I pull the baby–poem by Miriam Sagan

I pull the baby
in a blue plastic car
along the empty dirt road
beneath the inverted
basin of a sky

two things are blue—
one small
one enormous

the baby has a fate
I can’t read
she likes to open
a board book
put it in her mouth

the world has
gone to hell
and left us here
like shells
tossed up by a storm
to litter the tide’s wrack line

a pair of unmatched
angel wings

one big
one little

Upcoming at Vivo Gallery–Poem by Miriam Sagan & Art by Ann Lasser

Brewed Sestina

Hot water
will brew memory
as from a teabag
out of the past
the door, half-open, turquoise color
this feeling needs a word.

I wanted to say the right word
to bring to the surface water
no longer occult, but gushing, colors
like memory
of the future as much as the past
essence of a teabag.

The origin of tea
Bodhidharma sat in silence, not a word
about sleep, or the past
about wind, or rain watering
of the sky’s blue coloring.

Trying to stay as awake as a wheel of color
needing caffeine, inventing tea
tearing off his eyelids, sleep’s memory
tossing them with a word
so they sprouted, watered
by tears of the past.

This is the plant’s origin, in the past
beneath Asia’s dome of brilliant color.
Heavens water
the earth, brew hot tea
a calligraphic line, a word
mantra, gatha, memory.

Peace should be more than a memory.
What we did in the past
we can forgive, release the word.
Polish our kindness like mineral colors.
Drink your tea
more delicious than water.

Water holds its own memories.
Tea transcends future and past.
What is this color—the clearest word.

Cosmos by Miriam Sagan

For those of you who ask…

“Am I related to this guy
Carl Sagan, and who is he?”
My daughter wants to know.

Yes, I say, a famous—very
famous astronomer, and I think
he is your second cousin, twice removed

because he was my father’s
second cousin (my grandfather
was his great uncle)

or so we’d been told. Like many things
he was forbidden to us.
My father the atheist

kept a kind of kosher—
Carl Jung, no
Karl Marx, yes

Freud, yes
Lenin, maybe
at least he once told me

“the end justifies the means”
but I was a child, and helpless,
and I knew he was lying.

And for some reason
Carl Sagan, no
although his mother

had been an union organizer
and my grandfather
a factory owner

but somehow
we weren’t
rooting for her.

When my brother was in grade school
he wrote our Carl, asking
“send me pictures of Venus”

for a school report
and miraculously
a large manila envelope

full of brilliantly colored, high resolution

On his deathbed, Carl
told my real first cousin
“You aren’t really Sagans”

something about Ellis Island
and a brother-law’s last name
“The Sagans are the smart ones.”

Who could quarrel
with that assessment?
The famous astronomer

handsome and opinionated
like my father
made the last name

that isn’t really ours
so well-known
that at the cash register

people still ask me
and say
“billions and billions”

and I always laugh
and say “yes”
and “stars.”

Interview with Simon Perchik

Library Journal called him the most widely published unknown poet. However, I’ve followed Simon Perchik’s poetry for decades. His newest book, THE ROSENBLUM POEMS (Cholla Needles), is 140 poems written in triplets.

This coffee is still learning, spills
sweetens night after night
the way fireflies flavor their legs

then wait for the rippling hum

that’s not a bat

And, one of my favorites:

You keep the limp, stoop
the way this cane
lets you pretend its wood

can heal

At almost a century old, Perchik’s work certainly deals with aging, but most deeply with perception. Those triplets give me, as a reader, a sense of motion, uncertainty, even possibility.

Miriam’s Well is very happy to have an interview from the poet that answers the blogs usual three questions:

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

1. Enjambment is an important concern for me.The line should have a feel so that it’s not just chopped-up prose with wide margins. Not only the reader’s breath must be considered but surprise and the tension so necessary to the text.
2. If there is a relationship I’m not aware of it. I do know that in the process of writing I often find myself agitated and often find my heart beating faster and louder. I just consider that a cost of doing business.
3. I’ve never considered myself a poet; just someone who writes poetry. In fact, except for a few close friends I never told people I wrote poetry. I think the title “poet” is something others call you, not something you call yourself by.

Take A Note: Poem by Miriam Sagan

This started out as prose–one of my off the cuff blog posts that I enjoy if I can get to the heart of something. However, it wasn’t working and just felt too clunky. Revised into a poem–and sharing it here. I’ll never know exactly why certain things work better in poetry or in prose–a matter of rhythm maybe–but I enjoy the process.

Take A Note

I’m asleep,
which is fine by me.
However, I’m concerned
about whether or not
you are actually dead.
I try and figure it out.
You must be dead,
because I saw your corpse.
Because the coroner
released your body for cremation.
But I’m unsure,
because, well,
it seems we’ve had
coffee together
several times
since you died.
In cafes.
It hasn’t been
because you persist
in telling me
that even though you are alive
you don’t love me any more
and are breaking up with me.

The main reason
I’m upset by this is that—
my story has changed.
It’s no longer the story
I’m committed to,
that you loved me
and died.

When I wake up
my second husband
offers me hot cereal,
and a bunch of copy editing notes.
My grand daughter,
actually she is yours too
but you’ll never know it,
sleeps on my knee
under a red and blue quilt.
She’s picked the batten
out of worn spot.
I like that in a baby.

Please don’t tell me
how Buddhism and physics
agree—there is no “you.”
Say what you will,
but I’m under the quilt too,
wondering if it
will snow again.