Sharing

In these times, I’d like to share with you
something of my winnowed self,
now that we have all been scourged
by flame, made essential by having
everything stripped away—every hope,
every false optimism, even the tremulous one
I felt that day in the voting booth, wearing my
Hillary-style jacket. I’d like to share with you
how it feels these days, being so hollow,
pierced to the marrow of everything indignant,
an unholy phalanx of grackles pecking
in the poisoned grass. This poisoned earth.
This poor, sad thing. Share with me
what to do next, and if you have no ideas,
share with me your love, which is nothing
and still may be the only thing we have.

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Unnatural

The Watergate salad
advances now,
a roiling symphony
of hide and bone;
gelatin is as gelatin does,
and this one shall not

fade into obscurity, not when
there is someone still alive to
romanticize it, call for it,
ask its name, remember
the precise alchemy of

pistachio (flavored) pudding,
mini marshmallows
canned pineapple
Cool Whip

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding,

Oh bring us
to a sweet spot of memory
closer to when we were born,
closer to the beginning than the end.

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Election Night, 2016

Doing laundry that night
to keep myself from watching the news
too closely; I was almost certain of the outcome,
so why get upset over ups and downs along the way?
My husband at his computer, watching; his face
each time I came back upstairs—his face, and every time,
I fooled myself. If I just stayed downstairs long enough,
things would change, he’d come running down to tell me.
But it was only a dead leaf scudding around in the wind and damp,
the sick, wet clouds of everything changing, except my husband’s face.

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Where Did All the Poems Go?

Lately, when I see that this blog has a new follower, I feel sorry for that person because I may not quite live up to whatever expectations I’ve set by my previous posting habits.

It used to be that I posted a new poem here each week pretty reliably, and sometimes even once a day, especially in April and November. My theory was that the overall goal was to keep writing, and I found it hard to do that if it wasn’t going to be seen right away, or at all. It got to the point where I couldn’t write anything and hold it back from view because then it didn’t feel real enough, so I didn’t try and stretch enough, or I didn’t write at all. I would just coast from one Tuesday to the next, with nothing in between.

That meant that my storehouse of poems that are 100% absolutely not previously published, and that I can submit to literary publications without any qualifiers about how this one was on my blog, does that count? had dwindled down to nothing.

So now I’m going quiet for a while, trying to write things and then not post them here. It’s very clunky business, but I think it’s important. In some ways, it feels riskier than putting something out there for you to like or comment on — or not. I’m having to learn again who I am when no one is listening, and I’m also having to revisit all over again that question of how much to silence the editor inside my own head, as well as an imagined future editor if I do strike some vein and end up with something worth submitting.

I think I need to do this for a while, but I’ll make sure to stop in now and then so as not to go totally silent. And my writing life has always been marked by phases and by “try this; now try that,” so it may be that the daily or weekly poems will resume sooner than I think.

November is a short month, and a dark one. I hope to see you on the other side of this election, and on the other side of this quiet phase of mine.

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