Poem on the last day of the year, 2018

I resolve to stop wanting what I don’t have
or work towards getting it
but not doing the first without the second
(because that hasn’t gotten me anywhere).

I will be ambitious and believe
that I deserve to be paid well
and ask for a price for my work
that will allow me to support my family
and still have time to take care of my child.

When I start worrying
about why certain people
don’t seem to like me
(or at least don’t invite me to their parties)
I will instead focus on the people
who I know do like me
who in fact love me
and whom I love.

I will get rid of the things
that I keep in my life
out of a sense of duty
instead of a sense of joy.

It’s okay to look tired.

I vow to value moving my body
as highly as I value
cleaning the house
getting work done for clients
grocery shopping.

I am a spigot
and like a spigot
I can be shut off
and when I am off
that is called conserving water
and when I am on
all the poems will come flowing out.

Do I call my friends enough?
Do I call my family members enough?
I try to write letters, send texts,
send emails, stay in touch.
But I could do more.

Cobwebs appear out of nowhere.
No. False.
Cobwebs are the abandoned homes
of spiders.
If I ignore them, they will go away.
False again.
Resolution: I will clear out the cobwebs.

If a poet sings a poem
to the woods, are the trees
strengthened by her words?
Of course they are.
Just as the poet is strengthened
by the soundless stature of trees.

I clench my jaw and I furrow my brow
but there are ways to help myself unclench
and I will focus on them next year
especially before falling asleep.

Revelation of 2018:
lattes
are overpriced coffees
made with shitty milk.

I am now more prepared
to have a goat one day
since having a baby
because he bleats for his breakfast
and so will she.
(And because I too
have produced milk
& so will never take hers
for granted.)

Making the bed takes two seconds
and makes me feel better about my day.

Instead of anxiously haranguing people
in my head
regarding their purchases of
bottled water
body wash with blue micro scrubbers
out-of-season raspberries
since all of these things are killing the earth
in their own special and hideous ways
I will instead work to make my own life more sustainable
and brainstorm ways to speak
calmly
about my climate change fears
to the people I love.

I will stop caring
about whether people judge me
for what I buy at the grocery store.

I will do the hard thing first
(the thing I least want to do)
because then the rest will be gravy.

Grace Paley (poem & photograph).

HERE

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that’s who I wanted to be

at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling him the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

Grace Paley by Sylvia Plachy
Photo of Grace Paley in Vermont, taken by Sylvia Plachy

Freelance poem (mine).

I work from home now

and I’m jamming to this song today

because Margot recommended it

and Margot knows what to pay

attention to. No, I don’t know Margot

but I know other women

who create television and funny mugs

plus my cousin-in-law

is the dude in the vest.

I’ve written a lot about vests;

haikus mostly, and desperate texts.

A vest is like a hug

for your chest, I’ve been known

to sigh, my core warm, my style fly.

 

Springtime poem (mine).

It’s springtime,

fling yourself
into the green
time, in the
meantime,
while there’s still
time, it’s clean
time, out with
what we don’t need
time, you know
what I mean:
let’s deem ourselves
better than fine,
let’s drink the last
sip of winter’s
wine.

gossamer dandelion

photo by Misha M. Johnson

Solstice Morning Poem (mine).

Monday morning. Lipstick, dirty hair. Reading articles about books
I already love and want to return to disguised as another woman.

Glowy gray winter sky glinting off the car parked outside, giant
spools of electric cord hidden behind. Christmas songs on the radio,

the rape-y ones (“I really can’t stay” “But baby it’s cold outside”)
interspersed with the others. Yellow coffee cup with one cold sip

remaining and the impending refill. Holiday cards taped to the wall
in a collage of those who love us for our purchasing patterns. Ten AM

on the winter solstice and the postal service workers are hustling
to make it in time for Christmas. I’ve been wearing this blue shirtdress

for three days and it’s time for a wash. All astrological signs pointed
to career success this month but where’s the proof. Holiday treats

thrust at me from everywhere; I accept. Flip my greasy hair
to the other side of my head; I let it lie where it lands.

“Wish for a Thursday” (poem) (mine).

Wish for a Thursday

In a soulmate we find not company, but a completed solitude. -Robert Brault

What I would’ve give to be settling in to eat breakfast
at Eaton’s Sugarhouse with you. The sky would offer
no commentary as we stripped off our scarves, unlatched
our jackets. We’d slouch a little in the chairs designed
for hunters on opening day of rifle season, for families
who’ve fed their cows hay from their own fields
for generations. We’re not those people; we’d only be
ourselves on a Thursday, a little sleepy still from summer’s
hot swipe of mayhem which we survived with long porch
lunches, sweaty bandanas, tulsi-scented winds. The windows
which appear cloudy from the road would be adorned
with hand-sewn curtains as if the diner were a living room
where anyone’s languor was welcome. Plates full of food
would arrive and greet our noses with their names.
We’d eat eggs and hot sauce over toast and split an order
of buckwheat waffles. It wouldn’t be the best meal
we’d ever eaten, not even the second best, but we’d be
unhurried and together: buttering toast, passing ketchup.