The kitten I’m holding watches
the pen move across the page,
nose tracking the same pace as my writing.
She would rather my right hand
spend its time some other way,
petting her, for example.
She’s so small, a runt
(not a kitten any more) and I can
hold her with one arm, steady,
and feel her purring over my heart.
But she keeps wiggling, wanting
all my attention, both of my arms.
Tuuli, the little kitten.
(I was thinking of this Phil Levine poem, “A Theory of Prosody,” as I wrote, as I stopped writing.)
NOTE: she got down by choice after the selfie. I’d have waited to post it online otherwise. NOTE: she’s back. So it’s time to hit publish.
Posted in Authenticity, Bloem or Pog, Creativity, meditation, mindfulness, Pandemic Poems, Poetry, Poetry journal, Spring Green
Tagged cat, poetry, writing
I almost never want to leave the street
where my dream is taking place, but things
move fast so I can’t linger. The other night
I was in Butte (I think) and everything
was Irish, St. Patrick this and Brigid that,
mint green signs and throbbing drums and drunk guys
and a sense that things were turning dangerous
and I was walking, not driving, down a very narrow street.
That’s it. That was the end. I wasn’t afraid.
A man I know who lost a tooth in Butte
(for real) has cancer. I dreamed about him last night.
A gallery show, collages of himself, most naked,
which he called “The Ravager_________.” Next to the cheese tray,
he was selling tiny brown cloverleafs he’d crocheted.
Posted in Bloem or Pog, Car Sonnets, Color of the Month, Creativity, Dream Songs, Mindful Driving, Montana, Places, Poetry, Poetry journal, Uncategorized
Tagged Butte, dreams, dreamscape, poems, poetry, sonnet, sonnets
New snow and hoar frost and every cliché
about crystals and diamonds and stars—
my commute the other morning was bright
while my mood was altogether grim, standard
mid-semester stew of “I am so far behind”
with big chunks of “I live in squalor” and
an extra soupçon of regret. Remonstrance
aplenty as I set out for work and yet
those damn sparkles everywhere,
especially on the red blackberry canes,
and I won’t say the grimness diminished,
but I played like each spot of silver
shining in the morning sun was one more thing
I needed to do that wasn’t yet done
and honestly I’ve never felt more alive.
The snow, thankfully, is mostly gone. But the bottles in my garden are glowing.
Posted in Anxiety/Depression/Yuck, Authenticity, Burnout, Car Sonnets, Mindful Driving, mindfulness, Poetry, Poetry journal, Searching, Spring Green, Uncategorized
Tagged commuting, poetry, snow, to do list
Like when there’s a good-looking man on a tractor
driving on the shoulder and he’s bouncing
because it’s an old tractor, a Farmall, the best kind—
before I got up to him, he was in silhouette, all black
because the sun behind us was orange and pink, a peach,
the whole sky was a peach, the sun a bright red frisbee,
on probably the last truly muggy day of the year,
the last day of September, before the cold in October—
I’m telling you it was hot and he was hot and I was hot.
Everything was on fire—that’s what it was like.
What? What was like that? Everything.
By the parking lot of the strip mall
where I buy cat food, next to a very busy street,
these perky little green leaves alternated
between fluttering, trembling, and violent
shaking in what began as a gentle breeze
and then (using on the language
of the Beaufort Scale), became
a moderate breeze, and finally a fresh breeze,
and back again, shifting from 7 knots to 21
and in between, and then all over again.
I didn’t think all that then,
when I was meditating.
I was trying not to think at all.
When I thought, I was thinking of
the portfolios at home longing to be graded,
the groceries on the other side of the annoying detour
all longing to be mine, to come home with me,
where we all are now, the food, the work
still yet to be done, the image of that half-dead tree
in the wind still with me, resisting metaphor,
not really responsible for my wondering what killed half of it
and what the part that isn’t dead has to live for.
The snow’s off-white, the house is white, the sky
is pewter-gray, the buggy’s black, and also black:
the horses and most of the laundry on the line
except for a little rose and green and one kind
of blue so patently Amish it should be called that.
Oh, and the underwear, the private flying
proudly in the open, nothing white,
just various degrees of beige that look like linen
sails billowing, contrasting very slightly
with the piles of dirty snow they’ve shoved aside,
the temporary patio furniture of winter
the children might jump off of when there’s time,
when they’re not hard at work or cutting a slice
down the shoulder of the road: when it’s ice
I’ve heard they skate there but I
have only ever seen them standing by
their parents or in a circle outside
what I think is a school where they were either
playing or getting ready to fight,
which I know they aren’t supposed to do. So why
did it look so menacing, the four or five
boys I saw, closing in on another child
as I drove by, that’s what I do, I drive on by,
that’s what we do out here, the road signs
with the graphic horse and buggy trying
to tell us slow down, watch out, use your eyes,
because the next hill you’ll go over is blind
and you won’t see them until you’re right
on top of them, a whole family on your right
with bright specks of color but mostly wearing night.
This month I’m trying to hunt for green as I drive–I’m considering it mindful driving. One of the shades of green I see on Mondays when I’m driving to Kickapoo High School, as I drive through Amish Country, is the occasional green shirt on the clotheslines of Amish families–close to the shade above. The laundry on the line is mostly black and beige. But some blue and green and a shade of kind of rosy-plum.
Posted in Bloem or Pog, Car Sonnets, Color of the Month, Mindful Driving, mindfulness, On Wisconsin, Poetry, Poetry journal, Uncategorized
Tagged Amish country, Color of the Month, double sonnet, Mindful Driving, mindfulness, poetry, sonnet, sonnets
My Gran’daddy’s tractors were always red,
but the riding lawn mower was green.
We borrowed it to mow our acre and
the ditches in between
his house and ours. This was back when
the sun was still our friend,
so I wore a tube top and short shorts
to circle and circle the yard
in what was, I guess, a widening gyre.
Everything I cut
I was allergic to. Sun-fried,
itching, miserable, but
at 14—just beautiful. Just so—
I had knockoff Ray Bans—
I turned dark pink, not really tan—
I’m telling you I glowed.
I’m trying an experiment this month–meant to start in January, but didn’t–I’ve picked a color to look for when I’m driving, all month long. It’s an attempt at mindful driving. To see my commute differently. To meditate on the colors I notice. The color for February is green, and when I think green, John Deere is one of the things I think of, and also one of the things I see on my commute. So this poem is a meditation on green. And on John Deere.
Posted in Bloem or Pog, Color of the Month, Mindful Driving, mindfulness, Opdyke, Poetry, Southern Illinois, Uncategorized
Tagged John Deere, Mindful Driving, mindfulness, poetry