Saturday, November 30, 2019

Butter Shoes

Exploring abandoned places is not for those too firmly anchored in the present.
One must wear butter shoes to slide across the temporal griddle.
Here, we have a record player inside a pink carrying case.
Over there, a cane and a broken mason jar.
And in the basement, a figure mummified inside a rolled-up rug,
stored carefully underneath a work bench.

Investigating further, we find mismatched dishes.
Red for the furious wife,
green for the husband submerged in murky dreams,
and yellow for the children churned by hand under a butter sun.

Afterward, we are hungry, for food and for the physical.
We slap each other playfully, clomping on peg legs across the wooden floor to the bedroom, 
where we hop like Russian dancers upon the griddle of our love.
You suggest we should buy cows,
Guernseys to provide us with milk and children already grown,

Who have their own houses devoid of plywood and yellow tape,
the emblems and talismans of our journey into urbex mystery.
_______

for Sunday Muse #84.



Friday, November 29, 2019

Beauties

There is no reason for us to fight.
Here is a ticket,
exempting you from fighting.
A ticket
out of town, praise whatever gods there are.

We fight in the town.
We sell tickets beforehand.
We call each other bitches and all sorts of things.
Every woman is a god(dess.)
Don't forget to tick the box.

Whatever.
There is no reasoning with you.
God knows why God(dess) made a great honking bitch like you.
I exempt myself from all this.
Let us now praise famous men.

Men like us when we fight.
In the town, by the fountain, glittering with coins.
Fight, fight, that's the ticket
to a life filled with famous men swooning over our dumb butts.
Whatever god(desse)s there are
can't cope, they lie down in a bed made of doves
as we fight, under the imprimatur some bitch, in a box, atop a pole

That the famous men have put there, and we appease, to great applause.
_______

for Weekend Mini Challenge at Toads.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Troublesome Book

I am done with a book, but it is not done with me.
I go to the movies.
There is the book, hanging over the back of the seat in front.
"I was better," says the book, bitterly.
"But I am done with you," I tell it. 

I start a new book.
The old book falls off the shelf and knocks the new book aside.
"Motherfucker!" we say simultaneously.
I throw the old book into the fire,
but it just looks darker and more dangerous.

I enjoyed the book, at the time.
(The book and the clock got along famously.)
I took the book into my bed, into my heart.
But now I am done with the book and there are so many other books.
On this, the clock and I agree, which makes the book crazy.

I tell the book to forget me,
though, as is sometimes the case, I am unable to follow my own advice.
I will recommend the book to my friends.
I will review it favorably.
But the book is full of hate and wants to kill me and my new book, both.

After a few days, my new book becomes an old book also.
They join forces,
follow me down the street,
troll my place of employment,
spread lies about me.
I tell my troubles to the tv. It says, forget books, I love you, you're home.
_______

for Bits Of Inspiration at Toads.




Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Book Review : "Enormous Changes At The Last Minute"

Enormous Changes at the Last MinuteEnormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't enjoy this collection as much as I hoped I would. I like offbeat stuff sometimes but most of these stories didn't grab me. One big complaint I have is that in most of these stories, Paley doesn't use quotation marks to denote conversations, which makes it difficult to follow conversations. When I have to repeatedly re-read sections to figure out who is saying what, it bugs me.

Some of the writing is busy and dense, adding to the difficulty in getting through it. I've read that Donald Barthelme, a favorite of mine, was her mentor. Barthelme certainly knows how to add the absurd plot, crazy detail, and nutty dialogue but he does it more sparingly. He brings you along on a raft of normalcy before springing some jack-in-the box on you, and it's more effective for that. Paley throws whole sentences of one clever but odd thing after another until the reader is going down for the third time, to stretch my metaphor. The worst story was called "Come On, Ye Sons Of Art" and if you can figure out wth *that* was all about, good for you.

