Poetry! Spoken Word!
So this happened last night:
Yours truly had a great reading at Amherst Books with Gerry Yelle, friend and Florence Poets Society co-conspirator. Gerry is a tremendous writer, someone whose work and imagination I greatly admire.And look who I found in the audience! Turned into an ad hoc editorial board meeting for ALL CAPS PUBLISHING (kinda, sorta) over coffee and waffle fries.
|Brain Trust: E.W. Storch and Marian Kent|
This is the seasonfor writing about itching,wondering where last time went,second-guessing sins.Forever on your hips! criesthe cinnamon cider donut;northerly mistralwafts pumpkin spice so pungentyou’re belly-achin’ already.Horoscope predictsbad decisions will take roostunless you atonefor a season of slacking--lackluster at best, at worstfacing headwinds whirlingwith decayed branches.Not much to do about autumnbut pray that sucker out, waitingfor the first fruit-fly frost.
As they say,rain on your wedding daybrings good fortune & fertilityleaving one to wonder if this includesthe guestsas she thinks out loud oh,we should have another& he responds hell no! But dreamingis born of rainy days,vow-making.
Before light& forgot your slippers,drinking coffee for warmth,disinclined to turn the furnace on,the cat expecting somethingyou don’t really have in youat this hour,but if you can keep the kids asleepyou have a window to ruminate,so you write feverishlyas though time’srunning outbecauseactuallyit is
October blowslike a cherry bombin a maple sky,spreading outpandurateagainst gooseflesh,pining for wool.October greetsseven with the lights on,heads west,roundsthe autumn-scattered curvewhere your friend’s sonbreathed his last crispfan of night,already wishing for spring.
Everydaydemons patrolling nightamidst ordinary memoriesmake for substantial adjustmentsin dream subjectnot to mention predicate, speakingof running, fleeing, flightfrom demons--Amazingone considers flyingat all, what with demons following,temptation to hunker down strong--overwhelming,that burrowing urge, but salvationrequires self-promotion,so fly now--
When it rains, you wonderwhether tears are right,retreating to a cornercovered by catalpa umbrella.Joy turns on a dime here,followed by steady rainso you wonder about tears,hope, an array of excuses,explanations for bruises,the bean-heart of your treewilted following flowering,pounding rain now drizzling,promising sun behind tears.And that’s the wonder of it,how it changes like seasons,calming after hurricanesbring all the branches down.You get on with your raking,piling debris in that corner,hoping for quick decomposition,wondering about the weather,planning for the next time it rains.
There was that time when my mom offered
to take us to the drive-in with her friend
and we got to sit in the back seat together.
Not ideal, of course. I mean, chaperones
on a drive-in date? But it was all we had.
So we went, and I remember kissing you, even
with the grown-ups watching. And I can see,
even now when I close my eyes, your skinny
legs in skinny jeans, splayed out, and just
how serious you were about the whole affair.
In another year I’d get a boyfriend who lived
right next door to that very same drive-in
and I’d spend many an evening not watching
movies there. But that night, you and I
were on the cusp of something, on the line
between kids from camp who wrote letters
and young adults learning what pining meant.
That was it for us, as far as it went. Awkward
silence and downward glances were our style
next and every time we met hence, for years.
But that was the moment when we could see it
and touch it for the first time; what we’d
seek forever after. To see ourselves in
our lover’s eyes, to feel love in our bellies.
Seagulls circle lowover the McDonald’s parking lotas garbage-breezewafts from the river,highway, trash out back the pawn shop.Window poster declaresThe Best Things In Life Are Fries--It’s cool beach-air today.The gulls are on to something.
Waning dawnsat an open doorbeckoning a bleary writerto awe,bitter coffee contrastedwith the sweet of birdsong,crickets, sunstreakscreaking over maple & mountain.Soon mornings will requirea closed door,strategiesfor hunkering against cold,the Holiday Season, the urgeto hibernateunder a mountain of quiltswith the furnace on.This morningpull on socks & sweater,take what you can get,gratefulfor what you have been given.
At Thanksgiving, or a birthdayan uncle muttering I can’t read thiswould borrow my grandmother’s glassesor my mother would wear his to readmenus, rules of the game. I thoughtall those adults had the same afflictionof the eyes. It must run in families.Now I wear cheaters to read their emails.
Stay true to the sun, a beaconbehind clouds. Blue sky on your leftas grey blows over. No one’s listeninganyway, so stay true.
Birds flock after a storm, we gatherat the table. The cool air’s moved in.Take what you can get in this life:shelter, occasional sustenance.
Chickadee!My birdfeeder’s emptybut for your song. Mouths to feed,spiritsto nurture, each encouraged to singher own song--Love’s cost no discouragement, onlykeep returning, singingyour glad song.
|photo by Kelly Letky|
A flock of geese flew overat dawn in late August, honkingas if to herald their departure,making a big stink about it.
You and I threw a rollickinggaggle of a going-away partyonce, and then we came back home,relieved & subdued, a year later.
The geese will be back nextseason, the falcon pair will neston the library rooftop again, & welike they will be another year
closer to that heralding that fadesas it makes its way across the sky.
These are the days of watched pots,minced words, eggshell skulls.Take copious notes, log on,tune out. Everybody’s going pro.No bake sales, no library. Only stacksof back-to-school-style circulars.Chopped liver. These are the dayswhen even your Muse gets weird.
Thisnewonslaught?We are allsimply unprepared.So we bury our burdened headsin quicksand of our own making,avoid the news hour.But terror plays out in our dreams,minute by minute,offeringnothing;nopeace.
Your bodyhunkered alongside minereminds me of parking garages,take-out pizza half-undressedon your sofabed,midnight woodstove still radiatinglike the hot core of you,all mine now.We surfacebecause hey, it’s payday.You head out for bagels,tackling shopping lists like nothing couldmatter more & of course it does--But your matter,your corporealness hunkered hereyour hands covering mine,short of breath--