WALKING WITH KAREN

KAREN'S RETURN

Looking at your photos,
all of the primary colors
of Mexico enter the faces
of those who travel with you.
Color in our cheeks returns.
You make a joy market
on the kitchen table
for grandchildren. The dog,
who's been walking stairs
of sadness like Dante
for three weeks, whacks
her tail so hard seeing you,
she opens a wound,
throwing blood on every wall in the house,
creating a crime scene of happiness.
Your breathing at night,
what I missed most, returns.
Your life sustaining mine and ours,
too great to ask for,
too great to see, before us,
two jumping pups.

Jim Bodeen
9 November 2010


PASSING AROUND THE ETIQUETTE OF FREEDOM

--for Barry at 64

The point is to make intimate contact with the real world, the real self. The sacred is that which  takes us out of our little selves into the whole mountains-and-rivers mandala universe...nature is not a place to visit, it is home.  --Gary Snyder

Snyder permits a peek.
A glimpse.
How come it takes so long? in Turtle Island.
His head in his hands in New Yorker.
With Harrison, looking into brushlands alongside freeway.
With Harrison tramping off trail,
Maybe I've had too many mountains.

Saying grace, always good.
Grace of some kind.
For this coffee. This morning.
The many hands that brought us here.

Jim Bodeen
8 November 2010


THROWING BATTING PRACTICE

--for kjm

O God of Baseball and Poetry,
grant me the poem that arrives easy,
over the plate, offering itself
to the fat part of the bat
allowing other poets to make contact
and say forbidden things
unsayable in ordinary discourse.
Let me be witness and participant
in the outrage. Let me throw
pitch after pitch enabling chaos.

Jim Bodeen
8 November 2010



PLAY YOUR WILD CARD

Your imagination's in that other place,
Be the image in the clearing.

Jim Bodeen
7 November 2010



WATERING NOVEMBER

Watering young Sweet Gums
with a bucket on a Saturday afternoon
in November, Wilma comes around
the corner in her walker--walking

in the street. "I'm not supposed
to be out," she says. "My son
doesn't want me out." I ask
a few questions. We talk around.

Her son's working. "Don't tell him
I told you," she says. We talk
about other things. I can't tell
from our talk what going on.

This common block.
Neighbors of wonder. Wilma's tears.
She didn't want her son to go to the Marines.
and he didn't go, didn't lose the weight. Wilma,

the woman who takes you shopping,
have you told her? Good. And the woman
from social and health services? Good.
You have to tell us what's happening.

No, I won't tell your son, but you must.
You must keep telling us, though.
I don't like you walking in streets either.
I'll knock on your door if you don't walk by my house.

Jim Bodeen
6 November 2010



WALKING WITH KAREN

Waiting is waiting.
Waiting for Karen.
Waiting and walking.

Where ever we go.
It doesn't matter who stays.
The dog walks the stairs at night
looking for you. I can't hear you
sleeping from here. The quiet narrator
starts with colored thread
turning back the clock before she leaves.
Time confuses me like police dramas
on tv. Waiting is waiting.
I can't keep up with plots
and stare at an empty screen.
Let me find a way to serve you
while you're not here.
Being your cheerleader
helps when you are gone.
Whose life am I breathing into?
I don't want to tell you how many times
I've cleaned toilets. One can enjoy
oneself, it's true. I have, and I've tried.
Too much of me is you.
Too much of what works in me is you.
And even though I walk with you
in the markets looking at what's been made
by artists' hands, my imagination and empathy fail,
or show me what's not here after 45 years of knowing.
It's always your hands on the loom.

Part of walking is not knowing.
The white bowl sparkles.
Come home, now.
Show me your pictures.
Tell me what it's like.
Part of walking is not walking.

Jim Bodeen
7 November 2010



FAILING AGAIN

It was still during my first winter as Two Dog.
Sister Sadie Sadie came to us in that year of heavy snows.
I didn't learn as fast as she grew.
Lacy Dreamwalker didn't like me giving her attention.
Still, I didn't think of giving her up for adoption
until after the first year. Sister Sadie Sadie.
She kept jumping the back gate.
I had to have a custom one made.
It snowed the day I put it on, and carrying in groceries
Sadie jumped in her joy and I slammed
my little finger against upstairs steps, smashing it.
Lost the fingernail. Still not right.
That same day she jumped for Karen's red fingernail polish
on the dresser. Chewed the top off
working that polish into the carpet by the bedroom door.
Sadie had eyes for things besides frisbees.
Dreamwalker wouldn't let her in the pickup
after we'd go to the park, and I had to get
a Jeep to carry the three of us. It still didn't work,
even with that Jeep. Sadie wouldn't work,
wanted to play. Dreamwalker jealous.
And, as Two Dog, well, I was a joke.

Around this time I first called Lisa,
to start adoption proceedings.
She told me what I had to do.
The day we set out to say goodbye
we ended up in the Lower Valley
where a man trains hunting dogs.
I told this trainer of champions,
"She doesn't have to be like Dreamwalker,
but I want her to get the ball, and kennel
when I say, Kennel. I want a spirit companion
to go with Lacy Dreamwalker and some respect
for my name, which is Two Dog, which was given to me
by the one beyond us who gives us our names."

When he didn't laugh I said he could keep her for one month.
He said, "You have to stay away until I call." I said,
"I don't want a hunting dog," and we shook hands.
He was good that trainer. And Sadie was still Sadie.
It's never been the way it's supposed to be.
I must have called Lisa three or four more times.
I'd call and say, Lisa, you still got a home for this dog?
We're coming out. I'd tell Karen where we were going,
and then we'd come back from the park
and I'd call Lisa to tell her we didn't make it.
We wouldn't come home until after Karen left
to run errands.
                         We lost Lacy Dreamwalker
to cancer. She went after the frisbee right up
until her last day. She went down going up
for that frisbee. Right at ten years old.
Too early. Sadie turned eight last month.
She eats Senior Food like me.
She kennels like that trainer said she would,
but she never grew up. 80 pounds of Black Lab pup.
Sleeps in my chair more than I do.
Scares grandkids with her kisses.
Not a trained bone in her body.
She was just good enough and so was I.
Both of us, just barely. She does a hell of a lot
more for me than I ever did for her.

JIm Bodeen
1-6 November 2010

2 comments:

  1. some days the poems arrive by the boatload. what a great place a dock can be. kjm

    ReplyDelete