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Intervention Poem

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Poetry of Janet I. Buck


Apple Juice--Not Vinegar

All those portals of possible
salted by a raging sea.
I wonder now,
behind the tales of cyclones
(never sugar cane)
why this time ‘round
our marriage bed
stays warm through
freeziest frost.

Why kissing you
is apple juice
not vinegar.
Why talking isn’t
mushy peas
or Jello molds
with torn insides.

Sex games aren’t
the crapshoot
of cherish
landing a lame number
on tables with wobbly legs.
Your goodnight graze
across my cheek--
fond signatures of active art.

Touching skin,
you open me
and save the box--
a cashmere sweater
at Christmas time.
So carefully, strumming
the port of call of love.
Playing with
devotion’s tags
as if they have
a fragile side like
cushion-centered marigolds.

by Janet I. Buck

The Intervention

It was a quiet convention of gurgling grief.
Silences usurped her words.
History had carved a bust of livid surreptitiousness.
She washed down pills at morning’s break
with fancy brands of Chardonnay
my sister thought was apple juice.
She stood in a quivering stance
and slept that way--
all her ghosts had interrupted
operas of her rituals.
In gripping claws of useless banter,
cocktail parties drank her strength.
Delivered her a little lighter than a rock
on edges of an avalanche.

But the process turned its back on hope,
consumed by long retreating hours.
Columns of regret were poised
like tipping towers of Pisa here:
“Five years ago, something snapped.
I don’t know what. Just went...just went.
I’ve followed its caves
on carriages and carousels
of alcohol and valium rides.”

You tell me this.
I tailor my suit of mindfulness
for leaning into trouble zones.
Listen like a lawn-mower’s blade
held just above the too-long grass.
I want to whack it down, of course,
as any loving daughter would.
Helpless as a batting moth
against some dirty summer screen.
My duty is to intervene--
a white cane in revolving doors.
The window, however, is open now.
I feel the light, a sense of coolness
on my skin, want to pass it on to you,
as if I am your father’s hands.

by Janet I. Buck

Where Have All the Caskets Gone?

My father refuses a funeral plan
and so did you.
Says: “Scatter my ashes
in a sand trap and carry on.”
Death’s wicked hyena
is itching on a nearby rock;
the canyon is packed with all our ghosts.
Avoidance is an art we practice--
a Buddha or a yoga move.
We’ve fine-tuned laughter’s harpsichord
and tears are used to water flowers.
“Where Have All the Caskets Gone?”
I play with songs like pocket change.

I wanted you to have a service.
Needed to turn your yeast to bread
and bake it in remembrance.
I hear your voice in sonnet leaves--
chase their mulch until it freezes
same as smitten field mice.
A scrapbook full of burning pages
calling for a fire hose.
Simon screams but does not speak.
Emotion’s risk is squeaky brakes.
We’re so busy washing cars--
we cannot roll them to the cliff.

by Janet I. Buck

All That Ache

Mushy carrots for a mind
undermined by loads of drugs
and luggage packed with harbored ghosts.
The call of the wild is just too loud
and angels have abandoned us.
Your health slips quickly while we watch.
I grab my wallet, sign you up for exercise.
Tough love seems a cruel choice
like burning your wrist with lit cigars.

My sister goes to Altar Guild--
asks me if I’ll tag along.
Risky brakes just squeak too much.
We’ve sanded down our tragedies
and painted all that dust with Scotch.
We just can’t talk;
stroll and scroll of hidden fears
are offered up to silent prayer.

Humor’s cough drop on my tongue--
all that ache inside my chest
that craves a clearer passageway.
“Get off your knees and cry a mile!”
I scream with wet hyena shrieks
in caverns of abandoned canyons
howling with their icy winds.

by Janet I. Buck

An interview with Janet Buck Visit Janet's Site


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