Sunday, April 29, 2012


Tomorrow being the last day of the Poem-a-Day challenge (this one), I have many back-poems to post. I've been writing, but I have had an aversion to the net the last few days, due to a couple of sharks in my online pools. That's being unkind to sharks, though, so I should take it back. And no, they're nobody you lovely people would know.

 Two things about this challenge, two contradictory, but true things: I'll be glad to finish it tomorrow. And, it's made me want to go at writing poetry again. But full steam, as I used to, when I'd just sit down and write twenty poems in a row. The first five to 18 would be shit, then I'd have mined my thoughts enough to get something worthwhile.

 I haven't been doing that, this April. Maybe next April! I look forward to reading through other's works all May, to see what this month of poetry did for them.

Family Duty

in the corner chair, stuck to a brocade pillow
nursing a glass too heavy for the ropey hand
that holds it, there is
an older woman, finely dressed for the occasion
wearing her twice-a-year lipstick and powder
careful of her elegant bag
slim feet crossed at the ankles

no one talks
to her face

five or six of her younger relatives
stop by, dropping a brief, bland communication
as if she were a mailbox
and they have a bill to pay

there is no time for

they move back to the party
too quick for her to catch
with a word

she looks at ease
as much as possible

she is not invited
to do karoake
listens instead to the ranting
of songs

her drink is freshened once
by a well-bribed child

she waits for a conversation
and finally, gets driven home
being told, all the while
how nice it was for her
to get out for a change

inside her own room
she turns on some real music
lets her mind dance
through past lives


the parsley begins
before spring is set in ground
before the skies warm


last year the neighbors
cut their peonies down flat
our ants are anxious


olive oil, garlic
melting golden base for sauce
the scent of Heaven


Lucy barks warnings
scaring robins and rabbits
sparrows ignore her


by MK

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Family Drama

Reading an article yesterday about writing workshops, I understood the author's funny take on the experience-- listening to melodramatic poems, sappy love poems, the flood of dead grandmother poems-- but I also have a dead grandmother, 2 in fact; and I've only ever written poems or songs about one of them. So here, with a wink and maybe a pinch, is my dead Grandmother poem. A couple more may follow, later, to catch up as usual.


Our Name

is the same, at end
though you didn't want to share
your life or family

you called my mother
"that French girl," epithet or

you kept the plastic
on your couch for our visits
then wiped the dirt off

my eleventh year
your son died, having left us
a car, not much else

some cold spring morning
visiting my father's grave
they said you'd moved it

we couldn't have him
clean and free, of alcohol
or you, live or dead

i heard you had passed
by chance, and by chance I heard
i had an aunt, too

 in church, years before
my grandfather came to us
shook my hand and left

my father gave us
each a quarter for ice cream
when it cost a buck

his last, hard visit
we sat politely, strangers
painting in eight years

never met that aunt
who saw me as a baby
then wrote off the child

we share a last name
we share being called Polack
and our wide cheekbones

 i have a family
they came from Alsace, Lorraine
and made that French girl

after passing through
Montreal, Quebec, to make
my grandmother first

Estelle, or Stella
(she preferred that) my Gram
Acquard, then Hummel

baker of cookies
white-haired, tiny, barrel-shaped
from making children

she lived out decades
in her room. and the kitchen
drinking tea for thought

my seventeenth year
i found Stella; icy, still
her face drawn in pain

i told my mother
over the phone, to sit down
bad news was coming

a rainy morning
three weeks after my cat died
we put her in earth

the same green corner
that now holds my sister Lynne
but not our father

Gram never spoke ill
towards men who'd abandoned her
or you, and your kin

who had rejected
her own daughter as unfit
through plain bigotry

husband and son gone
she stayed through my early life
passed down a silk scarf

red, from a wedding
of some recent descendants
from old Villefleur

our baking Grandma
that sewed us homemade dresses
and washed our dishes

teaching openness
explaining the miracles
measuring spices

your grave, i don't know
you passed just one thing to us
and that, grudgingly

i am Kozlowski
by virtue of tired law and
regrettable sperm

by MK

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Begin the Beguine

Or maybe I meant to say, Bed the Bedouin. Not sure, but I watched a movie, in Farsi, yesterday, and my head has been swirling with the beguiling mysteries of Middle Eastern ways, not to mention foods. Whereas Begin the Beguine is based on Caribbean influences, I think. (Yes, it is-- check it out here). I like fried plaintains, but rice pudding with rosewater kicks any banana's ass.

What I do know is that I keep falling bee-hind; but then, I catch up. Here's one for yesterday, and another for today.


Her Temple

Dim aromatics
oiled skin flowering unlit
beneath dark cotton

The Calls

in dropping your conversations, i see the lion that lives under
lamblights, your innocent faces, shake a mane like a boiled
river, balancing raggedy bones on his tongue; he neglects the young hiding in
grass for an hour of hotter sun, starving them weak, and
i knew you would not hear my reasons for silence over
the pounding of such a heart.

by MK

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yesterday, and Today

For got to post yesterday's poem, somehow, although I wrote a few.

