Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Poem Break…

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

    The Sixth Appointment

On the sixth appointment (your third) I rat-
tled off the plot of Washington Square,
gleaned from all five of seven cd’s decked
in our car in the grim subterranean lot
down there, your hand on my knee (your
reach strained—I don’t know why
we didn’t simply scoot you close), down-
town sun lightening lab-yellow blinds
and when I couldn’t look at you I spoke
to the baby squatting naked in a white
porcelain bowl on the wall, all squidge
and a stupid smile and hair sparse
as an old man’s (when we were shown
in, we laughed at the sight of him)
and when I couldn’t look at the baby
I spoke to the replica of certain a-
natomy (purple plastic for the womb,
barn-door-red for the cervix, pink
for It, etc.), the piece you joked
lonely bachelors might like to display
in their lonely living rooms and when I spoke
to you again the sun had your eyes,
hoarding their godly-green
and the room spun
and I sat back and you rose
as the doctor entered
in high platform sandals,
pleasant skirt beneath
the pale coat and the two
of you shared a laugh before
she whipped open her magic
chart, divined the unseen,
lifted my new blouse,
squirted on the goop,
pressed the thing home
and you heard (for the first time)
the tiny, persistent galloping.
And nobody laughed
then except for me, because I’d for-
gotten (even after all these fucking visits):
miracles breathe.

(honorable mention in some contest or other a few years ago, or whenever…)



Monday, November 9th, 2009

Chaparral took a couple of my poems for the current Autumn/Winter issue. I am so pleased to be included. Gail Wronsky is in a previous issue. Also Patty Seyburn. Amy Gerstler. Dorothy Barresi. Love them.

Bedtime reading

Its My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To…

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

the boy reads!

So this month, Poetry Month, I’ve taken part in the PAD exercise, writing a poem a day and posting it, usually while my husband feeds T breakfast, posting my little whatever day of April poem, then moving on to the park and Ikea and storytimes and playdates, never looking back. I’ve only just realized that other PAD contributors are—well, I guess you could call it “commenting” on posted poems, occasionally sniping at other contributors for various offenses and, as with today’s Poem-A-Day challenge, whining about the PAD overseer’s request that all contributors write a sestina (apparently too much of a challenge for many), or if not a sestina, a sestina-bashing poem, or perhaps a sestina praising poem (?). Man. Let the bashing begin.

One ambitious PAD contributor boasts of having posted over 200 poems this month. Some of his poems are in the 72 stanza range. Not 72 lines. S.T.A.N.Z.A.S. He is very proud of his 200 poems, this poet. Usually a mini-glossary and history lesson accompany his posts. When another PAD contributor took umbrage with this poet’s multiple postings, he was quickly defended by some loyalist-type PAD-goers who suggested the umbrage-taker simply skip over the 72 stanza-ers and basically just shut up. The poet in question responded to the criticism with: more poems, adding that the PAD overseer didn’t say he couldn’t post more than one poem a day. Okay—we get it—over 200 poems posted—no wonder the PAD server keeps crashing. And there’s more: Several daily contributors post to let everyone know they are going to take showers before returning and posting their poems for the day. Is this information really necessary to impart? A shower? Others use a passive-aggressive approach when resorting to sniping, i.e., I don’t want to incur any bad karma, or hurt your feelings, but YOU SUCK. Hello? I had to stop reading the posts today. My head started spinning around. I felt like I was behind a group of people on a city sidewalk, people who all know each other, oblivious to anyone else using the pavement, spreading out, shout-talking, spreading their arms in their loudly colored clothing, making it impossible for others to pass but for an annoying, awkward sidestep through mucky gutter.

Today, either before or after their morning showers, some contributors who didn’t even try to write a sestina griped that poetic form is “ridiculous.” Oh dear. There went my head again, into a fast, committed spin.

Just write the f****** sestina rather than waste time damning poetic form (which is like damning breath or earth or gold)! I can say this because: I wrote and posted a sestina today. Before my shower and during my first and only cup of coffee, I lifted an extremely heavy, creaky trap door and allowed some creativity to gasp through. Is it a good sestina? F*** no! But I’m glad I tried, I’m glad I had the experience of writing it, without a published gripe.

