Posts Tagged ‘Lynn’


                                                                               after Ogden Nash

There’s something about a Manhattan

the bitters, the ice, the vermouth

it’s smooth and it’s sweet and it’s something complete

and it may be a little uncouth


There’s something about a Manhattan

a concoction fittingly urban

it might be the clink

or the glance and the wink

but I think that perhaps it’s the bourbon

(written by Jason & Jane & I)


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I hear a nighttime sound within my room

Who’s that, hooting right at noon?

a Great Horned Owl, a Screech, a loon

Whose call disturbs this sun instead of moon?


What owl hoots by my window right at noon?

my senses must be dampened by my sleep

Whose call could disturb this sunny room?

a false owl, raven, such a tiny peep


Surely my ears deceive me, drunk from sleep

it cannot be an owl, no not at noon

a false owl,  perhaps, a finch’s tiny peep

I’m not awake, I’m weary still from sleep


It cannot be an owl, no not at noon

perhaps a Great Horned Owl, a Screech, a loon?

I awaken, weary from my sleep

lulled by a nighttime sound within my room


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First, the alarm, five-thirty, a staticky hum needles

my brain. I’m awake. Then the husband shower-blocks

me, I’m barefoot on the cold tile, you can see how

the feeling begins. The morning is black; I make

coffee. My 7 a.m. students slowly raise their eyes,

drifting into consciousness like clouds, mere dreams

pushing through. Next, not enough coffee. I

cultivate hate: a thorn, buried in my chest, blooms

everywhere, with no origin. No coffee, no wifi, weak

tea. It’s not you, I tell the world, it’s me. My turn

to drift, home this time, where everything I see

blooms blue. On Monday, this is what I’ve earned.

Some days, demands exceed capacity.

Nothing to do then, but consume, and stew, and be.

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This is a poem about all the books I bought (Nightingale, After-Normal, Holy Moly) and all the potatoes I ate, also let’s mention the oysters, the white wine and the red, the IPA I drank among other Ducks, also Colson Whitehead and Atlas Pinto. There was some rain, numerous transaction involving credit card and grief, sunshine, and also ice cream made of hazelnuts.

What of the man who said, “We’re not worthy of God’s Love”?

Sir, there are so many things I’m not worthy of, but let’s begin here: shoes that cost $289, but there’s no tax in Oregon, so let’s begin here. 

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There’s the modern rhyme of Nabakov

which the Police have paired with cough–

as in “he starts to shake and cough”–

Sting was a teacher, hence Nabakov.

We maybe should have started out with you,

which lovers and singers rhyme with blue.

These lovers are gone and also never true,

which gives the writers lots to rhyme with you.

The best rhymes, my poetry teacher said,

were in Don Juan, which we then promptly read.

We recited rhymes to hear what Byron said,

our lack of rhyming prowess conjured dread.

Byron called us ladies intellectual,

a backhanded rhyme with hen pecked you all.

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My Preferred Poisons

“Please name your preferred poisons.”
— Wendell Berry     “Questionnaire”


What is the one that ends up in the river?

Washes down from factories and such?

Dioxin? Yes, I would prefer a razor

like Dorothy Parker, who made much

of the difficulty of death. So easy

now, with the plethora of toxins

conveniently at hand, a busy

woman might encounter ricin

in the mail, lead in a glass of water,

a variety of options beneath the sink.

We say we’ll deal with those later,

but even air should make us stop and think.

We ignore the poison effects of how we live

until we’ve not another breath to give.

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You went to school in what passed for the inner city with the black kids, and Mexicans and maybe a few Greeks. But you were kids and you chased each other across the dangerous blacktop. The slides were hot metal and the monkey bars seemed to be made from old pipes. Often a child fell from the metal dome or from a ladder. You cried and you laughed. This is where you made best friends. This is where a boy wanted to hold your hand, sweaty from square dancing, and later you cried. Not everything made sense the way that math added up to 10, for ten fingers. The building was old and sometimes, during lunch, you answered the phone in the office.

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These are the facts. This is what I know.

On gloomy days, we have to face our fears.

They say the rain today may turn to snow.


The sky is gray, a day for saying no.

A day for feeling lazy, shedding tears.

These are the facts. This is what I know.


Beneath the clouds, there lurks a fiendish glow.

The pounding rain assaults my quiet ears.

They say the rain today may turn to snow.


But Spring is on its way, it’s coming slow,

Arrives more slowly with each passing year.

These are the facts. This is what I know.


When rain begins to fall, I long to go.

Wrapped in a blanket, with my warm dog near,

I watch the rain slowly become the snow.


With my mind, I will the rain to slow.

We don’t need rain; we’re done with water here.

I’ve heard the facts. I know what I know.

I don’t want this chilly rain to turn to snow.

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I worry constantly that I’m getting nothing done.

I fold the laundry, take the dog on walks.

What I want to do is read, or have some fun.

My husband doesn’t listen when I talk.


I fold the laundry, take the dog on walks.

I should be writing novels, thinking thoughts.

My husband doesn’t listen when I talk,

When I complain about the shoulds and oughts.


I should be writing novels, thinking thoughts.

I drink coffee, daydream, talk to rocks

who listen to my complaints of shoulds and oughts.

I fret about my writing. Go on walks.


I drink coffee, daydream, talk to rocks,

but I just want to read, or have some fun.

I fret about my writing while I walk.

I worry constantly. I’m getting nothing done.

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On Dreaming

“Dreams are tuning the mind for conscious awareness.”

–Dr. J. Allen Hobson


My late-night viewing provides the backdrop

for disturbing dreams: this one the exact nature

of my bitchiness. I am taken to task by proper

women, with perfect hair and furniture.

This is the exercise of last night’s dream.

In a nondescript kitchen, women surround

me. I recognize some of them, it seems,

but as I move through the dream, walk around,

I am lost in thought, dragged back to junior high,

when everything I did or felt or wore was wrong.

The women scream out a litany of my sins. I

am too cruel, my house messy, my hair too long.

In dreams, the simply thought or feared is real.

The landscape of my dreams is what I feel.

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