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Long Branch

12 Nov

Robert Pinsky, US poet laureate
said that all of his poems
in one form, or another
are about Long Branch.

The same is true for me.
All of my poems, well
most, are about you,
in varying percentages
and, maybe not the you
you think you are
but, the you I see you as
which is a kind you
a noble you, playfully erudite, and fun
the you I have carried with me
all these years
and, if you know me
well enough, you can
read any of my poems
and place your finger
right where x marks the spot
every single time
and possibly see yourself
as the hidden treasure
that I have always thought you are.

I am not sure I need to apologize
since I didn’t intend it to be this way
there are no secret messages
or hidden agendas
and it often surprises me
as much as it must surprise
and perplex you; I can only say that
something about you stayed with me:
it peeks out from between the sheets
of poems I have written, it has
mixed into my palette of colors,
it has woven itself into
this blanket of words
I sleep with.

I looked up.

I looked up.

Every poet needs a muse, but we don’t necessarily get to choose our muses. I am grateful to have one, though. To be able to draw consistent inspiration from a source removed from my current state and circumstance has enabled me to use my imagination to create instead of wallow. I have several muses, actually, not just one, but the common thread they share is that they help me write boldly, from the heart. That is not an easy thing for me because I am naturally shy, which in the past has inhibited me from doing or saying things that I later wish I had done, or said. The result is very liberating, and it leads me in an upward spiral; it helps me keep a positive outlook on life.

Long Branch, NJ is my hometown.

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Epiphany

23 Jan

It took about three times
before the pattern was clear:
walk with me
stop talking
no I don’t want water
no don’t touch me
and that’s when my husband realized
that it would be best to just
sit and shut up, rub my back
hold my hand, walk with me,
obey my commands
it is not in my nature
to be that way, but
my mind was on other things
rocking back and forth
moving to a deep rhythm, within
while everything without was a distraction
because when that time comes
there’s no turning back
nothing will stop it,
and my brain starts focusing on
just one thing:
get this baby out!

My fifth time through
while I was two months shy
of the waters breaking,
my mind could still focus on
the things around me
which was a good thing
because my father was dying
and none of us knew it
because just as when that water breaks
it came suddenly, and
there was no turning back
for three weeks, he tried his best
to engage in our conversations
and humor our loving intentions
but his mind was on something deeper, within
I struggled to stay positive, to hold his hand
rub his back, tried to offer him some water
but it wasn’t until 58 days after
he said goodbye
when my baby came
one freezing morning in November
that it dawned on me, a true epiphany
all those 21 days in August and September
my father was in labor
which takes being mentally focused
without distractions
until the birthing is done.

The first day in the hospital.

The first day in the hospital.

Brian at Dverse is asking us to tell him a story today. There’s not much of a plot to this one, but it’s a story I have been wanting to put into words for a while, and this prompt gave me the encouragement to give it a shot. I seem to write often about my Dad, and I think that it is because we had a beautiful father-daughter relationship; we were very close. This poem is mostly about the process I went through trying to understand how hard it must have been for my dad to make the decision to go into hospice one week after his diagnosis of stage-4 esophageal cancer.

I Will Write

2 Oct

of the way your tiered skirt
twirls out just so,
a merry-go-round of dizzy
girlish infatuations with
a calliope soundtrack

of how there is nothing
more lovifying than when
we put our heads together
eyeball to eyeball
butterfly kisses right before naptime

of your stomping feet
leaving a wake of boots,
shoes, sandals, dirt,
some stickers from the yard
and the trail of pine straw that
betrays your comings and goings

of your pushing the bed time
stalling with questions and stories
begging me for a song of blessing
which I always deliver
despite the contraband of books
and flashlights I always discover

of all these things, and hopefully more
your lives intertwined with mine,
filling this cup overflowingly,
then emptying it out again
I will write.

Speeding by

Speeding by

Oxford Blues

3 Jun

A poem about my Dad.

You had a closet full of English Leather.
A smell I still remember,
because when I was sixteen,
I would raid your collection
of blue oxford shirts,
hanging, starched and cleaned.

Allen Solly, Brooks Bros., et al
were my favorite uniform.
To my mother’s chagrin,
I refused to conform
to the current fashions
and teenage norms.

When I was sixteen,
your hand-me-down shirts
were way too big for me,
but I aspired to grow into them,
eventually.

I still do.

Image

In the Kitchen

22 Apr

You were in the kitchen
and I was upstairs

I could hear you clanging
mixing and sizzling

opening and closing
the fridge, but

what made me
the happiest girl

were the garlic and onions
wafting up the staircase

promising dinner
to my nose

who promptly whispered it
to my stomach

as I finished my homework
on the old Smith Corona

you bought me
at a yard sale

for two dollars
all of which

made me feel
incredibly warm and loved.

Mom

Mom & I

 

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