Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Carob Almond (I Scream for Rice Dream)

Only meant to eat half a pint.
Every bite tastes better than the last

shoveling spoons of an ice-cream style
dessert, cold, melting in my mouth

chomping almonds in carob despite
how much sodium it contains per cup.

I eat the whole package; my body
collects four hundred and forty

milligrams of sodium and twenty four grams
of carbohydrates to expand my waist,

to put me on the verge of disaster,
perhaps hypertension or other affliction.

But, at this moment, I don't care,
it was sinful, delicious, I will suffer

the cost and not repent one luscious
scoop, not regret that hungry walk

down the freezer aisle as I dallied along
seeing it behind that icy glass door

screaming "Buy me, buy me!"
and my taste buds said "Oh, do it!"

Thinking Out Loud

Funny how I talk to myself
moaning about something,
sometimes sarcastically,
as a psycho-syncopathic
mimicking pundits
or acting out something
in my head.

Maybe it's just frustration
about the way things are.
They say I can change it
but it never changes--
stuff of that sort.

Then I wonder why
I'm even complaining
when I realize how good
I have it, compared with
some far worse conditions.

I go around in circles
with repeating thoughts,
then I start talking again--
a vicious habit.
Well, maybe not vicious.
Maybe it's just plain crazy.
Am I crazy?
No. I'm just human.
Everybody does that.
I think.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter Forecast

© 2007 Photo by Sue Miller

The Jujube tree is barren already
except for a few dead leaves,
they waddle and sway with the wind
stringy as limp Irish moss.

Grey and white doves huddle
together, their fat bellies
overhang on each side
on mangled, dead branches
intermingled as cobwebs.

A cold front and overcast sky
mute activity if it weren't
for me scampering below it,
bundled in three layers
of clothing. Afternoon sprinkles,
biting cold, pierce my bones.

I'd much rather be cool
than blistering hot
as long as temps stay the same
and the rain lasts one day, I'm fine.

I dislike persisting rain
day after day, thermometer gauges
dropping down, down, down
until I wake up one morning,
find my car whiter with snow.

I can see it now when
I am late for work and drivers
here screech into nasty mishaps
because they know not how
to drive in it. I will brush off
the snow, drive slowly to work,

dodging wrecks and tow-trucks,
police cars with circular lights
and I hope to park near that
Jujube tree, resting in winter
its wicked limbs frozen, stiffer
than planks of grey steel.

Time Change

Long day.
I have no concept of the sun
descending beyond dusk.
At 5:30 p.m., I shut down
the computer--
gather my things.
As habit dictates,
like it did last week,
I attach my clip-on sunglasses
and head for the front door
expecting summer light.

I hate when time changes.
Now it is dark and I grumble.
From what I can see
the Asian Jujube tree,
with its plump
green leaves last Friday,
already turn yellow and brown
by Monday.
They shrivel and curl,
hang like dead grapes,
as dry as my skin without lotion,
droopy as an old woman's
face, pronounced
with bumps and crevices.

One minute ago
I'm tired, yet optimistic,
but now I'm slumping,
Summer is over.

Tonight, the knuckled limbs
become bare, arthritic.
Leaves cover the ground
more than yesterday.
Tonight, chilling.
It's November.

There is hope.
A few trees shine red,
deep plumb or yellow,
their edges, crispy
and roasted brown.
I can crumple them
into tiny pieces
with one hand crunch.
Though I loathe coming winter,
I welcome fall colors,
sunlight by 7:00 a.m.
and triple-chirping birds
who motivate me
each morning.

Stiff, Ugly and Bent

Now the lawn outside
is more cluttered
more dull with yellow leaves
than the week before.

A weakened tree stands
but wilts, mopes,
slouches and droops
its remaining leaves
on half-naked limbs,
slumping into
wicked sadness
of dreaded winter.

Long knurling limbs,
skinny knob knuckles
bent like witch's claws
screeching silently,
scraping the blackboard
of the night sky.

Stiff, ugly and bent
resembling dreadlocks
as old man winter
approaches and mutes
this tree to hibernate
down to its graveness.

(Note: This poem was originally written in 2005. Revised in 2007.)

Mind Clutter

I'm trying to read some poetry,
next door neighbor's
kids are squealing,
ambulances scream by
on Espina, their sirens
        abrupt my thinking.

A radio commercial
replays in my head.
A woman sings
        baby can't stop cryin'.
An acoustic guitar strums
in the background,
a chorus of female
voices harmonize
an unforgettable jingle.

I'm trying to concentrate,
my brain overtaken
by too many things--
        that happens a lot.

I hope I can sleep tonight,
        the music keeps
        playing over in my head
until my thoughts
are impenetrable.

Philadelphia-or was it San Francisco?

I don't know
what made me think
about a trip I took
to Philadelphia,
or was it San Francisco?
           I get confused.

It was the early 80's
since I traveled
to those places.

I remember the shock
on my way back
to my place of stay.
I made the mistake of
walking one more block
than I should have,
not knowing exactly
where I was going.

As they say,
they only come out
           at night--
scary characters
who don't even know
who they are.

I heard a man ask
one woman--
if that's what she was--
wearing a black
leather jacket,
with mohawk hair,
pierced nose, lips,
ears and belly button,
attached by chains every
which way,
           "who are you?"
           "what are you?"
She couldn't answer.

Every time
she turned her head,
her spiked Mohawk
feathered the air
like cockatiels do.

The other eccentrics
on the street
were just as frightening.

Walking fast,
I got out of there quick.
Every city has its misfits
           I suppose.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day Parade

© 2007 Photo by Sue Miller

Kodak moment
a convertible
with four veterans
a Native American
holds a blue and yellow
Veterans flag
an American flag
drapes the trunk

a decorated old man
with patches and medals
barely seeing over
the car door
generous smile on his face
hand extended, wrist
resting on the door
there is something in his hand
for the children
excited, they flock to him
to get candy, and
pick up candy dropped
on the ground

I pulled off my glasses
to wipe a tear
my heart touched
deep inside
innocence and honor
rolled into one shot