Friday, August 31, 2018

August 31: For a Journeyman on what would be his 30th Birthday

At the labor day parade
you smiled and waved
from your place in the
union procession

The sheetmetal workers
who came by after you
didn't throw candy or beads
they handed out mini toolboxes
the old fashioned kind
with the handle on top
made by their local's apprentices

Mine sits on my desk
holds my teacher tools
in the summers it's filled with clothespins

In three days time is this year's parade
I know I should go but I won't
You aren't there now and I can't risk
Not catching a glimpse
Of your cheekbones and sandy brown hair

Thursday, August 30, 2018

August 30: How do you want me to do it

A Dada-ist-esque poem inspired by Helen but done by entering "how do you want" into a text message and letting the word guesser on my phone write the rest:

How do you want me to do it
again and it was so good
at the end of the month so I
will have a talk to me and I'll
get you the info on the couch with me to get a hold with them now

I am going out and about and what
time to meet up for lunch to see if
I don't get the same as last night but
it was not the best at what you have
done to me

I would have been there to get it to
work with the team to see if I
love it and it is not possible I can come
to your office to get a hold on my
account for a while but it is what it is I guess

You and your mom and your mom are going
well with the family for the holidays
so I can do the job and I have a lot to learn
to do the work for you guys for a second and then we will get the rest

For the rest of my life with me to get a hold
on the couch

And Bridgett....I am going to have it done by
the end of the day and I will be there for sure
but I think it will take me about an hour

to do that for you

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August 29: Olive

It's probably nothing, but it's growing all
wrong it's smooth which is good but it's too tall which
is bad. About the size, shape of an olive.
Olives are many

sizes I thought of the fat garlic and cheese
stuffed ones that took two messy bites to eat. Or
what about those tiny Spanish ones hardly
worth any trouble.

Kalamatas are my favorites but I don't
say no to any olives. The ultrasound
confirmed and then at the biopsy the nurse
talking silly space

filler like cheese and garlic, slipping in bits
about what will happen if this tumor is
more than an olive, if it is the wrong
kind of olive. I

listen to the drill and think of dirty
martinis and feeding cocktail olives to
my one year old in desperation at that
friend's wedding, the one

who later had in situ and a double
mastectomy. My olive core sample sent
to Connecticut frozen and examined
I wondered all week

if they saw the imbibing the indulgence
the experimentation in my olive.
A fibroadenoma, my doctor called,
you can keep it the

rest of your life it will shrink over time and
it's tagged for the future: Hello there, I am
Bridgett's olive. Pay me no more mind.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

August 28: Ode to IKEA

You made us feel sensations of ownership
Buying all this without going broke
We managed to be capable and strong
Carrying flat packs without any menfolk

You made us feel like we could build a new world
Parsing out which screw, which little tack
Sweating, laughing but never crying
We built a houseful without breaking our backs

Laundry baskets, beds, mattresses, desks and chairs
Soft pillows sitting on a wooden bench 
IKEA furnished my friend-built home
I built up a life with an allen wrench

Couch, candles, dressers, a tray and shelves
Helped me to see we could do it ourselves

Monday, August 27, 2018

August 27: Tweezers

Dear daughters
When I say
That I need

The tweezers
At the sink
I mean now

Please comply

Sunday, August 26, 2018

August 26: Last Words

I woke from a nap less nap than I needed
from two days awake in the hospital with
my twelve year old we weren't out of the woods yet
but I had to sleep

and I woke from a nap and went down to my
kitchen where my mother in law was cooking
because that's what you do in a crisis you
sit or you clean or

you cook: I clean my mother sits his mother
cooks I opened the fridge to find something quick
to eat before I packed a bag to go back
to the hospital,

to the Pediatric ICU and there
at eye level was a telephone number
and his signature and the words I'm sorry
to hear about Maeve

I looked at my oldest she said he had come
by while I slept I was exhausted I took
the paper I couldn't yet but I called three
weeks later, the damned

girlfriend answered I hung up panicked, made a
friend call and she lied to her for me and I
threw the paper out the window of her car,
frustrated, into

the air. It was a good month that passed before
I heard that he was dead, in a hospital
in the ICU, Baby, I could always
see you once I looked

Saturday, August 25, 2018

August 25: The Letter

A letter arrived with the change of address
yellow sticker on the envelope how could
her handwriting still have the same shape over
thirty years as friends

in the envelope is a photo of her
family all dressed in denim somehow she
has six children her own little volleyball
team except they are

tiny midwestern people better suited
to swimming or tumbling I realize reading
her letter, an announcement of her sixth birth
along with the news

of her children's accomplishments, that I have
nothing left to say to her that she would want to read

Friday, August 24, 2018

August 24: Christmas 1987

When I was in 8th grade, I received a
Nintendo for Christmas. We were a bit
late coming to this technology, just
like the microwave and VCR too

