Poem a Day: The Wedding

The Wedding of Angela and Jonathan
November 22, 2008 Solvang, California

Green grass spread wide for a wedding.
Angels rained confetti seeds on the garden.
White calla lilies bunched with heirloom carnations
and a single white rose
held together with white silk ribbon
heralded the matron of honor and the bride.
The bride, in high heels which sank into the dirt,
danced in the arms of the groom,
dashing in Italian silk.

The minister held the rings out flat on his palm
and spoke of precious metals;
giggles suppressed over stainless steel
died into sparkling tears sniffed back
over vows exchanged.
The mothers let theirs drift down their faces
and onto their gowns of burgundy and navy.

Poem a day: I’ll Hold You in Heaven

Written for Keegan D, who didn’t make it through the conception to birth process alive. I am looking forward to meeting you someday.

I’ll hold you in Heaven.
I’ll hold you in Heaven.

Down here on earth
I’ve never seen you smile,
I’ve never heard you laugh,
or held your hand in mine.

Your fingers weren’t so perfect
I cried to see them grown.
Your hair was never tangled,
as if it didn’t know a comb.
I never changed your diaper
or sang you back to sleep
and when I think of all the things
I’ve never done
I only want to weep.

I’ll hold you in Heaven.
I know it’s really true.
And when I get to Heaven
I’ll know it’s really you.

Up there in Heaven
I will see you smile;
I will hear your laughter
as you put your hand in mind.
Your fingers will be perfect
even though they’ll be full grown
and your hair, it will be beautiful.
In Heaven, who needs a comb?

I’ll never change your diaper
or sing you back to sleep,
but when I think of all we’ll do together there
I can only weep.

I’ll hold you in Heaven,
I’ll hold you in Heaven,
I’ll hold you in Heaven,
in Heaven itself someday.

Rest in Peace, 1999

Poem a day: Daydreams

Daydreams echo in my head,
I’m awake and not in bed.
The house is clean and uncluttered.
I am rested and unflustered.
While Ron and I stay late asleep,
The boys into the kitchen creep.
They make their breakfast everyday
and then put all they’ve used away.
I throw the laundry in to wash
and put up
3 dishes cleaned of pizza sauce.
Ron takes a shower and grabs food to eat
and kisses me on the way out. How sweet.
His office is here at our place,
but he still pretends to go and race.
He locks the door; has his own phone.
We act as if he isn’t home.
The house sits on a plot of land
t see neighbors from where I stand.
The trees are thick, the water near.
We spend a lot of time out here.
The boys are learning French today
so we go to the creek and play.
I know the words for everything
and even know some songs to sing.
When we get home we make lunch together,
soup, salad, queso, depending on the kind of weather.
We did two science experiments
and made two sets of artsy prints.
We go out to the library and book store.
We thumb through books and read galore.
I find a biography of a man I admire.
The boys borrow books on space, dinos, and spires.
Tomorrow’s Spanish. That’s a thrill.
It’s a tongue I love and always will.
The boys are learning it quite well
and listen to the tales I tell.
Tomorrow we’ll go to the nursing home
and visit the residents and roam
the halls wide seeking out
someone who doesn’t get about.
I’ll give to them the art we made
and sit with them in a slice of shade
and tell them of the things we’ve learned
and all the accolades we’ll someday earn.
When we get home, the house is neat.
I sit down and read––a treat.
The boys go play a video game.
It’s something good. I forget the name.
Then I start supper cooking
and make sure my face is still nice looking.
When Ron comes home it is a joy.
He spends time with me and with each boy.
Some friends are coming over for dinner.
I’ve made enchiladas. They’ll be a winner.
We’ve plenty of seats for everyone
and while grownups talk the kids will run.
Once the boys are fast asleep
I go to the grocery store to creep
down the aisles searching avidly
for the food we’ll all eat happily.
We have no debts. Our bills are met.
When we need something, it’s not hard to get.
When the grocery shopping’s done
I take the food and head for home.
Ron comes out and helps carry in.
Then we both go read in the den.
At eleven or twelve we head for bed
–in the daydreams in my head.

1998-1999

Poem a day: After Shower

The soap slides down my skin
and eddies into the drain
with the water that soaks my frame
and leaves me dewy wet.
I briskly brush my body with the towel
but it seems the water loves me
Dripping hair hangs down my back
and adds to the drenching
after I have already begun the drying.
The sounds of harsh water hitting the tub
fades away
as the curtain quits dripping.

