The Kieth porch after yesterday's snow dump
Only bones are as bare as sumach
with its leaves gone. Every leaf was a branch.
Remember sumach in summer with its leaves
fern-soft, and its high fruit
Blood-warm in color. Sumach in autumn
was a sustained intensity, purple-red.
Winter defines the frame of color.
Here are the antlered bones.
—Shawn Aveningo, Rescue
Why do I take the time to examine every quarter’s backside
when the cashier hands me my change,
yet I can’t seem to remember to deposit the check
which has sunk to the bottom of my purse?
Why do I collect an armful of pretty poplin sundresses,
only to retreat to the dressing room, look in the mirror,
decide not to even bother, and escape before
they find I’ve vanished from behind the curtain?
Why do have a drawer full of lipsticks:
radiant mauve, drumbeat red, crimson romance, cool watermelon,
yet always wear the same shade, Cover Girl #912, every single day?
It doesn’t even have a cool name!
Why do I sunbathe and curse my wrinkles and tan-lines?
Why do I eat gooey-butter cake and curse the bathroom scale?
Why do people never say what they really mean?
Why do I always say “yes”, when inside I’m screaming “no”?
Why can’t I be the one you fell in love with first?
JOHNNY REB WANTS ANOTHER GO
—Paul Lojeski, Port Jefferson, NY
Often I wonder why after Civil
War Lincoln allowed South still
in Union to be. Why were vultures
let loose to feed centuries more
on body of hope? Stuck here, then,
with birther, tenther, right-wing
Neanderthals chortling violence
and crystal-meth mayhem
on behalf of Confederate racist
hate, theocratic apocalyptic
acolytes pounding again at castle
gate. Hear their wretched
death-threat bawls cutting dawn,
choking night, stealing light,
No more turning away,
no more, no more!
My best friend Gluttony’s
got me good and fat.
He ordered me to go
to the bakery right now
and buy a dozen Danish,
a chocolate cake,
chocolate chip cookies,
a cheese cake,
and a blueberry pie.
I’m fighting the urge,
I am, but I’m weak,
flung upon this delicate
web without will or spine,
so I’m rising and moving
towards the door like a robot,
No more cookies
No more cookies
No more cookies.
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME
Of course, I’m mistaken.
Just another old fool
of the loony Left
lost in emotional
blue black space,
delusions of delusions:
a place of peace,
living of a dream,
a memory hallucinating
upon a child’s face,
mine smiling back
when under the old
maple leaning over
Those were the days.
Legs kick, toes tap, night
spins, trumpet pops,
piano jumps, sax screams,
drums shuffle, mars
shakes, dreams frenzy.
Baby, let's swing!
ENJOY THE VIBES
the female DJ said on the college
radio station on the second day
of a three day winter reggae
Groove grooving the North Shore,
me smiling tapping my fingers
on the wheel going yeah, baby,
yeah, thinking we’d all be blasting
if the splif was legal, zooming
the vibe of Vibes always but but
but ain’t gonna happen anytime
soon, so gotta move the groove
of Grooves onto another track of
flying brain high vibe of Vibes
digging It for what It is, no fighting
the light, let It come restless
relentlessly overwhelming senses.
TWANGS & LITTLE TWISTS
The snow polished
scratchy paws on
ice sound like
(with thanks to Shawn Aveningo for her Why poem, and to Paul Lojeski for sending us five from the land of serious snow)