“(Brooklyn) Is Magic” (poem) (mine)

(Brooklyn) Is Magic

Brooklyn smells like palo santo
and wet daffodils as I schlep
to the next set of stairs
that leads to someone
I love.
I’m never in the city
and when I am
every second
is so city
I have to laugh.
The dogs dressed better
than I. Everyone clutching
their phones
like children on a rollercoaster
in need of their mother’s hand.
Even the bookstore is curated
to please the eye
and it pleases me
to see people I love stepping off the subway
like celebrities
and it’s pleasurable
to be one of so many
planning
buying
laughing
at once
over brunch
and for just a moment
the weight of breakfast
is heavier and sweeter-smelling
than the spring clouds bearing rain.

30 One-Liners (Joe Brainard).

WINTER
More time is spent at the window.

SUMMER
You go along from day to day with summer all around you.

STORES
Stores tell all about people who live in the area.

WRITING
Others have already written what I would like to write.

TODAY
Today the sky is so blue it burns.

IN THE COUNTRY
In the country one can almost hear the silence.

THE FOUR SEASONS
The four seasons of the year permit us to enjoy things.

RECIPE
Smear each side of a pork chop with mustard and dredge in
flour.

BOOK WORM
Have always had nose stuck in book from little on.

THAT FEELING
What defines that feeling one has when gazing at a rock?

COSTA RICA
It was in Costa Rica I saw my first coffee plantation.

HAPPINESS
Happiness is nothing more than a state of mind.

MONEY
Money will buy a fine dog.

OUR GOVERNMENT
A new program is being introduced by our government.

EDWARD
On the whole he is a beautiful human being.

LAKE
A lake attracts a man and wife and members of a family.

THE SKY
We see so many different things when we look at the sky.

A SEXY THOUGHT
Male early in the day.

POTATOES
One can only go so far without potatoes in the kitchen.

MOTHER
A mother is something we have all had.

MODERN TIMES
Every four minutes a car comes off the assembly line they say.

THE OCEAN
Foamy waves wash to shore “treasures” as a sacrifice to damp
sand.

TODAY
High density housing is going on all around us.

REAL LIFE
I could have screamed the day John proposed winterizing
the cottage and living there permanently.

ALASKA
I am a very cold person here.

THE YEAR OF THE WHITE MAN
The year of the white man was a year of many beads.

LOYALTY
Loyalty, I feel, is a very big word.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Perhaps in our mad scramble to keep our heads above water
we miss the point.

HUMAN NATURE
Why must we be so intent on destroying everything we
touch?

COMPANY
Winifred was a little relieved when they were gone.

brainard

A marriage poem for abundance (mine).

Abundance

for Scott & Josh

 

There will be days of singing & days of silent throats

There will be days of bouquets & days of empty vases

There will be days of thirst & nights of drinking

There will be raspberry days & days of stale crusts of bread

There will be days of nails in the wall & artless days

There will be harvest days & long nights of winter

There will days to gather & days to await the gathering

May the thin days make the days of fullness all the sweeter

May your fruits be many and your backs be strong

as you launch together

into your days

of abundance

 

July 5, 2014

 

scott and josh first step

(photo of the couple’s first steps toward marriage by Misha M. Johnson)

“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.

IMG_2333

“My Life as a Minister” (wedding poem) (mine).

My Life as a Minister

(for Kathryn & Andy)

 

To say “You may now kiss the bride”

is a treasure far beyond

most treasures I’ve known.

A treasure of love (my bests,

 

my only kind of treasures),

a treasure built of words (my tools),

a treasure said in public

in the presence of a trove

 

of dearest friends—

a treasure known by all, the words

learned early on, the script, that scripture,

holy words of matrimony, most of which

 

I banished from the ceremony. But not

those words, and not the kiss

which with light within me

I gave permission for.

 

You may now and you may always

and may you for all the days

kiss and kiss and kiss

the bride.

