The funeral yesterday was, as expected, pretty sorrowful; but I think that the reception afterward, like any good wake, helped people feel a little more content. It will take time, of course, but as much as I hate funerals, I am usually reminded (as long as I stay for the after-event) that we are generally made of resilient stuff, that does better when we’re together.

I saw that the AAP Poets’ Forum is the weekend after the Dodge Festival, and also has student ticket prices. I tell you: I am going to continue to abuse this not-yet-expired Student ID left and right, until I end up in a PhD program and can receive a new one. Not sure how many people reading this are in the New York City area, and plan to go to either, but I am certainly going to make concerted efforts (although I know I won’t be able to do Friday night at the Dodge). And I think I might try to make a small getaway day-trip in the near future, to have a writerly retreat of my own, either upstate or in NJ or PA. We are entering the balancing weeks (equinox! light/dark, heat/cold! Libra!), and after several weeks of stumbling around, it will be good to try and center a bit.

Speaking of Libra: my birthday is next Sunday. If you want a challenge, I’ll make my yearly plea: if anyone wants to write a poem for me, I’ll be much obliged. ;)

And finally, down to business: here is a poem for dVerse, where they are asking for a solitude poem. This is a bit different from what I set out to write, and possibly I’ll do another if I have time; but I’m going to a dinner party this evening, so it may have to wait. (I’ll be making cider in cups carved out of apples, spiced with anise, cinnamon, etc… pictures to follow!) Fall is in the air…


I opened up each sense like a hardwood box,
to drop something in. First, the spectrum needle
blurred out of the sun; then, trains greeting
other trains with deep underground rhythm.

The bloody kiss of a bitten lip; and three holy
cardamom seeds, rolled between my fingertips
because I wanted to murder something delicate.
From their dun bodies rose a pungent, angular ghost.

Five sacred spaces, and I let the carved lids
thunk into place over their memory, trying to
contain it all in at once. Thinking, maybe I will write
a poem about them, slow and thoughtful.

And when I was finished, it took a while to notice
that so much of the world had flowed on without me.

4 thoughts on “Gleaning

  1. brian miller says:

    dang…i really like that second stanza…wanting to murder something delicate…wow…

  2. Sorry for your recent losses. I think a writing getaway is a fabulous idea!! Oh, and Happy Birthday.

    Libra..balance….definitely could use more of that.

    I really like your poem. I love how you describe using the senses, then show how you are using them. Excellent.

  3. vivinfrance says:

    One of your best, Joseph: I particularly love the last two lines – that pretty much describes what it feels like to be old and out of the loop.

    Have a great birthday.

  4. Kim Nelson says:

    The best evocation of the sense I’ve read in a very long time. And those last two lines tilt meaning/interpretation. Brava!

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