Sunday, September 02, 2012



Perhaps Paul says it best: “I am a postcard whore and already have enough for ten more Augusts…”

Can you believe it's September again? Which means we've just come through August. It's become a favourite month for me, thanks to the postcard poem exchange as started in 2007 by Seattle-area poets Paul E. Nelson and Lana Hechtman Ayers. This year, over 150 poets were involved. Big thanks to Brendan McBreen who coordinated the lists—undoubtedly a thankless task fraught with last-minute sign-ups and corrections. 

When you sign up to play, your name and address go on a list with 31 others. The idea is for you to write and send a card a day, one to each person on the list. Ideally, you write the poem directly on the card (without drafting it elsewhere first), and for the first time in the six years I've been doing this, I actually followed that part of the rules! Consequently, the versions mailed have lots of cross-outs on them, but I'm not reproducing those here. I have left the line breaks as written (they are somewhat dictated by the space on the card). My August was a little bit crazy (see last post), so I ended up writing and sending about 20 of mine at the end of the month. 

I'll post about a week's worth at a time over the next few days, as time permits. I have more than 31, as a few friends who are on different lists got cards anyway. One person's getting two by mistake!

Here goes:

Let the games begin
let the ink flow
onto cards that leap
into mailboxes all over
let the cards take flight
let threads be found
and stitched into stories
let words be given wing
let the occasional rhyme
be given time to rise
like a successful soufflé
on this stellar summer’s day
let the games begin!

I dreamed I made a stew
from words I’d not
bothered with for a while.
Instead of the tasty mix
I’d envisioned, it was, 
in fact, a little bland,
disappointing, not as thick
as one would want.
Now and then, a sharp surprise
like an errant pepper seed
on an unsuspecting tongue
got my attention.
I put down my spoon.

dream? hah!
in truth, a nightmare,
for clean would mean
no errant whiskers
from the cat that disappeared
into a coyote’s howl,
no nostalgia-inducing
stains on carpets
(nor, god forbid, on sheets!)
no dust on a sill
over which to run a finger,
shaking your head
at the futility of it all.

enter an old building,
embrace the decay
wrought from living
exposed to nature’s whim,
try to open a window—
old air wants so badly
to merge with strapping winds
from anywhere.
Admit the light—
it will illuminate clothes pegs
carefully collected in a jar,
the crack in the sugar bowl
that feels like a wagging finger.

what did you think?
the elbow macaroni
was really pieces
from a difficult puzzle,
parsley sprig a banyen tree
surrounded by sausage moat,
all the better to transport
your heart to the coronary
it’s sure to have if you keep on
eating cheese-drizzled,
grease-laden dishes of delight
like this one

The next two cards have Wendy Morton poems and pictures on them. Two poems, one stamp! (Leaf Press produced the cards)

I did not inherit my grandmother’s garden sense
she, who could grow anything, would frown
at my under-watered deck plants,
the sickly fern in the corner of the curtilage,
the peach tree, smirkingly proud of leaf curl.
I did inherit her love of garden smells—
the sharp sting fresh manure brings
to the unprepared nose,
crushed tomato leaves, brushed basil,
the mind-expanding inward breath
of a face buried in sweet peas.

Light is what we strive for
starting with being born.
December finds us impatient,
expectant, waiting for longer days.
But now it’s August and that damned light
is getting away from us again,
no amount of head-shaking will bring it back
we mourn its encroaching absence
light fires to thwart its demise.
Nothing works. Repeat.


peN said...

Put down your spoon Linda.

Unknown said...

Hi Linda -
These are amazing - thank you for posting them; such a joy to read!
Happy September to you in the Purple Mountains
Love from
Savannah on the Coast

Linda Crosfield said...

Heh...thanks, you two!