memorial for a brilliant woman

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NAPOMO poems eleven through fifteen

I apologize profusely- I had 2 computers out of whack (one for good- my netbook) and the other restored with a complete clean install. I still don't have the printer hooked up or my word processing programs up and running but I HAVE been writing my poems in notebooks- not having a smart phone- I had to wait to send poems - here are poems
eleven thru fifteen - nine and ten are somewhere in another notebook, maybe at work-

Day 15

So she wins a prize

It’s true, she drops her uterus
like it’s a celebrity, filling the maw
with assorted body parts,
mewling proper names and fluids,

while you, timid sister, stammer
at the mention of pussy ‘n taint
(should I edit, should I?)
ask me again and I’ll tell you

the lips that say love can draw blood,
the sharp-tipped tongue craves
your "demure little asshole"* but
doesn’t linger nearly long enough.

Take you proper nouns and sit
on them, I’ll stay properly discreet.

* from Tony Hoagland

Day 14

More Cowbell

At the party, I re-met memories, people long out of my life, now back in because of a mutual friend’s natal observance. They spun elaborate tales of medical procedures as I nodded (just right) and said "Oh, my!" with proper concern. We all face our decrepitude with brave faces, canes and baggy dresses, woven wraps, and sensible shoes. Some have stopped celebrating their years, others insist you know immediately just how long it took them to get this far, as if they took the long way (and are the better for it) while you zipped down the bypass using family money. They ask about recycling. I want to say, yes, the crab dip is soylent green and you are what we eat but some have forgotten even how to laugh, if they ever did. I drive home alone, my generation on the radio, floating between lanes, singing along as loud as I ever could.

Day 13

clip art poem

sunrise, with eagle
new daffodils at the botanical garden
volunteers blooming at the fence
school buses red, yellow, black, slow
farmer’s market kale and gingerroot
biscuits from Hardee’s
hardware store for a hammer
lunch from Popeye’s
nap on an eyelet spread
quick load, colors on cold
healthy stir-fry, orange, green
neighborhood stroll
Maxfield Parrish sundown
guitars on the porch
neopolitan ice cream
cotton floral nightgown, long
fresh sheets

Day 12

That cake again

I made you a cake one year
when we were just divorced
red velvet, but it may have been
dump cake, better than it sounds

some recipe your mother gave me
forty-something years ago
I pretended to care a long time
but always made a cake for you.

Twenty years ago I wrote a poem
about the cake, but it was all a lie,
I think it was, the poem was,
after we separated I stopped cooking.

For some reason, I persist in the farce
that there was a cake I delivered
or didn’t, may not have made. I have
made a hundred since, none for you.

Day 11

She won’t say

what you did, won’t text or call
no indication of the sudden silence-
it may have been something you said

or she could be dead at the landing
from a tumble alone in her big house
blinded by a sudden light from outside.

she could have been hit by a taxi
on her way to the Empire State Building
or taken up in a pre-rapture practice run.

Alien abduction should be considered
though her neighborhood is quiet
and full of frame houses of a certain age.

The twenty-two text messages you sent
may have influenced her invisible state
advised by a girlfriend to "cool it"

she won’t say, you can’t ask
sometimes the best path is to back up,
back off, and go another way home.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 8

Right this minute

I am annoyed at how badly I use time
as if there is plenty, as if I have a secret.
Yes, I do have something to keep
from you, there are infinite reasons.
Twenty-nine years ago (right now)
my water broke a day early (gross)
Nothing has been the same since,
with great pain comes responsibility.
I’m tired of checking your breathing
waiting to hear your car door shut,
There must be a statute to limit
your expectations of how I can help.
Apologies your father isn’t taller,
you're welcome for the Palmer charm.
In the end you were cut out of me,
now let go of the goddamned apron!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 7

Light a candle (for Yom HaShoah)

On days like this I leave the house dressed for sun
to warm my skin, enough if I get home before dark,
before the night chill rises around bare ankles.

The car is never close enough these times, the walk
too far, I fold my arms tight around me, hunched
against the cold and dark, uneasy but unafraid.

Then I remember her, the Catholic teen from Poland,
swept up in a raid of her father’s shop near the ghetto
where many Jewish girls worked, some she called friends.

Her father’s protests fell on deaf ears, they took her
and forced the frightened girls to walk to a train
on the edge of the city, wearing thin coats, gloveless.

She was the youngest, believing her family would come,
whispering assurance to those with her, as they huddled
in clumps, pushed along by the soldiers that night.

They sang and hugged on the ride, warmer in the car
with so many others pressed against them, then stood
in lines for separation, for assignment, they believed.

She was healthy, many were, the tiniest and frail girls
taken elsewhere, it was so cold! Everyone prayed,
cried until they were beyond tears, until silence came.

