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Posts Tagged ‘Lynn’

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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These are the days we tell ourselves to stay in the house.

We wish for brighter days, sunlit days, days our grandmothers

would recognize. When I was a child, I spoke as a child,

but now….we long for childhood, hours spent beside the warm stove

that always produced sweetness. Should we consult the oracle or almanac,

find out the science behind these dark days? Everything ends in tears.

 

We do not watch the news for fear we will break down, tears

streaming down our faces, not fit to write or cook or leave the house.

Instead we consult poems as if they were oracles, we read the almanac

the way we used to read the internet. We find ourselves deciphering grandmother’s

recipes as if they are cryptograms with news on how to use the stove

to create happiness. If only it were so. We long for our time as a child,

 

running, running, with grass-stained knees and a red, red mouth. No child

should have to know what we know now. No, children’s tears

might result from accidents with the swing, a bee sting, a hot stove,

not an encounter with a monster who is all too real, or photos of the White House

and the horror therein. We long for another time, for the President of grandmother,

an old man with white hair, too senile to be dangerous. According to the almanac,

 

the End Times are not yet upon us. Let us give thanks. But no almanac

contains prophecies of the future. For that, we must consult a child,

the Dalai Lama, or an ancient rune. Remember what your grandmother

told you: If you can’t say something nice…shh! The salt in your tears

might foretell dementia or the coming of a great vision. In your house,

you have the ingredients for a chocolate cake. Look at your stove,

 

it could be a portal to another universe, a method of time travel, the stove

can move you through the miracle of fire. This information is in no almanac,

nor any Holy Book nor is it found in your mind. In order to live, leave the house,

find the way laid out in the sidewalk, in hopscotch trails drawn with chalk by a child.

There is no other way. As you travel, you will encounter memories, your first tears

shed into the blonde hair of a doll, or left on your mother’s shoulder. Your grandmother

 

is no longer of this world. You must accept that. Now you become the grandmother,

the mother, the sorcerer, teller of tales, the witch. Stir your caldron at the stove,

mix wine, the juice of lemon and orange, the blood of strawberries, your own tears,

with the strains of some old Psalm. You must survive. Consult the almanac,

plant daisies and kale and thyme. View the garden of the world as if you were a child,

craft a bed with your own hands, sew your own linens. Your body is a house.

 

Stitch together your tears to make an emotional almanac.

Be a grandmother, ruminating before the cold stove.

We each become a child again inside this dying house.

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