Oddments

In search of story


9 Comments

February 12.21: Coping

ODE TO DICHOTOMYSugar snow

makes winter sweet

if you like clompy boots

on both your feet,

if you like glassy streets

to slip and slide

while white-knuckled driving

petrified,

if you like your toes

and fingers too

stinging and reddened

to shades of blue,

if you like clothes like blubber

on arctic whale

just to go out

to get the mail,

if you like north winds,

those icy bullies,

roaring through layers

of itchy woollies,

if you like shovel kink

in your lower back

and a quiver in

sacroiliac,

but if you like a big sniff

of cookies oven-hot,

the company of stew

bubbling in a pot,

the softness of thick flannel,

most comfy of old friends,

the search for words and meanings

that never ever ends,

the pencil, pen, and mug

 to draw and write and sip,

your sugar snow, like mine,

is introvert’s catnip.

 

 


6 Comments

February 7.21: Coping

The bench wants society.

Stop! it says. Sit! —

watch your species ignoring you and me!

They rush by but we are the busy ones,

busy stopping.

Soon another will come, stop, sit,

and society will happen.

Maybe a toddler, ooph-ing his way up,

will sit like an L,

revel in his new perspective,

then scramble away,

pollinator to his kind.

Then soon another, on the three legs of late life,

will ease down, lean back,

and toss some memories to you, hungry pigeon.

Maybe next a new parent,

jealously, wonderingly

hoarding that immense softness,

rocking slightly,

sparing a few hushed words.

By and by, maybe two, holding hands, cozy in,

nudging you to other times, other benches

where you stopped,

and you can’t help a small private smile.

Maybe someone who talks a waterfall

crashing down on you in atomic white foam,

like some relatives you’ve run from.

Then even the bench cringes but holds fast

for the sake of the human soul.

Ignore a bench at your peril:

society must be had.

 

 

I can’t help noting, dear reader, that I picture people aware of each other

whereas the reality is people are snookered into their phones

and have no idea you are on the bench with them.

I prefer my version.

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to Wells Theater, Norfolk, VA.

 


11 Comments

January 30.21: Coping

Grandma’s kitchen clock

ticked crisply like a snare drum,

by day blended in the rhythm of work,

by night echoed

through the bedded house

while the rite of springs squeaked under me,

percussive, brassy,

objecting, it seemed,

to my child’s weight.

A bare light bulb

dangling on thick black cord

hovered

over the bed,

beyond my reach

even when I stood

jiggle-kneed

on the jello mattress.

Grandma reached up

and turned it off herself,

then slipper-padded out.

Her bedroom a whole dining room

and kitchen away,

sly-eyed shadows deepened

around me

in borrowed bed

where once my aunts were little girls.

In the sleep breath of her house,

Ivory soap.

Now, as COVID blurs days into nights,

and nights into days,

my clock ticks crisply like a snare drum.