Poems by Palline Plum 2017

Palline Plum newPALLINE PLUM is a visual artist and recovering social worker, who has published poems in Tiferet, in regional journals, anthologies, also…in Poetry in Buses in Kalamazoo. Her notable poetry credit was winning a Grand Prize at the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco. (It was also a hoot!) Palline earned a BFA in Fine Art from University of Michigan, and an MFA in Sculpture from Queens College, CUNY.
Currently, she obsessively photographs flowers in all their stages from bloom to decay, and exhibits and sells the results in a variety of settings. https://www.facebook.com/PallinePlumPhotography/

Palline has also placed over 45 high school age foreign exchange students, who came from more than 20 countries to study in Indiana and Ohio. She considers this important work for the future of our world.

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Indiana Evening /Dessert Buffet

Driving home,
Indiana’s heavenly desserts
Are served across the road
On old and soft
Creamy silver platters
In the sky.

A variegated green table cloth,
Laid out below,
Is woven out of newly planted fields,
Corn, soybeans
And the occasional shed or tree

I turn east towards home
To see a mass of
Whipped-cream clouds
Piled high tonight.

Most are pure,
Whipped just right,
Soft, so high and full.
Glorious.

One mound seems mixed
With berry juice,
Pinked up
From the setting sun behind me.

Another has been whipped by winds
Too long ,
And well beyond perfection,
The texture granular, still sweet
But not yet butter.

Then I see competing mounds,
Egg white peaks
With sharper edges,
Less dense,
Floating islands
In a pewter sky.

Now those darkened silver platters
And fading berry juices
Have just dipped
Below my mirror.

There’s dishwater,
Dusk,
And rain ahead.

United Airlines Flight 3411, April 10th, 2017

I had never heard a man scream
Before.

The sound is so different,
From a child’s
Or a woman’s screams.

They stopped suddenly
Once his head
Hit the arm rest.

He was silent
As they dragged his body
From the plane.

A plane-full of passengers,
And a world full of people,
Babies too,
Will hear that scream over and over,

And for days those hoarse cries
Will echo
On Facebook,
The news,
Relentlessly repeated
In our dreams,

I waited all day to hear
How the man was.
There was outrage
And apologies ;
To others,
But no one spoke his name
Or asked of his condition.

Who have we become?

The Magic Pack of Lucky Strikes

My Mother’s Schiedmayer
Baby Grand Piano
Had a little shelf
Underneath,
By the back leg

Where an almost empty pack of
Lucky Strike cigarettes
Was hidden long before my
Baby-kindergarten days began.

My mother’s voice rose and filled the room,
Her hands on the keyboard,
Her feet within reach-
I messed with the pedals-
Interfering with her song.

I still hoped then
To find refuge
From a father’s hands
Under that echoing
Gold painted,
Wooden sounding board.

Somehow,
The pack stayed hidden
Along with other tiny treasures
Until both the singer
And her songs were
Gone

Still knowing,
Holding close
A small child’s
Secret,
Magic,
Lucky Strike
Revenge.



Signs and Clues

This week
I have been weak:

Ordinary things exhausted me,
And took me by surprise –
(My spirit was so willing!)

A meal with friends,
And I could barely speak.

When cleaning out the fridge
I had to stop
With just one shelf.

Thoughts slid,
And in my restless sleep,
I bungled simple sums.

One night,
The last few steps
To flip a light switch
In another room
Were more than I could
Manage.

Then, tears were near
When it was time
To bring the old dog in,
And get her in her crate
So she wouldn’t saturate
The floor
Beneath the printer’s table.

I am not surprised that
All this week the
Poems hid.

SPRING

The green is coming now-
Creeping
Through the browned forest floor
Behind our K-mart.

It hasn’t yet obscured those
Bits of color and bright white,
Spilled onto dead maple leaves
And broken twigs.

No, not flowers, but fast food bags
Adorned this ground
Through winter.

In a few days perhaps,
The green will have moved higher,
Quietly painting underbrush,
Then boldly leaping onto trees.

For now the green is stealthy.

Traces of Cat

The new cat
Plants herself
Trustingly
On my thigh,
For hours on end.

Until
The camera turns
Her way.

Then the cat’s eyes
Narrow,
And whiskers twitch.

The lens tries to catch her
Out of the corner of its eye,
But finds only
Traces of light.

She’s gone.

Today’s RAW Image Files

When I still had lovers,
My eyes would become drunken
With the gorgeous way their arms
Flowed into their hands.

I was fascinated, too
With the curves and crannies as
Upper arms shifted into
Ribs and shoulders.

Most of all, my breath would catch
At the mere sight of that hollow
Between pelvic bone and belly,
Covered by such tender skin.

Now my camera follows
Blossoms as they grow from stems;
Bud and open flower often
Side my side.

Again ,
My heart trembles
And my breath catches
As my lens finds that tender space
Between the two.

LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC 1969-72

There was a
Bathtub in the kitchen.
Useful for peeing
Safely at night.

I have never been a painter…
But one week each month,
Those first two years,
I released
Deep red ,
Lovely, scarlet ribbons
Onto white porcelain,
And felt like one.

The third year
There was no red,
Only yellow
And the belly
Growing larger
With my son.

 

SUNRISES

Are to be avoided,
Unless you are on an airplane
Flying east,
Or
Find yourself young, and
Near the Arctic Circle
On a late summer night
When you haven’t really
Gone to bed,
Yet.