Teddy Bear Tales TBT 1

 

Empress 048

Oppressive-Possessives
TBT1

 Teddy Bear Tales 1

 “Possessives are oppressive,” my Teddy Bear whispers in my ear. “I’m not your Teddy and you’re neither my owner nor my master. The world exists without you possessing it. It will continue without you. And yes, I hear you, especially when you talk in your sleep. ‘My wife,’ you mutter, ‘my daughter, my flowers, my garden, my lawn, my birds, my bees, my deer, my house, my grounds, my groundhog, my car, my TV, my team, my Teddy.’ Well, permit me to share a secret with you. None of them are yours. You may think you own them, but you don’t.”

My God …” I sat up in bed and held my Teddy Bear at arm’s length, staring into his button eyes.

“There you go again,” Teddy stared right back at me. “Whatever are you thinking? Those two little words, yours and mine, are a threat to the universe.”

Bistro

18581930_1306791786107970_4016640231053970709_n-1.jpg

Bistro is a finalist, one of three, in the New Brunswick Book Award (2016) for Fiction. The photo is an older one, taken by the local newspaper in my basement in 2014, and reproduced in the paper today. Funnily enough, I am wearing the same clothes today as I was when the photo was taken three years ago. Luckily, Clare has washed them for me, on several occasions, in the interval between then and now. Thank you, Clare, for all the little things you do to keep me alive and happy. Without you, I don’t know what I’d do. This book, like all my creative work, is dedicated to you.

Bistro is available online.

Sun

Empress 070

Sun

The sun has decided to take a vacation.
He’s left us and gone down to Mexico
for a week or two. Right now I think
he’s in the main square in Oaxaca.

He’s wearing a flashy, floral shirt
and a panama hat and he’s sunning
himself in El Jardin as he sits in the shade
and sips his ice-cold Oaxacan beer.

This evening he will go to Monte Alban
to see himself set. Tomorrow, bright
and early, he’ll pop over the mountains
to Puerto Escondido where he’ll gild
sand castles and play games on the beach.

I know where he is, because he sent me
a postcard saying “Having a great time.
Wish you were here.” I miss him so much.
I really do hope he’ll come home soon.

Comment: Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 107 years old. I was thinking of him this morning, how he loved the sunshine, the sea, and his glass of cold beer. He also liked to travel. I don’t think he ever went to Mexico, but he would have loved Oaxaca and the beaches at Huatulco and Puerto Escondido. He would have appreciated the old temple compound and palaces at Monte Alban.  I thought of calling this poem, this ‘very raw’ poem, Sun & Son, but it’s all about him really, the Sun as warmth and protector and father, and the Son as missing the Sun.

April Ducks

IMG_0462.jpg

 

April Ducks … in Spanish … Patos de abril. Patos … because the double two of 22 look like two little ducks … and April … that’s the month we’re in … so Patos de abril … the twenty-second of April, or 22 abril … aka todaythough you wouldn’t think so from the phototaken today … just a few minutes ago …

Nice weather for ducks we say when it’s raining. But what do we say when late snow falls and we have between 4 and 6 inches of fresh snow down on the ground … on April 22nd … and it’s meant to be spring … and yesterday everything was green … and this is meant to be a color photograph … would you believe it? … and yesterday that Mountain Ash was full of birds … a downy woodpecker, creepers, purple finches, American Goldfinches, chickadees … robins were patrolling up and down the garden and juncos gathered with the early morning mourning doves beneath the feeders to pick up fallen seeds …

IMG_0463.jpg

 

Patos de abril … and winter has returned … we know the snow can’t last too long … we hope the sun will emerge and take it all away … I was late changing my snow tires this year … was that an omen? … I go in on Monday and get them done … we haven’t changed the garage around yet … the snow-blower sits by the garage door … a lion in winter in waiting and ready to roar … soon we will banish him to the back of the garage and bring out the mowers … soon … but not just yet … and certainly not today …

IMG_0464.jpg

Patos de abril … our indoor geraniums have survived the winter and defy the snow … they are sure the sun will return and the snow will emigrate somewhere … we don’t care where … if only we could build a wall … a great, big, expensive wall to keep winter away … an enormous, gigantic wall … a beautiful wall that unwanted snow storms wouldn’t cross … a wonderful wall … for which, of course, someone else will pay …

Red Star

empress-077

Red Star

“Fly me to that red star,
the one outside the window.”
Teddy’s voice droned
its mosquito in my ear,
but made no sense.

“I’ll try,” Owl said.
I hadn’t noticed him there,
snuggled in beside me.

“That’s not a star,” I said.
“It’s a planet, Mars.
It’s in conjunction with Venus,
that other bright blob.”

Owl flapped his wings
and flew out of the window.
Up and up he went
until he faded out of sight.

“He’s gone,” said Teddy.
“He’ll never come back.”

But return he did and
“A star too far,” he said,
as he pulled up the blankets
and snuggled into bed.

“It’s not a star,” I said,
but my words were ignored
by the snores emerging from
two nodding, sleepy heads.

Raccoon

IMG_0080.JPG

Raccoon

Two footprints on the dew damp chair
show that he has been here.

We know he visits at night.
The cat wakes up, jumps off the bed,
leaps to the window, and hisses.
Then she falls silent.

The raccoon steals food from the feeder
and shuffles the pottery shards
we leave out to gather water for the birds.

We never see him.
Sometimes we hear him grunt;
occasionally the wind chimes rattle furiously
as if caught by a giant gust..

We peer into the dark,
turn on the outside lights,
but his absence greets us
like a long lost friend.

Last night, nothing:
this morning, an empty feeder,
those footmark in the dew on the chair:
we know he was there.

Sun and Moon 1

IMG0023_1

 

Sun and Moon 1

Last week an old man squeezed the moon;
tonight, she’s a shrunken orange in the sky.

“Tell me, Moon:
when all the stars have been caught in my net,
what will I harvest?”

Silence descends a ladder of moonlight
bearing an offering of gift-wrapped stars.

“Wise Old Woman who lives in the sky:
what man tore your bones apart
and gave me your face?”

Dead leaves rush out through my eyes.
My hands stretch out before my face
and I wash them in moonlight.

“One day, I’ll climb to your silver palace
and steal all your secrets.”

Comment: Sun and Moon 2 (as sung by Cat Leblanc) is introduced and complemented by Sun and Moon 1. These are the first two poems in the ten poem title sequence of Sun and Moon. The eagle costumes, shown in the photo, belong to the original dance sequence from Sun and Moon as performed on Monte Albán.