What I mean

Autonomy

like monotony

but without the pendulum

marking time.

This time

Is monotonous

but for the autonomous

It’s fine

For a time.

What I’m Really Saying about life in California

I’m beginning to see

I need no one after a time.

I’m preparing for the lifeboat,

the buoy,

the evacuation of the planet,

no packing, everyone is coming.

I’m leaving everything

behind.

It’s meaningless.

People come and go.

I’m trying to be brave.

Now I realize people want to hear hope from me as I’m old.

So I hand them some perfectly ripe

tomatoes from my garden,

tell them how to chop the basil

add the olive oil,

mix with hands.

Serve at room temperature

perhaps outside with the sun

fighting to make its way through the smoke just for one last time.

It’s good to eat with others

as things digest more easily.

The Introvert

                                               Introvert

I can’t tell people

I like how it is now:

“Da Viwus”

as Rosemary calls it,

the restlessness gone.

 No days of yoga,

 no decisions,

few people, puppy

watching

the main activity.

I only want to see children

swim in the pool making

light of alligators and yellow cheese slices

made of plastic and air. The in breath

and the out breath like hand bellows

in my belly, welcoming and productive.

“What if it is like this forever?”

There will always be children.

I must keep this secret.

Along with the other

introverts of the world.

Someone Asked me

Someone Asked me How I Start a Poem

Someone asked me how I start a poem

And I said it had to do with scent,

I remember, summer 1957,

being underwater and chlorine and the vivid

look of other swimming beings.

Play “Tea Party”

“Why?”

I never understood “Tea Party”

or the scent of afternoon grass

in Connecticut

in June.

Lying there, listening to

airplanes floating, hawks looking

for sex, prey,

safety.

We lay there

among the blades, clipped,

eyes gliding across summer blue

skies reading cloud clusters like

braille translating childhood.

No language for bewilderment.

Praying

WORD FOR THE DAY

Praying. It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.

MARY OLIVERVISIT GRATEFULNESS.ORG

Listening Two

I would highly recommend learning the art

of invisibility at a young age.

Today’s world is crowded.

It’s useful to sit still, 

breathing but not moving your ribs.

At this time levitation may be possible 

which is helpful.

Taking notes is useful.

it’s in the details one

learns the ropes and

listening to neighbors in hotel 

rooms is lesson number four.

To cries, whispers, the click

of locks,

learning what stops listening 

like ear plugs or music or white

noise or meanness. Stop.

Other people will sometimes disappoint

you.

Stop taking notes

on life.

Listening

I would highly recommend learning the art

of invisibility at a young age.

It’s useful to sit still

breathing but not moving your ribs.

Taking notes..

It’s in the details one

learns the ropes and

listening to neighbors in hotel

rooms is lesson number four.

To cries, whispers, the click

of locks,

learning what stops listening

like ear plugs or music or white

noise. Stop.

Other people will always disappoint

you.

Stop taking notes

on life.

Summer 1955

Summer 1955

Nothing is moving today.

Neither the trees nor the grass

not the top parts of the ocean

nor the blacks birds over the path.

The heat falls onto us mid morning and

children

lose interest in torturing the dog.

I think I hear

the Good Humor man’s truck,

an echoing television from an open window,

the hiss hiss of the sprinkler whipping

around its three pronged medusa heads,

over the damp, soft grass.

Inside, a white eyelet nightgown’s

rustle, moving metal treasures in my

Grandmother’s drawers while she napped

with her eyes open.

My Mother’s Hair

My Mother’s Hair

My mother’s hair always escaped

from under her red kerchief or the

hairspray

lacquered on  for control and the hair

often went

dancing in a night club in Manhattan

even when she was in labor with

one of us. You can’t control wildness.

My mother lay, legs askew, baby

coming, never having  to push as Dr. Leroy

removed us with forceps while her hair was

dancing at the Stork Club and her waist, so

thin

turning sideways she could have been

an exclamation point or a bent spoon.

Her hair, curled in the heat and the moist

music, was happy as rhythm was the

clef of curl and the smoke, the smoke,

smoothed her out and persuaded her

life could be El Morocco and the possibility

of finding Mr.Rich.

Even after she found him she

worried he wouldn’t stay. He told her to

make

her hair softer. It was always

touch and go but he made the rules.

Older, her hair curled around nurses

who loved her sweetness while her children

longed to hear her truth.

You see, life was a silken tendril and a

Frigidaire,

TV dinners and flowered dresses with waists

cinched by men who knew how to lead.

Scissors hadn’t been invented and music

could anesthetize freedom. Hair could go

anywhere.