I was pleased to get all of my postcards sent this year by the end of the month (August). For 2022, I tried to write each poem that somehow related to the postcard I was sending. Sometimes it worked. Not always. Try to think of how little that space is on the lefthand side of a postcard; one can't be verbose. I wrote spontaneously and used my good friend White Out correction tape when things went really south. There are a few minor edits but mostly, they remain as my thoughts flowed from my pen onto the cards. Here they are:
Today I sit in the shade at the lake, Greenlake, with my postcards, dog and a good book.
It’s cooler here, on this steamy day, lots to see:
a fellow wearing a t-shirt that says FUNCLE – I’ll bet he’s fun!
A panorama of paddlers, defying the sun,
standing up to the heat. Scantily clad sun bathers
and fully clothed head-to-toe sun-fearers.
(This post card was found in an antique shop in Port Gamble, Wa.)
In the 80’s, I often visited a friend in Montlake, off Portage Bay,
who was caring for a woman who was 102 years old,
and we sat around a small table
and sorted out greeting cards
and stamps, postcards and gift tags, while she told us
a story of each one and pasted them
into a collage, with a little help from our friend, and me.
(This is a vivid memory and I pass by the house often, which this stone house in Versailles reminded me of.)
Homeless in Seattle
a rainy night,
though we really just crawled
through traffic on the Interstate
and there, under an off ramp, like campers,
seeking shelter, people around a bonfire,
holding cold hands, palm out to the flame,
a man cradling an infant.
From our heated car, we peered into their home.
I said a prayer,
tho I don’t pray, and
found my way down
the painted pathways, counting on my aged knees
to cooperate, seeking out the childhood home
of a great artist, an icon on his times,
a partner to the woman with
the most discussed eyebrow(s) of her century.
It was a perfect peaceful day –
(Postcard purchased at Museo Casa in Guanajuato, Mexico, November 2021)
Sometimes I feel lucky. Today, Olivia Newton John passed. She fought breast cancer off and on for a long agonizing time. Oz won’t be as sparkly and precious a place without her. I’m 73 soon, same age. Today I count my lucky stars.
Somehow the moon
willingly remains the same,
while I, unwillingly changing,
decade upon decade, watch with wonder
in the dark night, as Mother Moon
gives us her light. She has traveled
an incredible distance with me, observing
my motions and desires.
(This postcard found in an antique shop in Port Gamble, Wa. July 2022.)
I grew up in a small town, arranged
at the foot of Mt Rainier and
watched intently a night sky
where stars appeared in sharp contrast
to their deep background. A moon
arrived in all her stages, back
when we could still see
the Milky Way, before I moved
to the city and could nearly count
the stars in the sky.
I lived in the hills;
took me forever
to pronounce fraccionamiento
without mangling it. Alone
in the huge villa, from the top bedroom,
windows with screens (mosquiteros),
no glass (sin cristal), the waves
on the beach below thundered, never
in an expected syncopation, therefore
waking suddenly me at times,
from a dreaming sleep. Cicadas screamed,
frogs hollered in an almighty chorus
and jungle animals made their own kind of music.
I miss this orchestra.
(My house was where the arrow points in the photo.)
considering the life I’ve lived,
the idyllic childhood,
relatively free of worry,
an auto for each parent.
inherit a different world
have every right to be angry.
In dreams are memories of places visited,
people known and unknown,
alive and passed. The element
of a fantasy world,
a universe that lives
in one’s deepest imagination, is also present.
unmet lovers and
flights of unparalleled desires.
If you happened upon a key in a door,
would you turn it? If the door then opened,
would you enter? If there were stairs,
would you climb them? Would you call out and say
Hello – an intruder is here!?
The winter excitement
of driving the corridor
with three laughing girls,
phones exchanging playlists,
in the downpour
surrounding us. Spring comes
and destinations are
locked in. Summer ends,
goodbyes stretch boundaries,
boundaries stretch hearts.
We went home,
exhausted, and slept,
my loyal dog and me,
like two cats in the jungle. Hush, my darling...
a long day,
and now we exchange dreams.
walk arm in arm
expecting no harm
I dealt with a bit of my past today.
