Posts for June 18, 2017


De Profundis, Ramada Inn Shelbyville

The him that spoke to others
had impeccable manners. Easygoing,
friendly tone. Lucid. The concierge said
there’s something around the eyes,
it makes you think twice.
The lady said, I’ve thought twice about him
many a time. A young girl ran through in a
towel. Families came in from the city,
mostly for the pool. At breakfast the next
morning he would giggle,
calling her name,
waffle maker. Neither of them dared
to use it. A little girl told the lady
she’d never met anyone as nice as her
and she supposed it must have been
the easy going way
she said she’d help her get the tiny
styrofoam plate she was striving for. Oh,
here, I’ll grab it for you.
Like she was a
not a child. The night before she had
held the beer to his lips, wiped it from his
chin, wiped it where it spilled down his
He said thank you, she said of course.
He was tied to the bed, after all.
In the morning she had put on love songs
and read about the killing of dogs. There
was a part where a woman was begging
someone to help her with a city ordinance
that would kill her dog and she said
       I’m not good at expressing myself in
       writing. But maybe someone can help
The lady held the man, who was not
sleeping. She said
— my book is sad.
He said — I’m sorry and he took her hand.
She felt the thick flannel of his shirt. She
felt the rough skin of his hand. She felt his
breath, the slow rhythm of his broad back,
slow against her belly,
a censer slowly swaying:
de profundis, exaudi
vocum meum.
They were so tired, but did not fall asleep.
Housekeeping was already waiting outside
the door.



To claim “mudlark” as occupation 
was said to be
“a choice dictated by poverty”
I ask:
What choice has poverty ever offered? 


#FCC157 ( 252, 193, 87)

even though I gifted it months ago
to my nephew who cannot yet read
today all I can picture
is the cover of “My Dad Used To Be So Cool”
alongside “Heather Has Two Mommies”
and the messages in-between

I’ve yet to read it to him, though
I read it to myself twice before
deciding to buy it
and when I gave it to him
I wrote inside
“To CM
We all used to be 
so cool.
Uncle H
just as much to mark it for him
as for me


Good Enough for Pat and Penny

A 1944 photo of my father and mother
creased with stains and in a broken frame
is knocked off its stand whenever the breeze
gets it dander up  

What could they have been thinking in that
field at his cousin’s farm on Old Cairo Road
when the Battle of the Bulge killed so many
the army drafted older men with families?                                   

                                   His rag tail uniform
and her face fresh like Rita Hayworth
will make me go over to close the window
and dust the glass with a mismatched sock                                               



There are too many rules rushing through my heavy head as I look across at you

how to be enough without being too much

men are like rabbits you have to be very careful about scaring them off.


In the car I know that it is more than enough next to you 

although you did the same to me in November.

How can you not remember that? It hasn’t left my mind since that night.


I pray to feel the weight of your head on my head as I rest.

I fall asleep when I finally do.

This is enough I’m not one of those crazy girls who love you.


if a stone could dream

a symphony of fireflies
the yard a mason jar
holes in the lid

and we could breathe
in the flashes
of lightning

await the thunder and
then breathe out
that earthy mix coming

after rain stones pulsing
with the blood of a god
we long to name


Beyond the margins of the self

Poetry is a river; many voices travel in it; poem
after poem moves along in the exciting crests and falls of the river
waves. None is timeless; each arrives
in an historical context; almost
everything, in the end, passes. But the desire
to make a poem, and the world’s willingness to receive
it—indeed, the world’s need of it—
these never pass.

(found poetry from A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver, p. 9)


Shower Ditty

The bed is clean
And so am I.
Now all I need’s
A lullaby.



Will death be sweet?
Will it gently take me by the hand, kissing my lips as my last breath leaves my body?
Will it guide me carefully through the film of my life
Recounting each event with me
Holding me through tragedies
Beaming at the happy times
Never leaving my side

Will death be violent?
Will it shove me around,
Forcing the last breath out of my body?
Will it jerk me through my memories
Mocking the good times
Incriminating me for the bad times
Abandoning me at my most vulnerable


High Standards

At eighty-one years young,
my father strides through cold rain to the van
protecting my mother from damp night air.
On house-cleaning days,
he bends on arthritic knees to scrub toilets
freeing her from similar pain.
After surgery,
he gently cleans her limbs with warm rags,
cherishing her body as it heals.  

They say daughters marry a man like their father,
but I surely didn’t.
Do gentlemen like my father
exist amongst my generation?  

Two years ago and post-divorce
a man asked me to dinner,
a glorious summer evening
full of warm expectation.
But he didn’t open the car door
or the restaurant door. 
I knew it was over before the salads came.