Tuesday, April 30, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 30

First Chair

To celebrate
despite the storm
and the hour
we clambered
into the over-lit shop
waited our turn
made our choices
tipped the pretty high school girls
and stumbled back
onto the post-rain sidewalk
scoops of cold celebration
cupped in our hands.

We walked up and back
telling the story again
when you found out
what they said
and how it felt
as our ice cream
began to melt
and disappear.

Monday, April 29, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 29

Crashing around in the undergrowth
not even a storm can pry
these tiny circles of light from my hands.

The sun was shining.

A woodpecker spiraled the tree.

Something was lost.

Something else was found.

The work went well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 28

April Showers

One good rain is enough
to turn the backyard to jungle
lush and buggy
can't take a single step
toward the garden
without a bite or a tickle
something inevitably
crawling up your leg.

The birds
cannot stop talking about it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 27


There is a photograph that exists only
in my mind.

I am wearing yellow
and a hat


There are cars
and palm trees.

There is so much Florida sky
it is hard to see
anything else.

It smells of lemon
and sunscreen.

I am looking right at you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 26


It is not enough
to talk about the weather.

We all have
the same humid experience
chronic discussion
at the dinner table.
We are easily distracted.

Something rolls
under the couch
and we just

Burn things for balance.

Gather what we can.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 25

Rough Draft

Not so much cornbread
as a pile of cornmeal

not so much cornmeal
as an ear of corn

not so much an ear of corn
as seed

not so much seed
as earth

not so much earth
as air.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 24


Our ritual walk
later than usual
almost dusk
carrying the day
between us.

What is wounded
what is forgotten
or misremembered
heavier with every step.

Last time
the deer stopped
and watched
nostrils flared
as we moved past.

Today there are two
crashing through the brush
startled disappearing
taking the weight
with them
as we turn
and walk back
in just enough light.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 23


To tell this story
you will need black-eyed peas
bread and fish
and a fire by the lake.

There will be tears
some water some wine
but also milk.

There will be broken glass
more than you would think

but also a blue bowl
filled with lemons
gathering sunlight
on a table that belongs to you.

There will be parts
you want to leave out
things you do not want
to say.

Say them anyway.

Say them out loud.

When you get to the end
conjure forgiveness

lean into
the happy ending.

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 22

Dear Alexa

I keep coming back
to that one
luminous moment

all the windows down

our voices
drifting away
like balloons.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 21


The way lights shifts
filters in
or does not.

How today's news spread out like this
can take up the entire room.

It's all in the angle
the slant

where your eyes meet the horizon

or not.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 20


The afternoon has collapsed
into itself.
Sun drunk and looking up
it is suddenly dinnertime
and evening is loping
in our direction.

Look! Here he comes
around the corner
clutched in his teeth.

Friday, April 19, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 19

This Is Not About That

This is not about that. Let this be about grass and sun and problematic stray cats. Let this be about laughter and the words I know I know in the mouth of a friend. Let this be about clean water and a walk between stands of rustling trees. Let this be about that path, the one bathed in light.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 18


In the empty coffee shop
of half-familiar pop songs
I am hoping the rain
has stopped, untangling
my small morning

I am all foot-tap and time-check
watching the wet street
for my ride
in my head
halfway home
and on to the next thing.

This would be easier
with some cast of characters
to distract.
I write backstory
for chairs
the brilliant blue table
the never ending parade of oh my gods
on the street outside.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 17

After Szymborska

These words
may be too small.

In the helpless expanse
there are
too many stars for our own good.

I can't argue with you.

I'm asking
the wrong question.

My imprecise grammar
follows me home -
barks at the neighbors.

What falls
into my human hands.

What is boundless,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 16

Morning Insists

It is hard
to return to the everyday.
This is a lie.

The morning insists
barrels over us
no matter what yesterday

The day breaks.
gym clothes
demand attention.

stops for nothing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 15

Rational Numbers

the hypnosis of news footage - images
that cannot be unseen.

Imagine a reasonable algebra
that places the tiny buds 
spinach I hope to coax 
onto the dinner table 
on the other side of
blood in the innocent street
and somehow make them equal?

 Impossible to add and you
cannot divide enough
to make sense of it.

does not go 
into that.

I water the garden
put my hands deep into dirt
and feel the fat earth beneath me.

My ears will ring
in sympathy
for days.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 14

Notes for the Day

makes me cry.

You seem
she said
to have an issue
with time.

There are exactly
one thousand
I did not say.

My favorite song
is still my favorite song.

I am
I think
a model
of restraint.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 13


Ten minutes stolen
before the push, kitchen
dance that is dinner
engulfs me, spins me out
into evening and back
coming to rest
at the sink
when it is all over.

Warm water and soap,
the best benediction I know.

