Still Tuesday morning
walking through the neighborhood
I decide tank tops are a required
dress code for New Orleans humidity.
Creamy magnolias nod amongst fat
green leaves looking like globs of whipped
cream in pistachio pudding. The lazy hum
of a buzz saw ignites imaginings of flying
away on the wings of a honey bee.
I’ve written many poems about my mother in the past few years but they’re all about her time in ICU before she died in 2012. It was a sorrowful, stressful time and I tend to write more when I’m melancholy. I was looking through them to find one to post today for Mothers Day but they’re all sad except for this one. It’s short (my preferred form) but it refers to a basic truth that I only recognized after her death.
You were the divining rod
of my life long
before I even knew you,
when I was still awash
in warmth and wonder,
oblivious and safe,
and didn’t know
I needed finding.
The next poem was written a couple of years ago from a dream I had about my Granny, my mother’s mother. I loved Granny’s house with its big front porch with a view of the beautiful purple Sacramento mountains. Going to New Mexico to visit are some of my favorite memories. I recently saw a photo of granny’s house and it’s been changed so much it doesn’t even resemble what it used to be. It broke my heart.
I needed to call you but
I’d forgotten your number,
the one I always thought
was burned into my memory —
for hours I anxiously thumbed through
white and yellow pages, forgetting
then remembering your name.
Between the pages I could see
your dining room, the floor
tile cracked like a spider’s
web, the old fridge where
all your kids stood before the
open door to feel the frigid
air on desperately hot days
while upstairs pretty ladies on
a calendar lounged without a
drop of sweat to mar their
(First published in Mad Swirl.)
Wishing you all a wonderful Mothers Day!
You are the fierceness, the center.
You are energy and truth, shade at high
noon, laughter and rebellion, peace
hidden in a secret glade. You are the
juiciness of a ripe plum, the wonderous nuclei,
the mitochondria of my existence.
April has come and gone and nothing about it turned out as I’d planned. I had to drop out of PoMoSco because life got in the way. Real life, nuts and bolts and shit happens life. But I did get in a few poems and I think with some editing I’ll have some decent work out of it. I didn’t even start a poetry online course I’d signed up for, which makes me sad, but at least I did read some good poetry in between all the running around I did before falling into bed each night, usually well past my target bedtime of eleven. One of the scenarios in April was the sudden onset of blindness in my dog, Peggy Sue .Very long story short, between multiple visits to my regular vet, the Eye Center for Animals (great vets, great staff!), and a veterinary internal medicine specialist it was found Peggy Sue has a tick-borne disease that apparently has been dormant in her system for years (we adopted her 3 ½ years ago) which is what caused the blindness due to a detached retina. She also developed accompanying kidney problems from the disease. She’ll never see out of her right eye again but the kidney disease will hopefully reverse now that she’s on the proper antibiotic. She’s also mostly blind in her other eye, with spotty peripheral vision due to a detached lens, so she’s learning to get along with very little vision – none, at times. It’s been a period of adjustment for dog and owners. But….she’s reagained some of her vigor and natural happiness now that she feels better. It’s wonderful to have her moving toward her sweet self. I’ve been making a homemade kidney support dog food from a great website I found, Eats Writes Shoots, but she has yet to eat it – all she wants is boiled chicken or beef roast so that’s what she gets until she’s in better health. The blogger at EWS wrote a kind of diary about his dog, Ben, who had kidney disease. It’s a love story between man and dog and anyone who loves animals will be touched by reading it. The recipe is one he devised after extensive research in hopes of feeding Ben a quality food that would support his kidneys. I know when Peggy Sue feels better she will love the food – I tasted it myself and it was really good. My other two dogs lapped it up. In addition to being a wonderful caregiver to Ben, Dale is also a talented writer and photographer and his blog is my latest favorite place to visit. You should check him out.
As I said, I did get some poetry reading in, including some by one of my favorite poets, Dorianne Laux. In The Normal School you’ll find “Disturbance, Seaside, & Storm: Poems by Dorianne Laux” and they are just luscious.
Poet Stacy Michelle has written some fine poetry during the month of April after (IMO) a prolonged silence and am I glad to see her back! Every single poem she’s written is a gem, a gorgeous sparkle fashioned from life’s hard stone. Don’t miss this cathartic work.
A poet new to me, Miranda Romano, had two published in FemLit Magazine in March. Sensual language and visuals made these poems a pleasure to read and had me googling to find out more about her work.
So many other great poems I coud link to but I’ll keep them for another post. I want to mention two fiction pieces that I read that made a huge impression on me. One is by Jane Flett with whom I’m familiar via virtually meeting on Fictionaut. I follow her blog and was blown away recently by her piece “Two Girls, Two Dreams”. Jane is a writer who always surprises, who’s prose is unique yet approachable. If you don’t know her, meet her via her blog, Words That Loiter.
The piece that I read in April that I just cannot get out of my head is “The Heart as a Torn Muscle” by Randon Billings Noble in Brevity Magazine. This piece was actually published in January but I just found it and I’m so glad I did. It’s just an amazing piece of work that I’ve read several times, each time seeing a nuance I didn’t see before. Go, now.
I have lots of other writing related links to pass along as well as some great culture pieces but they’ll have to wait until next time. It’s a beautiful day outside and I want to get my hands in the dirt and plant all the little flowers waiting for me in the garden.
Have a great reading week!