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.
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.
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.