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Lilacs Lord







I

After months or even lifetimes of doubting the beneficence

of the existence

of Dominus Benedictus

I rejoice this Sunday

feel smell see His goodness

golden green purple blue.


But today I can't comprehend anything Eternal except

death.


If indeed You are good

spawning spring streaming sun soothing souls

please Lord give me one sprig of lilac

from the pastel paradise of this reborning day.


Give me lilac wine potent

drown me

drop the purple curtain over

life's losses injuries injustices betrayals.


Give me lilacs Lord in a hundred crystal vases.


II

Lilacs Lord don't reek of death

like powered hands and polished fingernails

in a shiny mahogany coffin draped with a hundred roses.


Give me lilacs of life soft messages of life

if You love me if You exist

Dominus Benedictus.


Or is this enenchanted springday soft Mayday no more than

a token message of sympathy?


Promise me God

that this day will be an intimation

of promising flowering grace soon to come

and when I am full-bloomed fruit-filled flowing over,


then lilacs Lord place lilacs Lord

only lilacs on my grave.

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Back to School

Lock the door; don’t let anyone in!
Momma left us alone
to care for ourselves, right
after breakfast. She came back
in the afternoon arms loaded
with bags and boxes.

On the four poster, she laid out
treasures: pink and blue flowered
cotton panties and undershirts,
crisp, swishy petticoats,
red and blue plaid gathered skirts,
pleated skirts, jumpers with white blouses,
full-skirted dresses with Peter Pan collars.
All brand new for back to school.

We never chose a dress or shoe
from a store’s racks and stacks.

We never heard the words:
You can’t try that on here, or
Use the colored dressing room.
We never stood in line waiting
while the salesclerk served
tow-headed children and their Mommas
first. We didn’t see the pickets
parading Freedom Now signs
in front of Woolworth’s, didn’t see
the passers-by shove and push and
spit and yell Nigger!

We waited at home excited
for Momma all flushed and breathless
from carrying her downtown load.
We waited at home anxious
fingers crossed that what she chose
was what we wanted.
She left us home
ignorant of the price paid.
Recent comment in this post
Carrie Hirschfield
Powerful and heart wrenching!
Friday, 27 January 2017 20:45
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Miles

Miles!
Oh Miles, you stand before us, your grey jacket open
revealing the black skin of your bare chest
shimmering in stage light.
Your pink trumpet you hold at your side
fingernail tint matching your horn.
You wander slowly around the small HALF NOTE stage
looking for, feeling for, just the right place
where the beautiful riff lives.
You close your eyes, your right foot barely tapping
You look at your brothers behind you
your back to us.
You nod at the bass player’s solo
Your foot keeps time with the piano
You lift your horn, look once at us, then off you go
 to…oh, we don’t know the way
We can go only where you take us—
Where only you can go –
To a moment so beautiful it hurts
To a pain so deep there is no bottom
To a question: where is love
To a plea: come with me to my loneliness
To a hope: know me
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A Woman's Litany

I need the world.

    This divine creation
    of light separated from darkness,
    dry land separated from eternal waters
    to test my spirit and
    temper my soul.

I need the world.

    This bright, shining blue marble
    cast against the infinite blackness
    to overwhelm my imagination
    with its grandeur and
    fragility.

I need the world.

    This solid rock
    upon which I stand
    to anchor my dreams and aspirations.

I need the world.

    This vessel of converging waters
    to flow life
    from rivers to seas
    through semen into wombs
    out birthing canals.

I need the world.

    This pulsing blue-green organism
    coursing through with vegetation
    and sweet flowing streams
    to feed my hunger and quench my thirst.

I need the world.

    This living sanctuary
    home to creatures
    great and small,
    wild and tame,
    familiar and strange.

I need the world.

   This human garden
    where both good and evil reside
    to cradle my innocence and
    nurture my wisdom.

I need the world.

    This secure haven
    shared with my love who
    wipes my tears and salves my wounds
    hears my voice, listens to my stories,
    laughs loud and long, strokes my hair,
    massages my back, tickles my feet,
    kisses my lips, arouses my moist vital place.

At my end, I need the world.

    This great fertile womb
    engorged with transforming juices
    to accept these tired bones
    from one life all used up
    and to create once again.
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Considering the Crap in the Basement

after Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

Whose crap is this?  I know, I know;
It hails from somewhere down below
Where mousies prowl and spiders spin
And nary a human dares to go.

