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Poetry Offerings from Janet I. Buck

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Clean Silver  .Brownie Points.  .Aching Vacancy

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to order Janet's newest book

a sampler

Moongate's collection:

Wilting Fuchsias

A Silent Sonnet  Black-belt Buddhas  ~  Dollar Signs That Steal Light

Mosaic Mud  ~  Move'sMud  ~  The Oxygen Tank

Links to other web pages:

The Studious Suicid   /   Janet's page

Moongate Internationale


Clean Silver

   Cancer's war you fought and lost.
   Father threw away your clothes.
   They must have bled on everything.
   Moth balls brought to life 
   by wings of tattered memory.
   When I corner him, go digging 
   for your buried soul, he acts
   like lampshades tilted in relentless wind.
   Perky bulb just blinks, goes black.
   A turtle's neck retreating into hollow shell.

   I fabricate identity and make you up
   like bed-time stories for my dolls.
   In my head, I study graves.
   Think of yours as vacant lots
   with pretty houses on their bibs.
   Cabin pressure choking why's?
   Calisthenics of a dream.
   You're so untarnished in my mind.
   No leading ladies of regret.
   Bridge across all troubled streams.

   If you were here to brush my hair,
   its tangles wouldn't matter so.
   I wouldn't have to spell-check selfish,
   erasing smears of wishing heather
   marching on contingency.
   Silver, clean, out-shining moons.
   Descant of mortality.  Perfect archipelago.
   Doting trills of motherhood
   puffing tires of confidence.

   All my questions wait for letters
   hands removed will never send.
   Creme puff clouds at heaven's gate
   in memos of a foreign tongue.
   My wedding day, an empty church
   with angry pews, without your satin 
   blue grass arms around my neck, 
   playing with my bridal veil.

    - Janet I. Buck

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Brownie Points

Pity's rice was over-cooked
and sticking to our mental pan.
Pigeons caught in jaws of eagles
when it came to saving dreams.
Cancer ate your second leg.
Now your kidneys are complaining.
Transplants can be done, of course,
but it will take the match of love.

This crisis dinghy seems to float
among the rapids that we share.
Sick-to-death of, well, transcending
vapors in the cave of lame.
Down depression's laundry chute.
Hitting bottom dark and hard.
I was born with birdseed bones
and weak excuses for a hip.
Yours were stolen like a purse
in dark and cruel parking lots.

Depression is a paper-shredder
we could often do without.
What we share involves denying
creaking motion's slow retreat.
"Pretty" would demand revision.
Doctors had their way with us.
We have scars like Brownie points
that crystalize mortality.
Answers in our aching hearts,
their pages punched with incomplete.

- Janet I. Buck

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Aching Vacancy

I was only three years old
when cancer's ugly dinosaur
ate contents of my father's joy,
left his mattress and his heart 
a lop-sided saddle with bruises
and cracks, a fact of life
to ride regardless of the heat.
With empty scrapbooks in my pen,
I do not grieve your death
in normal, comprehensive ways.

Its aching vacancy exists.
I cannot argue its point,
but have no real grist for poetry,
excepting sand of a sealed urn.
Photos steeped in sepia
are grass-clippings
in a smelly can my fingers
hate to rifle through.

I've thought of you on nights of proms:
you'd buff my shoes,
paint my toenails in the dark, 
teach me how to kiss a man,
thread a needle, shape a pie.
I've thought of you on wedding days:
you'd have a hair brush in your hand,
comb the knots of nervous tangles
settled near moist baby's breath.

Leper spots of sadness sit
with venom in their secret moles.
My love for you a string-less harp
on stages of unopened plays.
The copyright of your morning smile
belongs to God or rings 
around agnostic moons.
I wish I knew your apron bows.
Had your scent in borrowed sweaters
piled on and buttoned up
when times were ice and I was cold.

- Janet I. Buck

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