Poetry Month – April 25, 2024 – On The Altar

SEAGLASS

Used to be easy to find
in June
before the renters moved in.
We’d go down to the beach and
Scavenge any new treasure the winter washed up.
We’d check all the beaches,
From Fenway to the Inn.
Sea glass was the favorite find:
bits of tumbled soft glass
glinting in the sand:
brown
green
white
and the rare dark blue.
Mom said the blue ones were from milk of magnesia bottles
that seasick solders had to drink to get un-seasick.
We’d imagine them puking over the side of a boat and
the blue bottle flying out of their hands into the stormy,
seasick-making waves.
We collected so many pieces over the years.
Mom put them that big glass vase,
our beautiful, found jewels.
Over the years, we found less and less.
One of the last places that had any bits at all
was Sea Glass beach
Just east of the Spicer place
When that place finally dried up, we’d still walk down
and sift our hands through the pebbles and sand and stones.
It felt good to sit there
It felt good to talk
Or not talk
It felt good.

Poetry Month – April 24, 2024 – On the Altar

MAMOUNIA

Maybe the only fancy restaurant she knew was the Yankee Peddlar Inn in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Maybe the most special meal she ate was wedges of cold iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing and medium rare roast beef with potatoes au gratin.
Maybe she’d only ever dined with her parents who talked about the weather and bridge club and the children.
Maybe she never seen a restaurant draped in silks so it looked like she was inside I Dream of Jeannie’s magic bottle.
Maybe she’d never sat on the floor on cushions so plump she could recline between bites.
Maybe she never eaten food with her fingers so the juices drizzled around her wrist.
Maybe she’d never seen tea poured from six feet above her tiny cup, cooling as it streamed, so that it was the perfect drinking temperature when the cup was filled.
Maybe she didn’t know that dinner conversation could meander through dreams and desires while nibbling Persian cucumbers and couscous and lamb tangine
Then she did.
And her world was never the same.

 

 

 

 

1975. Linda Lyon. San Francisco. The world got bigger. Of course, I kept the matches.

Poetry Month – April 23, 2024 – On the Altar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO BLOW KISSES

First, go to one of those hard-to-find photo booths.
Practice kiss blowing in the handy, but always smudgy mirror.
Try two-handed and one-handed variations.
Pro tip: Look directly at the camera and make sure
Your head is in the exact same spot for every shot.
Don’t wiggle.
Insert money.
Get ready: Hand or hands on mouth.
(I recommend two hands for better dramatic effect)
Click.
Make blowy lips.
Click.
Repeat.
Wait for photos.
Stare at the four shots.
Repeat the whole process until you’ve spent far too much money on this crazy idea.

Choose the two best photos.
Trim them to a smidge above tiny.
Cut cardboard to the exact same size.
Make a little photo sandwich.
One side: hands on mouth
Other side: blowy face
In the very top-middle of the photo sandwich
Poke a hole with a threaded needle
Make the thread about two feet long
Tie it off so the photo is at one end
And the other end is wrapped around a tack in the ceiling
Whenever you walk by, it will spin and blow kisses at you.
Send it to someone you love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long has the picture of Daniele Massie been blowing kisses at me? A long time. Why? To remind me of simple genius. How do you make an action shot with two pictures? Is it possible to blow kisses at someone? And not be in the same place? With Daniele, anything is possible. She only had to think it.

Poetry Month – April 22, 2024 – On the Altar

STRANGE CURRENCY

Homes for
Crabs
Snails
Oysters
And mussels
Are dried and empty and far
From forlorn, hurricane-tossed crustaceans looking shelters

Pesos
Gather dust
Miles from Havana
Gather no interest
Buy no bread
Or Gas
Or rum
Provide nothing for no one.

Even the memory of how they
Slipped into a pocket
A wallet
A suitcase
Is gone.
Once treasured and carried
From beach to café to plane to
Top of the bureau.
Now not needed by anyone
Or anything nearby.

It’s Earth Day and I am looking at these treasures I have taken on my travels. Yes, they may have a dim memory attached to them. Maybe a meal or a swim or a long, long walk. But now they look like food and homes and things I should have left where they lived.

Poetry Month – April 21, 2024 – On the Altar

THE ARCHEOLOGY OF A CHILD

Two crib beds for mom and baby
Or maybe for child and baby doll
Which is the same thing.
One bottle for baby because
If they don’t have one, they cry.
A cellphone for mom to call everyone
To come over for a party
To eat the giant stack of pancakes
In a big dish.
Everyone was so happy
they brought lots and lots of flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I dig up these treasures, I see the things that made my daughter feel safe and good and happy.