In between time allotted for
Cooking and working and eating and sleeping
He stops and drops the
Put out my fire, to drag through
Miles of code for cockroaches
Crawling through the cracks.
In all the free time, stolen from
Retirees and stay-at-home mothers (and
Teachers in the summertime),
Volunteers pour batter into
Cupcake wrappers and scrape
Burnt soup from pot bottoms and
Then before bed, troll Walmart for
Polyblend socks on sale
To cover up rotting black toes.
After everything else is done at the
End of the day, kids gather up a
Minute to scrub crayon onto
Construction paper, launch letters
Across a page, piling the notes
For unknown soldiers and old folks
On the counter next to their
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I keep hearing them say:
Yet, all our lives and all the world around is a series of dramas playing out.
Of characters passing across the thrust
Of hearts being broken and lives being twisted
Into unexpected shapes tumbling towards resolution.
What kind of no drama do they mean?
No drama, you cancer-girl.
No drama, you single mother.
No drama, you exhausted supermom
No drama, never-alone, it never-lets up homeschooler.
Stalwartness shall be your burden.
Go get lost in the garden, between the dried out chrysanthemums
And water the plants alone with your
Tears. No one wants to hear you, you
Aberration. You who dares speak
Louder than the crisped interstate hum,
You who feels its OK to say out loud
She disagrees. You who
Cries foul. Leave us.
We are busy cementing our
Feet in molasses pride. You girl
Dripping with your fat emotions,
Making puddles of
Noise and need and complications
Wherever you go–
“Get out of the way, drama queen” said them,
No person anyone has
Ever met, and
No human being at all.
(I kept hearing people saying “I don’t want any drama.” And “I’m glad when I can get the people with drama out of my life.”
I thought about this today, thinking about mental illness, women, and friendship and acceptance.
This poem came up)
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Marlon, your mama and Jane Fonda and
The angels of babies with heart murmurs and
Baubo, humor’s goddess, have all gotten together
To decide how best to celebrate
You. Not with a feast. Not with
Dionysian debauchery, or some hallowed
String of days in which men carry wives or
Gas stoves in competition. Marlon, the women have
Gotten together not to carve your
Name in some rock or hard place. Instead
They have taken your laughter like
Stardust and sprinkled it on the
Soil. They have sown the crops into
Your perseverance and think to wait, wait,
Spinning the golden hay of summer in their
Dreams while the seed pods
Germinate. Marlon, the women press the
Clouds into service and wring from them their
Sweat. The mill stone wears itself out as miles of
Water tumbles away.
Then, rest. Under
Winter’s cover and
Time, slowly passing, Marlon, until some
Mythological morning breaks and
Eyes squint upon a jade and chartreuse
Landscape and you,
The season coming, later
Than expected, right at the
Hour due, and more perfectly
Who is Marlon? Here he is.
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The two of you browse the
Grass aisles of the gravestone shop
Stuck between then and now at Locust and Cherry, with
The truckers and the teachers passing.
Marble blocks scatter on the little
Hill and you squint in their glare.
You two know this road real well– so well you hardly
See the 24-hour pharmacy, the neon car wash.
None was there when this shed on the
Hill went up. When the family started providing.
Time slides past, snapshots inside a memory held
Weightless and you, both, dragging your feet.
You two. Determined to finish your tidy-up to-do
List, so you both can put this worry to rest.
On the low rise, at the intersection, the two of you, one
Balmy and plain old day.
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[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="333"]
Courtesy: Michael Corcoran[/caption]
If I never make it to Austin and, somehow, the
Longhorns and the old moviehouses get neglected, then
Let me remind you this isn’t
About the city I always wanted to see or the
Man I wanted to reminisce with.
This is about the day I stood in the
Middle of Tuesday in the place where
I now live on a patch of green weeds and it
Occured to me “I might never
See Paris again or eat Memphis barbeque or reach
Austin City Limits, or ever
Be relieved of virutal reality and halt the
Half-truth of Facebook Frances and
Sit with her again over an IKEA table
While our daughters play.”
Every live face I see
I take for granted.
Every touch is
Half-hidden inside a
Craving for more, for desire of what is
Yet to come. And yet,
For a moment, standing on my
Tuesday weeds, I saw the
Face of Facebook Him, of Mike,
Like an Icon, and He was
No one I knew or remembered.
I looked into the beautiful mystery.
The gulf between now and then.
The man who used to
Climb between the fresnels in that
Goatee and serape and
It occurred to me
Just have to cruise it out
With the memories I have.
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It’s just past 8 and
Summer. I am hiding on the
Bottom bunk. My daughters have
All gone downstairs. My
Son is echoing in the shower. I am a
Sliver of time away from being set
Free into the night, into their
Dreamland, after hugs and kisses
Recede and I’ve read the required
Pages of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and
Then, oh then, I’m free to let the
Twilight catch me, and hold me.
Until then I am hiding on my
Daughter’s bunk, eyes on the blonde pine
Slats, listening to my son warble
Between the soapy drops.
I’m caught by light that isn’t young anymore,
And I am sure of this day: as sure that this narrow bed will return as a gift and
My daughters too will feel this exhaustion like a weight on them
On that same day, far flung, I know I will
Recall perfectly the toffee of her wet hair at bedtime and
The cocoon of the bottom bunk.
— from some traveling place
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My moral sensibility does not
Like to be quiet and has
A pantyhose-thin filter and
I seem not to be able to
Stop the sound wave once
She latches onto an
Bullied principle or
Bloated sense of patriotism or
Some blindly ironic act of love.
She is quite loud, even in
The hair salon, and
Partial to f-bombs, because
As she tells me, people listen
When the f-bombs start
Flying. And as I hear her
Ramping up from some
“Did you hear about the so-and-so?”
I duck for cover because there
Is no stopping her
Once she starts rolling, rolling
Like a circus clown balancing
Downhill on top of a
Rubber ball. It’s often armchair
Righteousness on a Sunday afternoon
But I can see it makes her
Feel better, makes her feel
Heard, and it’s always a
Conversation others are trying not to
Have and, besides, sometimes it
Works. Sometimes people really do
Stop shopping at Walmart, stop
Buying every plastic piece of crap in their
Sleep, start timidly using the word “feminist”
To describe themselves, so
Even if she isn’t
The gentlest advocate for
Change, I am ok with it
Because loud noises often
Interrupt rapists and thieves
And wake up the living dead
And so I let her rant.
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