Sunday, December 26, 2010

Watching and Thinking and Staring

Such a serious year it was
with Babbette dying
and all those holidays
without her sitting there
in her chair. The one
my brother sat in
on non-holiday meals of
scrambled hamburger or
shake-n-bake pork chops with
rice-a-roni or pizza porcupine patties.
She wouldn't say much,
just sit there watching
and thinking and staring
like she'd do alone in
her tiny apartment for days
with the TV turned on--though
she couldn't see it those
last few years--But
it was different, the watching
and thinking, the staring;
when it was in that chair surrounded
by her family waiting
for the turkey to come out of the oven
and drinking a 4oz. can of
ginger ale or diet coke sometimes
listening to the common disagreements
between her children, grown up now
still living nearby.
how long she had been with herself
and her curiosities, memories,
concentrations and questions
and had time for them too
whether she wanted it or not
there was always time alone
to scare herself and discover herself
over and again
in that cramped apartment
dingy yellow light
buzzing locks and a big phone
with blinking red lights, the plastic
dancing figurine of Satchmo
by the door, the
dripping faucet, the smell
of nothing ever been cooked,
a staleness, and the red bread box
with the lid that swung down
like a garage door, the window with
the flower print curtains, a dark white
in shadow and below it, that desk
with drawers full of mail and playing cards.
I learned to shuffle a deck of cards
while sitting on the carpet at her house
on the second floor
back when I was little
and she still lived on Eldridge St.
in between games of tic tac toe
and staring at her albums of old pictures
in black and white and some in color.

Christmas night I dreamed
a volcano erupted in my hometown
and I had to commandeer a four wheeler
from a maze of a chicken coop
to get to her,
and when I did I had to let her die
and watch her bloated in the face
not herself
speak morphined nonsense

Monday, December 20, 2010

Night of the Lunar Eclipse

I am lucky
to be sitting here
on this green love seat
alone for the evening
listening to the soft whispering
of boiling water(trying to tell me
secrets?)--the humidifier
that sits
atop the woodstove.

Its cast iron shape is
that of a kettle
but tonight in this light, from this
angle, in my current
it is the shape of
both baby chick
and ancient tortoise
complete with a curled handle;
a piggy's tail.

And I am reminded of children's books
and the many animal characters
I have met.
I always Loved
the Three Little Pigs.
Three siblings
of the same blood,
and each of them have
a drastically different idea
of what makes a home.

Where I am the fires go out and
the fossit never stops dripping.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Root Beer and Tea

I'll have a can of root beer
over a cup of tea
today and I will regret it
a few sips in, not because of guilt
over the high fructose corn syrup or
the calories or the fat, but simply
because I should know better.

Tea would calm my mind and body,
send a soothing settlement down
my throat and it might pool in
my belly like an undisturbed pond
or the glass of water that sits
on the nightstand in our room
while we sleep in bed.

Root beer does the opposite.

But I will finish the root beer now,
make the tea later
after I come home safe
tonight off the icy roads and back
in my warm living room
where I'll rekindle the fire,
turn on my favorite lamp,
plug in the Christmas tree lights
so he can see them through the window
when he gets home late.
That's when I'll boil the water
for my tea, perhaps it will be

And I will be sure
to take the time to watch
its steam rise becoming invisible
and I will let it watch
me from above like a spirit who watches
over loved ones with a
lingering jealousy
of the life behind their eyes, the
automatic beating


especially while they sleep
unaware and dreaming in other worlds
where men paint their faces blue
and aliens come to get them
and they get initiated by witches.
If they only knew the truth...