Monday, December 24, 2012

Bonus Poem for December


When I got to her earthen room,
I thought, Oh God, no. Not this one.

Too young, too fragile, for this word-
made-flesh deal you’ve got brewing.

I was still a vapor having my doubts,
when I saw her look up from her book

and stare at a tree outside her window.
Something brought a tear to her eye,

which she wiped dutifully away,
then smiled. Maybe she was thinking

of a shepherd boy she liked or what
was for supper. (Even in my etheric state,

I could smell something tasty
bubbling in her mother’s kitchen.)

Then, the look on her face told me
we had the right girl for the job.

All I had to do was materialize
and tell her the story.

Lisa Vihos

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Poem for December

The Earth is My House
The earth is my house.
It has a strong foundation.
The sun rises on one side,
the moon on the other. Stars
are my lanterns, rain washes me.
The earth is my house. It knows
every season. In my foyer,
spring, where the guest
is met with small, tight buds
and the freshest green.
In my kitchen, summer.
Every flavor of the earth,
alive in my cupboards.
My pantry overflows
with good things to eat.
Fall is my study. Sunlight
slants through blinds
and thoughts turn inward,
while the pages of my books
call out, vibrant as dying leaves.
In my bedroom, winter.
Not harsh and icy, but tucked in
and cozy, quiet enough to hear
snow fall. A place to hibernate,
a place to dream again of spring.
Lisa Vihos

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds
We are all together again
on Halloween eve
just like always, me
up to my elbows in pumpkin guts,
you and your dad
at the table, seated
before spread out newsprint.
Divorce is irrelevant
when there are pumpkins to carve.
I attack another 
with the largest kitchen knife I own,
in imitation of a bad horror movie.
How pale and vulnerable
my wrists are. I am crazy
for the seeds. The seeds
are the only reason I carve pumpkins
anymore. Well, and to see what you—
at your age—might make. Interwoven
throughout one stringy womb,
I find sprouted seeds. This one,
pregnant with fledgling
jack-o-lanterns of the future;
lit and grimacing faces that will
never be, maniacal grins for porches
we can only imagine. Then, I tell you
a story: the autumn you were in utero, 
my first trimester, I craved pumpkin seeds,
and your dad brought them to me by the bowlful.
In fact, you are probably 95 percent pumpkin seed
I say and you say, I don’t really like them!
We three, around our table, laugh. Then,
we light candles and place them inside the hollows
we have made. Just like us, they flicker and wink
at decay. Cleaned and carved by loving hands,
the very faces of creation.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Poem for October

"When Does the Sun Get Tired" has been submitted to an online poetry journal called Thrush and removed from circulation for the time being. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Poem for September

Questions of Time and Distance

How far is it
between you and me?
Does undressing
bring us any closer?

If we drive east
for three days at the speed
of light, will we die yesterday?
Will we be born tomorrow?

When are you coming?
Where are we going?
How will I know
when we get there?

Will you always be here
to watch the clock with me?
Or will I be far away
waking up the next day?

Lisa Vihos

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Poem for August

For Thelonius 
I slink
‘round midnight
so he so me
the he-suit sits
so pure his plunk
his plink his tone
not sunk his sun
not set ‘til crepuscule
with Nellie knits
then rises, rips
up-trips Ruby,
my dear, surprise
so sheer her lips
her hips so he so she
he sits his loins opine
so mine so rope
so steel his spine spoke
then stroke, stroke
this hip-hop tome
this hotel motel
E.T. phone home
to Blue Monk
here in post-helium
hemisphere lost
so moist in moisture
I sit straight, no chaser
not pus, not tin, not smoke
not thirsty sister
not unmet need
no line no pun
no hour-lust rumor
no minute rum
sun rises, sets
is risen, no prison
these melons
ripe to ripen
out in the street
not unshine, like sunshine
split prism like the moon
this tune, this rune
so he so she
so us so punk
so misterioso

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Poem for July

Love Letter for Vincent

I would have sat quietly on the hillside
while you painted the stars
and I would not have tossed
the sunflowers before
you were done with them.

I would have tended
the irises, dusted your chair,
and made your bed, in love
with the vibration inside all things—
just like you. I would not have judged

the cut ear or the old sermons.
I would have cooked your potatoes,
wiped clean your shoes,
and bought you another absinthe
at midnight in the pool hall.

I would have brought a picnic lunch
and a cool drink to the wheat field.
I would have marveled with you at the sun
and the patterns the black birds made
as they flew low along the horizon.

