Monthly Archives: October 2012

Kenwood House

One of my favourite spots in North London is Kenwood House, home to a marvelous tea shop and an even better collection of fine art.  Among the jewels of the collection are two paintings, one by Rembrandt and one by Vermeer.  The Rembrandt is a late self-portrait, brooding and disheveled.  The Vermeer is youthful and filled with his particular gift of inner light.  Across a single room, the old man and the young woman have watched each other for years.  I wrote this rather loose-limbed triolet in their memory.

 
Kenwood House

The woman playing the guitar would smile
softly at the dark-dressed man who held brushes like keys.
There in the sunroom, I would come to stand quietly while
the woman playing the guitar would smile
luminous, radiant, knowing she was being watched, to beguile
the painter opposite – keeping her innocence across the centuries
the woman playing the guitar would smile
softly at the dark-dressed man who held brushes like keys.

 

Nobody warned me

The weather is turning here in Indiana. Not quite as icy as the picture above – at least not yet… but the delicious chill in the air has seeped into my brain.  I’ve been thinking a lot about ice, and icebergs, and depths in relationships, and hidden things.  What amazingly fascinating creatures we all are, worthy of respect and always a second look.  I haven’t always been the best at seeing what is in front of my face.  Here’s a rondeau about love and ice and loss – not about any one person in particular, but maybe about us all.

 

Nobody warned me

Nobody warned me when the front door shut
a piece of me would leave as well. The rut
worn deep into my heart from long routine,
our blunted expectations, set the scene
for this unraveling. Perhaps what cut

me most was knowing I had missed a glut
of signs, had let the feeling in my gut
diminish to a whisper. What did it mean
nobody warned me?

If I had known I might have altered what
I said. Instead those icy caps that jut
above the surface chilled us with the sheen
of easy waters over pain unseen.
I could not reach you then – I would have, but
nobody warned me.

 

Preemptive

Submitting work to journals can be quite a circus.  It’s an act of will to keep sending work out.  I imagine it’s also quite an ordeal to read every well-intentioned piece that comes through a journal’s mailbox.  I sometimes wonder if editors ever get tired of being polite…

 

Preemptive

Dear sir, it has come to our attention that
you are contemplating submitting a poem
to our journal. We are contacting you now
in the hope of avoiding this regrettable
prospect. Prompt action on your part now
will save us all precious time later.

While we have your attention, we are
somewhat concerned you may be tempted
to pen another composition today. With all
good will, we beg you to resist this urge, and
instead give yourself to something better suited
to your talents. Like brick laying. Or crochet.

Should you feel the need to contact us
further regarding your work or our
literary standards, please do not do so
in writing. In fact, if possible, simply
lie down and wait for the urge to pass.
With all best wishes.

 

Breaking

It’s been a strange week in our neighborhood.  Fall is getting into full swing, and the trees are glorious.  At the same time, there have been a spate of break-ins, the most recent of which turned deadly for one of those doing the breaking-in.  I end up feeling sad and angry more than scared.  I hate the waste – of life, of hope – and the toll that events like this take on an entire community.  I feel for the homeowners, too – so tired of wondering if they are safe within their own four walls.  Thank God for the leaves amid the sadness.  And for all who care. (To share with friends at the dVerse Poets Pub).

 

Breaking

They wrapped our street in yellow tape today
and turned the sky the colors of the flag

a stain of red, depression blue, and white
for a surrender that went unheeded.

Tracker dogs are nosing down the alley
while a shit-scared juvenile lies bleeding

in an ambulance, blinking back his friends,
the ones that escaped, the one that didn’t.

And no one will say for sure what went down
how many broke in, or how he found them.

I imagine the cries, the deadly force,
the chaos and bile spattered on a floor.

Some might say the young man had it coming
but I think something just died in us all.

 

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