memorial for a brilliant woman

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Drowned, hanged, or beaten with a stone

Men let wars take blame, send sons to die,
women are more apt to do the job themselves,
at once, no reconsideration, use what's there:
a tub, some ties and belts, a nearby rock.

Little thought wasted choosing implements,
opportunity presents, conjoined with hopeless
horror, fear of what might come: Who knows
what coincidental voices make the final call?

I gave you life a mother says I own you
another states I can take you out I've said
myself to a stubborn face, my daughter's
soft fists ready in defiance of my words.

It must take more than a toddler's No!
to stop breath, to hold down, to beat;
more than hardship, bills to pay, a man
gone bad, gone, nothing left for her.

What some women do when they give up
a life they can't endure or bear to save,
there is no reaching out, no simple cure,
children die everyday while Rachel weeps.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lakeside on Memorial Day

Show, show, show, the recyclable trash:
piled up pizza boxes, Miller Lite 12 packs.
This is where Avon comes via UPS *ding-dong*
brings whodo parts, motorcycle shit, eBay deals.

Scruffy, skanky men drink beer, smoke, work on cars
wearing wife-beater strappy shirts because they do,
their fat women coming back from Walmart sales
squeezed into sherbert colored polyester shorts.

This is a neighborhood in flux, proud mullets worn
with gangsta baggy pants, wigger sons with babies
on their hips, daughters decked out like hookers,
bright blondes with the blackest boys, or lesbians.

The Mexicans play guitar and soccer, rent plain houses,
silent mustached men who watch and smile, we don’t
smile back, they won’t stay long, can’t speak English,
drive trucks and vans with company logos and ladders.

Old Mrs. Emmet left when they moved in, her people
here since streets were laid down, a gray-haired widow
who waitressed all her life, raised six kids, all gone,
wary and scared of brown skin, she was a republican.

Sold her house to a businessman who quickly rented it
to a bald deputy sheriff and his family, they moved in
yesterday, hung a flag this morning, one son gone to Iraq,
Working in the yard in early heat, a radio plays gospel tunes.

Just over the city line, our county schools are a little better,
the cops tougher, gas and groceries cheaper, but not by much,
everyday seems to bring bad news, a new lottery opportunity,
the chance to make it big, stave off the fear of dying here.

We’re all afraid, even the Libertarian's in faded Volvo’s,
tucked into long-term starter homes, buying in Costco bulk
next to jobless neighbors with empty cupboards, the smell
of barbecue wafts in, we can’t afford to run the air just yet.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wish I had a river (from joni mitchell)

I used to slip out of a chair like a cat,
smooth, legs already in motion, take in
the whole wide world in a turn, mine,
everything in sight, if I wanted it.

Wish I had a river, clear from here
to somewhere I think I was once,
laying in sweet grass, a granite pillow
beat down by time in the warm sun..

This day is blue-skied and soft, summer
standing up to a last pass of spring,
lingering too long in the bed, daffodils
need cutting back, for next year's yellow.

I thought you would be enough, even if
you don't see how I wish I had a river,
flowing from far off so I could let you
fall over my body like a waterfall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

here is a podcast of some readings last sunday-

I had to turn it way up... let me know if you can get it.


It took me about 30 seconds to load....

Monday, May 21, 2007

my freewill astrology for this week- I love this!

I wish I could get a newly discovered species of beetle or an underground lake of ice on Mars named after you. I wish I could buy you a temple in Bali, and arrange for you to have your fortune told by the blind prophetess of Rio de Janeiro. And I wish I could dress you in 200-year-old velvet robes and silk scarves once worn by Turkish royalty. You richly deserve honors and blessings like these, Capricorn. It's that time in your astrological cycle when life is supposed to overflow with rewards for the good work you've been doing for a long time. I urge you to be vividly confident that you do indeed deserve these rewards, and radiate that faith in all directions.

My daughter got her driver's license today- she's 19, her peers have had theirs for years, but her father is ummmmmmmm- a cheapskate- and didn't want to have her insured. Too late now, we did it and it's done. Hah!

She's very proud, just drove herself to a staff meeting for her job in the city's summer parks and recreation dept. She'll be doing costumes, like last year but for more money.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

woo-hoo! Poetry on the sopranos!!!

Slouching towards Bethlehem
W.B Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

brief commercial-

This will be my 5th year attending the West Virginia Writers' Workshop at West Virginia University in Morgantown. The head of the Creative Writing Department (James Harms) is one of the nicest, coolest people in the world (and a damn good poet, too). He surrounds himself with a smart, talented faculty who genuinely care about the workshop participants.

It's not very expensive (as these things go) and the special guests this summer include Steve Almond, Nick Carbo, Maribeth Fischer, Laura Kasischke, and Aleda Shirley. (regular faculty working include Mark Brazaitis, Jim Harms, John Hoppenthaler, and Sara Pritchard.)

I don't know whether it's full yet, but if you want a fine experience you'll benefit from- look it up and clear your calendar (it's Thursday through Sunday so you don't have to take a whole weeks vacation).

End of commercial message-
(except- if you're near Richmond, VA or driving through, I sure could use a ride)
Where are my poems???

In my head, still, I suppose- the rest in revision.

I'm trying to get my little chapbook ready by friday to take to the Poetry Festival in Williamsburg- maybe sell a few, pay for my hotel room and food.

But my printer is being cranky, reluctant to give me clean copies, and I need a cover. There was a great photo Simmons Buntin did but I don't remember where to find it- not to mention I want to save it for something else.

And of course, I have to work. Bleagh.

more poems, less work.

My reading series on May Sunday afternoons are going nicely- we had around 25 people last Sunday for Patsy Anne Bickerstaff, Timothy Ball and Montana Sullivan, and a little by myself- plus Jimmy Warner and Corey Roberts at the end.

Not a bad turnout for beautiful weather and Mother's Day in Richmond.

Next Sunday is the last one! Here

Monday, May 07, 2007

Three more days left until I'm back home from the mountains of Virginia at the Episcopal retreat called Shrinemont- it's a beautiful place and every year they make it better! It's on the site of an early 20th century hot springs where the wealthy from the DC area went to tale the waters- fell into disrepair and was bought and redone as a conference center. I've been going since the mid-seventies

The time with the congregation I work for was wonderful, though we didn't do enough music ( I did get a chance to do some arrangements for my choir and play through some new stuff). I also worked on my National Poetry Month poems, so s new chapbook is coming soon.

It drizzled a cold rain all day Saturday so some of us went to a new little winery (they're popping up all over the state). Decent, but not great- strongest in light whites, unfortunately I'm mostly a red drinker.

Parse that sentence, grammar police!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

All the poetry month poems are gone, alas- in revision as it happens, for a new chapbook that will be available at the gallery and readings-

I hate removing them but it seems prudent, there are places who won't take a poem if it has appeared "anywhere in any form" on the internet.

So, for the twenty or so people who visit here a day (I dropped my counter but that's what it was averaging) sorry- come back next year for a new set!

I just got shivers writing that- the prospect of doing it again is CRAZY! But I will have forgotten by then.

Thanks for reading.

Happy May Day!