“Pregnancy is hands-free” (poem) (mine)

Pregnancy is hands-free

I’m growing a child while I sleep
I’m growing a child while I weed the lavender
I’m growing a child while I fill the ice cube trays
I’m growing a child while I wipe down the toilet
I’m growing a child while I organize headbands I never wear
I’m growing a child while I edit Spotify playlists
I’m growing a child while I throw out all my underwear with holes
I’m growing a child while I water the geraniums
I’m growing a child while I add more salt to the pesto
I’m growing a child while I bobby-pin my hair
I’m growing a child while I remove dirt from my fingernails

I’m growing a child while the maples slip into their best red outfits, while the mornings dampen with mist, while I pack cucumbers and hot peppers into jars, while I bag corn and blackberries and peppers for the freezer, while I simmer plum compote and pick the last batch of cosmos, while the cows enjoy their last spin around the paddocks, while I braid the garlic and wrap the yarrow in string, while summer unzips her skirt and throws it atop the yellowing milkweed, the New England asters, the spent blossoms of Queen Anne—

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Poem of this weekend (poem of many things) (mine).

This Weekend

 

One red felt hat three pairs of boots three

pairs of fancy low-but-clicking pairs

of shoes two bikinis one Boy Scout

backpack one pair of light light blue

Levi’s mom jeans one white lacey

t-shirt three slips one long salmon

-colored nightgown one silk periwinkle

top seven pairs of stockings one pair

of socks with flowers on them one pair

of sparkly pink socks one tiny purple

apothecary jar three bandanas one jean

skirt that Jessie from Saved by the Bell

would have worn one black dress given

to a pregnant friend two quarts of pickled

radishes one red dahl maybe two dozen

elderflower heads one busting bag full

of dried wild mint three sunflowers now

blooming four iris stems in a lilac-colored

jar one thousand pieces of Israeli

cous cous one iced coffee in a big red

cup one hay fork two axes one double

-size cast iron griddle three checks

made out to Free Verse Farm twenty

pounds of strawberries two containers

of curried chickpeas one batch of basil

hummus one can of IPA six tins of tea

two tinctures six jars of no-cook

strawberry jam one goal scored

by Germany one three egg omelette

with scapes & onions one black fly bite

one phone call with sis one phone call

with Katie one phone call with dad

one shower two dirty feet four clean

pillowcases and one lightswitch switched—

 

I wrote this poem instead of taking a photograph.

What’s mine is mine forevermore

 

I cannot prove to you the beauty

of my days. I did not photograph

the whiteness of the goatsmilk

or the child of my friends

standing in the doorway

of the barn clutching at the neck

of a giant teddy bear.

I can only tell you all the flowers

that I gathered up this Sunday:

daisies and the buttercups;

asters and the rest. They stand

in crooked dignity

in a jar I’ve used for applesauce

and salad dressing. They haven’t told

me that they’re interested in being

known, and so I keep them

to myself, a self so very

skilled at keeping.

 

Yesterday’s morning poem (mine).

Just your average morning shoving

 

three goatbutts into a bright blue Kia

then heading off to work. I drive

along the first branch of a river,

past brandnew calves, sideways barns,

and the sign that reads FROST HEAVE

AHEAD which no one’s taken down

because just seeing it makes the green

of the pastures an even sweeter sight.

The silos this morning are brimming

with the years they’ve seen, the guineas

bold enough to eat the grass that runs

along the road, and the local library

has its OPEN flag highfiving the wind.

On days like this, it feels like everyone

and their mother is pushing a wellworn

wheelbarrow in the direction of joy.

 

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(That image is a poemjoke. Do you get it?)

 

“Big Sigh in Springtime” (poem) (mine).

Big Sigh in Springtime

It’s complicated, you know: being alive, being outside

at the neighbors’ on one of the first warm nights in half a year,

and there’s a doll-sized lamb frolicking around the porch,

content to be free and not kicked by its mother, almost

too precious to look at. Before we walk the short distance

home, we hear the season’s first peeper: lone screech in the dark

in the beaver pond, waiting in exile until the hatching

of comrades. We walk back with our bowl and our spoons

and the sky all around us: we’re pooped. We’re in love

with each other and our dreams and exhausted.

