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.

 

tumblr_n3veydH5XL1rnc3y3o1_500

 

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

 

Poem with flowers in it (mine).

Insanity (the good kind)

lalalalalalalalalalala  for Ellie!

The trillium are blooming everywhere & I’m going insane

with happiness. Illegal to harvest & illegal not to love,

the trillium bloom in the forest and where the forest

meets the road. Magenta blooms made of three red petals

with three green understudies. Jack-in-the-pulpit’s likely

nearby, and a stream where the bugs who slide across water

are stretching their legs after winter. The breeze smells like ferns

unfurling their eyes to the sun and the hatless and shoeless

woman I am has her pupils hotglued to the ground.

“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

“So Various” (my poem of last Sunday).

So Various

1

We walked out to pasture

to feed the pigs, the neighbors’

dog running beside us, shitting

beside us. The clouds were a quilt

of calcite-colored gloom, our field

a carpet of sod turned over by hooves.

2

We sat as the chipmunks called

to each other, ass down in a sea

of tumbled stones. Selenite stacked

like logs, geode after geode

to the wind, our pockets brimmed

with the weight of colored stones.

3

Inside the restaurant painted

the colors of wasabi and ginger, we ate

wasabi and ginger. 80s hits screamed

eternity from speaks all around, even

in the bathroom. A plate of shrimp shumai

like pillows for a clique of mice.

4

We weren’t badly dressed

for the party, but we weren’t

dressed correctly, either. Grown men

in a palette of pastels, ladies drunk

beneath their brims, and the shining

horses racing towards their deaths.

IMG_2366

Poem of April 10th (poem of today) (mine).

The Girl Who Was Winter

 

I don’t understand how a house is built, the piece-by-pieceness of it all.

And why is a hamburger called that–it’s made of beef. Around here

people say “hamburg” and bang their boots together before swinging

their feet into the driver’s seat. Around here the streets are named

after families who still live on them. This I understand. And how quick

it takes a ram to mount a doe—I get it now. The world’s laid out

on the ground and everywhere I step, I step on it. I’m naming

each new season: after winter, white spring. Then mud, then spring,

then storage, then sticks, then logs. Then winter in her new fur coat

lasts long enough to answer everything. She’s the sweet caesura–

not the roadside flare lit as a cry for help, but the help itself.

***

 

10980599756_62e86f4127_z

 

photo by Misha

These days’ treasures (photographs).

For those of you who know me, you know I’m all about treasures.

Treasures can be

tiny shells, tiny dice, tiny bowls, tiny anythings; gemstones, sea stones, strawberry rocks, shards of ceramic plates, glass beads, photos (especially tiny photos), small frames, a small loop of purple thread, ojos de dios, dried hot peppers, small envelopes, colored thread, tiny bottles, jars, & vials; smooth sticks, pieces of bone, anything small a friend finds and gives me, necklaces made of beads or braided string, seeds, seedpods, beans, a padron pepper, pendulums, foreign coins, photo cards, pretty drips of beeswax…

Here are some of my current treasure scenes.

DSCF5231

DSCF5232

DSCF5233

DSCF5234

DSCF5235

DSCF5236

DSCF5237

 

So tell me: what are your treasures?

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.

 

IMG_2047

 

Little moving poem (mine).

(Written before we moved. & now that we’re settled, whew. I feel good.)

***

Today, Thank Heavens, I Have Hands

 

I think less of people who think

little creatures are stupider than big ones.

 

I try not to think about how heavy

and tedious moving is,

 

though there’s some fleck of comfort

in the known physical difficulty of it

 

and the general commonness

of packing stuff in boxes. Watch

 

as I move to a new home: what I can lift

I am touching with my hands.

 

And on the days when  I have no hands,

I lift all the invisible things.

 

 

I paid $8 for this poem (and I don’t regret it) (Ben Aleshire).

Sometimes you’re in New Orleans for a bachelorette weekend with your favorite ladies and you meet a Vermont poet with a typewriter on the street and you ask for a poem please and he writes you one and you like it a lot and you pay him $8 which seems like a lot to you but seems like a little to him since he just had a woman hand him two crisp twenties for her poem. And maybe if this happens to you you feel a little bit like the world is helping you out, throwing you a bone, or in this case, a Ben.

 

Fruit

 

Clementine, you say,

already tasting it.

Apricot, and the word is caught

on your tongue (lone muscle

of both language & hunger) (the word

itself you peel and undress).

In the night you wake,

find yourself in an orchard –

don’t you        don’t you

You cannot sleep for the sound

of apples falling all around you,

words heavy on the branch.

Even trees let go their fruit.

Nothing weighs more

than a burden refused (say the apples

touching each other in the grass)

 

***