But go we did, my boxes to get
In other places each to set.
There must be at least a hundred more;
Keep on, keep on, we’re not done yet!

They fill the rooms and line the halls,
Block the doors and climb the walls
To such a hideous dizzying height;
They threaten those who rise at night.

Down the steps then up we climb,
Time after time after time after time,
Till finally we see bare floor
And one poor mouse that breathes no more.

My kids have tired of seeing what’s hid
In every box, 'neath every lid
“T’is junk!” they cry then flounce away.
They will not help; they will not stay

To see me deal with such a mess
How long it will take is anyone’s guess,
But all this crap I cannot keep,
Boxes to go before I sleep,
Boxes to go before I sleep.


This poem was written during March 12'16 Write Saturday and is  published here due to popular demand.
Recent Comments
Melissa Fischer
I am so glad you posted this.
Thursday, 17 March 2016 18:07
Kappa Waugh
thanks for posting!
Sunday, 20 March 2016 19:13
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Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras day at the break of dawn
warriors pour onto the street in beautiful form.
This is their day so they must hurry.
Cares are forgotten; there is no worry.

Spy boys run with flags waving high
do their duty with lots of pride,
chanting loudly Indian ditties
as they wind their way through the city.

Chieftains dressed so fine and neat
with large feather crowns from head to feet.
Satin, silk and beads to suit their style,
one glance of them is worth your while.

Braves line the street dressed so pretty.
Mardi Gras lasts only a day – what a pity!
Primitive beauty at a  fleeting glance,
watch as they prepare for the Indian dance.

Tambourines beating savagely all the while,
they sing and dance in war like style.
Bowing, kneeling and leaping in the air,
Chock-a-ma-fi-na sung everywhere.

Little boys eyes open wide
when Mardi Gras Indians walk by.
Holding tight to their mother’s hands,
every one loves the Mardi Gras Indian bands.

--Lucy Francois Hymes

Mardi Gras 2016 is February 9. Mardi Gras Indians have a long history in New Orleans and have been a part of Mardi Gras celebrations for generations. My mother, Lucy Francois Hymes, experienced Mardi Indian culture as a child coming of age in New Orleans. A high-light of Mardi Gras for the Hymes family was walking or driving through back-a-town in search of Indians and King Zulu. This was back in the day when neither group was permitted to parade on any downtown streets. This poem captures my mother's memories of Mardi Gras Indians.
Recent Comments
Tim Brennan
Thanks for reminding me of this poem, Kate. I experience the looking up and excitement, especially that of a child, waiting to sig... Read More
Saturday, 06 February 2016 16:02
Melissa Fischer
It's wonderful to read a poem by Lucy after hearing so many stories of her as a child and young woman. Thank you for posting this!... Read More
Sunday, 13 March 2016 00:11
Barbara Edelman
Thanks for sharing your mom's writing; you're so lucky to have some of your mother's writing. See you on Wednesday.
Saturday, 06 February 2016 20:25
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Featured Writer - Tim Brennan

TimBrennanphoto

Featured Writer

Timothy Brennan is a poet, painter and woodworker who has lived and worked in San Francisco, in Brooklyn, and now in New Paltz, where he has been renovating his old house for over twenty years with no end in sight. His poems have been published in The Chronogram, Awosting Alchemy, and in the 2011 edition of the Wallkill Valley Writers' Anthology. New poems will be included in the 2014 edition of the WVW Anthology.

CARPENTER

The carpenter's kneecaps slip in pain
twisted against the ladder's rungs.
His shoulders and back ache from years
humping lumber up ramps and stairs,
hefting sheetrock to walls and ceilings.
He's tired of the making and remaking,
his house or anyone's,
but what else can he do?
He dreams in perpendiculars
of posts rising from the earth's center,
his beams resting level and true.
He orders a world with geometry,
makes molding-lines merge at a corners' turn
and, in a house's relations of shape and proportion,
leads one's eye through the terror of chaos
to the friable, tentative edge of beauty.
His body moves through the light-filled space,
at its own pace. He frames his enclosure
without words or, sometimes, thought.