Friday, April 12, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 12


Walk far 
and the 
roar of traffic
becomes white 
noise with insects
bird punctuation 
from the trees.

Ten minutes 
and I can 
tell you
what that bird
is saying.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day 10

If It Is Really True That All You Need Is Love

I have a litany of excuses.
I was in a hurry, the weather,
the text on my phone.

Mostly I was hungry
and thinking about my lunch
which involved lima beans
which I love.

I should have stopped.
I should have stopped and
put my phone and keys
back in my purse.

I should have said
how are you and waited
for your answer
and nodded and murmured yes
no matter what your answer was.

Instead I kept going
for all those reasons and maybe
a little bit of I know better than you, old man.

No compassion
no matter how much I squint back
at my walk past you
on my way to better things
well mostly
on my way
to my own lunch.

No lovingkindness
in my head nod as I hurried past.

So here is an I'm sorry and a you were right
and I hope that next time
I will walk a little slower
and take the time, old man
to call you by your name.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Nine

                              with a nod to Trey Moore

He echoes the poem as he hauls it
out of the house in the dark of morning
wedges it into the backseat
angles through the doors
and into the school every day.

Repeating it all
in reverse
in the afternoon
when he is tired
has homework
and just wants to play.

He plays with a wild streak
and is being slowly tamed
by metronome, by scales.

It is the soundtrack now
of so much of his life.

Some will play the cello.

Monday, April 8, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Eight


The oak in the front yard
coats everything
in a layer of sticky yellow.

Max says
the trees
are trying to kill us.

In the afternoon traffic
on the way to the dentist
we try to define poetry.

Max leans toward
what it is not
the ineffable
the speaking of what cannot be said.

Today I lean toward
ordinary people
paying attention.

I say
is driving the birds crazy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Seven

No Poem

This is where I want to refuse
to write, knowing
the telling
will make it real.
Unwritten, perhaps
I could hover just so
above this page
hold my breath
close my eyes

Scroll back the night
to the still point of a trigger.
Change something.
Change anything.

On the news, the boy who was killed
and we must say this, must speak aloud the words
shot in the back of his thirteen year old head
is scarcely mentioned.
Talk is of the older boy.
The boy with the gun.

And the candle in my window will have to remember
that thirteen was once four, once two
that Isaiah could be any body's name
that a child is a child is a child.

Small things shimmer with meaning
tangled love of an unfinished sock
paper rustling with worry
the orange practically peeling itself
on the table.

My tiny little story.
My tiny circle of light
in this city's night.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Six

In the Land of Loss

Tonight's wolf howls
a low wail of sorrow.
Mourning and disbelief
sit at the threshold.

There is too much
too many, too much
to keep outside.

We lock doors, gather
three, knit together like a braid.
We light candles.
Call the circle.

Friday, April 5, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Five


Lou Reed on repeat

the twisted stars
the plotted lines
the faulty map

and tonight's dress
dances in the dryer.

There are voices
I can still hear
with such clarity
it is alarming.

I can turn a memory over
and over until it is
riverrock smooth
worry your coal to diamond
in one sunny afternoon.

This may be my undoing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Four


Dust swims in afternoon light
the car behind me idles
and I worry a loose thread
from my sweater
try to imagine
what forgiveness
might look like
something small perhaps
a spoon
the wheeled clay
of a cup
some arrant force
of nature
earthquake or fire
burning everything
down to the ground
back to the ashes
that started
this whole thing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Three

"the grace in which we stand"

the birds singing, all hours, no reason

the twenty minutes set aside, dwindled but by love

the rain washing everything

less despair, more hope

the right words when it really matters

people you meet on the road

a song to sing, always

what falls into our laps like magic

love enough

light for the table

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

National Poetry Month: Day Two

On This Day

I am the packhorse
the sandwich maker
the bringer of snacks
the collective memory
the carrier of water
the bearer of weight
clutching equal parts
hope and fear
for the parts
of my heart
that walk around in this world
on their own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Another Year, Another April: National Poetry Month Day One

In the Passport Office

There are two women crying.
They are not together.
They sit rows apart
one all shuddering hair and shoulders
the other looks straight ahead
thick teardrops
rolling down each cheek.

I shift in the impossible chair
two and a half hours in but
I am prepared
two books, Sunday Times, notebook
knitting, water
lifesavers for the long wait.

The girl beside me jostles an infant
no diaper bag
not even a purse
just the child
and her papers
wrinkled, damp
clutched in her left hand.

We are compliant.
We follow the rules.
Wait for our turn
to bend our knees
toward the government issue desk
present our proof of who we are.

My mother's girlish scrawl at my birth
my father's long forgotten birthday
tiny town where I was born.

My first name
my married name
my mundane travel plans.

The mugshot photograph
I must now raise my right hand
and swear
looks just like me.