Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My husband told me to write a sonnet

Sabbatical Sonnet

You must do the one thing that you think you
cannot do, Eleanor Roosevelt tells me. With all
the things due, it’s true, I do not think I can do
all the things I have yet to do. If you think
you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Says who?
Maybe Henry Ford, who wanted to do to
us before we did to him. Maybe it’s true
that thinking is key, that we do as we believe
or we believe as we do. There is only do,
there is no try, another sage says. Try as I do
I accomplish very little with much to do.
Sometimes I sit. I often admire the view.  
Piles shift in space rather than disappear.

I’m on sabbatical. Good thing I have a year.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Over at Jim’s, across the street, they are still
asleep, but the trees dazzle, blossoms
blowing in the Sunday wind. The soft
down of grass has been culled into shape,
the dandelions removed, the pansies trained
into neat little rows. Even the maple seems
to be obeying some grand design.
In the mid-day sunlight, the greens glisten,
the yellows sparkle and pop, the oranges
blaze like dying suns, the reds bleed and bleed.
I observe Nature here, in the urban garden,
a blinded muse, a bound dancer, a slave.
I am no master.

(the first word of each line is taken from This Poem

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

to fast: v.

to go without, to postpone, to defer,
she fasted that she might be furthered
to hasten, to proceed quickly, to heighten,
she fasted that she might arrive
to increase, to displace, to prolong
she fasted that she might want
to hunger, to yearn, to need,
she fasted that she might desire
to bind, to fetter, to fix,
she fasted herself that she might persist
to worship, to mortify, to meditate
she fasted that she might be pure
to elevate, to seek, to pursue
she fasted that she might find
to arrive, to discover, to escape

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Self-Portrait as Lucian Freud's "Double Portrait" (1985-86)

Am I the woman, artificially still, arranged as if in sleep,
or death? Am I the dog, nestled beside her, its jaw tense,
dreaming, ready to snarl or bite? Am I the paint, deep
and patchy, ridged  brushstrokes blowing from edge
to edge? Or am I the canvas, flat, transparent, and square?
Am I the navy of her dress, her pale buttery skin, the grayish-
pink of the dog’s vulnerable belly? Am I the paint brush, the hair
Of rabbit, badger, or horse? Am I the shadow beneath the weight
of her arm, casually shielding her eyes, or is her pose a defense
against the artist’s gaze? I’m the suggestion of a wall, the blank
bedsheet, the too white bed, the dog’s mottled fur, the sense
the world is one indecipherable scene and art makes it think.
What, exactly, is it the subject of this painting? That which we see:
woman, dog, paint? Or the space between the painting and me?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I like this one, so I'm reposting it here.

Sonnet for an Absent Spouse

I almost wrote “an empty house,” but it isn’t, still three of four
on site: Son, and dog and me. In your absence, I chauffeur Son
and walk the dog. I text “I miss you.” Is that the vodka (80 or more?
calories) talking? Or maybe it’s the delicious and necessary wine
(5 ounces Merlot = 120 calories) that makes my thumbs light.
When I miss you, I drink whiskey (110 calories), I let Son spend more
time watching “Firefly” on his computer to avoid the nightly fight.
I imagine expensive additions to our home: a deck, French doors
opening off our master bedroom and into the backyard, fertile
with rosemary, tomatoes, chard, sunflowers, and orange poppies.
When you are gone, I am uncharacteristically morose. I wile
the hours away reading actuary charts which forecast our untimely
demise. It’s not wise, the way I spend my time. Wait: that’s a lie.

I imagine the hours we’ll spend, sipping wine, until we die.

Friday, April 01, 2016

National! Poetry! Month!

Welcome to April, in which two poets test themselves against time, meter, rhyme, and the days that demand poems. That's right, it's National Poetry Month which means that HighTouch and I will be writing a poem a day, and you know what that means! Lower those expectations. Let's go!

April Fool

Perhaps there is a spaceship where astronauts
grow tomato plants in zero gravity.  Perhaps there is a zip code
where anyone can live, their mail circulating in some imagined zone
Perhaps instead of a tax refund, I am buying you an air conditioner
or a refrigerator or those teal shoes that you love.
 I am leaving them on your front porch, surreptitiously,
for you to find.

Perhaps I am pouring water on you to wake you from your sleep,
only it's a pitcher full of shredded newspaper,
confetti of the displaced, the forlorn,
the slightly out of date.

Perhaps I am beckoning you near with only a whisper,
trying to dump water, soapy and warm,
down the front of your blouse, rendering you rain-
soaked, stained and foolish.

Or maybe I am a lie, a single red tulip,
planted years ago in a patch of dirt beside the house
that bursts forth unexpectedly every year this day.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

In Which I Lament/Praise My Own Planning

Another thing I excel at, since you asked, is planning. I am a planner. I like to plan things.
So, back three or two weeks ago or whenever, I decided (for reasons which are now lost in the haze of my brain) to schedule four days of un-interrupted, hellish consultations with students. Oh yes, I planned it. For myself. Of my own free will. For myself.
What this means, in practical terms, is that for each day of this week I had to read two drafts for each student. That's right, TWO. This I also planned. Which means that the days leading up to this week, and IN FACT, this week was the definition of No Fun.
Luckily I discovered the joy and ease of copy and paste commentary, because, I discovered, even though each student wrote their own draft, they all faced the same challenges. So I wrote very detailed comments, and then I pasted them for each student, customizing them for a students draft. This made my life EASIER.
So what I did I learn from this marathon, no holds barred, few breaks in the schedule, schedule?
First, NEVER DO IT AGAIN!! I say this knowing I will forget the pain and that I will, in fact, construct for myself a similar hell. What can I say? I vacillate between boundless optimism and hard-edged cynicism.
Second, for some students, it actually does work. (Dammit!)
ALSO, re:planning, I was a super-genuis this weekend and prepped food for both breakfast and lunch, therefore making the morning/day portion of my eating life a BREEZE.
The upshot, therefore, is that while sometimes my planning bites me in the ass, sometimes it is an asset.
Thereby, the theme of my planning = ass.
The end.