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National Poetry Month–Poetry to My Mother

Cirrhosis

Wax crayons, guitar pics, stained glass, oils, pastels, charcoal, dark wine, gin, plum cordial-You in a coma, under your skin blood surfacing, ugly purple blotches-In death you are not creative-In death you are ugly, and it doesn’t matter if I color outside the lines in black, and it doesn’t matter if the guitar strings snap, or that I am alive and can write-Red crayon scrawling over your works-“Do Like this, like this, no like THIS!”-I broke your pics and brushes, watered down your gin, danced wild around the plum tree. You sang zippitee-do-da.

 

~poem by Kim Nixon

National Poetry Month–Mom

Mom

I’m confused by my need to apologize for Dad
Who left your ashes for the funeral home to dispose of,
Anyway, they saw fit.

I have no tombstone to address, and
You’re not in the garden where you used to be.
If you were planted in my garden, each sprig and fall
I could sink my hands into you.

Yesterday, as I shopped for bone meal and Rapid Gro
at Franks Nursery and Crafts,
I perused the aisles of annuals and perennials.
You weren’t hiding behind shrubbery wrapped in burlap bags.

Thinking of white crosses on the graves of unknown soldiers, I
Wondered if any cemetery will do. I remember
The pond at the cemetery on Woodward Avenue.

You went to mourn, and I fed the ducks.

As caretaker, I have failed to tend your grave, as I failed
to tend to your life. Watering down Vodka wasn’t
An answer r then, and today as breadcrumbs float on this
Green pond I also realize in your departure
You’ve lightened my load.

~poem copyright Kim Nixon

National Poetry Month–Collage

Collage

Rare occurrences these images of faith
yet I place them like concrete statues in a garden:
a pink rose on a blacktop highway,
blueberries in the sky above
a green grassy field, a window frame opening
the bark of a tree, a steeple peeking
out of a forest mist.

God, why have I placed this steeple
in this piece of art? When I am more drawn
by the post-fence running next to the blacktop,
and a triangular image of a wrinkled old
man in a 1930s pickup.
That man has broken
horses. He passed
my pink rose on the highway.

Roses, I’ve let them roam
untamed. Like my children,
I attempted to protect by trimming
around delicate petals
with tiny scissors. Wild,
they curled over the fence,
escaped my touch.

A window frames a waterfall
I ponder the course of this river
and what it has crushed.
The pebbles are older than Christ.

I fear the icy run-off of winter.

If I set my children adrift in reeds
turtles might snap my offerings to pieces.

If I set my children on the wing
will they pluck fruit from the sky?

Can sunflowers pop through snow banks
and appear natural?

Why should I ask?
You’ve never answered with the miraculous before.

~poem copyright Kim Nixon

National Poetry Month–Breadwinners II

from The Long Haul

Breadwinners II

The resurrection of spring comes late
to the Northwoods. Like Peter,
you have denied me three times,
turning down jobs that would
bring you home.

Caught by a sudden cold snap,
a song sparrow flies through the basement.
I place towels over the heat vents
to prevent her from pleading with me.

I ponder your return, thinking
the daffodils will be trumpeting,
but, like the bird, trapped
they refuse to bloom.

As snow starts to fly
I turn cartwheels in the green icy grass.
The world is upside down,
right side up, upside down,
and I close my eyes, dizzy and disoriented.

Somehow, I have to free the bird,
release her from the house without
hurting her wings, I replace
the mesh cap over the chimney and
fling the cellar doors wide.

She flies and rests on a branch to ease
the rapid beat of her heart
I spread seed and bread crumbs.
Sitting motionless on the picnic table
I watch, wait.

~poem copyright Kim Nixon

The Long Haul is a collection of poetry that you will not find in chapbook form (yet). The voice is the reflections of a wife during the first years of her husband’s search for employment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and his choice to eventually become a over-the-road truck driver. The work is by Kim Nixon and is highly autobiographical and feels like a lifetime away now.

National Poetry Month–Breadwinners

from The Long Haul

Breadwinners

I have watched the dog at your side
twitching its paws,
chasing its dreams.

I tiptoe through the mornings
not wanting to disturb
your sleep on the couch.

