Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Piles of Books!

 First, I am humbled to have received such a wonderful tribute from a delightful writer, Christie Nelson, author of of Beautiful Illusion, a book that truly should be made into a full length feature film:

Dear Dotty,

First, congratulations on the most handsome and splendid publication of Henceforth/Ask not Good Fortune.  I was enthralled from the first poem to the last.  It would be remiss not to tell you I consumed all the poems in one gulp.  Of course, the night was black as pitch, silent as an empty church, and I was in need of a deep drink of humanity.  Your poems opened my soul and put me to rest.  

While prose writing is challenging, to be a poet takes an extraordinarily special lens.  Yours is that talent.  How many times have I sat in my car at a red light to watch a poor soul make her way across the street and shake my head in wonderment?  How many times have I marveled at unaccompanied minors dance along the sidewalk in my hometown and sorrowed at the children in cages on the border?  Kissing Toothbrushes?  Conversation snooping at San Rafael Joe’s?  These are only a few of my favorites.   

 Hometown Poet, I salute you!

 With respect and admiration,

Christie

 Next, here is the box of books, many promised but some still available and of course, always available for sale from Finishing Line Press.


 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Masks

 Thank to Clare MacQueen for posting this poem in MacQueen's Quinterly:

Masks

 Raccoons are funny, even cute in their Lone Ranger faces when you catch them rummaging through the trash you neglected to bungee down securely, even as you run at them with your witchy broom, and they waddle away slowly, sated.

Clowns, on the other hand, are frightening with their fake happy faces and big feet and lots of frothy red hair made out of string. Mimes are a close second. Maybe it’s all that white-face?

At the Halloween party, who is that masked man? Who pretends to know me, to ask me to dance or buy me a drink? Who is sidling away?

Then there are bank robbers, in their pulled-up bandanas, or ski masks. Are they for real, or playing badass with the pandemic? Should I cross the street, or wave hello? Not wanting to offend.

Who wants to piss off a mugger, a stalker, a predator? The Masque of the Red Death or death itself, and what about the ones with the grinning Joker face, humorous or hostile?

And those awful times you forget your mask, walking the dogs, like normal times, until you realize the one strangers are glaring at is you, and you turn away, ashamed, risking traffic, not to offend, to infect.

And the stories about people who cough on babies or push security guards to the floor in the grocery aisle because Bygod! it’s their constitutional right not to wear a mask!

Give me a raccoon doing what it does in the garbage can any day. Safe and predictable. Making the kind of mess I can do something about.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Murmuration

 I think this flocking and breaking apart in patterns is trying to tell us something.



Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Marin Poetry Center Antholgy is Out!

 It's here, yay! The latest edition of the wonderful Marin Poetry Center Anthology. This was a yeoman's job, and my hat's off to all the poet/editors who did this in the midst of COVID and got  stellar product. I'm pleased and proud to be included among such literary lights as Ellen Bass, Francesca Bell, Rebecca Foust, Erin Rodoni, Susan Browne and the list goes on. 


My poem is on Page 14:





Sunday, October 4, 2020

COVID Finds Its Mark

As we all know the President has contracted COVID. I don't know why it took so long, but it is inspiring a poem - COVID Finally Finds Its Mark. The Donald as the mark, and not the con man, in this game.  

There is so much more to say. Soon. Not wishing ill on anyone of course. So showing only this pretty picture of Donald's new companion.



Friday, September 11, 2020

19 Ways of Looking at a Pandemic

Poetry for our time. What can I say, pandemics, wildfires, ash and soot and particulate matter of all sorts rain down upon us. And of course all this in the time of tRump and BLM. What next, a plague of locusts, floods of Biblical proportions?

Here is my offering for today, up at the International site Poetry and Covid: 19 Ways of Looking at a Pandemic, with due respect and apologies to Wallace Stevens:  

 Nineteen Ways of Looking at a Pandemic

By Dotty LeMieux


1.

the sound a boulder makes
before beginning
its deadly downhill
roll

2.

sunflowers
in their art deco vase
track time by the sun
so well you can set
your watch by it

3.

hush, don’t wake
the old man sleeping
on the park bench

4.

one purple crocus
in my weedy front yard

5.

hey, what do you think
you’re doing?
don’t you know
you can’t play basketball
without touching?

