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winter news

Here, earth moves with the weather
winter shifts and cracks, freezes
and refreezes every surface

Outside the funeral home
a row of etched headstones
waits. On our walks,
we review the carved names
of over winter deaths

Across town, in the cemetery,
year after year moves through
and changes the marble landscape—
this spring, the statue of mother Mary
has shifted and now tilts forward
as if she is ready to leap
into the springtime air

No Wonder You Want To Sleep Through The Alarm

All over town, people
wake in the dark
and plan the day
some even write lists
with such innocence
as if it will unfold
the way they wrote
Then one kid spills
cereal all over the floor, another loses a shoe
and the happy dog full of cereal hurries outside
to keep their regular appointment and bark at the early joggers,
with those bouncing headlamps. Birds start to sing
brown rabbit darts across the yard
lights come on in kitchens
you’re out of milk and bananas and
I reassure the dog that he is very brave
then, take another COVID test

no-mow May

two news stories yesterday
about no-mow May
Reporters interview environmentalists
and one practical John Deere repairman
who warns that by June
grass will be too tall to mow at all

What then? Wide swaths of lawn
become field, become meadow.

The honeybees are picketing
in front of all the tractor and
mower stores, marching
up and down in front of
every lawn care business
Buzzing with hope.

One old farmer remembers decades of
spring plowing, the gorgeous smell,
the startled worms, the luxurious deep brown
color like the pelt of some soft hidden animal.
But that was long ago
before the farmer fell under the spell
of the bees. Now he only listens and nods
through May, hums along with the yellow blare of
dandelions and the happy plotting of pollinators

because life is loud and there is no time today to organize that worldwide protest against noise pollution

Life is Loud
always with its engines and alarms,
barking dogs and talk
laughter, complaints, broken mufflers,
and all that incessant noise of thinking.

poems are quiet
a low hum beneath the action

today’s poem

Today’s poem
will conclude
with birds,
singing.

but first—
why do I bother?
why should you?
(and you should,
absolutely)

because
a daily poem
is a reminder,
a sticky-note from
the world to you

what you notice
is a gift, one of many—
with practice,
you can learn to see
the exact moment
Lit up and Glittering
moment you ought to pick up.
Anybody could notice it.
but you are the anybody who did.

And nobody
including you,
might ever notice it again
or remember it, this tiny
particular moment—
even if you write it down.

Write it down anyway.

as you write, they begin
or you begin to hear them—
morning chorus,
birds singing in the darkness,
in the still bare trees

things could be worse

Your problem?
Well, one of them—
You want life to
Be story-shaped
And
You’re very particular
About the kind of story—
quirky as an indie film,
but not the dark, cynical kind.
You demand events
that build towards
happy endings.
Sure, you allow for
tinges of tragedy and loss
but they are flecks of black paint
placed just so on the canvas,
there to highlight
the important shapes
of lighter moments.

shimmering goddess of the uninhibited

When I drive through that remembered town
I slow the car, study faces, postures,
examine how each woman holds her shoulders
wondering whatever happened to her—
that young girl who
once upon a time
once upon this bridge
danced with wild exuberance
in the middle of the bridge, any time of day.
Wearing a Walkman and headphones
she once shimmered and swayed,
lips moving as she sang loud to
the music only she could hear.

how to picture the day

flower painting class at the public library

She began with instructions on talking—
If you say,
I can’t paint a flower,
the message travels down your arm
into your hand
which is always listening.

After that, it got even more complicated.

today’s subject

Last night, my wonderful writing group read Muriel Rukeyser’s poem, I lived in the first century of world wars. And though she wrote about another time and place, we wrote about, thought about, talked about Ukraine. All last night, all this morning, I’ve been wondering over it—the relief of finally speaking about what is happening in our world. How that relief only helps me, but does nothing for anyone in Ukraine. I remembered another moment from yesterday, not spoken of.

Shopping list of what I imagine as necessities
clutched in my hand because the day, every day,
leaves me so frazzled that I can’t remember
to buy broccoli and oranges and milk
without words on paper to remind me

I am halfway across the parking lot when I see him.

Far down at the end, past the liquor store,
way down where the broken wooden fence
separates the crumbling asphalt lot from the cornfield,
Right there, a man is on his knees next to a rusted blue car
Did he drop something?
Is he petting or rescuing some small animal?

In this small town, I don’t recognize for a minute
what I have only seen in theory,
on screens or in cities far from home.
He kneels on a small rug,
facing east towards Mecca,
Praying

As I push open the door, I see the cashier watching too.
We don’t speak of it.
Me, because I am afraid to hear what he might say.
Him, because—Who knows? I’ll never know.
So I am again,
again
left with silence about what I see,
about what happens around me every day.
Maybe all this silence is why I can’t remember
to buy the broccoli
So here I am again, writing it down

A Hundred Falling Veils

there's a poem in every day

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment