Saturday, February 1, 2014

Today, Unboxed

Today, Unboxed

Today I'll put you
in the glove box
and only think about driving.
You will not be the road, the departure point,
the destination, but a secret re-folded
after one look, stowed away,
a map where only need
will find you.

When I get back
I'll open the package of daylilies,
ease you out with the roots.
As I pull the peat-drenched soil
from the bag, fill the black plastic pots
around the breakables, you will be only
the smell of moist earth and life
let out of the box, tamped down.

But when I sit sleepless,
watching the fire where you
are the air between the wood
that makes it burn, or hunch night-baffled
on the back porch, trying to reach
through the feeding clouds
stars I once saw
so clearly

you will be in the next chair.
You, slippery as summer on steel,
with your mudslide words,
your river touch,
unconfined and unmanageable;
it's all yours after all
to box or unbox, to love
or lay down.

 ~January 2014

posted for     dVerse Poets
Poetic: Repeat Performance First Time Through
Karin Gustafson (ManicdDaily)has come up with a Ground Hog's Day prompt for us: to write about.." Repetition–in whatever form form form that may arise.  (And hopefully, there will also be some magic.)"

Top Image:Beatus Mappa Mundi, 1050.  from the Saint-Sever Beatus
Public Domain via
Footer: Cube On Lawn Chair, by Gerhardt Richter via
Image may be protected by copyright.No infringement is intended. Posted under fair use guidelines.


  1. hey you....good to see you....smiles...
    what an intriguing the opening stanza...a quick peak and put away til needed, not a destination or departure...the air that causes the wood to burn...the care of easing out the flowers...each is like an angle, together yet appreciated seperate...and then the close ends in our choice of what we are, will be, or do...

  2. "night-baffled". That's so you and says so much so perfectly. They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; we may decide to do this or that with certain emotions, or the thoughts and feelings about a person in our lives, but those thoughts and feelings very often do just exactly as they please, anyway, and despite us. Or even, TO spite us, which is really "in spite of ourselves".

    I love the Traffic-y label.

  3. So, I think you've got the magic part down! And the repetetive nature of this experience is also real enough.

    I keep thinking of the word ploughshares, or plowshares--at the end of the poem with the laying down, although you don't use that word and I'm not even sure that you are thinking of it, but it echoes in my head as this relationship with the you as being part of what cuts through so much of how the speaker is seeing the world (at least in this poem - and that's all I'm talking of.)

    There is a wonderful word play in the choice of images -- glove box - well, it can't help but bring up hands and coverings - the map that is itself rather lost - daylillies -- such an evocative plant to begin with - in terms of rebirth etc - and the tamped down life - part of what the whole poem is about -- getting out of that box -- the night-baffled is beautiful--but I think of it as muffled --that physical sense of the word more than bemused really - though both senses are there - and the last stanza is beautiful--there's a Bly-like quality there in that the images work but not because of necessarily logical connections. Anyway - wonderful - thanks much for participating and with the magic you bring. k. (Mine if I can get time to finish it very plebian. Agh.)

    1. Thanks k. What a potpourri of images you've uncovered--ploughshares were not in my thoughts(just an old Dylan tune called Lay Down Your Weary Tune, Lay Down--Dylan is impossible to find on you tube, but I put up the Byrds' version on the sidebar) but they(plowshares) would work here as that sense of something sharp and deadly being transmuted to something that can give peace, or at least food. Thanks for the challenge, and as always for reading so attentively. Good luck with yours--I'm sure it will be a very plebian *draft,* but somehow I bet it will have plenty of magic as well. ;_)

    2. Yes- re ploughshares--that's the sense I got but did not convey very eloquently -- I do not remember that Dylan song--he probably is very protective of rights re youtube--but I thought of the lay lady lay version of the word but my mind resonated more with the sharp and finally peaceful. k.

  4. I really enjoyed the progression in this, Joy... such beautiful writing. Congratulations on the new book!

  5. I specially like secret refolded and slippery as summer on steel (my tongue twisted, smiles) ~ Fine work Joy ~

    And congrats on the published book as well ~

  6. Such a fine interior to the paramour road-song, something we keep and cherish like old LP or flowers pressed in a book long ago -- a song that we have made our own though of course we belong to it the way human nature belongs to nature. (Stanza 4, which makes me grudgingly agree with Carl J. that out of the first three must come this fourth -- an infinitely bittersweet acceptance.) It's so soft it could be a lullabye for child (or heart) lost long ago.

    1. So it could--perhaps it is, as loss like love seems infinitely fungible. And yes, Carl may not too wrong when he throws it all back in our psyche's laps Thanks for the fine, on-key reading, B.

  7. What a beautifully crafted poem, magical writing.

  8. ah... you've gotten out of your box too... cool write, your work always has so much to think about... one needs to slowly digest.

  9. Yes, you've uncovered the magic, for sure, as to be expected. Each stanza could be a stand-alone, but the whole comes together as a complex poetic conceit. Much luck with your new book, Joy Ann.

  10. this reads like a sublime meditation-- slow deliberate motion writ with love and mature wonder.
    when I reached the last stanza, the first time through and the third, I felt some bit of truth was found, one that was not hammered out, but rather come upon naturally and essentially. as always, your flow is smooth and engaging. wonderful, wonderful poetry. yes--magic.

    1. Thank you so much, Jane. Your words mean a lot to me.

  11. Your poetry is unlike any other, something for we novices to strive for..seems as if on a fence looking at both sides of things; my faves are many but especially " the fire where you are the air between the the wood" and "your river touch"

  12. I liked this a lot... some intriguing metaphors to start with... the air between the wood... brilliant. But most of all it is its wholeness. The beautiful almost magical progression creating such comforting feeling....

  13. I can think of a number of situations where your words would me most appropriate. Sometimes we need to put the other away, only to appreciate them more later.

  14. gorgeous, somehow you manage to find the perfect word images and the exact right speed to say what you have to say... reminiscent of the way a day moves slowly through its moments when we focus on what's right in front of us

  15. I, too, was so struck by "night-baffled, trying to reach....... the stars I once saw so clearly". A brilliant write, Joy. I absolutely love it. The "river touch".....perfection!

  16. It's all yours after all, to love or lay down. Wisdom that came with your close observation. You bring us along with you- thanks.

  17. I too was taken by the "hunch night-baffled on the back porch" line. I am in awe of how you arrive at such perfected illustrations of some of our most mundane thoughts and actions...sigh. Yes, something for us novices to learn from.

  18. Magic, indeed. I drove solo 7 hours each way this weekend to visit a dying aunt, abed in hospice, meanwhile missing K's prompt but thinking of it while driving, and now catching up on reading, pensive, I come upon this pen, the third line on driving, and you take me back into the sense of stilled movement behind the glass window frame - more in place up front, but moving on either side. And that's the sense of magic in your pen: movement, while still. And today I hit 49 on my own dial, another year in the box. Magic, indeed... ~

  19. Joy Ann, as always with your writing, I am mesmerized. I felt the second and third stanza in my heart. Beautiful.


  20. You call that repetitive?
    Maybe to the Poets out there.....

  21. This is so deep than the words. So intense - I am reading your poetry for the first time and I find this so powerful.

  22. I believe that by a certain stage of life, there is always one well worn roadmap folded away in a safe, yet accessible place. But you point out rightly that the destination (or is it really a starting point) can be signified everywhere--in the high and low, the stars and the glowing fire. This resonated so well with me. Affine poem in every respect. And congratulations on the new publication. I'll be sure to find it.
    Steve K.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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