Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Steamed Fish Supper

And this.

Cold

On this early morning in Vancouver, my son and I stop 
on our way to breakfast when we hear 
the Kenyan will soon be running past this corner. 
Of course we want to see his gorgeous stride, 
but after half an hour I'm shivering 
in my thin sweater. That's when my son begins 
to rub my back--offering up the heat of his palms. 
What could be better than to stand here hungry 
and be curried like this? If I hadn't been cold 
I wouldn't have his hands on my spine,
flaring across my shoulder blades. For a moment 
it seems possible that every frailty, every pain, 
could be an opening, a crack that lets the unexpected 
reach us. How can I remember this 
when I'm old and need so much? 

--Ellen Bass

From "I Drink Bronze Light"

Great American summer lakes
right now I am flying above you
through a rare cloudless transparent sky
back to the city where it is always
cold even in summer
the round hole I press my face against
shows only a blue expanse
with white sails below
speckled exactly the way
the Aegean would have been
three thousand years ago
if one could have seen it from above
maybe riding in the dark claw
of a god who didn't care
through the round window
weird white light
bounces off the cubes in my glass
of clear diet soda that tastes 
completely theoretical. 

--Matthew Zapruder

Bitch Diary

Porco cane! Another day breaks 
with a gunshot and a chorus 
of yelping bloodhounds after boar. 

I ache to join in, but stay quiet, loyal 
dog-pig that I am. Pig-dog. 
Purebred cur in a pen: Sono io. 

The hunt's trained out of me. 
Bark and growl, the baser instincts, 
I renounced them long ago. 

My tail springs up 
like an erection 
at the smell of animal, 

but the chase 
is forbidden. Always, 
my inner down girl! 

prevails. It never fails. 
Not for me the bait of barnyard cats 
and wild-goose foxes. I know 

not to waste my nose 
on vulgar game 
or public sport.

I save myself
for the hidden 
and vegetal.

I stalk the peculiar scent, wave
my tail like a secret banner when I catch the smell,
and follow the musk in silence

with a steady walk
to the still,
earthbound thing.

I paw the surface for a sign
--root-mold, fungus, spore--
then dig and claw

just to the tip of the tuber
till desire trumps dirt and 
I lift the truffle.

I keep my panting discreet 
and always deliver.
God, I am one good dog.

My mantra: Abhor blood.
Leave the surface to others;
dwell in the underworld. 

--Peg Boyers

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Morning Nocturne

I am glad today is dark. No sun. Sky
ribboning with amorphous, complicated
layers. I prefer cumulus on my
morning beach run. What more can we worry
about? Our parents are getting older
and money is running out. The children
are leaving, the new roof is damaged by
rain and rot. I fear the thrashing of the sea
in its unrest, the unforgiving cricket.
But that’s not it. The current is rising.
The dramas are playing out. Perhaps
it’s better to be among these sandpipers
with quick feet dashing out of the surf than
a person who wishes to feel complete.

--Jill Bialosky

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

There Is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier

There is absolutely nothing lonelier
than the little Mars rover
never shutting down, digging up
rocks, so far away from Bond street
in a light rain. I wonder
if he makes little beeps? If so
he is lonelier still. He fires a laser
into the dust. He coughs. A shiny
thing in the sand turns out to be his.

--Matthew Rohrer

What is the Grass?

The child asks, bringing it to me in handfuls.
We stop at the Walt Whitman Service Area—
No sign of Him save some “Democratic Vistas”
& “Drum Taps” on a plaque near the Micky D’s

Let’s go find the grass
I say to my two-year-old beauty and
We pick one blade from the median
Then back we go in the forever car

Hours later, pulling into Richmond
She, half awake in my arms mumbles

Let’s go find the grass

--Lee Ann Brown

Our Never

Is the never of childhood, deeper
than the never of adolescence,
which has a whining, stammering
quality, which is a stamped foot
followed by huffing steps, and wholly
unlike the never of adulthood,
has none of the bright spider
cracks of reason multiplying
along its roof, threading its dark
dome with fine lines of light.
Didn’t you think, with such a
cavernous never in mind,
you might have consulted me?
Even a 3 AM phone call would’ve
been justified. On the line
in the dark, you could have shared
a little childhood mythology,
told me about some night when
you didn’t sleep, couldn’t hear
your parents, and morning seemed
further away than “far away,”
seemed consigned to a distinct
and inimitable never.  You could’ve
evoked for me the particular textures
of that never, explained that
you were mulling them again now,
assaying them for a contemporary
application. Sure, I’d have been
startled. What would you expect—
hearing how your childhood bed
sank into a hollow in the earth,
or how nighttime had, snickering,
closed you in its trench coat, and
how the residue of the experience,
the resin it left, you were brewing
into something for us. I’d have
wanted to see you right away
and would have been myself
forced to wait till next morning.
So, I, too, would’ve spent
an evening in an underground
hollow, or bundled up inside
night’s coat, wading through
one never on the off chance
that I could forestall another.

--Benjamin S. Grossberg