Outage

A day without power
Is alright as one
And the flakes they do cower
Away from the sun.

When they come ever forth
In swirls and in piles
Out of the north
And we, all the while

Flip switches and handles
When we walk in a room
Or forget the candles
When we go in to groom

It can be a day
Of coffee and books
Of snuggling away
In soft little nooks

No electricity required
For the day to be fun
Schedules rewired
When the day is just one.

But what if it’s two
Or three and then four?
What do we do
When it stretches to more?

When light switches stay dark
Water handles stay dry
Its no longer a lark
For you nor for I

Oh! The bottles are fewer
The patience grows thin
For the needs if the sewer
Without and within.

And for food one must tromp
Out there in the yard
Through the snow you must stomp
For meat and Swiss chard

Out for your breakfasts
To the coolers you must go
Out to the ice chests
Sunk in the snow.

But the snow it does dwindle
As the days pass on by
And still do we kindle
Our hopes as we sigh

Through the fourth to the fifth
And again it starts snowing
It’s only a skiff
But with it is growing

Our frustration and worry
That the technicians out there
Are not in a hurry
To give us our share

Of electrons to use
And we’re soon afraid
As they call to excuse
The mess that’s been made

By the wind and the snow
And still they do promise
That by tomorrow
The lights indeed Will be on us

Then comes the buzz
Of the fourwheeler man
Coming to tell ’cause
He finally can

That, despite the new snow,
In minutes count twenty
The power will flow
In electrons aplenty

And as he has said
It does come to pass
In the lamp by the bed
There is light there at last.

©2017 Annette Meserve

 

Snoring

I hear him up there,
Up there in my ceiling,
And I can picture the damage
That his living there is causing,

I imagine him scratching away
At the insulation that protects me
From weather and cold,
Chewing at the structure of my house,

I hear the squeaking of his babies,
Babies that will grow up
To impose on my world
That much more,
The next generation
Of scratchers and chewers.

He lives right above my head,
And yet,
I’ve never seen him,
I don’t know what he looks like,
Or what he believes,
I don’t know what he had for breakfast,
Or even what species he is.

I don’t know what he thinks of me.

I call him a ‘him’ out of ignorance,
For I don’t even know his gender.

Still, it’s anger and fear,
That I feel most days,
When I hear him up there,
Most days, that is,
Until today.

As I sit at my computer,
In this warm early spring,
A day warm enough
For the space heater to be quiet,

As I sit at my computer,
I hear a different sound,
Not a scratching
Or a squeaking,
But a deep rhythmic humming,
Undulating within the silence

Of my office.

And I suddenly imagine him
Not as the devouring set
Of teeth and claws
That is my habit,
Not as the malicious force
Coming to destroy my home,

But as a sleeping
Ball of fur,
As an individual creature,
A fellow living thing,
Trying his best
To find food and shelter
To find the opportunity
To live peacefully
In a place of safety
High up in my ceiling,

And I am charmed
By the thought
Of living, not in a house
Where humans are the only residents,
But in an apartment building,
In a community,
Where we all must find balance,
Where we all must make allowances
For the others’ needs,

Where we all have something to offer
Even if it’s only
The calm, quiet snoring
Of my upstairs neighbor.

©2017 Annette Meserve

 

 

Words in the Snow

These days it’s rare to see crystals in the air, to feel the cold blast of winter on your face, to  be able to trace the footsteps behind you as you walk.  It’s so rare, in fact, that even in this country that is reputed to have deep snows by this time in the year, we make plans for travel and events willy-nilly as if road conditions have no sway on us.  In some circles this is more popularly known as ‘tempting the gods.’

And tempt them we did.

But, during this last Wednesday evening, whatever benevolent beings, or forces, or energies, or currents that govern such things seemed to only want to play with us a little.  Truly, since the inception of W&S, I have had a sense of universal support that is unique in my experience.

And so, as we piled into the car to travel the twenty miles or so, the Universe only threw a little snow, blew a little wind, swirled a little mist into our path.  We made it to the Greenhorn Valley Library at Colorado City, CO safely and with time to spare.

Set-up was easy, many hands make light work, and before we knew it cameras were rolling, microphones were mic-ing, and we spoke our first words for the audience to hear. While it was true that the weather had kept most people home, snuggled by fires with hot cocoa, a few brave souls came out to hear us and what was lacking in attendance was made up for in enthusiasm.  There was an energy in the air that led us along, enlivened our words and our performances, connected us with our listeners on that cold, snowy, mountain evening.

The magic was repeated the next night  at the Giodone Branch Library out on ‘The Mesa’ in Pueblo, CO.  While it wasn’t snowing, the cold had set in and, again, our crowd was not large, but it didn’t seem to matter to performer or receiver and we had a marvelous night.

Both evenings were filled with the words, images, and humor of Bob Spears, Cecelia Brownfoote’s deep connection to the generative forces of nature, Ann Williams’ dolphins, Jan Meserve’s spirit pottery, and my science fiction and musings on an unusual life.  Refreshments were consumed, friendly conversation was had and books were for sale.  All in all, I couldn’t have wished for a better, warmer, more successful kick-off to our W&S member readings.

Thanks to all who read, to all who helped, and special thanks to Amy Martin of Greenhorn Valley Library and Kayci Barnett and her assistant Deb of the Giodone Library for all their beautiful help and gentle guidance.

