Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorizing poetry

It's time to begin again. In my younger days, we always memorized poetry, other things too. It is time for me to begin again. I attended a poetry reading recently and was moved when one of the poets recited her own work -- a poem she had written only that day. Her name is Seal and the work was wonderful. The next day, my poetry teacher assigned the entire class the task of memorizing our own work. Timely. I've begun with an easy one, but I'll not stop here. Here's the one I'm learning "by heart" this week:

by Sandra de Helen

I sigh. I want to die
you cried all night
last night and spoke again
of suicide. I lied and
said I know your pain.
I don’t. I know my own.

If you leave me alone
I may die, suicide
myself, rather than
face your life without
you in it. Cry and lie
but do not die, do not
leave your issue
for me to rear. I did
not bear them, and
cannot bear them now.
Not alone. Not without

I realize I got you here
but cannot keep you here.
My will alone will not
hold you here, no more
than my arms. No more
than my love. I don’t
know your pain. I
know my own. Don’t
leave me alone,

I sigh.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

At first I thought this was a "silly" poem ... it's growing on me.


Resisting consumption becomes me
as well as my living space.
Minimalism has its place
it seems, in my home. See
the walls are not without art
the floors are not bare
in fact, the rugs I care
for are Turkish at heart.
I work from my chair, legs
resting on Eames’ ottoman
my iBook busy as I am
until I prepare to exit
my front door. Happy I
sprung for the glass door
that always presents more
bounty for my happy eyes.
Less is the key here
I still have too much
I find myself clutching
my favorite cashmere,
books, plants, bluejeans,
coats, jackets, too keen
on my favorites, I fear.
Minimalism has its place,
yes. But maybe not here
after all. Maybe here
is too small a space.
I’ll aim for compact
and tidy, neat, clean.
An uncluttered routine,
that’s my contract.
Two hundred square feet
One person, one cat
Six jackets, one hat
Twelve dresses, complete
half my closet, a dresser
that’s all, no mess here
I promise, replete.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another dream

In the wee hours this morning, I dreamt I was almost out the door of a hotel with a male friend going to a swank party down the street. Along came my friend Dorothy who turned into Julia Roberts. We stopped at a jewelry counter where she quietly told me she had taken 120 nitroglycerin tablets and they were going to take effect. What? I was sure she would die. Then, as she was talking to the clerk at the counter, Julia fell back to the richly carpeted floor, and started doing gymnastics, but with extremely contracted muscles. Her clothes had changed from an elegant dress to something like a one-piece swimsuit. She continued doing these horribly tight movements so that her body looked like a giant Charlie horse. She assured me she was just fine, though I wanted to call 911, and the clerk did in fact call 911. I left her there to go find a bathroom. Well, what would you do? (come on, it was a dream. In real life I would save Julia Roberts, of course!)

Cadillac Confessional

Forgive me for being twelve,
blond, a good kid, a bad
reporter. The frontseat
refuses to keep

its quiet, the reststops refuse
any longer to withhold
their brutality secrets from
our faces. I’ve fallen for
the fifty year

old American Shriner who
gives rides.
I’ve invoked the goddess
I’ve desecrated – no – I
flamencoed cemeteries
that led to fiery tap-dancing.
With sisters
Tiny nymphs.

A breast
touching arm, the tongue
hooked inside teeth.
I’ll get over it and
bring myself about all over
again: the predatory American
the groping banker

with the hands. But I’ll not
cry tears dripping
someone else’s salt. At
twelve, I was wizened
by a Shriner

of fifty in the oversized
celadon Cadillac past Rolla.
My mother
shamed me into accepting
the fiver. I could die.

That Shriner is now 104
with a corpse in his grave
in the shape of my slipper.
My foot is a beautiful appendage.
I sometimes run. I don’t
indulge in abandonment.

I don’t hide treasures from
the old-age sisters who sang
songs beyond my heart
the last time we danced.
But I did. Found the guts of
the story and let those
intestines sing their
tales again

and again. I harmonize.
I’m a good reporter
who can’t help accepting
life, grasping toward
the future. This is not
the finale.

All of my finales
are prologues.