Old friends losing their minds,
young friends breaking chains. I came
out of sleep with a dream on my mind
but could not grasp the meaning
as the images dissolved
with every blink of my waking eyes.
Where else will you find
tossed together. I am enchanted
by the imaginings
of the original stone masons, laying
piece upon piece, mortar
mixing, and the young, strong hod carriers
grunting and sweating. Young boys,
perhaps dreaming of joining
an expedition to the North Pole,
slopping cement instead,
never a thought that a ship would sail way
with that very bridge, disassembled,
over the ocean to the west,
while they died trying to escape.
(London bridge was built the same time as the Amundsen expedition to the North Pole.)
I was about 14 years old. A teacher
said to my mother
She can do anything she decides to do;
she just needs to set her mind to it.
So, I did.
Which is why
I nearly failed school for a couple years,
but I learned a lot about
Greek mythology and
(This card was found at an estate sale.)
I continue to see old lovers.
Yesterday it was David,
sat in a lawn chair by the lake,
a book propped in his lap,
so like him – his hairline
receded more than I remembered.
As I drew closer, my bad eyesight registered
to reveal a woman, hair pulled back
in a tight ponytail,
wearing an orthopedic boot.
I’m glad it was not David.
Was a time
women dressed as if
tending hives of bees, to cover
nearly every bit of exposed flesh, as if
to repel a sting or
the barb of a thorny plant,
fearful of the sun,
and the lustful, gawking
of commonly lubricious men
of all ages.
I ask to have all my post cards hand cancelled at the post office.
I don’t know that it will make a difference to the receiver, if all the words will be clear and unmarred by stickers and ink.
What I do know is this: the postal worker always smiles cheerfully, stamps as requested, and I like to think they admire this old-fashioned approach to mailing.
(This gorgeous postcard, hard to part with, was found at an estate sale. On the back it mentions Ghirardelli Square, The Cannery, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Maritime Museum and its old ships.) (And you know all those curtains would never be so synchronized.)
He likely had the final word
and as she half-slept,
feet callused and weary, the train
perhaps a thousand
thoughts away, he strained his eyes, tired
from the relentless vigilance
of getting there, soothing her with words
not his own, but no matter,
just words to let her know
he would be her constant lover.
A simple room,
of comfort and perhaps
a little warmth,
where in the sunny corners,
sanity might visit, so a man
could preserve for us
on canvas, wood, paper,
and live in some kind of peace,
Who might see us here
or bother with our wagon,
weary from thoughtless labor,
the unceasing swing of the sickle,
the onslaught of insects
disturbed in their pattern,
begging for a small shade. We sag
into each other,
I look out my window over the city lights into the dark of night.
I see Venus.
The song of fate…
a destiny for each unknown,
as sure as they were
of their very own futures, as certain
as steel cast to the air. Drifting
with the vaper of a tapered candle,
of the war
outside the door,
until too many sons had died,
too many fathers gone missing
and she sang
I am pressed to think
of Our Lady of Guadalupe
whom I consider
The Mother. When
I see her
lone ladies. I don’t think
religiosity, politics. I think
of the UTERUS.
She looked him
right in the eye. She wasn’t
ever the type to flinch. She knew
he was married,
She’d two herself, after all. But
we must follow our dreams
or go mad. And she’d never
been allowed to
simply dream. Life
was too demanding. Even the weather
dictated the choices
she was forced to make. She looked
him right in the eye.
The legend on this postcard actually reads "Stepping Out at the San Carlos Hotel in the 1920’s. One of the finest hotels in Florida and a center of Pensacola society." Enticed to look it up, I found The San Carlos was demolished in 1993, after being abandoned for more than a decade. No one associated with the design, architecture, building, ownership, management, etc, had any Spanish connection. It was named the San Carlos because the collaboration of white Anglo men thought it sounded romantic.
Thinking of running,
getting out of here.
All the fancy colors
and we wear plain muslin; you can
any distance, day
or night. Thinking
about running. No place
to go. Nowhere to
even start to run. What’s even
in the woods? Nowhere
to land, feet on the ground.
Thinking of running
but sticking around.
(Inspiration for this postcard poem came from this Jacob Lawrence painting and a book I'm currently reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.)
Thanks for reading!