All that is not to say I didn't alike any of the stories. One of the longer--and oddest, in its way--is "Faith In A Tree" about a recurring character who literally goes up a tree to observe and converse with numerous other characters in a park. Sounds nuts, but I liked it. She pulled off her crazy style in that one. "Samuel" is, dare I say it, a well written straightforward story. And "The Little Girl" was really sad but really well done.

Imagine my surprise when, in the story "A Conversation With My Father", the character's father complains of many of the same things that bugged me about this collection, imploring his writer daughter to just tell a simple straightforward story in the manner of Turgenev or Checkov (two of my own favorite story writers.) I was thinking, "I'm with you, pops."

So anyway. The stories are unique, certainly original, and portray a certain personal impression of New York City in a certain period of time. But I don't really recommend this book, though I do recommend "Faith In A Tree" by itself.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Charon's Obol

November sun is June's grown older.
It makes its nest in my eyes, no brim on my hat.
My dog trots through leaves the color of rusty wheel wells
as the light goes low like melting butterfat.

I will stay with him as he will stay with me,
each of us faithful, finite and flesh-fragile
until the dusk-time when we both sleep at last,
he with his red collar, and in my hand his leash and Charon's obol.
_______

for Sunday Muse #83.

Charon is the ferryman who demands a coin, or obol, for passage from this life to the next.


Song Lyric Sunday : food

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this time is, naturally, food. My choice is Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream" from her 1993 smash album "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." 

I have a quite ginormous desk with lots of shelves and stuff and one feature is a couple of small racks for cd's that hold about a dozen each. Out of those few--which include a lot of modern swing, a couple of Belle & Sebastian, and some crooners like Sinatra, Peter Cincotti and James Darren--there are two Sarah McLachlan including this one. All these are close at hand because, although I have a large music collection, these are my go-to's. 

Sarah wrote "Ice Cream" as well as all the other tracks on "Ecstasy" except one, though my source for the lyrics erroneously gives credit to someone else. I love how sensual the song is, and how it contrasts this love with how "everyone here knows how to cry." I'll take two scoops please.

Lyrics, by Sarah McLachlan:


Ice Cream
Your love
Is better than ice cream.
Better than anything else that I've tried
And your love
Is better than ice cream
Everyone here knows how to cry
And it's a long way down
It's a long way down
It's a long way
Down to the place where we started from.
Your love
Is better than chocolate
Better than anything else that I've tried
And oh love is better than chocolate.
Everyone here knows how to fight
And it's a long way down
It's a long way down
It's a long way
Down to the place where we started from.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2019/11/23/no-other-holiday-tops-thanksgiving/

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sandy

Sandy put a wedge of lemon in the corner of her eye
so that she might seem more exotic.
Informed of this, the warden had her taken
out of gen pop and placed on risperidone and light tasks such as
arranging
her origami family figures
across 
her 
desk
in order of which she loved best down to least.

The thing about Sandy is that she took elocution lessons
in order that she might curse more clearly
at her celly and the matrons.
The more florid her language became, 
the more she sounded like a potty-mouthed Helen Mirren.
The warden was forced to remove Sandy's tongue and hide it
high on a shelf in her office
where onyx birds
sang songs from pyrite throats
all about which of her inmates she loved most, down to least.

Finally, Sandy and the warden came to an understanding
which involved a Catholic bishop and a solemn promise by Sandy 
not to cuss anymore.
"I shan't," she said,
assuming Helen Mirren's place in the warden's roster of recoveries
and walking straight out of the women's pen into origami domesticity
where black birds fold their wings 
into Oriental characters
depicting the most amazing transformations from best down to least

with Sandy's at one extreme end like an egg or a bomb or a glitter ball.
_______

for Get Listed at Toads. I used onyx, lemon, elocution, shelf(ves), risperidone, and warden.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thirteen Days I Remember Well

For Thursday 13 this time, I am making a list of 13 days I remember clearly. My list starts with a couple of universals, then gets more personal.