1998-1999

Poem a day: An Ode to my Refrigerator

An Ode to my Refrigerator,
at least the outside,
an ode to my refrigerator
it is a symbol of my life.
Graced by a casserole dish
of blue and black
made by the potter’s hands.
Hiding, under its weight,
the works of baby’s crayons.
The freezer offers a tableau
of Doric and Ionic columns here.
The spires, though, are Romanesque
and reach up to the sky.
The door to the fridge itself
is covered now with pictures.
Christmas this and Christmas last,
Hawaii, and a new house.
Plus Crash Bandicoot and an escape pod.
And a tiny magnet with a girl
in the rain saying, Thank you, God.
One side is empty.
I want it to look clean.
The other side is full
of calendars and old Mom’s Day cards
that say I’m wonderful.
I hide them there for me.
I’m the only one to see
that he said thank you
for cooking peanut butter sandwiches
and taking him to play at Mickie D’s.
My refrigerator
holds a great amount of food,
but the best parts
are on the outside.
t miss the importance
searching through the foods.

1998-1999

Poem a day: Oak Tree by the Gate

Oak tree by the gate
Beauty quiet and deep
standing by while I sleep
All my life you wait.
Gray–browed in bark all rough.
Deep green leaves drop down
Branches forming your crown
To stop the sun, strong enough.
Silence standing guard
I grew under your limbs
Singing rock songs and hymns
In your yard.
Thick trunk growing so wide
Never hands got around
Growing up from the ground
And embracing the sky.
Summer sun shelter true
While I rest in your shade
In its coolness I wade
Back to you.

1998-1999

Poem a day: The Wedding

Green grass spread wide for a wedding.
Angels rained confetti seeds on the garden.
White calla lilies bunched with heirloom carnations
and a single white rose
held together with white silk ribbon
heralded the matron of honor and the bride.
The bride, in high heels which sank into the dirt,
danced in the arms of the groom,
dashing in Italian silk.

The minister held the rings out flat on his palm
and spoke of precious metals;
giggles suppressed over stainless steel
died into sparkling tears sniffed back
over vows exchanged.
The mothers let theirs drift down their faces
and onto their gowns of burgundy and navy.

Poem a day: The Plains

It was not reasonable
a man should love such land,
but he did.
Though he left and took us with him,
he suffocated in the mountains of upstate New York,
felt trapped in the miles of trees
of East Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina.

He missed the flatlands–
the plains my junior class could not believe existed.
He loved the trees announcing like billboards
a family home, just out of sight.

My mother loved it.
Once.
Returning from her folks
the train was slower than her homesickness
which raced ahead with her heart
toward my dad.
The final hour the lights of Lubbock
twinkled through the evening sky,
beacons proclaiming
“Almost home.”
She loved the flatlands once.

I loved the flatlands too,
though many times, not once or always.
Swimming in the irrigation ditches,
climbing squat trees and swinging on old tires,
hiding from the heat in the dugout,
finding dinosaur teeth in the cornfield,
eating cherries while cradled in the boughs.
The plains were stickers and caliche pits,
cotton hard in husks,
and those grass snakes Debbie used to scare me.

I miss the house on the farm,
moved to town and placed on a new foundation.
I miss my grandparents
and our summerwide family reunions.
I miss the land where little rain and fewer people
make the world harder and hardier.
The plains used to hoard my family.
The plains are faithful;
my family dispersed.

I loved West Texas, not because it was beautiful, but because in it I created such memories.

Poem a day: I Miss

I Miss

Icebox, a simpler thing to fix, say, and spell.
It kept in the coolness and let out the smell.
Dugouts, cool and dark, smelling musty,
home for snakes, cans, and hiders who’d get dusty.
Polecats striped in dark and light
getting at chickens late at night.
Well house, where the water came,
where lettuce stayed crisp and we raced in a game.
Bright yellow school bus, home of rebel bees,
d run through the pasture and skin up our knees.
Tower tanks to fill tractor, truck, and combine,
more fun for Popeye, to jump from and climb.
Irrigation ditches and stock tanks ready made for a dip,
go swimming––accidentally––following a slip.
A tire swing, old rubber made new,
for swinging, flying, and changing the view.
Cherry trees and apple, close to the ground,
easy to pick from, easier to get down.
The hen house full of grain, eggs, and chicken;
most ended up in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Freezing our bottoms cranking ice cream,
hand aching turns till we’re ready to scream.
Sunday beef and potatoes, early bites of heaven snitched.
Coffee and Prince Albert, Grampa smells that bewitched.

My grandparents are dead. Their house was sold to a family in town who moved it off the lot. My cousin bought, begged, and was given the land and he lives their with his wife who paints. He is a public defender.

I’m too old

to stay up till 2:30 am working on papers and get back up at 6 am. But I was finding all kinds of interesting things to write for and possibly publish.

So I stayed up.

I haven’t heard back from the people I wrote. I guess if I don’t hear back by tomorrow, I will resend the email from one of my school addresses.

Poem a Day: Monsters Walk Among Us

This is a second version, a newer version, of yesterday’s poem.

Monsters walk among us
wearing cardigan and denim.

They have a smile that lies
all the way through their eyes.

Behind upturned lips and teeth
lurks Grendel, soul devourer,
haunter and destroyer of men.

