Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poem: Christmas Downtown

The parking lot at the liquor store was packed,
and the clerk at Staples badly needed a belt.
We could have hidden the presents in his butt crack.
At the A&P, a little old man held up the express lane,
buying a Santa hat, and two boxes of Milkbone dog biscuits with an expired coupon.
It's revenge of the people I went to high school with downtown.
My friends and I always held a special disdain for anyone who left town,
only to come back.
Holding my 93 year old grandmother's hand,
I push our shopping cart out to my mother's car,
and hear the muffled sounds of dogs barking behind glass.
I turn and see the little old man from the express lane,
he's wearing the Santa hat on his head.
“Ho ho ho!” he says to the two Rottweilers in the car parked next to ours,
and drops two dog biscuits through the cracked window into the backseat.
There are a lot of dogs in this parking lot,
and the little old man moves on.
"Ho ho ho!" he says to a poodle in a Mercedes,
but the car's windows are rolled up tight,
so he leaves the biscuit for the dog under a windshield wiper.
Watching the little old man as he goes,
my grandmother says to me,
"Fiona, I always enjoyed feeding the ducks so."

©Fiona Helmsley

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Poem for Sylvia Plath on the 50th Anniversary of her Death, February 11, 2013

Fifty years ago today,
You made your name,
Made your grave.
Marble- heavy,
A bag full of God.

So many chemicals:
One for love,
One for sadness;
One for baggage,
One for madness.

I think of you,
Anti-Semitic with rage,
Denying her a name,
She's just a barren womb.

Not for long, Mrs. Hughes.

I won't accuse a Thought-Fox
Of locking you in a lock- box,
Of making you look back,
Look back.
A stone in the pocket of Virginia Woolf.

A cruel truth
All artists face
Is despair can wear Calliope's face;
The same muse that moves the pen, turns on the gas,
And our best work may be our last.

©Fiona Helmsley