This tense hesitation in our lives,
you between jobs,
and me making my way through it alone.

As I shuffle the bills
drifting over the desktop
I watch a cardinal flit from tree
to bread crumb,
to tree again.

I want to crash through the glass,
seize the tiny bird in the cage of my fingers
lower my lips to its beak
and whisper sweet nothings.

But a blue jay screeches warning
and the cardinal flies off, as I must,
leaving you in the multicolored afghan
waiting for the phone to ring
and offer opportunity.

~Poem Copyright Kim Nixon

“The Long Haul” is a collection of poetry that you will not find in chapbook form (yet). The voice is the reflections of a wife during the first years of her husband’s search for employment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and his choice to eventually become a over-the-road truck driver. The work is by Kim Nixon and is highly autobiographical and feels like a lifetime away now.

National Poetry Month–Facts

from The Long Haul
Facts

I’m trying to resign myself to
this fall’s first hard frost,
a leaky faucet that needs maintenance,
an overdrawn checkbook;
these things give proof that
I’m as crisp as fall leaves, yet,
capable of approaching the necessary.

I’ve come to understand couplings,
male ends, female ends,
PVC pipe, and roof cement.
I hold the phone with an ear,
and ask you for confirmation,
milky motor oil means a blown head gasket.
It is a fact I’ve learned, like
add antifreeze while motor is running.

In your mind, I’ve become able;
you nod your head on
the other end of the line.
You set your hands to the wheel,
travel across time zones.

I turn to the garden beds, mulch and cover.
Insulate the attic. Re-glaze windows.
The phone ring comes less to my ear.
Crickets are dying.

~Copyright Kim Nixon

Revision
November 1, 2002

 

The Long Haul is a collection of poetry that you will not find in chapbook form (yet). The voice is the reflections of a  wife during the first years of her husband’s search for employment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and his choice to eventually become a over-the-road truck driver. The work is by Kim Nixon and is highly autobiographical and feels like a lifetime away now.

National Poetry Month–Poetry by Kim Nixon

Perspective

Yesterday, standing outside the school gym,
my daughter played her flute for parked cars and trees.
Today she lay on the picnic table
watching clouds, and comments that
the Earth is moving faster, and
the clouds sweeping by are actually still.

She enjoys a certain spot of
sunlight in the late afternoon.
I don’t know the patterns of her thoughts.
Yet, I understand her spot of light,
her need.

I want her to be heard above the
male turmoil of my husband and my sons.
Yet, I’ve hung her on the wall like
a piece of landscape art to be admired
while I tend to the needs of men.
My hands are wrinkled, creviced, and
my palms are too full to brush her hair.

At night, the moon juxtaposed against tall tress,
oddly reveals scales of bark the size of her hands.

The sky figures prominently,
a backdrop where I define
intimate textures. I try to hold hope in
tiny details so moments have voice
until my daughter finds hers.

~copyright Kim Nixon

National Poetry Month–from The Long Haul

from The Long Haul

The Ice Dam

I cannot see the tiny white lights
of the cross atop the water tower.
The lights that burn faith
until someone remembers to turn them off.

I’m feeling that need again,
the one where ego takes over
and ambition becomes selfishness.

Sleet pelts the window;
the laundry room ceiling drips from 15 places.
I’ve run out of buckets
and resort to the blue tub we wash the labs in.

You’re shooting pool at the Casino Bar, and
I worry that you’ll total my truck
as you did yours,
on Missouri Road between National Mine and Palmer.
Seven trees were sacrificed before the truck
Slammed into rock;
The only warning the slight shift
as the back tires swung left.

Is this how my mother felt,
drinking Popovov Vodka
to melt resentment,
an ice dam formed
supporting her husband?

Holding a lemonade pitcher,
I count the drops falling like heartbeats,
and wait for headlights
to slice through the storm
and turn up the drive.

 Copyright Kim Nixon

The Long Haul is a collection of poetry that you will not find in chapbook form (yet). The voice is the reflections of a  wife during the first years of her husband’s search for employment in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and his choice to eventually become a over-the-road truck driver. The work is by Kim Nixon and is highly autobiographical and feels like a lifetime away now.

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