Snatching children away from childhood
and into the valley of the shadows,
they ravage silently, stealthily.

We may open the door to let them in
unknowingly risking beloved kin.

Monsters walk among us
and they look like you and me.

Poem a Day: Monsters Walk

Monsters walk among us.
They look like you or me.
We can only watch our children
While they dance.
We can only watch ourselves
While we race through life.
Monsters walk among us.
Grendel, troll, Cain, Jack,
And they look like you or me.

In response to a post on someone’s blog about a child molester moving into the neighborhood.

Poem a Day: Dreams

Dreams are born
in clouds that march
to cover the burning sun
before it conquers us;

born in the scars of furrows
slashed from the breast of earth–
scars we plant our hopes in.

Dreams are hard, hardy, holding fast.
Growing great and strong
in dry dying earth.

Dreams beckon when we are blinded
by our own foolish fumblings
or dirt spat into our eyes.

Thirsty minds can drain a cask
of dreams, settled deep for such a day.

Poem a Day: I Miss

I Miss

Icebox, a simpler thing to fix, say, and spell.
It kept in the coolness and let out the smell.
Dugouts, cool and dark, smelling musty,
home for snakes, cans, and hiders who’d get dusty.
Polecats striped in dark and light
getting at chickens late at night.
Well house, where the water came,
where lettuce stayed crisp and we raced in a game.
Bright yellow school bus, home of rebel bees,
d run through the pasture and skin up our knees.
Tower tanks to fill tractor, truck, and combine,
more fun for Popeye, to jump from and climb.
Irrigation ditches and stock tanks ready made for a dip,
go swimming––accidentally––following a slip.
A tire swing, old rubber made new,
for swinging, flying, and changing the view.
Cherry trees and apple, close to the ground,
easy to pick from, easier to get down.
The hen house full of grain, eggs, and chicken;
most ended up in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Freezing our bottoms cranking ice cream,
hand aching turns till we’re ready to scream.
Sunday beef and potatoes, early bites of heaven snitched.
Coffee and Prince Albert, Grampa smells that bewitched.

It’s more a catalog than a poem. Written in 1998, despite what my computer says.

Poem a Day: How to Eat a Poem

Would you scoop it up
With a dipper
Like Oreo ice cream
And shovel it into your mouth
As fast as you can swallow?

Or let it melt in your bowl
And stir it around
Till you have ice cream soup?

Would you nibble through the middle
Leaving the edges, leaving the crust,
Like a crunchy peanut butter sandwich?

Or eat the whole sticky, smacking, creamy mess
in large bites
So you can be done?

Would you peel it,
Like a kiwi or banana,
Feeling the skin is nasty,
Itchy, hairy, smooth, tough,
But sucking up the moist soft insides?

Or crunch into it like an apple with the skin on,
Enjoying every bite?

Would you sip it
Like hot soup?

Gulp it
Like icky medicine?

Lick it
Like a lollipop
Till you got
To the sweet chocolate center?

And once you ate it,
Would you digest it
Or puke it up?

Written 24 May 2002

Poem a Day: Blizzard of Student Papers

Wading through piles of student papers
Strung like snowdrifts across my living room-
Why don’t I use the office for this?-
I search grudgingly for the stack
Whose owners patiently await their most recent grades,
Before the next essay is due.

As I hand back flutters of white paper snowflakes,
The red ink streaks across the vision of my students
And startles them with its ferocity.
They were sure they had not made that many mistakes.
And their eye drifts onward, searching,
Seeking the positive comments to balance
The shock of those red numbers at the top of the page.

12 November 2008

Peaches

Peaches, full and ripe,
like an eight month pregnant belly
hang from the limbs
leaning towards my hand from the weight.
Yellow and a dark sunset orange
punctuate the green finger leaves,
dots of color drawn with a child’s marker.
The wind shifts the limbs,
bowing, blowing,
and the peaches keep their place
steady, stalwart on the branches.
An old gray fence, leaning with age,
separates me from this seasonal feast.

30 April 2000

Family Sounds

Small boy voices call at each other
from the space of a foot
loudly enough for me to hear
all the way to the living room,
where I sit perched on the couch,
clicking my way through my chores./
bill paying on the net./
Quiet Sunday afternoon snores
punctuate the occasional silence,
as my husband wraps himself
around the white down quilt
spread out upon our bed.
The wind thumps the window
with a tree branch hand,
borrowed from the backyard oak,
trying to get someone’s attention.
The noises fade into a patchwork pattern,
lulling me with security.

30 April 2000

Poem a day: Poetry Lisps

Poetry lisps from my heart,
Or does it limp?
So long silent,
My thoughts, my fingers.
Joy bursting out
In playful plentitude
And alluring alliteration.
Once again the style
Has come to sounds
And senses
That I recognize and realize.
And poetry leaps
From my fingers through the keys
And onto the page.