Monday, October 31, 2011

Always Halloween

Posted by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales #89

The call was for me.
I heard her little voice
from across the room…
My “Hi Honey”, was met
with: “I need my Holly Hobby
socks, and my bat hat.”
I heard whispers in the background,
then: “Hi Grandma”. I laughed.
“I forgot my Holly Hobby socks - ‘member -
the ones with the red and white stripes,
(As if I could forget the Raggedy Ann socks)
and my bat hat.” (The black paper hat
she made at pre-school the other day.)

Her most oft-repeated pronouncement
these days is: “I’m not going to grow up.”
Who knows what she is thinking;
but it has taken me decades to learn
that, as much as I’d like to –
I can’t strip off the red and white
Raggedy Ann socks and the bat hat
I should only be allowed to wear on Halloween.
I try every day to coordinate the ensemble
on a keyboard – hide the truth with accessories.
Maybe Emily will grow up to be a writer …

Posted for
Tess Kincaid's

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Writing Game

Once again I was asked to submit a poem* to be read on "The Writing Game", a community radio program on Bishop FM in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK, on November 6, 2011. The following is an excerpt from the radio blog page introducing the upcoming program. A podcast of the program will be available shortly after the airing.

The November Writing Game will visit Escomb Church in the company of Writing Game regular, historian Glynn Wales. We invited Wear Valley Writer Alison Carr, Writing Gamer Avril  Joy, and one of our American listeners, Ann Grenier to write poems about this wonderful and inspiring place. Some of the poems which you see here below will be read on the November programme. Writing Games Gillian Wales and Avril Joy helped to edit and produce this programme.

12:00 Noon
Sunday 6th November

I send heartfelt thanks to Wendy Robertson and Avril Joy for the opportunity to submit my poems to "The Writing Game". It is a wonderful program, beautifully produced, imaginative, inspiring and a delightful listening experience.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glass Boxes and Dovetails

Lee Friedlander, from America by Car
posted by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales

It was a Fine Furnishings show;
I don’t recall any glass.
What I remember is the parking garage,
the sprawling cement labyrinth,
floor and ceiling ahead, compressing,
sucking breath away -
and the passionate young man
seeking life in exquisite dovetails
tamed with sweat and tears of joy.

The joinery of past and future
on display in mirrored boxes
of jewels and shells,
of hindsight and foresight;
cement and satin – locked       
with reflections of latches,
lost passages, hatches
we might have missed along the way –
impossible connections.

Posted for
Magpie Tales #88
D'verse Poets
on Valentine's Day

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grace Notes: A Hellish Day

Image posted by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales #87

If as Sartre said, “L’enfer, c'est les autres”*
why don’t we beat them up
instead of ourselves?

It was a hellish day -
life in metaphor;
make the bed, do dishes,
murmur a few prayers.
Drive her to the lab.
Wrestle her walker up the long ramp,
turn left near the top
for the steeper incline to the door,
guide her through the dark twisting hall.
Left, right, right, left
to the dawn of the lab door,
flood of light inside.

But all was for naught;
she’d forgotten the lab order.
Blood could not be drawn
without the paper work.
Retreat through the back allies
of the doctor’s office to the off ramp;
curses murmured in smoldering silence.
Return home to retrieve the lab order.
Drive to the Lifespan Lab closer to home;
a few short steps and in,
a lovely place, lovely lady.
Can’t find her medical card – no problem,
“Call me with the number.”

No phone number listed for the new lab,
call the headquarters, hear a fax tone,
more silent fuming.
Call the doctor next door to the lab,
get the number, mission complete.
Settle her in, return home
to bake the birthday pie I promised
instead of a cake – the phone rang:
lab has no computer record for her,
will I please bring her medical card,
yes, tomorrow will be fine.

Bake the pie, put the chicken in,
peel potatoes, set the table.
The door opens, he’s home.
All I saw was the bandage
on his hand when he came in,
carrying bread and milk and mail.
He hit it with the claw of his hammer;
eight stitches – on his birthday!
Three hours in the emergency room,
I didn’t know a thing, he didn’t call,
didn’t want to worry me: “It’s nothing”.