1. Nov. 22, 1963. My mother and older brother (by 9 years) picked me up at elementary school and my brother told me that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. He was always tricking me and so I didn't believe him. I asked our mom and she said it was true. I'll never forget how unemotional she was about it. 

2. Nov. 24, 1963 I was parked on the rug in front of our old cabinet tv watching Lee Harvey Oswald be led through a narrow passageway when it appeared to me that he twisted and tried to escape. I didn't understand at first that he had been shot. I was 8 years old. I'll never forget it.

3. Sept. 11, 2001 I was at work at the post office, sorting my route when we heard that an airplane had flown into one of the twin towers. The carrier at the case next to mine had a radio, and when a second plane hit the other tower, I said, "We're at war." The supervisor said, "Get back to work." Of course she did. I didn't really get to find out what had happened until I got home that evening.

4. Jan. 28, 1986  I had been working as a postal carrier for only a few days when I returned to the office from making my deliveries to find a television on and the news of the challenger disaster being reported. 

5. Feb. 20, 1988 My wedding day. We lasted 13 years and the second half of those was not fun, but we began well and this day was perfect.

6. Feb. 10, 1993 My dear beloved Belgian shepherd dog Sundance had to be put down at the age of 15. It isn't overstating it to say that he taught me everything I needed to know about love. He saved my life in so many ways. When he died, the color went out of my world. I kept listening to Neil Diamond's "The Story Of My Life" and Peter Paul & Mary's "Puff The Magic Dragon" over and over and crying my eyes out. I still miss him. 

7. Aug. 2003 I don't now recall the exact date but I am recalling the day when I decided this was the day to get a new dog. I just got the feeling and knew it had to be. I went to the mall pet store (all six of my others have been rescues) and there I met an Aussie Shepherd I bought and named Bosco. I carried him through the house and out the side door and plunked his 4-month old little butt down to meet the other two resident pooches. It became clear he had never had room to run, but soon picked it up. Before long he was herding his new brother and sister, much to their chagrin. I came to love this guy as much as my dear Sundance, referenced in the preceding paragraph. My two Number Ones. I had Bosco for 11 years and God how I still love him even though he has gone on to the Rainbow Bridge.

8. April 7, 1984 I am and have always been a huge baseball fan and the Detroit Tigers are my team. From 1978 until May of 1984, I was living in San Antonio Texas, and rarely ever got to see my Tigers in that era before cable. Moreover, I hadn't even owned a working tv for a couple of years, but I knew the Tigers were going to be on the Game Of The Week, so I dragged out a small tv that hadn't worked in all that time, and lo and behold it came on and I got to watch Jack Morris's no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. Within an hour after the game ended, the tv conked out again, never to come on anymore. Thank you, Baseball Angels, for letting me see that game.

9. Oct. 10, 1968 There is nothing in the world like being a baseball-loving youngster and seeing your team win it all. On this date, the Tigers completed an amazing comeback from a 3 games to 1 deficit against the mighty St. Louis Cardinals to take the championship. Bliss!

10. July 23, 1967 My parents had rented a beach cottage for our vacation and I enjoyed it so much! There was a paddle boat I could use, and paperback books all over the place (I spent an afternoon reading a sci-fi thing called "The Joy Makers" if I recall the title correctly.) I loved the cottage and the lake and the games we had with us. So, it is memorable for all of that. But then on July 23rd, my father, who was a newspaperman, got a call from Detroit saying a riot had broken out and that he had to come back to work. So our vacation got cut short. I can still remember looking up Woodward Avenue from our 'burb and seeing the smoke rising over Detroit.

11. April 18, 1996 At the post office we had to have what were supposed to be annual route inspections, where a supervisor from another office would go around with us all day and write down all our times and stuff. These inspectors were usually taciturn and the day of inspection involved counting everything from pieces of mail to minutes spent doing each task. Ugh! So imagine my surprise when my inspector and I hit it off like crazy and spent the most unlikely and most wonderful day together. I was married at the time, and so it was just one perfect day, but oh my. And the thing is, we took one look at each other and bam, the lightning bolt. That had never happened to me before and never has again. 

