horizontal mystery ship—for Dad

HORIZONTAL MYSTERY SHIP

when you leave at seventeen
rarely home
more than two weeks at a time 
months, years and decades
can be surprisingly unreliable markers of adulthood

only once
in the summer of ‘88
a recent college grad
wide-eyed and wanderlust-fueled
my tonsils required more
I stayed a whole month

once healed, packed, and in possession of necessary visas
off to the southern hemisphere
a young pioneer 
in search adventure
and different stars

now, when visiting 
after a lifetime lived elsewhere
grey hairs visible
no matter my efforts
I find myself
sliding into a peculiar second adolescence of sorts

driving Dad’s truck 
windows down, hair blowing 
mile after mile of expansive, wild beauty 
the prairie 
a determined cellular homesteader 
forever staking a claim in my blood and bones

I want to sneak out to the bar
play Space Invaders
sadly, no longer a standard
unlike 1982
drink beer, eat junk food
and avoid the endless expectations of being a grown-up

Looking back with midlife sensibilities 
I realize
those late nights in high school
tenth grade, I believe
laser focused, playing Space Invaders
provided a surprisingly valuable education 

initials entered, quarters stacked
protect the bunkers, defeat the aliens
monitor the horizontal mystery ship with vigilance 
my peripheral vision unknowingly trained 
to notice things beyond immediate scope
bonus points pinged
while friends waited impatiently

twenty more minutes, please

under a waning August moon
only one lunar phase ago
I was still my father’s daughter
a middle-aged, South Dakota teenager
pretending time actually plays tricks
wanting desperately to disregard reality 

one more visit on the calendar
one more phone call
cheeseburger or ice cream cone 
one more evening watching
Everybody Loves Raymond
M.A.S.H. 
or Mayberry RFD

twenty more minutes, please

quarters stacked no longer
Space Invaders
the nearly forgotten teenage relic 
of a heartbroken
fifty-something
fatherless daughter

once again, 
I am protecting my bunkers
monitoring a new horizontal mystery ship
paying very close attention
to what's just beyond my immediate scope

just twenty more minutes, please

in the ruins…my love story

Print

 

 

a rigid or fluid heart? choose.

 

I don’t want half of my heart to be stone-like.

Thankfully, we always have a choice between being rigid or fluid.

 

life is choices.

When I carefully choose what I want to pay attention to, my heart swells.

When I let the world be in charge of what I should pay attention to, my heart sinks.

 

 

Thank you, Leonard Cohen.

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Anthem

by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring …

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

college, coffee, poetry & connecting

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This week my husband and I took our son to college in Milwaukee. He’s a freshman attending the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design or MIAD. Milwaukee is a great city and the local coffee shop is Colectivo Coffee. My son, Ellis has been a big coffee drinker since the age of 9—thanks to friends who own Mirabelles in Burlington, Vermont.

I just loved the aesthetic and color story of Colectivo and now have a good sense of where he’ll be hanging out with new friends. On Thursday morning, my husband Jeff and I were having breakfast at the one located on Lake Michigan. I started talking to a Timothy Kloss who was sketching and reading something very amusing at the next table. Turns out his Dad (Gerald Kloss) was a humor columnist for the Milwaukee Journal. Timothy proceeded to recite a beautiful piece his Dad had written about him when he was two about a robin being just out of his reach. Anyway, it was an interesting morning at the coffee shop and I am sure that Ellis will create many memories hanging out there too. Maybe one day he will even get to the weekly poetry/painting night Timothy hosts. Here’s all the links. Have a great Saturday!

http://do414.com/artists/poets-monday-w-host-timothy-kloss
http://slightlyhoffbeat.wordpress.com/tag/gerald-kloss/
http://www.miad.edu/
http://colectivocoffee.com/cafes/third-ward/<img

Newpaper Blackout Poems/Thank You Mark

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“I think of you once in a while, when I do these goofy little newspaper exercises. Newspaper Blackout Poems. ( More fun than crosswords!)

Heard of them? It’s an age old practice. Start with an existing text and just start blacking out words. See what you are left with.

I always say to myself, Lisa would be good at this. You just have to have your eyes open. See a trigger word that leads you to find other words that relate. See what shakes out.

What your blog is all about. Looking around for the things that connect.”

Tinker With Language

Tweaked language to be considered
for recreation.
I want to keep the entire body
open to stale-
mate.
Changes to “evaluate”
given to the pros
to develop further.
Since they will adopt
the amended sentence.

(from my friend Mark Joyce-Poet and music aficionado extraordinaire)