Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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The mystery of my tears

When I sing, music puts its hands around my heart
My words think tears are a puddle to splash through shoeless

Color often stops my breath, and I am held its prisoner
A sudden memory might need release

Any of these call up tears, and I don’t mind.
When the signal comes they might glide to me in a waltz,

or whirl up on the skirts of a wild mazurka.
Better yet, ride in on the smoothness of an alto sax.


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Restland

Olivia’s obelisk sits in tailored green
behind an iron gate and arrow pointed fence.
Jumped-up gold letters on the arched black sign
declaring
Restland. Stand near enough
in late afternoon shimmer and her voice is clear,
restless words reaching for release.

It is spring, but where are the lilacs I asked for?
No rounded shapes, or shade, or not to be forgotten scent.
A bit of rest here and there would have suited,
but this place? That name? The gods laugh.

Where are the staccato horse clops and soft whuffs,
wagon creaks, quiet words from walkers, children playing hoops,
the church bell? Only constant gliding rumbles, impatient horns,
blares of sound, no suitable rhythm for a hill town life.

Where are the visitors? None inclined or left to come,
not family, not him anymore. Is he here too?
Years doing women’s work, all the time seeing color,
rearranging light, and wanting paint and brush
to show him what I saw, wanting to say his given name,
not Mister, nor Mister Baker darling.

Where is the promised release of death? I lie,
still in my stays, oh god for a knife to cut their
laces, walk and breathe unbound, not go about exactly as a man
but with a woman’s eyes, much better. Will he meet me here in moonlight,
pull my fingers to his lips, and say my name?


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not quite endings

the music stopped, shimmering
in dust beamed space
our voices stilled
waiting for the flood of response
I fall into the silence
all energy given away
to singing’s singular joy

what I thought was love
ok it was, no holding back
died, stabbed and poked
to rubble not worth picking through
a lucky escape it turns out
in time to save my heart
and savor all that’s left

a long goodbye jumps the queue
to sudden extinction
love lives on the mountain
ashes soaking into moss
his spirit coming back
to say that 40 years were
worth it all in all
and how are things?

the chatter quieted thank god
and in its place
a single sound takes shape
one note clearly formed on endless breath
much to my delight I find
it comes from me
I had been singing all along
and never knew

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a prompt from tonight’s writing group with Doug Anderson: endings


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Meringue

Crunch under
my steps
over ersatz
spread snow,
Replenish
the feeder
cast seed
for the crew.
Doves hogging
the bounty
let others
go hang.
This fool’s day
with icing
starts off
with a bang.

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NaPoWriMo 2017 day 1! We’re off to the races, rabbit rabbit rabbit. This was a fun prompt since I’m not much for rhyme, but it always comes (slowly) if given some time.


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for the taking

perhaps the stars
hold memories
diamond pinholes
punched in winter black
life stretched
across infinity
expanding overhead
even as my focus
might be squeezing in
and only looking back
a tempting counterweight
to shrinking time
well nuts to that
I’ll take the milky way
with thanks
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts
and will not shut
all possibility away
this heart and soul
are slated to remain
open for business
indefinitely


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aftermath

all eyes and
single voices
become
this great body
balanced on
a razor thin
tipping point
we sing
full throat
to ecstasy
the music stops
I fall into
the abyss of silence
tears flowing

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the moment after the end of a great piece. for Cailin Marcel Manson, who took us there.


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the first present

there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
no clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
by surprise
red bronze briefly
glistened by those gone ahead
dropstrings of love and memory
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound

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a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.


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haiku for elizabeth with notes

gift from love’s pilgrim
my words have danced in your heart
they leap free again

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yesterday the Third Cousins Club met again. three cousins, Cassie, Elizabeth, and me, descended in separate lines from the same great great grandfather, knowing nothing of the others until an accidental discovery grew into a connection that has joined three family lines. Elizabeth’s sister Susan was there at the beginning with all of us, but she died this year. So Elizabeth has just made what I can only think of as a pilgrimage to the ocean places they loved together. what a brave and loving sister gift this was, saying goodbye again, ashes left to be a part of memories.

and then


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and then

standing still
feet feeling steady rock
in unfamiliar balance
time stops it seems
a blink really
the stream
of then to next
flowing over and around
and somehow through
bones in a shiver
of recognition
no longer straining
to spring free
of oz like cages
revealed as
weightless frauds
their power merely dust
looks ahead
so curious about
what comes next
but firmly rooted
in this moment
and leaps from
rock to rock
given over to
joy at last

gift of sudden light


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gift of sudden light

morning brings the flowering world
to wait outside my door again
its gift complete
an honest bounty within reach

I glance away, and in
that moment sun arms
leap above the mountain ridge
to cast breath stealing light

and startle me to unexpected joy
when happiness, no simple thing
arriving first was present
and most certainly enough

light’s twin is thought
conjoined with time
its tipping point
arrived at step by step

the pilgrim mind walks on
until the heart is open
and able to receive
the sudden glimpse of truth

Horace, black on black


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haiku for tuesday with notes

accepting the muse
black head warms my foot again
reaching for note book

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Horace likes to sit under the kitchen table when I write, with his head across my foot. I had planned to write later in the day today, but clearly my muse thought otherwise.