Sunday, May 24, 2015

Window Seat To Wonder

It’s been raining for eight days, maybe more.  Our morning yoga teacher offered the meditation: please, notice the cloudiness - then let it go.  It’s good to remember how much clouds affect the mind.  And here, maybe more.  Boulderites are used to 300 sunny days a year.  We are eight days into clouds - residents feel worry.  The woman next to me in class lives in Scotland.  She shrugs, says, “Everyday is like this.”  Another woman adds, “Yes, but this rain makes us nervous for floods.”
Rightly so, the Boulder Floods of September 2013 are fresh in mind for some.  Parts of the city are still in repair, with much evidence of the devastation around the hiking trails.  After two years, some pathways remain completely closed off.  There is evidence of post-traumatic environmental stress.  A good reminder: we are so intimate with where we are.  I left Boulder at the end of August 2013, and feel gratitude for having been able to land safely home.   I’m also lucky to be able to return, each time I gather something more.  Traveling, especially returning to places over consecutive years re-kindles my interest in psycho-environmentalism.   How place shines through, intermingles with person. 

I would describe today as a Pacific Northwest day, a foggy San Francisco moment, a non-humid Indiana summer pre-dawn (after evening storm).  It makes me feel contemplative, dreamy, like I might want to take a boat trip to a small island.  The Flatirons, regular ruddy totems, are obscured in something of a foggy blur. I don’t mind the effect on my mind, as long as I remember it won’t always be like this.  It frees my moment up to consider life past conditions, while enjoying the trip of the time.

Alas, with no boat at hand, nor waters to travel on...I content myself with a latte and window seat to wonder.
Allison - PGM

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Money is a kind of poetry" --Wallace Stevens

This quote was a poetry prompt during National Poetry Writing Month and my first reaction was, noooooo ...... but then I thought, hmmm, IF money WERE a kind of poetry, what would it be? And this is the poem that arrived:

Light verse loose change
jingles in your favorite uncle’s pocket
as he tosses quarters for ice cream
and pulls a silver dollar
out of your ear.

Working man’s ballad of company scrip,
slow beat heartbreak never get ahead
a nickel and a dime and another loaf of bread
foreman says work, union says strike
babies crying through the night

Pieces of eight for a pirate’s shout
storm shanties, drinking songs,
girls in each port, whalers and
sailors and Davy Jones’ deep,
weevils, and gunwales, and topsails.

A few new bills for a smart new verse,
something to impress city slickers,
those literary types in New Yawk,
up on the latest trends, the clubs,
martinis, Broadway bright lights.

The odd tip and free coffee at the slam,
the chance to step up and speak, say my
words, loud, straight, where people hear me
all the way to the back, and onto the street
where they come from, those words, mine.

Plastic for the postmodern,
the not quite real for the not
quite there, what it means to me
and to you and to them, who can say?
Words and balances constructed.

by Mary Pat Lynch

Monday, May 4, 2015

April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month inspired an outpouring of poetry from our community, notably from a group who participated in NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), composing poems daily using (or not using) prompts, and providing readback lines to one another on a dedicated Facebook page.  Great fun!

Here are two from Glenda, for the Poplar Grove Muse.

(Assignment: use five words or phrases borrowed from the poem, “Saying Things” by Marilyn Krysl.  My words: cashmere, harpoon, brown sugar, windmill, cosmic dust)

Cashmere and Harpoons

Who wouldn't prefer
the kiss of cashmere on skin
to a harpoon in the gut?
Who wouldn't prefer
a brown sugar morning
to bitterroot stirred into the cup?

Ah, but the windmill of life turns and spins,
throws cosmic dust this way and that—
harpoon below the belt
when cashmere felt
like it might last forever;
bitterroot in the cup of joy
when brown sugar tasted like heaven.

No need to scream: Unfair! Unfair!
What's fair anyway—in love or war,
in politics or being poor?
There's no one-size-fits-all fair:
For some, three squares
and a roof seem finer
than their wildest dreams;
for others, four mansions,
three sailboats and a private plane
seem woefully lame.

And here's the thing—
cosmic dust surely contains
as much cashmere and brown sugar
as harpoons and bitterroot.
So spin, windmill, spin!
Keep the stuff of life
in constant circulation!
Cup of joy—
enough to warrant celebration!
And, if not cashmere—
at least the kiss of flannel
soft and warm.

                                                                                                            Glenda Breeden (April 2015)

A Dozen Roses to You         (Glenda Breeden  April 2015)

Wear that Medicaid badge with pride!  
Look the receptionist, the nurse,
the doctor square in the eye!
Look me square in the eye!
No shame allowed!
No blame tolerated!
Decorate the badge, the card
with flowers and bees,
redbud trees in full bloom,
shooting stars and harvest moon!
Hang hopes and ten thousand
dreams on that card
to ward off the misguided judgment
of the better than thous.
Those who would have you bow your head,
fall on bended knees and say:
Please, please, pretty please!

Who but you can possibly know
the blow by blow
of harsh winds that have ricocheted 
your body and soul
from one government agency to the next,
from applications and oral  citations
to that fistful of IDs, utility bills
and housing confirmation required
as proof of your worth
and the worth of your kids?
Forget the skids that slid your game plan
sideways to begin with!

Or who but you can understand
the choices you've made:
To live your individual truth,
to climb your own definition of success
and lay low the status quo ladder
of oneupmanship and dog eat dog
in exchange for your own chosen work,

that personal song that sings joy to your spirit
and the heart of your home.
(Sad to say, most doctors
no longer accept poems or paintings,
sweet potatoes or rutabagas,
fresh farm eggs or homemade cookies
as barter for their needed expertise!)

No apologies please—
Freeze that frame immediately!
Name the guilt that society has spilled
on almost everyone who needs a hand up.
Stand up taller than the small minded,
refuse to let their attitude
shape your dignity and self worth,
and don't ever doubt from within or without
that the health and well being
of thee and thine
matters every bit as much as these
apple shine cheeks of me and mine!
A dozen roses to you!
For stepping up to the plate
and accepting your due,
your share of the pie—
scoop it up and taste the sweetness
of health-care provided!
And, don't forget—
wear that Medicaid badge with pride!
Chin up, shoulders back,
confidence too true to hide!
Look the powers that be square in the eye!
Look me square in the eye!
May each of us earn your respect
as surely as you have earned ours.