Sunday, March 18, 2018

17 Short Poems, by Heather Boob

17 Short Poems, by Heather Boob, written in response to phrases found in the poetry collection “Blood and the Word,” by Rosaire Karij

Is to stop and breathe
In an out
To look each other in the eye
And to remember
We are all – only human
Or did we ever know?

Is a perfect size
To keep tidy
And a good excuse
To get outside

We see white canvas
Come to life in chartreuse
And budding rainbow blooms
Smoking chimneys turned campfire-side
To circles of celebration
Like a black bear after a long rest
Ready to refill and restore
On the wild fruits of late summer
Dreaming of hot, humid mornings
When running waters are
The only cooling relief

AT 6 A.M.
On a mid-summer morn
I rise with the sun
Yellow and blue filling sky
At 6 a.m.
On an early winter morn
I rise with the sun
Rose petal reds bursting blooms
Of color to carry through
Winter’s white

Where you were standing
The moment you realized
This was not your life
What you were thinking
When she held your hand
So tightly that you felt like
You were choking
Who you called to ask
For help
What was happening
In your body
Why you waited
So long

Whose body I came so close to
But whose heart I could not reach

Could limit one or expand her creative mind. Ben Franklin loved his beer and his women, and was crazy enough to fly a kite in a lightning storm. He had nothing to lose. A modest man, he was not. He started with nothing, and retired early in abundant wealth. He had nothing to lose.

Is so far, still easy
But I cannot help to think about
When the day will come
Where I feel effort behind every step
Thanking my thighs along the way

Or was it always too much?

I laid it all out on the table
You devoured every last morsel
Then hiccuped
I suppose that was your way
Of saying grace

Even if it’s hard to hear the stuttering escaping your mouth
And terrifying to consider the reaction of the heart that will swallow it

Makes large
To the underdog

Of time
Slowly reveals itself
Through a line
On her face

That mothers don’t always come home
That little brothers are sweet to the blood
That young girls can become women too soon
That God doesn’t offer reprieve just because you’re sorry

I’ll have to come back to this one

Love and compassion
Are innate

Before falling asleep
That when I awoke
I would carry the story
Of my yesterdays
Into today
Without attachment
Without hesitation
For the truth of tomorrow


(Note from Zee: Thank you Rosaire, for your beautiful poems. Excerpts from your book served as the inspiration for our writing this week, in all the Circles.)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

V is for Violet, by Susanna Drbal

V is for Violet. Violet is the name of my toothless cat, so you would think she’s never violent. You’d be wrong. Violet, in spite of her tiny body and little head, has giant paws with thumbs. She likes to swat.

Violet doesn’t think of herself as violent — or as little, or even as a cat. She thinks she is a spy. She hides in corners and under beds, ears perked up, eyes wide and shining. She gathers information — who smells like what, what that noise means, what is inside that stuffed mouse that squeaks.

She compiles her information into a notebook she writes in after everybody is asleep. She holds a pen in her big, right front paw and holds the page down with her big, left front paw. She watches me write every morning and thinks, Susanna must be a spy too.

Violet writes her memoir, and a constant theme is food. How many crunchies did she leave behind for Klaus? She notes whether the wet food was cold or room temperature. She discusses the ongoing issue of cleaning her face after meals. She also writes about her litter box, evaluating how much scratching is ideal for covering up her deposits.

Violet writes about her past lives, too, when she lived on the streets and was chased by tomcats and shivered under bushes. She writes about her time as “Persia,” when she lived in a tiny room with six other cats. She hid under a cushion most of those days. In between, she gave birth and got hit by a car. There was some pain, some fear, but good times too. Violet is visionary.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Opportunity for New Discussion, by Stacey Murphy

the clematis

too neighborly

to understand

the wooden fence

nature has no choice

but to persist

the vines using knotholes

and the weeds placing seeds

in the cracks of stone walls

sometimes we humans

prefer to resist

we pull back the branches

of rude plants that intrude

avoiding conflict — so human

where plants instead

see opportunity

for new discussion

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Do Everything I Say, by Annie Wexler

"Do everything I say," says Judy Moore, my best friend who lives next door to me in our little town in rural New Jersey. We are both seven and it is almost Christmas, and snowing.

