Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thirteen Things

1. Snow, everywhere, heavy as old boots, bright as a policeman's flashlight.

2. Night. Then day. Then night again. Dizziness. The carpet's range of aspects.

3. Birds bringing messages. Their particular songs. The feeder swaying.

4. An ambulance. Someone on the floor, then not. 

5. Day, then night, then day again. A shifting array of shadows on the roof of an empty house. 

6. White, everywhere. Sheets laundered a thousand times. An intrusive light, concentrated to a pinpoint.

7. Birds on the sill. Their particular coloring. The feeder still, on its pole.

8. Snow, everywhere. A new ramp, smelling of sawn pine.

9. Lights in the windows of a house. Lights like the golden skin of french fries on a plate.

10. Birds on bare branches in the yard. Silver wheels. The feeder taken down and filled.

11. All day, television interview programs. Dr. Phil right back after this break.

12. Snow, disappearing like memories. Afternoon sun, bright and harsh as temps from the agency.

13. Birds in flight over a house. Someone's photograph in a frame. An orange cat sunning itself, then nothing.

for Thursday 13 and Midweek Motif--"winter."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Autobiography In Miniature

It was in Oregon at the sliding icing end of the 70's.
A bus had brought me there,
barfing me up a block from a cafe where my boots dried out and so did I, more or less.

"Danny's" it was called. The goth chick looking out-of-it in the back corner claimed to be a succubus.
Whatever, honey.
We all suck at something.
It might as well be souls.

I scammed a tampon off of her and swore
that if I were still here by Wednesday I'd be a different woman,
open a kissing booth at the county fair or
marry a soccer star from Brazil and crank out kids.
I was certain it could be easily done, here on Highway 61.

So, how did I ever get from there to here, you ask,
spinning at my keyboard loom, all these poems and whatnot?
It was when I winged a napkin holder at my imaginary friend
there in Danny's Coffee Shop, Anytown, USA,
bruising her imaginary eye and changing the look of myself,
that I found The Way.

Blurring the edges is all I've done,
but the gray in my hair elicits assumptions
that I'm basically good,
can bake,
and have fifteen cats at home destroying the sofa.

You know what, Bo Peep? Two of those things are true--
Three guesses which.

From a word list kindly provided by *. I used most of them and gave the rest to The American Haiku Foundation.

kissing booth
blurring the edges 
bruising her eye 
candles in the rain 
soccer shirt 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Single Parent Adventures

A man gives birth to a pair of pliers.
The first thing that happens is his friends punching him in the arm and calling him "mommy", followed by snorts and guffaws.

Doctors repair his dignity and hand the pliers child to it.
The man's dignity gets its own apartment.
The man's friends deride his singleness, call him "Lonesome."

One night while fending off bro punches, the man's doorbell rings.
His pliers child is at the door, remarking that it never asked to be born.
The man phones his dignity, and is advised to deal with the situation himself--it is his dignity's kickboxing night.

Fleeing his friends, the man carries his pliers offspring out to the garage and hangs it on a pegboard with the other tools.
"Goodnight," he says, and closes the automatic door.

His dignity calls, as if it had eyes all the way across town.
"What kind of father are you?"
"I've tried to be both mother and father to the pliers," he begins,
but his drunken friends start swinging golf clubs inside the house. 
There is arguing, shouting, police involvement.
He hopes the pliers won't wake up, hear, and speak badly of him later to his dignity. 

for "Let Us Labor" at dverse

Monday, November 11, 2019

Book Review : "The Tormented Mirror"

The Tormented MirrorThe Tormented Mirror by Russell Edson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

MANY years ago, I found Edson's "The Wounded Breakfast" in a used book store and loved it. His crazy-quilt surrealist poems really influenced me in my own writing. He and Donald Bartheleme were my early off-the-rails mentors, though I never met either one.

And so, now I come--belatedly--to "The Tormented Mirror", expecting more of the same delight. Well, life is full of disappointments, isn't it? I'm not sure if it's him that's different, or if it's me, but while this collection had its moments, it dealt too repeatedly with the themes of old men and women, babies, and bodies and bodily functions. Was he getting soft in the head?

To be sure, there are some wonderful lines, like this opener from "The Stuff of Dreams":

"There was a man who had distilled a tiny woman from several dreams."

With disheartening frequency, though, Edson keeps wandering off into stuff about breasts, rectums, "deltas" and so on. It had me picturing some fogey in the rest home, writing this stuff down, contemplating his regular-or-irregularity, and waiting for 4 o'clock so he could eat Salisbury steak in front of "Matlock" in the day room.

Not really recommended.

View all my reviews

New Baby

Our new baby,
a darling of the Universe,
grows tusks and unionizes.
Now, feedings are disastrous, injuries frequent.
Now, everything must be negotiated, from emotional forays to bottle temperature.

An intermediary is sent in,
but gets into the baseboards
and turns the TV into a homing beacon for her bitchy friends.

All we wanted was a child,
a sentient bit of fluff to dandle and imbue with various undemonstrated virtues and qualities.
Not tusks that send dentists howling into madness.
Not wildcat strikes with their attendant rancor and bloodshed.

Please baby, we say.
Please be normal.
A telegram arrives, from our baby.
We are terrified to read what it says.

for "Different Perspectives" at Real Toads.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Big Bucks

The woods being full of hunters,
some deer escape to a televised quiz show.
Who wrote the swing classic "Sing, Sing, Sing"?
The deer do not know.
(It was Louis Prima.)

The deer prefer Glenn Miller, 
though they cannot afford to ride the Chattanooga Choo Choo
unless they win big in the next round.

Who composed "The Song of the Volga Boatmen"?
The deer look at each other.
One of them dips his antlered head and buzzes in.
"Unknown," says the deer. "It's a traditional Russian piece,
popularized in the U.S. by Glenn Miller."
Correct! Bonus round!
In what year did his version hit #1 on the charts?
"1941," responds the deer. Too easy.

Later on, a herd of deer board a train.
They read a magazine and then they're in Baltimore.
The bucks clatter their racks on the Phoenix Shot Tower.
One doe asks another, who wrote "In The Mood"?
Joe Garland and Andy Razlaf,
but she is not smirking for knowing the answer.

for Sunday Muse #81

Friday, November 8, 2019

Problem Solver Hat

Let me put on my Problem Solver Hat;
you, the Leotard of Cosmic Awareness.
At the Millinery of Magnified Presence
I purchase the Fez of Authentic Living,
the Tam O' Shanter of Burnished Truth,
and the Toque of Conscious Benevolence.

At the Holy Haberdashery,
you shed the Muumuu of Self-Doubt
and don the Necktie of Numberless Eternity.
To this you add the Cummerbund of Creative Existence,
the Skorts of Peaceful Intention,
and the Jeggings of American Luminescence.

Exhausted, we tumble to the Divan of Divine Passion
but find ourselves encased in cocoons of unending cloth.
I murmur to you from under heavy layers of gauze
and you reach for me through geologic strata of material.
How can this be?
The frustration is maddening!
What to do?
Let me put on my Problem Solver Hat...

for Just One Word at Toads.