Chronogram Poetry | March 2019 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Chronogram Poetry | March 2019

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And oh, we used to fish

Aching, arching rods unreeling
slipping line into wave beneath foam
Bending over backward breaking wave
The barb, the tip, the hit

—p

Me To You

From the sky to the Earth
From China to Timbuktu
From Heaven to Mars
From me to you
I'm saying you can do it
I'm asking you to believe
That no matter what happens
I’ve never been one to leave
From one to another
From old to anew
From worry to hope
From me to you

—Abilene Brown Adelman (12 years)



The hundred-foot maple in the neighbor's yard hangs an orange branch into our driveway. He is the oldest living thing on this block. His branches reached up at one point, but now sink low like the arm of a cellist pulling its bow across the yard. His leaves brush my windshield when I pull into the driveway, and his leaves are the first to turn orange this year. I wonder if the first leaves to go are the bravest, or the most insecure—blushing at the first sign of chill. The tomato plants that I never tied up snake across the garden, their red fruits like Easter eggs hidden beneath the chard—another hint of the summer that escaped me while I collected you in my arms again and again like treasure. I reviewed your face and called forth your smile—which began to open up like the pumpkin flowers I watched beneath the moonlight while soothing you at all hours of the night. I lay my hand on your sleeping belly, and feel you inhale before I return to bed. Somehow you doubled your size while we huddled in the only room with air conditioning, while the summer dished heat wave after heat wave, and we hid away inside. Suddenly we have only weeks before the first snowfall, and it is time to bury the garlic again. I want you to smell the soil in my skin, the late-season tomatoes and basil gone to seed. We will huddle through the coldest months, until you have tripled in size from the time you left my body, and the forsythia blossoms yellow flowers again. For now, we watch the old maple from your bedroom window, and count the years that he has seen. You hold no season. You grow as you will, regardless of how the rest of us fumble in the changing weather. For now, it is time for a story, and you are warm, impatient, so determined, in my arms.

—Naomi Lore

As the Sun Pours Forth Its Light

Every day I write a poem about death
then I burn it and put its ashes in the

seaweed-green vase on the mantelpiece.
When this vase is full I empty it in the

small field at the back of the house and
then I start filling the vase all over again.

The wind either blows these ashes away
or the rain washes them into the ground.

By the wind they are turned into birds.
By the rain they are turned into seeds.

As birds they give life to songs.
As seeds they give life to plants.

As the sun pours forth its light
I roll a melon out of the garden.

—Ronald Baatz

First of March

This salad from the drive-through
that literally looks driven through
after I left it on the table overnight
and now I'm eating it anyway,

March will be like that. This month
that started off with news of one
more barfight from my son who now
thinks he has nerve damage in a knuckle
that he showed us over breakfast
in the college cafeteria, the skin split
but not red, a new scar for sure,
he should have had the stitches. But

after kitchen work and construction,
this is nothing to him. I do not mention
it is a year to the day since the death
of his grandfather, my own father who

kept failing and did not seek help
and, surprise, none of the hospitals
would help him, either. Rather,
he expired, they expired him,
they exed him off, he exed out.
Today, wearing one of my thrift-store
skirts to work, I walked up inside it
and it ripped open in several directions

as March has done to me so far,
and with a stolen needle I'm sewing it shut
like a C-section around what I still need to say
that so far has stayed silent underneath.

—Laurinda Lind

Holes

I have holes to fill, holes in my yard.
“Watch out for the holes!” I shout to the person delivering a package to me.
“I need to fill them.”

“Oh, you think you have holes.” They say to me. “You should see my yard!”
This is what we do; this is what happens.
Our yard has no holes then one day there they are, the holes are everywhere.
We try to fill them. We try so hard.
We heft our shovel and look for good earth or we go to a shop and ask,
“Do you have good earth to fill my holes?”

“Some try gravel; some try stone, some try bricks.” The sales clerk tells me.
“Some say love your holes, some say god is in the holes.” The modest elderly woman at the counter chimes in.
“Some think the holes could be used to grow food.” The painfully thin, young, girl says distractedly into her phone.
“Some enjoy the work filling the holes brings them.” The fat man with the dirty fingernails says.
“Some hate the holes”, the mottled old white man with yellow lips says, “you will fill them, but they will never fill.”
“It is better to leave them empty as intended?” the mottled old man’s nurse adds.