Her story enfolds me, I will light a candle for her tonight,
read an awkward Kaddish for them all, for the six million,
so I can say on the other side "I did not forget you".

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 6

There is no bad day to die

In my teens I begged for my life
to see what was going to happen,
twenty years later I whispered
silent prayers for another decade
so my children would know me.
As time rolled on I wanted to have
all the "things" I’d missed
before the end, leave my mark.
I wrote furiously raw poems,
until I learned to be careful.
Right now, I want to sleep
with some assurance of morning,
rest in spite of your snores,
let silence embrace me when
you are gone and I’m still here.

Friday, April 05, 2013

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 5

Bringing them down

Roy Rogers liked rough sex, I can only say,
"Oh, Dale, dearest Dale, did you?"
It’s as if I caught my parents on the couch
naked, I know it happened but I can’t imagine
it was anything but perverse, no love lost.
I don’t need to hear what famous men
did with cigars, the stains they left.
How everyone knew (when we didn’t).
No stranger to animal instincts, I have
found solace there, in cowboy hands.
To those who live undamaged,
love themselves enough to know
pain is never reward, I offer blessings
and apology, the urban definition of sin
is good, dirty fun: a truthful lie.
There are so many transgressions,
so little secrecy, and less discretion.
What childhood hero will be outed next?
Did Eisenhower diddle little girls?
Madame Curie do it in the lab?
It’s not the desire to turn a blind eye,
but those pictures were set long ago
before I knew of harsher things.
Let the dead lie in restless peace,
the living keep me busy enough.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 4


Salt is the new lava in lamp-ery, that is
not to say lamprey (better suited to pie
and spice world worms).
Sometimes I hold my Himalayan close
longing to lick the luscious pink,
sad cow that I am.
It warms my breast as I breathe in,
say: ocean, ocean, ocean,
alternating nostrils.
I am what I have been made to be
by The Martin Agency, TV,
classic rock.
At twenty I would watch the lava
stoned, a mantra of bubbles.
the rise and fall.
This solid rock reassures,
I, too, am not impermanent,
but preserved.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

NAPOMO 2013 poem-a-day April 3


It wasn’t hunger that made her
punch through the skin,
scooping soft vanilla wafers
into her waiting mouth,
drove her to lick fingers
and go back again and again
until the Pyrex dish gaped
half empty on the shelf.
They had told her "help yourself"
to whatever she wanted
but they couldn’t have meant
the untouched dessert
covered in Saran wrap
well after the pudding set,
the big chunks of bananas,
twice the cookies called for.
The baby wouldn’t stir-
her role was watchman, only
there because someone must be.
She rocked in mewling shame
on the Danish modern couch,
house perfectly decorated
in Bayshore Estates, nicer than
where she usually babysat.
What remained beckoned her,
whipped cream splotched
in lazy design, the soft wafers,
shut-eyed pleasure filling
empty spaces, she ate and ate
licking her palm clean,
as the sudden flash of headlights
made her heart clutch.
Not them. A neighbor.
She filled the sink with water,
scrubbed glass too clean.
"It slipped. I’m so very sorry.
I cleaned the mess." She wouldn’t
work there again. The husband
drove her home, where nothing
would be as good, or all hers.

Monday, April 01, 2013

NAPOMO poem-a-day April 2

April 2
Richly colored night (after a quote by Van Gogh)
There was a time when
drinks in sunrise shades
colored shy conversation.
Morning, the last thing
on our minds, always came
too soon, too bright, loud.
Walking back to your place
or mine, even the puddles
threw rainbows back at us.
My hair was long and red,
yours: plentiful. The moon
washed across our bodies.
Thousands of nights passed,
we shut the shades, put kids
to bed, fell into dark dreams.
Now we are alone again,
almost strangers. Unfamiliar,
uncomfortable, unsure.
The city streets are better lit,
angled, arched in yellow,
spattered with flash of neon.
In the old cafe, orange glow
paints our faces smooth, young,
we remember how to be foolish.

NAPOMO Poem-a-Day April 1

Giving up the ghost 

I saw you in the corner of the room
just yesterday, I was humming a song
we sang a long time ago, how was it
you knew to make an appearance right then?
If we’d been that connected at the time
you’d still be here or I’d be there with you,
none of this slow fade to forgetfullness
rising everyday a little dimmer.
The face I see in my head is not you,
it’s a photograph from the Facebook page
I memorized before you took it down,
your half-smile my addiction, secret fix.
If you quit showing up I can forget
but you’re the shoe sticking out from under
the bed I almost fall on each morning
you always kept me slightly off balance.
Even this poem is another way you
intrude unwanted when I was thinking spring,
Easter eggs, taking down storm windows.
It was April, I was playing piano.