Category Archives: Poetry
Jonathon Johnson (and a poetic voice) Finds Me Again
Today is the kind of day that I walk around with two pairs of glasses on my head and a stack of poetry books. I sit on the swing next to the pond you built camera balanced on my lap waiting for oriole or wax-wing, reading aloud Jonathon Johnson.
I get the call you are late, dealing with a mess. It’s a good thing for I almost forgot the pot of brown rice cooking, now dry, almost burring on the stove.
An ant bites my foot and it still stings, but the phone is on the hook, and I brought in the stack of library books I’ll likely have little time to read.
I am trying to grasp on to the summers of my youth. Where sand in my hair meant I laid on the tall dunes baking in the sun. Reading. Napping. A nature child with words in her head and on the tip of her tongue.
The rice is off, placed on the back burner. Dark clouds threaten dreams of watching sunset on Solstice.
Dreams of curry chicken on hold as I sit again pond-side reciting for the gold finch, reading to the air, feet tucked under me in a camp chair.
I might even be happy that you are late as lines form to poems in my head.
Word Count: 226
How does the mockingbird chose his song,
Learned bits of mimicry
Like the memory of a screen door
Slamming in summer,
A tornado siren,
A cry over my skinned knee;
The mockingbird chose a song when I chose tears.
Later, on my father’s strong shoulders
We watched the leaves go belly-up
And the sky go yellow.
It’s no wonder I write better when the power goes out.
(In progress copyright 2009 Kim Nixon)
Sitting at the coffee house
I find myself jealous of
In the wide sunny window
red heart suckers dangle
And I realize, like this
dressed up sofa
I’ve been window dressing
trying on the dreams of others
wearing silk and taffeta
listening to my rustlings
as I skirt responsibility.
When will I be happy with writer and poet?
–Kim Nixon, 2006
Sometimes, I am hanging on by a thread. Just a bad shirt poorly constructed. You know the type, purchased on clearance, made in China, raglan hems fraying from day one. But the material is soft and you want something to fit well. Delicate you pray, but it is weak instead.
I am on that thread, dangling off the shirt seam on the hip, blowing in a fast wind, standing on the break wall, hoping a wave pulls me under just so I do not have to walk against the wind any longer.
The thread could be blue, but that would just be cliché, more than likely the thread is from a gray shirt, or black. I want that thread to be creative so it leads back into the story of my life with ease. With ease. Words falling into place, a stream of silver like a photo affect of waves crashing over rock.
Hands shoved deep in my pockets, I feel grains of sand and the tiny green piece of beach glass. I think of the bowl at home, maroon, driftwood, and single silver earring picked up during a parade, filigree, a labyrinth inside. That bowl, a cup of hands held in prayer, offering items of connection to a god.
The lists chronicle reasons, pros and cons, but none of it makes sense in this town. We dangle, all of us, until we manage to find a niche, a place to cling like orange lichen on the rocks protecting the harbor. Seeking safety and a mending.
The day before Christmas Eve I rec’d a rejection letter from a publisher–my poems did not make the last cut due to space concerns (sigh).
Driving around town, I search
the teenage hangouts.
A red pine in the city park has
fallen, the trunk twisted
by wind to slivered threads.
Tornadoes aren’t that selective,
only one tree, and I wonder
what wind can bring such results:
down-blasts, shear winds, winds that
whip leaves into tiny vortices and
propel them across the road.
City workers will slice the pine into
sections, and branches will be fed to
a chipper for mulch.
I think of my own meager woodpile,
estimate my chances before the next storm.
This night may be calm,
the Northern Lights dance as
I drive around town trying to locate
my daughter, but too often the wind
tears us from each other.
I want to share the aurora, the tree, with her.
I need to ask her to stop whipping
me around in these chaotic years.
That red pine stood firm and
five-feet from its root,
spiraled and shattered.
I keep drawing her close.
Poem copyright: Kim Nixon
In late winter
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow
and bend close and see it is lung-colored
and put down my nose
the chilly, enduring odor of bear.
My journey to the Upper Peninsula was the path of the bear. A journey to find myself and my path. At Mike’s Camp we have a bear that lets us know he is there, but we have never seen him, just what he leaves behind.
