"Mrs. Martini's Pancakes" and other Poems for National Poetry Month Week 3
Poem 21, Friday April 21
Mrs. Martini’s Pancakes
It was probably in 1958 or 59
when Mrs. Martini babysat
the four of us kids in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Mom and Dad went somewhere for several days
and hired her to watch over us.
I was 8 or 9 and each sibling was about 18 months
younger in steps down to Susie, the youngest.
Don’t call her Susie now, by the way.
Brother David would not arrive for a few more years
yet in Friend, Nebraska.
Mrs. Martini was short and stout,
like that little tea pot in the song,
and a bit darker skinned like the
native Americans we used to see in town
once in a while.
She made pancakes for us one of those mornings.
They were different than mother’s.
They were somehow much darker, almost
black, and larger, and we all liked them – a lot.
Pancakes were never the same after that.
I tried some Walmart brand frozen pancakes
this morning I cooked in the toaster.
Not much taste to them, but they were nicely round.
I used to make squirrel, spider, and rabbit-shaped pancakes
for my son when he was young, and he always liked that.
It’s quite possible the memory of Mrs. Martini’s pancakes
is better than the pancakes themselves were,
but that’s probably true of a lot of things.
Poem 15 Saturday April 15
I opened the blinds of my
living room windows this morning
to see the day.
A thick, dark gray sky lay low west.
Sunshine spilled over my
apartment rooftop into the
empty blue swimming pool
filling it with promise of summer.
The chatternews spoke of the Koreas,
the mother of all bombs, a fire in
Las Vegas, a captured fugitive,
lost health insurance, drought, Russia,
China, a president on vacation
at his golf resort.
I ate a cinnamon-raisin bagel,
a slice of cheddar cheese,
and thought of the rest of the day.
Poem #16 Sunday April 16
I like to write bad metaphors such as
metaphors are spice for word meat.
Or similes such as
she had eyes like big round hub caps from an old Buick.
Or her lips were like pieces of cow liver stacked one on the other.
There’s something about contorting language
into a semantic train wreck
for my amusement on a resurrected Sunday.
It’s a Coney Island of the mind,
on black petals, eating a peach, while a fly buzzed.
It’s a Howl on a path less taken,
riding a Zen motorcycle on the blue highways.
It’s like Huckleberry Finn in Paris
with Zelda drinking Amontillado.
Without you I am a dog barking in the back yard
of a Bleak House at the neighbor's cat
as I thought of lost loves.
It’s the dead guys on the crosses that bother me.
Someone wrote that eternity begins today.
Damn, I thought it began last year.
The sliver of the moon was like a sliver of a piece of moon shaped silver paper
pasted upon the sky if the sky were something you could
paste a moon shaped sliver of silver paper upon.
Images swirled in left side of my head in the same way that
water goes down a toilet when you flush it in the northern hemisphere -- clockwise.
I complained like Portnoy but the clockwork was orange
and Atlas shrugged on the western front.
Bad metaphors are the irritating screech
of chalk on a blackboard
and then you have to get the chalk dust off your fingers.
It’s like being Lolita from K-Pax on a Tuesday.
Poem #17 Monday April 17, 2017
The Day After Easter
Easter is not like something new;
there was one last year and the year before that.
And the year before that.
We Christians get dressed up each year,
on the first Sunday,
after the first full moon,
after the vernal equinox,
some in new clothes, some in old,
attend church services,
say the same words,
do the same actions,
and repeat the same rituals,
year after year,
decade after decade,
and pretend like it’s big news,
celebrating the impossible.
Still, it’s nice to get all
dressed up and have dinner
with family, and wonder.
Poem #18 Tuesday April 18
We are having some weather today, we say,
as though we don’t have some weather every day.
Hot, cold, rain, shine, it’s all weather, isn’t it?
In my closet, I have fifteen coats.
Some are leather, some cloth, some synthetic,
to accommodate that range of weather.
Some are better for the extreme cold,
others for just a bit on the chilly side.
Is it a cold rain? a warm rain?
A wet snow? A dry snow?
Is it above freezing? or below?
How long will I be outdoors?
Will I be moving or still?
All are important questions.
I have a light green rain parka somewhere
that folds up into
its own pouch to be worn upon a belt.
I like the efficient elegance of that.
For the others, I need that closet
by the front door.
Poem #19 Wednesday April 19
More Rain Fell Last Night
More rain fell last night
as I was sleeping.
In fact, a lot went on
As I was sleeping.
People went to work or came home after.
People died, babies were born,
Couples engaged in, well, coupling,
People enjoyed sunshine
In their worlds
As I was sleeping in mine.
Crimes were committed;
Criminals were apprehended.
Waves pounded on distant shores.
Rivers flowed; dust blew.
Trees swayed in the breeze.
Jets roared. Prisoners wept.
Children went hungry.
Children were fed.
Parents got them ready for school,
Or picked them up after.
People composed music, painted pictures,
Sculpted figures, wrote poems, danced in the moonlight.
They felt pain, love, sadness, loneliness, joy,
Prayed, and cursed.
Rejoiced and lamented.
A lot went on
As I was sleeping.
Poem #20 Thursday Apr. 20
Still Processing Good Friday
On Good Friday I stopped by the Burger King
on Dodge about 30th after a round of golf
at Shoreline golf course in
Carter Lake, Iowa, inside the
western edge of the oxbow lake
up by the airport,
and before the Seven Last Words
service at my church. I was to speak
about “Truly, I say to you, today you
shall be with me in paradise.” I had about
two hours in between and I was hungry.
It was too far to go back home
and then drive all the way back to church.
I ordered a Whopper, some fries,
and a vanilla shake. It cost $8.86.
That seemed pretty high to me,
for a Whopper, some fries,
and a vanilla shake,
but apparently that’s the going rate these days.
Compared to the price of paradise,
however, that’s nothing. That one guy
to whom Jesus said those words
had to die.
I had seen a small fish lying in the grass,
maybe six inches long, on fairway #2 -
I think it was a crappie - and wondered how it got there.
Dropped by a hawk perhaps?
But why hadn’t the hawk just landed
and then eaten its prey?
Why leave it there on the grass to die?
Seemed like a meaningless death to me.
There’s a mystery to things like that
even though it was just a fish.