Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Sunday, February 05, 2023

tall portents

trees make me feel small 
and immense all at once
each connecting me to all
--the rich darkness of roots

under my breath I'll call
for a spring into existence
from extinction in leaf fall
--secretly yearning to be lost 


Pic: Baker Woods with Big A.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

a time for ice hockey

Into the woven silence--shouts
--like applause in the quiet 
of song just ended 

O these joyful, prayerful wars 
--ice in the curve of a river
smiles up at the sky

Pic: The Red Cedar is frozen solid; when we rounded the corner, MSU students were playing ice hockey on it.

Friday, February 03, 2023

and so we abide

I've so crossed so many rivers this day
some over and over as night falls 
clouds scattering like children 
to a preferred rendezvous 

with you I mark the present of now 
rippling like the joy shining 
from syllables of a song 
just half recalled

and above all, the shock of welcome 
the glacial startle of kindnesses
that engulf what I've become
on this other side 
Pic: Red Cedar River/Beal St. Bridge

Thursday, January 26, 2023

winter #76519

winds search me head to toe
volant, a waterfall of sound
their coldness is everywhere 
but also--so patient with me 

I listen: they tell me everything
dumb once upon a winter time
so loudly, intending to alert all
my personal emergency systems
Pic: The backyard from the upstairs landing. It almost looks like a black-and-white picture... except for the pillows that I always fail to bring in every year...

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

book talk

to move out of no and never
look up to the untold 

It feels as if we've already 
lived forever

made the eternal arguments 
a hundredfold 

friend, tether me with books
cover me with pages

mix me in the breathlessness
of these mistakes

turn me to light and lightness
learn me to be courageous 
Pic: Books for reading groups at work this term. The first discussion was today at the President's house. Usually, a book that describes students as "consumers" would make me ditch it, but I had to read it so I did. Small colleges like ours are likely to go the way of the afternoon newspaper (i.e. into oblivion) if we don't innovate. Fair. We'll need to do that, however, without losing our idealistic core--our conviction that education impacts and improves lives and that learning to learn is the best form of future-proofing for our kids. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

road trip talk

words walk away; walk me back
tangling and untangling the past
I look to the sky; birds don't care--
they sing wordlessly anyway 

you look for proof, for guarantees
I have only sympathy, agreement--
we're now the rain's own drum beat
a storm announced on this journey 

but we're in charge of where we go,
when we stop--our talk is like a trip--
is that insight? It feels like a lightbulb
in the sudden pop of the sun overhead 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

five pups tonight

I spent many hours on the sofa in post-pizza and post-teaching lassitude this evening, accompanied by Scout (at my hip) and Huck (by my feet) and Floof (on the bannister). The fourth pup is me ("Pup," "Puppy," and "Princess Puppy Dog" have been nicknames from different loved ones--one of whom has a birthday today). 

The fifth pup is in this poem by Charles Simic (Simic died recently and I've been thinking of this poem about how we don't deserve dogs--or war--a lot). 

On this Very Street in Belgrade

Your mother carried you

Out of the smoking ruins of a building

And set you down on this sidewalk

Like a doll bundled in burnt rags,

Where you now stood years later

Talking to a homeless dog,

Half-hidden behind a parked car,

His eyes brimming with hope

As he inched forward, ready for the worst.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

double bubble

The reflection of the graffiti doubled how colorful that patch of the bridge looked as L and I came around the bend, and it reminded me of Laura Gilpin's poem "Two-headed Calf." 

L hadn't heard of this amazing poem, so I found it on my phone and read it to her with my voice breaking at the end.

Then we finished up our walk and I headed into a day of meetings meetings meetings meetings.

And some good news from this week: two poems  accepted to an anthology of pandemic-era writing, and also accepted--an academic book proposal that the editor who wrote back characterized as "gentle and kind."

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

winter in two places

somewhere not here
someone I love finishes
a shift in the ER: 12 hours
in the dark, desperate hours 

over night... on his way home
dreaming of breakfast then bed
he nevertheless stops on the way
gently checks on someone else

huddled and sleeping in a doorway

way over here, I marvel at geese
standing on a layer of ice so thin 
it's almost barely a breath of frost
I watch as bit-by-bit the ice cracks 

and gives... and the geese settle 
into different spaces and poses
their refusal to panic at anything
to do with winter's fickle apparatus

my hunger, my yearning, are an infinity

Pic: geese (standing/sitting) on a very thin layer of ice. Red Cedar River. From Monday's walk with L.

Friday, January 13, 2023

when I can't make up my mind

the constant urgings of the morning
then time scatters what comes next 

regret is everywhere like graffiti
discontent sinks in like stones

there are more than just two options
one can't really outspend them all 

I know I'll hope I know I'll hope 
I hope I'll know I hope I'll know 

Pic: Graffito on my walk with Big A this morning. (MSU, under the Farm Lane Bridge.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

a second day of sunshine this year

We're getting fancy in Lansing, MI
the day no longer seems some
element to overcome

the sun shines like it does on TV
skies turn from blank openings
to bliss in a blue abyss 

(tree shadows too have RSVP-ed 
to be on guard, fend off the look
of a picture postcard)

Pic: Second day of sunshine in Jan 2023. 

