This first poem was written by my friend Joani Reinmuth, an artist who makes jewelry, and who doesn’t consider herself a writer and never wrote a poem before this one. Coming from someone who isn’t “a poet” it blew my mind.
A Day Really
By Joan Reinmuth
Before visiting summer we get Mothers Day,
the revising a draft day,
a saving and backup day.
24 hours of reference to no specific work or detail
just like the plug in a socket.
As if all transactions and reactions occurred on one
day, words borrowed and same day credit given.
Whatever happened to the daily fiddling,
critical thinking, pop-up engineering,
and all other problematic comparisons.
Who pressed flowers in the cast iron frying pan,
did homework with the dog, and
used a highlighter to assess and change the plan.
And, for a clearer idea, who else every day,
all day shoves the monsters back into their cave.
This next one is mine.
Hildy had strange blues I mean she had
some mighty strange blues after Janie died.
Hildy knew all about the blues—
death blues & love gone bad blues
no moneyfoodorliquor blues
homesick blues and Momma blues
Daddy blues and too old to tango blues
but these blues were nothing like those.
These were strange blues.
She was a Stranger accordin’ to the law.
That’s what she was to Janie said the judge.
(He called her ‘The Deceased’.)
They weren’t spouses. How could they be spouses?
They were both women, each having 2 boobs
one pussy and no dick on the premises.
Thus there’d been no wedding no license no cake
no spouses and what about spice?
Hildy could still laugh but
Legal Strangers said the judge
pounding his gavel.
That’s what you are by law: A Legal Stranger.
That’s what gave Hildy the strange blues
for sure. She’d held Janie’s hand
‘til her spirit left her tired body
so how was she a stranger? No, said the judge, not
a stranger; a Legal Stranger. Look it up.
So she did. Hildy looked under L and S in the big dictionary
in the living room and the paperback dictionary
in the kitchen with the cookbooks
and she looked under the catboxes and
in the bookshelves and in the drawers of
all four desks. (One for each grownup, one
for each kid. Intellectuals, friends used to tease.)
In every dictionary she turned to L and then to S.
but could not find these Legal Strangers
giving Hildy strange blues tonight:
real strange blues.
Get out your guitar
and strum the Legal Stranger Blues.
Betcha can’t. Betcha won’t.
O sure, you can play the Sam Cooke blues
the Ray Charles blues Aretha blues
Johnny Cash blues and
the last of the red hot momma blues
but music doesn’t do the Legal Stranger blues
or know ’bout Legal Strangers
only Strangers in a Strange Land
of judges no spouses no wives and no rights.