Monthly Archives: February 2009

Good News!

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I have two poems up in the Winter Melt Issue of Mannequin Envy! It’s a very cool journal with some fabulous art, as well as writing. Check it out!

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Gay Ninety Ladies Capture Village

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A Found Poem, from The Tower, July 1959

 

 

Six local ladies

             dressed in beautiful gay

             ninety dresses and hats

made a sensational entry

into Ticonderoga

           last Friday noon

 

to sell

“Shaver Permit” buttons

to smooth faced gentlemen.  They rode

 

in a stage coach

kindly loaned by “Frontier Town,”

the popular amusement center

accompanied by a Brahma steer

ridden by a beautiful girl

in western costume and a fine Palamino saddle

horse ridden by a man

also in western costume. 

Swift Eagle,

a real Apache Indian from New Mexico

in full regalia and drum

rode on the stage coach.

 

These same ladies

together with others

will be selling “Shaver Permit” buttons

on the streets

(of Ticonderoga) until every “Smoothie” has purchased one. 

The net proceeds from the sale

will go to local Committee. 

All unshaven males

are urged

to purchase and display the buttons

to assist these kind ladies

in their efforts to aid

the success of local festivities.

 

Words From Up North

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What We Did

 

Joined the track team, purple nylon sleeveless tanks

shiny matching shorts, marching up young thighs.

Pulled our white athletic socks up to their full height

(spring training) straightened our backs, flattened our high arches

against cool silver chain link fence, bent our knees

bowed wide firm foreheads against hairless legs.

We stretched.  Before we stretched we gathered.

Before we gathered we had to arrive.  (Honor roll.) Back up.

Rewind past the cemetery (let the look out come along).

See our breath smoke.  Walk (run, run).  Warm up in our usual way.

It’s spring in the north country.  Sidestep black ice.

Cup hands (that’s how they do it in the movies).

Back track, back to the tracks.  Cross-train

over rusted rails.  Hardened tar, blackened ties

no chugging mass barreling toward us

ghosts trains don’t run on the empty trestle

like track stars do (no shortcuts, coach says), paying our respects

to the harrier who dashed before us, (silly rabbit) died

with his legs pumping in the icy river

still striding toward that blue ribbon.

 

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While on vacation in my hometown, I have been reading Marie Howe.  Her poetry is filled with childhood memories, not many of them happy.  The “shocking” or “ah-ha” parts are so well woven into the tapestry of her poems.  I had to try it.  Especially since I’m here, in my childhood home, in my childhood town.  The ghosts, I’m sure, will be happy to oblige with appropriate memories.

Getting Around To It

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The oranges sat out all day
on a pink plastic plate,
cut in imperfect coins.
The house smells
like a rotting grove.
The birds still hunger.
Should I ever want them back,
I will have to part with the fruit.

*

Stand tall all winter
day after day, bare trees wait
listen for orders.

*

No gorilla ever asked
what should I do?
No fish ever howled
to be fed. A privilege
among the furred and finned
this early American self-reliance.
Even homeless animals scavenge.

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It is the string
it is the knot
it is the strength
of the strung knot.

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What if it doesn’t hold?