Back before what happened at the beginning of this month -- and which of course is still happening -- the November 2020 issue of Verse-Virtual published three of my poems. My thanks to editor Jim Lewis and the issue’s guest editor Michael Minassian.
But everything feels irrelevant, doesn't it?
In the very last days of October a surprisingly persistent snowstorm dropped five inches of wet snow on the Boston area. Forecasts for snow in October have never meant very much here in the past, so I expected the "slight dusting" we sometimes get. Probably followed by some rain.
Instead we ended up with five inches of very wet snow, that hung on the green leaves and weighed down the heavily freighted branches. Some trees in the neighborhood lost branches.
The temperature wasn't very cold, but it took over a day for the snow to melt, and then the temperatures at night plunged below freezing. Plants died, massacred; turned gray, lost their stuff. I didn't respond fast enough. I had left most of the large houseplants outdoors; they always came indoors in November. It was too cold and snowy and wet for me to deal with them then.
I waited for the snow to melt before trying to bring them indoors. It was too late,
I had failed them. My plants died, including some that I'd watered and cared for over decades. It was a bad sign.
I got another bad sign when my desk computer's hard drive died, after I gave in to some ridiculous anti-virus program and allowed it to shut down the computer. It would not restart. The drive was "degraded." It's been 'repaired,' and is working. But it's not the same. I don't know where things are.
And then it was election day. And four days later we're still counting.
During these troubled days I forgot about my poems, and my poetry community. My 'garden of verse' that blooms anew each month.
But, guess what, it's been there all along. There for me, and for anyone else to walk through, and sample, and smell the roses.
Here's one of my three poems, written during the month of October, which feels like a long time ago. Not about politics, not about my failure to take better care of my garden. But the title is, nevertheless, fitting: "Powerless."
I am a refrigerator, my accumulated coolness weeping away. I am a kinship group of fully extended oak leaves swaying and spinning ceaselessly in the punctuated gusts of the new-season storm that walks in among us (like the uninvited guest at the neighborhood mixer we have not, in fact, ever held) to turn off the lights and the machines that keep us all ticking. I am the sound of the distant tires huffing off to a place where things can still get done. I am the silence of things not getting done. I am the wind deep-breathing after a calculated pause as if to remind us who is lord of this condition. I am the emptiness of the silent house, the shadows in the room's missing corridors, the powerlessness, the sound of one pen writing.
To find work by more than 50 poets in the November Verse-Virtual, see
All the flowering annu