Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

04
Jan
15

For Cameron & Ann on their Wedding Day

For Cameron and Ann on their Wedding Day

These northern woods and shores seem filled with signs
of everlasting love: the solid walls
of stone that line the lake and shape the falls;
the deep determined roots beneath the pines
that draw abundant life from rocky sand;
the lake that lies beyond what eyes can see,
horizon to horizon endlessly,
too great for human minds to understand.
The love we celebrate today exceeds
these symbols, for naturally the stone
erodes, the pines will fall, the winter lake
will freeze. The never-ending vows you make
before your friends and family make known
commitment that’s eternally decreed.

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05
Feb
12

February 3, 2012

When in my dreams I gaze upon the sky
And feel the crushing weight of moon and stars,
I see the scornful blue of Venus’ eye,
Beside the gnashing mountain-teeth of Mars,
Have loosed themselves from their sequestered spheres
And hurtle earthward through the roaring night,
I spread my arms and—absent of all fear—
Gaze to the sky and laugh in my delight
That they might crash to earth and tear away
A hemisphere or shatter it and fling
The shards to distant galaxies. I pray
For your ascent to Queen and mine to King
Of a tiny fragment big enough for two,
Where nothing else exists but me and you.
09
Jun
10

The Ring

I tossed and turned in bed for a long time tonight. Images swirled around until they began to form a coherent idea. Lines linked together and ideas fell into place. I don’t know why this subject was on my mind, and it’s not about anyone in particular, but this is what happened in my head at 4:00 this morning:

Ya see that ring, he says
I gave it to her four years ago
Cost me thirty-seven hundred dollars
I guess it was worth it

And I wonder
What did he really buy for that
Thirty-seven hundred dollars

He bought a six-pack of High Life every night before bed
Six golden tallboys
His champagne of beers no match for the
Real pain in her eyes

He bought a mistress on the far side of town
He’s called her “happy hour” so many times
That he’s damn near forgotten her name
Although it never lasts an hour
And nobody’s happy when it’s over

He bought a lifetime supply of
Go ask your mother
Daddy, can we play catch
Daddy, let’s have a tea party
Daddy, I cut my thumb
Daddy, I need somebody to show me how to be a man
Go ask your mother

He bought the abortion for the mistress called “happy hour”
The worst hour of her life
The final hour of his morning
Right in between sleeping through kindergarten graduation
And lunch at the bar with the boys

And I wonder
When she accepted that thirty-seven hundred dollar ring
What else did she get in the exchange

She got twenty-nine credits at the university
Two and a half semesters that started with
I want to be a psychologist
And ended with
I do

She got a rumpled yellow card
And some flowers from the 7-11
Which he brought home right after happy hour
Two days after her anniversary
Real sorry babe
Shit’s been crazy at work
Wanna grab me a High Life

She got long sleeves in the summertime
One layer of cotton
And one layer of sweat
Covering bruises that can only heal in the light of the sun

She got a three day weekend of
Diapers and tee-ball and macaroni
Three days of staring into the pot
And watching the half a stick of butter
Melt away to nothing as she tries to think up
An answer to the hardest question
She’s ever faced
Where’s Dad

I look at that ring
And I wonder
How long will she wear it
How long will she tolerate it
How long can she stand it
Because that ring is valued at thirty-seven hundred dollars
But it isn’t worth shit

Ya see that ring, he says

I gave it to her four years ago

Cost me thirty-seven hundred dollars

I guess it was worth it

And I wonder

What did he really buy for that

Thirty-seven hundred dollars

He bought a six-pack of High Life every night before bed

Six golden tallboys

His champagne of beers no match for the

Real pain in her eyes

He bought a mistress on the far side of town

He’s called her “happy hour” so many times

That he’s damn near forgotten her name

Although it never lasts an hour

And nobody’s happy when it’s over

He bought a lifetime supply of

Go ask your mother

Daddy, can we play catch

Daddy, let’s have a tea party

Daddy, I cut my thumb

Daddy, I need somebody to show me how to be a man

Go ask your mother

He bought the abortion for the mistress called “happy hour”

The worst hour of her life

The final hour of his morning

Right in between sleeping through kindergarten graduation

And lunch at the bar with the boys

And I wonder

When she accepted that thirty-seven hundred dollar ring

What else did she get in the exchange

She got twenty-nine credits at the university

Two and a half semesters that started with

I want to be a psychologist

And ended with

I do

She got a rumpled yellow card

And some flowers from the 7-11

Which he brought home right after happy hour

Two days after her anniversary

Real sorry babe

Shit’s been crazy at work

Wanna grab me a High Life

She got long sleeves in the summertime

One layer of cotton

And one layer of sweat

Covering bruises that can only heal in the light of the sun

She got a three day weekend of

Diapers and tee-ball and macaroni

Three days of staring into the pot

And watching the half a stick of butter

Melt away to nothing as she tries to think up

An answer to the hardest question

She’s ever faced

Where’s Dad

I look at that ring

And I wonder

How long will she wear it

How long will she tolerate it

How long can she stand it

Because that ring is valued at thirty-seven hundred dollars

But it isn’t worth shit

29
Jul
09

Coffeehouse Poem

Sitting on a threadbare coffee shop sofa,
reading Dunn’s Different Hours, feeling his
mortality, his honesty, his content melancholy,
a flicker of movement draws my eye. A girl
in a leather armchair unclasps her handbag,
reaching quickly inside. I hadn’t noticed her
before. Just a girl in an armchair. One of today’s
throng of strangers. Barrettes, like a little
girl’s, hold her nearly-blond hair back from
her face; a t-shirt, the kind handed out at
summer camps or charity events, reveals
the soft swell of her breasts before disappearing
into the waistband of Saturday morning
sweatpants. Drawing a phone from her bag,
she speaks:

Como? Si. Si.

Eight years in Texas should have deadened
my surprise, but her tongue delights me.
Light-haired and hazel-eyed, she asks questions,
gives replies, makes statements I can’t begin
to comprehend. Neither she nor I realizes I’m
studying her as she arranges to meet friends
for dinner or receives news of her ailing
grandmother or plans an evening with her
lover. Who is she? An international
marketing executive enjoying a reprieve from
demographics and target markets? A Spaniard,
come from overseas to study at American
universities? An ordinary Texan, well-served
by four semesters of high school Espanol?
What does her language know that mine does not?
Reaching for my pen, I deface the margin of
a poem called “The Same Cold”

The girl on the chair next to mine just answered her phone and began
conversing in Spanish. Suddenly, she is so very beautiful, her voice
like an almost-familiar song.

because I know this poem must be written. She
agrees, accuses, flirts, or consoles, her voice
orchestral in my uncomprehending ears. For a
moment, she is the mystical, the alluring, the
unknown. For a moment, I love her. Then,
gathering her book and her handbag,
she is gone.