One of my favorite writing gigs is to help other writers revise and strengthen their creative works. I’ve helped those who write fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by providing in-depth page by page comments. If you have a manuscript draft and would appreciate another pair of eyes and ears for your words, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out a plan that suits your needs and budget. I have an MA in Fiction Writing and an MFA in Poetry, along with years of experience with various kinds of writing and editing. I’ve also been a teacher. My writing has been published in online blogs, online magazines, books, and newspapers. Writing is a solitary act, but it can be a wonderful process to work with another writer!
Lord: it is time. The summer was so immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials,
and let loose the wind in the fields.
Bid the last fruits to be full,
give them another two more southerly days,
press them to ripeness, and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,
will stay up, read, write long letters,
and wander the avenues, up and down,
restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.
The polar opposite of rush hour in Central VT: I am driving on a back road to my abode, when, lo and behold, I see two elementary-aged children in the middle of the road. I politely wait for the children to move to the side of the road. To the left of me is a cow pasture filled with, you guessed it, cows.
Then I notice that there is an electric fence stretched across the road, and that the two children are squabbling, and that the little boy on his bike is wearing a space helmet. Meanwhile, a woman is attempting to convince the cows in the pasture to cross the road to the equally pleasant pasture on the other side. She is hollering at the kids and yelling at the cows, and no one is paying any attention to her. Except me, where I sit waiting patiently, mildly amused.
The little girl, in a pink ruffled shirt, stands guard before me like a sentry at a military outpost. “None shall pass.” The boy states the obvious: “we are moving the cows.” Except . . . the cows are not moving. The woman begins swearing at the cows and at pretty much everything around her: “WTF!?” she wails.
After about 10 minutes, only two cows have obediently crossed the road. The little girl in front of the electric fence has not budged. The rest of the cows are either milling around in confusion or blissfully grazing. A few interlopers have hustled back to a desirable patch of mud to wallow in. I astutely reach the conclusion that I am getting nowhere fast, so I back 1/4 mile down the road to go around the other way (3-4 mile detour). When I reach the top of the hill sometime later, coming from another direction, they are still there…
Icicles hang from the roof’s edge—
row of pointed fangs,
winter’s snarling retreat.
Morning sun shines stronger—
chickadees sing “Sweetie, sweetie”
in trim black caps.
Slipping and sliding through dirt road ruts,
Arctic freeze bellows down dust and snow—
rattle of teeth and bones.
And so it is that we in the North bear out these long winter months pressed inside rooms that seem to grow ever smaller. Tufts of cat and dog hair drift about the floor amongst fragments of bark and splinters as we open the wood stove to feed it one more time, again, again. Houseplants toss leaves and stems to the ground in protest of the dearth of humidity, while stray popcorn pieces from the umpteenth movie we’ve watched lie tangled in rug fringe. The dog stares vapidly into space or clings to us like a small child. The cat perfects her staircase acrobatics, until one day she begins to excavate the plants. Potting soil flung in all directions is pure sport. We reach out to touch anything for the thrill of electric static zap. Sometimes, tired of waiting for Mark Breen with his Eye on the Sky to pronounce our fate in inches of snow or ice or mercury’s descent, we walk boldly barefoot out on the porch, look up at the stars. We don’t even wear hats.
Now there is simply this: winter’s night silence. Worn family chair, one lamp; she is curled under wraps, impulse for urgency muffled. Outside one deer leaps through the snow, and another follows. Once she held up her hands, until he was gone. Quiet takes all her resolve. It’s the bravest thing she does. Letting what is, in. Waiting. Outside constellations spin imperceptibly apart, and she imagines one tiny ice crystal held aloft upon the new blanket of snow. When illuminated by morning’s light, it will refuse to melt.
Goldenrod soon to be snuffed out,
No bathing suits lakeside lounging
or bare bellies down State Street saunter.
Burdocks hitch rides toward
next year—latched onto pant legs,
shoe laces, the dog’s tail. Last buttercup
nods off, apples thud to earth.
Green tomatoes aspire for redness.
Herbs strung up to dry—lavender sweet dreams,
oregano, basil simmer sauces, sage-flavored
corn bread, lemon balm tea steaming.
Crickets thrumb through the evenings,
we savor the porch, steeped in red wine and wrapped
in blankets while inside
maple wood smokes in the stove.
Cottonwood yellow rivers
along arid arroyos.
Distant mountains buttress the blue
sky, sun splashes adobe walls.
Heat fades in imperceptible
Tarantulas hop across the highway,
mate under ponderosa, in pine needles and sand.
Horny toads must not be moved, must not
be interrupted from their journeys or
bad luck will come.
Bosque del Apache white like snow,
wings of migrating birds.
Hot air balloons waft above the city.
roadside loaded with red chili ristras,
1960s trucks from Chilili, Tejique,
gourds, watermelon, cord wood to sell,
pinion smoke’s sugar-sage smell.
Green chili roasts in wire baskets turning
in every parking lot while
Three Dog Night cranks it out
at the New Mexico State Fair.
Zozobra burns in Santa Fe.
Spiny cactus and squashes,
the sweet, the heat, the tang,
tastes of coolness.
Balanced between darkness
and light, night and day, east, west…
summer slinks away; the geese
get out of town.
What do they know?
When snow-white blind,
thirty-five below sears the brain and
even fingernails feel alive.