Thursday, December 11, 2014

That Which I've Learned

Never place your trust
In a man who wears pointy toed shoes
Or a dog whose prick ears go back
In the fear position
When coyotes howl on PBS

Keep several grains of salt
In a little jar in your pocket
For when you go to church
The car dealership
Anywhere near candidates for office

The human heart is a hotel
People check in, people check out
Some will leave a five spot on the pillow
Some will steal the coffee carafe

If you say good morning to a tree
And wait quietly a few moments
You will hear it say The same to you

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Dog Writes Poems About Rain

All of the poems have titles like
Evil Water Falls Promiscuously
From the Sky the Gods Must Be Dead

In the park he stands under a tree
muttering phrases and counting out meter
until I give up and go back to the car
for the glove-compartment umbrella

Your mother's people herded Belgian sheep
I tell him
Even though he rolls his eyes at me because he's
heard this speech before
And your father's fathers were from Labrador
There's no earthly reason why you should
be so Evelyn-Genevieve-Priscilla about rain

Water is for drinking purposes only
He states in the voice of a narrator
of government health crisis videos
And hold that umbrella right
A damp collar one moment is pneumonia the next

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Why I Do Not Pick Up the Phone

It is the multitasking in the voice 
Or the impatience
Or the frustration
Or the words of wise counsel that make good sense and always have made good sense and always will make good sense
If you've got synapses like the Brooklyn Bridge but not a whole hell of a lot 
If all you've got in your head 
Is a rope bridge across a chasm 
In SE Asia

The last time I picked up the phone
Someone quoted Ben Franklin and something they said was Louisa May Alcott or Laura Ingalls Wilder and got irritated when I said it actually was Elizabeth Taylor's mother in National Velvet
have not picked up the phone since

And what would I say if I did
Save me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

This I Believe

When a shaft of sunlight
shines down on
the most comfortable
armchair in the house
and the dog has curved
his spine just right
into the space
where the chair back
meets the chair seat
do not shift him
so you can take his place.
Sit on the floor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Case Family Can Be Found

Always scanning the faces
of people in queues
in case family can be found
at the Dairy Queen
on dollar off Blizzard day
or in the returns lane
at Target

Always saying Lovely green beans
Cute dog
Great weather isn't it
to people 
behind tables at the farmers market
on the trail
in case family can be found
behind tables at the farmers market
on the trail

Always stopping to read the bulletin board
in the foyer of the library
in hopes family can be found
between the minutes of the last
city council meeting
and the poster
on the safe disposal of sharps

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last night,

I dreamed I said
Wrap your arms around my neck
to a wolf
and he did
and I staggered backwards
and he lurched forwards
and then he was free from the quicksand
that protects the east entrance
to the elephants' graveyard
and some monkeys screeched on birch branches up above
and a lion roared
and a Jack Russell Terrier
in a jingle dress
danced in the falling snow

Wolf, I said
it was a dumbass thing
to fall into quicksand
anyone with your knowledge of the Paris subway system
should know that
Girl, he said
I had a hunger deep inside
and there's nothing more filling than the marrow
from the thigh bone
of a she elephant
as long as she didn't die
of a broken heart
and so I took a calculated risk
Besides, you shouldn't talk
everyone knows you leave your bed
and go out into the cold in your jim-jams
to score Oreos at 24-hour convenience store prices

Wolf, I said
you see right through me
Girl, he said
you are a Pyrex measuring cup to me

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Zinnia Buffet

The straight row of thumbelina zinnias
is zig-zaggy and not very thumbelina
unless thumbelina means tall and taller
and over there as high as the fence
it wouldn't make a cover shot for
The English Garden magazine

But two swallowtails
a monarch
and a bumblebee as big as a big man's thumb
are tasting one flower and then the next
a little zig-zagginess no impediment
to moving methodically through
what's on offer at the zinnia buffet