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Intimations of Mortality

January 5, 2017

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Walking to the coffeeshop,
with my glasses off,
I stumble and fall.

Falling asleep with my glasses on,
I dream of empty coffins,
and watches.

Reading emailed obituaries
sent by old acquaintances
I hit “Delete”

before I’m finished.

 

 

My Trickster Silver Shoes

December 24, 2016

Silver shoes
My Trickster Silver Shoes
I saw a picture, and I searched
And found, on sale,

My silver trickster shoes.

Beautiful on, my silver shoes,
But when I walked, they slipped and rubbed,

My painful silver shoes.

I took them off and gave them to
A friend with sturdier feet,

My poor-fitting silver shoes.

One early morning in my closet
I saw again the silver shoes,

My absent silver shoes.

A dream, a phantasm,
A joke, a delusion,

My trickster silver shoes.

Things Change

December 19, 2016

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Things Change

The name I used to murmur in delight
Now I sob over in the night.
Things change.

The woman I used to find so annoying
Now I watch, envious and admiring
Things change.

The work I loved and did so well
I’ve left behind; I lost the joy.
Things change.

The fear I carried so long and deep
I look at now and no longer weep.

Things change.

Hagland

December 8, 2016

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The crone arrives like an undesired lover
leaving
the shape of my body
mutating.

Like an adolescent girl, I sense
changes
within:
unsought losses, unclear gifts.

I rage and sleep,
weep unwillingly,
demand more,
desire less.

There are no fairy tales here,
no promise of princes and beautiful gowns,
only
the crone’s belly
and a different cloak of invisibility.

1997

November – A Poem About the School Year

November 29, 2016

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I spent most of my life living the rhythms of the school year. November was always difficult. Here’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago when I was still teaching.

November in School

In November, everything crashes –
files are lost,
cars slide into each other,
suiciding squirrels shut down generators
and I
am late for school.

In November, people weep –
assignments fail,
teachers and students snarl,
work done is less than hoped,
and more,
much more, is required.

In November, we fear –
even if Christmas ever comes,
even if spring only hides behind
the winter we have to endure,
we have lost
whatever we came here to find.

Bleak Joy

November 22, 2016

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a tangle of bare, black branches
against a cloud-curdled sky:
bleak joy.

Soldier Susan

November 12, 2016

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Many years ago, looking at my tendancy towards martydom in the face of emotional abuse, I wrote this poem. Somehow, this week it feels appropriate to post it.

Soldier Susan
springs forth
to protect
against wounding
against obliteration.

“Quiet,” she says,
“Quiet, there is
nothing
you
can do.

Do nothing, and
maybe, maybe
you will not
be punished.

Seeing
is dangerous:
speaking
brings pain,
wounding,
perhaps death.

Stay quiet.”

“But,” the whisperer wants
to know,
“what about this pain?
How do I become blind
to what I have seen?

How do I change
what I cannot accept?

I must act.”

Soldier Susan says,
“No, no, no, wait!
there is nothing
you
can do
that will not

bring ruin.”

The whisperer trembles
trying to close
her eyes, her mouth,
but heat, words
rush, push
forward,
fill her with straining,
demanding release,
any release.

And now she is
blind and deaf
to all except
the need to
release

the pain, the vision