Bad poetry and yearly resolutions

coffee gray

there are too many
poems about coffee
and pens and diners
and longing looks
through penitent windows
and here’s another
to toss on the pile
although
it is not really about coffee
but grief

there are far too many
poems about poetry
the blithe rays of
her sunshine
through my pen
has clogged things, so
have you read enough, now
of wooden writing shacks
and pyramid schemes–
do not fret, this is not
about poets
but generosity

the pages are slipping to the floor
reams upon reams, and
I can hear you laugh
about notebooks
full of birds and clouds–
it is okay
invite me in for a coffee
for this is not about the birds
or the clouds
it is really about
homelessness

 

 

(redux, 2018)

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grief in four parts

say what you like
if it makes you feel good
truth is still truth
and no one knows
until they do
but that isn’t what
I wanted to talk about–
it is about grief

I know how it is
how the big gossip
slaps you between the thighs
but you might be wise
to wait until you know
for certain
still that isn’t what
I meant to say today–
it is about forgiveness

you are repeating
yourself now
and I know how
passionate you are
but what if you are wrong
then you will have
to take it back
later
but this isn’t really
what is on my mind
it is about generosity

I remember how we laughed
over espresso and Earl Grey teas
oh please
we never argued then
we were too enthralled
with connections
and sugar packets

but that is breaking the rules
to bring up the past, when
this is really more about
beauty

Harping on a theme (too soon)

Scene from 1983:

Me: I don’t think I’ll live to be 25.
Mom: Don’t say that.

1997
7 a.m.  on a Sunday morning :

Dad on phone: She’s gone.
Me: It’s too soon. Don’t say that.

It was you, it was you
gone too soon
so cliché
pardon me if I don’t
come up with
golden lines
at times like this

I would say you were
ripped from us
but it was more like
a fade-to-black
with screaming
your face melting
into the wallpaper

Don’t go yet
it was supposed to be me
hanging out with Peter and Paul
you, oh you
were supposed to earn
your old age in your rooms
in your house
beneath the pines

“Too long ago to write death fresh like this.”

 

El largo invierna acaba

Attempting to leave behind all of it
the anger and the strife
the inability to forgive–
I bathe and put on something new
I purge my body of everything toxic

How do we live as if the winter was not?
how do I go on pretending we are not bruised–
so I go, so I sear with fire,
I cauterize the wounds
so I go, so I remember
how to let go of the list of wrongs

Without letting go of the wonder, the miracle
as Spring takes over my house,
as love fills the empty heart chambers
still sore
and I weep for what is lost–this day

I tell you, this day is for weeping
for what could’ve, should’ve, and
would have been
without the despicable, with
something more noble
than good intentions

But tomorrow, tomorrow
the weeping will be put away, and
life allowed to flourish, love allowed to nourish–
tomorrow will be today, the anger swept up
and tucked away, put in the bin for the burning
the burning of the last remains of winter

unbounded grief

they mar our rainbows with death
they color outside the lines
so we can no longer see
where the boundaries are
our long held hopes
barely showing under the scars

in the morning house
the rooms do not feel the same
as they felt last night
the floors were discouraged
I heard the walls lament
and the ceiling sag

this morning
they are silent
as I move about in bare feet
as I seek out my breakfast
they have little to say
about last night’s losses

Insufficient

I don’t know what else to say, except I love you, Manchester

*****
I have said nothing to anyone about Brussels. I have been
silent, as I was after Paris. (I should have said something)
(anything)

What is there to say-how much is enough?
(Mumbai, New York City, Cameroon, Boston, Ouagadougou,
Jakarta, Manchester, Tanta, London, San Bernardino,
Istanbul, Oklahoma City, Chicago-
do you have time for a complete listing)

I know that anything I say will be insufficient and vague
in comparison (to the truth)
[put up next to what they need
more than words]

If it were me, if I was there, I imagine
I would be as silent as now, wanting to
scream but instead- zombielike- tidying up
walking through what is mundane and useful
and cleaning up the atrocity of violation.
[(This is not yours. Why
do you insist on breaking it to pieces)
is as close as I have come to words]

Are you not tired of the raging?
I weary of the anger, the pure hate
that does not end
always simmering, sometimes boiling over
yet constantly being refilled, that tank-

What can I say? Who am I? I am your neighbor, weeping for you.
My words feel small. My anger does not feel
sufficient

Extraordinary kindness

approached today
in the midst of clouds and clamour
by my mother(gone since 1997)’s best friend
from long ago

my age now what her age was then
yet I am always a child, the
age of her own daughter
grown, and a grandma now

speaking to me as an equal
saying – let’s be friends like
your mother and I, I believe
we have something in common

melting the cynicism in my center
floating to the surface like dross
her soft voice saying, yes
it’s going to be alright now

Threnody

(2016)
For Mom

I remember the day you told me
it was no good
the end was coming
and all the miracle hopes
and treatments were done

you were calm
you were ready
and I wasn’t
skidding my heels
dragged to the church a month later
baby in my belly
to see something that was not you–
you were gone already

then later
in the garden when
summer came again
I saw you alive in my son’s eyes
then again in a field
of clover and cornflowers