Finally, Then

poem for procrastinators

 

Finally, Then

 

After dinner is over, dishes clean,

their porcelain lips stacked in smiles

behind the cupboard door.

 

After your desk is organized,

emails sent, final draft finished,

your to-do list a flock of check marks,

migratory birds flapping

down the column and out

to the horizon of a light-suffused land

called Everything is Done.

 

Finally, you can do whatever it is

you say you’ve always wanted to do.

Or not said, because naming can sometimes

dilute a dream’s dark essence.

 

But there’s bank overdraft to fix,

unread library books to return,

another doctor’s appointment,

and these days when you accelerate,

your car makes a screaming noise

like a small trapped animal.

You can picture its curled body

and dark eyes, terrified your speed

will toss it onto the moving parts

of a machine made only to go.

Maybe, after you get it fixed,

clear up a few other things,

finally, then, you’ll have time.

Laura Grace Weldon

 

Originally published by Great Lakes Review.  Find more poetry in my collection, Tending. 

 

Mathematical Improbabilities

 

Welcome

 

Eyes, fingertips, tongues

form one from two.

Yield three.

 

You.

 

Snowflake fingerprints,

tiny palms creased with foreknowledge,

DNA whirling proteins

into the plot of a new story.

 

Despite vast mathematical improbabilities

here you are.

Your mother’s hundred thousand eggs

your father’s five trillion sperm,

a one-in-five-hundred-million-million-million

chance of your existence.

 

Our gladness is incalculable.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

 

Find more poetry in my collection, Tending. 

Peace Postcard Project

Handmade card by Mimi Shapiro, sent for 2016 Peace Postcard Project

Handmade card by Mimi Shapiro, sent for 2016 Peace Postcard Project

“Peace poems can lead to peace-filled conversations and guide our thoughts and efforts in the months ahead.”  What a delight to open my email and find Carla Shafer’s message. Carla is a poet, founder of the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, and originating collaborator of Bellingham Repertory Dance Company of Phrasings: In Word and Dance, an annual event combining poetry and modern dance.

Last year she was inspired  to launch Peace Postcard Project after participating in World Poetry Canada’s poetathon. A peace enthusiast and mail exchange fan, I signed up as soon as I heard about it.

The concept was simple. I was put into a group of 28 writers who pledged to send one another an original poem each day in February. The practice was a lovely way to slow down, focus on peace, and send out the result. I didn’t think much about writers doing the same until lovely, soul-stirring postcards starting arriving. I’ve saved every one. I want to share them all here but will try to restrain myself.

Peace Postcard Project

An array of postcards from all over.

And oh, these words!

And oh, these words!

If you’re interested in taking part, you’ve got only a few days to register.

Peace Poetry Postcard Month   February 2017

JOIN poets from around the world (28 to a group) and send one of your original peace poems on a postcard for the 28 days of February.  Sign-up by January 30! 

To SIGN UP, send an email to worldpeacepoets@gmail.com 

Use the subject line: Peace Postcards

In the body of the e-mail provide:

Your Name, Street Address, City, State, Country and Postal Code.

For every 28 poets who sign up, a group is formed. You will receive an e-mail with your list as soon as your group reaches 28 names and addresses.

Process:

  1. On the first day of February (or before) write an original poem on a post card of your choice and send it to the person whose name is listed below your name.
  2. Proceed down the list sending a new post card every day.
  3. Circle back to the top of the list until you come back to your own name.
  4. It’s that easy!

Postage:

  • From the U.S. International postage is 1.20 per card or 4 first class forever stamps.
  • Within the US, postcard stamps at 0.35 (cents)

Prompts:

Original poems about peace in these anxious times. You may also be inspired by a postcard you have received or by a prompt listed at World Peace Poets Facebook page. (Feel welcome to post your peace poem and comments on the World Peace Poets FB page if you wish.)

You might want to write poems with a child or a neighbor. You might want to post poems you’ve received on your fridge, on social media, on a community bulletin board.  As Carla said in an interview with the Bellingham Herald,  “Every time people speak their hopes, address their losses and fears and listen to each other, we are taking a step toward peace.”

