First one was noon, which is when the Bryn Athyn post office closes.
"Only 11 more minutes," said Maria when I gave her the envelope.
Mailed off six poems to Coal City Review.
While driving home I noticed all the American flags on our street. I'll write a poem about that, I thot.
A la Jasper Johns and his famous painting of an American flag, I painted this a couple of years ago. I had central A/C put in and needed a new fuse box. This is the door of the old fuse box upon which I painted the American flag.
Deadline was 1:30 at the Giant Coffeeshop.
I'd wrin a poem that morning about the view from my bathroom window.
Never early, I get to the Coffeeshop 11 minutes early. No one is there. But I see Jeff and his wife Wendy so I talk to them. Their 5-yo son Ethan is on a play-date.
Then Linda Barrett arrives, followed by Jovon Belcher, and Beatriz Moisset. A full house! Good people. Roll the photos and narrative, Ruthie:
Linda read a narrative poem "The Kiss that Kills." Quite good, but needs a little work so we can tell the characters apart. Uncle Thimon and his niece Ulrike. Such names!
Jovon read a nicely disturbing poem called "Nice Rude People." I am one of these nice rude people b/c I always must know where people come from. For example, the ancestors of my boyfriend Scott, a Jew like me, came from the Ukraine.
Jovon also brot w/him a 25-page short story. I began reading it, looked up, and said, "Jovon, this is really good. Where'd you learn to write like this?"
He majored in Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh, which is where his family lived at the time. At 35, he's humble, and knows he's gotta improve before he submits his work to major online journals, something I just accomplished at age 66, although when I was much younger I was published in Creative Nonfiction, my story "A Sunny Day at the SPCA." That's when I won my Leeway Grant for five grand.
Ya know what I did w/the money? Bought some Glenn Gould records and opened an account w/Vanguard. God only knows how I knew about that.
Beatriz, a biologist, will be published in a prestigious nature magazine. She showed us her editor's suggested corrections, but the editor was very pleased w/her work. Editor's new title for the article is: Beetle tests native vibernum's resilience.
The beetle larvae are destroying these b'ful shrubs.
I always print my poems on "backs." The backs I used were copies from my diabetes records, which I keep every time I test my blood.
Somehow the conversation turned to my diabetes which I got after my kidney t'plant. Jovon said his dad had a kidney t'plant 7 yrs ago!
He'd been on dialysis a year when one day a woman he knew wrote him a note on a match cover: God told me to donate my kidney to you.
It was a perfect match!
Subsequently, tho, he's had cancer since he's a heavy smoker.
His dad, Amos, was a professional pool player - like Minnesota Fats - and used to travel around the country playing in tournaments.
At group's end, Jovon began reading his exciting short story, but then I look at my watch and said I've gotta go. Scott's friend Paul was having a party of boyhood friends.
VIEW FROM THE SECOND FLOOR WINDOW
a van gogh painting certainly
buds on the backyard maple open,
pink-nippled avatars of
wonders to come,
is that baby squirrel making a nest of her own?
scrambling skyward up the prickled bark
one dead leaf at a time,
years past I have used these very same buds
to mark my progress throughout the world
- when will I finish the Compass?
- when will I be discovered?
- when will I disappear forever?
today I only ask for patience
the patience of the squirrel
the gas station manager came out
to help me
ma’am, said Bucky, may I have your
you’ve got it, Bucky, I said, feeling
like a little girl who had to go to the bathroom bad
the nest has doubled in size
she will raise her family in a nice neighborhood
coming up with daffodils and crocus
a rusted wheelbarrow beneath their tree
and all the time in the world
Dr. Stamper shoots squirrels as vermin
but here on Cowbell
we have only one
white-belly-up lying in
the middle of the road
my squirrel will teach her
FLAGS FLY HIGH ON COWBELL ROAD
rife with american flags
our long and spiraling street
overflows with flags
but not with negroes nor latinos
when they come to visit
eyes appear at windows
will she marry one?
my flag came out when
the Towers came down
black Jehovah’s witnesses
appeared at my doorway
thinking only of the
Kingdom of Heaven
I brushed them off
for a world gone wrong
my flag flies
in my aorta
pumping red and blue
throughout this mortal soul
daughter of a Marine
I shall never see again.
the flag appears immortal
but one day, it, too,
a better world than this
I cannot imagine:
but the conquerors can.