Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

The birds never take the string that I leave for them.

I put various pieces on the porch railing every year: a green drawstring from an old, zip-up sweatshirt; a small length of berry-red wool yarn that was tied like a ribbon around a gift long ago; strings from clothing tags.

Now it is cold again and we saw snowflakes meekly flying across the yard this morning. The snow looked like ashes.

Maybe the birds don’t come because I have cats. Maybe I need to set the string out as early as January. Maybe anyone who partakes in this ritual is always left with string.

And maybe Spring will come.

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[Tuesday, dusk]

what I have accomplished of late:

that my eyes glaze over at poems I read online

that I perceive myself as impatient

that I baked bread without sufficient kneading

that I preheated the oven too early

that I have begun myriad posts exactly like this one and you will never know them. There was one about snow. One about our lack of snow. One about the snow ending though it never began and how much I miss les neiges d’antan.

The heavy rain. I had a dream that it was thick, wet snowflakes. I still believe that the dream was real. I could almost catch them on my tongue, right while I was lying in bed.

In an hour, I will pull the loaves from the oven, let them cool enough to run a giant knife through one. I will slab butter (unsalted only please!) on the slice and look ahead into my life.

The rain is falling in sheets, back-lit by the pine boughs, the neighbor’s fence out my window. The light is beautiful, the green needles, the red, brown, and black mottled bark. Transport me Lord.

I went outside to photograph what I thought was a white crocus. It was half an eggshell dragged from the compost by some critter. What do you think? a squirrel? a crow?


I attended the Western Massachusetts Sacred Harp Convention for a few sunlit and glorious hours on Saturday morning. It does transport me. I’m already feeling pretty silly about my whining.

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blogger’s block


I saw 2 male cardinals in the back yard this morning, such bright red. What else is bright red around here? Not much, not that particular red.

It seemed unusual, one male cardinal chasing the other in flight.

I have had some health challenges of late and maybe that is why I haven’t been writing here. Pain and exhaustion. Pain and questions. Boring boring health problems when all I want is to do as I please at all times that I please.

I am not writing poetry much more or less than any other time, I suppose, but I am working on a manuscript for submission. I get into a great space when I am working on it, a little vague when I’m not.

I know it’s a risk to lose readers when I don’t post regularly and it pulls at me.

My cat, she is crazy. Maybe the most bizarre and hard-to-love cat we’ve ever had. Just now? She had her front paws around the leg of the kitchen table, right next to my feet. Like she was in love with the table leg, hugging it.

The other morning, she climbed partway up the wall between the kitchen and basement landing. I had never seen that before. She jumped and clung pretty high up, I’d say about 4 feet and her body lingered there for at least a few seconds. That’s a long time when you are trying to defy gravity on a vertical surface with no footholds.

The cat is stir crazy, crazy for spring. Me, I want the snow we were promised on Saturday, the snow that never came. I am not ready for spring. I am glad for the snow and cold we’ve gotten even if I DO NOT LIKE the overcast skies day after day. I could do with more snow.

I think about the ocean a lot. I miss it. A winter ocean; a summer ocean; a tropical ocean; Ipswich, Cape Cod, my great loves. Even though I love the winter when it’s sunny and cold and when we get a lot of snow, I always love the ocean.

We were in Rockport, Mass last weekend, right on the ocean, but it was already nighttime and dark out and we could not see it. By morning, we got caught in a massive blizzard and had to hightail it west so we would not get stranded on Cape Ann.

I am the only one in the family who consistently loves the cat. She is a pain in the ass, always attacking humans when she wants to be fed. But she knows. She knows I’m the one who feeds her. So she hangs around me.

I saw the cardinals and I hope the cat will not get one come spring. This cat has never brought me a bird. Only mice and chipmunks. She is a keen attacker of human flesh (exposed feet, tender thighs) but maybe not a great hunter.

This you know.

