Friday, September 26, 2014

LINT VIRUS

New red fleece jacket, not yet washed,
Sloughs and sheds red snowstorm of dots,
Molts gobs and clumps of red fuzz.

Like Charlie Brown's friend Pig Pen,
Leaves behind trails and traces and 
Wakes in car, coffee shop, and ferry.

Not crisis, just momentary annoyance.
Rectify confettied slacks with wet washcloth, 
But never, ever wear jacket again until 

Washing machine and dryer purge detritus and debris,
Hopefully not hopelessly clogging machines 
Beyond further and future helpful use.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 26, 2014

SLEEPLESS IN WOODINVILLE

Hour-long trek, 
Successfully, yet fretfully,  
Navigated.

Toss and turn,
Comfortable enough, 
But sleep eludes.

Too-late tea?
Stimulating day?
Anticipation of tomorrow?

None rings true.
Turn to tablet to write
Myself to sleep.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

MANY-NAMED BROTHER

Because of long, unusual
Surname, all children given
Short names, specifically
Linked to one or more relatives.

Dan, second in overall birth order, 
First-born in second family, 
First son and first maternal grandson;
Named for Irish ballad,"Danny Boy," 
And Dad's middle name, already 
Converted from grandfather's "K" to "C," 
Germanic Karl to US Carl.

Childhood nickname, Danny,
Still rings true in my inner ears.
Upon becoming verbal, moniker
Morphed into How-Come Dan,
For obvious and pertinent reasons.

Gifted in all academic areas,
Landed on chemistry to explain
Entirety of intriguing world.
Chemistry to medical research to
Computers to ballistic telemetry--
It IS Rocket Science to him.
Cleverness earned him respect
And new descriptive nickname: 
Digital Dan or, for short, Dij.

During annual Holiday Mexico trip,
Sailing pals added final "O" to all
Travelers' names, resulting in adapted
Spanish version of Hawaii 5-0's Dano. 
(Mine, Anno, less successful, due to 
Too-closely-rhyming posterior anatomy.)

Freer now in retirement, he and 
Labrador pal, Jade, wander 
North from the Southwest, 
Seeking cooler climes, elk runs,
Golf courses, fishing ponds, 
Eatable birds, dog training trials, 
Scenic sights and sites, stopping 
Frequently to visit family and friends.

Unique blend of serious intent 
And boyish mischievousness.
After years of dedicated work, 
He plays with similar vigor, 
concentration, and joy.

All in all, Dan, by any and all other names,
Is still my next-sibling, my brother, Dan.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

HAVE PSYCHE WILL TRAVEL

Ten-dollar words describe my praxis:
Peregrination, peripatetic, itinerant.

Original practice remains in Olympia,
In second location, stable for decades.

Seattle office moved from place to place, 
Sublets in Westlake, Queen Anne, Pioneer Square.

Current Seattle office shared with colleague,
Two days, come and go independently.

Recent addition of one hour in Tacoma,
House remodeled into sweet office.

Inner and outer flexibility echoed in multiple
Spaces in which to apply my professional craft.

Gratitude for generous and hospitable colleagues, 
Grateful for generative work that keeps me on the move.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 18, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MINNESOTA IRON RANGE'S 5th P

How could I have omited 5th P from previous 
Poems about Summer, 2014, visit to hometown?

Cherished four Ps previously chronicled:
Potica, porketta, pasty, Sammy's pizza.

Lunch at hospitable cousin's lake cabin cum home;
Toured construction updates: kitchen, shed, sauna.

Companionate cousins shared chores, interests,
Professional careers, affection, light-hearted humor;

Relationships firmly grounded in lifetime of 
Congenial family gatherings in small hometown;

Grandparents and their two daughters, each with 
Four children, close enough for regularity of connection.

Our 2014 mid-day meal started, of course, with tea and potica.
Brother prepared beans and fried thinly-sliced camp potatoes,

Complemented with Walleye Pike (5th P) recently
Caught in Canada's pristine Boundary Waters.

During cleaning of fish, cousin generously added 
Refinement to delete pesky midline bones.

After shaking filets in thin batter of flour and spices, 
Capable fry cook soon delivered delicious local fare.