“What does it mean to live for someone else?” I ask.

“What could it mean to live for yourself?” is the reply I get from a voice behind the shelves.
“What could any of it mean?” a stranger who walks in responds to my open question.
“Watch out! Don’t trip into one of the holes in the street!”
A stylish fellow having his lunch on a bench says to me as I leave the shop and step towards the curb.
“And whatever you do, don’t fall head first.” another fellow, his associate I believe, adds with a smirk.

“But we all fall head first at some point don’t we.” The first fellow’s lover whispers.
“If not into the holes in the street.”
“If not into the holes of someone else’s making.”
“Then into the holes in our own yard.”
The lover whispers to herself but looks at me and watches as I walk gingerly across the street.

—Chuck Agro

The Triptych

She bought a pet fish
    and a triptych
which she hung properly:
staggered, downward,
       diagonally.
                                 This
                    is the best way in which
                    one might hang a triptych
                 in our chic bohemian home—
                               romantic.
                                                        Though
                                             not everyone knows
                                         how best the décor goes,
                                              my love, the mystic,
                                          rightly hanged the triptych


                            and the fish.

—Anthony Lee Hamilton

The Sugar in the Stars

Sweetness dripped
from
your fingertips
onto my skin
and I can’t forget
the way
it felt
when we cracked
open the window
and
let the stars on in.

—Meg Tohill

Grandma's Words

She knows words from long
                  ago,
That only other Grandma's
                 know.
Streetcar, ice box, and Graham
                 Page,
In her day these were all the
                  rage.

A street car was a trolley
Going up and down the town,
Her ice box was your
       refrigerator,
Filled by an ice man,
Who never let you down.

But what was a Graham Page,
       We all want to know,
It was a car that went very slow

—Lois Weisberg

Coquettish

You bit
my lip too hard
to be sexy, and I
smile at your play, holding your hips
gently.

—Guy DeMarco

Untitled — Series of Scars

A monster with a pretty face
And sugared words whispered,
“You are unlovable.”

To my everlasting regret,
I believed him.

—Stampie Dear

Where Did They Go?

Another new year, and I’ll try
not to sound trite, but where did
the birds go in the interval between
Thanksgiving and the winter solstice?

We loved our home, so why
didn’t they, or were they confused
by shifts back and forth—
sometimes harsh, sometimes mild?

Unlike you, I don’t need to justify
my perch in the world, only once
more take note of their patterns,
remember their sounds to imitate.

After you left, the birds stayed away,
and I became colorless and old. Chirp, chirp.

—Perry Nicholas

Ten Dollars

I gave ten dollars to a homeless woman. She was young, in her twenties. She had a dog and a cat. Nine weeks old she said. It was hot. The three of them were sitting on the sidewalk on Fourteenth Street. It was the sunny side of Fourteenth Street. Why she didn’t sit on the shady side I don’t know. Maybe the money was better on the sunny side. Maybe the passersby were more generous on the sunny side. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. It was very hot. I gave her ten. I do know this. The wrong people in this world have all the money. I wish I had lots of it, millions and millions. I would give it all to the homeless. I would give it to the girls and the dogs and the cats and the vets of Nam. But it’s the wrong people who have the millions and millions. The poets should have all the money. The poets should have the millions and millions. The poets would know what to do with it. The poets wouldn’t care what the homeless did with it. There would be no strings attached. Each would pursue happiness in his or her fashion. It would be just as Jefferson said. He, too, was among the wrong people with millions and millions. It’s always the wrong people. Walk down the sunny side of Fourteenth Street. You’ll see what I mean. It’s always the wrong people.

—JR Solonche

Biting My Tongue


Every since
I met you
all I can
taste is
blood.

—Nicollette Papandonis

Hot Shower


The wife likes a hot shower. “It makes me woozy, like I’m on drugs,” she says. She wants a scientific explanation, but she won’t venture out to find it. She sits down on the couch next to her husband and the cat, sleeping in his lap. He reads her his bad poetry. It’s not simple. There’s no image she can grasp. He’s not saying what is meant to be said. He knows this. The wife likes a hot shower, but the house is cold, and she needs to attend to her hair, before it tangles up and explodes.

—Brendan Press

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