Lisa Vihos

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Poem for June

Me and the Wood Pile

Today I pulled
all the firewood
out of the shade
at the back of the yard.
Everything there,
in a state of near-rot.

It seemed
a fitting metaphor
for my own thought,
my muddy mind,
heavy and spongy,
the logs welded
with moist dirt,

rolly-pollies, worms,
and not a dry twig
in the lot. Everything
bound by a tangle
of tenacious green
fronds strangling

potential energy. I laid
each piece out against
the garage in the warm
sun, my bedraggled army
wet and fungal, the wood
slick with mushrooms

and not fit for duty.
With each piece unearthed
I felt my head clear.
I know with time
and heat the water-
logged wood will dry.

Like me, under the new
tarp I bought, the logs
will grow hard and firm.
I will protect them,
along with my desire.
Soon, there will be fire.

Lisa Vihos

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Poem for May

It has been a busy month for poetry. My book, A Brief History of Mail, received Honorable Mention in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets 2012 Chapbook Contest. Other good things are happening too, and as always, I am grateful that so many of you have stuck with me for so long. Here is your poem for May. Happy reading, Lisa

Holy Cow

I am the one, the only one,
the one whose name you utter
under your breath when the wind
comes through, makes you shudder.

I am the one who lies down
in green pasture and my milk
flows like nectar beside the still water.
With me in your field, you shall not want.

I’ve kicked many a bucket and one swish
of my tail sends flies into orbit. Though I stand
in the muck and the mire, bound to grass,
to earth, to desire, I once jumped the moon,

remember? You came too, with your dreams
of a cat and a fiddle, a dish and a spoon.
Remember there was a little dog, full of sport,
who would not stop laughing at us?

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 26: Z is for Zaire

Let's Go

Let's go far and near,
Alaska, Belgium, Zaire.
Let's go. Everywhere!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 25: Y is for Yet

A New Day

I wake up again
leaving behind yesterday.
I am not done yet.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 24: X is for Xenophobia

I suffer this fear of all,
alone in my world.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 23: V is for Vulture

Where Was I?

I almost missed you
vulture. You were circling.
I was someplace else.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 22: W is for Woken

We will backtrack on the trail tomorrow to visit V, the first letter of both Amy's and my last name!

The Weight of Day

Dawn lifts its weight
off the night, nothing is broken.
Then, I'm light. Woken.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 21: U is for Urge


When the urge to give
comes over you, don't forget
the urge to receive.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 20: T is for Teepee

My Place

I love my teepee
My place to dream, sing, write, pray,
sleep when I'm sleepy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 19: S is for Silver

My hair

My hair is silver,
I say, not grey. Do I care?
Yes, silver I say.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 18: R is for Restore


The trees tell me this:
sunlight and water do well
to restore a soul.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 17: Q is for Quaint

My Quiet Place

Tucked up in the hills,
a refuge where I think, paint.
My place: quiet, quaint.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 16: P is for Prescribe

Dear Doctor

Prescribe me a cure
for writer's block. Should I wait?
No! Write now, right now!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 15: O is for Over

Morning Vision

The deer ran over
my back lawn, seven of them,
white tails bobbing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 14: N is for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Let us go today
to roam along the rocky
shore where selkies play.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 13: M is for Macaroni

My Ideal Meal

I will fill my bowl
with macaroni. Best when
eaten with a friend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 12: L is for Lively

Lively Love

Lively love lingers,
loves through every up and down.
Lively love lives long.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 11: K is for Knickknack

Poet Dog

Knickknack patty whack!
Give a dog a poem to chew.
He barks in haiku.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 10: J is for Jamaica

Spring Dream

Today's cold spring wind
makes me crave sunshine and sea.
Jamaica calls me!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 9: I is for Inflation

Deeper Meaning

Inflation expands.
Think not the economy
instead, elation!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 8: H is for Habit


Kite catches the wind,
unavoidable habit
to go up, aloft.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 7: G is for Ground

Sub-Atomic Dance

Our molecules
know the drill: come-bind, unbound.
Flame, water, air, ground.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 6: F is for Felt

To My First Friend

Do you remember
how it felt to hold my hand?
Yes. Of course you do.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 5: E is for Exponent


Rise to the power
of the value by your side.
You will get bigger.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 4: D is for Draw

Connect the Dots

Draw a line from moon
to sea and back to the place
where our two hearts meet.

