Poetry-Land (tm)

... ahh, poetry! nobody reads it, and nobody can make a living writing it, BUT... 

Ok, first up comes a poem that isn't crappy, but rather it's very very good.  I can't take the credit though, since it was written by Li-young Lee.   It captures a really specific moment really well, and has so many other finer points about it.  It's ya know, poetic.  Also, the magazine I found it in got all wet and mildewy, no choice now but to toss the whole issue out.  Sigh.  Might as well post it here.

Early In The Morning

While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced
for breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher’s ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
against hair.

My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.

But I know
it is because of the way
my mother’s hair falls
when she pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.

 

Ok, well, reading that for me was like falling in love with a stranger, and having idle fantasies about a future together.  Or like a good cold beer, just after the Pop! of the bottle cap.   ...which pretty much gives you an idea of the caliber of my own writings...  A few are posted below, and I'll rotate these out occaisionally.  If you actually happen to like them, you might go here for more.  And for the purists out there, a sincere apology is due in advance: I'm one of those dagburn poets who doesn't even bother to rhyme anymore.  Give me chance though.

My dog is dying.

Chrissy, honey,
I’m so surprised to find myself
thinking about you.

Summer morning.
You smiled, I smiled.
I walked away.

Gwen, darling,
I’m not a bit surprised
to remember you.

Our goodbye was the most painful.

Erin, love,
I put on Dylan and remember your smile.

* *

My dog, dumb,
stupid Ruffles,
my dog he’s dying.

She tells me how she found him in a pool of his own urine,
and how he can’t control himself.

Vet says he’s dying.  I hate that dog.

But I remember the days
when I was cut free
and had no one to cling to,

and he was there, getting in my way,
staring at me, needing me.

* *

I still talk to Chrissy,
and sometimes I write Gwen and Erin.

But that part of my life is gone.

So vivid and real,
gone to memories.

I don’t know
I don’t know what to do.

I’m so surprised to be
missing him already.

Hang in there doggie,
when yer gone I’ll miss you more.

* *

Is it so strange
to write a poem
to your dog anymore?

Is it so strange
to find how much
you love someone you
always had to put up with? 

 

 

Thanksgiving

I give thanks today
for my crowded mind
and my dog-eared calendar.

Looking back, I look inside;
it’s here you all reside.

You who love me,
those I love,
those I’ve loved.

Blessings on you
for the lessons taught,
the gifts given,
the spirit shared.

Those memories define me.

I give thanks today,
for the true wealth I possess;
your friendship.

 

 

Plain and Simple

Have faith in yourself.

If you’ve caused a problem,
Don’t heap blame on your shoulders;

Remember you have also caused laughter
and any number of other things.
Remember that you can also be the cause of solutions.

Remember always that your story is unfolding
as you mean it to;
and that you cause every event of your tale.

To you lying awake,
Unreasoning and stiff
with electric tension,
Your mind is an angry coil of nerves -
allow it to be angry.

Plain and simple: this too shall pass.

Explore the emotion of anger.
Is it not a unique feeling?
Set yourself to describing how you feel
- not the particulars of the problem, but the sensations -
... soon enough your mind will follow these thoughts and wander away from what vexes you.

To you the three time loser,
punishing yourself for lessons unlearned;
Look around you.

Any lesson unlearned is unnecessary.
The really important ones only take once.
So you say, “Fine, but why then this reminder?”

Look around you.

You are in your situation
serving as a lesson to others.
You may not see this, you may never know who or how,
but be assured your experience is for the profit of many,
not you alone.

To you suffering loss;
please remember you still retain the necessary parts
of that which seems so far removed now.

You retain the emotions and thoughts and memories
of before,
and the coloring you put on these feelings is merely that.

Tomorrow is merely a rearrangement of yesterday.

What you have now or will have tomorrow -
these are all filtered by what you once had.

Understand that the simultaneity of your life
makes you immeasureably rich.

You are at all moments gaining and losing,
and always you are the same.

Know that the process of living, of measuring the changes in your life,
is the way of the soul to greater understanding of itself.

Have faith in this process and your role in it.

Have faith in yourself.