***

photobooth_420-X3

 

Poem from over a year ago (melancholy, rambling, true).

Pizza Time

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m whispering

into a megaphone that’s turned off

says Sean, reading from a blue notebook

he made in art class last semester. He sits

 

down. I’m already sitting and I know

what he means though I ask the wrong question,

the one about the girlfriend. No, he isn’t sad

and missing her. He’s sad walking around.

 

I’m sad walking around, too. We sit and no one

walks past in the hallways because everyone

leaves our school as fast as they can. ]

Whole days go by and I see no one

 

that loves me, I say. He says, It wasn’t the same

at my other school. I say, Me neither. He’s

already closed that notebook he made.

But it’s not that there aren’t good people here,

 

I think, or say, we’re talking and not everything

from the brain exits the mouth. We have to go

to a poetry reading but we’re going together.

We get up. We pass by the side of the library

 

that’s covered in glass, the glass covered in blinds.

Is it us, or this place? one of us says and I say

This place, and mention New York and Kathryn

in the back of my car, nodding at how her city

 

gives back, makes wintertime worth it, all those

exhibits uptown and trombones in the park

and you can take the subway anywhere. Here

we get the sun, every day. And that’s nice, we say.

 

But that’s not anyone’s doing! We’re laughing

but it isn’t funny. And sleeping alone in a bed is lonely,

Sean says, I could wake up dead and nobody

would know it. I know what he means. I think

 

it has to do with bearing witness. About visiting

Klee hung on a wall. About loving a person

by cooking them tofu. Or something to do with

inertia. Or people with grit. Or an older

 

America. The reading takes place where

readings take place and waiting, we talk about

Jericho, being so smart, writing those poems, knowing

those songs. The poet in front says “fadder”

 

for father and it sounds more correct. Everything’s

over in about  forty minutes. I say the word pizza

because it’s Sean’s favorite word. Two slices with pesto

and two with ricotta. The game is on loud

 

in the kitchen; the kitchen is next to the booths.

Before dropping me off, Sean gives me a sticker

from a band he was in. It’s likely that I’ll save it

for seven years, then paste it to a letter  to him.

 

Dear Sean, I’ll write. The Holsteins here

are sick of their milk. The fruits on the trees

wage war by wielding juice. All the poems we wrote

in school are finally getting acted out.

Love & friends & verklempt (something in prose).

I don’t think I’m a poet of the atrocities, or even of the victories. I think I’m a poet of the people I love. I’m trying to make sense of how much there is to love in the world. I’m trying to put into words the moment when someone reaches out to touch someone else’s face, but then doesn’t, and then that person never knows that that other person wanted to touch them. And so that touch will never be in the history books. But I might just get it into a poem.

 

Do you have any famous friends? Friends who people know because of something they did or wrote? I have a couple of great friends in a band and it makes me insanely proud and insanely baffled to know them and to see them progressing in the music world and to know that they are an entity outside of the dudes that I got to know in college. And to think that I knew them in a dorm hallway, with their morning hair and their late night gaits. How I’d leave the coed bathroom when I’d see one of them with their sneakers facing outward in a stall (pooping!). 

 

I have a lot of friends who really impress me. Not just because of their jobs, but sometimes because of their jobs. I have some friends who were born knowing how to be great friends. A lot of my friends aren’t the same as each other. A couple of my friends are attempting similar back-to-the-land plans as I am, but most of them aren’t. I’m here as a human and as a girl and as a poet and as a farmer-in-training to say: my friends, I love the shit out of you. I know you know it already, maybe because I told you recently in an email or textual exclamation or maybe I sent you something recently or maybe you read a poem here that reminded you of it. Either way, I might as well say it often, because life is short and fast (especially in summer).

 

So here’s a music video that really impresses me featuring some dudes I know. For some reason this video is making me want to hug people (BAD), probably because I’ve been drinking wine and I live with a man I adore and because it’s summer and there’s quite nearly enough sunlight to provide for all the words I want to write and say each day. Amen.