The exemplary sentence

I’ve been reading Tim Gautreaux’s work for years now, and recently finished his latest book, Signals: New and Selected Stories. His books deal with the everyday travails of the lower or middle class. This excerpt is from a story about a junk yard operator whose life if altered by finding a stunning, jeweled demonstration sewing machine with a needle with the engraved message: ART STITCHES ALL. You can read that story here. This paragraph occurs before the transformation: Continue reading

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Valentine’s Day poem

I know I’ve posted several poems by Marie Howe before, but this seemed perfect for today. And if you can, there’s an event at Senator Feinstein’s San Francisco office today at noon–a rally of constituents requesting a town meeting.  Another good way to observe Valentine’s Day.

The Kiss

When he finally put
his mouth on me—on

my shoulder—the world
shifted a little on the tilted

axis of itself. The minutes
since my brother died

stopped marching ahead like
dumb soldiers and

the stars rested.
His mouth on my shoulder and

then on my throat
and the world started up again

for me,
some machine deep inside it

recalibrating,
all the little wheels

slowly reeling and speeding up,
the massive dawn lifting on the other

side of the turning world.
And when his mouth
Continue reading

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Bounty

Between poetry and politics, I haven’t updated my garden posts in a long time. But the garden has ignored everything but its delight in rain, and has been yielding potatoes, fennel, spinach, collards, garlic, peppers, onions and the delicious Yacon.

 

All this wonderful produce, plus the hens laying again makes for the best breakfasts.

And did I mention I’m replacing the labyrinth with a waterfall and herb garden? More on that later.

It’s good to remember that life goes on, despite politics…

I’m putting in new seed orders today.

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Poem for My Daughter

A friend mentioned that she loved Charles Bukowski’s poetry. I’ve never been that fond of him myself, but this is one poem of his I liked and saved:

Poem for My Daughter

My girl is 8
and that is old enough
to know better or worse
or anything.
so I relax around her
and hear various
astounding things
about sex
life in general
and life in particular.
mostly it’s very easy
except I became a father
when most men
became grandfathers. Continue reading

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hacked By Fallag Gassrini

Hacked by Fallag Gassrini

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Are you a centrist?

Not everyone who is protesting is a leftist. Many are simply appalled at the first acts of an out-of-control ego maniac. I think if my mother-law were alive she’d say, “That man swats house flys with a sledge hammer.”

If you are a centrist, I urge you to let your voice be heard, to balance the right wing view that we’re all liberal Commies (or whatever they call us). In any case, and still in the hope of providing some respite, a poem by Danusha Lameris:

Small Kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
Continue reading

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Activism and perspective

It was great to participate in the Women’s March this past weekend, and I am planning to follow through with Indivisible, going to my senators’ local district offices on Resist Trump Tuesday. If you want to know more about this, check out www.moveon.org/indivisible.

Here are my grandson and daughter-in-law who also marched in Oakland.

But it’s also good to keep it all in perspective. In this I am helped by this little gem by Sara Teasdale:

 There Will Come Small Rains

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Continue reading

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James Richardson

From a new book, a gift from a friend:interglacial

Little Answer

Light swaying
and straightening, like reeds. It has been
everywhere. The waves
sidling up the shore are strung with it.
If I bend I will spill
a great blaze.

Gulls, the cry
of nights  hung out to whiten.  Sand,
what of the sun has slowed. Wind,
what has already happened
remembering us. There is no such thing
as solitude, though we
are what comes of it.

from Reservations, selected in Interglacial

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Answer to mystery poem

Randall Jarrell

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Poem mystery

I came across this poem in a book of essays on poetry and read it first, without knowing who wrote it. I was very surprised by the author. Can any of you poets out there guess?

Next Day

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,

Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves
And the boy takes it to my station wagon,
What I’ve become
Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.

When I was young and miserable and pretty
And poor, I’d wish
What all girls wish: to have a husband,
A house and children. Now that I’m old, my wish
Is womanish:
That the boy putting groceries in my car

See me. It bewilders me he doesn’t see me.
For so many years
I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me
And its mouth watered. How often they have undressed me,
The eyes of strangers!
And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile

Imaginings within my imagining,
I too have taken
The chance of life. Now the boy pats my dog
And we start home. Now I am good.
The last mistaken,
Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind

Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm
Some soap and water—
It was so long ago, back in some Gay
Twenties, Nineties, I don’t know . . . Today I miss
My lovely daughter
Away at school, my sons away at school,

My husband away at work—I wish for them.
The dog, the maid,
And I go through the sure unvarying days
At home in them. As I look at my life,
I am afraid
Only that it will change, as I am changing:

I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me
From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate,
The smile I hate. Its plain, lined look
Of gray discovery
Repeats to me: “You’re old.” That’s all, I’m old.

And yet I’m afraid, as I was at the funeral
I went to yesterday.
My friend’s cold made-up face, granite among its flowers,
Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body
Were my face and body.
As I think of her and I hear her telling me

How young I seem; I am exceptional;
I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional,
No one has anything, I’m anybody,
I stand beside my grave
Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.

Author provided later this week

 

 

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