Tag Archives: 30/30 Project

30/30 Project: The Poison Control Issue

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woodpecker eating poison ivy

It’s poem #18 in my March Poetry Marathon!  Today the Pileated Woodpecker is back in my neighborhood.  Whenever I hear him, I feel like he is trying to tell me something.  I feel lucky.  I also feel similarly blessed when a cardinal flies in front of me, or I see a hawk several days in a row.  I’ve read that it’s just our human ego acting up when we feel important in the face of animal activity.  I’m also familiar with Native American beliefs about spirit animals and such.  I think I lean toward the latter.  We’re all in this together, the birds and us.  At any rate, my red-headed pal never fails to inspire a poem.  See?  Lucky!

Remember, if you like what you’re reading, be sure to hop (fly?) on over to the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project site and read all of the awesome marathon-poetry being written.  And donate.  Do it!  Please.

Mary Kneels in the Garden

She is prepared for plants out of place,
weeds to follow.
Lady of the Dandelion. Mother of the Lion’s Teeth.

The other women cultivate
neat bushes,
grow showy cacti on their perfect lawns.

To eat what is not meant to be eaten.
To swallow
the hairy stem, the jagged leaf.

Ask the woodpecker why she leaves
her nest,
why she gorges on the ivy. She will tell you

about the beauty of the berry, the joy
of running a tongue
over a living thing, thick and white and round.

Toxicodendron radicans.
Beware
the hairy arms, the hands with narrow fingers,

the fine golden hair. Poison as seasonal,
poison as lover vining your trunk,
creeping toward your throat. Your obituary

a record of children hidden in the heart
in a dying tree,
an urge to devour, a case of mistaken identity.

You will never be the loud bird, the thrumming bird.
Make love to the worms,
the larvae and harmless seeds. From your waste, beauty.

30/30 Project: The Ides of March Version

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Ah, the Ides of March.  A day filled with trepidation, if you go in for that sort of thing.  It has been kind of a funky one, here, but, once again, poetry saves me!  And the milkman, of course.  Gotta love the milkman.

If you are enjoying the Mary series, why not stop by and thank Tupelo Press with a teeny, tiny donation?  It’s all their doing, you know, this deluge of all poems Mary!

 

milkman-gets-pie-che-rellom

 

The True Story of Mary and the Spilled Milk

It always begins in half-light,
silent houses curled on their sides,

grass poised to resume its steady thrust.
This is the soft hour she likes best,

before morning pours its cereal
and soles pick up where they left off.

In these see-through moments,
she walks the neighborhood,

making love to what goes on
just past the coupling shutters.

When you are a mother you see
what the other women do not:

rough hands cupping hips,
full lips falling like rain.

You hear babies slip
through open crib rails,

hear men sigh
in something like sleep.

Oh, Queen of the Gaze.
Oh, Lady of Streetlamp Eyes.

You are not here to help them,
only to look in their empty windows,

practice their intimate gestures.
Tomorrow you may wish them well.

30/30 Project Lucky 7: The Handyman Version

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There is something to be said for beginning a daily writing practice.  I know, I know.  I’ve sung this tune before.  I wish I remembered the words.  Each time I set off down the “I’m going to write a-poem-a-day” road, I am pleasantly surprised by how, once I start writing, the poems keep coming.  It’s the “if you build it, they will come” theory of poetry.

Likewise, and this happened with my dear June Cleaver poems, now that I have opened up the portal for Mary to speak to me, she just keeps popping up in the strangest places, with the most interesting ideas.  Take today’s morning message, for instance.  Well, I can’t really explain it.  Maybe the poem will.

Please don’t forget to take a minute to stop by the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project blog.  There are some mighty fine poems being written!

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fridge pic

 

Mary Buys the Refrigerator Repairman Flowers

The other women say she is lucky
to have a man come to her house
at all, say the tools are a bonus.

He says he is a good man,
and she believes him—
the heavy boots, the scent of restoration.

She has spent a long time being a mother,
knows how to lean in a doorway,
how to hand over the right wrench,
how to kneel and be thankful.

He tells her he will see
if she has power,
if her couplings are poor,
if she has any resistance.
This is the electricity portion of our house call.

Mother of the Ice Box.
Mother Most Frozen.
Mother with a Tiny Light Inside.

While his head is in the freezer
take out your kitchen scissors,
trim your dying bouquet.
Strip the stems, slice the old thorns,
pull off each brittle petal until only your face remains.

Oh, Queen of Handymen.
Oh, Blessed Homemaker.
Your lips and eyes in the crevice of an ice jam.

30 / 30 Project: A Poem for My Pal Diana

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How excited was I this morning when I woke up to an email from my friend Diana, donating to my Tupelo Press 30 Poems in 30 Days Project, and providing me with a prompt!  A poem immediately started percolating in my mind (even before the coffee), then I sat down to write it.  And holy guacamole…it is nerve wracking trying to write a poem for a friend.  Who knew?  I mean, I like Diana.  And I want her to keep liking me.  So I had to make this A Good Poem.  Ay-yi-yi.

I set my timer for 45 minutes because I had to get out the door and volunteer at my daughter’s book fair.  Not enough time.  I went from the book fair to my studio to teach an art class…and couldn’t wait to get home and work on my poem.  Another ah-ha moment.  When one has a poetry goal, one looks forward to writing.  Again–who knew?

What follows is my poem.  I will call it a rough draft, because it’s still not good enough for Diana.  But it’s a start!

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Mary Goes Below the Surface

For Diana McGrath

Frozen lake, after sunset, across a sheet of ice,
Mary searches for the other women.
All her life she has tried to fit in,
worn beautiful robes,
whispered sweetened prayers,
feasted on suitors and saviors.

She has heard it is a different world
down below: slick of seaweed between the legs,
thick lips and silken scales,
mermaids for wet nurses,
fine ocean views.

Like most virgins, Mary believes she is stalking the divine,
forgets her swimsuit, her air tank,
her bright orange life vest.
She is on her own in this sprawl of spawning mothers,
absent men and sand.

The hole so easy to cut,
the dive so easy to make.
Tip of the blade and rhythm,
pointed toes and thrust.

Oh Shanty Town,
Oh Lonely Bride,
Oh One that Got Away,
what your net can’t hold on land,
is the very thing that will kill you here.