(here is the link to this image: http://www.centralpark.com/usr/media/contest/winners-winter-2009/large.2nd.place.3.jpg)

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My Ohio friends say snow snow snow, but I don’t think it will come our way. I’ve been telling you this for a while now. I can believe in the Solstice and the return of the light, but I can’t believe in snow.

I looked up a recent post and an image had disappeared from it. Was it my own photo or a photo from the web? I don’t know, but I’ll add something back.

I started watching Downton Abbey and I like it a lot. I am in love with all of the good characters; and though I see my humanity in each, I hate all the bad ones.

When I was growing up and we spent Christmas in Canada with our very best family friends, we did celebrate Boxing Day. No one in the US had heard of Boxing Day yet.

We would walk and walk on their 50 acres, we would drink and eat and play games and laze about the house. This was my Christmas for many years after the age of 7.

I am going to submit some more poems starting this week including at least one manuscript. I’ve been on hiatus but the rejections still trickle in. The one online poetry journal that accepted a poem seems to be out-of-commission, but I can’t know for sure until I hear something further. It’s been a couple of months since my submission was accepted and now, POOF!, even their website lies fallow….

After this post, I will post a poem in a separate post. Until then (in a few minutes!), please enjoy this musical interlude:

This is from Saturday night’s concert in Montague.

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Christmas can be a mixed bag for a girl like me, a half-Jew brought up by a couple of atheists. So much history can be boiled down into my feelings and experiences of this season of holidays.

The first time I celebrated a real Christmas was when I was 4 years old in Germany. I think they still put live candles on the trees, but I can’t be sure. What I remember most clearly are oranges, nuts and a nutcracker, and a whole fish in aspic. You hear me tell of it here and there, in a poem or so.

There is no snow and I am convinced it will never snow again in New England. I think Paul will have to mow the lawn in January and I think the cat will never be rid of fleas because it will never freeze deeply enough ever again.

What we do know is that the light is coming back. That’s what we know and we know it and know it and know it. And it doesn’t mean we all have to be happy, so don’t fall into that trap of manufactured bullshit. You are allowed to mope and be sad and angry and have a crappy time. You are, you really are. And if you are lucky, you will get to spend that time of yourself with the people you love. That’s all. Food and family and a bit of warmth and light. If not family, the friends who stand in as family. If you are having a hard time generating your own light, steal it from someone else and don’t feel bad about it. They are giving it away because they have enough.

We went to hear Tim and Peter and Zoe on Saturday night at The Montague Book Mill. I can’t say that Christmas songs are my favorite thing in the world, but it’s a magical space and I was glad to be there.

I’ll just post some song now, not even one that the little trio played last night.

I was driving my kid to her dance group yesterday morning and I heard this song on the radio. First I thought, oh no, a country song with all the Christmas clichés. But did I find myself crying by the end? Oh, yes, oh yes I did.

I’d take this honesty and heartfelt emotion over your Bing Crosby Baby-Jesus-With-The-Blue-Eyes any day. Any day.

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Happy 79th Birthday to my mom!

As her memory goes, I wonder what I am responsible for. Am I the holder and keeper of her memories and secrets? When can I tell them? What does my brother know? What does she remember? Is what I know true?

I do wish my mother happiness, but it seems an elusive wish. She says she has always been lucky, lucky to have come to the United States and to have found the life she did. But her childhood tells a story, not of luck, but of trauma. I wonder how this fits into her definition of luck; but I will never ask her.

I titled this selfish because I am not using my post today only for a birthday wish for my mother. I don’t really think I’m selfish, because it’s my blog and I want to use it just for that—for myself. But I do feel guilty a tiny bit. I think being a mother, a daughter, a wife, means I always have a tiny lingering guilt. I am sure not all women are like this. I wish I could shake it, but apparently I am not yet evolved to that point. Perhaps this could be my Christmas wish for myself or my New Year’s resolution.

I have snippets of writing lately, nothing coming out whole cloth like I used to have. I know, honestly, most of that needed heavy editing anyway.

