Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Really

The nursery magic had happened to him,
and he was a toy no longer.
He was Real.
The Boy himself had said it.

Ford had learned how to change the baby’s diaper,
swing him like a football during the witching hour
and check the bathwater temp with his elbow.
He loved the boy’s mother who he had married
before full disclosure. Thus he certainly wasn’t
the father. Their April wedding happened on a whim.
He questioned his own wisdom. 
They’d been married ten months now;
the only lullaby Ford sang were hymns
for the nursery magic had happened to him.

Zebadiah, limbs akimbo in Ford’s arms, crying his throat raw
but Ford kept pacing the screened-in porch
hoping the neighbors wouldn’t mind too much.
He wished he could call his own mother
and ask for advice or a remedy or even a hand
but Ford’s single-mother had taken the dive
into her own hell-hole; he was the stronger
of the two. With Zebadiah’s mama at work, Ford needed to
rely on his own inner-fortitude.  The tonic, he’d conjure,
for he was a toy no longer.

It’s not that Ford didn’t feel for the boy, feel
pity and maybe a bit of kinship; they were both
bastards after all. That kind of talk was his mother’s
mouth running, sharp on the tongue and piercing
Zeb didn’t take after his mama and he’d never
match Ford. Someone looked like a third wheel
but no one could tell who was the spare
Ford was sure the neighbors gossiped
Now Ginny was showing, could no longer conceal
Ford was certain this next kid would make him feel Real.

Ginny climbed in the car, “Zeb will have a new
brother or sister soon,” she breathed, waving
goodbye as Zebadiah stood with Mrs. Paulsen
next door. Ford touched the shoulder of his pseudo-son,
offered a quick squeeze before the drive
to the hospital would finally acquit
Ford’s notion that he was a papa ad hoc; he wanted to
feel like he’d done all the work. Zeb’s arms locked around
Ford’s knees, “Daddy, I love you, don’t forget,”
breaking his heart, Ford was already Real. The Boy himself had said it.


--some lines from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Telling the Truth

If I were dry instead of spilling over
A stemmed rummer: Chardonnay or port
If I were bare instead of drunk with clover
Wisteria madly climbing o’er my fort

If I were fair instead of robust swart
My limbs each a shaded branch
If I were willowy, but nay, I am short
Burning thoughts the world will stanch

If I were a vicar, not stuck on this ranch
Prayers launched unto the Promised Land
To face the Almighty, I’d surely blanch
My intractable ship by Him be manned

If I were willing, I’d spread my arms and die
But my arms stay folded; I bow and sigh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canis Lupus

Mimi’s waiting patiently for a blood-red
moon, an eclipse that starts past
midnight, that starts with a wolf’s
muzzle pointed skyward, its lips
making a howling lament, a rumbling
moan until it’s joined by a rough pack

Fellow canines, sister bitch, form a pack
friendly to none but the other, their red
focused eyes wait until a train rumbles
far down cold, steel tracks, past
farmhouses where prayers on lips
form, children breathing like a pack of wolves

Tangled like a litter of whelps-to-wolves
Tussling for their place in the pack
Tough and snarling, their bristled hair, lips
turned back in a sneer, yet their red
tender hearts bleed of memories past
today and tomorrow with the past rumble

By 1926, the last wolves were rumbled
back to their graves in Yellowstone, No Wolves
became the mantra, this shameful past
beholden to government control. Yet a pack
beneath the radar, sheltered on a red
bed of secrets, grew in Minnesota, on the lip

of Lake Superior—those wolves’ curled lips,
open teeth, and crouched haunches, rumble
outside where they sleep, no predators with red
objectives will attack them. The alpha wolf,
only betrayed by man, runs in tight packs
or strikes out solo in search of a mate. In the past,


no wailing wolf could be found. “That’s in the past,”
newspapers claimed, but Mimi still believed, her lips
not opening, not even mouthing the truth. A wolf’s pack
need not fear, Mimi’s tongue will not wag, nor words rumble
nilly-willy. Mimi sets salt-licks for the deer, knowing a wolf
nearby will soon down one for its dinner, under the moon, blood-red.

Wolf-packs survive despite past histories of scourge
Mimi, so unlike Little Red Cap, licks her own lips
As thunder rumbles and her wolves wake for the night

Monday, April 14, 2014

Telling the Truth

If I were dry instead of spilling over
A stemmed rummer: Chardonnay or port
If I were bare instead of drunk with clover
Wisteria madly climbing o’er my fort

If I were fair instead of robust swart
My limbs each a shaded branch
If I were willowy, but nay, I am short
Burning thoughts the world will stanch

If I were a vicar, not stuck on this ranch
Prayers launched unto the Promised Land
To face the Almighty, I’d surely blanch
My intractable ship by Him be manned


If I were willing, I’d spread my arms and die
But my arms stay folded; I bow and sigh

Monday, April 7, 2014

She Looked Pale


At first, she only looked pale
But didn’t we all, it was the middle
of winter with less than eight hours
of sunlight to toast our cheeks
Tanning beds were verboten

Unless one was Glamour-Gal
At first, she only looked pale
Not even as  wan as her sister
who lived in Memphis,
which was two zones warmer

But then we noticed her baggy jeans
and the belt notched to the limit
At first, she only looked pale
We thought nothing of it, we all
looked like ghosts coming out

Of the winter solstice, the tepid sun
making a show in the western sky
but unable to make a dent in degrees
At first, she only looked pale
So when the light finally shined

Brightly enough for the truth
Our hearts sank for there could be
no other reason for her meek demeanor
her listless pallor and papered hands
At first, she only looked pale



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Two Bird Poems to Consider

Birds in History

I am a feathered dinosaur
A partridge in a pear tree
My hollow bones account for
My life as a feathered dinosaur
My thrust and lift, my drive to soar
Breaking free of gravity
I am a feathered dinosaur
A partridge in a pear tree


Flight of the Boastful Bird

You could fly if you wore feathers
And cannular bones
In all nature of weather
You could fly if you wore feathers
To live a life untethered
Around your neck, no stones
You could fly if you wore feathers
And cannular bones

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Which one strikes you more?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hearing Voices


If I'd followed his advice
When he learned there was a baby
He didn't flinch, think twice
To keep it, he thought crazy

When he learned there was a baby
"Snuff it out," he blithely said
To keep it, he thought crazy
"We'll be better when it's dead"

"Snuff it out," he blithely said
His words came as a shock
"We'll be better when it's dead"
A hard place and a rock

His words came as a shock
Then I heard her lusty cry
A hard place and a rock
With love, I said goodbye

Then I heard her lusty cry
And yet I set her free
With love, I said goodbye
Her new parents, they make three

And yet I set her free
My desires, I deferred
Her new parents, they make three
I listened to God's word

My desires, I deferred
I didn't flinch, think twice
I listened to God's word
And I followed His advice