Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poem of the Week #152

Poems Found on Eastbound I-94,
Heading to Detroit

This year thousands of men
will die from stubbornness.
Failed, failed, failed
and then, persistence.
Be passionate.
Be inspired.
We take a load off your mind.
We’ve got you covered.
Full steam ahead.
Moving is the best medicine.

The location of luxury,
let us take you there.
Family preservation program
Adult super store
over 3,000 DVDs.

Breakfast all day
Peace, love, and wine
More fun than a zoo
It’s called velvet
for a reason.

Dedicated to a sense of honor,
warm up to joy.
You’re almost out of gas.
Save energy.
Make some magic:
The fresh and spunky one
The striking and savvy one
The cool and flexible one
Be prepared to stop.
Feeling lucky?
Climax, next exit.

Beer cave
Model homes open

The best MRI, clearly.
Eat. Shop. Relax.

Need your oil changed? Here is
your first chance for a second chance.

Music that makes you
feel good, after.

When I have an asthma attack,
I feel like a fish out of water.

Confused? Pull ahead.
Push the help button.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poem of the Week #151

What I Need Right Now

I need a poem for tomorrow,
for tomorrow and tomorrow
and tomorrow after that.
I need a poem
that sounds like my voice
and sounds like your voice
and sounds like all the voices
of everyone everywhere
the cacophony of everyone
everywhere and the sound
of seagulls. Certainly,
you have noticed that sound
of seagulls. You hear it
by any body of water
and you hear it by anybody
before you see them soaring.
Usually, the beach is empty
the beach is empty
but for one person
with a bag of dried bread
and the gulls soar and circle
and make that sound
that sound that marks
the beginning and the end
of every vacation
of every vacation you have ever had.
A happy sound, a sad sound
depending on when you hear it
and which way you are headed
like this poem for tomorrow
headed nowhere other than
tomorrow and tomorrow
and tomorrow after that.
Where I will wake up
and find my voice
and find your voice
and find the voices
of everyone everywhere
and the seagulls who cry
stay don’t go
stay don’t go
today or tomorrow
we will still be here.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets - Award Winners

Dollar Value
(receieved Honorable Mention in the Kay N. Saunders Memorial New Poet category)

Do you remember afternoons
dumping out the can of coins
and counting them with dad?
Ten pennies made a tower;
a wall of ten, a dollar.

He did nickels, dimes, and quarters.
I was the princess of pennies.

After hours of counting,
came the delicate task
of stacking the copper
flat in the wrappers.
He said little fingers
were good for that,
the neat, crisp folding
of the sleeves.

I loved those rolls in my hand,
their shape and heft had power.
We strode together
and traded them for treasure
down at the corner. Beer for him
and a Hershey bar for me.

Now, I take my coins to the bank,
willy-nilly in a can.
Down the chute they go.
No time spent, no towers.
Minutes later, the teller returns
with the empty container
and I go to my car,
a little bit poorer,
my pocket full of dollars.

Lisa Vihos

Machine Dream
(received 2nd place in the "Theme" category)

I ride the train past fields and fallen houses
that sit together like watchdogs in the snow.
Barns lay their backs against the hills to sleep
and silos stand saluting the machine.
The train takes no heed of what they know;
runs past them like a hand

passing over weeds. I trace the lines of my hand,
familiar lines, like wood grain in an old house.
Train of people, bound by paper bags. I know
our eggshells cover the floor like snow.
We chew our yolks as one, our teeth a machine
that turns and grinds even as we sleep.

I cover my face with sleep
and let the train carry me in sure hands.
I am no match for the laws of machines
or the pipes and wires of my house.
No match for ocean, stars, or snow,
why we breathe or how we know

our purpose. Though we ought to know
the reason that we dream. Is sleep
an empty field that waits to fill with snow?
What happens if I take you by the hand
and lead you through the rooms of my house?
This journey we call love, a strange machine.

You see, the heart is also a machine:
its auto-pump always going. It knows
the soft chambers of its fleshy house.
Faithful to this sturdy muscle, I dare to sleep,
buzz like a willful beetle in a closed hand,
grope my way, a traveler blinded by snow.

We can build mountains, cover them with snow
but no one has yet invented a machine
that can duplicate the lines of my hand.
Familiar lines, laid for a train that knows
the dream, when night falls and we go to sleep
safe under blankets in houses.

Sometimes, when it snows, I gaze exhausted, and think I know
how to muscle the machine. I awake refreshed from sleep;
cup all this goodness in my hand: trains, fields, hearts, houses.

Lisa Vihos

Poem of the Week #150

Baby Poets

We lie side by side
on the fleece blanket,
two kindred souls
finding ourselves in bodies
like pink raisins.
We cannot locomote.
Our mother comes round
to diaper, feed, and hover.
She is always in motion
like wind or ocean, a force
with which to be reckoned.
Our father is more
like a very large rock
or a door. He is loud
to the touch, an island
of stubble and such.
I burble, you burp.
Between us, there are
hiccups and crying.
You push your fist
into my rib cage. My toe
goes into your mouth.
When I look in your eye,
it is clear we are brothers.
You make me laugh
by doing Jimmy Durante
and I astound you
with my daily ruminations
on the origin of the soul.
We spend hours at a time
in awe of the light that streams
through our bedroom window.
You blink twice, I once.
Only we know what that means.
As poets go, we’ve got it wired.
We cannot speak—yet.
Nor can we write. Not because
we cannot write, but because
they have not thought to give us
pen and paper.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poem of the Week #149

Spectral Analysis of Tears

In tears are bands of every color:
There is green for the lawn
I crawled across as a child;
blue, the day I left for college;
purple, the day I returned.
There is white for my wedding.

There is lipstick red for anger
and blood red for shame.
There is orange for every
tropical sunrise I missed,
and pink for the prayers
I forgot to say.

There is brown distilled
from dirt and worms
and yellow derived from the sun’s
sweat and then, the blackest
black: the place we go
while we wait to be born.

Stinging rainbow bound by saline
turns colors into one, converts them
to a small moon slipping over
the canyon rim of my eye;
clear as liquid mirror
or briny bead of rain.

Lisa Vihos