“Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unasked also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.” G. Washington
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to.
We try so hard to be detailed,
accurate. I was doing it
all. Yes, I was doing my best.
I was doing the best I could.
You did the best you could. We both
made mistakes. We all made mistakes.
It was no one’s fault. It wasn’t
either of us. It was just a
mistake. A glitch. An oversight.
An error. A revelation.
A miscalculation. A flaw.
How did I miss that? Yes, you’re right,
I’m not very good at that. It’s
an eye-opener. It’s open
access. I guess. Maybe I was
too open, or maybe too closed.
I don’t know. I didn’t want to.
I didn’t have access. I was
taking notes. I kept good records.
It was a typo. The other
set of data. It was the wrong
sample. The reviewer didn’t
like what they saw. There’s a conflict
of interest. At least a conflict,
anyway. There was some bias.
There was an insertion of bias.
It was inadvertent. It was
the selection. It was biased.
It was the color of her clothes.
Pink. It was the look on her face.
Her face was pink. It was the look
on your face. Foreboding. It was
a misreading. Body language.
It was the coding we used. Black.
Blue. It wasn’t a secret code.
I didn’t understand. Black and
blue. I am confounded. I am
confused. Just blue. I am afraid
I am out of time. I’m trying
to fix it. I’m trying to fix
everything. I said I’m sorry.
Didn’t you hear me? I’m sorry.
I take it back. I swear, I take
it all, all back, all of it. I
didn’t mean it. What? Whatever
you want. I’ll do it over. I’ll
do it again. I won’t ever
do it again. Do whatever
you want. Honest. I didn’t do
whatever it was. I didn’t.
I’m not that kind. I won’t. I’m not.
In light of “Poems of Resistance,” “Universe of Verse” (which has a LIVESTREAM tomorrow evening!), and Poets for Science (#PoetsForScience), I figure it’s time to come clean on the underlying strategy of the poem sequence I’m developing through (most of) my #NaPoWriMo poems, specifically the “Civility” sequence. For this poem series, I am writing the poems in sequence, using as titles the theme of the day from the “What the F*** Just Happened Today” working through the first 100 (maybe 110) days of the current administration, matched with the appropriately numbered quotation as epigrams from the “Rules of Civility” as scribed by President George Washington as a child. I have a spreadsheet to keep all the pieces nicely lined up. There have been a few days (considering my injury and recovery) where I have been too much in pain or fatigue to manage it, and a couple of poems for NaPoWriMo are not part of the Civility series, but by and large, this is what I’m trying to do. It’s tricky, and there are layers to where I’m drawing inspiration for the poems that I’m not quite ready to share yet, because it is still very early in this project. I mean, really, talking about 100-110 poems here, and I just wrote #17 yesterday. So, I may not be able to pull this off, BUT, it’s an idea, and I’m trying.
Originally posted on my Facebook stream. Lightly edited.
The image used is a “paper quilt” I made as a gift some years ago from the 110th of the Rules of Civility. Obviously, these are something special to me.
“Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.” G. Washington
The water refuses to breathe
for the fish. The air refuses
to slow the light, and the light won’t
mute, gentle, or bend in rainbows.
The garden crawls away from earth,
into wire arcs and plastic tubes.
Ice doesn’t know how to rot, so
it simply melts and fades away.
The chill that slept cozy beneath
erodes, becomes restless, tossing,
and turning, crying out in dreams
of relentless heat and sorrow.
Soil long blanketed becomes raw,
shivers with heat and burns with cold,
prickling root deep and static shocked
as if air’s nerves moan no, please no.
“Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue, rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.” G. Washington
It is the wind that puffs and blows,
parachutes cascading from clouds
sliced open by wings. Here we come,
faces carved closed like wood, lips tight,
floating downward into a dream
sandwiched with nightmares. We’re spiced up
with the supersaturated
breath of the anxious — rich with salt,
dripping with honey, carrying
False hopes lift us up like a bridge
and settle us down so gently
we don’t even realize there are needles
sharply pricking beneath our feet.
As long as we don’t move, floating
barely above reality,
we can call ourselves a dreamer,
protected in shivering sleep.
“Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Showing any great Concern for them.” G. Washington
It’s the little things that slay us.
No big deal. Just a little thing.
Each piece works alone, but not when
you put them together. It works
when you’re looking, but not when you
turn away. The word “and” where “or”
belongs. Just little things. A dash
instead of a slash. A small moan
of pain instead of screaming out.
A new bruise instead of a bump.
It keeps happening, over and
over. Figure it out. It’s not
my imagination, it’s yours.
It’s nothing to worry about.
It’s all going to be fine. You’re safe.
Just relax. This won’t hurt a bit.
“Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.” G. Washington
The grass says:
I tell you, there is
a hard storm coming.
Just feel the dryness.
I cry out against
thunder and pounding;
I rage against it.
But you don’t hear me.
The air says:
I am much stronger
than you imagine.
You can’t know my weight,
my hugeness, how much
I carry, how much
I touch. I am full
of heat, of water.
Beware, or I will
release what I hold.
The pond says:
I am flat. Trust me.
You don’t want to be
around when I’m flat.
That’s just the surface.
Do you have any
idea what is
The hidden battles,
the slow and sluggish
slide into fury.
The stones say:
You think I’m heavy,
but I remember
air, and air knows me.
Winds can lift, and I
can fly. I can fly
to you, but I am
still stone. I can throw
myself, and then fall.
“Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexterously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.” G. Washington
There is a spider in the laundry, and another
in the bathroom. I try to not look in the basement.
I catch them with a paper and a cup, then outside
they go. Did you know there is a myth in which spiders
weave the threads that hang stars in the sky?, the sheer fabric
that is the transparent warp and weft of the heavens,
the tapestry of all Creation. Some believe they
labor forever, making the magic of our lives.
Some believe the existence of spiders undermines
belief in science, for only God could imagine
creatures as strange as spiders. so entirely unlike
us. This is why I want to save them, these mythical
makers of all things. He chuckled. I know, he says, that’s
why I like to kill them — to destroy the Universe.