poetry

odd number

by chris thackston

Poet in the Park by Ron DeKett
Poet in the Park by Ron DeKett
Yes, I am the odd number,
It is I, the lonely worm,
Feeling trapped in a flock of birds
They fly through the trees,
Evil eyes staring at me.
 
Yes, I am the odd number,
Alone and rare as a black rose,
The Daisies that surround me,
Are full of color and light,
My darkness, a shadow of life.

 

 

dam

by k.g. mcabee

River in the Park by Ron DeKett
River in the Park by Ron DeKett
Back in the day
The mills dammed the rivers,
Damning them to stone cages,
Funneling their freedom
Into bolts of cotton and linen and denim.
Now we free the rivers
From their rocky chains.
But are they happier?
Or do they miss
Their occupation, clothing the world,
Hiding its nakedness
Under the colors of the stars:
Red giant, blue dwarf, black hole?

 

river watching

by m.m. griffin

Boulders in the Park by Ron DeKett
Boulders in the Park by Ron DeKett
I hear cackles from earlier generations
and echoes of past conversations
in the water’s thucks and bubbles.
The voices are wet branches against the sky.
 
I see images of vaguely familiar faces
and distant places in the foamy water
crashing over rocks and swirling
in the river’s spiral.
 
I want to wade in the shallow water
and revel in the current’s resistance,
but there is not enough time.
 
I watch a man toss his rod into brown water.
After three attempts, he catches a small fish.
 
I try to remember something unseen
and wonder how far the river flows.
I want to stay and play for a while,
but I must go.

 

whitewater by the mill

by marjorie garrett

Rock in the Park by Ron DeKett
Rock in the Park by Ron DeKett
 
That would be a fierce hydraulic
if you took it in a kayak.
I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you do, your judgment’s slack.
You will end up on a gurney
with a spine board on your back.
It will be a lonesome journey
to the rehab place and back.
 

are you ready?

If you’ve been told you have two to four weeks to live, what would do you do?

My cousin told her daughter she wanted a lemon pie

so her whole family could eat together one more time.

What would you do?

I’d write all those letters I’ve put off.

I’d call my family and tell them I love them.

I’d sit outside, or watch the glories of spring through a window.

I’d listen to the birds chirp and the leaves rustle.

I’d bring back all the good memories and hold them close.

I’d banish every bad memory I have.

And I hope I’d think of the adventure I am heading toward.

No one knows what death is like. Soon I’d know.

– Jenny Munro

(Written shortly after my cousin was given a time limit for her life)

i am

I am — a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin.

I am — a woman, a dreamer, an explorer, a writer, a traveler, a doer.

I am … one of a kind, one of many, a bit of star dust, a moment in time, a particle in the universe.

I am … an artist, an excavator, a beam of light, an idea, a committee member.

I am … a student, a walker, a reader, a homeowner, a graduate (of many schools and lessons).

I am …. a worker,  a flower lover,  a photographer, a poet, a reporter, a wordsmith.

I am … a collector of teapots, family letters, books, salt and pepper shakers and carved eggs.

I am … a cleaner, a creator, a decorator, a lover of all, a swimmer in oceans, lakes, rivers and words.

I am … a volunteer, a friend, a caretaker, a gift-giver, a picker up of the pieces.

I am … a mover, a shaker, an experimenter, a collector of frogs, a devotee of many things old and a some things new.

I am … a retiree, a reacher for new experiences, a tea drinker, a dieter, a cook.

I am — a nurturer without children, an animal lover without pets, a guardian without weapons.

I am … one with the world, a seer of visions, a teller of tales, a knitter of memories, a repository of hopes.

I am … ME.

– Jenny Munro

(I was trying to write a personal biography and getting nowhere. So I decided to try this.)

to mark: forever 6

by: Jenny Munro

balloons

Red and yellow, green and blue, pink and white – the balloons float up to Heaven

Through rain and sunshine, clouds and wind.

They begin their journeys in Florida and Rhode Island, South Carolina and Massachusetts, even Washington, D.C. But they all end in Heaven with Mark.

Those bits of rubber, air and color each honor the youngster, showing him he had family he’d never met – sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, even his mother (whom of course he knew) and a stepfather.

A person’s life and worth is not measured in years but in love.

Mark is rich in that.

– Jenny Munro

do i have to wear pantyhose?

Click to watch Nan read this poem.

by: Nan Lundeen

They look down their noses and ask if I will
sit on the committee,
make a presentation,
take a job with the corporation.

And I want to know—
do I have to wear pantyhose?

They ask if I will teach a class,
speak to the congregation,
accept a most officious task,
and sit on yet another committee.

And I want to know—
do I have to wear pantyhose?

They ask if I will host the symposium,
teach the workshop,
sing for disadvantaged tots,
and sit on yet another committee.

And I want to know—
do I have to wear pantyhose?

They ask if I will witness the execution,
provide them with locution,
marry the candlestick maker in the finest clothes,
listen while the many unburden their woes.

And I want to know—
do I have to wear pantyhose?

