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Posts Tagged ‘time’

            for Merry

I loved to sit on that green and white swirled couch,

loved even more to sit on it with my grandmother.

Everything about her was soft. Her wrinkled hands,

her sagging face, her bosom-y body she was forever

trying to slim. Her voice was cloudlike. Her laughter,

fine gauze. And her eyes ever met me with silk-strong love.

Why do I always return to that one afternoon

when she let me sit beside her, reading her poem

after poem, as if she had no garden to tend, no meal

to make, no hymns to practice for Sunday’s service.

Forty years later, in my kitchen, I’m still with her on the couch,

hoping we’ll stay that way just a little longer.

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turnovers

 

 

My own fault for not reading all the directions

on how to make puff pastry from scratch—

how after the shaggy dough phase, you shape

and then chill. And then roll and fold and roll

and shape the dough. And chill. And then roll

and fold and roll and fold. And chill. Then roll

and slice. And chill. And fill. And chill. So often,

mid project, I find myself thinking I would never

have started this project had I known

how long it would take. Flour on my pants,

on the floor, on the table.

 

Six hours later, nearly midnight, my daughter

and I baste the chilled triangles with water,

sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar,

then put them in the oven at last. We are tired,

but the house fills with the sweet scent

of baking apple, the home-rich scent of crust.

 

What is life, but a big project we are in the middle of?

A project I’m in no hurry to finish.

In fact, these days are like puff pastry dough,

guiding me to take it slow, slower, to rest

between steps. I haven’t read all the directions.

For now I am laughing. It’s so much more

than I thought I was in for. But I’m here,

hands ready. I’m willing to work, to clean up the mess.

 

 

  • photo by Finn Trommer

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Not the What but the How

 

 

 

Mostly, we forget.

Mostly, the singular moments

that felt so important—

remarkable, even—

slip like raindrops

into a pond.

 

Most of my life

is blur, is watercolor.

But let me clearly remember

tonight, dying my daughter’s

hair blue, singing along

to the radio, laughing

about nothing in particular.

 

What I want to remember

is how little it takes

to make a moment light up

from within, light up

like dew infused by the sun—

each moment a teacher,

our own home the temple.

 

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And what did you do with your lost hour?

            —Harry Teague

 

 

Well, I didn’t sleep, that’s for sure,

nor did I bake bread. Didn’t practice piano

or write a poem, skate ski or do sumo squats.

 

Neither did I throw javelins.

Nor fake my own death in a gruesome car accident,

nor steal modern art nor moon rocks nor whiskey.

 

I didn’t spelunk. Didn’t sink in a ship.

Didn’t crawl through the sewer.

Didn’t get a tattoo. Didn’t twerk.

 

Perhaps there was part of me

that did what I am always trying to do—

untether from time and lose all sense

 

of who I am and what I think and

what comes next and how it’s supposed to be—

yeah, I’d like to believe that for a lost hour

 

perhaps some part of me thrived and joined

with the universe so completely that it knew itself

as the dawn that comes when it comes.

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One Simultaneous

 

 

 

driving white knuckled

in the blizzard, meanwhile

a white camellia blooms

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One Almost Miss

 

 

catching the plane—

five hours later this heart

still rushing to the gate

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after Erik Satie’s Gnossienne 2

 

 

for you a song

with no measures

and this tessellating metronome

that ticks only love and slips

into each moment a forever

 

 

 

 

Dear friends,

 

You have perhaps guessed by now that I am doing a whole series of five-line poems on Satie’s Gnossiennes—five lines for the five lines of the staff. And each poem is titled based on the directions he wrote above the staves instructing the musician how to feel the music. There will be quite a few more … they’re really fun.

r

 

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I ask the earth

please, a little more time?

it spins on, spins on

 

*

 

finally dipping my toe

in the lap lane, already

I dream of the finish line

 

*

 

a bucket of anything

is best drunk a sip at a time—

even bliss

 

*

 

news from the heart—

it knows how to heal

its own holes

 

*

 

resolving to treat

all my concerns as poems—

now doubt, too, is beautiful

 

*

 

packing up the tent—

if only all habits could be folded,

bagged, stowed away

 

 

 

 

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Pulling the long red radish bulbs

from the garden, I marvel

at their pinkness, rub off the dirt,

bite into the crisp white flesh.

There are few tastes that bite

just right this way—make the mouth

happy to be a mouth and it teaches me,

without trying, that sometimes

when we wait too long,

a thing turns bitter. But oh, get

the timing right, my god, it’s sweet.

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One Slowing

 

 

braiding white daisies

to make a misshapen crown—

living blossom to blossom

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