Tag Archives: poems

turn of phrase

we lay close,
conversing
while the toddler slept
and the year moved inexorably forward
in the thawing dark outside

these conversations are rare
we are reminded to be grateful
for each other

like old times, eh?

we ask our dog, who has been with us nearly six years
she rouses herself
shakes her thick black brown white coat,
and pads to the other room
and you laugh quietly
and say

too many atoms in the room
for the dog

and i am delighted by the turn of phrase

in the morning i set out ice cube trays of water
uncorked the food coloring,
and set our son loose to play with hues

i am sending out a prayer to Robert Sund
and the Fishtown poets
and Vi Hilbert
and Sherman Alexie
and Richard Hugo
and Chogyam Trungpa
and Terry Tempest Williams
and my vast and resilient lineage
let me be inspired
by all of this
here and now

#montessoriinspired art project #januarymorning

#montessoriinspired art project #januarymorning

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a dead gull and a map of the world

(orderpad note 1/19)

Driving home from Violet’s 2nd birthday party,
which was sweet in every way imaginable,
Callum and I discussed the colors of the things we passed,
orange backhoes and green trees, yellow cars and blue signs.

I passed a seagull in the righthand lane,
its wings were outstretched,
and it had been run over several times.
And I thought about the colors of the scene,
and about flying
and how sometimes life is wrought
with unpredictable happenings.

Callum chattered in the backseat, showing me his party favors in the rearview
Ahead, I saw a crumpled piece of trash dancing along the shoulder of the highway
I reached one hand into the backseat to receive
the item my son needed help with
and in that moment
the trash lifted up into the wintersky
and was unfurled
by the wind

revealing before me a perfectly unfolded
map of the world

i exited the highway
and drove up the hill to our house
demonstrating
how to blow into a paper whistle party favor
which was yellow
and unfurled with a tweet
at the end of the curl of paper,
much to my two-year old son’s delight.

and that was the end of the poem.

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a laundry list of inspiring bits.

Travels with Owl, a new blog from Samantha Claire…

There are days when OWL naps beautifully, his mouth relaxingly puckered in sleep as he ghost-feeds, perfect child’s pose.  I shower.  I meditate.  Wash the remaining breakfast dishes.  He awakens in giggles and I find him surrounded by books he’s pulled off the shelf that’s bolted to the wall of his walk-in-closet-turned-bedroom.  We walk slowly & deliberately to the grocery store, cook dinner, and dance to Leonard Cohen or Dolly Parton, his tiny feet on my mine as we move slowly & deliberately, mindfully & with love.  We hike & camp.  Ride the buses & trains.  He loads the dryer while I fish for quarters.  He says noodle and turtle and thank you.  And it really cannot get any better that.

Pearl Nelson, a Mississippi White Trash Girl, a collection of poetry and musings from Pearl Nelson….

(from “Walking in the dark around the pond”)

I wonder aloud if the raccoons and deer
and all the other song-less creatures
wish everyone would just shut up.
Not me. I especially love the frogs
who bleat like newborn lambs.
and the old grandmother crickets with
rusty worn out summer voices. And you
when you tell me about your day.

Turning the Mind into an Ally, a book by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

What we call ‘war’ is a series of calamities arising from beliefs and opinions, which are always subject to change. What we call ‘peace’ is the absence of aggression, a tenuous state. When it is winter, summer no longer exists. We organize our life around the concept of a solid self in a solid world, even though all of it is simply ideas and forms coming in and out of existence, like thousands of stars flickering in the night. … Contemplating impermanence can be a liberating experience, one that brings both sobriety and joy. In essence, we become less attached. We realize we can’t really have anything. We have money and then its gone; we have sadness and then its gone. No matter how we want to cling to our loved ones, by nature every relationship is a meeting and a parting. This doesn’t mean we have less love. It means we have less fixation, less pain. …We’ve learned to look at what’s in front of us. 149-50.

From my garden

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Waiting for Annie’s birds

She was pregnant here too,
in this little house set back from the street
in South Seattle
I think of her sometimes, running her fingers over her belly,
standing in the hallway I stand in now
feeling tired, and curious,
wondering about the tiny person living under this stretched-out skin
wondering what lies ahead

She raised six children in these rooms,
and I know that there were mornings during the Great Depression
when she watched the sun come up through these very windows.
She prepared meals in the same kitchen i do, while the Second World War raged
and as the Atomic Era dawned,
I know there were nights she laid awake listening to her husband breathe
in the same bedroom I do.

She worried about money here,
and got bad news in the mail here,
and shed tears alone in this very breakfast nook
at least once
of that I am certain

She planted the cedar tree outside my bedroom window
and the flowering dogwood I gaze at from the laundry room
She cooked on a wood-fired stove for years, right where I stand now to make tea
If i run my fingers over the plaster I can find the place the stovepipe met the wall.
I think of her every time I roll out a piecrust

She watched news of Vietnam in this living room, I am certain,
shaking her head beneath these arched plaster ceilings
She welcomed visitors and grandchildren through this very front door
as Reaganomics trickled down poverty on the neighborhood around her

knowing this, today I wrapped my fingers around the dented doorknob
and did not turn it
but stood there
in her footsteps

she washed dishes at this sink during the First Intifada,
and climbed these steps as the Iron Curtain fell
She grew feeble here while I learned geometry formulas in high school,
and she filled birdfeeders outside these windows
as I drove past on the freeway, bound for college to the south

Her elderly son Roger told me she received a card on her hundredth birthday
from President George W. Bush
and that she quipped
“that’s silly, I didn’t even vote for him.”

Sometime during the second US invasion of Iraq,
Roger built her a platform off the back steps,
so she could wheel herself out to watch the birds congregate on her feeders on sunny mornings

As she began to die, they moved her into the room that will belong to our son
there was a bed for her nurse
and a hospital bed for her
and a white rotary phone
and now I want this stanza to sound like Goodnight Moon
but it won’t.
although I’m sure at some point
there was a comb, and a brush
and a bowl full of mush
and a quiet old lady,
whispering hush

She may have breathed her last breaths in the room where we’ll read our son bedtime stories
I do not know.
if she did, it does not seem macabre to me
but right, somehow.
She lived here eighty years,
and I know nothing about her.
Sometimes I bake pies in her kitchen and feel I know everything
that matters

When we came to see the house for the first time, we noticed the birdfeeders were full,
though she’d been dead a year
and in a few minutes, i saw over a dozen hummingbirds
Roger had been feeding them in his mother’s memory
and he made me promise that if we bought the house,
I would do so also

weeks and weeks went by before i acquired new feeders
and a few more weeks passed before I got around to filling them

in the meantime
we ripped out the ceilings and walls in her bedrooms,
we tore up her carpets and put down bamboo floors
i don’t know if she’d like the changes

The birds have stayed away
since there’s been no food for them
and the yard has been thick with the chaos of a remodel

but the feeders are full again
and the quiet has returned

and I am waiting for Annie’s birds
and baking pies in her kitchen

and hoping she knows that I will love her home
the way it ought to be loved

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