Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Always I Laughed

Did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? - Mary Oliver

The grass was brown, prickly against my bare feet.
I could smell summer ending and things changing inside.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed, just like my dad.

I could smell summer ending and things changing inside
the tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot,
such a quiet sound, but always I laughed just like my dad
when they squished between my callused toes.

The tiny house with the big back yard where apricots fell to rot
was a place he never lived with an overgrown field he never knew.
Apricots squished between my callused toes
and the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone.

This place he never lived, that overgrown field he never knew,
how the sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade,
the warm morning air filled with the scent of my being alone -
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.

The sunshine made me squint before reaching the shade.
Eight years old and solitude was my favorite thing;
there was a learning, just then, how to watch from a distance.



Shadow Road Quarterly - Winter 2012

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Poems I Admire #63

High School Boyfriend  
Margaret Hasse

You are hometown.
You are all my favorite places
the last summer I grew up.
Every once in a while
I write you
in my head
to ask how Vietnam
and a big name college
came between us.
We tried to stay in touch
through the long distance,
the hum and fleck of phone calls.

It was inevitable
that I should return
to the small prairie town
and find you
pumping gas, driving a truck, measuring lumber,
and we'd exchange
weather talk,
never able to break through words
and time to say simply:
"Are you as happy
as I wanted you to be?"

And still I am stirred
by musky cigarette smoke
on a man's brown suede jacket.
Never having admitted the tenderness
of your hands, I feel them now
through my skin.
Parking on breezy nights,
in cars, floating passageways,
we are tongue and tongue like warm cucumbers.
I would walk backwards
along far country roads
through late evenings cool as moving water,
heavy as red beer,
to climb into that August.

In the dark lovers' lanes
you touched my face
and found me here.



Margaret Hasse, originally from South Dakota, is author of five collections of poetry: Between Us, Earth’s Appetite, Milk and Tides, In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling, and Stars Above, Stars Below. “High School Boyfriend” appeared in Hasse’s first book of poetry, Stars Above, Stars Below, which won the Minnesota Voices competition 1984 and was published by New Rivers Press. In 2018, the book was acquired and brought back into print by Nodin Press. According to poet Athena Kildegaard, "Attitudes and preoccupations that Hasse returns to again and again in Stars Above, Stars Below include delight in sensual experience, understanding of life’s fragility, appreciation for the largess of memory, and rapt engagement with the natural world, especially the prairies and lakes of the Midwest.” Hasse has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, The Loft McKnight Award, first place awards from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and Minnesota State Arts Board grants. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she is active in the area’s poetry community, teaching, editing, and volunteering, including as a board member for Rain Taxi, publisher of the Rain Taxi Review of books. 

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/margaret-hasse

https://www.writersalmanac.org/index.html%3Fp=9170.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Debonair

Darlin', my name is
Earl and you sizzle my
bacon. How's about you sidle
on over here onto ol' Earl's knee.
Now, don't go playin' shy. Earl
ain't gonna bite ya. No ma'am,
I's taught to treat my little fillies with
respect.



Boston Literary Magazine - December 2012

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Galleywinter #24 - Don Colburn

Mockingbirds

Don’t need a song, the overheard
will do. Rusty gate, teakettle,
alley cat, tree frog, tufted titmouse,
the blue jay’s jeer and pump handle —
all part of the mocker’s repertoire.
One in Massachusetts was said to sound
like three dozen other birds
besides himself. Yet so territorial
they will attack their own image
in a window pane or a hubcap.
A pair have nested in the holly tree,
three eggs, chicks now, three
grotesque yellow mouths
widening as their mother arrives,
a grasshopper dangling green from her bill.
All fuzz and beak, the little ones
haven’t learned to mimic the rest
of the world, or even listen.
They push out their unfledged
thin insistent artless peeps
all in a row, the pitch so perfect
you wish for a little street talk.


Don Colburn is a poet and retired newspaper reporter in Portland, Oregon. He has published four poetry collections. A fifth one, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts, won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers chapbook contest and is due out in March, 2019, from Main Street Rag press. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and won the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Finishing Line Press Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. During his newspaper career, he was a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.