But for that whole Christmas break, and into
January, while my mother and my
sisters stayed in St. Louis and it was
just me and my father and my brother

living down in Dallas trying to pretend
this was normal, the Christmas tree staying
up in the living room, bare and dry, a
total fire hazard, until she came home,

we played Super Mario Brothers and
Zelda. I got rather good at those games.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Aug 23: Path of Late

Without a warning
Without a path
Path through the garden
Path poorly paved
Paved with bricks
Paved in haste
Haste makes waste
Haste moves along
Along the path
Along the river
River so deep
River so cool
Cool it down
Cool your jets
Jets overhead
Jets fly low
Low to the ground
Lowly mouse
Mouse in the house
Mouse runs fast
 Fast little hummingbird
Fast flies past
Past the garden
Past the house
House built stout
House built strong
Strong enough
Strong to survive
Survive the winter
Survive to see
See the spring
See this place
Place your hand
Place on my heart
Heart and flower
Heart and hand
Hand to God
Hand to me
Me to you
Me, I sigh
Sigh so soft
Sigh my love
Love this life
Love you too
Too much thinking
Too little too late
Late in the evening
Late and great



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 22: Dimes

These dimes
I find
In curious spots
Like hallways

I don't find quarters or nickels
Pennies, sure--but they are everywhere
I think these mean something, I shyly say
Of course they do, she replies

Every dime
I find
Lives now
In a cup
A tin cup
The word Baby
On its side

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

August 21: Sapphic Time Spell

What time do you think it is? Leaning forward
to pick up the phone. I guess, I always guess,
I always find myself correct within ten
or twenty minutes.

Whenever the question is asked, the evening
is over in our hearts because the spell is
broken time has caught up with us and we sigh
suddenly alone

Though still together, we both know that nothing,
no whiskey, no kisses, no tears, no laughter,
can show us the path back to the timeless space
between then and now

Monday, August 20, 2018

August 20: Owl

After we buried
his dog we sat
on the trunk
of my car in the driveway

of his mother's house 
exhausted and covered
in tree sap
we lay back

on the windshield
as it got dark 
Waited breathless for it
to pass over us
obliterating the sky
for just a moment. 
I never heard its call, 
but that wasn't the last
time I watched it fly

Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 19: Charlotte's Web

Miss Terri is reading Charlotte's Web
and when she is finished can we see the movie?

She asks, high cheekbones covered in freckles
sitting in the back seat in a booster, five.

I don't know, I hedge, thinking of the ending.
It might be sad when Miss Terri is done

Do they run out of words to write on the web?
she asks, implying the death of poor Wilbur

No, I reassure, but don't want to spoil the ending
but she presses and finally I cave, euphemistically:

Spiders don't live forever. I start crying because
my sister's teacher read this to them in second grade

When her classmate was dying of leukemia
But my sweet kindergartner is not living that life

She has babies, I blurt out, and some of them stay
Oh, she nods. So life goes on and that's not bad

I agree, pulling myself together, smiling back at her
She looks out the window and turns back to meet my eye

When you made my lunch today, she begins again,
why didn't you pack any dessert?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 18: Found Poem












Friday, August 17, 2018

August 17: Texas Thoughts

I learned what I liked about music, about
men, friends, weather, texmex, barbecue, and sky
in Texas. On a bus to Flagstaff. Count the
Dairy Queens. Clouds. Cows.

Stop in high school on the way to a retreat
in San Antonio. August in Texas.
Trying not to breathe. Patrick's sleeves rolled up, he
could fade into the

crowd for the first time since I met him. Water
in the glasses at the cafe hazy. John
doesn't drink his; I drink mine, grinning. Nothing
like driving alone

through Texas. Except maybe sharing a cab
of a truck with someone worth looking at, watch
him tell me anything, anything just to
hear the voice and see

the expressions he already planned before
I got in, shotgun. Stopping for gas, getting
back out on the Farm to Market road, thinking,
what do I say now?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

August 16: Pantoum for Plans

I don't know what life will be like for me down the line.
I'm not going to make anybody any promises.
I have my plans, but I don't often share them.
I don't want to be proven wrong.

I'm not going to make anybody any promises.
Maybe it's Irish-American doom
I don't want to be proven wrong.
I don't wish for too much.

Maybe it's Irish-American doom
Yet I don't find myself pessimistic.
I don't wish for too much--
I have great hope for the future.

Yet I don't find myself pessimistic. 
I don't spend too much time wishing
I have great hope for the future.
I want to have good times now.

I don't spend too much time wishing
Kids swinging on the hand-me-down swingset
I want to have good times now.
I don't want imaginary hopes

Kids swinging on the hand-me-down swingset
Split pea soup in the crockpot
I don't want imaginary hopes
I don't want unfinished projects

Split pea soup in the crockpot
I want to break out the good wine
I don't want unfinished projects
Each day should count for something

I want to break out the good wine
Probably leave the good stemware inside
Each day should count for something
But have a lick of sense

Probably leave the good stemware inside
I don't know what life will be like for me down the line.
But have a lick of sense
I have my plans, but I don't often share them. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Aug 15: Favorites

I love underdogs
I love lost causes
I love ugly ducklings
I love being your cut man
if you need me.