Lisa Vihos

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 3: C is for Case


Let your journey start
today, in this wild, spring rain.
What is in your case?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dictionary Hike

I got turned onto the idea of doing a "distionary hike" by a new friend, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Check out her fabulous blog, The Poem Farm. Each day during National Poetry Month, Amy is letting her finger fall on a word in the dictionary, and she is then creating a poem that must include that word. She has begun at A and will work her way to Z as each day goes by. Hence the "dictionary hike" concept. I caught the bug and have determined that whatever word she picks each day, I will use the same word in a haiku. After 26 days, between us we will have 52 poems. (Mine will generally be way shorter!)

We have thus far completed A and B. My first two haiku appear together here. To see Amy's poems, go here. I am very much looking forward to C tomorrow. Visit each day and see what we have created. Hey, that starts with C. Cool. Oh, so does that. Ciao...oy, this is contagious! Signing off now before I am covered in C-words...

April 1
Day 1: A is for Ancient

The ancient soul aches
for one more undoing or
doing of the heart.

April 2
Day 2: B is for Bluegrass


Bluegrass, green-sky. Why?
Why not? I wonder as my
day turns up-under.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Poem for April

Recipe for Calm

When you feel
out of sorts,
grab an onion,
clove of garlic,
sprig of parsley.
Chop, dice, slice,
and then, filet
a nice cut of meat.
Use carrots and lemons,
olives and almonds,
and don't forget
something sweet.
Sit down at your table
with a bottle of wine,
a sharp cheese,
and a friend.
Raise your glass.
Lift your fork.
Lean back at the end
and allow for a belch;
a calming measure
to mark your pleasure.

Lisa Vihos

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Poem for March

I Have No Qualms with Snail
(to my friend, who said he preferred not to order my chapbook online)

She glides through the garden
looking for recipients
of letters sent
the old-fashioned way.

I see her now,
wiping sweat from her brow,
hoisting her sack
at the end of the day.

Intrepid she is, our snail.
Remember those gems
of the daily mail?
That hand-written prose,

sacred through the ages?
The beloved’s mark
on ink-swept pages
that lit us, alive.

Escargot and email aside,
I have no qualms with snail.
I accept her glistering tidings,
grateful for her travail.

Lisa Vihos

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bonus Poem for February

Leap Day

Wake up!
Today is leap day!
Leap into this moment.
Today, the day
that only comes once
every four years;
the day that man made
to correct the slippage
in the cosmic clock.

Who figures these
things out, anyway?
When I can’t even
decide what to eat
for breakfast,
who can measure
and determine
what to do with time?

Who got the whole darn
world to recognize
leap year?
Let’s get that guy or gal
working on world peace
and the green house effect
today, right now.

Or is leap year
just another one of
those false constructs
that delude us
into thinking
we’ve mastered
the time-space continuum?

No matter.
I will leap today
and every day
because this moment
is here forever,
always new,
always the next breath.

Lisa Vihos

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Poem for February

3 a.m. Hot Flash

You know that oven?
The one where sometimes

they say there is a bun?
Without warning,

that oven door busts open
on its rusty hinge

to radiate a dying sun,
a nuclear explosion. Then,

hot needles prick me
along every extremity.

Am I getting a tattoo?
Spontaneous combustion?

Cauterizing heat seeps
and settles in the shoulders,

smolders in the chest,
a super nova of the soul.

An image etched
of an imploding star,

of red hot coals—
the kind you find

when you flip over
the last log in the fire pit,

its ashen underbelly
all aglow within. So pretty,

until that belly is in you.
Fortunately, it’s a dry heat.

There is no sweat, yet.
Maybe later, I’ll be drenched.

For now the burning is enough.
A brief, five-alarm fire storm.

Where are those damn firemen
with their ladders and hose?

Before they come,
the inferno goes, quickly as it came.

I toss the covers, red lava flows,
and I am left without my heat, alone,

extinguished on the bed sheet
seared, cold as burnished bone.

Lisa Vihos

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Poem for January

Holy Mackerel

Who is this fish?
Where can I find him?
What may I confess? Can he
absolve me of all my guilts?
Can he ever forgive me?
Will he bless my inner child
and let me marry myself to myself;
perform the last rites upon my death?
Can I follow him home to the next
spawning ground?

Who is this holy, breathless one;
this one who thrives in water, not air?
Does he wear a bishop’s miter
or sit in silence somewhere?
Is he encrusted with the wealth
of the Church or does he roam the earth
in tatters, holding aloft his begging bowl?

If he comes toward me now, will I recognize
a fish out of water, out of earth, out of air?
When he courses down the aisles of my life
swinging a censer and spritzing me
with salty blessings, my job is not to ask
who is this holy, shining one
but simply, to accept
his pungent guidance.

Lisa Vihos