Original Poem 10: As I Bathe

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I wrote this poem in trochaic tetrameter catalectic form (or headless iambic tetrameter), but the second stanza accidentally became trochaic tetrameter.

As I Bathe

I, a quarter century young,
bathe one night ’til hands are prunes,
pink and rough like kitten tongues,
roses dry and dead in June.

I, a quarter century young,
rinse mascara from my lashes,
brittle, black strokes coming undone,
floating specks, drifting ashes.

I, a quarter century old,
gaze anew at faux aged hands.
Leathered flesh the future holds.
Fast falling seem the hourglass sands.

January 2014

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Original Poem 9: Untitled

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there is a campfire
surrounded by bodies embraced
by the night’s touch of country air
there is a girl
who shivers in her cotton
warmed by light embers
there is a man sitting on a stump
who recalls cutting down
the burning wood with his son
there is a tree
standing no more than nine feet away
from the fate it has escaped
it hears its brother cackling in the flames
laughing, as the sparks tickle its bark
there is a proud little boy
egging on the fire
supervising its existence
there is a bucket of water
waiting patiently
to dampen the skin and calm the laughter

2006

Original Poem 8: A Sale Rep’s Dream

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A Sale Rep’s Dream

Why hello! How splendid
To see you today,
Such a lovely young couple
With a wedding on the way!

Step right up, step right up,
Grab a clicker and go
To the kitchen and home goods,
They’re just down below.

Before you get started,
I would highly suggest
That you enroll in rewards
For your own interest!

You get ten percent off,
Fifty dollars right back,
I’ll throw in this tote bag
As a matter of fact!

And, wait, there’s more,
A coupon book you can’t beat,
Free newsletters weekly,
And Frango mint treats!

And—oh, okay thank you!—
Sign right on the line
And you’ll be a rewards member
In less than no time.

Now head down the stairs,
You’ve got no time to lose,
Happy shopping!
We will… and thanks for the schmooze.

Right this way! Right this way!
We’ve got sales galore,
Five reps in each section,
You’re at the right store!

Michael Sharp will assist you
With cutlery selections—
Oh certainly! Shall I show you
our finest collections?

You don’t want the standard,
They dull rather fast,
But I guarantee the four hundred
Dollar ones last.

Now I’m guessing you’ll agree
That your new kitchen pots
Should forever be free
Of suds stains and spots?

Then All-Clad’s your brand.
(And never mind the price,
It’s your chance to splurge,
So take my advice!)

How many guests are you having?
Oh! You’ve plenty more room
To add a deluxe,
Turbo, cyclone vacuum

With multi-filtration and
Dual edge cleaning
Sure to tackle all cat hairs
And leave your floors gleaming!

Why excuse me, miss
I notice you glancing
At espresso machines,
No need for financing!

Nineteen bars of pressure,
You wouldn’t want less,
The frother works wonders,
It’s sure to impress.

The flavors are fresh
And you’ll just love the foam,
The auto off ensures
Not to burn down your home!

It’s the perfect gift,
And it sells in two pieces—
Beep, beep—Oh, you’ll love it!
The registry increases.

That’s when the groom
Pulled his to-be aside
From the café chat
He was made to abide.

You’re taking that off.
What! Why can’t it stay?
Because it’s only for you
And I want some say.

Well, okay! Take your pick
Of rotisserie ovens,
Grilling utensils,
Beer mugs there are dozens!

If there’s something you want
Let’s go on and add it!
But let’s keep the espresso,
I truly must have it.

Alright, fine I’ll allow it,
But here is the deal,
I get head scratches at night
Any time that I feel.

Now on to bedding,
Where couples peruse,
And the number of rings
To be seen can amuse

I’d advise the lovesick
Or souls broken-hearted
To avoid these aisles
And leave them uncharted.

Two memory foam pillows,
They feel just like heaven,
No need for a pitch, now
The choice is unleavened.

The couple is buttered,
Stick of power in their hands,
Then swifter than a Kitchen
Aid mixer it scans.

There’s a crystal decanter
Fit for fine bourbon,
An area rug
That’s really quite urban,

A pair of Kate Spade
Old-fashioned glasses,
A cheese board with knives
That nothing surpasses!

And those linens, these plates,
Two sets of Oneida,
What else could we need?
That’s when he eyed us.

I see that you’ve picked
Out a wonderful assortment
Well done, you are pros!
He said with comportment.

Now with your guest list
And our recommendation
You are half way finished
With your registration!

Half way?! Are you sure?
Why, we just won’t have room!
We’re in an apartment
You see, said the groom.

Not a problem! Don’t you worry!
Just take the next step!
I’ll put you in touch
With my real estate rep!

Well okay, I guess
We can give her a call…
And the couple was moved in
The very next fall.

And that’s how it works
This elaborate scheme.
An engagement is truly
A sale rep’s dream.

Love on the Mind

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I’d have thought winter break would have been a great time for me to write, but wedding planning ended up consuming a lot of my time. I am working on a satirical poem based on wedding registry experiences this break. I hope to have it finished tomorrow so that I can post it. I’ve been behind on writing my own poems and want to get back on track!

In the meantime, love has been on my mind as the clock ticks down to my own wedding this summer. A few weeks ago, I found a book in a second-hand store (Brown Elephant, Oak Park) called Wedding Reading: Centuries of Writing and Rituals for Love and Marriage. After a first read, there were a few poems that I marked as possible readings for our ceremony, but nothing really called to me. However, a second read of one of the poems has changed my opinion. The poem is called Sonnet XIV by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese. First, I love that it’s a sonnet; second, I love the message behind the poem. I’m hoping we can use this for a reading because it’s quite lovely.

Sonnet XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
“I love her for her smile–her look–her way
Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”–
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,–
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayest love on, through love’s eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning