Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just as I'd hoped

just as I'd hoped
for a better day
with the local possum
hissing through its teeth

—A Hundred Gourds, March 2012

Midsummer 2011. Already, I'm ready for 2012. Record heat, record drought—and things would only get worse in the weeks to come. Still trying to sell this home, this perfectly decent home, for much longer than I care to admit to anyone. Living a life in transit: each week, back and forth from the old place to the new one up north. Whenever my cell rings, I jump. Often, it's the showing service, informing me that someone wants to see our house within the next hour or so; time to do a superficial clean-and-freshen. The same song keeps repeating itself; I'm stuck in my own Groundhog Day.

This afternoon, with forced optimism, I step outside. And there he is on the concrete breezeway, just a few feet from me, his teeth bared. We've seen him a few times during the past couple of years, though never before in the afternoon, never this close. Once a fine creature, now he's scraggly, perhaps emaciated. I run back inside while he turns and saunters off into the back yard, a bent elderly man down on his luck. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My nose; the green; van Gogh's Irises

my nose
inches from the brushstrokes
of a master. . .
and yet I'm alone
in my own time and space

red lights, January 2012

                   the green
               in van Gogh's Roses
               vibrant enough
               to be supernatural. . .
               a man just weeks from death
                  red lights, January 2012               
van Gogh's Irises
from brushstroked ground
the depth of his
perennial blueness

Sixty Sunflowers, 2007

I end up making the across-town trek to the museum by myself. It's been many years since I've been there, and the facilities have nearly doubled in size. Midmorning on a weekday: the main parking lot is overflowing, yet oddly I'm the only one roaming the rooms of this particular special exhibit. That is, except for the watchful eyes of a guard, who I guess needs to ensure I don't stuff a work of art into my purse. Still, I manage to get as close to the paintings as possible without actually touching them. Dust-quiet, the only sounds are the conversations of old masters.

*Link to Roses.* *Link to Irises.*

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We solder

we solder
another heart charm
to the bracelet. . .
I never could dangle
myself out there like that

—Moonbathing, Issue 5, Fall/Winter 2011 - 2012

Plain and simple, practical, reserved yet fairly sturdy: the way I grew. I guess I don't care for a ton of frilliness. But I admit I do like hearts (flowers too). So perhaps there is some vulnerability beneath the protective exterior.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Another one for today:

in my posted prose. . .
my fingers
red from stringing
sentences together

—June 2012

Whoever thought composing a few lines of text for a blog could be so big a task? I write, I condense, I tweak, I tweak the tweaks. And then there are the typos—and then more typos after retyping an entire post because something screwy happened to the formatting. To think I used to write and edit reams of my own work for a living. But now, having trouble with just a handful of sentences? Crimson-faced, I'll try to due better nest thyme.

Smooth stones

smooth stones
so sensual
we must not only
touch them softly
but write about them also

Simply Haiku, Autumn 2005

twigs&stones: A title I've had in my head for a long time, though it's not necessarily as unique as I'd hoped. E.g., when I Google, I find there's a similarly named viral video, a catchy folk-rock song (see link below), a gemstone hairpin company, etc. Ah, well. . .

We writers seem to love stones and mention them not infrequently in our poems and blogs. Is that how we think of our short poems, our realized moments, as stones both sturdy and delicate, anchoring us, delivering us from a tenuous world? Packed with an intensity of feeling we ourselves cannot easily contain?

The above entry was one of the first two tanka, or "tanka-like poems," I ever wrote. Admittedly, it's a little different (odd?); surely it violates a few "rules" and might not pass muster with some critics. Yet I had no problem getting it published originally, and someone else (a haiku editor at the time) once wrote me a very nice message about it. Above all, it said what it needed to say for me, and still does, so I guess I still kinda like it. ;)

*Check out the Twigs and Stones video by Canadian band Siskiyou.*

Monday, June 18, 2012

On bare ground

A poem that surfaced and survived as I tried to inch away from my writing drought:

on bare ground 
I sprinkle small seeds
with abandon
as if growing wildflowers
requires a lack of care

Notes from the Gean, June 2011; Take Five (vol. 4), 2012

The many wildflower seeds I enthusiastically bought and sprinkled around didn't amount to much. Perhaps that's not surprising in this, what I sometimes call, godforsaken place where "nothing" will grow alongside the towering lobollies save hardy native vegetation such as yaupon and monster wild grape vines. Of course, the extensive droughts, ongoing temperature extremes, and certain other factors didn't help. 

But every now and then, when you're not really looking, a few seeds will work their magic: for me, a couple of years later, a single clump of Texas bluebonnets, the lemon-yellow blooms on Missouri primrose. . . 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jumpin' in: from the freeway

from the freeway
linking farmland to city
no scenic views,
just a few mountains
painted on an RV 

American Tanka, #20, January 2012

How many times we've traveled that route between city and country and back again, especially during the stressful, years-long transition from Houston to the secluded rustic community where we now live. Above: my first tanka published in 2012, after I'd emerged from a writing hiatus. Well, during my break—lasting a couple of years or so—I suppose I produced a handful or two of poems, but many of them were flimsy or clunky. Since then, it's taken a while to find my way back. Maybe someday I'll see mountains, though, granted, not in this part of the world—at most, some gently rolling hills here and there.