Odd feeling

what is this odd feeling
so vaguely familiar like
a memory from long
ago barely remembered
except at the edge of sleep
I may have to consult
my dictionary but I think
it’s called happiness
because the sun sparkled
extra bright on the lake
this morning and the
clouds popped through
my window in such sharp
focus that I caught myself
singing to the cat about
those seven half-built
manors and I am startled
by the intensity of this
emotion and the thought
of how depressed I must
have been for the contrast
to be so great and yet an
undercurrent of sadness
remains because it took
a pill to remove barriers
to this feeling and why
couldn’t I get it on my
own and what did people
do before all the powders
and the pills except place
stones in their pockets
and step into the river
oh what else might
Virginia have written
if she had the modern
pharmacy at her disposal
or would it all be crap
if we took away her pain
I have no answers and
at this moment I don’t
want any I only want
to live in this moment
this happiness

Little feet

I may have overdone it on the feet
Says the photographer
As he shows me
Pictures of tiny little toes
And the bottoms of perfect little feet
A newborn and her sisters
Pink and beautiful
But I say no
There can never be enough pictures
Of tiny little feet
Wiggling and wriggling
Tangling in a pile
Until it is difficult to tell which foot
Belongs to which girl
The world needs many more pictures
Of innocent little feet
For how could anyone be angry
Or vindictive or hateful
When faced with these pictures
How could anyone not
Be filled with happiness
Because these feet are pure joy
Someday their toenails
May be painted “berry bliss”
And their feet may slip
Into strappy sandals
Or black pumps
With many-inched heels
Those feet may peek out
Beneath little black dresses
Climb stairs to apartments
And reach eagerly for gas pedals
And tread who knows how many paths
On the other side of the globe
Until they sport well-earned calluses
But in these pictures
Little feet are young and smooth
Quivering with possibility
Waving to and fro
Dancing to internal music
Ticklish perhaps
Ready to love and be loved

Writing is an orgasm

I am never as happy as when I am writing
Joyous moments with loved ones are as nothing
To finishing a piece and knowing it is good
Or pausing in the midst of the flow of words
To savor the feeling deep in one’s gut
Of satisfaction, of rightness, of wordless thankfulness
Not because I believe my verse is artful or great
But because it exists for me to express at all
Because the very process is an act of orgasm
Quiet or powerful – soft or hard – slow or sharp
There’s no such thing as a bad orgasm
Thus with writing – even the least is better than none
And the best is transcendent, transporting, ecstatic
Hey, it just feels fucking great
I’ve never snorted cocaine or even smoked a joint
So you may well think: she’s not lived enough
To claim such a feeling, but I have felt
If only for an instant, my reason for being
And whether or not it brings me profit
Or whether it brings me despair, it matters not
Would you give up all your future orgasms
To avoid the pain – no, it is worth anything
To have another such moment of happiness
And another – again and again and again
With the pen and the words and the page

Anger blows thru

All week I stewed
Incoherently mumbling
To myself in the shower
To myself on the street
Like a crazy person or
A writer…
Frustrated and fuming
Unable to bring forth
Words for my feelings
Unable to release anything…
Then I saw my shrink
And ranted for an hour
About my parents’ visit
And why and how
And heretofore…
And I didn’t think
I was getting anywhere
Until afterward
I boarded a train
And cherished the emptiness
The sense of being “swept clean”
Felt as if I had been fasting
And now I was starving
For a Paul Bunyan breakfast
And a hundred pots of tea
As if I had been mute
And suddenly was reciting
poem after poem…

You see…
I do depression like a drug
I am well acquainted
With despair…
I’ve even been known
To flirt with happiness
But anger is the stranger
At the door – hard to justify
Never knowing
Should I let it in?
Will it be too powerful?
Engulf me, drown me
Overstay its welcome
Become the guest
Who will not leave
Despite my hints and cajoling
Camping on my couch
Conquering my life until
I am the stranger…
But these are only my
Overblown imaginings.
In reality, the anger blew
Swiftly through my body
And out of my mouth…
A few leftover leaves
Of anger remain
Steeping in my blood
Awaiting the next time.
But for now, I am empty
And that pot of tea
Smells simply perfect
Jasmine and lemon…
And an empty sheet
of paper.

Ordinary things

Do I write too much
about ordinary things:
sunlight on the lake,
cups of black coffee?
Do you think I ought
to write more about
profound truths or
the mysteries of life?
Well I don’t agree.
For much of a decade
too many of my thoughts,
too many of my moments
were streaked with tears.
I could not see beauty
in the everyday;
I saw only a reflection
of my unhappiness.
I saw only tornadoes or floods
in the dark clouds overhead,
not the gentle rain of rebirth.
In other people I saw
only the imperfectness
of our relationship
not the possibility of love.
Now I begin to see joy
in cups of tea and coffee
and paperback novels
and French toast
and the clearing sky and
yes, even in a really good
thunderstorm with all its
stunning cracks of light.
For there will be plenty
of sunny days, empty skies;
let it rain now and then.
I am in no great hurry
to rush  through my life.
Slow it down, let me savor
the sweet and the bitter,
the chocolate chips
as well as the grounds
at the bottom of the pot.

People have begun to look
beautiful again:
the gray-haired man
striding strong, cocky
across the intersection
pony tail swinging,
the old woman layered
completely in pink and
a giant straw hat, sassy
looking girl smoking
outside the post office,
overweight woman
in too small tank top
and red polka dot shoes,
even the paunchy white
men in shirtsleeves
seem full of stories
waiting to be told.
Perhaps their stories
are not profound:
he finally called his sister
to apologize; she found
those shoes on sale.
But they are real and
they are very ordinary.
And after so many
extra-ordinary
moments of sadness
they seem
a revelation
to me.