But I'm also happy just loving
sharing a moment
a ritual 
to show you that you
are my favorite

You are.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14: Capitol Reef National Park

Maybe it's ghosts 
But it feels more like
an shattered presence
a vastness
an absence of peace 

There are apricot trees 
fruit pies 
relaxed helpful rangers
a stark beauty like nothing I've ever seen—
and I'm glad I've seen it—
but it's not right in my heart.

Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13: Hot Outside

We fought a lot for people only 19 years old
What could we possibly have had to fight about?

This time we didn't fight 
We sat, I put my hand
on yours, it automatically flipped
over and grasped mine, I traced
the scars on the inside
of your arm. You pulled away.

"Come on, let's head back, it's fucking hot out here."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

August 12: So Sorry Financial Aid

We are sorry
All lines are busy at this time
Please continue to hold
You will be answered as soon as possible

Estimated wait time
Three minutes

You have been listening
To the Weidner Big Band
Conducted by Professor Jim Weidner

The music fading out like a poorly tuned radio
Surges and rushes, the horns tinny and distant

I just want to pay my bill

Saturday, August 11, 2018

August 11: Standing Still

Every two years
My parents would cry uncle
Give in to the Traveler genes
And flee

Standing in my kitchen
Looking out at my fading summer garden
Every year I feel it
But I stand

I keep standing

Friday, August 10, 2018

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 9: Immigrant

Deadmen rows
Half bricks turned sideways
Discolored pieces never meant to see the light
Covered up under a hundred years of plaster

I come from a family of bricklayers
Immigrants intertwined in labor and intermarriage
They built this house, at least
Their union built this house

I cut into the wall with a hammer a crowbar
Dust in my hair and my eyes
Peeling the crust away, undoing their work
Exposing the bones that hold up this house

It's the last summer of our union
It's the last summer in my house
When I visit now I can't look at the wall
An emigrant's memory of immigrants' work

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August 8: chickadee

It's the cutest little bird
she texts me describing
sends a blurry photo
asks me its name

Chickadee, I reply
silence follows and
I send it again

That's the dumbest name ever
she texts me I can hear
her voice blurting that out
and she simply decides

He's her sweet little friend

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7: Calendar

Yearly sitting down and splitting up
Splitting the calendar into chunks
Making it balance out everything even
Checking the math, erasing, rewriting

Kids are not grapes in bowls
for an after school snack
Or who gets to cut the cookie
Who gets to pick the half

Every hello and goodbye
A reminder of bland fairness
But I don't want to split them
And I don't want to share them

Monday, August 6, 2018

Aug 6. Realization

As I was being taught to grill
After paying all the bills and
building a goddamned cabinet
Realized I was becoming
The husband I wished I'd had

Sunday, August 5, 2018

August 5. My first

Leaning my head against the wooden fence
of the backyard plot my grandmother revived the summer before
knowing it was over
needing to push
this tiny birth and death was mine alone
I did not share

the blood soaked into the earth
where years later the wild garlic grew
below the clothesline

Saturday, August 4, 2018

August 4 Mrs. Frisby

Every mouse is Mrs. Frisby scurrying through
my garden plot stealing what she may find in
my lazy pruning and harvesting heading home
to the cinderblock to her sick child
to her overwhelming concerns to her lack of self
in the face of insurmountable odds against her
and I know
no rats of NIMH are going to help this one
So go and be swift.

Friday, August 3, 2018

August 3 Bowline

Thin silver knot
Slipped on a chain
Worn round my neck

You can't top it
No matter what gift
You might find next

This is not a problem
Accusation or resignation

Because you have won
It ties me to you
Bowlines our hearts together

Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2: Ode to Propriety

When I dressed like a secretary or perhaps an old maid
I received your clean-souled, thin-lipped approval
When I colored my hair beyond white lady shades
You set in motion witch-hunts for my removal

If only I could go back and not laugh quite so loud
Keep the mascara on stand by and teach from a podium
Curl my hair into bangs and look like a dowd
I might have kept free of your hostility and odium

Yet, I wish I would have come in reeking of the pot
(you and everyone else knew I smoked a lot)
Had more bumper stickers and told more tales
Kids learn from success but also from fails

Because fuck you for judging me based on my clothes
My car
My music
Most especially my zip code

You can rot with your frozen blonde hair and Coach glasses
You can stick your propriety right up your asses

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August 1: Losing

Things I lost to Christy:

A scout troop I naively chartered through your organization
 and a future house of cards art education career
Endless hours sucked from my life through the vacuum of your need
 and your name on my resume