Oh, give me your bare legged,
your grandmother in tennis shoes,
your gardener in old boots
your hikers
your wanderers
your dreamers
the barefooted—
grass and chicken shit
between their toes—
but do not,
oh, do not
give me pantyhose!

 
Buy Nan Lundeen’s powerful collection of poems about strong women who rip off their pantyhose, celebrate the “tao of me dancing round the poplar tree,” and find redemption in a little red bra at Amazon.com.

 

best of times

by Adamy D. Diaz

Feb. 3, 2013
Dedicated to: “Mi Gente”

The wind howls in my ears
As “The Best of Times” plays in my tunes
Memories flooding with the beat
And the rhythm of the song.

Step by step by step,
The cadence of the song
Matches the beat of my run.

Images from a distant past
Replayed with every step,
A spark of joy with every verse
Of this familiar song.

“The best of Times” always bring memories
Of friends in times long gone
And friendships that remain
Preserved through time and space.

“The best of Times” brings back memories
But the best has not yet come.

crate

Robert’s Dairy
Omaha, Nebraska
Misuse Punishable by Law

 
What’s the deal here?
An old, red plastic crate
announces it will not be misused
or the misuser shall go straight to
jail.
 
Maybe pay a fine, I think.
 
What is misuse of a red, plastic crate?
 
Does jurisprudence have
an opinion on red plastic crates?
What is the crate canon?
 
Let us apply reason:
the crate was meant only for milk
and other use constitutes misuse.
 
Now I’m worried and confused—
what about cream and cottage cheese?
My God, what about yogurt?
Does feta step over the line?
 
I strongly suspect
my scribbled poems
and ideas smudged on the backs of napkins
are violations.
 
That sets me to worrying
about the crate police.
Will they knock on my door
in the middle of the night armed with a warrant?
  
Do they have a right to search?
What constitutes probable cause?
I suspect being a poet
is cause enough.
 
But surely this is paranoia
and what counts
is that I have always been
kind to the crate
although once I made it carry a cactus.
 
……….Nan Lundeen
 
The poet is grateful to SCWW’s Horizons 2002 where “Crate” was named best of issue for poetry.

 

birches

Not big on religion
I’m resting in poetry.
 
When D.’s dad lay dying
she read Robert
Frost to him
 
and grand white wings answered
swinging from their
own birches.
 
……………..Nan Lundeen
 
The Poet is grateful to Yemassee where “Birches” first appeared.
 

 

companion

My little dog
keeps me company
while I brush my teeth.
Nobody else I know
will do that.
 
…….Nan Lundeen
 
The poet is grateful to Iowa Writes where “Companion” first appeared.

 

last mother

Anasazi Mother,
 
at home among
prickly pear
sagebrush
lizard
 
did you sing to Moon?
 
Anasazi Mother,
 
boulder jumble
sandy canyon
coyote yip
burr of wasp
 
did snake speak to you?
 
Anasazi Mother,
 
spires spearing dry sky
pockmarked rock
cruel sun
red rock nest
 
did you dream of cool caves?
 
Anasazi Mother,
 
some say when a new shaman’s hand
rests in a petroglyph handprint,
the shamans gone before
fill her with their spirits
 
what rock-locked wisdom do we need?
 
Anasazi Mother,
 
what knowledge lies buried
with your ancestors
under your kitchen floor?
 
Anasazi Mother,
 
when your hands failed
did you still yearn
to imprint sun-seared boulders?
when your lips burned
and your tongue swelled
did you keen at the water hole?
 
when your hearing failed
did you mourn
buzz of bee, wind stirring ricegrass?
 
when your heart failed
did you still struggle to ask Moon
why the rains no longer blessed the land
and all your children died?
 
……..Nan Lundeen
Valley of Fire, Nevada
 
The poet is grateful to The Petigru Review where “Last Mother” first appeared.

 

falling into night

day wanes
slowly in Saluda
sunlight sifts air
feathers whisper
under pale lit sky
hammock becalmed
swims butterflies
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
there
 
light fades
 
tin roof glinting
trilling chameleon tail
now you see it
now you don’t
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
woods full under half moon
sliced cleaver straight
like gram cut her pumpkin pie
this world
 
the other world
 
glimpsed like fairy feet
moon cool dips frog pond
whippoorwill song
light falling into tomorrow
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
they read the tarot
that afternoon
at Betsy’s kitchen table
two friends
 
listen
 
hear that
 
baby birds
those are baby birds
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
white half moon
pale in the gloaming
 
wings flapping
owl over road
swooping low
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
cottage side yard
meadowlike
cupped in woods
 
there
 
it falls
 
the dark
 
and the lawn
fills with fireflies
fat bright fireflies
 
blink
 
blink
 
blink
and over there
 
more
 
river over rock
river over rock
 
moon bright now against black
 
owl
moon
alone
 
but for the black bear
napping in day lilies
 
river over rock
river over rock
river over rock
river over rock
 
………………Nan Lundeen
 
The poet is grateful to the College of Charleston’s Illuminations where “falling into night” first appeared.