Category Archives: Poetry

When Grandpa Came to Live With Us

Spent the day working at home, cleaning and organizing my desk and closet.  In the midst of the dust upheaval, I unearthed my bin full of old journals and literary magazines.  Thought I’d share a poem of mine published in Spires Literary Magazine, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Spring 2005.  The summer before I returned to school my mother’s father moved in with us due to his decreasing health.  I wrote this while sitting in the kitchen at home one night.

When Grandpa Came to Live With Us

When Grandpa came to live with us–

it was because he needed oxygen

His lungs

think with rainwater,

similar to the

heat-backed thunder,

which stewed outside

Strange enough, Wisconsin summer,

humidity so thick I couldn’t breathe

outside

In the house

a whole woods full

of noises

a cowbird’s call

in Grandpa’s cough

seven june bugs

rattled

like pill bottles

The stir of leaves

cracks of sticks–

an oxygen machine

The long blowing

of the grasses

and tree branches,

steady hum of a sleeping

old man

The Recall

I’m reporting again.  On March 9, 2011 the Wisconsin State Senate voted on the budget repair bill without democratic senators present.  What has been proposed for two weeks as the only way to balance our state budget, and described as an economic plan, omitted every part of the bill that mentioned fiscal issues, thereby making the democratic representatives’ presence unnecessary.  The result, an unchecked and unbalanced vote to end labor unions and collective bargaining rights.  Senate members met illegally without due notice and voted on a bill that was not even present at this meeting, and never available to the public.  The following is the footage from the actual voting process and a spoken word I wrote in reaction to this shameful event.

The Recall

I grew in a state where houses

were sprinkled from a watering can

amidst farmland,

where budding cities sprouted like beanstalks

and the families, its leaves,

called out Forward!

Fifty years of paving progress

only to be wiped out

in one shady chamber room.

Shame! To you Governor Walker.

Shame! To you politicians

who don’t speak for your constituents

and ignore their educated,

informed,

respected, and collected VOICE!

Do you not see the eyes of 50,000 faces

staring into your windows,

which should be THEIR windows

waiting for an invitation into their own home?

Can you not hear them knocking?

They come to you as equals

and still you won’t look at them without lies.

Holy, holy, holy

HOLY PUBLIC,

who marched on the capital stairs

with their families and their signs,

sleeping on the sidewalks,

spilling out into the streets

they beg to have a word,

but still you haven’t heard!

What times are these

when human rights

are fallen on deaf ears?

For weeks

you’ve left our communities

in tears,

fearing but not quite believing

our democracy could end.

But with crafty hands

you penned a legislation

not even present at the voting table,

and yet so evil

it was voted in “aye!”

God bless you,

Representative Barca,

for standing up against

the murderers of the middle class!

We are a grieving public.

But our anger and our fear

will be mended

one signature at a time,

oh yes, we will sign!

For the voices in that room

did not represent our state

and therefore

we will change the faces

that sit in that shady chamber room

that took away our voices,

yours and mine,

we will meet again

when we send you

that sweet forgotten postcard,

our love note to our capital,

that check in a ballot box,

we’ll sign it,

“wish you weren’t here!”

For you are not Wisconsin’s governor!

I Heard the Cry on the Capital Stairs

Thousands rally at the capital to speak up for State Worker's Rights

I know the rules of blogging platform.  We are not supposed to dive into the political, so if you don’t want to listen just click on my Jane Austen post instead.  But I can’t silence my head.  I’ve argued with people, paced around the house, drove around listening to NPR, and spent countless hours worrying about the future and my family.  If you didn’t know, Wisconsin is in an uproar regarding Governor Scott Walker’s plan to end all unions.  Thousands of state workers and teachers have rallied in protest at the capital all week long.  I really do understand the downsides to a union, in fact, in my job I educate new hires on why our company opts to do without a union, but four people in my family are union members through WEAC or other state positions.  And with the plans Governor Walker wants to put forward it will mean less pay every year for our educators and increased pay ins for health benefits.  All I’m doing is sharing a spoken word I wrote today because it’s heavily on my mind.  I thank you for listening, and whichever side of the struggle you fall on, please send support to my family as I know a battle lies ahead.

I Heard the Cry on the Capital Stairs

This is an appreciation.

You’ll have to forgive my fixation

but this crowd-

balled up against the capital stairs

speaking out so loudly

I can hear it from 200 miles away!

They say

Kill the Bill

to those who won’t even agree to listen

yet admit that their legislation

could use a little editing.

Well I learned how to proofread,

but sometimes a mistake

is not so easily repaired by the

force of an eraser on paper.

Sometimes it can never be taken back

and it becomes a mandatory civil disobedience,

a role call of citizens who speak up

and speak out about why

you can’t tear down a structure

like a building and not acknowledge

you’re leaving a mess.

And that is why we are here today!

That is why some of your children

could not attend school

because their teachers chose to walk out

rather than spend the day in denial of their own voice

their own voice

handling the matters that impact them directly.

So if you know a teacher,

are related to a teacher,

and Heaven bless you if you are a teacher,

SPEAK

SPEAK

SPEAK now SPEAK strongly

SPEAK with the conviction

of a child raising their hand and asking WHY?

Never stop asking questions!

Never doubt for a moment that our nation

would never learn how to read or count

or grow without our teachers preparing

every class lesson and opportunity

a child is given

by devoting their own free time

to the success and the future

of the next generation!

Say thank you!

Say you hear them!

Say you know there are changes yet to come,

but not from a tumbling structure undone,

in this day, while we stand

united on the capital steps

let us SPEAK,

even if you find yourself only able

to whisper.

Let all voices be known as a face,

a part of the answer,

not the problem!

Say thank you!

Say you hear them!

Say you have the courage

and the remembrance of a teacher

who has shaped your own life

to SPEAK out

SPEAK now

SPEAK strongly

and never stop SPEAKING!

Beatitude Road

Beatitude Road

Lorine, I came here to find you.

I sought to hear you–

calm, cool voice like good earth, silt.

 

I imagined us walking together

double-button coat,

thick glasses and stockings

side by side

with black leggings, gray jacket,

my red hair.

 

I was not expecting to see

little boys in search of cattails,

leaves with insect bites,

smelling flowers that have

begun to dry up.

 

I walked all the way to the bridge

and asked you which side

owned the prize view.

 

The right, sun setting blaze orange

behind the telephone lines

leading to the industrial park

behind the marsh fields,

or the left,

the river bend that curls

around the woods to the beaver dams,

the heron perches,

the grandfather bluff?

 

Look–

a heron and an eagle

soared past our shadows

making an invisible helix before the heron

gargled out a surrender

and waited patiently, blue neck in the tall grasses,

several geese

waded undisturbed nearby.

 

Few padded footsteps, heels covered in field dust,

the trail exit ahead

I walked feeling like the air was different,

my troubles, not so weighted

like the mud we had to cross.

I breathed blessings

on my walk with Lorine.

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