TACIT

How quickly when we sit for dinner the phone rings out
as if it's sensed the heat or the smell
of sausage and peppers hot from the pan
and signaled the sister of my tired wife
to speed-dial and add a last consideration
to their earlier discussion of Mother's prescriptions,
or finances, or hospice nurse––
or maybe as our number's spun through the cyberverse
it's just our time to just say no
to NYPIRG or RISD or the DCC–– or,
if the names of certain friends appear on the screen,
to not pick up at all, not engage troubles so severe
and insoluble for so many years,
they exhaust our end of the conversation,
and cannot be assuaged especially at dinnertime,
which is when they need us most. And so, coldly
seated before the pasta cools, we sip our wine and eat
with interruption's salt of resentment overlaying the first bite.
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Shopping in New Paltz

It’s a sweet little village with mountains in view
There are bistros, and cafès, and much you can do.
You can climb up a mountain, swim in a lake,
See an eagle, an egret, a bear and a snake.
The Sincere Pumpkin Patch you will find here,
And leaves in the autumn are beyond compare
We have writers and actors and artists galore
But one thing we don’t have is a General Store.
You can’t get a curtain, a teapot, a blind,
And umbrellas and beach balls you never will find.
No pocketbook, wallet, no change purse, no hat,
No nightgown, no bathrobe, no baseball, no bat,
Not a high chair, a beach chair, a bench or a stool,
Not a towel, a sheet, colored thread on a spool.
No sticker, no sweater, no glove for the snow,
No bedspread, no pillow, no trumpet to blow.
Not a fabric, a scissors, a pattern for fitting,
A doghouse, a bird house, or needles for knitting.
No cloth for your table, no bra and no stocking,
No curtain rod, bath mat, nor chair made for rocking,
If you’re troubled, we have sixty therapists here,
But you can’t buy a clothespin in New Paltz—nowhere.
Recent comment in this post
Site Admin
I can't help but wonder if there is a link between no sundries and the need for all that therapy. Also: no decent pickles!... Read More
Thursday, 16 April 2015 16:34
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Above the Cove

Timothy Brennan is a poet, painter and woodworker who has lived and worked in San Francisco, in Brooklyn, and now New Paltz, where he has been renovating his old house for over twenty years with no end in sight. Tim's abcedarian is a 26 line version.


Above the Cove

Above the cove
Battered by shifting winds,
Clouds change faces,
Divert the sun's
Evanescent
Flickering off wave-tops like the
Glass shards of smashed bottles.
Heavily-armed children,
Incandescent fish-lines
Jigged for flounder and tautaug,
Kill without remorse––
Lancing puff-ball blowfish
Mothers' egg-filled bellies––
Nascent life left to wriggle
On the pier, to dry in the sun.
Poles are sunk into shallows where
Quahauggers tie their boats, where
Razor-clams, mussels, and blue crabs flee
Seagulls in the boats' shadows.
Terra firma slides out of sight
Under clear waves the sea pulses–– a
Ventricle to earth's heart-rhythm
Where giving and feeding, water
Extracts from the drowned boy his
Yang, his years of expectation, and his en-
Zymes.
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Lament

We had magic.
We had youth.
We had bodies as supple as saplings.

The choir called us and we sang.
The red earth held us and we touched the morning stars.
The velvet night hugged us close
and we rested in soft oblivion.

We had magic.
We had youth.
We had bodies that flowed like water.

The trees shadowed us while we danced.
The sun spangled the dew on our hair.
The ocean offered us its bounty
and we were fed.

We had magic.
We had youth.
We had bodies of bone and tendon
and innocence.

We had magic.
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Maybe a Love Poem

My fingers know the tideline where mustache meets lip
like sea grass giving way to sand.
The fine hairs on my cheek dip in the wind of his easy breath.
My hand remembers the warm, solid back of him,
as sure as sunrise and sliced apples.
My heart laughs at all the years I struggled
to keep my bricks and sheetrock strong
so no mortar crumbled,
so need could not escape,
nor dependence enter.
My soul learned that surrender
is as simple as sand.
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Waltz

Full teacup
Wet teaspoon
One blue plate
One thin moon

Full teacup
One long night
Two bare feet
One bare light

Full teacup
Weathered floor
Three green chairs
One shut door

Full teacup
Empty room
One white pill                        
One thin moon
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Every Fluted Glass

Barry Menuezbelieves that the wVw community has given him support and encouragement to shape memory and experience into stories. He is retired from a long career in community organizing and urban/rural development programs. Barry has written a 26 word abecedarian.


Every Fluted Glass


Another billionaire

contributer donated

every fluted glass

hoisted in joyful knowledge

luxury means no old people

questions regarding senility

topics using vernacular words

xlosic yeasty zestful


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