Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bette

[for Bette Davis who cared about what she was doing
past all comprehension, a great actress because
she wanted it that way]

maybe she was like some improbable flower
exotic beyond the neighborhood
transplanted by the vagary of a wind

to a vegetable patch
Im an orchid she insists
don't turn me into mashed potatoes

chicken feed

and there she is up on the big screen
bigger somehow than the screen
than any role she ever played

the sand in the oyster

and the pearl at the same time
you thought you knew her
but later

who was ever like her before
her eyes like immense beacons
or like a doll's eyes watching

a doll's eyes that can never close
awake or asleep
a fixed something more than a little spooking

you gauging something
but you don't know what
like she sees ghosts over your shoulder

and is communing with them 
so that you are uncomfortable

in your theater seat
despite the plush velvet
even at home

in the safety of your apartment
living room with your own sofa cushions
you wonder what it is that 

incandescence
was she from Mars
another era, radioactive?

was she made of snow
and then the snow caught on fire
but its still permafrost

what is this element anyway

one we never learned in school
Bette with an e
so often imitated

what were they imitating then
they couldn't know
we didn't know you really

a few mannerisms
the makeup caking in the end
emphatically deep wrinkles

you fought on
not to be the same
apple in the bunch

of apples
they thought you were rotten
you just didn't want to be

small potatoes
but that isn't it either, is it

but the soul
staring us out of countenance
out of ourselves

who could know

a kind of largesse masquerading as temper
temperment
a voice like an ever crisp autumn near rasping

kind of raspberry coloured
eyes of ocean deep blue
wasted on black and white film

the voice again

etching itself into the mind
like the phonograph record
you think its scratched

something in you is irritated past endurance
change the record somebody
no wait, don't you say from your armchairs

nobody else can sound that way
like topaz speaking

deeply engraved.
her own medal
in the end

mary angela douglas 23 march 2017

Candyopia

(for of course, Roald Dahl, Hershey's Chocolates, Brachs and Cadbury's...and for the hard candies with the little roses on them,
rhe ribbon candies in the yellow glass jar.)

the praline creamery in the coconut toasted snow
with the cherry and custard layers on the horizon so aglow
is how they remembered the candiest dandyest

days out of their entire milk drenched childhoods
the butterscotch in the hidden pockets
found in emergencies

the nougat suprised by the fruit flavors
and the chewing gum that just was juicier
by the minute and the lemon drop jar

with plenty in it, or the candycorn cornucopia

spare for the in betweens or the caramel flares
the raspberry flings on a dare
packed into a school plaid satchel

with the buttercream chocolate

you just forgot and that hit the spot
on the day of the chemistry pop quiz.
gee whiz you think in candy

said the mind reader at the fair.
oh yes I do. its a candyworld everywhere
or could be even for you fresh toffee toffe

to go with coffee,

the United Nations of Candy
as far as I'm concerned

and orange sliced jellies and gumdrops gumdrops
spiced and sprinkled with crystalized sugar
or pound cake, with lemon curd.

mary angela douglas 23 march 2017

Rose Words In Carmine, The Delicate Tea Rose Shades...

a language with 500 words for pink
does the little girl think
especially on her birthday

or in her Easter dress
I confess it would be nice
in the parlance of gumdrops spiced

to be the first one
to sing and say
the tints of all roses

on any given day
and the roses would be glad
and fling their petals

in an uncommon way
across her path in the dubious wood
for having this once

been understood.

mary angela douglas 23 march 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's Mango Gold In The Supermarket Of Dreams

it's mango gold in the supermarket of dreams
that keeps recurring with a juke song sheen
or it's strawberry kiwi tarts for the dollhouse queen

or the fizz of the raspberry pop on the run
you liked a lot when you were small
it's the wall of clementines, the orange rind candies,

marzipan and caramel flan

or gold pieces torn from the sun
enwrapping chocolates, every one
come see that it's the mango of your

dreams and the pure sure apricot nectar prize
or fill your baskests with the
bakery surprise the cake of

all cakes dressed up in whipped cream
with the lemon rosettes the dulce con leche scene
and oh you bet the breakfast hash

supreme in supersized cans
the vintage hams and the onions, peppers strung
and the whole thing in coloured lights

when the sun comes down on the bodega
and the angels hum by the ounces
it's saturday night with cerise flounces

it's mango gold in the supermarket of dreams

mary angela douglas 22 march 2017

Where We Live Now

in our old attic
Christmas bulbed or
stacked up with old

seed catalogues from
riotous Springs amid
the tinseled strings of

a universe of lost and found

in the backyards on our own
between birthdays of the pastel or

in between star and star
of the far sighted astronomers
at Court

in hiding from the Queen
in the pink stuccoed mansions
by the palms of the Unseen

of our favorite colouring books
or paper dolled,
wherever the children decide.

