Figuring Out the Downhill

Posted April 16, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,


Figuring Out the Downhill

She was stranded
at the side of the slope, blonde hair straining
from her cap, dark roots no anchor
in this white; a novice slope, but steep here
for a novice.

I thought I understood, being a novice too,
what it was to not bear
to aim your skis downhill one more time, not even
for the space of the turn,
but her children had gone ahead, she said–

Eyes like snow glistening only
circled grey,
face made up
to keep up,
and how’d she’d arranged this trip,
she said, wanting them to have
a good time–

My husband saying, you want some help?
and they’ll be okay, seeing how stranded
the woman’s face was
beneath her cap.

(He knew how I was too
skiing, you know, about speed
and letting go–)

They were from New Jersey, she said,
and that her husband
had been a trader, Cantor Fitzgerald–

And this being New York and late December 2002,
we did not breathe
for a while after she said that,
not even the fir trees breathed,
not even the leaveless deciduous–she was almost
in the woods–
only the other skiers whooshed
for they had not heard her, and she shuddered
as they swang past, and
all they found, she said, was his hand,
so lucky, truly, something, DNA,
to bury–

And he said–my own husband–here,
reaching out his glove, and all you need
right now
is just to get to the other side,
and he gestured
towards the white blank space beside us–hardly even going down
at all, or just a little–

and can you do that?
While I just wanted
to sit and weep, only I’d
fallen once already, and knew how hard it was
to get up again
on skis–

And anyway this story
is not about me–

He skied backwards slowly–
arms outstretched, you’re doing

While I made myself take the slope on my own,
knowing it was only for a few minutes,
which made it possible.

At the bottom, the incline tapered,
broadened, so that even a novice
could feel in control, so that even a novice
would feel like they might try it
again, the sun shining in that blinding expanse
like glass—


I know I say everything is a draft poem, but this really is. But it’s April, so if you are trying to do a poem a day, you have to settle for what you do that day. I am so sorry not to return comments for a couple of days, but I expect to be considerably freer tomorrow. Thanks for your kindness.

Process notes: for non-New Yorkers–Cantor Fitzgerald was a trading/brokerage firm whose offices were in the World Trade Center. Many many of the employees at work on 9/11 died due to the location of the offices towards the top of the WTC.

Ps I am sorry for sentimentality of pic and possibly piece.

In a Fog In the Quiet Car

Posted April 15, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,


In a Fog In the Quiet Car

There was a train that sliced the fog
all of a misty morning.
Nice enough ’till came a dame
who reeked of ignored warning.

I’m talking of the notices
siding packets of cigarettes,
the movements of her jacket
could have advertised nicorettes.

After folding sleeves and torso,
their fabric wafting smell,
she stowed them in the overhead
with another bag or two as well.

About her, the train car rustled
as others did not inhale,
but no complaint was uttered,
gasping silence did prevail.

This was, after all, the Quiet Car–
quiet lets one stop and think–
how much worse for the blow-haired woman
who generated smoky stink.

The stink of Camels stubbed for years,
ash trays left in the damp–
true rain now hid behind the fog,
water staining station’s ramp.

Her chin stuck out defiant,
though her rooted head was bowed–
I can’t speak for the compartment
but my heart at least was moved.

Thinking of lonely nights alone,
and also of lone nights shared–
perhaps a glowing butt would help
(I wasn’t joking, I sweared.)

If only the lady’s overflow
and her reeking jacket too
weren’t sitting right above my head
radiating a habit of two–

Two packs at least each single day,
Oh boy, I felt a lout.
So, the woman had a problem,
who was I to shout?

Especially in the Quiet Car,
how dare I throw a stone–
Me, beside my glass window
with bad habits of my own.

So, I took my shoes off the train seat–
(I fear I often squat–
I find it relieves my back–
though the conductors tell me not.)

Tried too to settle my stomach,
we were almost at Yonkers now,
let go the tightness in my chest–
just had to breathe somehow.

The rest of the car stayed quiet
as if no drama had taken place.
Outside the fog had lifted,
plain grey filled in its space.
Here’s very much a draft poem for the 15th of April, a ballad for the wonderful Kay Davie’s prompt on With Real Toads. I don’t know if it’s really a ballad, all that happens being quite ethereal–  And I really don’t mean it to sound nasty–Sorry to any smokers out there!  I have nothing but sympathy, given what a hard habit it is to quit.

PS – sorry it’s so long!

And I thought speech was supposed to be free–

Posted April 14, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , , ,


And I thought speech was supposed to be free–

The old bromide
“put your money where
your mouth is,” implied, truly,
that money didn’t have
a mouth.

But now, money’s speech and,
if corporations are people, my friend,
they cannot be expected to utter sibilants
with lips rather than wires.

The problem is–
one problem is–
when money talks,
it rarely speaks
in two-cent increments.
its vowels aren’t open
and the only latin that it knows
besides E Pluribus Unum (Citizens United)
is quid pro quo.
(Even if the Court
refuses to say so.)

Take, for instance, how money has been put
where our mouths are,
passing laws outlawing
the sight of meat meeting
its end (money’s ends),
the odds and ends
of mistreatment — let’s
not let venality
go viral–

But blood will out
no matter how they damn
the spot,
for we are not
dumb animals.



Here’s a poem for the 14th (?) day of April  (I am tired!)  I will probably link to Open Link NIght on With Real Toads

Process Notes, especially for non-U.S. persons–our Supreme Court has had a couple of decisions overturning campaign finance laws based upon the idea that money is speech and that First Amendment (free speech) rights prohibit the limitation of campaign contributions.  They have denied the idea that large campaign contributions give even the appearance of  undue influence unless there is a direct favor purchased, i.e.  quid pro quo.  

