Sunday, February 09, 2014

Another Day in the Life...

—Poems and Photos by Martie Odell-Ingebretsen, Sacramento


Nodding my head, I listen
across the counter
to the catch in her voice.

I don’t know what to say,

she says, when I ask,
my hand poised above the order form
waiting to write her sigh.

A middle-aged man jingles his keys
and walks nervously around the shop
looking at the ground
before he orders roses for someone,
someone named Carol or Barbara.
He was stopped cold when I ask,
what would you like to say on the card.

Oh, he was so in love that his cheeks pinked
and eyes glowed.

Sometimes a flower
is used as a quick fix
to get out of the doghouse
back onto the couch
with slippers and dinner tray.
It’s true, flowers say a lot
without a person even writing anything,
but, there is nothing like words,
just said out loud,
words like, I love you,
or just, love.
Words like, I’m sorry.

What about, you are more beautiful
than this flower?

For quite some time now
I have had the urge to change
just one word in a message.
No, to be truthful,
I’ve had the urge to change the whole message
just to see
if it would change a life,
but, I haven’t.

Not yet anyway.

(more delivery girl blues)

An instant
to change time
in a splash of metal
across the asphalt
in slow motion sling
shot too fast to make arrangements
I bring my own reflections

pass me by this time oh cloud
destiny is a fickle wind
a rock that falls before you
in a dare with who aware

I feel the impact of her fear
enclosed with country western song
can smell the burning rubber
feel the pull of gravity is wrong
like a rope I’m tied to my place in this
I see the color of her hair is dark
and through the choke of her car’s last sigh
I see her mind in bas relief inside of mine

somehow I know her stumble fear
and even this after I’m gone can feel her
lean against the fabric of time in tears
the center divider of the southbound lane
this cement becomes a trusted friend
that she can feel some safety in


I am singing to the blessed street
to the tortured rocks and dirt
yes, to blacktop

The way is sometimes dark
and you can’t see the holes
that groan a vehicle
but they bring knowledge
of the incredible power of a tiny drop of rain

I spend so much time
weaving the course from here
to yonder      in one day
I slip on a steep climb because
of all the mud on my shoes
from the way that life overflows
into the driveways
and leaves a scar where
I already have several


Petals clustered in piles swept pinkly
wind’s caprice transformed the portico
they mated in corners turning twirling
danced in pairs across the floor

I, to curb their grace and frolic
and botch and blot their perfect faces
trailed their color down the isle
of bridal white lace scented claim

My hands were stuck finger to finger
and petals dotted most my legs
sitting in splayed elegant creation
to perfect wedded minute’s I do

was something to behold the color
each bloom loosened now so tethered
with back drop view across the city
sharp buildings stood in hazed reflection

Hold me darling for I hear calling
across this day of roses dying
this flower that binds has touched the fragile
heart of two whose day is flying.

It speaks to me of all that changes
when fancy takes a walk for pleasure
and somehow something hurts to see its
lovely dying for touching tender


Phantoms walk across the great room,
stiff in black coats, 
a suitcase in each hand
and those ladies in taffeta
and hats with flowers,
maybe even a parasol,
languid and gracefully poised
waiting for a ticket.

I can see the dusty smile
of the clerk who nods his head,
and yes, he has a stamp,
I can hear it stomping time.

The lady cannot run, 
she glides, 
her feet like small afterthoughts
below her billowing skirt,
and the gentleman proper in elbow holding,
soldiers a place in the movement
toward a great and vibrant adventure 
of train with elegant dining and sleeping car
of romance in small places 
quietly lulled and loved
as towns fly past the window
and cows and see that child waving.

it's lovely as a banquet hall for weddings,
and glorious and high beamed still
it is echoing hello and good-bye.
I can hear it, eyes wide open
as if time has caught me in a merger.

A new full skirt of beginning
in white lace enters 
with a tuxedo love flower-dotted youth
and they pass blindly the wooden hallmark 
where tickets issued destinations
far beyond a heart’s imagining.

Oh yes I do believe,
I believe in new beginning,
but somehow it hurts to see
time so emptied and proud
and loud with memory,
for I also believe in
the spirit of the past.


The lady’s name was Babe.
I read it on the card
and asked to be sure.

She nodded a yes to me
and on her face were years
of tender tributaries
to the river of time.

She was dressed in hospital’s gown,
captured and tied up the back,
but not her pride and dignity.

There was no room for flowers
on the table that held a pitcher
and other plastic necessities.

She managed a smile so lovely
that I thought her fragile hand
might turn into a friend's,
and I imagined its soft inside lines
pointing to an ending soon.

It was just a moment that I stood
rearranging her room till it
was the color of spring.
When I handed her the card
she opened her tears upon my watching
and I clenched somewhere inside
where a memory was,

of my grandmother
slowly sliding
the lines etched across her face
like a braided rug
made from pieces of yesterday.

Her fingers trembling
as she cradled baby time,
she called me by my mother’s name
and my child by mine.

Thank you Babe for reminding me
of the precious beauty of a life,
I should have said
as I turned and walked away.


Today on a winding road
up into hills
green from rain I drove,
looking for a gate.

Punch it in with a *
and gain easy access
to opening grace.
Homes that George Washington
might have lived in.

A second gate and another #
and I was granted entry to charm.
The land fell down in rolling green,
the sky was misted with heat
and nature infested hills behind
were heavy with breathing.

I walked to a door carrying an orchid
that drooped in perfect elegance,
and rang the shade-infected porch chime
that echoed down halls.

Then I turned and saw
in a bottle brush tree
just steps away,
a hummingbird in a tiny thumb-sized nest.

I knew inside this perfect crafting
I found the best.


—Medusa, with thanks to Martie Odell-Ingebretsen for this fine suite of poems and photos to brighten up a rainy day! Martie writes: "My husband and I owned a flower shop for many years and that is how these poems were born."

Be sure to check out the Sacramento Bee's article today in "Traveler" on Elko and cowboy poetry at

And my apologies for a Medusa error about the Stephen Dunn reading! I've been posting that it was happening this coming Weds., Feb. 12, when actually it will be on Sunday, Feb. 23! Our thanks to Jeanine Stevens for capturing this error and putting it to death.