Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Weekend Shows (Day 347)

cold toes in wool socks feet
sweating inside slippers that 
clearly aren’t doing their job   
comforting weight of the cat 
spread across my lap from 
knee to thigh folded and 
draped from side to side like 
a sun-warmed blanket 
knitting needles making a trim 
clicking sound when the tips 
graze and nubbly yarn turning
into fabric as it slips through 
my fingers   spicy floral tea 
growing lukewarm in a pottery 
mug painted by a mystery artist 
in an intricate pattern of blue 
flowers and green leaves that 
remind me the world will not
always remain frigid and gray
conversation on the radio in calm 
public-broadcasting voices so 
familiar they are almost like friends
—the ones I saw every day when 
I lived and worked in a city I loved—
though since That Man took office 
I’ve had to bar even NPR from 
my house during the work-week
because they never stop talking 
about him for an instant from 
Monday to Friday dwelling on 
the most bitter upsetting news
and in that way they aren’t really 
like my old friends at all

(c) 2018, by Hannah Six

Image: From Radio World magazine, 1923
via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A story worth telling (Day 346)

This woman is reading 
to her children,
after working a 10-hour day.
This woman is a warrior.
She is on a mission of
wisdom, knowing deep in her 
battered and dazzling soul,
that there’s no better way 
to teach them 
about the world, about
how to stand up and
how speak out, 
how to engage 
how to help and
how to fight for 
what they know 
is right, and 
how to know 
what is right. 
“Imagine,” she says to them, 
without saying the words.
“Imagine how all of our 
voices coming together 
could lift us up, and 
break us out. Now 
that will be a story
worth telling.”

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: “In the end...” by Doug Youvan

Friday, December 29, 2017

This is how history works (Day 345)

This is how history works.
Disgusting, irresponsible 
requests that start to sound 
strange to your ear, 
after the fourth
or fourteenth 
or forty-thousandth time
you hear them repeated.
Men and women, reading
aloud from storybooks,
not reading what needs
to be read, deciding 
things best left undecided 
by anyone but God 
(or whatever you prefer 
to call the great Mystery),
such as, “When does life start?”
or “What is the meaning of art?”
There are no set boundaries,
no term limits on genius,
where literature,
or music, or architecture 
are concerned.
Imagine, then, the absurdity
of government, among a people
unwilling to lift up 
their voices to demand justice 
for their neighbors, 
their friends, 
their fellow citizens.
Look: They cannot figure out
how to feel about a painting 
of a Campbell’s Soup can,
or Crayola’s new crayon colors, 
or whether Disco should have died.
That is how history works:
It is a beautiful and flawed
tale, and we must find a way 
to decide.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), by Andy Warhol
via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hygge Tanka (Day 344)

On windows, frost blooms
Steam unravels from damp wool
Fire sighs and settles

Melting daylight drips like gold
Silent as cats, drafts slink in

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Clean and muddy fingers (Day 343)

The sky fell upon them, 
sodden underbelly 
a vast, gray filet,
the sea darkening to slate,
churning waters flecked
with saline spittle.

She was in the garden,
kneeling on the grass
with her shears, gathering summer 
into a broad, petal-shaped basket,
which, in colder months,
would serve to carry kindling.

In bloom now: hydrangeas,
lush scoops of periwinkle 
and, her favorite, pink 
the exact shade 
of strawberry ice cream,
bushes sagging, heavy heads 
nodding under their burden.

He stepped through the gate
just as the clouds let go, 
releasing a torrential
exhalation of wind and water,
drenching the turbid world 
in an instant.

Three steps—he was at her side, 
reaching simultaneously for her 
and for the basket’s grip.
Their wet hands met, clean 
and muddy fingers intertwined,

As she rose, squinting at him 
through sheets of rain, smiling,
iron-gray licks of hair 
glued to her cheeks, 
each raindrop seemed to pause, 
silent, suspended.

And he realized that, to him, 
she had never looked more vibrant, 
more beautiful. Joy curled 
and swelled in his veins.
Then, with a whoop of exhilaration,
she took off running, 
toward the house.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Making art (Day 342)

Making lingering art
a public dream 
of dark bars and 
sleeping ghosts and 
mystical gifts. 
The fine raw 
humming energy 
arising from 
the work itself 
the fatal selfishness 
of creating  
of giving  
and the unexpectedly 
selfless grace 
of taking 
time and energy 
to receive 
the finished work. 
Without the one
the other would fail.
Without the other
the one would 
never have been.  