What do I wish for? Better poems, more poems, dream poems, publishable poems, poems that will make you swoon, will make you weep, make you laugh, make you buy my books (what books, twinkly? oh, right), fruit poems, frozen bud poems, bloody blue poems, pink poems, feather poems, leaf-and-snow poems, mom poems, wife poems, marriage poems, sex poems, fuck poems, love poems, fucking poems, magical poems, clear poems, anatomical parts poems, important poems, a-political poems, no-more-guns poems, deep poems, no-murky-bits poems. Enough! This kind of thinking is so anti-Alexander Technique that I can hardly continue to allow myself its luxurious indulgence.


Here are 2 recent poem snippets:


When Shall I Be Delivered

I begged for more from the world

It started inside
a pinprick
where I was once attached

You have not delivered me

With each bout
of bleeding
my density increases
alongside my insatiable hunger

My marrow
pumping erythrocytes
for every drop
that falls

Not much
they always say
a few tablespoons

If men bled
they would find
a more poetic measure
than cups and spoons
(a woman’s place is in the kitchen)

But I know the feeling
of the soldier
draining into the muddy earth
the sand with its greed
taking more than its share
pints and quarts and gallons for drenching

I am ready for the firing squad
or operating theater

I am ready for my uterus
to be yanked out by
its mooring ligaments

No scars
a virginal torso

I didn’t need you any more

But thanks
for the ride


December 17

My mother is a husk
a Christmas walnut
cracked open

The meat of her

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hearts and flowers and puppies and unicorns

I suppose I never was a puppies and unicorns kind of girl, but I do remember writing my first name together with the last names of certain crushes when I was in school. Okay, not only grade school. High school. Maybe even college.

Hearts and flowers are okay. I like hearts and flowers.

My latest love is one like the red number up there.

Chez nous, I am the Queen of the Thermostat. In the morning, I set it to 68-69 degrees. This heats the house to about 65 degrees. The furnace guys told me that it is calibrated in such a way that it will always heat the house to around 4 degrees lower than where I set the temperature. We still have an “old-fashioned” dial thermostat, not a fancy digital one. When we converted the house from electric baseboard heat (SO INEFFICIENT AND HIDEOUS!) to natural gas, central heat 12 years ago, we were trying to save a buck. It’s okay; I don’t need no fancy beans and ketchup.*

At night, before I get into bed, I turn the thermostat to about 65. This puts us at 61 degrees at night. Sometimes, I am too wimpy and I leave it so it’s only 62 or 63. But 62 or 63 is too warm and by the middle of the night, I am gasping for cool air and uncovering layers of down and wool.

I have recently discovered our hot water bottle. Nightly, I fill this little red puppy with hot water from the kitchen tap and I am good to go. Why didn’t I start doing this four years ago when I first began to have cold feet all winter long? I do not know. But I am addicted. But in a good way. A healthy way. Except for all of the hot water I am using. But it probably saves on furnace heat. Oh me, oh my, the choices a privileged American girl must make.

You may wonder if I would like something fancier than my red rubber hot water bottle; it is close to Christmas after all.

Something like this, mayhaps?

No, no. I am strong enough to resist the charms of David Hasselhoff and I would NOT like to have his likeness in my bed.

What about one of those knitted covers?

NO! I actually like the feel of the rubber on my feet.** I like to roll the bottle around until it is just right and I suspect that a cover would interfere with my ability to manipulate the bottle pedially (the theoretical adverbial form of the word pedial). I think it might also make it too warm under the covers.

There is one small problem though. It rains in October. It rains in November. It rains all the way throughout December.

Ou sont les neiges d’antan?

I think the days of snow are gone.

Maybe I should let it snow on my blog. But it may be too close to using something like an emoticon and you don’t want me to break character, do you?

I wish this were the only version of White Christmas I had ever heard. Let us hope: from your mouth to God’s ears, Otis Redding; from your mouth to God’s ears.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


** I do not have a rubber fetish

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