2 poems to vanquish a cold April

Plotting a memory

I lay on the grass thick with summer.
I watched the wall of trees lush
and dark with sun shadows. I stared
hard so to emblazon the green
on my sight, to have the memory in March
when they are naked, to not forget
what they can become again.

the nap

I lay on the grass thick with summer.

After turning a few pages,
I let go into the sleep that came
up from the Earth, dark
and full of people.

I surfaced for a moment,
roused by my own snore,

then plunged again
into darkness of dreams…

gone as it were

I came paddling out
softly, refreshed,
back to the sun
and the tree line.

The Western lonesomeness of night in wide open spaces

The Saguaro won’t save her. Neither will a man,
only the no man’s land clay on her skin.

Lay bare breasted on the earth.

A tree stands skeletal, wanting against
the blue that is blackened, the blue
that sharps a cry in her heart.
Wilderness consumes her peace, darkness
moons over her pale light.

Take the dried leaves for comfort’s nest.

Her fingers rake the barren soil. She knows
this vessel. So much sky and not a drop
to drink, no soul for miles. Here
she can stretch out,
here, she shrinks.

Stay on the ground till your hum is in tune
with the sigh of Earth.

She she she
she she she

A meditation

Here where the bricks meet me in a straight line
Here where the bricks are cut by a leaning box
Here the box is as bright white as the window orchids,
they extend in poised rolling arches

Here in the window
the plants are a long ago green

Here the noon light enters soft yet
Here my bowl holds the silver spoon
and a small brown puddle

Here I think only of here
and the tea on the counter
I will drink soon

An Encounter in Astoria

On the sidewalk
a baby lets go
of his father’s hand

to turn to wave at her
frantically, unsteady
on his little legs,

She, all of 43,
turns back
to grin at him,
and blows a kiss
like any good


Writing is one of the things
I put off behind to-do lists.
And so, today,
in an act of rebellion,
I write,
with my to-do list off to the side.

I write right now
in my smelly kitchen-
something, somewhere is decomposing
and I will find it
on my to-do list.

Right now the snow storm
we’ve been waiting for
is doing it’s best work-
flinging flakes down at a rate
I can’t clock but looks dead-weight
fast, until they slow and spiral
and it’s mesmerizing.

I won’t feel anxious
about not writing.
that guilt I reserve for what I value most-
my family and my art, both
groups neglected to a degree,
a liberal degree, because
I hide behind to-do lists.

this day is already racing by
like the snow streaking the window.

25 years

My dad is buried in Ridgeland, SC,
The same place I was conceived.
It felt significant to be alive
when I turned 43.

We’ve lived more years with out him,
my sisters, brothers and me.
I got more than 19 years,
the youngers have fewer memories.

For my part, I got fishing tales,
beach days,
learning to swim frantically,
battered paperbacks from the linen closet,
pork chops from the tiny grill
he could pull his lawn chair up to.
Valentine’s cards,
a coral ring from business travels.
Rock n roll records,
’80s pop on the radio in the sedan,
nothing fancy.
My questions of politics
and philosophy answered

There are no pictures of him past his prime,
he wasn’t there for them.
I’ve missed him, but haven’t
wanted to chat more than I do today.

brought home some babies

I brought home some babies, little green ones;
biked down Fort Hamilton, chose them carefully
and lovingly packed them home. My babies
are wee ones- chartreuse, striated forest and jade,
spectacular, succulent, reaching pointy fingers
to the sky and already showing tiny teeth.
They don’t poop or cry, but that’s okay.
Our hopes are high, in the sunny window sill
they’ll grow and make themselves at home.

morning tea

8 a.m. the burner ignites under the tea kettle.  I locate

the white tea cup for the day, then shuffle through boxes

of teas, as I consider my liver, my energy level, toxins

or mineral stores.  I ask my belly what feels right.

Tulsi, turmeric, dandelion root, nettle leaf?

In winter, it’s spices, warmth and comfort.  Summer,

hibiscus, rose and honey.  Sometimes, I need

licorice, chamomile, lavender, gentle.

Regardless the type, 8 a.m. the burner ignites under

the tea kettle.


an orphan’s grief, obsidian
the force of will, obsidian
the seed of my heart, obsidian
cool and sharp, obsidian
bitter still, obsidian
the child’s thief, obsidian

(obsidian, from You Bring out the Mexican In Me by Sandra Cisneros)

Returning to Florida

Now I know
the reason why
I came to stay
in this place.
One easy look
at the open sky,
so clean and blue,
such perfect space;
With colors and shapes
that calm my mind
and allay
my restless heart.
I don’t know how
for all this time
we have so long
been apart.

-EJP, 2000

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