stepping on bride trains rhinestone gauzed
or in the board game closet
spooning the jam of persimmon or fig

passed by for the flower girl gig
the stigmata but not the need to live for

the verses of an early Spring,
gold spelling bees, the cloud regattas
the riddles on the wing of

our distracted angels

in the sod block under the wild rose sky
of the prairies floating by,
in lilac illusions gingered conclusions

in fairytale feasts and the table ware ruby set
like a sunset kingdom should be

on our knees
in the least sigh or silver whim of God
toward the sparkle of The End

mary angela douglas 22 march 2017

Could Forever Have Been

the flower face the face of snow
melts into the afterglow of Light
lit long ago

thus is the long ago of words
still seen a glimmering a
player piano roll of ghosts

still singing fata morganas
of the Christmas bells still ringing
past long julys and fortifications

past crumpled marigold reasons why and the sand pails.
the flower face the face of snow
misplaced in the land of the neon velvets

of the foundering city at night, displaced

while the babies looked on
whole kingdoms sobbing fractions
and birds and flowers doomed to repeat

and fated to flower again my sweet
on the nether side of discarded reasons why
in magnified rainbows in petaling skies

magnificats fantastically altered
fantastically altered kaleidoscope wise
as any language past melting

could be 
could have forever been.

mary angela douglas 22 march 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Still Dreaming It All Up

how grown up we felt at our small desks
reading The Weekly Reader hot off the press
take one and pass it back

(with color illustrations, graphs)

the childsize news in brief;
the smell of newsprint like a kind of faith.
even if we weren't the hall monitors

the sugar plums in the play
we still had our allowance
for the book fairs in late may

like a renaissance on parade

so they seem to me, looking back
a lavish pagentry
or later ordering from the summer magazines

four paperbacks for a dollar choose carefully
like holiday candy sight unseen
but with thrilling pint sized blurbs

will you have orange, or raspberry creams?

imagine this adventure under leafy trees...
the high seas, the treasure kidnapped
Jane Eyre, when the lightning struck the oak

or rainsoaked on the road to who knows what...

while sipping lemonade or wearing your plastic shades
with rhinestones purchased at the five and dime.
could later riches ever measure up in Time

I would have thought had I been cognizant
in percale at the jr. high graduation
gardenias in my hair.

in a dress of cutwork percale
still dreaming it all up.

mary angela douglas 21 march 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fata Morgana Of The Half Day At Work

like the trains that never arrive
in the middle of the day
so that you walked home

dismissed a half day from work
a long long way.
turning a page

in your armchair
and waking up later
one hundred years behind

to the middle distance
with your name on it
and the tartan thermos

with the glass lining

these clouds float through your mind
you can't dismiss
erase so hard as you may

leaving holes in the paper
where the stars shine through
the multiplex carbon copies'

bonbon colors: pink mint yellow blue,
old menus you can't use anyway
dance programs mimeographed

waiting for the ghost train

to the ghost job
no longer open for you.
with a violet crayon, your best one

on a large sheet of paper
torn in half
you will draw a place to live in

a magic dog
a fridge full of chocolate
and someone's round of cheese

all you want is a place to sneeze in
far from public view
it's up to you they cry on tv

but its up to God
you say and close your eyes
and wake up on the other side

of dream
where the pink clouds
line themselves up in rows

in a shot silk sky

prepared to drift endlessly away

mary angela douglas 20 march 2017

For Robert Osborne, Monarch of Movies

for Robert Osborne, In Memorium d. march 6, 2017

dreaming my dream as if it were an old movie
in sepia tones or the interiors with the luxuriant
contrasts

in a vast house of lamps with little prisms
ornate mirrors, and corridors of snow
or sunlit orchid paths or a lone hill

where the riders ride away.
the riders ride away.
it is sunset in techicolour

oh stay cry the summers from the page
turned into films that we watch over and over
but there is no delay

the old clocks tick and the cherry branches
and the axe is at hand,
the orchard stilled.