Nuthin' says Home like favorite childhood foods,
Iron Range' 5 Ps, served up and duly digested.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 13, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

DELAYED CLASS REUNION JOURNAL

Not much interest, but agreed to go.
Then whiny my re most of my inner 
Group of fiends not in attendance.
Friends of a friend, but not mine.

Frustrated at first to try to connect in
Loud, crowded corridor and rooms.
Too much chaos, no name tags,
People already grouped and laughing.

Old insecurities and jealousies erupted.
Then, on own initiative, connected with 
several people, getting more comfortable
And willing to engage and converse.

Few initiated with me, which, 
Again, prompted sadness, regret.
Yet, most people, pleased and willing to
Talk when I approached and inquired.

Once in high school building, erupted in
Joy and celebration, youthful playfulness,
And appreciation to be home, home, home.
Enveloping hometown ease and good will.

More and more comfortable and extraverted.
Said hello to almost everyone I recognized.
Actually, easier to initiative conversation with
Men rather than women--old insecurities.

In spite of natural introversion, shyness,
Residual self-imposed invisibility,
All in all, feel happy and satisfied with
Interactions and experiences.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 12, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WAITING FOR CROSSWALK LIGHT

In hot late afternoon sun,
Uncharacteristic for Washington, 

Two males patiently wait for long
Stoplight to change to "walk."

Younger man in jeans, T-shirt, and woolen cap,
Straddles bike, no sign of exertion.

Older man, in jogging shorts and 
Tank top, sweat gleaming on bald head.

Individual, unique autonomic responses to
Exactly same environmental context.

Each person, nonverbal in distinct universe, 
Although, actually, only two feet apart,

Connected and separate, alone
And together, silently sharing this moment.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 11, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

URBAN CANYONS

Grew up in iron ore mining country,
Resplendent with rust-red canyons,
Excavated by enormous steam shovels;
Deeply-etched abyss miniaturized all
Equipment from ground-level perspective.

Viewed Grand Canyon on misty winter morn,
Mirroring person-dug canyon on Minnesota's
Iron Ore Range, Western edge of Arrowhead counties.
Vowed to return to float Colorado though Grand
Canyon--intention remains on Bucket List.

In recent years, Seattle streets echo inverted
Version of canyons, as high-rise buildings
Erupt upward from the surface, contrasted with 
Downward erosion via rivers and shovels which
Slowly or quickly break Earth's carapace.

Whether up or down, similar outcome: extinguished
Sunshine, relegating all to almost-constant shadow,
Decreased temperature, and pallid complexions.
To flourish and mature, plants need both light and shade.
Hopefully, plants and people can find vital balance of 
Rays and shadow in 21st Century industrial urban canyons.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 5, 2014

LEFT MY HOUSE LESS LADEN TODAY

Usually carry soft briefcase stitched 
Into multiple pockets and sections,
Enveloping paper professional calendar 
With shipping-tape tunnels for pen and pencil,
Crammed with concert and workshop flyers,
Seminar readings and academic journal articles,
Syllabi and course assignment lists,
Checks made out for weekly appointments and 
Monthly appointments and rent payments,
Collection of inspirational quotations,
To-do lists of tasks and shopping and
Phone calls and e-mail contacts;
Larger credit-card wallet and small cell-phone wallet;
Assortment of loose pens and pencils and markers;
Deck of cards, small writing tablet, Kleenex,
Necessary but seldom used toiletries,
First-aid supplies, 1-day quantity of meds;
iPad with charger and cords and portable
Hockey-puck-shaped internet connector.
Yielding sore shoulders and tight lower back muscles.

Today, left my house less laden, with only 
Mini red-and-white canvas carrier containing
Paper calendar and small cell-phone wallet.

Of larger symbolic importance, left my
House today feeling less laden by emotions
And concerns and complexes and frets.
Back and heart and mind, lighter and freer.

Left my house less laden today.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 5, 2014

SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A CHILDLESS MOTHER

Billie Holliday crooned about being a motherless child;
In adolescence, accompanied myself on the piano,
Singing this tune at the top of my lungs to punish Mom.

Always assumed children were in my cards, but not so.
Have to be conscious of Mother/Heroine Archetypes,
Stay on track to balance nurturing and boundaries.

Full and rich professional and personal lives,
Bounty abounds, beauty surrounds, play sizzles.
Yet, sometimes, I feel like a childless mother.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 5, 2014