Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Fortune Teller offers answers on Saturday night

by Grace Marie Grafton


Believe me, they'd be different if it were
Sunday dinner or Wednesday choir practice
but I see you have your black pumps on I suppose
there's a garter of some hula-hula color up your
leg. You want to know about Prince Charming or
at least a cute-enough guy who can dance the salsa
or take you for a drive in his convertible car with
the top down and some contemporary version of
Frankie or McCartney singing the song.
You're riding the wrong carousel, Honey,
Saturday night's a poker game that's gone
bust for anyone who wants a part in the serious
show, at least for a modern woman. Take my
word for it (and that's what you're paying me for)
you'll do better building bridges or being a scholar
of medieval medical practices. At least there's
undeniable material there for a block buster best
seller and you're always going to need a back-up
income if you want to contribute to the gene pool.
You deserve to choose to be a mother.


* * * * *

Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six collections of poems, most recently 'Jester,' published by Hip Pocket Press. She has taught thousands of children to write poetry through her work with CA Poets in the Schools.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Today a huge thank you to all of you who have submitted and shared your words, and also to those of you who will do so in the future.

Yesterday's poem completed another cycle of 91 postings of Writing In A Woman's Voice, bringing the total to 273. Tomorrow begins a new cycle. I am so pleased with and inspired by all the gorgeous voices flowing this way. We need each other's voices and each other's courage in these troubled times. And are we ever in trouble. Politically. Personally. How can one gather enough strength out of despondent hearts that are getting no rest from news of violence, so that one feels almost guilty at stopping to admire the flowers? Here we help each other along with saying what needs to be said, in beauty, in anger, in sadness, even in indifference. And then we simply move forward into our precious days.

A small practical observation. The blog is open to prose as well as poetry. The preponderance of submissions and posts has been poetry. I would very much like to look at some prose submissions in the future.

I am sending you love, and wishes for much needed courage, and wishes for happy days. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

YAHRZEIT

by Lesléa Newman


Golden autumn leaves
drift lazily through the air
onto Mother’s grave

White winter snowflakes
fall all over themselves to
blanket Mother’s grave

Gentle spring raindrops
are sent down from the heavens
to wash Mother’s grave

Warm summer breezes
chase pale yellow butterflies
around Mother’s grave

Today marks a year
endless tears soak one small stone
placed on Mother’s grave


* * * * *

 “Yahrzeit” copyright ©2015 Lesléa Newman, from I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, Sequim, WA). Reprinted by permission of the author. Here is a book trailer for I Carry My Mother:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf4ubYHObAM

Lesléa Newman is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, children’s book writer and anthologist whose 70 books include the poetry collections, Still Life with Buddy, Nobody’s MotherSigns of Love, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (novel-in-verse) which received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Ms. Newman’s literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently she is a faculty member of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. Her most recent poetry collection, I Carry My Mother, received the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Poetry Award and was named a “Must-Read” title by the Massachusetts Center for the Book.



Wednesday, 16 August 2017

HOW TO WATCH YOUR FATHER WATCH YOUR MOTHER DIE

by Lesléa Newman


Sit beside him on a folding chair beside your mother’s bed.
Place a box of tissues between you.
Watch him take your mother’s hand in both his own
and stroke it like a small wounded animal.
Do not speak.
Do not turn on the TV.
Do not shatter the silence around you.
Let time pass.
Listen to your father sigh.
Listen to your father sob.
Hand your father a tissue whenever necessary.
Ask him if he wants food.
Ask him if wants water.
Ask him if he wants to take a walk.
Do not press him when he says no to everything.
Remember the one thing he wants is impossible to give him.
Let more time pass.
When your father gets up to go to the bathroom and says,
“Hold Mom’s hand,” hold your mother’s hand.
When he returns, give your mother’s hand back to your father.
It belongs to him.
Do not tell your father what the hospice nurse told you:
you need to let go so she can let go.
When the sun sets, gather the darkened room
around your shoulders like a cloak.
See your father’s undying love
take your mother’s breath away.


* * * * *

“How To Watch Your Father Watch Your Mother Die” copyright ©2015 Lesléa Newman, from I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, Sequim, WA). Reprinted by permission of the author. Here is a book trailer for I Carry My Mother:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf4ubYHObAM

Lesléa Newman is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, children’s book writer and anthologist whose 70 books include the poetry collections, Still Life with Buddy, Nobody’s MotherSigns of Love, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (novel-in-verse) which received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Ms. Newman’s literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently she is a faculty member of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. Her most recent poetry collection, I Carry My Mother, received the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Poetry Award and was named a “Must-Read” title by the Massachusetts Center for the Book.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Fabric

by Alicia Vandevorst



There, the shimmery, the matte cotton, the frayed, the tufted,
the mass of fabric scraps that can’t be thrown away, and my mother
who fingers fabrics sideways, not turning till she wants a length;
she keeps her scraps, the color field, the pool of individuals 
apart, tousled to rouse her sense of depth, the potency 
the field reflects: this with this with this and that or that.

Last night I dreamed a pile of fabric scraps, a fabulous pink
metallic wing, a ginger wool, greens of undersides, 
and flashes of tips of more, a mound a woman formed, to save
and give away to me the chance to bring the scraps together;
and here I see my lists as colors: the Sanskrit lover, gardener,
mother, poet, the stomps I dance, the tendency to sit
and watch a while, translator without fluency...

or see the field of gorgeous skins: the russet, the burnt umber,
the pale of pith, the faintest yellow as the cast of a set sun,
the shiny loamy ones, the bone, the unglazed porcelain,
the scaly green, the silver wet, the white fur, the roan...
as if pieced together to form a quilt whose seams reveal
binding life, a whole that shifts together, flows and rests.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Day Mandela Died

by Alicia Vandevorst


Now, these years, with tinsel through my hair, my grandmother
sits, hands slackened between her thighs, and watches
 
the wash of sunlight through my mother’s window; that
is beautiful, she says, in her empty wasp-nest voice,
all day the wind has shaken the shadows on the walls
and the potted flowers glow, it has been so quick, this day,
she says, at last, I am so happy just to sit and watch.

But in my sorrow I washed two towels with the delicates
and in my rush to fix the sheets, I left the door ajar
and the heat goes out that my husband wanted in, and that is like before, 
when the cat ran wild from the opened cage into the winter wood, 
with his limp, at dusk, he cried in answer, but no longer came to my hands.

What hands can do, that is what has passed from her
and both sun and shadow flash with glory like accomplishments;
but she does not wrestle with her powers anymore
and can enjoy the whole in passive gratitude.
I wonder how my death will be; that I may sit in sunlight, 

warm with impartial heat, bony frame wrapped in a shawl
and the last glimpse is of red, lit leaves.
This is a way I might let light usher me out,
as if the sun’s pressure became more real
than the stories in these busy bones.

Tonight, I wrap beside my sleepy daughter,
hold her moist, plump hand, again,
sing, dee, dee, dee, and swing low
sweet chariot, coming for to carry, and
she asks for me to stay a little longer.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Eleven Daffodils

by Meryl Natchez


What am I to make
of these daffodils,
perfumed strumpets, picked
who knows where
by who knows whom
possibly genetically
modified, commercially
fertilized, spritzed
with pesticide?

These questions did not arise
when I tossed
the budded stems
in my shopping cart
on a chill afternoon:
essence of spring
for a dollar twenty-nine.

Now they sit
and radiate scent,
molecules of daffodil
mixing it up
with molecules of oxygen
all about my desk
until I am dizzy
with this year’s crop
of praise
and regret.


* * * * *

“Eleven Daffodils” first appeared in Canary, Spring 2014.