Today I Heard

Aimless Love,

read by the author, Billy Collins (purchased on Audible)

This morning as I walked along the lake shore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion, 
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door---
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida. 

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor---
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always standing on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble, 
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone. 

Today I heard & read

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
        love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you about mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting---
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 

A poem by Alison Luterman

When I sprawl in bed in the morning,

he walks on my chest with his springy black legs,
stepping precisely down the breastbone
                          the belly,
as if I were a statue he had toppled himself,
as if he were a god, surveying the wreckage.

Then turns tail and paces
up my ribcage to the chin,
his sharp paws sinking in-
to soft flesh, each step a painful delight,
and pauses, inches from my nose
looking deeply into me with his green-yellow eyes.

This kind of love unmakes my mind;
unspoken, unspeakable, and never fully known.

He is shy, a hoarder of pea pods
and rubber bands, stubbornly loyal.
On a whim once, he leaped onto my back,
was lifted like a conqueror and borne aloft,
only to hide himself for hours afterwards
in a pile of laundry.

He cannot tell a blanketed toe
from a mouse or a sparrow,
but attacks all with the same ferocious zest---
reminding us the word for tiger
derives from the Persian, "arrow"---
as he leaps madly on a shaft of sun
piercing through the blinds.

Alison Luterman Books

Today I read


by Lance Larsen

When will we evolve past he and she, past skin,
past desire sweeping our bodies
like tulipmania through a lowland country
with too many windmills?
I'm still waiting for the Reformation
of wanting, for some witch doctor of eros to dissolve

the space-time continuum and replace I, I, I,
with diffusion: an unwalked field
of grassy light, sun dogs and gimply clouds
above, the slow grind of plate
tectonics below. To sing and be sung,
like mitochondria channeling Song of Songs.

Can't we learn from sky touching earth
everywhere, but preferring salt
marshes and junked cars to Arcadia?
The chaos of birds landing on a winter wire,
then sweetly bruising
the sky in iterations of winged thirst?

This too is desire. Shouldn't wanting be more
like water, with its devouring
patience, more like particle and wave,
morning saying Shalt 
and Shalt not out of one clean
mouth, forgiving, ionizing, rearranging

snow into glacier, glacier into trickle,
trickle heated into steam
that pushes a locomotive through a stunned
village in Nepal, where all jump on,
ghosts, paralytics, mourning
grandmothers, and no one checks your ticket? 


minus the distracting questionable font choice of the publisher. ha

Today I heard

Today I heard Garrison Keillor read..

A Ritual to Read to Each Other
by William Stafford

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Today I heard

Today I heard my sister Sandy read:

by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Antonio, Antonio
Was tired of living alonio.
He thought he would woo
Miss Lissamy Lu,
Miss Lissamy Lucy Molonio.

Antonio, Antonio,
Rode off on his polo-ponio.
He found the fair maid
In a bowery shade,
A-sitting and knitting alonio.

Antonio, Antonio,
Said, "If you will be my ownio,
I'll love you true,
And I'll buy for you
An icery creamery conio!"

Oh, Nonio, Antonio!
You're far too bleak and bonio!
And all that I wish,
You singular fish,
Is that you will quickly begonio."

Antonio, Antonio,
He uttered a dismal moanio;
Then he ran off and hid
(Or I'm told that he did)
In the Antecatarctical Zonio.

Today I read


by Alison Luterman

The eloquence of the cat's sinewy jump
to the kitchen counter where he knows he is forbidden
is different than the eloquence of an elbow shoving him off,
paring knife clattering to the floor.

Just as the eloquence of the green worm
slowly eating its way from the heart of the peach outward
sings differently than the pile of cut peaches in the bowl,
glistening in their juice like wounded suns.

The eloquence of the woman's weathered hands,
searching and packing and slicing through peaches,
their perfume rising, one part wistfulness, three parts honey,
is not the same as the eloquence of her husband's back stooping to his work:
saw and sander, chisel and clamp.

His back: a shelter between hurricanes,
a question of metal and fire, an open door.

And then the eloquent silence of him looking at the laden tree
and his wife
going back and forth from the house
with the smell of stepladder and the colander full of fruit.
The gaze he gives her through which the hard season
of cold leafless branches has passed, and roundness resumed,

and the glance she flings back at him: one part rue, two parts amber
as she goes into the house and picks up her knife
and turns again to the cutting and storing and putting by.