It’s not about hellish days,
not about others;
she’s ninety, she forgets –
and I live in the clouds.
It’s about beating myself up
for the short-cut prayers in the morning,
the smoldering impatience, building to anger,
the helplessness, the guilt of inattention.
It’s about gladly slipping my own neck
into the iron noose I choose to stew in,
chewing on others, gnashing my teeth,
watching for an exit - waiting for grace.

*From the play, “No Exit”, by John Paul Sartre, 1944.

Posted for

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Octopus on Wall Street

Original graphic by Jinksy for In Tandem #14
crawls up to Wall Street
squirting black ink on faces
of bosses in banks.

Secure tanks
will not hold them back,
they’re mobile,
with problem-solving skills - plus
no rigid structure.

Speeding up -
army of mollusks
on the march;
keep the watch,
capitalists on trial -
October 15th.

* Octopus description and qualities taken from Wikipedia.

Posted for

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breaking Through

Escomb Saxon Church, built 670 AD, Co Durham, UK

I saw the mop of red hair first,
then the fierce look on his face,
like some angry Scot’s warrior
striding up to Hadrian’s Wall
with a heavy pack on his back,
determined to break through.
A slim pale blond teetered
a hundred yards behind him
lighting a cigarette –
jeans, t-shirt, no purse,
barely able to carry herself.

I wanted to pull over,
but the traffic pushed me along -
and my fear of the unknown;
dark imaginings, cowardly prudence.
I looked for them on my way home
and for places they might be;
a lance of memory piercing my heart,
visions of parking lots behind strip malls,
seedy motels near liquor stores -
old hunting grounds.

I saw them again the next week;
imagined more hidden shelters –
wanted to follow them, call someone,
get help, all the old impossible things.
At home after dinner, sitting at my desk,
waiting for a satellite image to focus,
I noticed the cloth doll with the missing leg
lying near the lamp, looking up at me,
mimicking Emily’s* question:
Aren’t you going to fix her leg?
I hadn’t noticed her Raggedy Ann redhead.

And there he was – on the screen –
the red haired warrior,
circling Saxon Green*, round and round,
searching for a gate through the wall
guarding the fortress of faith,
refuge from the fiery heap*, cool sanctuary.
He kept passing the gate and sign,
missing the number of the cottage
in the close where the key is kept
for visitors to the jewel box -
and then - I lost sight of him.

© Ann Grenier

* Saxon Green: Escomb Saxon Church is enclosed in this walled village green, Co Durham, UK.
* Emily: my granddaughter, age 4, my little muse.
* “fiery heap”: from a poem by John William Pattison, born in Escomb on 26th April 1870, worked   at the George Pit (colliery) and lost a leg as a result of an accident at work. He wrote a poem, circa 1903, a loving description of Escomb as it was at the turn of the 19th Century, with the following exception:
              What spoils this village, I am sorry to say,
                   Is that fiery heap, smoking and burning away.

Posted for

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Beautiful Mind: Ignore the Little King Standing on Your Newspaper.

Michael Sowa's illustration for Little King December
offered by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales
prose and rustling crows,
private worlds
of the mind,
imaginings unbridled -
subconscious theories.

Dream studies
free associate
no reason/
no society limits
surprise imagery.

erotic objects
whimsically disregard

Long shadows
mysterious light,
in deep space
recall ominous settings
of media kings.

Inspired by James Voorhies essay on Surrealism: Department of European Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Posted for

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Silver Spoon

Photo from Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tale #85

Don’t ask why
the elephants fly,
shorebirds die,
children cry
to see such blood on the moon
melt the silver spoon.

Merry more
in the eagle wars,
open sores,
closing doors;
Old King Cole searching his souls,
fiddles with the polls.

Ding, dong, bell
oil is in the well
more to sell,
men to fell,
and they all go marching down -
to the ground boom … boom

Posted for