Saturday, January 21, 2012

Three in the Morning, a poem by Judith Viorst.

Post 653 - Judith Stahl Viorst was born in Newark, NJ in 1931. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1952 and subsequently from the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute in 1981 where she’s now a research affiliate. She lectures widely on topics, ranging from the subjects of loss and control to children's literature. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband Milton, a political writer.
Viorst received an Emmy Award for poetic monologues written for a CBS television special, Annie, the Woman in the Life of a Man, in 1970. She received the Foremother Award for lifetime achievements from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011.
She says her first writing attempt when she was seven or eight was a poem to her dead mother and father - who were both actually alive and not particularly pleased with their poetic fate!

Three (O'Clock) in the Morning.

At three in the morning I used to be sleeping an untroubled
sleep in my bed.
But lately at three in the morning I'm tossing and turning,
Awakened by hypochondria, and gas, and nameless dread,
Whose name I've been learning. (worry)

At three in the morning I brood about what my cholesterol
count might reveal,
And the pains in my chest start progressing from gentle to racking,
While certain intestinal problems make clear that the onions
I ate with my meal
Plan on counter attacking.

At three in the morning I look toward the future with blankets
pulled over my ears,
And all of my basic equipment is distinctly diminished.
My gums are receding, my blood pressure's high, and I can't
begin listing my fears
Or I'll never get finished.
At three in the morning I used to be sleeping but lately I wake
and reflect

That my girlhood has gone and I'll now have to manage without it.
They tell me that I'm heading into my prime. From the previews
I do not expect
To be crazy about it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Contortionist’s Wife, a poem by Bill Meissner.

Post 652 - Bill Meissner is the Director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota and the author of seven books. His writing has appeared in more than 200 journals, magazines and anthologies. His numerous awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Loft-McKnight Award in Poetry, a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in Fiction, a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and five PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards. He's one of my favorite poets.

The Contortionist’s Wife.

She knows him, yet she doesn’t always recognize him -
some mornings she finds him in the kitchen cupboard
flattened among the cereal boxes,
some evenings, he’s folded beneath her chair
when she sits down for dinner.
Once he surprised her when he rose from the washing machine tub
like a genie, gave her three wishes
and a box of Cheer.

Some days she doesn’t know if he’s shaping himself
or if she’s shaping him. All she knows is the way
he twists her emotions: he makes her laugh, he makes her cry.

She’s not sure if it’s funny that he
could be lying between the sheets of her bed without her
noticing him.
Some times he’s closer to her than she ever imagined, like the
tub full of warm bath water she slides herself into.
Sometimes he’s distant, pinpricks of stars in the night sky.
But most often he’s both near and far, lifting himself
from the vase in the corner, his smile full of flowers.

Ah, she wishes she could be a contortionist, too.
She wishes she could be the one to surprise him
some morning, disguising herself as the wheat bread
popping from the toaster
or the coat rack as he reaches for his jacket.
She gazes at her stiff flesh with the brittle bones inside,
thinking if only she could slip herself around his finger
like a ring he didn’t know he was wearing
for the rest of his life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Awkward Party Talk, a poem by Tanya Davis.

Post 651 - Tanya Davis is a Canadian poet, storyteller, musician and a singer-songwriter. Since bursting onto the Halifax music scene in 2006 with her debut, Make a List, Tanya has garnered praise from industry, audience, and peers, as well as multiple award nominations, including one for her sophomore release, Gorgeous Morning, for the 2009 ECMA Female Recording of the Year. She is a two-time winner in the CBC National Poetry Face-off as well as the Canadian Winner of the 2008 Mountain Stage NewSong contest. In 2009, with support from Bravo, she collaborated with independent filmmaker Andrea Dorfman to produce a short videopoem entitled How to Be Alone; the short has since been featured at numerous film festivals, including The Vancouver Film Fest, The Worldwide Short Film Festival, and the VideoPoetry Festival (Berlin). It also has 1.8 million views on Youtube.

Awkward Party Talk by Tanya Davis.

Hello. Do you wish to make small talk?
ok. my name is tanya, i am 30 years old
oh, that is not appropriate information to lay out on the table
okay then, my name is tanya and i am an adult
who are you?
I mean.. and your name? Is?
And what do you do?
Oh, i see, you are a job
well, i have a job, too
i also eat and sleep and breathe and drink and poo
you know, the essentials
i am, after all, merely a mammal
oh, your drive is here and you gotta run?
Ok, nice talking to you

hi. i am a child of the age of aquarius
and i wish my parents had named me something more daring and glamorous
like tatianna
which means princess in russian but they just named me tanya
what is your name?
Oh, hi bob.
And why did you come to this party?
Oh, you know so-and-so, well that's neat
i came for the chips and dip
i knew they'd be here
i also think i should go out more, so people don't forget me
and also, i don't like bars but i do like company
and i like to watch people dancing and humping
oh, i don't mean, like, people having sex in the living room
although i would watch that, too, if it was happening right now
no, i mean dancing to attract mates
there's interesting dynamics at house parties, don't you think?
Oh, you need to go get another drink?
Ok, nice talking to you

hi. tanya.
Nice to meet you
oh, that's a great handshake
do you have strong arms, too?
Hahahah.... ooooh
those are nice
i like where biceps connect to shoulders
i like strong and defined shoulders
girls or guys, i like both
to have them over me at night, i like them to hold me down like i am the project and they are the vice
oh, am i making you shy?
never mind, i talk too much
no? you don't think?
Okay, great, well my boyfriend in high school
caused me internal ridicule
when i told him i wanted to have strong shoulders
and he said “what kind of guy wants to date a girl with strong shoulders
that won't do”
and so now when i love strong shoulders on the bodies of my lovers
i can't tell if i want them
or want to be them, you know?
Oh, you have to go?
Ok, nice talking to you.

hi. (eat a chip)