Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Still Want Mom

She smeared my
chest and back
with greased menthol
from a blue jar
when toddler croup
barked. Swelled
bronchial tubes
annually cut off
my air supply all
the years during
and after new
breasts had to be
considered and
maneuvered
around. Ripped
squares of towel
taken off a warm
oven rack were
hurriedly placed
on my shy,
worried skin. Bless
the pungent vapors
saving my bruised
ribs a racking--
relief spelled out
for a short breather-
a merciful while.

Old breasts need more
creative ambulation
but my own hands -
missing hers - know
what needs done.



Every year early in November, like clockwork, I get bronchitis. I'm 54 and still want mom to minister to me. It never goes away. I love your hands, mom. And just so you know, I can't manage the back.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

When Books are Problematic

Organize

shelve

alphabetize

date

published work
from early
eighteen forty five
till present

How do I justify
the time
room
and expense?

I thought to leave
them an inheritance
but realize I've spent
a fortune embezzling
the dividends of my dowry
breaking the bookcase
housing collateral
damage. How does one
revoke the irrevocable
trust inherently written
into the pathology
of bibliophilia?

Small Infidelities

Would it constitute
a gross
infidelity if we
flirted
with each other
's
books?

I promise -
no passing infatuation
no dangling obsession.
Ours will be a life long
affair.

Dare I caress
your bones? These
spines with soft patinas
tantalize me.
Their modesty
hides cotton rag pages
and front plates turning
into temptations tightly
stacked shoulder
to shoulder on your
library shelves.

The back
of my hand
seems intent on
absorbing
the buttery
leather bindings
gold embossed
and moisturized with…

what do you use?

I want to inhale scents
where shabby silk ribbons
fall open to favorite spots
where you've resonated
and returned to find familiar
pleasure again
and again.

My tears come
to mingle with the
stains you left on
the page last
time your eyes
overflowed.

There's no way to
launder these
stained sheets.

My fingers need
no training to read
the sensuous
braille configurations
you order words
with. I've practiced
for years by stroking
letterpressed ink
blindfolded
before letting it
enter
my womb.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nibs and Blots



Fountain pen
 aficionados
say one should never
let anyone 
 use their pen.   
It supposedly ruins 
the personal aspect 
of a particular
 angle of the nib
worn down
specific to how 
the writer writes. 

Grandma is dead. 
She'd dare me to question
this advice and be happy 
to know the angle
 on her one hundred 
year old Sheaffer's gold
 nib is perfect for me
to lay ink down on 
rough textured tooth. 




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Table Settings



I'll always set a place
for the nine muses
and all bluestockings

Find a chair for
whimsy, humor,
and rich conversation

But I have no room
for self absorbed
duplicity

or any relatives who
reside under the same
thesaurus heading


Cut or Comb?



Tangles are tricky -
either fresh and wet
or dreaded 

First let them dry

Start at the bottom
and comb upward
till smooth 

Tangles are tricky
when attached 
to a living host
who'd miss the 
mess if ripped out

Cutting isn't an option -
patience is needed
to avoid bald patches

Knots may be dealt 
with in a forthright
manner using scissors
to discard the offending 
mass of dead strands

This mess won't be missed

Splice it or knot it back
together making
an invisible repair

Knitting and mending 
fishing nets often
requires a swift 
cut in the twisted
fiber 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Symbols of Hospitality



Originally
the word symbol
was a tangible thing to 
hold in your hand
called tessera hospitalis. 

History says
a small biscuit-like tile
was offered upon entering
a home where the 
host and the guest 
together 
broke it in half -
evermore assuring 
a welcome when
the halves became 
joined once more. 

Someone said in eulogy - 
If you were ever part 
of his life you were 
forever part of his life. 

Sometimes the pattern
and broken edge don't 
match  -
but sugar grains
and salt remains
can be used to mortar
mosaics. 





*Homeless Man - the documentary about Rich Mullins mentions this tidbit about him. I learned about the tessera hospitals from Bruce Herman at Kindlingsfest 2014. Attribution….

Imagine a Tree

She lives
in a small apartment
this first
Christmas away from
home. She digs among
remnants
nailing crooked arms
to a trunk all overlaid
by vintage music
paper mache'd and
wrapped whimsical in yarn.
She'll decorate it with
sentimental old pieces
of minutia and drape
it thick with lights.





Ginkgo Leaf Study

Oh Ginkgo - 
where does 
color 
ink
lead 
go? 






Any Apron Will Do

Did the mother
try to shush
her little boy pointing
and proclaiming
truth about
the exposed
private parts
of the Emperor?

Perhaps she hurriedly
took off her apron
and tossed it
over the naked paunch
parading proud - oblivious
to his pathetic
condition?

Did she take her son
home by the hand
ignoring
the infuriated
mob directing its
anger at him instead
of the crooks who
imagined an easy
fortune?

Did she reward his
guilelessness by
making another
apron just in case
destiny provided
another opportune time
for him to exercise his
not so little voice?