Chronogram Poetry | September 2019 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Chronogram Poetry | September 2019

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Autumn

When the rose garlands wilt
it means autumn is near
The kitten smiles
The squirrel shakes in fear
The bees become silent
The rabbit goes to its hole
and All is quiet
All but the wind
rushing through the sighing trees

-Alyx Twining-Nelson (8 years old)


all i ever do
are chores
without an allowance



-p

The Woman of the House

cut the grass &
plunge the toilet &
fling the chipmunk the cat drug in over the fence &
bring home the bacon &
pay the bills &
tighten that p-trap nut so the sink stops leaking &
grill the steak &
shovel the snow &
cull the chicken &
cock the shotgun under the bed &
pressure wash the deck &
replace the lightbulbs &
frame the shed &
change the goddamn alternator with a flashlight in my mouth
when it’s 17 degrees and 11pm &
I cut my cold finger on the fan shroud &
goddammit! this is why I need a man
!
but i shoot a whiskey &
i try again &
the bolts slide in &
the ratchet tightens &
the truck turns over &
I wonder maybe this is why a man needs me

-Paula Dutcher


Andalusian June
(In memoriam Pauline Uchmanowicz)

Bare feet flat on earthen tiles,
cool soles pat arabesques.
It’s solstice. Out tall window-doors,
spires to remind us
of what we’ll never be, reach…

The sound of distant river’s
unmistakable, smacks
of wine spilled for you, water,
friend, close by, a windswept
fountain heard as laughing patios of praise.

So like solace in this year of loss,
the missed rising to the longest sun.

Evanescent minds are minarets of grief,
break silence nebulous as clouds,
literal as belief,

when we ignore the call to prayer
trilling against that tendered sky,
roseate
twilight of pursed lips—

this is how I remember losing…

-Thomas Festa


The Beach

One crow
lands.

A second
Follows.

They walk the
Sand,
Drink from the
Lake.

I sit quietly
Nearby.

-Daniel Brown


Eggs

Everything was chipped
Mugs, mannequins, door paint, Christmas lights.
I’d watch your feet rocking, that stutter in my heart.
In North Carolina, I came to move mountains,
learned to hear silence,
Carried groceries, the weight of you.
Those sidewalks, that bench, those street lamps, they were filthy.
When you knocked the air out of me, there,
You never knew how hard you hit me.
In Asheville, I tucked you up into doorways
Bleached you with the bathtub
Held you under my tongue, between teeth
Spit you into rivers
Traded you for eggs
Pulled your hair while I braided my own
I get caught up in your fingertips trying to walk home.
Short stutter, your eyelashes, both thumbnails, unbelievable.
Last night I made you breakfast,
Smoked four cigarettes trying to scatter your ashes,
Smashed down some dandelions, heel toe.
I know I didn’t mean to make a monster
You know I never mean to hunt you down.
Block print, penmanship knife
All I have to do is let it go.

-Audrey Lodato


On the Road to Rosendale


Made mist by the heat, the old Widow Jane
Mine’s cool exhalation washed over the road
like an unexpected draft from a shop’s open door,
just at the moment I saw them (my bike wobbling
wildly, a driver passing wide: you crazy?)—
a pair of high-flying albino red tails like in-spirited
snow carvings, defying the sun. Weeks before,
on Overlook, I’d seen only one, vanishingly.
Now, here on the winding road to Rosendale in heat
I cursed, their fleet fierce grace—wholly unsought—
so reviving my spirits I set my sights on New Paltz
(a few miles more than planned) where,
over a cold beer in a semi-dark pub, I bent the ear
of the bartender: Two! as if he cared.

-Anne Richey


The Last Straw


            Yesterday, moonlight.
Today, the sunbeams.
-When will this madness
end?

-Richard J. Treitner


If I speak,


what will break?
The other person’s cheek?
My ribcage,
hollow twigs snapping
from the sheer force
of a lifetime of silence?

