Friday, September 22, 2006

Catching Up

Schlepping It

Hello, Bob, it gratifies my heart
to see you schlepping your luggage
through Union Station, tired, harried,
harrassed like yours truly--

you with your newsworthy mug,
your bestselling blockbusters,
reaping mucho buckos compared
to my thin Roosevelt dime, huffing

through travel delays to grab
a cab with pine scent air freshener
dangling with the cabbie's
prayer beads, his U.S. flag

as Columbus in the circle stands
burdened with pigeons that roost
on his folded marble arms like raisins:
Christo schlepping just like Bob and me.

Christopher T. George

The "Bob" I saw by the way was columnist Bob Novak, who has been involved in the Karl Rove - Valerie Plame affair. I thought of making it Bob Woodward, which would bring a whole other aspect into it and mentioning how the little affair in Iraq is going but then I thought that would take the poem into a direction and heaviness I perhaps did not want to go in. . . Any comments appreciated.

And in case anyone does not know the word "schlep"--

From the Free Online Dictionary: schlep: To carry clumsily or with difficulty; lug.

It's a Yiddish word.


* * * *

The Dockers' Clock

As I clock off with relief after
another day of ob-gyn editing in D.C.,
I recall the Dockers' Clock back home
in Liverpool where I toiled as a clerk
each day recording the ships coming in
and out of dock seeing the eight-sided
granite clock tower erected by Jesse Hartley
a full hundred years before my birth:
eight clock faces showing eight times
every day with corroded copper hands on
the stone tower named for good Queen Vic,
then a girl only ten years on the throne
and happy -- thirteen years before Albert's
death from typhus. Stalwart-named docks,
warrens of industry amid Liverpool's
poverty: Albert, Canning, Huskisson,
Nelson, Stanley, Wellington. . .

Christopher T. George

  • Jesse Hartley - Victoria Tower 1848, a.k.a. The Dockers' Clock

  • * * * *

    Wearing My Mother's Cardigan

    The first cold snap of Fall: a frigid
    northwest wind blows like a blast
    off the Greenland sea. I forget
    my jacket in work; Mother loans me
    her black wool cardigan with its
    hint of Calvin Kline's "Escape."

    I wheel her to our Crackpot meal;
    she hands me her shopping list
    with a white purple-veined hand.
    Her birthday's a fortnight away
    and she's scrawled on the bottom,
    in confusion, "What age am I?"

    Christopher T. George

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Winners of the "What Inspires You" Contest

    I am very pleased to award first prize in my "What Inspires You" Contest to New Zealander Christina Pater for her unusual and very personal "Writing a Hillside." Second Prize goes to Penny August for "Inspiration" which has a strong and memorable ending. Well done, Christina and Penny, and thank you to all who participated. The two recognized poems follow -

    First Prize

    Writing a Hillside

    You ask what things
    inspire me to write -
    they are like leaves of grass:

    The woman who waits in her bed,
    through her treatment torture
    with its symphony of pills,
    for her cancer to abate.

    All the drunks in bars
    crying to be saved -

    The way I scrimmage
    to garner my living.

    The fear of swallowing an apple seed
    and having a tree sprout from my belly button.

    The white she-wolf who pads beside me.

    The moon beneath her hood of night.

    Every life stolen by a bullet.

    Political prophecy on the wall
    of a motorway viaduct.

    Willow fingers rhinestoned with ice
    wafted above the steaming July river.

    Water dancing with light,

    light breathing in darkness.

    I write so that someone may read this
    and recognise me.

    I write to bind you in narrative threads
    and reel you in.

    I write the flute of wind
    through blades of grass
    along the hillside sheep tracks
    of my homeland.

    -- Christina Pater

    Second Prize


    Not the pinks, purples and oranges
    of a Colorado sunset
    nor the ever-changing profile
    of the Rockies every evening
    not the dew on the morning
    summertime new blades of grass
    nor the magpies sunrise
    chatter in my garden.
    Not the criss-cross pattern
    on the dragonfly's wings
    nor the swish of the horse's tail
    greeting me as I walk past
    not the changing colors
    of the fall canopy of leaves
    or the yellow swelling of my heart
    thinking of those
    I love.

    Words flow most abundantly
    when my mind is overwhelmed
    and my heart
    is overburdened.
    I still my mind
    and I rest my heart
    then I stop. and listen
    to the noise
    all around me,
    and quiet it
    with my words.

    - penny august