Posted on Poetic Asides 6/09
You don’t know heat
until you have lived
in my sister’s apartment
located above a bakery
without air conditioning.
The smell of cinnamon and yeast
is thick in the air
and within the time
it takes to wake you,
you are beyond full.
The day’s shadows
cast morphing skewing angles
across the carpet
showing every speck of dirt
and the heat waves
trying to wash the dirty windows
have no more energy
than you to clean.
Wet rags are thrown in the freezer
and pulled out too soon
to be effective
and a bed sheet on the carpet
looses its coolness
before the bottom of your t-shirt
can absorb your sweat.
The curtains are dampened
and rehung in the evening breeze
but it is already too tired to dry them,
so you twirl yourself into a cocoon
and dream for a moment
of any place you can fly to.
If only the heat
would let you go.
When Gleep Gelfrantz-Jones
played at Canalfest 3037,
people put down their girbilszhneze
and picked up their buckets
’cause the flimshitz was flying.
“Tooloons!” Mammalot cried
and they all ducked.
But better late than never,
Marie had caught it all
with quilanger and prammage.
“Geez, you carflug,” we protested,
“you can not glep it ALL!”
But that blick with flamasturn
had szhelped it in her bra.
Only Walt was kaldornfed enough
to brazenly retrieve it,
and to the hilarity of all,
received a speenelfeltzer slap
across his begoondapultz!
And then forgot it all.
Please accept this next poem
as my shout out to the lines,
like sweet fruit,
that must be collected
in a summer basket.
Kudos to: Gregory, Tanja, Allan, Monica,
Taylor, Walt, Penny, Kristy, Eileen, Hannah,
Joseph, Barbara, Sharon, Amy, Ian, Wanda
Collected Lines Paint Summer
Resisting the inevitable dawn,
however sweet the spring may be,
I took up my brush to paint summer.
I began outlining candyfloss clouds
rising in an azure sky
with tasty waves on the horizon.
But then the canvas needed heat
from a fire – that incendiary sun
surrendering to the evening breeze
with tongues of fire offering no insight.
No, there is no in-between
and I must lay my brush down
in my futile human attempt,
being closer to the earth as I am
where faeries step and leave their charms behind.
For capturing summer’s resonance
must be the work of God,
a flickering light within his palm
fireflies emerging and twinkling
against a darkening sky
heaven-sent on this hot day.
I will continue to envy the sun
so lovely and visceral.
Its warmth surely will be missed
that dulls both blade and brains
but the moon also paints
and I can finish this lingering portrait
before the season ends.
Behind the Mask of the Moon
The night had already stolen
every base in the outfield
with only the moon
throwing dusty shadows
trying to coach us home.
But we were tired
and the dugout gave us
the seclusion we needed
on that hot July night.
He uncrumpled the paper bag
and pulled out our hoard:
two chilled bottles
of Boone’s Farm Strawberry wine
stolen, not borrowed,
from his uncle’s fridge.
We tossed our bottles back
while we laughed
at the thought of the others
sleeping, no doubt,
like good kids do
when mothers proclaim
the end of the day.
But this night
we were different.
We were rebels
proclaiming our independence
just the two of us
on our private sojourn
to the dangerous game
that bad kids play.
Our veins were racing
with the thrill of our victory
and the defeat
of his uncle’s three dollar wine.
So we took our celebratory laps
around the bases
until we heard the distant roar
of approaching motorcycles
and we ran like the light
I’m Giving Her All She’s Got!
the simplest of ideas
with a fulcrum,
and two handles,
are the early playgrounds
for adrenaline junkies
who love how it feels
They use all the energy
their legs can push
to reach that moment
at the top
when their whole body
is lifted off the board
and the wind raises
their clothes and their hair
and they feel as if they
will fly beyond the clouds
like Kirk who goes where no man
has gone before.
Like him, they are in control,
with a firm grip
on the handle
and they own the universe
and their stomachs
as they brace for the landing
and keep it all together
on the ride down.
And optimism is found
like a lucky penny
on the playground
when a little girl,
with only a wisp of 50 lbs.
on her tiny frame,
tosses the coin
into her pocket
and tips her head
for a moment wondering
if her larger classmate
will hold her hostage
in the air
or send her crashing
to her death.
Contemplating if she is surrendering
her life to her friend,
she decides that she is willing
to take the risk,
and waits for her friend
to lower the board
so she can sit down.
She knows what she’s up against,
but she can’t ride
to outer space
Never Look Directly Into the Sun
He can do no wrong
in the board room
and his words are grabbed
by your boss
and the interns
like a life saver floating
in their flood of compliments.