6.

I’m calling the police!

7.

rain in spurts
taunting us between
the times of quiet

8.

why does standing in line at Safeway
for an hour and a half
remind me of the drought years?

9.

they loosened EPA regulations
so people can get back to work
polluting again

10.

the police are too busy
confirming deaths
on park benches
to answer calls
about unsanctioned basketball
games in the park

11.

Presidential Press briefing —
I told him — don’t return
her phone call; she’s not
nice to me

12.

the boy in California
who died
when the clinic
refused him entry
no insurance

13.

in New York the first buds
of April break through
hoping for someone
to admire them

14.

They’re not doing the tests;
they said to come back later —
blind man in the park smoking

15.

I can smell his smoke

16.
  1. if you wonder where the homeless went
    when they kicked them
    out of the park
    just check the far side
    of the closed-down Community Center
17.

winter has been its own very long year
this year

18.

woman into phone, slumped
on the top step of her front porch —
they say the test won’t come back
for at least a week

19.

after all this,
spring

 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wild Roof poems up now

 My poems now up at Wild Roof. Go to the link here.    

Here are the poems: (with slightly weird spacing.)


Rite of Return                       

Right into the city come the coyotes. The neighbor to the east calls in his cat. The neighbor to the west watches as one lone coyote slinks past Safeway, storefront church and gastro-pub. Follows dogs down my cul de sac, then turns and skitters into the oleander, pursued by sharp-hooved does. I see him at the very end of the driveway, scruffy long-jowled dog hunkered under the brush. Waiting.

first one Coyote

Then two; then multiple, time

before time, earth before earth

 Before there were people say the Miwok, there were “First People.” Coyote on hind legs, looking for a wife chooses Frog Women. Woos her with infinite patience; lingers on her stream beds; plays his paws among her lily pads; stalks her through water’s murk, plucking her out, long tongue lapping. 

 Coyote and Frog weave Earth

from burned-out stars and broken crockery

sky’s open border

After cocktails, the neighbor to the east says — The coyotes are killing the cats. And Animal Control won’t come for wildlife unless it is injured! You can tell he wants them injured. He wants their carcasses between his car wheels, he wants their hides scarred with pellets from his (legal) gun; he will do none of this though. Instead he says — I can trap them and carry them away into the hills where they came from. They do not belong in the city.

 Cats kill birds — says the neighbor to the west, the naturalist — The cats are killing the songbirds; soon there won’t be any left in North America. Keep your cat indoors! 

The neighbor to the east shakes his head — No! The coyotes have to go. I have never seen this cat loving man so angry. Out my window, Coyote smiles a sad smile slipping down the streambank.

all night from hill to hill

crossing canyons; rattling windows

Coyote’s dirge; Frog’s lament  


Animals Don’t Know They Have a Name

 

birds for instance, don’t care

that we call them thrushes

or Steller’s jay

 

or white crowned sparrow or Nuttal’s woodpecker — 

that sound they rat-a-tat-tat late

into the afternoon

creating granaries

against the winter

 

that season whose name they don’t know,

or summer, or any season 

 

except that stomachs grow

                or diminish, hunkering-in happens, or hunger —

 

 that we humans

delineate with nouns

and spelling, of which they know nothing,

 

crows, raucously patrolling their territory,

caucus with sharp cries alighting on the rough heat place

                        seeking crumbs,  avoiding splat

only by inches

 

then there is the owl

   barn or great horned or elusive spotted

hoot hooting into dusk, scouring below

for movement of rats, slither of gopher

          snakes, names they do not know,

 

nor does the deer on the hillside, the skunk

     rocking toward us, as we leash the dogs

who though domesticated only remember their names

when called home to dinner

 

above all circle the vultures their red heads alert

for remnants of unnamed animals

caught in the splat of forever

 

or sometimes when nights grow cold and food is scarce,

rotten orange fruits that once were called —

         by children in disguise —

           

jack-o’lanterns in some forgotten lexicon

of mystery and expectation.