December 26, 2007

Fight without Fists
     for my sister in 2000

I sit vigilant as you lie pale and tiny
in the hospital sheets,
my hand at rest on your burning brow,
an ice chip to your lips,
a rub of your feet,
and, as you sleep, I begin to write
fixed on metaphors in calming cloaks,
friendly arms,
a printed sky, a papery sea

wanting to relieve you for the hour, too,
your own lighted shores
nourishing from the inside first,
laying you on your side in the sweet sand
of narcotic drift, spent
until the stronger you
may return to home and bed,

hug the chair
that sits farthest from the door.

—Kathleen Adcock
previously appeared in Wild Onions

Posted by dwaber at 04:36 PM

December 25, 2007

Amsterdam 2005

Locals in lime, turquoise, purple
     and tangerine blur past
between sprawling shops, pancake
or falafel cafes.

Flashcards flirt Dutch blond
to my half-Sicilian cast.
Every eye catches the eye of everyone else.
     Always a breeze.

A world away that floats on bicycles:
packages hanging carefree,
two babies sleeping in one basket,
a lover's legs wrapped snug
     around the biker's hips.

Tires glide up to a canopied bar
on sloped brick. Paper flaps, this poem
I pour on the tilt of mid-air.

I am visiting from where only some paintings
wear the colors
     that bounce out at me.

Here the war is a newspaper anomaly
rubbing a grocery sack
     low on the handlebar.

—Kathleen Adcock
previously appeared in Moon, Trumpet and Guitar

Posted by dwaber at 04:32 PM

December 24, 2007

Pearls in Minutiae

I take in everything at once, flowers
and foliage, sparkling water and the mud,

clip reams of daily Post over breakfast,
news in a slew of boxes lest I forget what I read.
Dust the den add a candle
to the only bare spot in the window's bow.

Day is a panorama. Words scramble onto paper.
I piddle and spin from well to well
task by task, adding more as I go
drop limp at the knees, cradle my head
an arm's length from yet another poem.

You aim for one target,
photo-shoot the snow on our roof when not
emptying the spouts,

research a year before buying a car,
paint a bowl of ripe fruit, or clear a patch
of weeds to root, put work to rest and digest.

Long time together shows us how to
sit in the other's heart, lend grace at day's end,

see pearls in the huge kaleidoscopic sphere
of our differences. I leave the study
of logic to you.

—Kathleen Adcock
previously appeared in Moon, Trumpet and Guitar

Posted by dwaber at 04:34 PM

December 23, 2007

Between the Lines

     for Dorothea Tanning*

Oldest living emerging poet you said
of yourself at ninety-four
after stroked canvas, stitched silks
got all stashed away.

My poem pales against your
mars orange, dragon's blood
blackthorn berry.
And oh, aubergine
with its rounded sheen of wicked color.

You rose insistently above sorrow
widowed by your one beloved,
became your own reliable muse
summoning, an Interior
of Sudden Joy, soft sculpture
a bursting mug
of Don Juan's Breakfast.
And who is it Reclining Nude in pink wool?

Our bohemian who loves aubergine
as do I, writes in ink a black
as deep as purple
paints our tomes to freedom
flowers or novae
a postwar torso
from your French years with Max.

*painter and sculptor, only woman
in the Surrealist world of men

—Kathleen Adcock

Posted by dwaber at 04:30 PM

December 22, 2007

Praise for an Alley Child

I taste my name, my name's song
the way I heard it framed as three
by nine brothers and sisters:
of Baltimore, hopscotch and hoolahoop,
too shy not to clasp my sister Lou's hand
until I warmed to wiggling in the loop till it dropped,
hopping on one foot inside thick chalk lines,
blocking out the squeals
of every age a child could be
who slammed forth from the rowhouse doors
jump rope smacking cement
until noise became the song,
carried me back to a locked room saved
by writing poems of back lawns bright in the afternoon:
bees thirsting after roses pressed
against a fence; buttercups we could pluck
with two fingers;
always, children chasing after
the jing-a-ling of an ice cream truck;
Ma's pies cooling in a window;
sun glistening off the metal gates
before moving away
where leaves had pushed through
like words from the flowering chest kept secret
except on paper. Song of myself.
How I yearned to wear red lipstick
the older girls wore.

—Kathleen Adcock
previously appeared in Moon, Trumpet and Guitar

Posted by dwaber at 04:28 PM

December 21, 2007

A Body Distant Brought Near

Sitting on the moon's rim
all that can be seen
is her mountains, flatland,
a pale asphalt.

you pull me from my
We view a new crescent
from our roof.
You tweak the lens
of your telescope,
steer me into

the ocular
where in the black velvet void,
the moon's inner arc
is a filigree
of bright white lace.

—Kathleen Adcock
previously appeared in Moon, Trumpet and Guitar,
and Grease and Tears (Function at the Junction)

Posted by dwaber at 04:23 PM