There’s a car to be fixed and we need a new truck

that can handle the ice. There’s not a hint of crocus

for miles, this cold hilltop bowl unwilling to surrender

her wintertime ways. It’s been nearly a week

since I showered and I still have to choose how we’ll package

our oils to sell at our markets and tomorrow I’ll train

for another small job. I think a lot of people think all I do

is wear dresses outside and eat fruit, and partly

that’s true, but also: I’m tired. Spring’s about to burst

and I’ve yet to finish Middlemarch. I remain widely

unpublished and my nails are like daggers torn sharp

with my teeth. I can’t yet picture where our life

will be planted and I can’t paint my landscape

before the canvas is stretched. My brain’s composed

of colors, painted partly by him and embellished

by me. My grammar’s intuitive, just like the rest of me–

going on gut, gunning on gut, slamming the breaks,

quick-catching a view of what whizzes by while I drive.

I like talking walks and I always walk quickly,

though I’m trying to enjoy walking slower, looking up

and around instead of just down at the mullein

and mushrooms popping up everywhere. These days I’m holding

out hope that my sister moves east and on Thursday I head

to the city by bus to say hi to the Whitney, the subway,

the blossoms, my friends. It’s nice to go south yet painful

to leave my love in the house, sleeping alone in our bed

made for two, sitting alone at the small kitchen table where we rest

all our meals. When I said it’s complicated, being alive, being

outside at night surrounded by grass greening back

to its best summer self, what I meant was I’m tired

and I’m happy and I’m healing and I’m growing

like ginseng–I’m taking my time. In these days before

children, all my time is my own and I covet that time,

sinking deep in the couch with a thick hunk of literature,

putting on earrings just to go down for dinner.

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Hanging with friends beneath lightbulbs (& other details).

Kenneth Koch! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me to read him before?! He makes me laugh! Here’s the only poem of his I knew of before the other night when I got really into reading him. It’s his perfect joke on William Carlos Williams:

Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams

1
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

2
We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

3
I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the
next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

4
Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

4-2-13_BerskonJohn Ashberry, Frank O’Hara, Patsy Southgate, Bill Berkson, Kenneth Koch., 1964 (photo by Mario Schifano)

 

In other news, I should not be allowed to use eBay. eBay is not a conversation. It’s not, You want this item? Cool! What do you like about it? Wanna think about buying it? eBay is YOU BOUGHT IT.  (I may have just bought two purses by accident. I definitely bought one by accident.) Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing. 

In other other news, it’s a good thing I have two bathtubs, because one of them is filled with 15 peeping baby chicks. Photos to follow. Kate suggested we dress them up and take pictures of them and give them names and personalities. Yeah….probably gonna do that.

So spring is here because of little yellow chicks, and also because of this beautiful, good-smelling, blooming hyacinth that I was given for my birthday. Otherwise, spring is still hibernating.

 

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Autumn jubilation; three cheers for autumn (photos, words).

Some things:

 

1. Sissy visit. Beautiful leaves. Beautiful little wreaths. Jokes & foods. New plan hatched where sissy moves to Montpelier. Scheming, scheming.

 

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2. We’re handing out little poems of mine (free verses from Free Verse Farm!) at the market now. It’s the best.

 

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3. Wendy Guerra, Cuban poet and fantastic human, read and chatted at Revolution this week. Just what I needed. Wendy says:

 

“The wounds, before healing, should be named.”

 

4. We’re moving! We’re moving into the woods! Into the woods with friends!

 

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5. And now: coffee with a lot of hot milk! Apples to be picked and pears to be dried! Two new sweaters made for boys but befitting this small woman! Here we go Sunday here we go (clap clap).

 

(photo credits to Sarah S. Katz)