"I will be baby Jesus and lie here on this blanket which is my bed of straw in the manger. Now you start by looking up at the stars and wandering."

"But it’s morning," I say, "there are no stars."

"Well then, just wander."

"Where do I wander to?" I ask.

"Just walk to that big pine tree and then come back and bow down and kiss my feet."

"But you’re wearing boots."

"Well then just touch my feet and give me presents."

She’s getting very bossy.

"What kind of presents?" I ask.

"You’re the wisemen," she says, "you have to know."

So I touch her feet and then give her a bunch of red berries from the holly bush and two big pinecones.

"Now tell me I am God," she says, "and then I’ll get up."

"But you’re not God," I insist. "God is up in the sky."

"Well then I’m God’s son."

"But God can’t have a son, he isn’t married."

"He does have a son and I learned that in catechism, so there."

"Okay," I say. "But now get up, it’s my turn to be baby Jesus."

"You can’t be baby Jesus," she says, "because you’re Jewish and the Jews killed Jesus."

I run home crying, and my mother says it’s not true and not to pay attention to Judy.

"But I want to go to catechism," I whine, "so I can play baby Jesus and get presents."

Not long after that we left our wonderful house in the country and moved to a suburb with a large Jewish population. Suburban life wasn’t nearly as much fun as playing in the woods and running in the fields. No one ever asked me to play baby Jesus again. I missed my friend Judy for years and years.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Eleven Shorties — "Memoirlets" — by Saskya van Nouhuys

Gym class
While playing volleyball in high school I collided with a giant Samoan girl. As I ricocheted off her and landed in the grass outside the court I thought with excitement: Wow, I didn’t know a person’s body could be that solid!

High heels
I winced in pain with each step walking back to the hotel, late, after a grand dinner with the king of Sweden. I stopped in the rain to take off my high-heeled shoes. My companion gallantly took them in hand and strode forward tipsily. I walked barefoot the rest of the way through the city, feeling like a princess.

Andy and I rode a quadracycle, which is a four wheeled tandem bicycle, around Cayuga lake for our honeymoon. That was by far the most married thing we have ever done.

From a distance, it is hard to tell the difference between a baby hummingbird and a bumble bee.

Music lessons
That creepy piano teacher. I had to break my arm twice before my mother gave up on making me go to his house each week for lessons.

Our yard, our neighbor's yard, our other neighbor's yard, all united as the territory of our patrolling cat.

My favorite nightshirt eventually wore out and started to disintegrate. Before it lost all of its integrity Andy used it as a model to sew a new one. I wear that new one, but it isn’t the same.

As time passes we all use paper less and less. Now, as the weather gets cold, I have to plan ahead in order to have enough material to start a fire each day.

Can anyone think of a number 2 pencil without getting anxious?

My grandfather sits in a chair with his pipe in one hand and a can of beer in the other. I sit in his lap, happily, listening inattentively to the conversation of adults.

On the tiny island of Prestö there are three cemeteries filled with the bones of people who died in the process of building the Russian fortress at Bomarsund, in Finland. The fortress was destroyed by the English even before it was finished. They shot cannons up at it from ships in the bay below. The three cemeteries are populated by the Russian Orthodox Christians, the Jews, and the Muslims. The best blueberries grow among the discretely marked graves in the Muslim cemetery.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

At Dinner's End, by Gladys L. Perkins

At dinner’s end
you know I am too polite
to leave before you are done
so you order more tea
that you do not drink
while the restaurant fills
and people wait for tables
while you prattle about TV shows
and avoid raising your cup
while I clutch mine
and concentrate on the warmth
reaching my hands
through the porcelain
and imagine it spreading
up through my arms
calming and softening my heart
with a kind of distraction
from eyes of the hungry
who long for our seats
and also from your many
descriptions of other meals
in other places
and whether the settings
were charming
and if you were sufficiently
and made comfortable

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Memories of the Full Moon, by Saskya van Nouhuys

the full moon
the smell of wet leaves
stepping on snails whose shells break
under my bare feet

the full moon
that doesn't get close
as I drive toward it

the full moon
its reflection on the water
the sound of that lit water, unsettled
bumping against the dock

the full moon
looks too big in the sky
next to those delicate sparkly stars
especially because it is orange