AS A FOOTNOTE AT THE TABLE

I wonder if the longstanding tradition of morning cleansing of marble steps at the front door in many inner city neighborhoods of Baltimore has survived the stresses of two-income families or single-parent households? Who knows when it started or in how many other locales it’s also practiced. This has been a custom of row houses, connected to each other – blue-collar communities, in fact – and not of detached suburban housing. And that makes the foremost difference.

These poems consider what women do and preserve – though not always exclusively. Yes, I’ve known women who bale hay or decipher monastic manuscripts, and I’ll also admit men can know nothing of bearing children or nursing. Yet, somehow, many women seem most at home around the kitchen, even if it’s nothing more than a teacup or a picnic. Even her garden, should she be so inclined, seems to extend from that table or the alchemy of her oven. And that goes for flowers, as well as vegetables and berries. (Remember, though: not all mothers and daughters can stand to be in the same kitchen at the same time, though they both be masterful cooks.)

Looking back on Baltimore, I remember my next-door neighbor, each morning in season watering the black locusts between our houses and the street. Maybe she did her stoop, as well. But the trees, which seemed to have always been there, were beautiful and timeless, as if spreading their own table.

Returning 1

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For the poems, click here.

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CAN YOU REALLY STEAL TIME?

Rubato is not the only approach in music, stealing a bit of a beat from one note to give it to the next. Fermato – the bird’s eye – stops the count altogether, however briefly.

As if time in daily life is all that mechanical. Some days, after all, after longer than others. Or some minutes seem to go on forever, unlike others that leave us breathless.

Now, back to that matter of Rubato

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Poetry
Rubato

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

 

AS A CONFESSION OF THEFT

All along, I’ve felt a ping of guilt when taking time to write poetry or fiction. As if I’ve been stealing from others, even when I was living alone. Rubato, in Italian, means theft, although in music it’s applied as a way of making a phrase more flexible and ultimately sensual. And here it enters, as a dimension of my life journey.

What, then, is honest and what comes across as fake in a deep desire for love and affirmation?

I’ll let these poems sing and shout and lament on their own. I’ve somehow survived their transitions.

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For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

WORKING THE ODD HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

Have you ever worked the night shift? Or weekends? Or holidays? Or even the very early morning?

Oh, if you ask, “Which night shift – the one till midnight or the one that begins then?” – more compactly expressed as second or third shift – you already understand.

These experiences infuse the poems of my Night Owls & Early Birds collection. It’s a world apart from the conventional work world that has nights and weekends and holidays free.

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Night Owls 1

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.