Let the silence press;
Like a rising dough filling a bowl.
Until the gentlest breeze
Creates the worst racket,
Your own growling stomach,
And the tentative hoots of an owl
A circus parade.
© TDR – 2018
Someone curious once asked, “Are you a Gypsy?” “No. But I work with mud.” He replied. A peacock called Bukowski lives with him on top a knoll where brick kilns loom like Celtic altars. The shards of failed pots pave the way to where we shared coffee and strange tales. Inside the house the walls display clay mugs and plates scrawled with symbols of no special device which invite, then defy translation. We strolled and spoke as freely as old friends again meeting, while two lazy bees still sluggish from winter drifted weightily about our heads sweetly buzzing with Swedenborg and Gurdjieff. As we looked at the patch of field where the Gypsies once camped, we wondered if they would come back. He said, “I would tell them ‘I work with mud’ And if they didn’t already know I’d show them how.” -By Gerald Musinsky
A few years ago, on a different blog, I wrote an appreciation of my friend Gerry upon his death a decade ago. I found this while going through some ancient papers from when we worked together on a New Plays Festival. He had scribbled notes on the back of the typed copy. I don’t know if this was ever published as my copy of his “Steel Living” is…misplaced somewhere on the four floors among the hundreds of books that give me some structure. Assume it’s here somewhere unless one of the girls took off with it as an artifact of a place and time. If not them, I blame the cats. They are clever imps and spend too much unsupervised time wandering the stacks. Pretty sure Lohman can read-he plays dumb, but I’m not buying.
Anna Yanni was born 22 days after my father in 1931.
She never had a Christmas morning where-as the only child
The room would be full of gifts for the gift.
She never played in the yard or worked in her grandfather’s garden.
She didn’t go to school.
Never acted in the high school production of Best Foot Forward,
Never went to art school-never drew a thing.
Didn’t spend 18 years in the Army Reserves
Pushing and being pushed.
Never laid a brick.
Didn’t marry, raise children,
Worry, love, be paralyzed by fear.
Be proud, prideful or exult.
Work, play, fish
Have friends, have family,
Watch the Steelers,
Live, love, laugh, drink,
Die at home.
Maybe that last. Probably.
For 16 days why even leave Heaven?
Who booked her on that cruise?
Who was little Anna sent to serve
Or to save?
Twice this month alone
I’ve read poems that allude to
Two different poets writing about different things.
Once, I could see.
Or do poets all write about the same thing?
If so, what’s with the rapeseed oil?
What did I miss? Why didn’t I hear about it?
I’ll stop with the poetry for a while.
A third would be too much.
Across the way the cat pads at his bed
For what seems like hours with that stupid face he gets.
Drives me nuts until I throw a pillow at him and scream for him
He hisses and stomps up the stairs, each loud creak
Echoing through the house.
Coffee tastes like burnt wood without half and half;
There are no more cookies and
Only ten oxys left
in the Imodium bottle in the fridge.
Enough for three days if I’m careful.
Then I have to make a move.
When the wind died
He could feel the silence
There had to be a hawk.
Birds were down-
Death in sight.
Silence has its own sound:
Thick winter water
Trickling over pebbles
Under a shell of ice.
Cold trees cracking, breathing.
The lazy wash of his own blood
For the time being.
Hey pastor she cried,
Runnin’ up red-eyed and blotchy
After the service.
Lookit this she said,
Opening the postcard that had been folded in her purse.
Lookit what he sent.
He’s in Wyomin’ now, she said.
Settled up on a place, she said, hissing
Giving him no time to read the note.
He’s fixin’ fence, he says, runnin’ wire and is that walkin’ horses?
What’s he know bout that? She asked,
With his rickety knees and balky hips.
He’s a townie kid like me…and I never wanted to run off like that.
What’s to become of him?
You mustn’t worry about him, little darlin’, the pastor said leanin’ close,
Allowin’ his gaze to hungrily crawl acrost her bodice.
The lord will pervide for them such as him.
You come with me lil darlin’, he said.
I can’t tell you what he was thinkin’, but
I allus thought you were a sweet little one.
Let us git you into the back…
Git some coffee in you….