I have written poetry and short fiction all my life and published a lot of it. My day job is editor of a trade publication Illinois Racing News. I live on a small horse farm in northern Illinois with my husband and various animals. My latest book, "Ribcage," (from Glass Lyre Press) recently won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. I also am an associate editor of FutureCycle Press and Kentucky Review.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
On the first day of good ideas,
Let us magnify the instant:
The coffee without zest
Grind the soulful beans with a dash
Of vanilla and brew until it darkens
No frozen dinners or instant poetry
The rolled Irish oats with brown
Sugar and whole milk. Don’t
Marry in haste or quit your
Day job. No skimming Remembrance of Things Past.
Don’t hurry past the architecture
Of the noble city. Look hard.
ON THE FIFTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Patience is the attribute of cats
Or raptors. Of those who know
How to contain their hunger.
How to wait. Ah, learning patience
Is a skill taught in the monastery
Of sedition. Unnatural to the tribe
Of instant gratification. A child
Is the enemy of patience. Its cries designed
To impel attention. Examine patience
In the details of a Persian rug. Each knot
An exquisite emblem of its virtue.
To study patience is to embark
On a lifelong journey
That promises nothing but endurance.
ON THE TENTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
In hospice, you said all you expect
Is comfort. You have ceased the competition
For your life. Chemo. Rehab.
All the operations as if cutting your flesh
Could ensure something more than scars.
Comfort is the death of ambition,
My father believed
In the morality of a fight
With God or the Devil. The right
To exist in pain, to endure
The discomfort of a good conscience.
When he died, I could find no comfort
In thinking he was now at rest,
That restless, irritable man.
ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
To break the fast, that is the goodness
Of awakening. Hungry for light,
For the bare legs swinging from the dream,
For the aroma of the ground beans
Dark with promise. The gathered egg
That the hen secluded. The fresh bread,
Blackberry jam. Oh eat, it is joy, this
Recurrence. Filling ourselves each morning
With the taste of this. The yeast..
ON THE SIXTEENTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Unadopted in the cages of sadness,
Their dense fur absorbing light,
They are bypassed by families seeking
The cheerful and obedient. The black dog
Haunted Churchill into drink and despond.
It scourged the moors. The black cat, familiar
Of witches, hung and burned, its evil spirit
Crossing your path with green eyes of bad luck.
O visitors, attend to darkness. The woebegone.
The stereotype. That more than anyone
Needs a home...
©2016 Joan Colby