DAILY BREAD (hour 11 poem)

DAILY BREAD

 

I used to bake bread as if

my life depended on it.  And maybe it did.

I was young, broke, and living in a house

with six friends.  One of us saved money

by diving into anoxeria, until she turned orange

from eating pounds of organic carrots everyday.

 

Another did most of her studying in the bathtub;

I mean she was ensconced in tepid water for splendid

hours on end.  She got used to hearing us pee, as

the toilet was in the same overheated bathroom.

 

Another played plaintive folk songs on guitar and flute

until my ears rang, and I had to spend some of what

little cash I had on bright orange foam earplugs.

 

But we were a community – we all had our house tasks.

One person made soup out of leftover vegetable

scraps she saved in our freezer: carrot tops, tough

brocolli stalks, potato peels – nothing was wasted.

 

And I made the house’s weekly bread – at least six

loaves a week.  Organic whole wheat, sourdough,

and challah, when we had enough eggs come Thursday.

I stirred the dough, beat it down by hand.

 

The kneading was my saving grace, my meditation,

my entry to a personal dream storefront replete with

sugar maples, periwinkle and cumulous clouds. I walked

that forest often and blessed it daily.

 

 

WILDFIRES

WILDFIRES

The ash on the car’s windshield

disturbs, as if an extinct species

had landed on the glass,

in ghost form, to call out

her death – Where were you

when I was alive? she asks.

And I have no answer.

I wasn’t nearby, I sigh,

knowing full well that is

not a good excuse.

Where were you? you? you?

INFINITY AND BEYOND

INFINITY & BEYOND

                        I count the stars and place them in my hand, my heart.

                        — Zeina Hashem Beck, “Ghazal: Samira Tawfiq Sings A Love Poem”

 

Near the edge of the rooftop pool,

distance falls away, infinity moves closer.

 

Still as a heron on a river bank

waiting for telltale movement,

 

the woman looks up, and away –

her gaze grazing unseen stars, planets.

 

Twilight approaches,

is coming our way.

 

Infinity moves closer.

STEP BACK

 

STEP BACK  (DRACULA)             (hour 8)

 

How could Jonathan have been so obtuse?

A newby British bank clerk, sure; early 20th century,

yes!  But so naive as to travel to far-fetched Romania?

First by train, then overnight horse-and-four

driven by a man who commanded red-eyed wolves –

all to get some unaging stranger to sign

property deeds in London?  Seriously,

 

bite me!  Why didn’t he turn back

when natives cursed and/or bestowed

on him garlic wreaths and clunky metal crosses?

 

Ah, well, you know the rest: boy meets

vampire, suppresses homoerotic longings

all while protecting his chaste finance who

lusts after the Count (she’s been bitten,

of course, trying to uncover the mystery

of  her BFF turned blood-sucking Bloofer Lady).

 

And you know what follows, step by step:

boy and friends uncover conspiracy

to sap ye old merry homeland of its young

and new blood.  Stake driven through heart,

corpses burned or shot.  Girl and country saved.

Case closed.

PARIS PLAIGE 2019   (hour 7)

PARIS PLAIGE 2019

 

The movie has just begun –

curiously, what’s showing

on the quai-side’s massive screen

appears to be an image of us –

tourists and less shabby locals –

arrayed in small electric

boats on the Canal du Seine.

Are we going to be the feature

then?  I’ve never been in a

film – not even a home movie.

What happens next? Is there

some script I am supposed

to follow?

 

ABANDONED RINGS

ABANDONED RINGS      (hour 6)

 

Why did they take them off,

those wedding rings?  There’s

two sets – gold and thin, piled together

on the forest green placemat, alongside

the glass vase with dusty eucalyptus.

The candle is not lit.  The coaster has

no wine glasses resting on top.  Time for me

to leave.

