Jack was on livestream with today’s poem at 9am, on his Facebook page. Click here to see the video…)
Well, here we are. No, you are there, and I am here, and never the twain shall meet, it appears, for a while, unless we happen to be six feet apart.
I have witnessed or learned of a number of fascinating things, most of which you likely know…
I love the ZOOM or SKYPE cocktail parties and “It’s five o’clock somewhere times.” Cracks me up when our neighbor to the north, an open-window-shout away, joins Julie and our neighbor across the street for an online chat, in their pajamas.
And then of course the other day I noted a line clear out the door of the local gun and ammo shop.
On Sunday morning during the usual church hour, Julie set up a conversation online for our church members to meet up, each getting a square so we could see each face. It was a kind of gigantic UCC non-Hollywood Squares show. I won’t tell you who Paul Lynde was. (Bob.) The talk ranged from how everyone was holding up to a requested loving prayer from Stan Greene to making fun of one another to jokes seldom heard in a church group.
I’ve kept my “One on One” poetry sessions going, obviously online. (You’re welcome to sign up. Just click on “contact” from ridl.com.)
And my weekly conversation with Jim Allis took place this morning, even though neither one of us knew how to set it up so there was an immediate “JUUUUULIEEEEEE!!!!” And she even brought out Jim’s favorite mug with his favorite tea in its bag sitting atop the mug.
After Jim and I had our usual conversation, our dog Vivi and I went for a walk. And for some reason I kept thinking about Jim’s mug and that unopened tea bag and realized THAT’S what I’ve been missing and been brooding about concerning the wonder of online. I don’t want to bring on a downer, not at all. In fact just the opposite. I hope that when this is all over we can return to what I’m missing, what I’ll call companionship.
“Can I try that drink? What’s in it?”
“Do you mind if I feel that sweater you’re making?”
“I have to pee. Where’s your bathroom?”
“Where did you get this sofa. It is sooooo comfortable.”
“Come here! Look out the window. There’s a Ladderback on the oak.”
“Can I go sit by your dog? She’s so mellow.”
“Oh my gosh! Does your cat hop onto everyone’s lap? I love this.”
Well, it was Vivi, my patting her, my dropping the leash, asking her to stay, walking away, then saying “Come,” and having her run right up to me and get scrubbed and squished all over.
Okay. I am gonna finish with one downer, but it’s more a forewarning. Fact: divorces increase during times when we are required to stay sequestered. Make sure if you live with another that you allow for space and good talk time and as best as you can, stay patient.
Take Love for Granted
Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
In the garage. Don’t try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring it
in with the takeout. Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
“Good morning.” Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don’t expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That’s more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you
can love each other,
the silence, sighing,
and saying, “That’s her.”
“That’s him.” Then to
each other, “I know!
Let’s go out for breakfast!”
First published in The Louisville Review.
Subsequently published in Practicing to walk Like a Heron, Wayne State University Press.
Unless the pandemic causes it to be cancelled, the reading at The BookNook & Java Shop in Montague has been set for 7pm on April 28, when I’ll be joined by friend and poet Mark Hiskes. I guarantee you will love the place along with its good food and beverages. Many thanks to owner and arts promoter Bryan Uecker.
Jack’s Homily, “The Devil Went Down to Douglas” is here for those of you interested in marking the occasion.
Don’t miss subscribing to this podcast. And Then Suddenly is the brainchild of the kind and brilliant Angela Santillo, whose path I’ve crossed once before while working with CavanKerry Press. Her podcast has a brilliant premise… Describe a moment in your life that changed… everything. She’s had that moment, and from it she has made this podcast. Here’s the conversation we had recently. I hope you explore many of the episodes. Because they will change you. In a good way.
There will be an outstanding Writers Conference held at The Grace A. Dow Library in the Dow Gardens in Midland on July 21 and 22. Each date has a 1-4 afternoon workshop and a reading in the evening along with a Q & A. July 21 features Desiree Cooper and John Mauk. July 22 features Anne-Marie Oomen and me. The workshops are capped at 20 people.
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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.
Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.
Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.