Grove


Grove
Buff your spirit bright as lemons.
Arrange the lichens, shells,
the tiny bones.
Let the multitudes a-crawl
in this withering grass
be your small Christs.
Praise their silence.
Kneel down.
Above you, the unkempt branches
shelter starlings in their tangles.
Higher still,
seven  crows
stroke the heavy silver light.
Be secretive, shadowed,
                                                                    your sisters have burned for less.

Angelus


Angelus
March carries you
on white shoulders
into spring
where the twisted thorn tree
blossoms into wounds again.
A calf bawls among
yellow meadow flowers.
You watch your sister,
the pale sheets billowing
from her hand,
grace lavished on the earth
like rain.
Nancy A. Henry

Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning
Here is a poem I found while you were sleeping;
it reminds of the particular ways
you make me love you,
and I’ll just leave it here,
in case you get a chance to read it;
here is a cup of coffee, black the way you like it,
that I will set beside you on top of the clock radio
as you page through the discography
of Frank Zappa. Here is another pillow
for propping up against; yes, I am going
to make some toast for us but first,
I can’t help mentioning
how the pheromones
draw the cats to the bed,
how they loll in the tangle of our sheets,
too blissed-out to swipe at your bare toes.
I am having aftershocks,
finding reasons
to interrupt you, to bite your shoulder and press
my face against your back .
You just want to read—is that asking too much on a Saturday
morning in February? When last night you met me with
pea soup and smoky scotch and led me to our couch
to tell me everything with your hands?
I will leave you alone now,
but first I need to know if you’ll want marmalade
or butter only,
and I was just thinking of bringing you this,
and a small black cat,
and just, I promise, one more kiss.
Nancy A. Henry

Investigation


Investigation
I’m here about a girl–
sometimes in an apron, 
flowers unfurling on her hips;
sometimes in a shift 
the starved yellow of dawn,
her wintry thighs sugar pale;
sometimes with her sandaled feet
propped on pillows,
painting her toenails silver.
There is something she’s dying to tell me,
face down on satin in the blue handmade light,
suspended by one hand between dusk and dawn.
No one is in this place without a reason.
I’m going to tell you your rights.
The first is
silence.
Nancy A. Henry

Tumbling


Lover, make me a river stone

worn smooth and fine

in sand and brine

by the grind and grate

of our love and hate

of all we despise and appreciate,

make me a river stone.

Dragged along the gravel bed

by the forceful tide

of the tears we’ve shed

polished by pain

to show the grain,

make me a river stone.

Veined with crystal

rare and fine

jagged edges

smoothed by time

I’ll break your heart

if you’ll break mine,

make me a river stone.

In the flood and in the drought

flowing blood and dreams and doubt

this riverbed’s the one way out;

make me a river stone.
Nancy A. Henry

I’ve been down for the count for a few days–stomach virus–and have had the compensatory pleasure of many hours of reading/listening to books. This one will stay with me: A Land More Kind Than HomeA Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Southern literature and I grew up in the Deep South during the 1960s and ’70s; I’ve spent a lot of time in the region of NC in which this book is set. I can’t believe this is a first novel. It’s pitch-perfect in sense of place, character development, and distinctive voices of all narrators. An utterly absorbing and heartbreaking story.

I’m so glad I have the sudio version–the readers are amazing and add so much dimension to an already superb work of literature. I can’t wait for more from Wiley Cash.

View all my reviews

Hopelessly Obsessed With Dexter

I admit it. I can watch five episodes of Dexter back-to-back. Amazon.com makes it easy because you can buy an episode for 2 bucks and watch it instantly.

My favorite person on the show is Debra. I can’t help loving her vulnerable/tough/funny/tragic character and her potty mouth. Something about her creative swearing appeals to my inner twelve year old. Here’s my favorite Debra outburst so far:

Can’t resist this music video. Let’s hear it for guilty pleasures!
That is all.

Hi. Please find me on Goodreads! I want your book recommendations. I’m finding this a great way to mark books I want to read and find the info when I am ready to order them on ILL. I’ve sworn off paper books, except through the library, so I now think ILL is the bee’s knees. http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8130275-nancy

Do you remember Muguet Des Bois? It was my first “grown-up” cologne, when I was 12. I didn’t know it was even still available; I found it on Amazon and it arrived today. I’ve been on a scentimental journey since 10 this morning. Ahhhh…. Now I need to get some Jean Nate body splash and some Bonnie Belle 10 o 6 and I’ll be young again.

Another thing that makes me feel young again? Reading like crazy. I’ve been indulging myself with fiction all summer. That hammock on the deck, and the four days off per week, have allowed me to make a little dent in my “to read” pile. Bliss.

One more thing that makes me feel young? Hanging out with my daughter, who looks eerily like my mother in her youth and a bit like me in my youth–only much more lovely and very like herself! Most of all, sharing books with her and laughing at the same things. Yep. Procreation can be a very good thing. 
Caitlin, 2012

Mom, 1947 (ish)

Me, 1977 (yes, I know we look funny. Not a lot of teenage photos of me!)

Disjointed? Yes. Am I drinking a bottle of wine? Yes. It’s my “Saturday”. Made gazpacho–dinner in a blender. Thanks, Cuisinart!

Michael Macklin

There’s nothing else I want to write about right now, but words elude me, and others have said so much, so beautifully. I’d rather let Michael himself speak here, and direct readers to his words and words of his more eloquent friends.

God, our hearts ache.

We lost Michael Saturday night; he was at the New England Young Writers Conference with his students, doing some of the things he loves best: teaching, mentoring, and modeling what is best in being a writer and person. His obituary appeared today in the Portland Press Herald.

My memories of Michael go back 12 years or so. He was such a big part of why I love the Maine poetry community, and of my ideals of what a generous-hearted poet for all the ages should be. He was a character; I don’t smoke but I’d usually smoke a cigarette with Michael. He made it look so very delicious–his gusto for life was enriching and, in this one instance, corrupting. Bless him. He was a faithful confidante, and reliably wise. He cared deeply and didn’t pretty things up. Once I poured out my guilt about some very uncharitable thoughts I was nurturing towards someone in my life. I said I’d probably come back in the next life as a paramecium. He gave me that level, “seeing to the heart” Michael look, and said in that John Wayne cadence of his: “what….makes ya think….you’ll do….THAT well?”. He could shock one out of self-pity in a way somehow both tender and hilarious. Last summer Michael zoomed up to my house on a motorcycle. He was so full of boyish joy. That visit was an unexpected gift of laughter and memories. He promised to give me a ride on the back of his bike when he gained more confidence. I’m holding out for that ride.

Only a few weeks ago, a poem of Michael’s was featured in Wesley McNair’s
“Take Heart” column.

I had the pleasure of being a co-editor/publisher at Moon Pie Press when we brought out Michael’s first collection, “Driftland”. I’ve always loved the sample poem “Before Coffee” featured there.

You can hear Michael’s resonant, soulful voice reading his poem “Jazz” here; “Two Lanes”, here.

His alma mater, Vermont College of Fine Arts, posted a tribute Tuesday, along with his poem “Palimpsest”.

There’s so much more to say. I’m just too sad right now to think of more. I’d love for you to share memories of Michael or more links as comments to this post. Most of all, may love and light and comfort surround his wife Donna and son Gabe, and all of his family and hundreds of friends who are feeling this great loss.