Wednesday, November 26, 2014

17 small poems and a Happiness Poem in 18 parts

lonely cricket deep into the night

heavy shopping bags
i cannot straighten myself
long walk home 

4 a.m. with sweet potatoes on my mind

this old house
sweet potatoes in the oven

red gloves give me strength     walking into the wind

halfway up the stairs
now is the time for
tangerine kisses

late october
the wildness of leaves
a shy black cat

we stop to admire the mums
years ago 
we knew each other well

up to his ankles in raked leaves
the young monk 
takes time to smile

your hands in mine
still warm
from when you cupped a cup

post-election day walk
campaign signs droop
with exhaustion

damp grey morning
the birds and i turn over
and go back to sleep

morning walk
wandering mind
a clump of snow lands on my head —
wake up!

the sun

the old brown jug
yellow and red blooms
no longer jaunty

flitting from book to book
unsettled mind
where are you Sister Crow?

street corner garden
tucked in with the frozen kale
5 bagels

Late November Happiness Poem

happiness is when you wake at 3 in the morning and can't fall back to sleep but it doesn't matter because you're okay just lying there counting from 1 to 100 and back down from 100 to 1 and most times before you even get up to 100 you are already sleeping again

happiness is when you wake from a nightmare and feel the great relief of realizing it was all a dream and none of those horrible things ever happened to you and you can tell yourself "don't think about that" and so you don't

happiness is sinking low into the lavender-scented water, knowing you can remain as long as you want — an hour or even more — and when the bath gets cold you can turn on the faucet and add hot water, you can even turn the faucet on with your foot and not have to sit up

happiness is when you're moping around your apartment on a cold wet Sunday afternoon bemoaning the fact that the only time the phone rings these days is when someone (usually just a recorded voice) is trying to get you to buy something you don't want and so you're startled when the phone actually rings in the middle of these morose thoughts and it turns out to be a dear friend who wants to have a real conversation and you both laugh and talk for almost an hour

happiness is when you re-arrange your closet and realize that for the first time in your adult life you have more clothes in colors (plum, lavender, teal, turquoise, emerald green) and less clothes in black and you are so inspired by this that you decide to get rid of some of your socks even though a week ago you felt you couldn't part with a single pair but now that you are no longer committed exclusively to black you sort through the sock drawer and toss out 5 pairs of black socks you've had for about 20 years

happiness is when you call Time Warner Cable customer service first thing in the morning and in less than 2 minutes you are connected with a real person named Eric (though it could be Erik or even Erich) and you explain your problem clearly and he understands immediately and tells you to press one button and then another button and you do these things and see that your problem is solved and you say Hurrah and Eric (a very young man) says "excuse me?" and you say it again — Hurrah — and then you thank him over and over because now you can watch DVDs later in the day

happiness is when you go outside to sweep away the first gentle snowfall of the season and when you say hello to a stranger walking by he tells you this is his first snow in 26 years because right after graduating from Ithaca High School in 1988 he moved to Atlanta and today is his first day back in Ithaca

happiness is when you are out for an early morning walk and the sun is so bright in your eyes that you can't see a thing and it's a surprise when a person passes you and all you know about that other human being is that he or she smells good

happiness is having friends who give you scarves for every occasion and for no occasion and when winter rolls around again you open your special wooden box and there are all your scarves neatly folded and ready for wear and you can choose a new one each day depending on your mood — is it a purple day? (it usually is and you have many purple choices) — but you can also go with wild patterns of orange and magenta

happiness is when you are walking around your beautiful neighborhood deeply engrossed in your thoughts and you end up walking right past your house and its not until you have gone on like this for a few minutes that you suddenly stop and ask yourself "where am I?" and you look around and laugh and turn and go back in the direction that will take you home

happiness is when you want to write a letter to a friend and you discover that you have exactly the right card to send and even a good picture to enclose (not a picture of yourself! a picture of a woman reading a book) and on top of all these wonderful things you also have an excellent pen to use and you can tell it is not going to run out of ink anytime soon 

happiness is when you remember something your father said more than 50 years ago in a Bronx deli as you were schmearing mustard on your hot dog and it had something to do with you being like Picasso with that mustard and you're not sure if it was meant as a compliment or not but you choose to remember it fondly 

happiness is when you open a book you abandoned long ago and discover a postcard you were using as a bookmark — 13 cakes painted by Wayne Thiebaud in 1963 (a good year for you in some ways) — and this is the message written on the back of the card:
My Dear,
I would be delighted to join you for lunch April 1st, New Delhi Diamond's Cheers, Nan."
Don't you agree that is a great big happiness? 
(Hello to you dear Nan Bell)

happiness is when you wonder if a small poem will find you on this day so you open a haiku journal for inspiration and your eyes come across the words "peace of mind" and right away you feel calmer and you take a deep breath and then another and realize you are no longer anxious about a poem — knowing it will come or it won't come — and you put on your good walking shoes and head out the front door
(Thank you dear Tom Clausen)

happiness is when you bring 8 books to Autumn Leaves Used Books to trade for store credit and after a quick look around you find a book you want — "The Rarest of the Rare: Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds" by Diane Ackerman — and even though you think it is possible that you already read this book when it was first published almost 20 years ago you gladly take it home because you remember nothing about the short-tailed albatrosses or the golden lion tamarins — and you still have lots more store credit for a future visit

happiness is taking yourself out for lunch at New Delhi Diamond's Restaurant for their amazing Saturday buffet that includes Bhindi Masala (okra and peppers and onions) and you are very pleased with yourself: no rice or potato puffs or soft golden pillows of fried dough and you leave feeling both full and healthy

happiness is discovering a new shop called Bramble that recently opened in Press Bay Alley (around the corner from Diamond's) — a collective of local herbalists — the warm welcoming delightful atmosphere envelops you the second you walk in the door and you come home with a coconut/lavender cream called "Cloud Butter" and also with a small bottle of Dandelion Flower Essence to aid in your desire to Be More and Do Less — knowing that if you manage to do this you will make your sweetheart very happy
(Thank you dear Amanda David, herbalist and rootworker)

happiness is arriving back at your front door just as your sweetheart is pulling the car out of the driveway on her way to Wegmans to buy a few things that will go well with the veggie soup you made yesterday and she rolls down the window to tell you she loves you and you say the very same to her and then she drives off and you come inside to type up your happinesses for this day at 1:30 in the afternoon