Sunday, January 08, 2023

an ode to rest

How like a winter hath my absence been
so what if I've been busy with sleep
the machinery of the day lets me be
in a time of year filled with starting:
I am the weight of flowers on a grave 
I am the songs of stones grown older 
I am the circle spreading boldly in me 

What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
I only have to close my eyes to find all--
fancy is longlegged, dashes fast and far
history recedes like a corridor of dreams
fades into quietness on each side of sleep 
dark, dawn become the same masquerade
so yes, my friend--begin the year with rest

Note: Stanza first lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 97 that begins:
"From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! 
What old December’s bareness every where! 
How like a winter hath my absence been..."

Thursday, January 05, 2023

the long arc (a poem for Scout)

I keep walking backwards 
from want to hope
they tell me I use 
"hope" to cope

my pulse beats with regret 
and distress though
it's true they too 
worship hope 

I know I keep disappearing
into a gratefulness
parroting prayers
to survive

remembering to thank ancestors 
(the ones that petted wolves)
who knew love would
arrive as you 
Pic: Scout the champion snuggler... his arm over my leg 😍

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Farewell, 2022

A good last day with two long walks with LB and BSL to round off the year. 

A raucous dinner time with Scout and Huck underfoot, and Nu, At, and Big A at the counter for parathas--the person waiting for me to finish the next paratha were in charge of running a round of Truth or Dare. Some calls to grandparents, the traditional new year presents (calendars and something inspiring), a few eps of Joe Pera... and then At was off to a show with friends, Nu was on with friends online, and I joined PM's write-in for the new year on Slack (where I started and abandoned a poem based on PM's prompt). 

And then, as Big A, Scout and Huck napped inches away from me, it was 2023. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

sunrise sonnet

I can taste the new year in this new day
pulling me awake with its splash of light
my voice and sight fused with throbbing,
thoughts buckling, shaking free answers
and origins, shouting hellos back to life
sometimes with "?" sometimes with "!"
because who the heck knows certainty 

I feel carried like the five-year-old who 
fell asleep just before the final turn home
the steady hand on my back unnecessary
except to comfort me, a kiss in my hair
tells me I'm not a burden, but a delight...
carry me even if I think I'm conning you 
carry me for a while / to feigned eternity 

Pic: Sunrise on waking (through the landing window). The snow had all melted by the end of the day--it was close to 50 degrees here today!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

finish soft not strong

the year will grow dark 
like a lovers' room 
a beautiful failure 
of sleep

be tender and selfish: watch 
wants freeze and fall...
away like fugitive 

but come, don't let me forget 
how this week's thaw--like
last week's freeze--is sure
to return

Pic: Mallards on The Red Cedar.

Monday, December 19, 2022

at a stand still

after all these years 
I'll still write you poetry
you'll still bring me flowers
after all these years 
you'll will me to learn how to
pop open the hood of our car 
refill the reservoir with cleaner 
in all these years
I had not done this for myself
trusting you to be continuous
as a stream, as the sun, without end
until the years sloped into forever
but I can understand too 
because of all our years 
how you'll will me to be safe
so I can wait clunky as hope 
while you are gone and still
be here when you return 
for many more years
Pic: The Red Cedar River in the falling snow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

in the plot to continue

here I am safe, fattening on whatever I can find 
remembering what it used be like out there 
the hunger spreading like an empty field 

where I kept making the same skeletal mistake 
over and over like the single kernel from 
which whole fields once generated 

greater than any winter ripening is the beauty
of appetite, my favorite part of the future 
formidable as seeds springing up 

Pic: A plump red cardinal; MSU Riverwalk with Big A.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

a quiet sort of mutiny

sentinel these stands
disarming in triumph
serene argent sibilance
calling out only to me 
in impatience but also
in conscience, I know--

I write to no one I know 
not to expect a response
I know "no" is in itself
a sentence--all I can do 
is marvel, I can't explain 
no--I 'm already letting go  
Pic: Baker Woods in the snow. 

Friday, December 09, 2022

on an internet kind of day

I can go incandescent 
                                       waiting, for you--
are lunatic with longing 

doing wondrous things--
                                        and where we are
there is time for refuge 

use your words, as they say
                                         call out to me--either
I didn't catch your name

or I forgot how to say it 
                                          in English
you laugh in confusion 

tell me how you found
                                           a way--without 
saying where it might be

Thanks to Mel at Stirrup Queens for the shoutout on her 922nd Friday Blog Roundup. As always, when I get a shoutout from Mel, it coincides with other good publication news--this time the editorial go-ahead on a WGS-related book project.

how CAN the kids be alright?

Nu had just raised their hand to answer a question in Spanish class; I'd just landed in my office and poured myself my first cup of tea....