Talking off the cuff
his outspoken criticisms
dig into you sharply
like his designer pen
as he writes on his notepad
filling it with absentminded doodling
as he pen taps his boredom
throughout the meeting.
Then the air is filled
with quick “YES!”s
of his brilliant idea.
You have one eye
on the boss’s reaction
to his son’s newly acquired wisdom,
a carbon copy
of the email you sent him earlier,
and as you try to add
there are long drawn out
with uplifted eyebrows,
and under breath smirking.
Without further commentary
a confused shuffling of your copies
are sent through the shredder.
Sitting on the wrong side
of the conference table,
separated from the glory
of the Golden Boy,
your glare of frustration
is only reflecting
off his metallic name tag
and back at your plastic one,
so you are forced again
to turn your eyes to the clock
which now isn’t moving fast enough
as you scribble out your earlier notes
and begin to plan
US News and World Report – “Tweeting Your Way to Better Grades”
Coopi is Now Following Your Updates on Twitter
negative and positive
connotations to contemplate.
A past slur is now trendy
where avatars identify
while keeping you obscure.
You minimally comment
a nothing told to mom
at the end of your day.
retweeted to infinity
hashtagged to restrict.
But Coopi is interested
and gets in line to follow
number seven hundred fifty seven.
you don’t have a life.
My sister and I were munching
on Grandma’s sweet bakery
and we laughed and licked our fingers
sticking to the paper money
as we played Monopoly.
I had more than a million dollars
and frittered it away on houses and hotels
until my sister stomped away angrily
tattling to Mom that I cheated
Get over it.
It was just paper in a game.
Today I have a million dollars
and I am frittering it away on clothes and cash
until all my new friends scream and twitter
tattling to the tabloids that I owe them
Get over it.
It is just paper in a game.
But all the money I can cheat and steal
can’t buy me grandma’s apple fritters.
The signature on her death certificate
was just paper in the game
that I lost to God.
I can’t get over it.
No one listens to me tattle.
When I was small and my piggy bank
was once again broken into by my older sister,
I tried to imagine the indulgence
of literally rolling in a million dollars.
I supposed it might have felt like the air on my skin
when I stuck my hand out the car window
as Daddy drove up and over the hills
that made my stomach elevator riding happy
deep into the barrens where the blueberries grew.
Or it might have felt like the coolness on my finger
as I stuck it deep into Cool Whip
hidden under plastic wrap where berries
wallowed in Jello beside open-faced egg sandwiches
waiting for the relatives on my brother’s graduation.
Perhaps it was like the watermelon Dad cut with gusto
and handed to everyone while some magician’s trick
gave me another and another slice that dripped
down my chin with a hot summer wetness
as I tried to spit the seeds further than my cousin.
My brother raked in the dough, dollars and checks,
as he eagerly opened his cards and gifts.
So embarrassed, I waited until the others were gone
to I give him my homemade card
taped and heavy with what was left
of my hidden hoard, all eighty-three cents.
He ruffled my head and laughed
and put the card down on the table
then grabbed one leg and an arm
and lifted me up and spun me around and around
until the wind flowed again through my fingers.
I ended the day smiling as I rolled down the hill
and the warm grass car washed my cheeks
over and over until the sun had set
and the mosquitoes started indulging in me
so Momma called me in for another piece of cake.
My water pistol has a deadly aim
and my brothers and sisters
don’t have a chance.
In the heat they run and scream
while cold water lines
cut through their cotton shirts.
The living dead retaliate
until I can’t find a dry spot
to wipe my spotted glasses.
And if Jed Clampett had worn glasses
his poor aim might not have punctured
that oil balloon hidden in his Tennessee swamp.
Because before he could decide
if he wanted wealth instead of meat,
his kin-folk sent him packing.
“Ya ain’t like us no more.
Git away from here,
Californy is the place ya otta be.”
So Granny’s rocker was tied to the truck
and shy Elly’s critters had to learn
to outsmart Jethro by the cement pond.
The city-folk were greedy and conniving
while Jed sat whittling on his new front stoop
and Flatt and Scruggs set his foot a tappin’.
And it took him years to learn
the cost of his lost fortune
as he left his family and headed back to the Hills.
But I am wiser, better at ciphering,
and I know what go-zin-ta’
the treasure of a family.
So I run to the sink to fill another balloon
and head back to the porch to let another one fly
’cause the daylight still peeks over my hill.