Ways of Speaking

faith like a spider

 

Ways of Speaking

 

I’m weary of those who talk

in slogans stamped and packed

by someone else, like

long distance truckers paid to drive

without knowing the weight

hauled onto that dark highway.

 

I want to walk, instead

where I can read the body’s slow knowing.

Where each thing watched long speaks aloud.

 

A spider tossed by the breeze reaches one strand

thin as faith. As it takes hold she dances between twigs

and waits within a design both beginning and end.

When the web breaks she begins again

tiny legs speaking in ways

we’re meant to hear.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

Find this and other poems in my collection, Tending. 

 

Oil & Gas Pipeline Closing In On Our Township

oil and gas pipeline through rural areas

No! No! No! 

Pipeline Protest 

 

Its name is Nexus,

from the Latin

meaning to bind, fasten, tie.

The pipeline, nearly as wide

as a kindergartener is tall,

will cut through

dairy farms and backyards,

hurtling high-pressure

danger for profit. Always profit.

 

Maybe it’s another wake-up call,

like the one Bush offered

by invading a sovereign nation;

brutalizing the Iraqi people

we claimed to be saving.

Brutalizing ourselves.

 

Of course we keep hitting

the snooze button.

Waking up isn’t easy.

Birds flounder

in oily waters

and we’re desperate

to sleep a little longer.

 

Today you and I stand

amidst hand-lettered signs:

Windmills Not Oil Spills,

Eminent Domain=Greed,

Fuck Fracking.

Cold wind brings tears to our eyes.

 

Fear brings us here. Anger too.

And bone-deep grief

for this lovely lovely planet.

Awakening shows us a million ways

to climb past despair.

I want us to do it for love.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

 

Originally published in the Blue Collar Review. Find more poetry in my collection, Tending. 

 

  • Here’s more about the Nexus pipeline including the route and blast radius in Ohio.
  • Here’s an article I wrote about how fracking might affect my family, and yours.  (First published on Wired.com.)
  • Here’s a glimpse at just how shady the oil and gas industry can be. More than 100 letters sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) in support of the pipeline are fakes, using names and addresses of Medina County residents who did not write them or sign them. A FERC project manager said the falsified letters would remain on the docket.
  • Here’s recent disheartening news. An appeals court, using a 65 year old Ohio law meant to facilitate the construction of utility infrastructure after World War II,  has ruled against the rights of property owners. This means pipeline surveyors are free to intrude on the yards and farms of 65 landowners who have actively objected. Yesterday armed security guards stood by as surveyors took measurements on a horse farm just south of the fairgrounds, a farm that’s bordered on three sides by wetlands and park property. As resident Paul Gierosky said in a recent article, “NEXUS is no more a utility than I’m an astronaut. This pipeline is not a public agency designed to service the people along its route. It’s a for-profit company that’s going to sell the gas to a foreign country.”
Image: Garry Knight, CC by 2.0

Image: Garry Knight, CC by 2.0

Summer Day at Huntington Beach

poem, Lake Erie shore

Summer Day at Huntington Beach

 

I tick with alarm clock worry.

My sister is afraid of nothing.

Not the dark or death or

Jay Preslan down the street

who pushes kids in front of cars.

 

Look at her run into the water

while I stand squinting.

She doesn’t pinch her nose

to dive under. Doesn’t pause

before splashing back

strange splashing kids. Doesn’t heed

the lifeguard’s megaphoned warning

to stay away from the ropes.

 

Lake Erie grabs at the shore,

slurps it greedily in foaming waves.

I picture monstrous goggly-eyed fish

lurking under the pier,

ships skudded in the depths,

lost sailors forever unburied.

I inhale the curved scent

of suntan lotion, clench my toes

in the sand, stand still. Far out,

bobbing in foil-bright waves,

my sister is another being entirely,

straining at the boundary ropes

trying to see all the way to Canada.

 

Originally published by Silver Birch Press.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending. 

