I overwatered my plant yesterday
The liquid flooded over my fail proof double-layered system
a concave plastic trivet atop a faded Christmas cookie plate
adopted decades ago at a bake sale from a forgotten charity
It was hot all this week and the dirt gave up its moisture
even in the darkest places
In my hurry to do good, I underestimated the effect
a deluge of water has on exhausted soil
I forgot all those moments that life tried
to teach me to go easy
Perhaps my lips remembered the effect
of a much-needed kiss the way a kiss
moves its way around down to the very tips of me
—and I let it pour
I let it pour and sit
and now warped wood wiggles
in protest over the zeal of a kiss
This event is an early 5:00 p.m. set designed for you and your sweetie to enjoy a special day together, a passionate spark to get things started. Also, a great time for anyone who is a fan of love and wants to support the Alt Library and local artist. (I think we’re talkin’ about YOU) You’ll hear from poets Eric Kosarot and James Bertolino. The featured poet is Shannon P. Laws who will be reading select love poems accompanied by Greg Sherman on upright bass. This is also the first Bellingham reading from her new book “Fallen”, 2017.
Come early Kathy McKeever, Urban Cauldron, will be available to read your LOVE tarot 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Kathy is a professional, long time tarot reader and teacher of tarot. She is an expert in the art of divination.
Tickets are suggested $5 or donation, tips encouraged for tarot reader Books by authors will be on hand for purchase
James Bertolino’s poetry has received recognition through a Book-of-the-Month Club Poetry Fellowship, the Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Quarterly Review of Literature book publication awards, and the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize for Washington State Poets. He has had 12 volumes of poetry published, the most recent being Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems, 2014, from MoonPath Press. http://www.jamesbertolino.com/
Tongue in Ink
by Shannon P. Laws
The best poems are not written in ink but by the tongue
Spoken into the air never finding paper
Touched by the mist of breath against your neck
Said in the dark rooms where lovers meet
Not at all recorded nor syllables numbered
But art form just the same
Once activated and released the words are all lost
Inside the foliage a new stalk grows and twists around the fold of each arm You touch me with your spring,
embrace me with your summer We rub together, winding in the wood When you leave it is winter’s sun setting too early
Bring back your spring to me.
Let us lie again in soft moss beneath the shade of summer Our limbs a turning vine my breasts as berries your lips are wine Thistle milk rolls down our legs Sap sticks to our fingers like candy
Happy Valley- a poet walks among you! She walks down the middle of your streets in search of a coffee house that opens at 7—preferably one that has blueberry scones…
Last few weeks my inner dialogue seems to have a Wheeling Virginian cigar hanging out the corner of its mouth, almost as if I am internalizing a Clint Eastwood character from a 1960’s spaghetti western. This dialogue surfaces as a distaste for sidewalks apparently.
My urban bird watching continues to provide rewards. This morning I took a right on 17th and saw a collection of Steller’s Jays sitting on the corner of a low rooftop chatting away. It was about 6:45 in the morning and I imagined they were having a bird meeting about bugs, feeders and crows. Two of the birds looked smaller than the other three. Are they young-lings getting trained? What surprised me the most about this conversation was the low volume. Steller’s are known for their loud “SQUAWK!” The kind of squawk that can wake you out of a nap, bring your shoulders up in a cringe, and your finger to involuntarily enter your ear in an attempt to protect the lobe. It’s an annoying sound. The bird’s feather mohawk fits the personality perfectly. They thrash about the stage of any backyard bird feeder violently tossing seeds all over and chasing the other birds away—a real punk of the bird community. Yet here they are, five of them, quietly chatting away making little gargle sounds and tapping their beaks together in salutations.
Around the corner three crows sit on a wire quietly eavesdropping. Bird espionage.
Later today I am attending my cousin’s funeral. Family on my dad’s side is flying in. There is an old joke about us Irish-types: we suffer from Irish Alzheimer’s, we only remember the grudges.
This morning after four days of anxiety, I’m different, peaceful, after my walk. In the past I felt like a boxer getting into the ring prior to a family get-together …not today. My mind makes a connection between these birds and the family. The childhood stereotypes of each family member squawks at me. However childhood memories are distorted by time. Even our mind’s eye remembers event at the low angel of a 12 year old. Adults are bigger than life! Old memories, we all have of some variety, knit themselves deep into our hearts. Every so once-in-a-while a box of yarn, cut up, knotted up and tangled, is dropped off at our doorstep demanding to be segregated and deciphered. Who did what to who, and who’s to blame?
Fuck that. Don’t take the bait.
Today as I travel into Anacortes with my brother, in our funeral attire, I leave my tangled box of yarn at the door. I will approach my family, especially the ones I haven’t seen in decades, with fresh eyes and “quiet” conversation. We have all changed in one degree or another. The fabric of our hearts are knitted by natures stitch. The natural bond of family is greater than the artificial polyester strings of misunderstandings and hate.
Written over the years of late 2012-2014 the poetry that emerged from my finger tips started to take a new direction. Nature and love topics will always be on my forethought, but objects like a pole, a cinnamon roll and a rain drop on a porch at night attacked my senses.
2013 was an especially wild year, romantically, professionally, artistically. New jobs (plural), hope gained then lost AGAIN, projects built such as “Poetic Moments” radio feature and the Peace Poets ‘Read-in” events, wonderful highs. Then the love life roller coaster: hot and cold, warm, simmer, then over and gone. In my free time, my down time and on my dates with my notebook, words started to show up. THINGS started to twinkle at me to say “hi”. Simple things with deep worlds.
“Odd Little Things” is a shorter book than “Madrona Grove” but it feels like it says more with less words. I hope you will consider adding it to you collection. This is the age of the chap book, staple binding n’ all. Collect them and SAVE a poet!