I don’t feel like writing today, because I was sick all weekend and am sort of recuperating still. I am still a bit achy and a little weak, but I feel better than I have since Wednesday. I tricked the sickness into hiding from Wednesday night until Saturday evening. Just as we were getting ready to go to Ed and Abbie’s for the Halloween Party, I started feeling run down, chilled, and throaty. Becs looked at my tonsils and they were swollen. Big. They were almost touching, which I am happy to say is over now. Anyway, since I don’t feel like writing, I am going to post a couple of poems I wrote a while ago.
This one is about the woman who feeds the ducks and my dogs everyday. I am annoyed with her but intrigued with her at the same time.
Running Along the River With My Dogs in the Dark: Early Autumn
The river is low and the rocks poke out above the moving surface.
Geese are sleeping on the bank. They are quiet, their heads tucked,
sly eyes watching us pass, their wings fluffed
around their well-fed bodies. They wait: she will come.
The geese stir now at every car that passes. The grey-brown Ford,
same color as their feathers, rounds the corner. She parks,
opens the trunk, retrieves the familiar green pickle buckets.
Geese flock her open palms filled with bread crumbs,
their wings spread proud. They rejoice: she has come.
This one is about a woman I saw walking around in San Francisco. I set it in a church, though, because I think the woman was delusional, and mistook the streets for a sanctuary.
A woman shrugging and slight of step hobbles up the scarlet
aisle between intricately carved, aged, cushioned wooden pews.
She, shrouded in a pungent smell: candle-wax and lilies,
clutches coins firm in her grip, knuckles white, head slanted down
on her thin wrinkled neck. Her eyes slits. Tears flow freely
from beneath clinched lids, lashes twinkling moist yellow flashes.
“A poor widows mite, a poor widow’s mite, a poor widow’s
mite,” she whispers advancing. Heads turn, our eyes stare. She trembling
continues her procession, as inch by inch the carpet woos her.
Chin now to chest, palms impressed by coins, cheeks chapped red by salt,
she kneels. Her body convulses, wracked with grief stricken sobs.
Hunched, she sways and intones her sins, naming each one clearly.
She rocks rhythmically; her fingers loosen, depositing
her offering: a cable car token and a poker chip.
Here is a random list poem. Poetry.com posted one poem for each day of the month last April and I used the poems as inspiration for my own writing.
Old comic book, a Wonder Woman comic book, soiled pages.
Pink worm, a slippery earthworm cracked and dry, in a plastic sandwich bag.
A raccoon skin cap, a rabbit’s foot key chain, a piece of driftwood.
A crinkled dress pattern, several eight tracks labels faded, dusty.
Knotted prayer rope, song flute, marbles, music box.
An airplane gear and a silky cord. An infinity symbol and two pieces of velcro.
Soybean shell burst with beans missing and husk brown and dry.
Papier-mache volcano with soda-vinegar explosions. Sun dogs,
neighbor’s dogs, Red Dog Saloon.
This one is more creative nonfiction than poetry. I based it on this short CNF piece in the magazine Brevity. Wright asks the question why and then answers in “Becauses.” I ask for forgiveness and then say what that forgiveness is “For.” Most of what I ask forgiveness for has to do with relationships, both romantic ones and friendship.
For letting me get carried away with myself. For staying with you while you used my body as a breathing punching bag. For defending your use of my body as love, when it was abuse. For staying even after you took me against my will. For not knowing so young that it was wrong.
For loving you so hard. For not understanding your mental illness. For trying to hard to understand it. For not knowing what to do when you came to my house, not yourself, looking for compassion. For wishing you ill when you left me to go off with the mother of your distant child. For not taking you back when you came home. For being afraid of you and your instability.
For having sex with you on the beach in front of my parents house under the full moon. For laughing at you when you cried because of the beauty of it. For stealing your virginity and then breaking your heart. For breaking your heart and never looking back. For making fun of your cooking: pot luck, hot dog gravy, and buche de noel. For never really loving you.
For stealing your girlfriend. For fucking your boyfriend. For flirting with your wife.
For loving you enough to let you love other people. For being too stupid to know you didn’t love me back. For wondering why you never came home. For doing the same thing to you that you did to me. For the Wise Owl hot air balloon guy. For holding on too tightly to something that could never have been healthy, good, or true. For not letting go sooner. For still wanting you back sometimes.
For slipping out while you were in the bathroom and never coming back. For changing the locks on the doors because you were a convicted felon. For not being smart enough to ask if you had a criminal past before I let you move in to my house and my life. For going home with someone wearing a Foreigner t-shirt and drinking Bud Light. For sleeping with you on the first date. For never asking about your past. For hating you for my free-clinic AIDS test. For hoping to never see you again.
For thinking I knew just what to say, when I didn’t have any idea. For pretending to know just what you were going through, when I had never experienced anything similar. For not staying with you when you needed me the most, and for leaving you with your cancer because I was afraid. For my inability to access my emotions and weep with your children when they lost you.
For forgetting your birthday, and not even telling you I was sorry. For forgetting it again the next year. For touching the deepest parts of you and then backing away. For leaving you and for letting you go. For never telling you I loved you.
For not listening to your deepest thoughts, and writing my homework list in my head while all the while nodding as if in agreement. For expecting you to listen to me and my tedious details. For getting angry when I think you aren’t. For giving you grief about your beer, when I have my vices, too. For taking for granted what we have. For not working as hard as I should. For letting you be the one thing that slides. For knowing you’ll still love me regardless. For using that as my excuse. For not telling you often enough: I love you.
For taking your body and your blood for granted. For accepting your grace without experiencing your shame. For questioning you. For always thinking I can do it on my own. For not following your calling. For getting myself so wrapped up in this world that I cannot see yours. Forgive me. For I know not what I am doing.