Failure Too

 

Failure Too, a poem

Failure Too

 

Failure is more than shame’s

hot tar and feathers.

 

It’s cancer cells

destroyed daily

in the body’s

relentless furnace.

 

The unseen mugger

turning away

as a friend’s greeting

crosses the street, bright

streamers through the dark.

 

The beads of a broken necklace

rolling in his mother’s

dresser drawer, evidence

of that long gone afternoon

he scooped blue stones and dust

from the floorboards,

weeping till she soothed

with words softer

than her disappointment.

 

Finding them the week she died

he’s glad the necklace broke,

carries those stones

in his pocket to this day,

as ruins remind

us of splendor

in civilizations that spawned us.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Mom Egg Review.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending. 

Perfectly Good

"Perfectly Good" by Laura Grace Weldon

 

Perfectly Good

The chair broke years ago

leaving jagged oak

at its topmost edge.

Repairs never held and

here my youngest son sits

his face lit from within

like all God’s children.

If I could I’d fashion everything broken

into a greater whole, forming

a bridge to his highest possibilities.

Instead he eats supper

with sharp wood bristling at his ear

and when I suffer it aloud

the boy says, “It’s perfectly good.”

 

This was the mantra of my childhood.

Spoken over fat and gristle

left on my plate till I forked those last bites

in my reluctant mouth. Invoked with each

hand-me-down, though Jennifer Kling’s

mother always made me wear suspenders

at her house to spare her

my sagging trousers. Implied

in a fistful of stubby No. 2 pencils

my schoolteacher father saved

from the classroom trash can,

the same ones my mother darkened

her eyebrows with each morning.

 

Today my son helped with yard work

at my childhood home, then stopped

CSI-faced, to hold up a dark loamy figure.

My mother dismissed it casually,

“Oh, the overcoat in the azaleas.”

Her father’s moth-eaten wool coat,

good tailoring still apparent in the shoulders,

was too good to discard, but perfectly suited

to smother weeds forty long years.

 

Standing next to her in the doorway

I knew identity as something

broader than a name.

This is who we are.

Resilient enough

to chew the fat, hitch up our pants,

and raise our brows— smoothing the way

for our children the best we can.

I grew up missing my grandfather,

yet all the while his coat

lay right outside the window

arms spread wide,

keeping a place for flowers to grow.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

Find more poems in my collection, Tending. 

Fog is composed of…

Fog As Visible Dreams

Fog As Visible Dreams

 

Mysteries flicker under each tender eyelid.

Become mist. Pass through walls.

Crowd the street, stories in symbol

lingering over a neighborhood asleep.

 

Houses and mailboxes

walk toward my headlights,

ghosts stepping into form.

I see each thing clearly

only as it passes by.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Shot Glass Journal.   Find more poems in my collection, Tending. 

 

fog as visible dreams

The Great Dying

http://www.tovima.gr/science/article/?aid=583936, Methanoscarcina caused The Great Dying

 Significance of Planetary Flatus

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Evidence that methane emitted by the single-celled Methanoscarcina caused the largest mass extinction on Earth.

 It is called The Great Dying.

250 million years ago

(only seconds in Earth’s long day)

90 percent of all species perished.

 

It’s blamed on gas.

 

Eon’s amnesia hides certainty,

yet experts say our verdant Earth

was broiled and poisoned

by these likely suspects:

 

  1. Methane clathrate,  known as “fire ice”  (hat tip to Robert Frost).
  2. Massive volcanic eruptions.
  3. Asteroids slamming into shale deposits, instigating a sudden Permian-Triassic fracking.

 

Now, research incriminates

one-celled Methanosarcina.

It bloomed across oceans,

converting marine carbon

into so much methane

the weather broke.

 

You who insist humans

can’t change the climate,

consider this microbe.

It waits on the ocean floor.

It waits in your convoluted guts.

It asks you to remember.

 

Last time

our blue green world

needed ten million years to recover.

Laura Grace Weldon

 

First published by Litbreak. Find more poems in my collection, Tending.