12. Aug. 15, 2001 My divorce became final. It was no fun, to say the least. But though I didn't know it at the time, it set me free for a better life that came after. 

13. Sept. 29, 1985 My sobriety date. Everything that has happened since has only been possible because God answered my prayer and removed the compulsion to drink. 34 sober years and counting, one day at a time.


Monday, November 18, 2019

What Happened To Aunt Flossie

Arsenic in the wallpaper killed Aunt Florence,
her demise hastened by her habit of banging her head into the wall
at the slightest provocation.

Last time we visited,
my sisters and I chimed "Hello, Auntie,"
followed immediately by our polite curtsies
and more thundering head-bangs
which shook the house and dazed poor Aunt Flossie.

At tea, she spoke of being haunted by the spirit of a skunk
which had been living under the back stoop.
Her dog killed it, but the striped stinker in its anger
sought revenge.
We held our napkins to our faces in order to endure it. 

"How awful," we remarked,
upon which Aunt Flossie let her tea cup drop
from her fingers, and would have
banged most ferociously into the wall had we not instantly intervened.

My sisters and I are pious girls and we have faith
that the stinker will not be permitted to follow Aunt Flossie
into the golden gates of Heaven.
We shall miss her.
_____

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Do The Do

Let's have some fun. Today I'm participating in Song Lyric Sunday, which can be found HERE. This week the theme is "Done With The Verb Do" and you can choose to feature any song with any variant of "do" in it. I've chosen Tim Hardin's "Do The Do", a lively dance tune, pretty atypical for the moody, introspective Hardin.

"Do The Do" was written by blues man Willie Dixon, a favorite songwriter of late 60's blues rockers. He also wrote "Backdoor Man" popularized by the Doors, and "Spoonful", memorably recorded by Cream and also Etta James. "Do The Do" was recorded by several people (according to internet research--I have never heard any other version but Hardin's) and the lyrics I will add at the end of the post are from Howlin' Wolf's version. 

I can't listen to Hardin's recording of "Do The Do" without wanting to get up and move, and it always puts a smile on my face. That it should have been recorded by Tim Hardin is surprising. Hardin is best known for writing and singing amazing ballads such as "If I Were A Carpenter" (made famous by Bobby Darin), "Reason To Believe" (which charted for Rod Stewart) and "How Can We Hang On To A Dream." His voice is expressive and unique. In fact, he disliked others covering his songs so much that he began making them more complex and hard to copy. The closest voice I can think of to Hardin's might be Ron Sexsmith's, but that's like saying a Focus and a Ferrari are both cars.

Tim Hardin's story is a sad one. Picking up a heroin habit while in the Marines in the early 60's, it eventually ruined his life. He had a rebellious and contrary nature, often claiming a relation to the outlaw John Wesley Harding, but there's no facts backing that up. Like Harry Nilsson, Hardin disliked performing live, even though he did release a live album. 

In the end, we are left with his hauntingly beautiful songs, voice and music. As a result of factors noted in the preceding paragraph, his album Painted Head did not contain any self-penned songs, but did include the funky, fun "Do The Do", presented here with all due flourishes and fanfare. Dig it!

the mildly sexist and beside-the-point lyrics, by Willie Dixon:

 Well I know
I've got a babe
And I know her
Love is true
But you ain't seen nothing
'Til you see her, see her
Do the do
Do the do
Shake her shoulder
Take her time
Mover her body
Like I move mine
When she's dancing
You'll love her too
When you see her
Do the do
Do the do
34 bust
22 waist
Everything
Right in place
Cool disposition
Love her too
When you see her
Do the do
Do the do
Well, well there
Ain't nothing like
When you see her
Do the do
Do the do
Well I know
I've got a babe
And I know her
Love is true
But you ain't seen nothing
'Til you see her, see her
Do the do
Do the do


Saturday, November 16, 2019

R.S.V.P.


