Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Mind Went A'Wandering

Published in The Alogonquin (Spring 1998, Volume 4, Number 1)

Across the space
                                                  you sit

spread kneed, jeans pulled tight
into vectored angles.
my eyes explore the denim and
my mind goes a'wandering
zippered paths whose teath
feel cold against mine.
                                                  Your tongue
forms questions and mine
responds in answeres innocent
                                                  We talk
of things past and present,
then you lean back
                                                  hands behind head
and my mind goes a'wandering
through a tangle of sheets, of hair
                                                  of limbs
sweat soaked, entwined.
Reality, rent
I return to tenses present
and from behind veiled eyes say

The Misadventures of Jack Randall

I have written this collection of short stories about my father-in-law (a rather stout man as you shall later see). The events contained in these stories are all true

Jack and The Picnic Table

            Dawn, the moment between slumbering and awakening, the moment when time taps with quiet insistence upon eyelids as if begging them to open That is the moment when most of us fall blissfully back to sleep, feigning indifference to those gentle taps. But not Jack Randall.
             No, Jack is up before dawn insisting that the sun arise because he is ready for it to do so. Unlike the rest of us, the sun ignores him, but only because it is too far away for him to pummel it into submission. If it were 10 feet closer, it too would listen, if only to get him to shut up.
            Jack heaves himself out of bed (Jack is 350 lbs. this requires a considerable amount of heaving), places his bare feet upon the carpeted floor and stomps into the bathroom for a shower, shave and a shit His wife, Karen, remains asleep, truly asleep, not pretend asleep as most of us would do in her place How does she continue to sleep with Jack rumbling, mumbling and stomping around at 4:00 a.m.? Why the same way she sleeps through his 9.5 on the rector scale snoring Karen is a smart woman, she wears earplugs to bed.

            After his morning ablutions are complete, Jack dons his bib overalls, his favorite pair of bibs in fact.  Why is this particular pair of bibs his favorite?  Simply put, they are the only ones that still fit him. Jack grabs his shoes from the floor, and sits on the bed to put them on. Amazingly his wife Karen remains asleep. After more stomping, mumbling, coughing and cursing, Jack is out the door. He climbs into the Dodge pickup parked in the garage, fires the engine, opens the garage door and is now free to do as he damn well pleases.
            By the time he reaches the end of the lane and turns onto the road, the sun emerges. Jack responds to it by saying “About damn time you got up you bastard”. Driving with purpose, Jack is on his way to the second most important part of his day (the first being popping the tab on a cold beer). It’s now time for the men to gather at the picnic table in town, the one reserved only for those gentleman who have lived long enough to earn the right to tell everybody else what to do. It is here, at this picnic table in the park where the first of three breakfasts are consumed, when politics are discussed, gossip is exchanged and the world is turned aright.

            Arriving exactly at 5:30 Jack approaches the picnic table. None of the other men are there as of yet. This is both puzzling and annoying to Jack, because for the second time this day, something has caused him to wait (the damn sun being the first). Jack grumbles, coughs, scratches, complains then hitches up his overalls as he prepares to lower himself onto the end of the picnic table. Clearly, Jack has not thought this through, he does not yet realize that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

            When 350 pounds of Jack Randall, descends upon the farthest most end of the picnic table, the other end (as it is not bolted to the ground) flips over 180 degrees, pinning Jack beneath it. The first thought that enters Jacks head is not “Holy crap, I’m trapped underneath a picnic table” rather it is, “Where the hell are those bastards, they’re late” Jack remains unconcerned about his predicament, after all this is not the first time that he has found himself in a situation that would scare most of us shitless  No, Jack knows in the very core of his being that eventually everything will turn out all right. Jack has a great deal of experience with calling deaths bluff while holding only a pair of deuces.

            As fate would have it, (fate has a way of responding to Jacks wishes, as unlike the sun it is close by) his friends arrive. After some not so stifled laughing, the picnic table is lifted. Does Jack respond by saying “Thanks guys, you really saved my life” No, Jack simply says  “Why are you all late?” and “Did any of you pecker heads bring coffee?”


I composed this piece in Spanish, as that is how it came to me. The syntax of the language, with poetry inherent, lent itself to the images I was trying to capture

 I hold a doctoral degree in science and my area of specialty is wildlife biology and population genetics. This poem desribes the brutal, yet elegant relationship that exists between predator and prey animals. The evening before I wrote this poem, I saw a great horned owl take a rabbit. Enough said.


Published in The Algonquin,  (Spring 1998, Volume 1, Number 4)

Atravieso este desierto de nieve,
dejando huellas de luz encharcada; mi
paso solo un susurro
como entre amantes,
Un aro de árboles se levanta
en súplica a una luna embaazada
hinchada con la noche,
Como si conjuado, tú apaecieses de
donde la necesidad aúlla:
                                                                  ¿Te inventé?
Memorizada, tu forma; perfección
passada, alma seca, como agua

                                                                        te bebo,
El latido en tu garganta, su vibración
confunde mis sentidos,

más que por la distancia, por la
esencia, por el significado;

                                                                        si pudiera ser tú.
Eres mi depradador, yo tu presa,

                                                                        Tu carne,
El tiempo parpadea, una pausa, una
extensión de alas, el ave de rapiña asciende,
¡Corre! ¡Huye!

                                                                        sensate perdida,
Una sinfonia de dolor, un crujir de hueso,
Un arranque de tendón;

                                                                        agonia exquisita,
salvaje dolor,
Mi sangra besa la tiera,

                                                                        una flor virgen
se abre roja contra una sábana blanca,
Carne en carne, la eternidad termina,

                                                                        Por fin
me conces.

Translation from Spanish to English

I cross this desert snow, leaving
prints of puddled light; my passing
only a whisper

as between lovers.
A ring of trees stand,

in supplication to a moon, pregnant
swollen with night.

As if conjured, you appear from a place
of howling need;

                                                                       Did I invent you?
Memorized, your form; perfection
perched, soul parched, like water

                                                                       I drink you.
The pulse-beat at your throat, its
vibration confounds my senses.

by more than distance, by essence, by

                                                                       I feel you.

You are my predator, I your prey,
                                                                       your meat.
Time blinks, a pause, a spread of
wings, the raptor ascends.

                                                                       Sanity misplaced.
A symphony of pain, a crushing of bone,
tearing of sinew;

                                                                       exquisite agony,

savage ache.
Blood kisses the ground,

                                                                       a virgin flower
blossoms red against a sheet of white
Flesh into flesh, eternities end

                                                                       At last
as one.

Before Jazz

This poem is dedicated to my husband.  It is a reflection of the time we spent alone together before the birth of our daughter whose name is Jazz.

Sepia memories edgewise slip
past days piled high
like laundry into years.

Before Jazz, you,
with your Flamingo smile
proposed a marriage consummate with myth
and nodding mounted my assent.

In days early
while sleeping late,
time in limbo waited
among a detritus of desire,
entangled we lay

Your tongue cuneiform traced
against sibilant skin
and with patterns cunning
wove a life.

With reptilian need,
we clutched flingertips
callused from too much play
and spent ouselves in time.