Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Is it true that the wisemen brought pumpkins to honor the infant?
Is that the Holy Ghost dressed up as a scarecrow for Halloween?
Does this image beg the question: How was it that the parable of the scarecrow-as-cheerleader was somehow omitted from my Sunday School lessons?
Why do most passion plays eschew the pom poms?

These and other pressing questions occupy my mind as I walk the dogs around the block. Whatever this display represents, it scares the persistent barking out of Lili. In her mind, any scarecrow suspended and presiding over a cradled infant cannot be good.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

To the Young Poet Standing

To the Young Poet Standing

“Failure drives a Nissan Cube.”
Your opening line is succinct.
Neither made up in a slather of cosmetic adjectives
or itching to shake off an entanglement of adverbs.
Personification plain and simple.
You have written to your audience.
Read the lines with clarity and intonation.
Everything that was asked of you.

Since Failure has not enlightened you
to the vertigo induced by hunger,
the clinging stench of falling face first
into a cold hallway ripe with urine,
or introduced you to those
who remain uncompensated for stolen trust
or whose fast track to success was barricaded by
some unrepaired cleft . . .

Given that Failure has never taken
your straight-toothed, winning smile for a tour
of a refugee camp in its ninth season,
or even the other side of town.
Hasn’t pointed out where
it had the snot beat out of it as a kid,
where it broke its teeth on the curb
after being pushed down by minimum wage,
or pointed out the exact sidewalk square
where it gave up trying . . .

That you cannot see that Failure
has limited the lessons
taught in this brick building
to what is fitting for your neighborhood,
and knowing that under that T shirt logo
label you may wish for something else,
but at thirteen-years-old
you don’t know what. . .

Mindful of all of the above,
I leave this lesson contemplating

Sunday, November 07, 2010

End of Daylight Savings Time

While reading the news online this morning, I found a cache of poems allegedly about the end of daylight savings time. (click here) I'm not sure these poems were all written for this purpose, or indeed if any poem has a purpose. Most honored poets seem to be all mournful about the death of summer, anticipating rebirth, following classic poetic lines of thinking (some to the point of exhaustion on the parts of readers). I don't know if I've just been spending too much time in the company of oppositional middle schoolers or at grooming the dogs' shedding coats off of the animals and my clothing, but I'm (famous last words) ready to be transported out of autumn. I think the trees are with me in this.

Ahead of Time

I walk the dogs at 7:46 on a Sunday,
beside trees ankle deep in confetti.
Not the least bit forlorn,
they seem ecstatic to be shed of their
shady responsibilities.
Masts fully trimmed,
they bolt from their roots
and reach freely
into the wind
with jazz hands,
ready for the icy voyage,
begging for adventure,
cheered on by puddles,
generally so unassuming,
now glittery with excitement.
I receive this advance notice
in a quick sniff,
grateful that this morning,
this one morning,
I am ahead of time.