Saturday, February 12, 2011

Image/Her-Story - a poem


Bent over a bowl, her
hands froze in water.

Lost: the life that came
before, and after

she was disrobed
and set before us.

As it is, she appears
to be traditional:

White, orderly, slightly
rough but modest.

This is what we see
at least, but then again

there is that rumor,
the one about the maker

Mary Cassatt
and that painter of ballerinas,

a trifling little thing,
or maybe not

but in any case,
not usually part of

her story, or history,
just like the life

of the woman
she set before us.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Language of Home as it Stood in 1984 - A poem

The Language of Home as it Stood in 1984

“I have my own place and live there alone.
In some ways we shape each other perhaps.”

William Bronk “The House That Doesn’t House”

Our’s was a home
that gained no intimacy in winter.

While the snow outside
washed away the grammar
of the previous year's suffering,
the high ceilings
and hardwood floors
held on to the cold
we produced tightly.

Ours was a grammar
of five word sentences
and silent,
restrained gestures.

It was nothing short
of a religion,
agitated psalms falling
from the haunted attic
to the crumbling basement,
where the adopted cat lived,
making its own grammar
out of the leftovers.

What it built
was a lexicon
without a built in warning,
so, that, when the cat
sank it's teeth
into the calves
of each of our legs,
we could have taken that
as the missing signal,
but instead chose to maintain
our own places,
and send the cat packing instead.

*Note - the majority of this poem comes from a series of poems I wrote in 2001.
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Creative Writing the Dharma by nathan thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at