Thanks Giving

Friends and family leave words on screens
            and phone lines,
dropping voices and laughter like
            golden pendants rippling
across the surface of my morning.
Bookends of baking--pies first and the turkey last--
           include potatoes, The Green Bean Casserole
           and sweet potatoes in between.
Chimes outside echo on the warm wind
           of a rare November day,
           breezes rustling the nearly empty branches
           like the rushing of waves on a far away summer shore.
Thanksgiving isn't a 30 second infomercial to fulfill
           the Adult Daily Requirements of finding joy
but rather a dayfull of listening and looking then
           raising heartsong Heavenwards
           towards the lifelong-loving Creator God
who gives us daily more reasons to be thankful.
Linking for the first time in a long time with the community of thankful people at Dverse Poets. 
Join us?

Poetry 101--Mischief Cafe

The second week of November I had the pleasure of hosting a complete stranger in my home, the diminuitive L.L. Barkat, a woman with a contagious laugh, a love of poetry and instigator of the Mischief Cafe--sort of a traveling road show with tea, toast and poetry. Laura is the curator of Tweetspeak Poetry, a website dedicated to bringing the beauty and wonder of poetry out of the ivory towers and down to the rest of us. The idea for a traveling cafe came from a Facebook conversation which morphed (156 comments later) into a book, complete with found poems, blank pages--for the writer--and poetry prompts as well. The blank pages are my favorite. You can read more about Mischief Cafe's origins here.)
With an event like a Mischief Café happening right in your own home (well, my kitchen,too) one would expect laughter.  Even if the guests included (almost) complete strangers whom you’d actually never met in real life.

So, with a feather boa and my Mischief Café volume handy, I was looking forward to some fun. We were duly rewarded. There were some uproarious guffaws from a couple of guests (I’m not naming names) as publishing stories were shared and hearts were bared.

While I expected a congenial time (I enjoy having guests in my home—even if they’re—ahem, an hour and a half early) but the ease with which said total strangers made themselves at home was a gift and a surprise.

Laura (L.L.) and I had time to cover ground in person that we'd only typed out between us. Our conversation was like that between old friends, friends I knew well but hadn’t seen in a long while. Friends who shared a love of poetry and writing and mischief (oh, and tea).
photo by LL Barkat, 
(l to r) Laura Smedley, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, moi, Jennifer Wagner (Poet Laundry)

And we had tea….with cinnamon toast, buttered very liberally by L.L. She made herself completely at home in my kitchen and chatted as if we’d been doing it all our lives.
That was a blessed surprise.

Kimberlee stole my feather boa...Jennifer and Laura smiling,
LL being elusive

I was also surprised to be intrigued rather than repelled (as I was on my first read) by the form and sound of a sestina.  As L.L. read aloud one of her poems, I found myself listening to the words as they looped through the air, trailing each other in conjoined phrases, like links in a chain holding a golden key at the end.  I felt like the puzzle of the form had been unlocked as I listened.

I was left feeling I might actually try to write one soon.

See what fun reading out loud and cinnamon toast with tea can get you?
And now the Poetry 101 Part:
Below is a graphic of a sestina.........which illustrates the sound of Laura's voice reading a selection from her book 'Love, Etc.' the poem, 'Petit a Petit L'oiseau fait son nid'

If you'd like to know more about Tweetspeak Poetry or how to order your copy of 'Mischief Cafe', click here.

Timber over Time

Building a marriage is
timber over time,
the on purpose-ness
of candles on the table
on a run-of-the-mill
Saturday night
illuminating the daily
gift that says,
"I made something for you."

It's a pile of firewood
carried through the cold,
banked against the night's chill.
Opera music, loud on the stereo
while dinner cools
and the shower runs.
It's thoughtful intentions
stringing together all the todays,
prepared for all the tomorrows
when we can no longer
light the candles
carry the wood
or hear the music
but the love is still there
strong and tall as those
trees blowing outside
in the night.

Waiting Room

I wanted to write like Annie Dillard
not here
in the middle of this 
city/suburbs life.
Leave the concrete and
multiplying cars
with their inhuman noises,
seek a vista, a vale
of color and light,
to inspire and bring forth
words like a flowing brook
across quiet pebbles.
But I'm here in the hum,
surprised to be A Writer
in spite of my days of
down-to-earth distractions.

Every time I want to run away
to Another Perfect Place
the words follow me
like a homing pigeon
dropping his message 
like crumbs at my feet
where my life has
been all along.
"He who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life....will find it."  
Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke

An Ode to my Cold

My cough appears each hour
with the annoying regularity 
of a political ad.
Its persistence is wearing me down.
The election is over, 
the advertisements are gone.
No more enduring the monotony
of a grating sound
I do not want to hear.
(did I tell you I have a cough?)

I did my part--voted the best I could--
made my wishes known.
But I'm wondering,
is there a ballot for
Ailments, Cold-Related?
A choice to Maintain or Repeal.
I vote for Repeal.

Can I borrow your pen?