There’s not much to see outside the window where my desk sits: a big swath of sky, a maple tree, the row of townhouses across our narrow condo street, a shaggy pine that was once a shrub but now obscures the neighbour’s front door, the shadows of people in their kitchen windows.
Our street is a dead-end and holds only 14 units: there is no through traffic. Every car that motors up the hill and turns into our laneway is scrutinized thoroughly by me and any neighbours who happen to be in their kitchens. Like gophers, our heads pop up as we follow the progress of the vehicle. Funny thing is there is more traffic now on our tiny street than before. A daily parade of UPS, FedEx, and Purolater trucks, the unmarked vehicles delivering Amazon packages, and of course Skip-the-Dishes and Uber Eats drivers meander into our neighbourhood.
In New Orleans I bought purple suede shoes peppered with silver studs across the toes and, not surprisingly, in Nashville, I purchased blue suede pumps. I slid my feet, Cinderella-like, into their cushioned blue interiors, stood, took a few steps and twirled, the full skirt of my dress flaring. The clerk stared, only mildly startled and asked me “Are you an attorney?” Nashville lawyers, I thought, must be more colourful than the pin-striped, double-breasted esquires in Ottawa. In Dolly Parton’s home state, I pictured lawyers sashaying to the bench in untouchable blue suede shoes with matching satin pocket hankies. A spin at the bench seemed plausible. Continue reading
The chef de maison
The smorgasbord of Instagram offers me men who politely request to follow me. Some hot, some cold, all tempting, especially those hot-gunned military dudes, camo-gear flexed in the bare woods, deer stalking I suppose. Continue reading
Aghast I stood and beheld my name
spelled wrong – dear God! – again.
To you it’s naught but an oft repeated
joke, hardly funny anymore, and
I suppose I should invoke patience
and ignore it – again. After all,
what’s in a name?
I lied, said I bear no grudge,
don’t gnash my teeth, nor
pull my hair or sleep
with spirt unperturbed.
But this inharmonious consonant
that hangs around my desk
jabs me constantly,
reminds me all that is not right here.
I’m not sure who’s more stupidly
blind but here’s the thing:
soon a new schmuck will appear
and relieve misspelled me,
when I toss forever the errant “z”,
the day Susanne with her “s”
breaks free from her cubicle
and cares less.
The book Bright Wings – An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, has flaps on its front and back covers that when opened give the book an impressive wingspan. The anthologist is my man Billy Collins, who paired his talent with the artistic Audubon ornithologist David Allen Sibley, to hatch this beautiful collection. However, in a recently acquired habit, I assessed the parity in the poetry assembled through the table of contents. Out of more than 100 poems, 37 were penned by women. Hmmm. My feathers ruffled. Continue reading
How azul the pool,
how vermelha the vinho,
how frisky the wind in the trees,
how blinding the sun-blasted sea.
How deftly the swallows
wet bellies and beaks,
lift and swing in the breeze,
how swiftly they whisk past me.
How, of nine who recline,
I alone stare not at my phone,
how I applaud the acrobats
who whirl by me.
By now, I expect Billy Collins’ agent in California has received my fan letter. In another week, the letter and accompanying poem could be in Mr. Collins’ hands. Or perhaps it will drop into the former US poet laureate’s email as a scanned attachment with a message from the agent: “Another crack-pot fan letter for you.” Continue reading
Past the snow-covered fallow fields, I drove towards home carrying the last Christmas present for a family member on the seat beside me. The curve of slate-coloured Hunt Club Road twined with the white fields under a spilled milk sky.
It was 9:30 in the morning and not many vehicles were on the road yet. A car length ahead in the lane beside me rolled a huge shiny black truck with gleaming silver hubcaps. The driver was lost in its vast cab except for a bright yellow watch cap hugging his head. Passing a load of judgement, I grumbled to the dashboard. Continue reading
I’ve struggled trying to think of something to talk about here, with you. Maybe you haven’t noticed my silent self sitting in your living room at the end of your sofa with a pillow tucked behind my achy back listening to your stories. You’re always so fascinating. I start to open my mouth and then clamp it shut suddenly shy and reluctant to share. Even a full-bodied glass of red wine can’t coax me to speak. Continue reading
The Sé Cathedral of Evora, Portugal
Your stride is a rubber ball bouncing down the street.
You ribbed, “Scientists studied my feet to improve
rocket launchers, and they said my feet hear
heat and that’s why there’s air beneath my heels.”
On Gower Street that rotten urchin, Andy,
called you “Springs”. I expect he’s dead now,
little shit, or living in the Goulds with the missus,
his Lazy-boy recliner stick rubbed shiny,
the carpet farting mouldy biscuit and white bread
aroma from 40 years of spilled Black Horse lager.
Womp womp. But you – thank you! – bounced us
out of there.
“You’ll find your soul mate too late,” wasn’t true.
I knew the deal when I saw your naked feet, not
bionic or battery operated at all, just wide, muscles
at ease. They smelled like sweat and antifungal
cream. You exceeded the dream I never had and
after all these years you still bounce like that boy,
your head bob-bobbing above the rest, your
eternal spring our crow’s nest.
Written for d’Verse‘s prompt “thankfulness” and posted in open link night. Lovely work to be read there. Pop over and discover poets and poetry to suit all tastes.