P.S.  The cows above have, I think, a pretty decent unfactory-farmed life, but I happened to have taken their pictures, so am using them here. 

The Impatience of the Lonely Heart

Posted April 13, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , ,


The Impatience of the Lonely Heart

I hear the wind and mistake it for
your car.
So, my heart hears.
There’s a child lives within it
who waits for you to come
to pick her up,
to take her home.

All life long has been
her after school.
You’re very late.
She confuses others
with her impatience.
They don’t understand what it is
to wait a lifetime.

Beside me now is a pond
where Spring springs.
Frogs cluck like submerged ducks
intent on you know what.
The water speculates in blue diamonds
like the Hope.
The sun works hard to warm away
the brown.
All, on this bright day,
take the dare
of rebirth.

But the heart is not like earth
that can be turned
for renewal;
and when the wind blows
from the South,
the child who inhabits
that strongest of muscles
twists to look for
your car,
even though she surely knows
that vehicle and all its parts
were long ago consigned
to scrap.

A sad draftish poem for the 13th day of April, National Poetry Month, written for Grace’s prompt on With Real Toads to write in an unusual way about routine. I’m not sure this fits, but I don’t think I will manage another poem today! (Ha.)

Process notes–the Hope Diamond is, I believe, the largest blue diamond known in the world.

Finally, this picture doesn’t really fit the piece, but I took the pic today! And kind of like it.

A Room In A Cliff

Posted April 12, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: children's illustration, poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,



A Room In a Cliff

There was a young boy with a room in a cliff–
so much better than having a moat.
He could climb a ladder right down to a skiff–
a submarine was his favorite boat.

In his sub, he explored the deep ocean floor,
where octopi (at least two octopus)
once banged their suction cups on his door,
and howled, “won’t you come play with us.”

But that boy, who had a room in a cliff–
he knew quite a bit of the sea,
and though the octis’ howls scared him stiff,
he smiled so they would not see–

But the octupi were giant—in fact, squid–
out the porthole the boy took peeks,
and he counted ten, ten, tentacles amid
rubbery ravenous beaks.

He motioned with hands though he had but two
that some other time he would play,
but just that minute he had else to do
like underwater dragons to slay.

There was also his best pet whale to feed–
He signed the word “balleen” with his tongue–
T’was a signal the squids somehow could read
with the sea-creaking song he sung.

Of a sudden the sub began to spin–
for one squid really loved to play cricket–
It was not a game the boy could win–
he felt stuck in a seaweedy wicket.

But when the sub spun, it also flew
high above the ocean’s dark floor,
for that squid was a batsquid through and though,
now no tentacles knocked at the door.

The boy kept to the surface heading home,
opening the hatch to catch sun;
A whale swam close by so he wasn’t alone.
(A nice whale, though not his pet one.)

At the cliff, he climbed back to his laddered room,
after battening with care the hatch lid,
climbed right through the window where nightly the moon
brightened seas inked with games of the squid.

Here’s a draft children’s poem for the 12th day of National Poetry Month and also for Margaret Bednar’s prompt on With Real Toads to write something in a child’s voice (or for children).   Margaret gave a selection of children’s drawings, but I was thinking of some of the drawings of my nephews, which seemed often to feature submarines and cliff houses.  I’ve tried to recreate one, but it turned out to have an elephant.

Squid actually have eight legs and two tentacles–ten extensions in all–but I didn’t realize their biology until right before posting, so I fudged it a bit.


Posted April 11, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,



Wisteria is what I feel
when wistfulness, steamed and congealed,
clusters in its grape-bunched flowers
redolent of bygone hours–
times life was pink (or lavender)
and certainty sure provender–
like clover for the honey bee,
my future then so matched to me.

But on time’s wingéd chariot
came self-doubt with a lariat
lassoing me with slipknot noose
never truly letting loose;
the blossoms that once seemed so pink
turned filmy in the kitchen sink;
the lavender that paled the buds
washed paler still in wilted suds.

Now, when the horses that keep guard
of the wingéd chariot’s yard
o’errun the gate, tromp down the hay,
let acceptance sneak a holiday–
oh, then, wisteria flowers afresh
perfuming with sweet bitter breath,
and I regret and I reform
until those horses fly me home.


Here’s a very strange poem for the 11th day of National Poetry Month and Hannah’s prompt on With Real Toads about Wisteria. Neither of the above or below pics is truly of wisteria!  (But maybe close enough!)



Leaf Sail

Posted April 10, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,


Leaf Sail

They tried to sail a sea of fallen leaves
as if they could assail leave-taking
by keeping to dry ground.

For if their keel were only raking
earth, they thought,
at least they could be safe
from any drown.

But the leaves they sailed–they waved
as if still limbed,
their wrinkles crescents
of a misguiding moon–

and soon the winding tides
took the voyagers to a dark salt place
where all they craved
was the swoon

of willows, anything but
the slap of crumble at
their prow, the chap
of spoil.

For a sea of fallen leaves
is a sea of the fallen–
how they now longed to leave
that buried soil.

Agh. This is very much a draft poem for the tenth day of National Poetry Month, posted for Hedge Witch’s prompt on Odilon Redon for With Real Toads —  The above is a painting by Redon called Boat in Moonlight.

This poem has been edited a couple of times since posting, once in Grand Central Station! The line I am having trouble with is the crescents line– whether it should just read “crinkled crescents.” Something like that.


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