Monday, February 13, 2017

Mementos

Small things
seem to take on fresh meaning
as pages yellow
through time
filed in drawers labeled "junk."

Old photos
and love letters,
a golden locket
still untarnished
that seemed real when
presented long ago
by a special beau.

A display of colorful objects  
look up when brushed
with a duster,
that swishes quickly by stolid ceramic faces,
mementos from a loving friend
to dance upon the shelf.

These objects remain
and letters retain
wafts of cologne
once carefully applied
to hold the message
unstained and lasting,
as if the message could disappear!
It endures in wisps of memories
and things stored, but not forgotten.

© Shelly Sitzer, 2017

Knick knacks
Photo by Francisco Anzola
from Wikimedia Commons



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Winter Morning, -13°

Waking up in longjohns and socks
under so many quilts your body hurts,
windows rattling in the winds
and puffs of snow sprinkling
the sill and the floor beneath—

you fire up the stove with dry cobs and oak,
lean into it and rub your hands,

your mind unsettled by the linoleum rug
which won’t lie still. When a squall hits broadside,
the rug rises, billows. You press a foot and pump it slowly,

feel it push back against your toes
too soft for something that cold,
spongy as moss beside a spring.

Pants and shirt now, then ham and red-eye gravy,
eggs, yesterday’s biscuits, 
coffee as hot as you can take it
while three feet away snow won’t melt.

Last fall’s venison in the freezer is warmer than this,
but you’re not that dead, not yet. There are chores out there,

and at the mill logs whose frozen hearts
will make a four-foot blade cut a crooked track.

Into as many layers as will fit.
Wrap a towel around your head,
another around your neck,
walk to the door. Beneath your feet
you feel the rug rippling
and you think of summer

and a field of clover
rising and falling, rising and falling,
and how every green and growing thing will die.


              © David Black, 2017

White clover in the meadow
Photo by Steve Daniels, UK
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chance

Life is messy and irrational.
I make a plan, just to watch it fall apart.
So I concentrate on doable things,
sort out the dirtiness of real life
from the spotless world of my imagination,
even as these incompatible things
sow seeds of madness
in my burning, buzzing brain.
  
I try to distract myself
by looking at dancing birds,
I spend the day picnicking,
but cannot stop the seeds from sprouting.
Beautiful life and hope
are destroyed 
by a stroke of bad luck,
by lack of money,
or the cultural tide
crashing against the cliff face of reality.

I feel threatened by the power of my will
and take a break from struggle.
I listen to hit songs,
study my successful peers,
read a person’s character by his garb.
I dismiss words and smirks.
I let things pass.
Cultish servitude to the past is gone:
today I worship Chance.

I no longer mistake a coincidence
for self-conscious Providence.
I create order out of chaos,
make a superior plan
from the debris of salvaged ideas— 
and watch the new plan fall apart.
Chance is blind.


© Helen Kanevsky, 2017

Waves from the Indian Ocean crash against the cliffs of Eagle Gorge,
Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia
Photo by Gypsy Denise
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, January 9, 2017

Giving/Receiving

Oh, the lessons we must learn
Because we have to grow.
Oh, the message given when young
That you know must be changed.
“You are to give of yourself,
So reach out and help those less fortunate.”
“Be benevolent and give a helping hand.”
“Be strong and reach down to lift others up.”
“Don’t let others see you cry
Because that means you’re weak.”
And so your life follows those paths,
Until one day a cardboard box stands in your way,
And you fall into awareness.
The depths of the hole
Feel like an upside-down world.
You must reach out and ask for help.
You must allow others to help you.
Simple chores are too much for you,
And you must sit and watch while others work for you.
You cry because you feel so vulnerable,
And you don’t know how to accept.
But you learn the lessons
Of allowing others the giving gift,
And you sit and see the rainbows
That were always there to see.
So you now can give the gift of giving
To others as you sit quietly to receive.
What a gift!


        © Hilda Ward, 2017

Nurse tending patient in Kettering hypertherm cabinet
WPA photo taken in New Orleans, U.S. Marine Hospital
from Wikimedia Commons 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Butterfly and Flower

Butterfly loves Flower; Flower doesn’t love back.

B: They say be like the flower is:
aloof… but I need the sweetness 
over and over.
I can’t stay away 
or stop the sipping.
I am never full.

F: I cannot be the butterfly 
who insatiably worships.
I open. I give.
That’s enough for me. 
Drained, I fade inward,
notice the fullness.

Butterfly is fed; Flower is fertilized.

B: In the night I cling to tree bark,
dreaming of colors, 
sugar on my tongue
over and over.
Dreams are not enough 
and I am empty. 

F: In the night, I close. It’s peaceful.
I think I’ll not open again 
to make sweet pretense
for needy tongues.
I fill myself up
and I am changing. 


© Laura Seale, 2016

Monarch butterfly with Milkweed
Photo by Tony Russell

Monday, December 5, 2016

Little Chicago

(Milwaukee’s near north side)

Dad drove taxicab on the near north side.
He went up and down the big little town.
Some of his fares were looking to hide,

and in little Chicago, our north side,
the mob could stay if they behaved.
The socialists though, would not be bribed.

The new rock in a bay held the big guy.
Small fish rode right on like the big Muskie rode,
with face or name never applied.

Wisely, Dad returned to selling clothing instead.
Later he went back to these stomping grounds.
“They have the best hard rolls” was what he said.


© Dennis Wright, 2016


Old taxicab in Aleppo, Syria, taken 1995
Photo by Spielvogel
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, November 28, 2016

BEFORE MY WINDSHIELD IN A TRAFFIC JAM

I SEE A WORM
DRIFTING ON THE WIND,
SUSPENDED ON A STRING,
ON A FILAMENT 
IN THE FIRMAMENT, 
FRAGILE AS A MOMENT ...
EMBRACING FUTURE NOW!
WILL WE BOTH EXPIRE
ON THIS CONCRETE BYWAY?


© Gerry Sackett, 2016

Christmas Tree Worm from the South China Sea
by Lepidlizard
from Wikimedia Commons