"When we looked around, we noticed that the only ones still laughing were the old radicals, the poets, the mothers who still believed in the world as we could dream it, shooting stars of imagination and ambition--sparks of creativity, of joy."
Denise Breeden-Ost wrote her first poem—a riddle about a Crock-Pot—while walking home from kindergarten. A few decades later, her first novel, Making It All Right, can be found at Clockflower Press. Denise lives on a ridgetop near Bloomington, Indiana with a small family, a large garden, and innumerable trees.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Denise, what poems have you brought for us today?
One hand clutches hope hard, knuckles fisted white.
One hand aches to open, spring wide, join the applause.
One hand needs to know what it will meet.
Needs to know its gesture matters. Needs to know it matters.
So much absence and noise. So much goes unheard.
One hand wonders what it might lose.
Behind the biting nails, safe in the palm's dark warmth,
One hand's courage gathers drop by drop.
Herman B. Wells Library, Indiana University
Looming stone blocks sky, bulks blank
above an oppressed concession of window.
Inside, I was an outsider, rattled
ball bearing in a blind cube maze.
I fled that dread weight clutching treasure
like a tomb robber.
Sunrise on the east face. Every brick
of limestone its own ancient color.
Percussion of shadows, fortress jazz.
Rhythm I can't play, wall I wouldn't build.
Beauty I can see, from this distance
with the sky behind me
and no want of knowledge.
Orange snakes thick onto white,
black edges in sideways.
Painting is squeeze and smear,
wash, daub, feather:
Verbs, not nouns.
A noun means it's over.
The end: A painting.
Others look, feel, wonder,
discuss, judge, buy.
The painter tries to look artistic.
mashes a thumb into the tube of red,
slops turquoise, chops purple,
squeegees kelly green.
Three Haiku for Gabe
light looks different
and worms, and white butterflies
after your poems
your memorial service:
round church window
full of ladybugs
still, every spring
thunderstorm skies light the leaves
just like you said
Supply List for the Writer Mother
One locking door.
It's true, you have to choose.
But not once and for all. No.
You have to choose now,
and Tuesday morning, and next year.
Nobody can do this for you.
Several white handkerchiefs,
for days of surrender.
to let your heart bleed through,
your two loves color each other.
Faith that this matters.
You've been listening to the poetry of Denise Breeden-Ost on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.