sometimes both of my eyes are as green as my mother/brother
and sometimes my kitchen walls dock on the magic carpet ride
color wheel wedge, from whence mother/brother and i do spy
miraculous flying fish leaping lively from deep-dish slices
of time outside her sundowner’s window. they leap with such
intensity we all swear it’s one hundred percent real, our
happiness, our green, hand-on-the-bible, evening time oath
(yes) i suppose one can say all of this wish-wash is un-
intelligible sea speak – i’ve had to do it a lot lately,
lie down in springtime, be perfectly prone in a mountain stream
just to begin to get an inkling of the kind of green we mean,
the green as green as my mother/brother and i/
Can’t say why I don’t see it, –
‘Can’t,’ and ‘don’t’ say it all perhaps.
Nobody tells me you’re the founder.
I’m too busy trying to learn it all.
Admissions must have received
Dr. Thomas Keith’s letter. Now who
do I thank for letting me inside Pasadena?
Psychology bent with theology.
Break out of all pre-subscribed
methodological boxes, you say.
Dear sir, reading all those chapters
in Job is teaching me to shut up right
and listen, to take notes, to, to
increase my inexpressive vocabulary.
I’m an original. Okay. I’m good enough.
Winnicott said so long ago. Who knew?
I’m underlining it. I’ll live by it, –
Meanwhile these trees grow in planters,
and where’s the ground? I’m from Kansas
City with brilliant instincts, – necessarily
flawed. Is that why I don’t see it?
You say, “If anybody wants to go
to the back of the room to take a nap,
it’s okay.” Get out of your plastic chairs.
Alright. Napping is a natural event.
Just like the backyard barbecue you throw,
swinging your kitchen cupboard door open
to scratch out more potato chips for us all.
You, of Christ’s body.
The tumor growing inside your brain.
We avoid looking you
directly in the eye.
We watch you
come out from
for ice cream, or
And every Spring,
what’s this all about,
You’ll beg us to
tell you why
you were born.
I’ll have a reunion
speech to rehearse
that very thing.
ears will perk up,
which is a good sign,
but the dog that’s left
in you will say hunker down.
It can never be Spring.
Art credit to Karin Gustafson at Real Toads
My poem inspired by Annna Swir’s Poetry Reading from her book,
“Talking to My Body”
Let’s not go back. There are no pictures.
There is no film footage of me
in K-State’s purple & white skirt.
Stop going to the library to search me out.
Where’s a picture for you? We didn’t
take pictures easily back then. I didn’t
document your absenteeism either. Why?
Why do you look for the child you dropped
like a dog in Moore Hall’s parking lot?
Too cowardly to look back? I carried
crates and suitcases inside all by myself
while you drove home to numbly pick
dandelions out from your green lawn.
You want to unearth a picture of me
smiling in matte, somewhere in time,
to hang on your wall as if you were there,
as if the sky never fell on the day
little brother cried from the back
seat, waving the longest two-year goodbye?
You can’t recover any of what was lost &
even if you do find a grainy old picture,
you’ve gotta know that old pictures are liars.
It’s cold on brother’s birthday
and no different for father’s
a week later. He’s older.
The all-weathered version of
the younger carpenter, his son,
&mom’s pride and joy, whose skills
dad’s afraid now exceed his own.
But their hands are the same.
Mom always points this out.
Of the same mind. I surely forget
their sweet hearts. Try to bury
their cold parts. Deny their
selfish core, and the way
they whittle wood down to nothing.
Can we get through this hardship?
Come quickly, March. Let the rains
melt hard-packed snow. I believe
daffodils have a chance to come out
laughing from tough hard bulbs.
Begging for love
from the speeding passage of time,
they went shopping
for color-coordinating outfits
arriving at black &maroon only
after tearing off blue &green sweaters
&tossing them willy-nilly on the bed.
For the photo shoot they walked over goat-
head thorns in a tumbleweed field
&fake laughed for the camera,
&posed again by a run-down white wall
for passers-by to witness
their genetically linked bodies
lined up beside each other.
Somebody in a white truck honked
as hands were instructed to touch
elbows, smalls of backs, shoulders.
Then, between the almond trees,
the tallest daughter pulled back
from nearly touching mother’s breasts
on accident, which the photographer
aptly pointed out nourished them all.
It rained the day after that,
and after that, and after that.
In the 80’s Shawn, Beau and I graduated
from Milton Bradley’s strategic Battleship,
&from the Sorry-I-knocked-you-back-home
game mom bought us with the high hopes
of giving our poor dad some peace and quiet
while his Toyota truck engine cooled down
in the driveway after a hard day’s work.
But in Trivial Pursuit, the pink and orange
could never get along! (even though they
were pie chart equals) The boys mocked me,
for cheap entertainment, “pink please,”
let us guess… “pink please,” they would
both say in their best fake lady voices
(this was their favorite part, I’m sure).
Then they’d match me on their turn
with give-me-orange or on-the-globe blue.
Bottom line: we all sucked at brown, and
no argument about it (shocking, but true),
one of us would stand at the kitchen table
to fully savor the flavor of winning followed
by one very unsportsmanlike pea-cock strut.
[playing with Quickly’s words:
argument bottom cheap
engine equals fake
flavor lady match
part pink work]
when I forgot the onions
it was weird and we wondered
what the heck was missing
so i typed it all out for you
because i could see how my
tattered snappy soups
salads and sandwiches page
from quick cooking could be
a tad bit embarrassing
in your new college kitchen
-and you know how we usually wallop
a bag of walnuts with whatever
soup can we have in the cupboard?
you probably shouldn’t do that.
i used to use my mallet
which I swear one of you kids broke
and disposed of secretly
because a heavy-ended mallet
just doesn’t sprout legs
and walk away on its own
now does it?? hmmm
i might buy you a mallet
to crush your walnuts
or a small food processor
-and don’t forget to put a big squeeze
of ketchup on top
a good Tablespoon kiss
before you dig in &mix it all up
with your hands, shape into patties,
and fry it on the pan.