On a different note (head whips back to normal position), PAD has been a positive daily exercise: I’ve been reminded that I can be a mother and still eke out time to write. I’ve been reminded to read books other than the calming Ladies Detective Agency series. I’ve been inspired to catch up on the New Yorkers piled on the back of the toilet. OMG, PB, shut up, quit griping about the gripers and get back to it.

he reads, he reads more!

Update: The 200 + poem person concluded the PAD challenge with a mega-mongumongous poem attempting to incorporate the names of all contributors. P.B. Rippey is listed in one of the uber-stanzas, along with two words defining her as a poet. The words are as follows:
1. hippie
2. drippey
Interesting—or alarming. Or—


Friday, August 1st, 2008
    Full Flower Moon

May (mostly), the petticoat swirl of open
-ing meadow, pinkening bud. I say:
rose, peony, phlox. And I say: petal-
shorn, plucked, blown until only the head
remains, one pale sticky oval crushed by u-
niverse so formidable it upgrades the dead
into blossoming. Old flower-face—you!
Cruel palette-eye! Where, where is your color?
I say: dearest, warmest, sugar-phlox fairy.
Dare I say: more. It’s May (mostly). And I
am showered and sweet beneath puckered
moonlight, stem right behind an ear. I am thigh-
deep in meadow and I must know: are you
dressed? Staunch, seasonal gloom cut? Dancy
gleamy blue-fires broken through? Show
me. The moon requires it. I confess: May.
More! I confess the kiss: a peony, phlox,
a peony, phlox, a peony, phlox, the


Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Bright Spot Through Wires

I pointed out Griffith Observatory.
He said: through those wires?
I said: Yes. He nodded
as if he had no qualms
with my particular mangy view
of heterogeneous city. I think,
in fact, he was preoccupied,
having left prescription glasses
inside, high on my kitchen counter
with the rest of his emptied pockets—
metal-ish mannish items: clipped
bills, a pocket knife. Could he see
the bright dome of the observatory?
He saw the wires. On a clear day, I
pressed, you can see the Hollywood sign.
I wasn’t looking at him, not directly,
but caught his nod—the type of slow
solo nod one might give mortality.
I liked it. But I was worried: I invited
him here to my balcony of sky and scape
to watch the sun drop, this dusk confined
by haze like a sad sea creature netted,
hauled to a surface, forced
on display. One thought dug
into me like nails: You can’t see it.
You can’t see it. You can’t…

Later, after pan-fried tilapia and red
potatoes, he confessed he was a dolphin
in another life. And in yet another, a sea
turtle. I was astonished. He struck me
as a man of logic like narrow ladders,
simple-cousin equations applied to both office
and home (should he ever visit there), compass
brain clicking, green, chartable eyes. Perhaps
he was, in fact, a lunatic. I liked it. And I
had to know: How did you die?

1. ripped to tatters by sharks drunk on the blood of seals—
too close, reckless, too close.

2. a simple drift to the bottom of a fathom,
an acute sense of 100 years
following like a pleasant

I liked it. Slasher death. Gentle death.
I sipped my yellow wine, I laughed out loud
and at that moment the green eyes slipped
from mine

and I was lost.

Midnight, city light wriggly as live bait,
the kiss a mild struggle reeking of déjà vu
and off he went. This is what happened next:

On the balcony—nursing a burn, dis-
secting the kiss—I watched his headlights
coast and bob down the one-way street
I live on, a dusky rise named for canyon
echoes and echoing mayhem down there
(invite someone new into that). The distant
howl of a famished coyote became brakes
whining, then screaming. Reverberation
whumped the far canyon wall, then my
wall, a city slit of instant war. I closed
my eyes, tuned in: What Happened.
Get The Hell Off Me. Then, nothing.
No sirens. No helicopter wielding
a surefire beam. I thought:

This is all new. You don’t know—
how could you when I ask questions
in the middle of a surefire kiss, but I
had a title I died for. Too close. So
reckless! Get off me…What
happened. Nothing. Except that I
died. I did. I

He left in time
(green eyes slipping).

Oh, yes:
he also died a soldier’s death in WWII. Shot in the head.
He’s not saying it’s real. Not one of his lives,
lives. But he’s open: what can’t be proven might
be true.

I like it. How can I
–winner Abroad Writers Conferences 2006 Poetry Fellowship–