Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book published!

The book arrived on Wednesday!
The title poem is posted on one of the June postings.
The artist who provided the cover is Caryl Bryer Fallert...
it is a quilt called "Migration 2"
My book is available from the publisher, Plain View Press
also available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble
Celebrate with me!

Friday, August 17, 2007

For my father in 2006

At two o’clock today he declared
“Well, it’s time to go.”
Where?” I asked
Where?” my blind and deaf mother asked.
”But you are home.” we said.
“You’ve been living here eight years,” I said.
“since you were eighty-four.”

My father, now unsteady on your feet,
you don’t remember your location, your wallet, your keys,
but you do remember
when I ran out in front of
oncoming traffic one day,
after kindergarten.
You were on the other side of the street.
You said it was because I was
already nearsighted
and no one knew it yet.
I recall
it was because
I didn’t notice the oncoming traffic –
All I saw was you,
YOU, I saw clearly,
and still do,
standing on the other side of the street,
waiting for me.

where have I been

busy June... then, July 27, my Dad died.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

On a Superhighway in Maryland

after Allen Ginsburg

Sometimes I think of you, Emily Dickinson, when I am standing in the pouring rain,
feeling my blouse cling to my back, my hair drip into my eyes.
Sometimes I think of you while eating potato chips, and your starvation.
Sometimes I think of you when I see the oven bird make her unobtrusive rounds
on the ground outside my kitchen window.
I am so excited to see her there that she would never understand.
In my hungry numbness, and searching for answers, I drove onto the Beltway, dreaming of your
spare words.
What flashing lights! What cutting in! Tractor trailers sliding by me on the left!
Lanes full of vehicles built for snow! Business women talking on cell phones in their black sedans... and you, May Sarton, what were you doing in the moving van?
O Emily Dickinson, I am on my way to the Carmelite cloister
where I feel your spirit,
where I glimpse your thin shoulders heaving
at the towhee in the birch,
where I hear you imitate the love song of the house wren,
so lush compared to your spare human nouns.
I brave the Beltway to go there
and you are with me in the passenger seat,
listening with me to the radio, to the songs of my youth.
Come on baby light my fire.
Why do fools fall in love?
I see you there in the passenger seat, gripping the dashboard,
surrounded by a fiery mist.
On the way to your grave in the meadow,
Sue spoke of your treasures of fruit and flower.
She said you sat in the light of your own fire.
She said, so well you knew your chemistries, that
your swift poetic rapture was like the long glistening note of a bird
one hears in the June woods at high noon but can never see.
Sit beside me here in the traffic, Emily Dickinson,
and tell me about your selections.
Who did you watch as they carried your small body out to the hill
in May covered with flowers?
It is October as we ride the Beltway in the glaring morning sun.
Emily Dickinson, what do you say about the angry red cars,
the roaring black four wheel drives that loom behind me?
What do you say about this walled city of streaming metal
and gas fired speed?
Will the flickering brake lights
make you sink to the floor of the car, sick with vertigo?
Will the hissing of rubber on asphalt, the tumult of a thousand engines
make you want to disappear behind the tan concrete walls?
Will we drive all day in this exhausted maze?
We’ll both be burned.
Will we reach Carmel, and stroll in the lost country of prayer?
Oh, Emily, frail and sherry-eyed, lonely scribbler,
what relief did you have when the carriage stopped for you?

Prairie Warbler, Marriottsville

Prairie Warbler, Marriottsville

Dazed by May’s moist breath,
I wander the grove of young trees,
into the secret land of desire
where the prairie warbler comes each year
to mate and nest.
Two of them fly so close by my face
intent on each other.
Another one sings her song,
a high, ascending whistle
climbing into the silence of the hot afternoon.
Insects buzz around me,
the sun drones about me,
I see her yellow body at the top of
one of those thousand slim young trees.
Ah! there you are!

I come back the next year,
and the scene is the same.
I am different,
not so delirious in love.
Seared by the stove,
cut by the broken glass,
but you, yellow lover,
too busy to notice me,
you are back,
calling your call
which I will travel
miles out of my way
to hear, to hear!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Georgia O'Keefe Looks Over Her Shoulder

Just when she thinks she’s painted all her fear,
When bleached skulls turn to poppies red as lust,
The sound of something wild attracts her ear.

Black jacket, white soft collar curving near
the place where desert sunset turns to rust
awakens in that neck a prickling fear.

The haunches of dead lovers gleam as clear
in skulls as in the orchid’s velvet crust.
Dry rattling of bone curls back her ear.

Her upswept silken hair declares the year
in shades of gray and tortoise brown as dust
just when she thought she’d painted all her fear.

Her thin pink pearl of seashell curves to hear
the desert’s voice, more fierce, more dry than just
as three fine wrinkles flow down from her ear.

Such gaunt grace turns her, luscious and severe,
containing bones and orchids, fruit and crust!
Just when she thinks she’s painted all her fear,
the sound of something wild attracts her ear.

Postcard of Georgia O'Keeffe

On Clearing Sr.Jean Marie's Garden

Thirty years ago, I watched her lumber out to the grove.
She was old then, with a hump on her back.
In full habit and veil, she hauled gallons of water
to keep the lilies alive.

Thirty years later, I’m back.
Her name is on a grave in the cemetery nearby.
I took my rake and started the search.

First I found stones large as bread loaves
which she placed around each house-sized space.
Under decades of leaves,
daffodils pushed, blankets of hyacinths,
duvets of lilies of the valley.

By July I had found the twelve concrete stars,
five-pointed, large as my hand,
arranged in the ground in a room-sized oval.
Within, egg sized stones embedded, described a cross
entwined with the letter M.
She had made the design of the back of her Medal,
enclosed it with a fine brick border.
In which heat soaked summer had she made this prayer?

Now Spring, her gardens bloom profusely,
filling the woods with fragrance.
Virginia bluebells flourish
inside the Miraculous Medal.

the garden in the woods

Radar Image of Migrating Birds

Radar Image of Migrating Birds...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

what are they?

Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky

What else looks different from far ?
What you expect it to be
it is not.
Four in the morning,
Flurry on the radar screen.
How many miles away
In the upper atmosphere?
We need another name for that direction.
North is different on a map.

It looks like
Scattered showers in a clear sky,
and so the meteorologist calls them.
How did they finally discover
that dust on the radar was
a wide band of warblers,
storm of black-throated blues,
tornado of tanagers,
powder of parulas,
blizzard of buntings?

Prothonotaries enter a preliminary statement
across the night sky.
Redstarts rush down to the new trees.

We need another name for that direction.
North is different on a map.