gone is the familiar presence
and the rider on the hill.

mary angela douglas 20 march 2017

Queens Of The May

the tinfoil treasures of the candy wrapper eras...
skimming the surface of the summers
we read on

in paperback palaces of our own devising
old costume jewelry pirating away
or home with t.v. gingerale 

cherry cough dropping and lollipoping the precious 
respites from school, and dubious carnivals
and the P.T.A.

how can we regret the time we

dreamed away all coconut cake and cherried
we made merry
when riches were any home spent day

the backyard leaves the meteors fluttering

down, the five and dime town, the breath of iris and
the moon for free and Grandmother's pearls
the Christmas necklaces of the stars

and the attic decorations displayed
how everygreen and always
peppermint striped and threaded with fairy slipper

bells ah fabric of the early spring skies all
pale blue moire
the color we wanted to dance in

with a thousand petticoat clouds o
queens of the May.

mary angela douglas 20 march 2017

Some Things I Wanted To Ask Him (Meaning, God)

how did it come to You to make glow in the dark stars
or pick the fantastic wall paper, ceiling too for earth
so marbelizing blue and green

so that little children everywhere
were happy under the tree roofs branching
and wrote in the dust your diamond name

with sticks and outlined their playhouse outside
with the innate moonlight of your milky quartz
oh blue jay feather falling farther from me

than childhood I loved you as Rilke
his peacock feather.
and do You send your sunset messages to everyone

and if you do
why does it feel do I feel oh every time
and for the longest time

with the rose the violet the tangerine

unfolding in late afternoon's skies
that only this letter
is meant for me?

mary angela douglas 20 march 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gingham

can anyone surpass the glory of sandwiches
wrapped in wax paper
the pink lemonade cake on the

silver cakestand?
and you're dressed in a gingham, plaid dress well sashed
rushing in after school to the birthday

of all pinkitude courtesy of Grandmother.
here we would repose 
forever in the kingdom of Rose

I would have wished if wishes had been
clearer then.
as it is I see it still on transparencies

when I cast back again
with a jeweled rod to hook

one scene after the other
mercurial, not cast in stone
but wearing, like gingham, well

after many washings on my own
autumn sunned in a pinafore wind.

mary angela douglas 18 march 2017

The Musicbox With Curlicue Birds And Flowers

the musicbox with curlicue birds and flowers
and the tune sprinkled with light
through now, how distant hours! the

childhood forests with the slanting rays

from heaven the ladder swung down
of sun mote gold this is what I hear
cried the daughter of the musicales

in her pink tulle on ballet slippered afternoons
how have we grown old I mused
remembering the sequined tune

gardenia moment on the side lawn
in late spring, our aprils completed

the musicbox with curlicue birds and flowers
the bone china regencies
and all the mysteries of faded song.

forgive the moments in the shade.
lost in the din of the big parades
and all we thought that we could win

left stranded somewhere
farther back than hearts could mend

I see you by the luminous door
as you were then
still going out with all to win:

and then the song comes clear my friend

in music we will live again.
in music we will live again.

mary angela douglas 18 march 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Tolling Of Bells For The Strawberry Sky

the tolling of bells for the strawberry sky
the reasons why we mourn the passing
of the cream filled days

we have counted on our grass stained fingers
conmingling the fingerpaint colors
toward the last days

do you hear the bells and do you fear
there is no salve to soothe the children
lost this way

in the woods and far from those who cared
I saw in a vision swinging through bright air
the flocks of God to feed them

the wild strawberries peeking through vast snows
the return of cream and sugar to the blue blue tables
oh but this was a dream cried my angels

this was a dream

mary angela douglas 17 march 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Diamond Wind and Where It Has Gone

God lets his diamond face shine through
those pinpricks in the sky we call the stars
her mother sighed or maybe it was the wind

through the night curtains
in the way back when of all whens
taken into account.

rummaging in the dresser drawers
we found the rhinestone tiara
while the grandmother slept music

and we learned the stories of the glass mountains
the golden apples rolling down again
and the knights disfigured making the

attempt no more so that old candles wept their wax
into the cornices of the moon.
and I have gathered the lilacs and the lilac blues

and the pinks wept the princess
and angels harvested her tears
and this went on for years

in ink understood and bound with ribbons
of the letters reserved and not sent back
we found in the attic of the stars

and behind God's diamond face...
in the beginning of sorrows.

