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Tuesday, September 9th 2014

11:24 AM

Gravenstein

Gravenstein

 

This was the scent that marked the end of summer

and the inevitable waltz into autumn's

colorful dance of crisp air and sweaters:

Cousin Tommy's delivery of

his annual bushel of gravensteins

from the tree at the end of his drive.

 

This was an afternoon of peeling and slicing -

always with the sharpest of paring knives -

never, ever with one of those newfangled things

made for the woman too helpless to handle a knife.

 

This was the trip downstairs to the big freezer

with trays of sliced apples to quick-freeze

while applesauce simmered upstairs

on the stove top and canning jars sterilized

in the hot water bath drawn for the occasion.

 

This was the cooking lesson given

at the kitchen counter

because every good woman must know

how to make a pie crust from scratch

and how to fill it with the perfect thin slices

tossed in sugar, a pinch of salt

and some lemon juice.

 

This is the scent that each year fills my kitchen

and for an evening transports me back

to that table where I watched the good woman

take that first satisfying bite and felt the season

wrap its arms around me and deliver on its warm

sweet promises once again.

 

For Betty

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Tuesday, July 29th 2014

10:38 AM

Diogenes Shrugged

Diogenes Shrugged

 

“Fuck Atlas,” she sighed,

pouring another glass of wine

and adjusting her tiara.

“He doesn't interest me nearly as much

as that dude who wandered through the dark

looking for an honest corporation.”

 

I didn't have the heart to tell her

she had it wrong

or perhaps she didn't have the heart to tell me

she had it right.

 

The Barefoot Corporation is slouching toward Bethlehem

and we are freezing to death in the heat of global warming

that cannot be agreed upon. Pundits quote experts

that I have no lines for, as the Expert Poem

has already been written and discarded

as inadmissible evidence

of this endless effort

to divide us along lines

that keep us in

always

always

always

unable to draw a circle at least

a hundred feet round

and use what we find within

to think our way

out

of

this

trap.

 

 

For G

 

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Thursday, May 29th 2014

9:32 AM

again

again


sunrise
this
painted lady
i cannot take my eyes off
& by noon i am drunk
on her perfume
clutching
this wild bouquet
between my teeth
stumbling up
the aisle of spring
as if this all wasn't new
not at all concerned
with
my
reputation

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Tuesday, December 24th 2013

10:11 AM

Of Cabbages and Kings

  • Music: John Lennon, Happy Xmas (War is Over)
Of Cabbages and Kings


December licks the winter garden with an icy tongue
and I am left to wonder if there will be too little green
to gift neighbors with on the eve of newborn Kings.

Despite tales of old and promises of eternity
I begin to suspect this is no longer the season of wonder
of miracle births and hope for resurrection.
The focus was long ago shifted to the gifts
that were brought to the manger
and now we must recreate that legend in order to stay asleep
in the dream that it was really all about the shiny things.

I do little more than celebrate the birth of a modern King
with cabbages I dig from this impossible soil
and see my worth defined by how much green I produce.
The King nods his head in approval
and defines the fallow gardens unwilling and therefore unworthy.
More cabbages are laid at his altar in support
of his exhortations as I eye the compost bin
and wonder how much of what he says will fit inside.

I contemplate the prospect of living on nothing but cabbages
for the rest of the winter and realize I would need
to wear loose fitting clothes and keep all the windows open
to accomodate the bloat and vent all the gas
that invariably builds up.


Christmas 2013

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Tuesday, August 6th 2013

12:29 PM

Mom's Angel Cake

Mom's Angel Cake

Sift one and a half
cups sugar. Measure
one cup cake flour
before sifting. Sift
three times with one
half cup sugar and a
half teaspoon salt. Whip
twelve egg whites until
foamy. Add one teaspoon
cream of tartar and beat
until soft peaks form.
Add one cup of sifted sugar
one tablespoon at a time and
continue to beat after each
addition until thoroughly
incorporated. Fold in
one half teaspoon each
vanilla and almond extract.
Sift in fourths the flour
mixture into the beaten egg
whites and gently fold in.
Pour into an ungreased tube
pan and bake at three hundred
fifty degrees about 45 minutes.
Invert on a bottle and allow
to cool completely before
attempting to remove from pan.

Every year on August 6
we have my mother's favorite cake
with strawberries and whipped cream
and we remember. Although some
may disagree with me,
I think the only complaint she
really had about this country was
that they bombed Japan on her
birthday. It became her preference
thereafter to spend that day
contemplating those who were
already in the arms
of the angels.


