New Year’s Eve 2017: Not Just Another Sunday/Why I’m Not Happy with My Mother’s Sewing Machine

We hear the roll call of those “who left us this year.” I’m covering my ears and humming a Leonard Cohen song. I eschew those lists of the recently departed.

Yoga and gym classes are suddenly crowded. That probably will last a few more weeks, and then, only   the regulars will  show up faithfully each week to heave hand weights, dance to salsa or hip hop tunes, or work on their downward-facing dog poses.

I ready myself to write 2018, and not 2017 on checks—am I the only one in the world who still writes checks?  Occasionally I catch myself absentmindedly writing 1982. Or 1978. Or at least thinking of it for a nanosecond.

The Christmas flower arrangements, greens and white mums and red carnations—are holding up pretty well, but it’s time to pull out the shiny red balls and bows and convert the flower dishes to winter white and evergreen.

We’re weeding the ornament collection this year—anything we have not used in four or five years goes off to the Vietnam Vets collection on January 10.

This brings up the subject of my mother’s 1962 Singer sewing machine. An odd shade of gray-blue plastic, it weighs about 40 pounds. I had it tuned up five or six years ago, tried using it once, and have despaired of ever getting it to work properly again. The old guy who works out of the vacuum cleaner store, repairing sewing machines, is very likely no longer with us. I’d like to start sewing again after a twenty-year hiatus, but perhaps on a spiffy new machine that will not require two sixty-year-olds to lift it onto the work table. And one that someone knows how to maintain. Then again, I think a shiny black classic Singer in good shape might be nice—if I could learn how to keep it oiled and working. So what’s the plan—take an adult ed class in maintaining small machinery, and peruse Craigslist for a 1950’s Singer, like the ones we used in Mrs. McMillan’s Home Ec class at Hamilton Junior High?

This flotsam and jetsam of the rolling old year crowds my brain. No wonder I can’t find my keys.

s-l1600

 

Happy New Year, Feliz ano nuevo, Felice anno nuovo, Gelukkig nieuwjaar, Bonne année,  Frohes neues Jahr to all my readers! 

Punting

Among the many sweet Christmas gifts that came to me this morning, this–a notification that the Origami Poems Project will be publishing my six-poem collection, “Punting,” in a microchapbook!

Once Punting  is published, copies will be available to blog readers, gratis, until my supply runs out.  If you’d like a copy, please comment on this post.

clothesline poems clipped

Punting

Elvis had just died in Memphis—he was just forty-two.

You and I’d just moved in together,

to a third floor walkup in Brookline.

We were just in Cambridge for a couple days,

long enough to rent a punt,

travel up the River Cam for just a few lazy hours.

I lay back in the boat while you pushed the pole,

I read aloud the King’s obit from the Herald-Trib.

Just the two of us on a calm Tuesday,

drifting, then and later, back home,

for a short while, not quite in love,

just close, a stepping stone

was what we had, just enough for then,

a short prelude to our separate lives.

Now, a fragment of that day

comes back:  your boyish laugh,

your golden curls glinting in the English sun.

 

 

“Lover’s Leap” and “Wellersburg Summer,” in The Writing Hour’s lit mag, “End of 83,” out of Baltimore

Just out!– online and available in print, at https://issuu.com/.

Both  of these poems appear here, on pages 11-13. These are part of my Cumberland series to be published this spring in my second book, The Glamorganshire Bible.