A poem for my grandfather

FAMILY, LIFE, POEMS

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The painting you painted for me, and for my siblings, is unlike any other work you’ve ever done.

Different from your other pieces, which are so precise, relentlessly realistic, this painting is full of broad brush strokes, composed of love and light. The painting captures essence and exact truths fall away. Because when I look at this painting a C+ is an A+, a failure is a learning moment, and no matter what I say or do, I can do no wrong.

That’s a very special work of art to have.

This painting you painted for me reflects your humor, and just the sight of it makes me smile. And if this painting depicted you, it would capture your laugh, the endearing way your eyes creased when you told a joke, and the way you beamed when surrounded by family.

This painting began when I was born and grew into something magnificent, a mural expanding over the 28 years I’ve been alive. And no matter where I was or what I went through, when I looked up, this painting was there.

This painting you painted for me. In your humbleness you’d say it’s worth nothing but it’s the lens through which I see the world. And because of this painting, everything I see is colored by your kindness and your light.

This painting, Grandpa, is forever hanging in my heart.
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Seen in Astoria…

POEMS

A couple sits
In the corner of a dive bar
She’s smiling
Absentmindedly pushing around
Scrabble pieces
Rearranging the letters
Admiring her work.

He hardly notices what she’s doing
Because his eyes never leave hers
And in her presence
Everything else is a blur

Suddenly he checks his watch
They jump off their stools
And run out of the bar

Left behind are words unseen:

YOU
CHANGED
EVERYTHING

Poem: Decisions

POEMS

Some are light and airy

As a feather

Inconsequential as

Blowing on a cottony dandelion

And watching the pieces

Float onto the grass.

 

But others

Others take all your energy

To even lift

To contemplation

And just when you know what to do

They change form

Slipping through your fingers

Like water

 

But the hardest part

If you’re anything like me

Isn’t the decision,

But the aftermath of one

 

When regret and anxiety

Swirl manically inside of you

Like a fan you can’t switch off

A fan that’s spinning so fast

You fear

It might become unhinged

 

The days flutter by

While this decision somehow

Shades every aspect of your life

Crawls into parts of your body

You didn’t know

Doubt could reach

 

Until one morning you wake

Look around

And feel a strange sense of

Serenity

Because finally

You and your decision

Are one.

Poem: A Smile

POEMS

Every day I saw you

Straight-faced

Tight-lipped

I’d smile, say hello

Nothing

So I decided

Why should I bother?

 

I didn’t notice

When you were gone

Then they told me

You were sick for months

Finally succumbing

To a disease

That caused so much pain

 

And I thought to myself

You never really know

What someone’s going through

 

I thought to myself

What could it have hurt

To smile once a day

Knowing I wouldn’t get

A smile in return.

Poem: After Stella

NYC, POEMS

Seen along the East River pathway near Carl Schurz Park, after Winter Storm Stella.

walking the winding

east river path 

just after snowfall

a few people

scattered here and there

weak, distant lights

straining to be seen

 

right where the path turns

i see a ballerina

dancing alone,

seizing solitude,

her arms fighting

the pull of the wind

 

though she has no audience

empty benches 

line up to watch her

and the river reflects 

her every move

 

as i approach her stage

she catches my eye 

stopping, for a moment 

than completing her pirouette 

 

twirl, bend, twirl, bend, twirl

moving gracefully into the night 

 

no music

just the silence of the city

and the crunch of the snow

beneath her feet 

Pozie poems: moving poetry, inspiring messages

CREATIVE WRITING, DESIGN, POEMS

moving poetry made with loving hands and minds in NYC

Hard economic times typically spur dismal messages by struggling artists, but the artists behind Pozie poems want to set optimism in motion.

The idea for these brightly-colored mobile poems was born out of the 2008 financial crisis, founders Rion and Kay Merryweather said.

“The mood was very somber in NYC and we knew we had to do something to help,” said the husband and wife team.

Words like “bold,” “confident,” “enjoy” and “love” are painted on colorful wooden boards and linked together to create inspiring messages that change slightly as the mobiles move. At about $30, these Pozie poems make beautiful, simple and creative gifts or conversation pieces. And the top part is a chalkboard for you to write whatever word (words) you want!

You can purchase and view Pozie poems here on Etsy.

Ted Kooser

CREATIVE WRITING, POEMS

Ted Kooser is a brilliant poet.

I stumbled upon his collection, “Delights & Shadows,” a few years ago and it has influenced my writing ever since.

Kooser, an Iowa native who was the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006,  writes poems that show glimpses of daily life. He has a way of making the mundane fascinating, of making everyday events  awe-inspiring.

Kooser maximizes meaning in minimal words. He proves that economy of language is extremely effective. Kooser’s clear, simple, beautiful language is something to be emulated in all writing forms– creative, academic or journalistic.

Listen to an interview Kooser did in 2005 with NPR.

Here’s on of my favorite poems:

A Rainy Morning
by Ted Kooser

A young woman in a wheelchair,
wearing a black nylon poncho spattered with rain
is pushing herself through the morning.
You have seen how pianists
sometimes bend forward to strike the keys,
then lift their hands, draw back to rest,
then lean again to strike just as the chord fades.
Such is the way this woman
strikes at the wheels, then lifts her long white fingers,
letting them float, then bends again to strike
just as the chair slows, as if into a silence.
So expertly she plays the chords
of this difficult music she has mastered,
her wet face beautiful in its concentration,
while the wind turns the pages of rain.