Thanks for the invitation, but last time you wouldn't let Molly past the front door. She hasn't forgotten and neither have I. 

What was the big thing with making me take my boots off?
Ooooh, imported rugs,
and everybody making a big deal out of your barfy tea.
Bitch, please.
Next thing you'll build a she-shed with paper walls.

Nope, me and Molls will be nine miles from here,
Molls with her ear buds in.
(She likes western swing.)
We stop and doze any time we want,
Molly dreaming of a bag of warm oats
and me dreaming that I'm dreaming, which will be true.

So go step in a gopher hole, girl.
You can post it on social media and call it a wine grotto.
_____

for Sunday Muse #82 where I am hostessing. Bring your pony.






Friday, November 15, 2019

First, There's A Dead Guy

First, there's a dead guy.
(There always is.)
Who cares? 
They'll figure it out in an hour.

The actress has red hair. She's quiet, but
simmering, like Emily Dickinson stirring chili in the afternoon
with wavy-glass windows steaming up
and a clock ticking in the hall behind her.

It's her hair, you know.
And her face.
I can feel it, that shift inside, sliding me into a time-fall.

I had forgotten the sensation on the sides of my fingers
as they curled around your green Henley at your hips.
They had never been born before that.
I had never been hungry before that.
My desire for you created me entire, on the spot. 

You had red hair. It was quiet in your dorm room,
like the air before a rare fall funnel.
I lifted your shirt up over your head,
lifted out of any life I ever lazed through up until then.
I never knew I could kiss someone
and carry that kiss like true north under my skin.

All day, I'll be thinking about
your scent,
your easy smile,
a time, place, and two girls
who stopped existing years ago, 
but who drop by unannounced and find me out.
_______

For Bjorn's flashback prompt at Toads. Last night I had the most intense dream about someone I knew when I was at college the first time (I went back later). But though I knew who it was, she had morphed into actress Julianne Nicholson, who played Detective Wheeler on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I probably need years of therapy.




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.

Oregon
61
kissing booth
sapphire 
foursome 
keyboard 
cafe 
blurring the edges 
tampons 
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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Elk

image by jason limberg
When elk look into their future,
they see their partners, the wolves.
Under gray cotton skies, they find the custodian lost in the woods,
pushing his bucket and mop with difficulty over roots and divots.
When elk speak, they can see their breath,
but the custodian hears nothing, like new dust arranging itself.

When wolves look into their future, 
they see a wounded custodian lagging behind.
The desperate, unsteady sway of keys on his hip
energizes their legs like an artist giddy over the right model.
On their tongues the wolves carry a palette
and with it they paint hunger, satisfied.

When custodians look into their future,
they see rocking chairs secreting themselves among the elk herds.
When wolves circle, the elk stamp their hooves nervously,
their eyes spy-hopping above the horizon like prayer flags.
When wolves kill, custodians return amazed to their mothers
as the huge heads of the elk swivel on the scent of evening.
______

for both Wordy Monday and Art Flash at Real Toads.


Athena and the Air's Machinations

My lungs speak, one to the other,
all night while owls tap at the window
sending Morse love poems to Athena.

They know I don't trust the air--not since Athena left.
I wear this bulky space suit everywhere, even into my dreams.

A fixer with a burlap bag gathered the owls and brought them back,
along with window glass, some putty, and a frame.
Now my lungs discuss the view, plan pilgrimages, and pointedly exclude me.

Athena loved the poems I could breathe out at will,
but wearied of my ladder collection and habit of communicating only by hieroglyph. 
Now everything is lungs, owls,
night, space suits,
and the stilling of the back door still redolent 
with Athena's scent and the trackless void of my own exhalations.
_____

(belatedly cos my I was off the grid) for Sunday Muse #79.