Even suppression deserves a hearing
like the split second
between impact and explosion
and things as they ought to be
collapse to the ground.

-Brother John Forbis, OHC


Last one left

When you’re the last to die,
there’s no one left to say
goodbye, no final words
to be remembered by.
There’s just a wooden bed,
a satin pillow for your head,
some candles dripping on the floor,
across the room, an open door.
But no one ever crosses
through, to count the losses,
theirs, not yours. A silent room,
unadorned by bloom. The chairs
still neatly settled into rows.

-William J. Joel


Whispers

Watching me run

I feel you
this summer night

a gentle breeze

blowing back my hair

                A breath on my neck


Looking over my shoulder

I hear you
on the silent trail

you are nothing

but a ghost

               A song in my head

-Jennie ML Ossentjuk


Rocking-Horse Lovers

Back and forth
they reel
as if
they had the right,
each, a masted ship
chafing
            bloody sky;

                        to & fro
                        they swing, as though
                        each were a clock
                        prepared to strike each hour,
                        hands against
                                       the face.

-Marlene Tartaglione


I gave some paper and a pen
To my niece
And asked her to draw an animal

This animal
Would be her protector and champion
For the rest of her life

Expecting a lion or a dragon,
She drew a mouse
A mouse? I asked

Yes, I want someone as small
And scared as me, she replied
A friend, not a guardian

Someone to share everything with
Not to protect me
But be part of my life

I will take care of myself
But I don’t want to be alone
On my journey

I asked my tiger to leave
And started to look
For my own mouse

-bge


small time stuff

Shit always falls they say
so pardon my umbrella. It’s my only strategy
at the moment ‘cos

I’m feeling tapped out. Like the words are hard to say
and my command of them fades like
mists ascending Mohonk.

Poof. All gone.
Only the language of failed obligations
in my mouth, my

gluttonous mouth of happenstance and krill.
Small verbs sculpted by fate
into

smaller stuff. A tarnished fringe.
The sin being sadness
and how we atone.

-Mike Jurkovic


How To Dredge A Pond

You’ll want to begin with
clean hands. Some might
think this silly given the
foulness inherent in the task,
but you will be best served
by fingers rubbed raw with
lye. Consider your goals;
has a ring or heirloom been
lost to the silty depths?
Are you leading a search
party for your roommate,
last seen on the dock at
midnight? Has the duckweed
eutrophied and the detritus
gathered beyond recognition
due to an increase in potassium
and nitrates, due to an
increase in the presence
of goose shit, due to an
increase in Canadian goose
population, due to your
desire to feed the geese?
We are all brought to the
precipice of the pond for
different reasons, but the
objective is nearly always
the same: get it out. Get it
out. Before any further algal
blooms may erupt, slip into
your favorite pond dredging
suit and avail yourself of
the other requisite tools: rakes,
shovels, acids, goggles. An
excellent excuse for a little
neighborhood get-together,
a pond dredging should
always be preceded by
invitations to friends and
family. Now, with gusto,
we plunge our hands into
the muck and begin to sift.
Feel the mud and leaves
and stones slip between your
fingers and float through
the water. Like a meticulous
archive writ in carbon,
the chronology of every
exhalation documented layer
by layer. As you disturb and
claw, the pond will soon grow
murky with the swirling
essence of dead matter.
Despite every instinct telling
you so, coffee filters cannot
save you now. Resist the
urge to scrub and purify every
drop. It is just a pond, and
you are just the pond-keeper.
Apply suction. Deposit your
hard-won sediment in the
appropriate repositories.
Bury, burn, or blast it into space.
Disperse your dredging party,
no matter how disappointed
your debris-deprived guests
may be—for they came out
for a good show, and they did
not even have a chance to stick
their hands in the teaming mess
and relish the feeling of your
pond’s dead bits squishing under
their fingernails.

-Farrell Greenwald Brenner

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