Full disclosure about Anne – she’s my Editor. She’s my Editor because I’ve known her for years, and I trust her eyes and ears when I need a second set of both to check my work when I’m ready to have it published. She’s the publisher of moonShine review and this year is co-editor of Kakalak 2017.
Her poems explore the raw emotions of love lost and found, of family dysfunction and family bonds. She observes nature and people, finds the irony, humor, sass or beauty in all of it. The skills she uses with other’s work, she applies to her own.
Like a great surgeon, Anne cuts words and closes phrases so well, readers never notice the slice or question what’s missing. Her poetry is crisp, without being sharp; photogenic in imagery.
From Unwilling to Laugh Alone, published by Main Street Rag Publishing, posted with the poet’s permission.
Defining the Gift and Take of Love
We don’t discuss sleeping arrangements,
our pain-imposed insomnias — my fear of dark
and its need for remembering, your fear of light
and how it embraces the future.
I love old things — a ghost-filled home,
plank siding, and mint-tinted copper roofs,
Grandma’s hand-made mahogany armoire
and Granddaddy’s ancient, overgrown azaleas.
You favor the new — fresh white walls and wide
walkways, polished pine beams overhead,
a smooth leather couch, and cleanly cropped
bushes bordering the lawn.
We share a lifetime through childhoods
declared in drunken passages and acrimony,
aspirations stolen by tragedies that plundered
your body and spirit, pillaged my belief in hope.
You and I don’t need to explain the way
my body fits in yours — and yours in mine —
our intimacies so priceless we protect
these delicacies by spending too sparingly.
I seize your sunrise, my moons
and put them away to live for tomorrow,
or else I’d never let go.
Just above my right ear —
where the trunk of this old gnarled oak
branches out and my hammock ties off —
there’s a hollow crook.
Filled with last night’s rain,
this rotting niche sprouts mushrooms,
gathers leaves, hosts a wily woodpecker
who shares its bath.
Notches carved into bark
mark my growth in youth,
but I regret these wounds
as age bends me, too.
I sway to the same wind
that pushes darkened limbs
and wonder if we’re kindred now,
each reaching for our last rest.
The oak turns to winter and, I fear,
the sleep from which it won’t rouse —
the crook is a thief silently stealing
my old friend’s time.
Autumn Calls – haiku in five parts
Harvest moon draws me
as spider webs bend my thoughts
toward summer’s waning.
Shadows creep longer;
fall leaves mix with rose petals
clatter of crisp nights.
Autumn bids audit
of past hopes and illusions
uncovered by age.
Death haunts my conscience,
erects phantoms proclaiming
too little, too late.
Then secrets beckon,
I reveal my own darkness,
and revel in grace.
Anne answers my questions ~
I actually didn’t start writing poetry until high school, when John Dacus, my creative writing teacher and mentor, set up a poetry writing class outside of school (because the school wouldn’t offer it). I won first place in a regional contest for my sonnet — about love, of course.
I started writing fiction when I was eight and spent the summer after sixth grade typing out my first murder mystery novel ( and then retyping it after I had edited it by hand). I submitted it to Doubleday and received my first pink slip — literally, a pink rejection ‘slip’ of paper. I aimed big!
Wine and Anne Sexton. She has always fascinated me, we share the same birth month. Her poetry resonated with me early on since I’m drawn to and tend to write confessional poetry.
Very close second is Edgar Allen Poe, who was the first poet I ever read, in fourth grade, I choose “Annabel Lee” for an assignment to recite in class (not from memory, of course)– my fellow students didn’t get it, and I think my teacher worried about me for while after that.
Anne’s photo by Leslie Ruphracht