 

Inspired by a photo posted by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash (2.2.21)

 

SQUIRRELLY

SQUIRRELLY

We climb to earth, upside down, heads first, tails up, bushy and last – like a flag proclaiming its territory, here, coming, watch! as our feet touch the earth, and we’re dashing, bounding, nearly bouncing, but softly, so lightly you could be forgiven for thinking we’re hovering, resplendently, traveling the the air’s currents across the lawn, then bam, up up another tree, mouths first, acorns as proud heralds.

THE TRUTH IS STILL OUT THERE

THE TRUTH IS STILL OUT THERE       (hour 3 poem)

The truth is still out there’: internet shrugs at Pentagon’s UFO findings.

– Gabrielle Canon, Guardian UK 6/25/21

 

The hummingbird feeder

hangs from an iron hook.

At a great distance

its spherical shape

seems to hover in space,

awaiting visitors – those

helicopters of the animal realm –

fierce hummingbird hummers.

 

Roswell, New Mexico, 1947:

supposed alien crash site,

deep-sixed by the CIA like dust

covers the Pecos Valley desert.

 

Are we alone in the universe?

The truth is still out there.

 

Carl Sagan added fuel to the fuel,

with his, Billions and billions

and tv shine personality

a celebrity astrophysicist.

 

The X-Files fanned the flames

with its kickass agents, Mulder

and Scully – chasing UFO rumors

and trying to avoid alien abductions

over American screens everywhere.

 

Are barbarian aliens coming,

or friendly Close Encounters

of the Third Kind?

 

“U.S. Has No Explanation

for Unidentified Objects and Stops

Short of Ruling Out Aliens” – NY Times

25 June 2021

 

The hummingbirds dip their

needle-sharp beaks into

the feeder’s clear nectar.

the truth is still out there.

NO, NO: SEATTLE TO LONDON

NO, NO: SEATTLE TO LONDON                                         (response to prompt 15)

Wherever else would we be asked

to sleep within two inches – maybe less –

of someone we’d just met? These flights aren’t

 

called long haul for nothing.  They try

the patience, even pre-Covid.

Trying to hide beneath a thin blanket,

 

praying I sleep, praying I won’t

because I don’t know you, and you’re seated

touching me, head tilted, as if you’re my partner.

 

Don’t make me sit in the middle.

 

Seattle to London, over the pole – the

shortest route possible.  Ten long hours

with your arm resting closely,

 

limply by mine, as if I knew you.

I brought my own blanket onto this plane,

headphones, ear plugs, even a neck pillow.

 

Call me cranky, call me crazy privilege girl

but we’ve never met, and I’m sure I don’t

want to sleep crushed close to you.

 

Don’t make me sit in the middle.

LAKES, RIVERS, SEA

LAKES, RIVERS, SEA                                                  (rsponse to prompt 12)

“I am haunted by waters.” Olivia Laing, To The River

 

I have never trekked the Ouse, never

visited the riverside, Sussex home

of Virginia and Leonard, never felt

river and sea merging at Newhaven.

 

But I, too, have been haunted

by waters.  Six weeks old, I was

packed up and stashed in a woven

basket; carried to Burt Lake.

 

The lake where I learned to fish –

perch, sunfish. Where I learned

to respect the power of water

(storms, shipwrecks, lost sailors),

 

learned to catch, skin, and fillet

fresh catch for supper.  And to fear

the sturgeon swimming in deep waters

under our small aluminum boat

 

with its 5hp outboard motor.

Have spent years skating on frozen

rivers, startled by its deep cracking

like gunshot, and fish embedded

 

in ten-foot thick ice.  Skated for miles

and hours, whisper singing, I wish

I had a river I could skate away on,

and almost succeeded, but the sharp cold

 

always brought me home,

I have moved inland and thirsted –

no sea, few lakes.  But mountains

kept me company, their streams

 

babbling and gurgling

in tune with blood.

 

Book: To The River, Olivia Laing

First line: “I am haunted by waters.”

Last line:  “We crossed the river then and pulled away, and in the empty fields the lark still spilled its praise.”

 

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