Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter by Jill Alexander Essbaum : Poetry Magazine

A (sad) Easter poem. Because that's where I'm at right now.

Easter by Jill Alexander Essbaum : Poetry Magazine


is my season
of defeat.

Though all
is green

and death
is done,  

I feel alone.
As if the stone

rolled off
from the head

of the tomb
is lodged

in the doorframe
of my room,

and everyone
I’ve ever loved

lives happily
just past

my able reach.
And each time

Jesus rises
I’m reminded

of this marble

they are not
coming back.

(Poetry, January 2011)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bucktown/Wicker Park Public Library,
Friday, April 18, 2014, 2:25 pm.
First Floor:
The tables are nearly full, so I
camp out at the edge of the
one nearest the meeting rooms
and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Outside, the fresh grass peeks
through last fall’s dead leaves.
My nose starts to run and I
turn back to the quiet bookshelves
in this corner of the library:
Test Prep and Careers.
Their shelves are filled with titles
like The Princeton Review guide to the
Job Search Letters, Resumes, or
Interviews for Dummies
Postal Exam Preparation
How to be a State Trooper
Get Your Captain’s License!
No one else here is concerned
with any of that, just
How do I print this?
What’s the wifi?
Where’s the nearest 7-11?
or my favorite overheard conversation,
between a mother and a son:
“Can I go up there?”
“No, not now.”
“But I asked!”
“Yes, and thank you so much
for asking respectfully, but my
answer is no.”
Followed by the stubborn
stomps of a child who’s asked and expects
the answer to be yes.
Because what’s the point in
asking otherwise? Aren’t we
all just asking to go “up there,”
wherever that may be,
not for actual permission, but
just to be polite?
And when the universe answers
no, we stomp around anyway,
like children in a public library

on a Friday afternoon.


I wrote this (mostly) at the library in honor of National Library Week. Visit your library! You never know how it might inspire you.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Contradiction

This is not a poem, but a contradiction.
It’s how it can snow on Tuesday
and I can sunbathe on Friday.
It’s the cultural ignorance I seek
to separate myself from, all
the while knowing it’s in my skin.
It’s ice cream trucks and late
night sandwiches. Hovering
parents and absent bosses.
Going to bed when it’s light out;
waking up in the dark.
Stomach pain, noisy neighbors,
spiderwebs, dirty piles of laundry
stacked next to the bed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.
Chicago, pregnant with spring,
still clung to her Siberian chill,
blowing through April’s sunny days and
windows-open, grilling-on-the-patio weather,
like the woman in labor, scared
of what the new season might bring.
Spring seemed hesitant to emerge.
It hid in the last bank of snow,
now mostly dirt and icy rocks,
like the baby being born, not ready
for the traumatic change.
We held our breath, like family members
in the waiting room, praying for a
speedy delivery, a healthy baby.
We let it go and watched it
condense in the frozen air around us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love & Taxes

“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today." –Herman Wouk

I’m not certain about much,
but what I can be sure about
is how taxes aren’t so bad
when you do them with someone
you love.

It’s things like taxes
and washing dishes
and sharing headlines
over coffee before work--
the mundane repetitions of life
--that carry you from
each adrenaline-fueled peak
(first kiss, meeting the family,
“I love you,”...)
to the next.

If I spend the rest
of my life doing taxes
with the same person
--with, as in next to,
or with, as in filing jointly--
I’ll be okay with the
monotony, the frustration,
and the reminder of my
lackluster tax bracket status.
Whether the IRS takes my
money or gives it back,
I’ll still have my date night.

Is It Work?

Is poetry work? Do poets produce? Can a poet retire? All questions answered in this witty post.

Is It Work? : Patricia Lockwood : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Monday, April 14, 2014

15 Questions

Are you going to pick me up today?
Do you have your phone?
How did you do?
Can you wash these?
Are you ready to go?
What color is it?
Am I?
Do you see her much?
Can we go in here?
Will the snow kill my plants?
Rice or noodles?
What’s this for?
What else?
Do you want this last one?
No, that’s yours, you take it.

(napowrimo prompt)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Who? The girl from
this winter? She comes
blowing in and out,
as she’s wont to do.
I’ve seen her when
there’s a chill in the air,
or when it gets dark
before she expects it to.
I see her. Don’t you?

This week the gargleblaster asks, "Do you see her much?"

Be Kind.

Happy Palm Sunday! There's one week left of Lent, and one more simple living challenge before Easter. Last week's "unplug" challenge became much easier when the temps increased, making bike rides, walks, reading on the porch, and cook outs more attractive than TV binges. This week, Steph and Brit challenged us to find God in others.

This doesn't mean worshiping others.
This means seeing the divine in humanity.
This means recognizing that we are all made from the same stuff.
This means treating others with the respect that we all deserve.

It's a challenge, for sure, but one that should last longer than a week. I'm keeping these words in mind: