A red fox scampers through fresh snow into the brush, and I follow a myriad of tracks crisscrossing the night on my way to feed the cat. I google medications that interact with grapefruit and ready another double-bagged load of poetry books saved from a not-too-distant lifetime and hustle them into the car for recycling before I change my mind. After a nod to the trees veiled in white—I say a prayer for rain in Australia and for friends with new challenges. It’s the last full day before a new calendar cycle begins for me—Wednesday’s child.
I sketch his profile—the musician with a harmonica almost hidden in his large hands. His glasses slipping down his nose, and his mop of hair unruly. The line work is strong loose abstract. Maybe I’m the only one who recognizes his presence. The gesture, the tilt of his head, the music I’m hearing.
I read this line recently from the poem Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror by Kelli Russell Agodon:
“and we’re replacing our cabinet knobs because we can’t change the world, but we can change our hardware.”
And I was quite taken with this breath of wisdom. Kelli is speaking about “America” here, but since we are America, she is also speaking about us and our own brokenness that requires change/growth. Changing cabinet knobs or discarding unused keepsakes or any such movement makes a lot of sense. It’s that traditional time of year for fresh starts. I myself am discarding old poetry books that meant a lot to me in the past but now are ghosts of a past life. My hope is to make room for new poetry—not even for new poetry books, but simply new poetry. It’s my way of changing the hardware for a new age.
I would highly recommend reading Kellie Russell Agodon’s poem. It’s not easy on our hearts, but it hits the mark on where we are at in this country and personally on whatever side of the aisle you reside.
news of an old friend’s passing—
I switch Pandora
to a blues station
I scour grief and grease
news of a new friend’s passing
the gift of her smile
through it all
the piercing presence of thistle
in the garden
I use the pencil sharpener
grandpa’s dad’s mine
jewel weed emerges in the garden I return home
clocks spring forward
the last hour slips under
the dog’s stomach
and mine growl
at the new timetable
daylight savings time lost in translation
contrails and foxtails
a wispy wave
to the morning
It’s the last day of February, 2019, and the ending to my practice of writing at least one haiku per day for National Haiku Writers Month–always February. I missed only a couple of days including yesterday. The practice of writing a daily haiku is more of an exercise in taking a closer look at moments that often get ignored or diluted in busy-ness. It’s also a great practice in articulating and editing just enough to give these moments breath and respect. For all of this and more–I am grateful.
beginnings and endings
false starts and fine finishes
always in the editing
starts to make sense
head to the east
nose to the west
purpling wind on a whim I channel my inner Picasso
Dora. By Pablo Picasso