When I moved my family to the Upper Peninsula, each home we toured with a real estate agent had sign of bear. Even the hotel that we stayed at while traveling had a barrel-bear-trap set up near the dumpsters. One home had a window in a garage that a bear had reached through. The home we bought in 1993 near Gwinn had a neighborhood bear that would climb in my neighbors jeep to drink from “empties” not yet returned for deposit at the grocery store. That was many years ago and now at camp the bear comes to me.
I lumber trails with him in my dreams. It is that time of year.
My hand written notes . . .
“When a community or relationship needs healing, you can see signs manifest in many ways: people don’t feel appreciated for what they are; they feel like they don’t fit in; ideas and events become separated and the differences between people seem more important than our similarities: words actions and projects are blown out of proportion; gossip and rumors abound.” –Swami Radhanada
from Issue 24 –Healing — March 5, 2005 — What is it that heals? (using devotional practice, mantra and visulaization)
By Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
Love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes no.
Meanwhile the sun and clear pebbles of rain
Are moving across the landscapes
Over prairies and the deep trees,
The mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the geese, high in the clean blue air,
Are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
Over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.
I cannot imagine myself the independent
artist who wears easy flowing clothes and
struts with an air about her down
the 100 block of Washington Street.
I cannot feel like the eccentric grandmother,
graying hair, a copy of Yoga Journal,
drinking coffee and writing
poems at Dead River.
Healer, certainly not,
for today I lie broken in your arms.
Crippled. Trying to get over this part of me.
Any other day, I would be lakeside
meditating, a dance of martial arts
on rock near water, searching
for damselflies and waterfalls,
paying attention to my breathe.
Today, I lie torn, like
a garden after hail storm
a lupine beaten before seed pods formed
wondering if life can carry
I can only wrap my legs around
a small cherry tree with
third year growth rings,
attempt to feel rooted,
robins stealing fruit,
nest of starling chicks
gone after the storm,
conscious to the awful truth
humans do not mate for life.
copyright Kim Nixon 2007
Revision III., 10.29.2007
Stop and Start on a Dime
The radio disc jockey at Folk Alley talks of
damselfly and dragonfly ability to stop
mid-flight and hover.
He plays the lyric of Alex Bevan.
A hovering surprise
Right between the morning star
And this one fair sunrise
Caught in stopping time
Like you, my love, I find
A lovely thought that waits a moment
Then continues flying.”
A person comments on my flitting
from job to job.
I affirm to be taken seriously.
If I am not seen as an artist
how can I go on?
You, my love remind me insects flit
Flower to flower,
pollinate the garden.
and for a moment I am distracted
by my need to hover over you
All this encouragement
and commitment and still
I search want-ads as
my savings falls short of supporting my art.
For more information on this Free Write Fling.
3 words on how I feel about this post: worried, glad that it is coming out wanting to be a poem, afraid.
Substitute raw sugar for white. Substitute whole wheat for white use ginger not aspirin. Take in water from rain and well water drink deep. Wild Springs bubble up in the neighbors yard while adding on. Bigger space. Such space for one family. I imagine multiple generations, extended families under smaller hand-crafted roofs from found materials near a water source. Corn. Grain. Flat breads. Curry. Warming the flow of blood, of water, a sauna of spice. Treating out ills. Our ails. Substitute imagination for fear and open wide your mindscape to see inside horizons where you have sunspots, cooler areas. Sun Flares, disruptions of communications with your family huddled under the roof of your creation. Let their dreams raise the roof. Skylight to God. Sing stars. Sing uni-verses. Sing to the Big Bang ever expanding as we chase to reach. I know here in the sky. I know her in the water. I look her in the eye and she hides, deeper. He takes her hand. A photo thru trees. Small parts show, a bit of red backpack, and orange monarch wing, faded blue jean, wisp of old forest gone swamp. A darker space open to light as trees fall. Balance walk along the log arms wide. Create. Dreams flutter where you may. Substitute yogurt for egg. Kale forest green. Yellow squash suns. A small child draws what they seen and we have forgotten to see. Purple eggplant tuffets. Oatmeal in blue bowls cloud. Red persimmon grass spreads to sunrise. Rise. Rise!
For more information on this Free Write Fling.
I Feel: Nourished, Satisfied, and Surprised.