(with special thanks to Robbie XII)








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Friday, November 11th 2011

11:25 AM

Autumn's Refugee

  • Mood: cool
  • Music: Season of the Witch
autumn regains composure,
smooths her rumpled skirts
and casts a sharp, cold glance

morning brings no offerings
to the lovers.
what lingers in their hair
what remains a fixture
when they part, is the silence

autumn crosses her legs
as i walk past her blue eyes
into noon. (my hands, white,
shake with a seasonal indifference)

the lovers, trembling with
an equal cold they have
prepared as excuse, lift
their hearts for one last
measure of rehearsed joy

muttering about the cost
of oil, i leave the furnace off
& autumn snickers.
she quotes the price for any
source of warmth this season

nothing is spared
in the silence.
all things, within reason,
go unspoken
as the lovers escape
their nightly promises
unscathed

although it is refuge
from this cold i seek,
autumn offers me her hand
& i take it, a gamble
i hadn't anticipated making
until considering that
no matter how many times she leaves
she will always be back  

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Wednesday, September 7th 2011

2:44 PM

about change

  • Mood: energized
  • Music: Doors - Soul Kitchen

summer excuses itself &
steps out onto the porch
for one last look
at the falling sun
before taking up with the fog
muttering something indecipherable
about the allure of mysterious women
in explanation

summer's child begins to suspect
this may have been her last season
of running in shorts through tall grass
wanting nothing more than to hold summer's hand
an eternity

feeling somewhat foolish
she lingers over a fashion magazine
studies eyeliner & rules
for white linen and labor day
as the fog leaves traces of its spoor
on the window sill
& she considers following it
to that place she has never seen
anyone return from

summer sends a postcard
with no return address
& she thinks she finds the point
in between the lines
where he hints at the reason
for seasons in the first place:

          constant reminders
          cycling in & out
          to the rhythm of the sun
          & the moon
          because, sweet child
          it really is all about change
          after all . . .

 

         
 



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Saturday, August 27th 2011

11:37 AM

The Wind Comes in for Breakfast

  • Mood:
  • Music: Led Zeppelin Ramblin' On
the wind comes in for breakfast


& i will go out with it,
kicking up dust
& memories

the waitress closes the door
& the wind lights a cigarette.
i order fresh fruit & wheat toast
with no butter while the wind,
impatient, taps its foot


the wind comes in for breakfast
bringing decisions that
HAVE BEEN MADE
and there is little i can do
about it but drink my mint tea
and leave

the waitress brings the check
and there is that moment
of hesitation. . .
dutch treat? i ask the wind,
but it won't look me
in the eye

the wind comes in for breakfast
& leaving no tip, shows me
the road, saying
nothing



Lopez Island, Washington
1981





 


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Saturday, August 13th 2011

3:13 PM

Adaptation


i walk the dog
before the curtain rises
on this inevitable dawn
as a flock of wild geese
passes overhead & i listen
through the fog to their report
on act one of this new season

a single goose has gone off course
his forlorn cry announcing
the arrival of a plot twist
i did not anticipate & the poem
takes an unexpected left turn   

it doesn't matter who the bride is
in the cast of characters
we give our audience
when in the end, we are all
subject to veering off course in the fog,
crash landing in a snow bank
& walking barefoot through the drift

only the lucky will be able to say
they brought a tablecloth
with them from the reception
to cover their bare arms against the cold

it is clear to see that no matter
how many strangers fill the
reception hall, in the end
the clean up eventually
comes down to you alone
as the guests are far too
involved with collecting mementos
to be concerned with the laundry quarters
you end up carrying in your bag

and in the end the best any of us
can hope for is a graceful exit
with no call for an encore
& a safe flight home in the fog

 

for Charlie Kaufman



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Monday, July 18th 2011

9:11 AM

Banksy Sighting

  • Mood: curious
  • Music: Where Do We Go From Here, Guns n' Roses
"i see that Banksy left a post-it note for Anonymous"
                                         - They Might Be Giants


though i handed you the keys
i didn't expect you to read to me
from your manuscript
while you were driving
- not when i am lost
in the passenger seat
on this unknown highway

i have spent a lifetime protecting you
from the predatory practices
of elected servants & their handlers
armed with little more than the fact
that i'm tall and thin & carry
a ball point pen into battle
and am well aware that it's your life
to live on your own terms now
but will you please take your foot
off the accelerator long enough
to help me understand
what it is i'm seeing out the window?

you give me few clues other than to mention
art for art's sake and money for god's sake
leaving me wondering if i must resort
to writing my Lazarus poem without
Johnny Cash to guide me.
which would it be if not even Old Crow
showed up to watch over my shoulder: art
or mythology?

both, you answer cryptically
& put the pedal to the metal, it's
the only remedy for industrial disease

the skyline turns pink & i wonder
if we will make it safely
to the approaching dawn & whether
this twilight is only here to lead us
to a spray painted awakening that's been
stenciled on the horizon
in anticipation of our arrival

what if there are visionaries
who saw all of this coming?
you wonder back at me
what if they resorted to the mad genius
of graffiti art because Hansel & Gretel
got too greedy to share their breadcrumbs?



for Bonnie, my ball of light


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