Oddments

In search of story


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In praise of the antemeridian

Yes, I’m a morning person. I’m usually eating breakfast around 4:00. Do you gasp in alarm? Get in line. Whenever I’ve revealed my preference for dawn, others seem unsure of my stability. Their response has been consistent: you need help. With touching concern, they offer suggestions on how I can change.

Why is that? I have never felt compelled to change a night person into a morning person. I don’t care that they aren’t up early so why do they care that I am?

The seeds of morningphilia were sown long ago in my Irish Catholic Republican family where Work Ethic meant carpe diem and the earlier the better. Saturday mornings were piano lessons. Sundays (and holydays) the only Masses that counted were the early ones. Thou shalt not sleep in.

But, work ethic aside, I love morning for itself. I hear the first bird stretch and chirp, and chirp turn to chorus. I see my neighborhood emerge from monochromatic blur into silhouettes sharp against the budding day. Sometimes I see one low star in benediction over the dawn. In winter I see snowlight. If it rains, I hear the earliest tires splash through the street and watch first light rainbowed in drops on the window.

When I was young and working, I wrote early-morning letters. Yellow legal pads were my breakfast staple. Now I’m old and not working and I have email. The yellow coffee-splotched letters had more personality, but email has wings.

I do not have wings. I have lead feet, molasses in my veins. I’m a plodder, slow, deliberate, uncertain. Early mornings give me the long on-ramp I need to merge into the day’s traffic.

I love mornings; therefore, I A.M.

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Character sketch

I will change you
re-arrange you
lift you up
to be like me
because I know
how you should be

your house isn’t right
your hair is a fright
your glasses out-moded
your clothing corroded
your life a mess
I come, Graymalkin!

I will save you from yourself
make you
cleaner
pressed
dressed
coiffed
in my image

How good of me
to enlighten you
righten you
tell you what your problem is.
What? I have a problem?
Boohooboohoo.
I thought you knew
how sensitive I am.
You’ve gone and
hurt my feelings.
Now you have to call me
patch things up
because I know
what your problem is
and
I will tell you.

I will kick you
when you’re down.

I owe this to you.
You’re welcome.


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The Cleaning Lady

She cleans.
Cobwebby grievances
wizened words
fusty dustbunnies of omission
ambushed
in airless corners
of family memory.

Stains and grime
a generation old
clothespinned
on crisscrossed lines
exposed in stale sun
to narrowed eyes.

Dirt.
Familiar friend.
Ally.
Excellent weapon.
Swept
piled
admired
saved
for another
never-new day
re-cycle
re-tell
re-kindle

Eat off your floors?
No, thank you.
So clean a house
lies.


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Protest

I searched for poems of spring.
Ponce de Leon seeks fountain of youth.
Alchemy? Holy grail?
Title for Brooklyn Bridge?
Easier.

Pogo says the first sign of spring is winter.
But must winter enter in?
Mortality? Reality?
So heavy the tread of winter,
so light the touch of spring, that
the one inflicts on the other?

I want a verdant, blue poem.
Sunny, light as transparent green bug
en pointe on kitchen window,
barely there,
fragile-winged,
but declaring her being to me.

Transient,
delicate as the glimmering bug,
but as worthy,
spring for its own sake,
sung
whooped
concelebrated.

No trespassing, poets,
with somber sound,
tempering delight with caution.
Leave such pedagogy to pedants.
I want no morals,
no lessons,
only the heady frilly breath of
this newborn air.