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Pot Pourri, 1897 (oil on canvas) 
by Herbert James Draper; private collection
via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, December 25, 2017

No Reason (Day 341)

When she feels unnecessary,
no reason for the oatmeal 
steaming in her bowl at breakfast, 
each plump blueberry, reclining 
in the gore of its own purple juices 
reminding her of the uselessness 
she senses under the thick cover 
of her life, the way her cat senses 
her feet beneath the quilts when
she climbs into bed, pouncing 
exactly where her unmoving toes 
are hidden, his sharp claws 
drawing tiny specks of blood that 
dry and darken on her pale skin. 
She knows it’s silly, allowing the cat 
to continue his nightly, slightly 
sadistic ritual, but when bedtime 
arrives, she does not chide him, 
because the game brings him joy, 
and this she feels, without actually 
thinking the words, makes her 
necessary, gives her reason enough 
to set her alarm for the next morning.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Pixabay

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Silent Night (Day 340)

the pavement 
    in the crackling dark,
a kaleidoscope 
             of colored lights
fracturing the silent night,
all is calm, 
           and all is bright,
and peace 
is rising with 
the moon.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lean over me, December (Day 339)

Oh, lean over me, December.
Please don’t suggest that
I remember some red Friday
night, deceiving undeserving
friends and feeling my hands 
burn, while he replaced 
the warm with cold, 
the gold with brass. 
Lean over me, December,
let me slide right past you, 
straight to January. Nothing lasts 
forever if, unwilling to regret or 
let lay things best left unsaid—
one speaks those words 
I never spoke, and which 
I’d just as soon forget.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Anestiev

Friday, December 22, 2017

Sugar Plum (Day 338)

Swirling leaves 
of doubt 
arise on swooping 
winds, smudging 
the watery view,
through tear-stained 
Pale as an oyster, 
once forgotten, 
reclaims her spotlight’s 
warmth, her rightful 
mark on that
austere stage  
dusted with rosin, 
scuffed and scarred by 
the fluttering wings 
of a thousand 
pink satin butterflies.

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Tomas Castelazo

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Is Beauty (Day 337)

Stars on sapphire sky, 
bouyant origami boats,
folded from paper money
—is beauty desire?

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Blue Tide, Bruce Anderson 
(University of Stellenbosch)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A cloud, a wave (Day 336)

A cloud   a wave
           an inhalation   supported 
by turbulent uprisings 
drawing the horizon 
in its grand designs   
   lending strength   fury 
feeding fury
on the breathless   edge

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Peter Gill/UK

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How I Am (Day 335)

Among the only sounds in this cool, wide lobby: 
elevators humming a hydraulic lullabye, 
doors shushing the few people waiting to emerge, 
to enter, to go up, to go home.

Silk forsythia, white noise, acoustic music—barely
discernable, gently distracting, insulating, building 
walls where there are only doors, windows where 
there are only empty spaces between museum prints 
and mirrors.

People don’t look at each other, here. 
We discreetly avert our eyes or, when pressed, 
serve up wan, unfocused smiles to those unfamiliar 
with our unwritten rules of non-engagement.

Below a bright EXIT sign, a door swings open.
A dark-haired, middle-aged man scans the room, 
sees me, smiles. 

We climb two flights of stairs (he likes to stretch 
his legs now and then, and knows I don’t mind), 
arriving in a hallway notable only for its red carpeting 
patterned with gold and black.

In his office, we sit, make settling noises, appreciate 
the crisp fall day. Then: “How’ve you been?” he asks,
eyes glinting with good humor and his greatest gift—
his superpower—an honest desire to know, 
to listen, 
to me telling him 
how I am.

The world is full of brilliant people who choose to spend their lives 
helping others. I am so grateful for them.

(c) by Hannah Six

Image: Pixabay

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stalk (Day 334)

here  so delicately 
breaking that bright green
tendril  the interloper  
stalks swagging thick  
swarming over branches left 
sweating in water-air  dribbling 
into depths of dromedary 
bliss  learn deeply 
to kiss this odd laughing 
fountain  look back like catfish 
after dark  learning that neither 
crickets nor fireflies glow 
here  so delicately 

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: GSmith via Wikimedia Commons