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Poetry

Below are a few of my poems, as well as some of my favorites by other poets.
I’ll be adding to this page from time to time.

I used to view the crescent moon

by Marcy Sheiner
I used to view the crescent moon
as a silver sliver
oblivious to the shadowed sphere.

Now I notice first the dark side of the moon,
the illumined crescent
as incidental.crescent-moon.jpg

_____________________________________________
Smoking Again
I couldn’t leave the cafe
without passing her
and I couldn’t pass hersmoker
so I couldn’t leave.

She hadn’t seen me yet
but he had
(didn’t tell her of course).

I studied her smoke rings
to decipher the marriage:
was it falling apart
already?

Her hair fell
in great shimmering waves
down her back
and I could feel it
grazing his naked thigh

his fingers on her nipples
her laughter
laughter of my girlhood
tickling his ears.

His eyes devouring
his hand grasping
his hands
her nipples
her hair
his thighs
I stood and passed her.
She leaned forward,
eyes wide, glad to see me.

“You’re smoking again,”
I said, and left.

__________________________
The Last Lap
Swimming toward another shore
I pause to gaze at those behind.
Letting go was never easyoceanbig.jpg
and the pain disguised as pleasure
was seductive.
How I cradled it between my breasts
pretending my yearning sighs
were of contentment.
How I studied our strokes
as we moved through the muck
only to discover
I’d been swimming alone.

Surfacing
I find you bobbing
like a piece of dead wood
surrounded by those
who fitfully grasp
your slippery edges.
It is not you I mourn
in crossing
but the loss of kinship
with the drowning.

_________________________

The older I get, the more this poem resonates:

In The Desert
Stephen Crane

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands,
and ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
because it is bitter,
and because it is my heart.”

running-river.jpg

I related to the following poem after my mother died.
It was written for Jane Kenyon, the poet’s deceased wife.

ARDOR
by Donald Hall

Nursing her I felt alive
in the animal moment,
scenting the predator.
Her death was the worst thing
that could happen,
and caring for her was best.

After she died I screamed,
upsetting the depressed dog
who brought me her blue
sneaker. Now in the third
vanished year, I no longer
address the wall covered
with many photographs,
or call her “You”
in a poem. She recedes
into the granite museum
of JANE KENYON 1947-1995.

I long for the absent
woman of different faces
who makes metaphors
and chops garlic, drinking
a glass of Chardonnay,
oiling the wok, humming
to herself, maybe thinking
how to conclude a poem.
When I make love now,
something is awry.
Last autumn a woman said,
“I mistrust your ardor.”

This winter in Florida
I loathed the old couples
my age who promenaded
in their slack flesh
and held hands. I gazed
at young women with desire
and outrage—unable to love
or work, to stay at home
or travel, to die or live.

Hours are slow and weeks
rapid in their vacancy.
Each day lapses as I recite
my complaints. Lust is grief
that has turned over in bed
to look the other way.

__________________________________

Grace Paley is one of my favorite poets.

It is the responsibility of the poet
by Grace Paley

It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet
It is the respnsbility of the poet to be a woman
It is the resonsibility of the poets to stand on street corners
giving out poems and beautifully written leaflets
also leaflets they can hardly bear to look at

grand-central-station.jpg

because of the screaming rhetoric
It is the responsibility of the poet to be lazy, to hang out and prophesy
It is the responsibility of the poet not to pay war taxes
It is the responsibility of the poet to go in and out of ivory towers and two-room apartments on Avenue C and
buckwheat fields and army camps
It is the responsibility of the female poet to be a woman
It is the poet’s responbility to speak truth to power, as the Quakers say
It is the poet’s responsibility to learn the truth from the powerless
It is the responsibility of the poet to say many times: there is no
freedom without justice and this means economic
justice and love justice
It is the responsibility of the poet to sing this in all original
and traditional tunes of singing and telling poems
It is the responsibility of the poet to listen to gossip and pass it
on in the way storytellers decant the story of life
There is no freedom without fear and bravery.
There is no freedom unless
earth and air and water continue and children
also continue
It is the responsiblity of the poet to be a woman, to keep an eye on
this world and cry out like Cassandra, but be
listened to this time.

tigerwalton-ford.jpg

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