, young melon, jade,
seawater, spearmint, emerald,
the brilliance of moss.

April is a drug
that both heals us
and makes us high.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poem for April 6

Long and convoluted by very awesome spring day. Veda and I went to a park, played in a creek, screamed a bit, tried to nap but couldn't, ate some pumpkin seeds and danced to an African drummer in the GreenLife parking lot. Then we came home and while Papa Bear worked on building some raised beds in the backyard, we grilled some tofu, tossed some salad, mixed up some wicked dressing, washed some dishes, fussed a little bit and ate some supper. Now it is time to sleep....

And thus, from nowhere in particular shoots this verse....


Tonight it is beans again
and rice, and maybe some carrots
if they're cheap.

The spring breeze floats
through the ripped screen,
The bluegrass ripples

Past me from the half-broken
Boombox I've considered
throwing away, but am too lazy.

Though I long for sushi,
I know we are blessed
with this simple meal because
I remember

The man in Yang Shuo
with no legs, who shared
jokes with us as he begged.

And the father in Hanoi
with the melted face
and torso from the napalm

who tried to smile when we
gave him a coin, but couldn't,
so his toothless wife did for him.

And those babies in the Mosquitia,
playing in the sun, under palms,

with ribs like my daughter's plastic
sleeping under a roof of cardboard.

We, the blessed, we have these gifts:
The wind, and our roof, and our forgetfuless --
And those who share them with us.

We are blessed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Poem for April 5

From a fun day of working compost into the garden with Veda:

Pretty, she babbles
As she strokes the pink ribbon
Of wiggling earthworm.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Poem for April 4

I am tired. I do not want to write a poem. Which seems like a good argument for not doing this Month of Poetry crap. I mean, what's the point of writing poetry (supposedly a leisure activity for me) when I just want to go to bed and not write ANYTHING?

The fact that tomorrow is my deadline with the paper and I just spent several hours turning verbose press releases into banal but concise news briefs, could quite possibly be the reason for my rebellion. My brain is quite sick of words at the moment.

But here we go...

The community tiller broke
And needing to break up
The squash bed
I swung a wooden-handled
Hoe high into the clear sky
Then down again in a hard
Swoosh, over and over
into the relentless

Earth, a space
The size of two SUV's or
A swimming pool --
Not so big.

And the ground
Did relent little by little,
And I felt for a time

And then I felt
A grain or two of the truth
Of the life of the women
Of this world
Who have no choice
But to beat life

For themselves
And their babies
Out of the dirt
Day after day
After sweaty day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poem for April 3

Well, I'm running close to deadline here, but hey...that's my style. So, I have absolutely NO idea what I'm going to put down in the next few minutes. Impromptu poem-craft...let us see what unfolds...


Finding the hostas
shooting sunbound
like rockets from their
forgotten bed
in the cold shade
of the wall makes me lose
for a moment the angry
ant of worry that will not
give up the trail.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2 - DAY TWO - POEM #2

Well, today was a hard one to squeeze in. And only the second day of the month...oh no! Granted, today was WAY busier than usual. Very much not the normal routine. Birch got out of school at noon, we dyed Easter eggs and had an egg hunt, then I drove the 3-hour round trip to drop him off at his dad's for the holiday...THEN I came home and Scott and Veda and I went out to Highland Brewery for an hour of beer and games and barbecue.

So now I'm back, and this is the poem that has emerged from this day. Actually, it comes directly from my trip to drop Birch off with his dad, who was cleaning out out the last of his things from what used to be our old home...the place where Birch was nearly born and where he lived most of his young life.

And so here you have it...day two and already resorting to the brevity of haiku to fulfill my commitment. Ah, well...one does what one can.

Here it is:

Indian Creek laughs
remembering that lost spring
one decade ago.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

a poem a day

Happy April Fools! I sorta hate April Fools Day. I'm not good at practical jokes and I often am a big wet blanket when people play them on me, so I'm celebrating this day with...POETRY! Yay!

My whole life, ever since I could pick up a fat pencil and scribble a word, I have thought of myself as a poet. But lately it seems I don't write anymore. I could blame it on having toddler and a 10-year old to chase, but even when my son was small I wrote a lot of poetry. I think now that I write for a living, I spend my creative energy on other activities like sewing and painting and felting.

But with the entrance of this much-needed and very vibrant spring weather, I have made a vow to renew my love of writing verse. I declare that each day for the month of April 2010, I will write one poem and publish it here.

They may not all be good. In fact, all of them may completely suck. And a lot of them will probably be haiku...or else very short...because there are days I'm lucky if I can get a shower and dress myself in between taking care of everyone else. BUT I will write.

So...here we go!


Getting Her Down

You are my sunshine, he hums
To her in his dark, rhythmic
Orbit of the bedroom.

Each night he shuffles
This path, holding her slumped
Sweetness against his beating heart,

Rocking and loving the daylight
And restlessness from her bones.
She breathes lighter

And flutters finally to sleep
As he sends again his mantra
To the listening Universe:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.