Above all, thanks to the gods for lending their sense of irony in delivering the one day in months in which snow flew and road conditions had to be considered.  It’s good to be reminded that we need humility.

Underpinnings

A flash of silver on a lapel,
On a tee-shirt,
On a sweater
On a hat,

A tiny humble shout,
A shy suggestion,
A statement,

A child sees the monsters
Beasts that loom
In the shadows
Gnashing their teeth,
Flexing their claws,
Under her bed
And in his closet

And the grown-ups,
Weary and preoccupied,
Say that there’s nothing there,
As they switch off the light
And close the door.

But the children know differently,
Can recognize things
The grown-ups can’t,

And they shiver in their beds,
Blankets pulled up to noses,
Thin fabric held tightly
As boundary and shield
Eyes wide
Unsleeping.

A small frightened hand
Finds another in the dark,
Sister’s arms
Encircle brother,

Safety in numbers
Safety in family,
Safety until the sun rises.

A flash of silver
Delicate against a woven shawl,
Holding place to say the words,
To shed the tears,
To hold the hands,
To share the hugs,
To build strength,
To move past the monsters.

Safety in pins.
Such a small thing,
But a thing we can do.

©2016 Annette Meserve

Warmth

The season’s first fire.

Through the front room
And the kitchen
Is the smell of dust
Burning off of cast-iron stove top
And broad black pipe.

Home now after a week’s worth
Of Autumn tent camping,
Of shivering through nights,
And brisk morning walking,

Of cradling that first steaming cup
In glove-padded palms,
Feeling comfort seeping
Through purple yarn,

Of being warmed in the day
By oblique sunbeams
Slanting through golden cottonwoods,

But more by the company
Of fellow wordsmiths,
Offering up
The confections of our writing,
Passing around,
As a basket
Of morning muffins,
Of sweet danish,
And delicate cake,
Our thoughts and experiences,
Our humor,
And our deepest feelings.

Rubbing our words together
To kindle the flame of our creativity,
Warming the cavernous classroom
With ourselves.

But now,
The first breakfast in seven
Away from the long tables,
Away from the cheerful chatter
Of many artists,

Now at the quiet
Of my own writing desk,
Sitting beside me,
The first breakfast in seven
Not pulled from a cooler
Under a picnic table in the desert,

I relish the warmth of the fire
Of my husband’s company,
Of my canine workmate
Stretched out on the floor,

But I miss them,
The other wordsmiths
And look towards a time
When we will share our warmth again.

©2016 Annette Meserve

Falling

I felt it the other day.
It seemed early,
But there it was.

In the cities
Summer is still in full force,
Middle afternoon temperatures,
Continuing to reach the
“Oh!  I think I’m going to melt!” stage,
Wishes for swimming pools
And air conditioning
Still very much on people’s minds.

But here,
Among the waning sunflowers,
And the cooling breeze off the mountains,
The quality of light has changed,
The sense of things in the air,
The whispered expectation.

Soon the leaves will color,

The tree up the road,
The one that always goes first
Has started already,

And with the coloring
There is a feeling,
An inspiration,
A longing for distance.

Now is the time of road trips,
Of heading east,
Of rest stops,
And truck stops,
Of miles and miles of interstate,
With windows full open
And billboards that make us laugh.

It’s a time of deciduous forests,
Of thick, humid air,
Of narrow paved roads
Lined dense with trees,

Of sitting by the ocean
With its rocky cliffs
And crashing waves,
Its screeching birds
And lighthouses.

Of time spent in a world
That is not arid
But wet
And fecund
And abundant

With plants
And people
And culture
And connection.

A world that is not home
But is restorative
And nourishing nonetheless.

A world
That I will not see this year
But that comes floating in
On the fall air.

©2016 Annette Meserve

 

Breakage

It could be a metaphor,
A physical illustration,
Of the violence
Evident closely around me,
My subconscious
Needing for me
To experience the shattering
In real time,
Needing for my ears
To hear the crash of fragility
Against the grooved
And stained
Concrete,
The surface uncaring
And unaffected,
In the sickly fluorescent glow.
Needing for my eyes
To see the jagged sharp edges,
The earthenware’s rust interior,
Showing through the familiar sage green,
The viscera of someone dear
Irreparably exposed,
No longer functional,
In a split-second of unconscious action.
Needing for my heart
To experience the powerlessness
As I gather the pieces
And try in vain
To put them back together,
All the king’s horses
And all the king’s men…
It must be that,
A metaphor,
An attempt to make sense,
Of the larger senselessness,
Why else would such a small loss
Make me cry so?
It’s only a trifle,
A utensil,
A tool.
But it’s not,
Not a trifle,
Not merely a tool,
And not a metaphor.
I feel this loss deeply
Not because this is the ‘one more thing,’
It the straw
And me the camel,
I feel this loss deeply
Because of our history,
Because, in this world of much,
This was a beautiful, singular thing,
A companion
Through so many miles,
And years.
So I will not try to justify,
To make it bigger
So that it reasonably warrants
The degree of my devastation.
I will mourn with the gravity
That this friend deserves,
And bless its passing,
Grateful for the time we had
Knowing it is likely
That only I
And it
Will understand.
©2016 Annette Meserve