my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I love trees and I notice buds appearing on many with this wonderful weather. Each spring I marvel at the strong will of this special tree I pass on my bike route. The entire trunk is essentially gone, yet a few remaining branches are lush and beautiful. It reminds me that nature can be so resilient.

Live Oaks, New Orleans

by Jennifer Maier

They square off along Napoleon avenue,
opposing armies of dark women, leaning out
so far their branches meet at the top, like hands
grabbing fistfuls of tangled hair;
and some of them are old, with the thick,
scarred trunks of Storyville madams, and
roots so strong their suck heaves
up the sidewalk like so many broken
saltines. And some are young, with the
straightbacked bodies of girls who dream
of horses and the brown arms of the neighbor boys,
but underground the red roots grow together,
fuse in a living circuitry spun deep and
stronger than the whims of emperors, as if
they've known all along that earth's the right
place for love, as though, planted in battle lines,
they incline toward the circle, and hold it open,
vaulted and welcoming.

"Live Oaks, New Orleans" by Jennifer Maier,
from Dark Alphabet. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2006. 

This poem contains such an excellent metaphor. As I read it I falter back 
and forth, trying to determine if it is more about strong women or beautiful 
oak trees. I especially appreciate the analogy of the underground root system where
young women and old intertwine and create such hope and strength .

I did order Maier's book, Dark Alphabet, can't wait to see what gems it holds.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20

Post Hoc

It happened because he looked a gift horse in the mouth.
It happened because he couldn't get that monkey off his back.
It happened because she didn't chew 22 times before swallowing.
What was she thinking, letting him walk home alone from the bus stop?
What was he thinking, standing up in the boat like that?
Once she signed those papers the die was cast.
She should have waited an hour before going in; everyone knows
salami and seawater don't mix.
He should have checked his parachute a seventh time;
you can never be too careful.
Why didn't she declare her true feelings?
Why didn't she play hard to get? She could be out at some
nice restaurant right now instead of in church, praying
for the strength to let him go.
It all started with that tattoo.
It all started with her decision to order the chicken salad.
Why was he so picky?
Why wasn't she more discriminating?
He should have read the writing on the wall; listened
to the still small voice, had a lick of sense. But how could he when he
was blinded by passion? Deaf to warnings? Really dumb?
Why, why, in God's name, did he run with scissors?
If only they'd asked Jesus for help.
If only they'd asked their friends for help.
If only they'd ignored the advice of others and held fast
to their own convictions, they might all be here, now,
with us, instead of six feet under; instead of trying to adopt
that foreign baby, instead of warming that barstool
at the Road Not Taken Eatery and Lounge, wondering how it might all
have been different, if only they had done
the right thing.
"Post Hoc" by Jennifer Maier, from Dark Alphabet. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2006.

I discovered this poem on Garrison Keillor’s daily blog, Writer’s Almanac. I instantly related to this poem because I so often fall into this quagmire of self doubt, second guessing and regret. this poem helps reveal the absurdity in that thinking. I found four more of her poems in the archives there. I really like her style and messages. I will be ordering her book called Dark Alphabet. Here is a link to a write up on Jennifer Maier.