Monday, January 18, 2010


American Life in Poetry: Column 252


My grandfather, when in his nineties, wrote me a letter in which he listed everything he and my uncle had eaten in the past week. That was the news. I love this poem by Nancyrose Houston of Seattle for the way it plays with the character of those letters from home that many of us have received.

The Letter From Home

The dogs barked, the dogs scratched, the dogs got wet, the
dogs shook, the dogs circled, the dogs slept, the dogs ate,
the dogs barked; the rain fell down, the leaves fell down, the
eggs fell down and cracked on the floor; the dust settled,
the wood floors were scratched, the cabinets sat without
doors, the trim without paint, the stuff piled up; I loaded the
dishwasher, I unloaded the dishwasher, I raked the leaves,
I did the laundry, I took out the garbage, I took out the
recycling, I took out the yard waste. There was a bed, it was
soft, there was a blanket, it was warm, there were dreams,
they were good. The corn grew, the eggplant grew, the
tomatoes grew, the lettuce grew, the strawberries grew, the
blackberries grew; the tea kettle screamed, the computer
keys clicked, the radio roared, the TV spoke. “Will they ever
come home?” “Can’t I take a break?” “How do others keep
their house clean?” “Will I remember this day in fifty years?”
The sweet tea slipped down my throat, the brownies melted
in my mouth. My mother cooked, the apple tree bloomed, the
lilac bloomed, the mimosa bloomed, I bloomed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

i am

i am . . .

i am: thankful for a peaceful Saturday night.
i think: and that makes my brain exceedingly tired...
i want: Lauren to get reliable high speed Internet at home.
i wish: i had more time to talk to friends.
i miss: having endless amounts of time to socialize like we did in college.
i feel: more than I let on.
i hear: that UPS is sending free aid packages for anyone to Haiti. But then I heard you should just donate money to the Red Cross so they can buy water immediately.
i smell: worse when I smoke.
i crave: that feeling of falling in love.
i search: for poetry that children can understand and be inspired by.
i wonder: when we will be able to buy a real house with some land.
i regret: starting up smoking again.
i love: my husband.
i ache: and need a professional massage...soon.
i always: double-check the locks before bed.
i am not: finished mailing the Christmas letters yet!
i believe: the trees feel it when you hug them and sometimes they hug back.
i dance: when I think about the theme song of "Fame"!
i sing: sometimes when I play the piano.
i write: in coffee shops - one of the great pleasures of all time.
i win: at Taboo but almost never at Scrabble.
i lose: at Monopoly, but still love playing it.
i confuse: myself when I try to get up in the morning while it's still dark. (argh)
i listen: to the stories of so many sad, grieving, and suffering people these days. my heart goes out to them.
i can usually be found:
in bed on Saturday mornings.
i am scared: by rape statistics.
i need: time to breathe and relax.
i am happy about: going to visit the fam in Mexico in just seven days!!!
i hope: to live by the heart and not the head.
i resolve: to be honest with my mother-in-law about my feelings and decisions.

Tag - you're it.


Good, good husband.