mary angela douglas 16 march 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Poetry Brittle

let's make poetry brittle all afternoon.
use buttery words, the best ingredients.
oh toffee coloured is the need to resume

making rhymes or not
and all the images you've got
spilled out in hard candy array.

oh confectionary roses,
isinglass through the looking glass ways
into an Easter Egg panorama

and pirate forays on the coast of
all that can be imagined
on an ordinary day.

lets whip up something memorable
layered with strawberries
or the milky way.

mary angela douglas 15 march 2017

We Loved Old Road Maps

[to my grandfather, Milton B. Young, King of the Triple A Trip Tik]

we loved old road maps of cheerful design

the brochure people motoring
with wide smiles

the mother in red lipstick, an orange shirtwaist dress

her chiffon scarf blowing in a motoring wind
the father sure of the route.steady hands on the wheel.

a twinkle set to go off in either eye

as if it were Christmas on the Fourth of July.

the backseat children leaning forward

as if expecting the world for dessert.
or burgundy cherry ice cream at the next Howard Johnson's.

old roadmaps so waffle cone crisp in their delineations.


so perfect folded up impossible to fold back up again

except as a magic trick.
on any road you could find another service station

another road map, in case this one wasn't working.

if only life had been that way. All Firestone caroled,
the routes marked out in red and blue

and everything to scale.

as it is.
we are glad

there is any road at all.


mary angela douglas 15 march 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Were You The Earthquake They Predicted

to Jesus Christ, the Lord, friend and saviour

were you the earthquake they predicted
then buried alive
but you survived

a king in no hiding
kingdomless they said at the last minute
were you in it

or were you somewhere else
all the time
communing with

what should have been
what could have been
with only the green leaves for friends

the waves of the sea
walk upon the glass of our hearts
that we might not shatter

let all that matters in the world
slip away
holding onto the day you

came back
cooking us fish
with the honey glaze.

mary angela douglas 14 march 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

On The Great Novelists Neglected

perhaps they think we have forgotten
those passages where mignonette blooms
on dresses of pale blue silk

where people confer over great or small matters

keeping their distance.
where a letter can spell doom

a gesture, finality.

the sound of carriage wheels speed happiness,
a fireside out of the rains.

perhaps the flower pressed into a book

would live again
the margins begin to snow...

blow the dust off your indifference

and let the old novels
glow

said a ministering angel once

where you almost lingered
in an out of the way shop.

isn't it enough to know

they lived once, and wrote and wrote
all this at times without a drop of mercy

shown to them


and isn't it amiss we have left

their gardens alone
and left their heroines adrift

their heroes far from home

because we are modern.
and do not know

what we do not know.


mary angela douglas 11 march 2017

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Imagination, Memory's Dower

to William Shakespeare this small book of days
and to my mother, Mary Adalyn Young-Douglas

beyond the coast of what is seen
in dreams, in the rustle of pages
in the green of a shadow on

a greener wall, being small
caught in the rain
distracted from pain

have you really witnessed
so many snows as this
you wonder to yourself in bliss

crystaled in the cold or blown
from the petaling trees of april magnified
magnifying a white white glory

have you really existed under the stars

you could not see in the city lights
or borne the flights of others on
your back or tracked beauty itself

have you really can you really
look back on so much gold squandered
and still there is more

the coinage of days

imagination's stored it up for you
in silos of the night
not ill met by moonlight, Titania

not ill met.
with my small border of roses, lilies
flowerets crowned and remembered, yet.

mary angela douglas 9 march 2017

If The Apple Blossom, The Cherry Or The Plum

if the apple blossom, the cherry or the plum
were pink or white or peach or any such colour
perhaps we did not know in the beginning

only beginning to sense the lavishness
and in amaze that God put flowers on the trees
and that the wind took them away

so that they scattered at our feet
and we were the flower girls then and twirled
ourselves soft petals in the winds

and this was april, sometimes march
very rarely may but anyway spring
and we could spell all the pastels

the colour green and break off into singing
anything we were so glad to live in the world with flowers
to feel ourselves flowerlike

the honor of this,  to dream we were the
bridesmaids of Song
we longed for o our whole lives long.

mary angela douglas 9 march 2017