Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Loneliness of an Egg (poem)

The recipe card says two.
Take them from their hollows.
That leaves one.

The loneliness of an egg.

The recipe card says two.
An occasional cook
doesn't risk deviation.

What’s it like on the shelf,
solo, in the dark?

One egg, scrambled.
So good for the dog’s coat.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cranberry Salad Is a Personal Thing (poem)

Cranberry salad
is a personal thing.

Remember that unusually warm winter
when the canned jellied party's rhetoric
riled the bag and cook your own types
and their campaign commercials
stirred up the cool whip
and the real whipping cream proponents
who began shouting "Slave to the kitchen"
and "One molecule away from being plastic"
until you couldn't hear yourselves think
and there was very nearly a war?

(People will never learn, will they
It's when you can't hear yourselves think
that war creeps in like an elderly pit bull terrier
and you don't know she's there
until she farts
and suddenly war fills your nostrils
war fills your mouth
you inhale war and exhale it out again)

But that year the cranberry salad war ended before it began
The wind came up
and the temperature went down
and the war was nipped in the bud
because no real Minnesotan
would follow the drum in the middle
of a traditional November December
(Wait until Spring, we say,
except if there was a lot of snow
then March will be all mud
April can be iffy, too,
Perhaps June is the best month
to take up arms
It best not drag on too long, though
Don't want to be crouched in a field
watching for the whites of some bastard's eyes
when it's humid and sticky in August
and the mosquitoes are slightly larger
than the largest of crows)

Cranberry salad
is a personal thing
"My mom always put a dollop
of cool whip on top"
you brightly say to me

Your mother and the horse
she rode in on,
I think to myself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Subtext (poem)

I wait all day
to hear the results!
chirps the program lead
in charge of project pick-an-acronym

I smile pleasantly, and don't say

I wait all day
to lie in bed at night
with my dog

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Someone Finally Calls (poem)

Someone finally calls
You've got the phone in your left hand
Clutched so tight you will later see
the indentations of it on the inner sides of your fingers and thumb
You open your mouth to say something
you've needed to say for days
but you feel a scream way down
in your throat
and that mustn't happen
because once you started
screaming you might never stop
so you hesitate a moment
a split second
too long in this post-modern age
And now the person
has asked about the dog
The dog?
You swallow down the scream
and say the dog is fine
So the chance goes by
like when the sky in evening is full of reds and oranges and golds
and you catch just one glimpse of it
before you get on the freeway heading east
Well, Merry Christmas, you say,
and wish you hadn't answered the phone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Says the Matronly Shih Tzu (poem)

Just to make conversation
As she trots down the dog park path
I say to the matronly Shih Tzu
in the pink sweater
"This snowfall flocking the trees
and capping the fence posts
makes me think of pictures I’ve seen
of the snow-tipped mountains in Tibet
where you come from."

"What are you talking Tibet?"
the matronly Shih Tzu replies.
"I was born in a split level
in Blue Earth, Minnesota, USA.
It was August and humid as all get out."

"Here," I say, embarrassed at being caught stereotyping.
"Let me pull straight your pink sweater
which has gone all kitty-wampus under the left arm
and is in danger of impeding your gait."

"I'm not sure it’s appropriate,"
says the matronly Shih Tzu.
"That lady over there
trying to unlock her new phone
is my Dresser and Undresser.
We are family.
Are you family?"

“I am part of no one’s family,” I say.
“But it may serve as a kind of bona fides
if you know that I was born in Winnebago
which is nine miles from any split level in Blue Earth
if someone were to orient herself in a northerly direction.

"Close enough for government work,"
says the matronly Shih Tzu.
And comes close so I can fix her pink sweater.