At a table, over wine, two women
bent their heads toward each other
(willowy rose and chrysanthemum),
hushed words drifting down
upon two hands entwined
above the gift of a ring,
as steadily they leaned
into the garden
that chose them,
young stems glorying
in the bud of a caress, full bloom
of love upon their faces, and we,
a table of husbands and wives,
were as helpless as them
to turn our heads away
from such a graceful rain of light,
so firm a reach of roots
across forbidden ground.
This much older poem recently found the perfect home in the anthology “Smitten – This Is What Love Looks Like”, a hefty volume of over 300 poems, edited by Candice L. Daquin and Hallelujah R. Huston and available for purchase on Kindle and Amazon here
Call joy a liquid detergent, washing
the worst away, and it becomes
my soul’s iodine, deterring a dark night.
Of all the emotions, it’s the ruby
that can’t be bought, the jam that’s
passed, spreading over my daily bread.
Call it love’s lava, as bold as a smear
of lipstick on a cheek, and it’s the wax
that seals us together, like an envelope its letter.
Call it a river, and it’s as necessary as blood,
branching from my heart into the body
of the world.
This is an older ekphrastic poem, inspired by the late artist Lenore Conacher’s painting “Joy Is A Liquid” and has now found a home in the 2019 Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Anthology, edited by Brett Ramseyer, the theme of which was joy.
I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to have this particular poem considered a winner by contest judge Eric Morago! Each of three judges chose a winner and two finalists from a pool of 2000 individual poems. You can read my poem and the judge’s comments HERE
The other winning poems and links to them can be accessed from the main page here
One of my edgier poems is now live at “Kissing Dynamite”. You can read ZOO here
Awesome art featuring awesome poems, see the main page here. Many thanks to editors Christine Taylor and Jason Bates for believing in my poem!
To anyone commenting on my poem, please know I will respond as soon as I am able – but I will soon be out of cellphone and internet range, enjoying the Pacific Northwest waterways at their best – wild, remote, whatever news delivered daily to the shore we find ourselves at.
Look how the moon hangs
its luminous sign outside
the bedroom window: the man
with a grin is open for business!
But in your private dark, nothing
so grand – only the chest-warming
glow of a night-light never turned off:
being able to take one good deep
breath after another, and feel
your own durable heart pumping
steadily in unsteady times,
its rivers, rich with blessing,
coursing through a world
that knows the fierce
need of it.
Another older poem which first appeared in North Shore Magazine and then my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.
My poem “Shine” has just been published in Arc Poetry Magazine 86, the Summer 2018 Issue, available only as a print issue right now. Shine didn’t win Arc’s Poem of the Year award but was shortlisted for it. You can read the poem and the judge’s comments here. I am very honoured to be among the finalists and to have this poem finally go out into the world and what a beautiful journal to make its first appearance in!
I’ve been off the grid for a couple of weeks, away boating where there’s no cell reception or internet or papers or TV! I hope to post more frequently, now that I’m back and almost completely moved into our new house (on a very large island no less!).
My father had the good fortune
to be visited by six women
last Friday: Carol came to clean
his house, do laundry, get the mail,
Sue to bathe him, then cook lunch
and dinner, Ann to cut his gnarly
toe nails and massage his feet, Barb—
a nurse—to check his vitals, Louise
to tame his dead wife’s garden, and
Lynne, his daughter from three thousand
miles away, to make sure he was okay.
The door kept opening, we came
and went, and the golden October
light wandered from room to room,
like us, not in a hurry to leave. And he
glowed with the attention, feasting on
a cornucopia of witty conversation
through the rise and fall of our busy hands,
we, the chance wives of widower row.
But come darkness across the sheets
of his bed, we were all forgotten as he
patted the spot beside him, whispering
“Night-night, love”—as he always had—
to the irreplaceable one.
This poem, first published in Calyx Journal, is in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, just out and available from Finishing Line Press here and also available for purchase from Amazon here. Any customer reviews are especially appreciated on either site!
At the dinner party, eleven people,
A striking redhead, warmly smiling—
the one whose world had recently halved.
Those of us who didn’t know
wouldn’t have known.
I’m used to death
ringing a bell that won’t stop
singing of loss as love’s
forgotten child—a call to mass
sung down the long corridors
The mouth that can hush it
speaks to me
of a love built brick by brick,
circling a great and dangerous fire,
holding that heat
like a hand to the heart
when only ash is left.
Has lips full of secret amens,
stretching a smile beyond
mere courtesy, until it cracks
me open, I who have not
yet travelled that road
or those blurred miles from home.
Night falls before we know it:
death has a thing for a man about
to retire. Like a virus, it jumps
from acquaintance to friend to kin,
no sympathy for women and children.
Taking on mass and weight, given
a name, it terribly crowds a room.
This being human—to matter.
Through our bodies. Past them.
Her smile all I can see
of love’s fierce alchemy—bright
crack of light escaping a closed door.
Another poem from my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here and from Amazon here