Hope

 

Spring 2020

After almost thirty years puttering in our small townhouse patch attempting to grow all manner of inappropriate things for the sun and soil conditions, I recognize that to be a gardener is to cultivate hope. And in the summer of 2020 more than anything, I needed a sanctuary of hope, someplace to sit and think or more likely, not think, and just breathe and be. Astonishingly, in the tire fire that has been 2020, an Asiatic lily bloomed after 10 years of nothing. All I did this year was move the plant one foot where it got just a bit more sun, enough to coax four flowers.

This fall I’ve had two acceptances for pieces of my writing. That gives me hope, too. The difference? Time. I retired on April 1 this year and I’ve had time to write, edit, research potential homes for my writing, and submit. I moved into the sun. 

Fittingly, my first published poem is about hope. You can find it in Bywords, an on-line magazine published in Ottawa, Canada.  “Bywords mission is to publish the poetry of current and former Ottawa residents, students and workers and to promote Ottawa’s literary, spoken word, storytelling and nonfiction activities.” Works are chosen by a panel of readers with poetry, academic and publishing credentials and to those folks I say thank you. I am tickled beyond belief that my first published poem appears in Ottawa’s own Bywords.

 

 

The Crime Scene

Scarlet petals speckle the patio.
– a begonia bloodbath.

Behind the fence on Bryson Lane
no one heard the chipmunk’s nutmeg
foot falls or smelled the yells

of crushed blooms or suspects
a Raymond Shaw betrayal. But
over in the fence corner,

the hydrangea is snappin’.
“The fallen blossoms weren’t there
yesterday and someone is to blame.

That’s the thorny rose of truth.”
Water oozes from the blooms
and snuffs the torch at the flower’s

core. Under the lawn chair,
that chipmunk surveys the scene
on tiny haunches, a twitch of furry nerves.

He knows a plant can’t fudge happy
and it won’t sing unless it wants to.
Go figure. It could have been

last night’s spilled bucket of cold fall
wind. We’ll never know whodunit except
it was inevitable, as these things are.


Their Names

See the source image

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

Disappearing Act

I want to be one of those shimmering
stick figures framed in my bedroom window
under glass as they meander to the point,
quivering in the glitter of sun on waves.

Their dog trots forward to the high and dry
marker buoy while the other two straggle,
appear, disappear, appear in the play of light.

They turn shoreward and I lose sight of them.
I pull on shoes still gritty from yesterday’s walk,
head for wave-shaped rocks, pick
through barnacle spotted tide pools,
around boulders covered in kelp hair,
gulping Fundy’s perfume – gull shit,
sun-roasted dulse, tidal mud –
crunch sand, crush shells.

Behind me today’s footprints
will soon wash away
in the rising tide. I scan
the shoreline for the
window and hail
myself, sparkled,
splintered, a
tidal creature
a piece
of it all.

Written in response to dVerse prompt: Descriptive Detail

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Modern Romance

No one ripped my bodice,
no kiss lifted
my right leg acutely,
nor did I ever tango
or tangle in slick Tide
washed sheets rapturously.

But once, a guy yanked
my hair and cold-cocked
me on the headboard.
I roused, laughed. What else
could I do? Of course,
I groaned and swooned,
played the sexual buffoon.

He came. I went
and showered, closed
the curtain.
No knives flashed,
no violins squealed.
Rose scented bubbles
trickled down
the drain.

man kissing woman on street

Photo credit: William Recinos – Unsplash (Acute leg lift)

My Type

Helvetica’s Viking vengeance
pounds rage, warns
despoiler alert,
sorts ill-suited,
sperm-whipped wimps,
Dick pimps,
into type
I like.

Times Roman’s time’s up,
his sagging crown
molding, three-day-old
burned coffee and
three teaspoons of sugar
congealed in a chipped mug
has nothing fresh to say
but what the hell,
at least is true
to type.

Trust me, Didot ain’t it,
linked by sonorific
association to an object – also
not my type. Neither is
a slab-serif screeching
hoary huckster grabbing
space above the fold.

No! Give me
a soft touch. Open Sans
for me, baby.
A daisy scented field
where I read
between the lines,
sans self-editing,
sans erasers,
sans question.
Believe me,
that’s my type.

 

Excuses

The ants came first. Her buds,
they said, asked for it.

Round and green, unopened yet –
you bet she asked for it.

Her nectar egged them on.
Don’t you forget who asked for it!

Her perfume and the bouncing skirt she wore,
she chose, and asked for it.

Look at her! Impossible to ignore
those carpels. Naturally, she asked for it.

What else could I do? Her beauty made me
helpless and asked for it.

Plucked and ruined, dropped inside a vase,
peony, bitch, you asked for it.

IMG_1869

The carpel, or pistil, is the female part of the peony. It includes the flower’s swollen base, called the ovary; the stalk going up from the ovary, called the style; and the pollen-receptive stalk-tip, called the stigma.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

 

Unsplash: Jaakko Kemppainen

Do as I Do was the copper-top
battery of the family. Do as I Say
was the mop inside the bucket.
Just saying, Disney princesses

don’t wear chipped glass
slippers or work in the Magic Kingdom
dressed in ball gowns from
Frederick’s of Hollywood.

Do as I Say’s glass slipper
tinkled like a wind chime
when she dropped it in the rock
garden. Do as I Do ground

her teeth and released
the fiz of juniper and quinine laced
tonic in her mouth. When she fled
to Vancouver, 1495 kilometres from

home – because distance makes
the heart ponder – Do as I Say stayed
home the night her shoe shattered.
Warning shoes were fired

but Do as I Do never did not
do and Do as I Say couldn’t
say for sure if the shoe fit the other
foot. So she limped in one shoe.

“You’re half an aphorism,”
said Do as I Do. But the shoe
fit. Because shade thrown.
I know, right?

“Stop moving. If I see you moving
I’ll put a curse on you.” The hot
cauldron of hate sizzled over
the family campfire of love.

An anvil blue sky pancaked
Do as I Do, her jam oozing
from under it, gluing her
legs and arms to the ground.

Do as I Say gurgled a confessional
song underwater.  Suzie did too but
choked. Do as I Say knew
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

You will love the bittersweet end
of melancholy though you’ll adjust
the recipe. “C’est la vie,” said Do as I Say.
Her shoes crooned “Dooby, dooby doo”.

She giggled. “You’re playing our song.”
In the rock garden, slivers of slipper
glass winked a semaphore of misdirection.
Jam glued the family together again.

This was created using a writing exercise called “Twenty Little Poetry Projects”. Fun has been missing from my writing lately and writing this felt playful. Its mostly nonsense but with some work it could make sense.