This one, unedited as always, shall stand for them all.


fingers smeared in flight
over fields filled with violets
under newsprint skies


in strange armor
of fur and wool 
teeth and tethers
dog warriors on reconnaissance
salute as they pass

by MK

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Based on a true story.


i circled, on my bike
you standing rigid in a hat, and open jacket
expectant, miffed
thinking i was crazy not to know
who you were

but the time we'd been apart
was a mystery i had no name for

i still can't be sure
if someone was sick or
you were visiting relatives, states away

you'd gone, like a a movie i saw
once on a Sunday afternoon
and couldn't find again

for weeks or months
i called at your door, your mother
sticking her head out, saying
you weren't back

looking at me with a look that said
you might not come back

at seven, i couldn't handle it
and when you were there, suddenly
dressed in clothes i'd never seen

i wanted my best friend back so shaking hard
it would have killed me, if i'd been wrong

by MK

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Poem a day? Four catches me up.

I'm in a Haiku mood, today.

melon in white bowl
gathering juice pools beneath
wet treats, Spring evening.


lone crow rides the fence
issuing sharp challenges
to the empty field.


a swaying mem'ry--
industrious bee works on
freshly hung laundry


blue or brown eyelash
silly choice, silly reasons
marketed time-suck.


by MK

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm six poems behind, as of today. But now just a few: this is what happens when I wake up to a windy, 70 degree day and have coffee in the backyard.


Framed by ropes of wires
Against the flattened blue
Eerily slow, clouds crawl
Ignoring the surface of sky
And its features-- birds, ancient branchings
The points of pine or the skittering sun

Heedless, like the
Mind of God


What Really Happened to Them

The last of the bees, huddled
Hidden in a fallen oak
Half a mile past some stream
Gathered their wings
Singing furious rhyme.

Hanging together
In a crowded new shape
They flew forth to become
The next jaguar.



The peonies left and took the ants with them
Tigerlilies were on the fence, but
The roses are in revolt, so
I weed more carefully
Hoping to build goodwill--

And sow an army of sunflowers
Just in case.


by MK

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Inspired by pictures from


wayward as old fingernails
but fringed in newest green
the oaks of Dalkeith
lovely in decay
give up their hollow hearts
as homes for the woodland

Inspired by pictures at Writer Unboxed on FB:


Your picture of a cordovan chair
And the elegant desk lamp in a deep corner office
Sets a mood. It's writerly, grown-up
A place for serious work.

My space, a white table looking out towards a field
Wouldn't show through the frame--
All you'd see
Would be rabbits, chickadees, and grass.


Inspired by a picture I painted, that was stolen:


The art of instruction
Shouldn't include
The sort of nepotism
Or unstable morality
That let our our lab fees
Pay her cousins to pose, fully clothed
For our figure painting sessions

The lines of thigh or breast
Corrupted, contained by spandex, by sweat pants
By a white cotton tee
I focused on while his back
Faced me, grey tag sticking out
Against his hairless neck.
You admired the point of view
While avoiding my brushstrokes and questions.
But I learned
Not to lend canvas
To you

by MK

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I didn't call back
or speak nicely
when we happened on each other
at the cafe where you sang
the other night
only because of the number of things to say

a high number, larger than
a long friendship, or a heavy, full past
where I was unequal
to your mentoring phrases


black tail curled
puma thick and intense
the tip taps and pauses

a stutter in the throat

caught in a loop
of stilted predation
caught watching, watching
with no chance to explode

Strength Moves

The crack was loud
Her face scrunched
"First, the wine was corked, and now--
I hate to see a wineglass broken."

"It wasn't a favorite."

The evidence swept, our mood
jumped from the couch
to the table under the maple, from
cheese, figs, and a zin
to guacamole and beer
from the independent film
to the bitch at that bar.

It's all in the wrist.

by MK

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rising Late


If I were folded
behind my stone, cool and alone
wrapped against decay
in sweet linens, mouth stuffed with herbs
and a ferryman's penny holding the shutters closed
unable to see the wreck of the world
I think I'd ignore
a call to rise.

early gift

rice cakes, tea, mangoes
a morning of surprises
left on the green tray

by MK

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April Skies: Going all poet on ya.

Since I stumbled, just now, onto an FB share by fellow writer, musician, and wonderful collaborator Songsville, that tells me of NaPoWriMo, I have to try. for one, my songs seem to have stolen my formerly quick-flowing poetry, and for another, I've been sick inside for a week and can use a nudge to get my routines back.

 So: Poems everyday till the end of the month. No promises as to the quality!

I'll stop overdoing it when I catch up.  Ta, Mari.

untitled 1


In uncut grass

The small, fertile mind of the rabbit

Creates faith

In a warm, safe spot

Another taste of new green or yellow

Without the feel

Of cat’s teeth on his neck

Or the frightening slam of a car door.

The next leap takes him there.


On Chopin’s “The Awakening”

Ellipses scattered under her sentences

Fixing spots on an emptiness

Of the imagination

A failure to see where a woman alone

Might swim to

Where a woman alone in the world

Might write, without apology

  by MK