Like way too much of life these days, National Poetry Month has had to go online this year. Even this issue of OLLI Connects is an online manifestation of an experience that would be more powerful if you were there, live and in person, hearing both of today’s poets read their own works. We can’t give you that exact experience, but we suggest–seriously–that you read the poetry in this piece aloud. Pay attention to the punctuation, the timing, the sentence melody. Let each poem tell you how to read it.
Distant steam engine whistle
Demands the water’s silence.
Boots crunching on fallen leaves,
Shock of black hair, tattered woolen trousers,
Walden’s ghost stops at the wooden bench,
Sits, lights a pipe, opens a letter,
lays it on the sand and waits.
— Kathy Winarski
Roses release watercolor tears
That slid slowly,
Under the eyelid,
Down the nose,
Resting at the lips.
The tongue brushes away the tears.
— Kathy Winarski
They slide together in their small galley kitchen.
She will fill the dishwasher. He will empty it.
He walks to her left side. She holds her cane at her right.
He will tighten the toothpaste top beyond an easy opening.
She will leave food on the counter.
His open office door will block her entrance to the kitchen.
Her space will be messy.
She will touch his back in bed after the lights are out.
My Body Sets the Clock
I am melting butter, an overripe peach,
chauffeured by a husband, who
is in a constant state of readiness,
so I don’t fall again, break the other hip,
become a dead-tired-enough woman requiring
a sit-down on the grocery store floor.
I am a dust bunny, a February poinsettia,
He is fresh fruit, just fallen from the tree.
Four of my eight pistons are not working.
He is watching me fade, co-watching the sky.
I am week-old spaghetti, an unfinished poem.
He is flesh on my flesh. I can count his eyelashes.
I miss itineraries, moving along with others in large spaces. Times Square.
I miss being able to waltz to big band music. Tales from the Vienna Woods.
My body is slow turbulence.
I live in a noble, perishing temple,
take care of its assemblage—
The sermon of compliance.
The penance of inability.
The homily of explanation.
The communion of meds.
The confession of impatience.
The choir of exhaustion.
I have no envy, just quiet, angry sadness. Here.
Here holds no resentment. Here is trial-by-day acceptance.
For more opportunities to experience poetry online this year, click here.
We apologize to our poets for “left justifying” every line of their poems. WordPress refused to negotiate with us in the slightest on that issue.
The photo we used for our National Poetry Month “poster” is by Pawel Czerwinski on Unspash.
Kathy Winarski has taken many OLLI courses in poetry, literature, art, architecture, music, history and science.
M.A. Sinnhuber is a new OLLI-USF member and is looking forward to joining OLLI online activities. Her chapbook, The Leaving Field, was published by MadBoooks in 2013. A member of Madwoment in the Attic since 2004, she has been published in Voices from the Attic, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vox Populi, Sandhill Review, and Pittsburgh City Paper. A life-long Pittsburgh resident, now in Clearwater, she is working on a full-length manuscript.