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Peacocks

When I think of peacocks
I think of you and
There are so many peacocks
Here. Their colors are
Everywhere. You are
Everywhere. Teal, turquoise, and
Azure surround me as
The color of you. Your eyes,
Electric blue, Blue –
The eyes on a feather,
Royal, The color of Sky and
Oceans of blue,
Sapphires of blue,
Everything your eyes see
Makes everything I see
Iridesce with,  flash with
You,  Now
Everything reminds me of peacocks.
When I think of peacocks
I think of you.

(for Arlene)

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Poetry

 

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Metric

If I had been brought up with the metric system
I could hold an orange in my hand
And tell you how much it weighs in kilograms.
But I was taught with pounds and feet
And I can tell you how much a whole bag of oranges weighs,
Just about,
Or look at a board and give you the measure of it.
But how many meters it is?
How much the orange weighs in kilograms?
I’m lost. Dumb.
Right in front of me,
Any guess as good as another.

Love, I think—
Love is measured in metrics,
Or some other unit.
I can look at it,
Heft it.
No matter.
Ask me how much I love you:
I cannot say.
I can only look at you,
Sigh,
And trust it can also be measured
In those sighs and desires, and hope
You do not ask.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2016 in Poetry, Uncategorized

 

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Halfway Through March

When I woke this morning, I was afraid I could not write. I felt it was gone. It, whatever that is, felt absent. But during the day’s discussion, in the three minutes between classes, in moments during planning, the topic of poets came up. I found the poem “We Bring Democracy To The Fish,” by Donald Hall. Don’t blame me for the way the title is capitalized – blame Donald. Anyway, he was Laureate until that poem was published. Then he was Poet Non Grata. He and the Dixie Chicks hung out together looking for work.

Distressed Haiku had this line: “I finished with April/halfway through March.”  His wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, had died in the month of April, 1995. That line. That one line. I have said that myself, nearly word for word. And I was writing again. But would I ever write of anything else?

I ask that, yet I have. I have. But, time and time again, I return to it. Why? Because one doesn’t go on. One doesn’t heal. One continues, with the wound. With the weight. One may be happy, one may be loved, and one may be content, one may have a wonderful life. I certainly do. But that is still there, because it is part of our lives. For those in this “club we’re in that I wouldn’t wish anyone to belong to,” as a friend of mine put it, one doesn’t go back to the old way of being, but creates a new normal around the space.

Everything is made of space. So, I guess, I’m still writing about everything. I guess.

 

Halfway Through March

It is second period.
I have been discussing
Poetry with Mr. Wolf.
Poets, appreciated but
Never paid well,
Never paid attention to,
Paid heed, respected,
Honored, yes: the Poets Laureate
Paid, at first, in wine.
Chaucer paid in
Gallons of wine.

Name bridges after them,
Put up markers roadside,
Have them inaugurate
The president, but don’t
Pay them enough to
Leave their teaching posts
So they can develop
Their craft without
Daily worries of bills due.

The discussion moved to
Donald Hall. One year only
He held his post.
He published
“We Bring Democracy To The Fish.”
So long and thanks for all that.

But now it is period three,
Donald Hall is in my brain,
So I am reading.
Students working,
Teacher reading, because
I can barely think
Anything else.

I didn’t know
He lost his wife.
Twenty-six years,
Cancer comes and
She goes.

I had always pictured him
Alone. Solitary, New Hampshire
Snow. Writing.

But he wrote of
Her leaving and
What was left,
He wondered if he
Would ever write of
Anything else.
Here, listen to his
Distressed Haiku:
“Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?”

Here is the Universal.
Here is the experience
Of the creative. Of those
Who take everything
Of their lives, of their
Surroundings,
Turn it into something

To understand.
Make the internal life
External, visible, palpable.
Make something with
No hands reach out,
Shake you, shock you,
Leave you thinking,
Understanding what you
Did not understand before.

Make the solitary
The common experience.
Remind me
I’m not the only one.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Books, Culture, Education, philosophy, Poetry, psychology

 

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Already It Is Too Long

Already it is too long 
For you 
To lie there 
With your one eye open 
Staring at nothing, or 
Something only you can see. 
I cannot quite tell 
If you are conscious but 
Incapable of movement, or 
Vacated so fully 
you do not even care to swallow 
However much we may plead. 
 
I ask how you are doing. 
They tell me facts - 
How many squirts of apple juice, 
How many half-teaspoons of pudding - 
But I don't want facts. 
Lives are not made of 
facts and measure and scales and 
What do they know? 
They didn't even know 
Which way to comb your hair. 
So we brushed it back and 
Now you look like you again and 
You can go now. 
Really. It's OK.
 
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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Family, Poetry

 

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Causeway

Causeway

(The first part from Middle English cauceweye, either from Latin calxcalcis (“limestone”), or alternatively from Latin calciāre (“to stamp with the heels, tread”), from calx (“heel”). The second corresponds to English way. Causeway:  A raised road upon which to walk, made of stone, over a body of water.)

As we walked the causeway
Over the river,
to the beach,
“Can we stop?
I want to look out over the water,
Listen,
Watch the moon rise above and below.”
Easy.
Of course. I wish everything people asked
Was that easy,
But most of the time what people ask
I just can’t give them.
Make me happy.
Hold me together.
Let me bruise you.
Fix me.
Sustain me.
Survive me.
Make my head stop hurting.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Poetry, Uncategorized

 

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The Well

There are still tears
For you, around corners
I have avoided, nested into objects
Unexpected, curled up in words.
They well under memories
Until released, into the open,
Jostled by a stray scent,
Nudged by a colour,
A page of a book,
A wind in leaves.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Family, Poetry

 

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Wintering

The sky is cloudless and
when I look up, it reminds me
of you, and when there are clouds
wispy, white, soft, light,
and I look up, it reminds me
of you. And storm clouds too.
Sunrises. Sunsets.

The air is cooling now.
When I met you,
it was crisp, but
the world was warming,
opening wide for the spring sun
and now summer has passed
and some days are winter sets
for plays that pass their time
in the course of that season, but you,
you, I hope,
will see spring with me again,
and again,
will watch with me the world
open to the birth of love
until winter comes to us each
and does not leave.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Poetry

 

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