Thursday, July 29, 2010

I May Go Out Into the Water

I may go out into the water just a step,
          just enough to leave the bank behind
                    to let the darkness close around my calves,

just enough to leave the sand and feel the mud
          ooze and mush between my toes.
                    Will you come with me?

I may, if I decide to stay,
          settle myself in that black green pool
                    and let the waters cool me for a while.

Fishes when they rest hardly move,
just a flutter of their water wings
and they stay suspended in their silty world.

They never seem to be alone,
          always two or three, a happy fishy family  
                    maybe just a few small fry

fanning themselves, standing still
          expecting nothing from each other,
                    living happy fishy lives,

expecting nothing more
than time alone together in the mud.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Trouble with Poetry

Five-thirty in the morning
And I hear your footsteps
On the stairs like a reproach.
I'm reading poems, already wasting time,
While you, Captain of Industry, rub and scrub.
I'm First Mate of Indolence at six A.M.,
Anchored in the chair with Billy Collins.
What is it I should do?
Somebody stir the pot.
Somebody bring me a broom.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inconstant Moon

Argent is driving the bus, and unrequited love is the topic. While this doesn't really fit the bill, as my bus tickets often don't, it is about love. Well, sort of. For other bus riders and the Poetry Bus challenge, read here.

Inconstant Moon

On this day in 1969
Really, though at night,
We held our bakelite lifelines
And marveled at the thought
That man was on the moon.
When the call is over, we swore, 
We’ll go outside and wish 
On that same moon and wonder.
Meanwhile, you were in the army, 
And I was in my teens,
Left behind as surely 
As if you walked atop green cheese.

Monday, July 12, 2010

All of My Life

All of my life I have been
               Sweet or kind or good

To someone else's thinking.

So I have lived these years
               Calling home, being fair, trying hard

When all I ever really wanted

Was to take my selfish body
Into a field somewhere amid tall weeds
And gather fists full of idleness.

All I have ever really wanted

Is clouds of crickets that jump at my approach,
The feel of hard ground beneath my back,
A blanket of burrs to cover my legs

And grass that whispers,
               “You are still okay.”

Not a Poem

So, this is not a  poem, but when Dominic, Poetry Bus Driver Extraordinaire, asked that we write a poem on something (literally), this came to mine. As I said, it is not a poem, but it's the germ of one. It was percolating in my mind while I was in the shower one morning, and I had to get it down before it flew from my mind, as so many of my ideas seem to do. Achoo, and they're gone, floating around wherever lost poems go. So this is not a poem, but it's an idea for one, written with eyeliner before it flew away. Don't worry if you can't read it. It came to nothing and ended up being wiped into oblivion anyway.

You can find other poems written on objects such as bananas, rocks, coffee cups -- here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Butterfly Bush

I have discovered
Like a child right now
Why it is called
Butterfly Bush,
This soft flick of midnight
On arching lilac flowers,
This quick flit of magic
On heavy, dusky stems.
And this is why
Like a child right now,
I  am glad to be alive
And of this world--
This powdered brush of gleaming joy,
This fleeting rush of angels breathing.

Monday, July 5, 2010

She Came in Handy & Molly Marine

The Poetry Bus has left the Farm, driven by the able Weaver. As I've been away for the holiday, I am a bit late at the stop, but I hope I can persuade her to stop long enough for Molly and me to hop aboard.

The challenge was to write something about a person or in the voice of that person; I've done both, but I must admit that I did so some while ago. If you've read before, please don't feel compelled to comment.

For those who haven't read these, let me explain the impetus for the poems. My son took a photo of a gravestone in a military cemetery. The stone is for a female marine from the WWII era. On her stone, it says (I kid you not), "SHE CAME IN HANDY."

I'll say. Sheesh.

She Came In Handy

When she signed up in ‘43
She got no special name,
But wore the eagle and the globe
And anchor all the same.

She trained with guns and aeroplanes
And learned to march just dandy,
But it was keeping things in check
She really came in handy.

They said she freed a man to fight
So he could win the war;
At home she did the vital jobs
That he had done before.

She typed the Captain’s letters up
And filed his work away,
She kept a calendar for him
And organized his day.

She felt great fear she couldn’t show
About the plans they made
To drop a bomb to end the war--
At least that’s what she prayed.

She gave her days to Uncle Sam
And when the war was done,
She shook their hands and said goodbye
And felt life had begun.

She married Jack and had three kids,
And when the kids were grown,
She helped by taking on the books
At the station that they owned.

She lived a life of sacrifice,
Blessed others by the giving,
And when she passed short years ago
She left a life worth living.

Upon her grave they set the stone
That told the world a story
Of one good life lived out in time
Without a thought for glory.

In words so sweet and measured out
Like little bits of candy
That summed her worth for all to see,
They said, “She came in handy.”

Molly Marine

Me? Bothered by a stone?
Why, child, there’s a ring to it—
rhymes with dandy, and I was that,
in that uniform I wore.
They told us not to fraternize,
but I could have. I’d march by those men,
and I knew the power of my hips!
Never used it, though.
I was a good girl, a good Marine.
Wore the eagle, globe and anchor.
Did my job for God and Uncle Sam,
in my own way.
I freed a man to fight, they said.
He went to die, and I went to work.
Spent my time typing up the war
and praying they’d not drop that bomb.
But they did.
That might have been the happiest
and the saddest day of my life,
Cause then it was done.
I traded a salute and Semper Fi
for an apron and a big belly –
three younguns and fifty-three good years
with one man before it was over.
But you know, once a Marine,
always a Marine, and I never
felt so proud in all my life as the day
they planted me here with the rest.
Seventy-nine years doing
for others what I could, and I reckon
I earned the way they summed my life.
It’s no insult, child: I came in handy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mais, Oui

Wonderful writer and fellow blogger Sarah Hina has birthed her first baby! Plum Blossoms in Paris, which is getting fabulous reviews, is available from While I'll admit that I usually don't read romance novels, I fully intend to read this one. Anyone who has read Sarah Hina's work knows that even her prose is lyrical and sensual. Sarah is funny and smart and young...and I know she has produced a book worth reading!

Keep in mind when you read this little ditty that I have not yet read the book (just out this week), so the poem is based solely on the cover art. This was written for Aniket Thakker's contest (but really just for Sarah). See Flash Fiction on sidebar for Aniket's site.


the scene:
two spoons,
crossed lovers

still filled cups
tasty crumbs
and stems of plum

heavy, heady
rising to heaven

for the easy feel
of you and me

buttery crumbs
brushed from laps
and lips

lips pursed, locked
hearts in sync
the ticking of a clock

mais oui, mais oui,
time for you and me
à Paris

the feel, the need
mais oui, mais oui
mais we