By Janet Buck JBuck22874@aol.com

City of Angels

Two angels perched
on an airplane’s wing
inside a hangar without light.
Discussing the rush
of human love.
Food of touch
before their senses,
arguing for using it.
An egg timer tilted
on mountain slopes,
life is like a brick of cheese
that molds or cracks
if left unused.
Argyle socks that shrink
so fast in contact
with a dryer’s spin.

I love free will--
thickly frosted corners
on a birthday cake
that do go stale
if not for tongues.
A stork with motion in its pouch.
The moral of the story
was Irish jigs in open space.
The hero here was not a god,
but perfect sails against tough winds.
A place mat at a folding table,
moments must be
set with flowers.
Riding real not plastic ponies
pushing rivers toward the sea.
Carpe diem graduates
from angels to the real world.

***City of Angels, starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, Warner Bros., 1998.

Baby Booties in a Ditch

Each day in that home
with nurses hustling
toward 5:00 p.m.
was a comma splice,
an angel in an iron lung,
an incubator full of smoke,
baby booties in a ditch.
That wonderment at
human infancy escaped.
Its cloister walls
with hungry cats wanting
mice to catch and swing,
a view beyond that exit plan.

Scrub suits passing
in the halls like actresses
brushing the rustle of pain
and getting paid for faking it.
Pills were dessert
for a lousy meal.
A desert misspelled
and put to sleep.
She organized weak medicine
from Dixie cups by putting
one of every pill in crusted
crates of waffle squares.

Masturbating anger some
with buttons
of remote controls. The geriatic pharmacy
with long receipts
where touch belonged.
Flagrant scents
of jaundiced sheets
replacing tanks of oxygen.

Rara Avis

Freckled disability.
An oxymoron in a way.
Puddles from an icy sun.
Its pigment one I’d never change.
It takes ability to cope.
With measles, mumps of being odd.
The semaphores of set apart
like leashes on resenting birds
that take the litter of a dream
and turn it to a worthless dog.

Caveats of riven limbs.
Black bananas on a tree that run
the risk of passing disappointment on
like clouds above a long parade.
I know you see adversity as
sirens on an ambulance.
Leaving ugly tire tracks
like smoking engines of a plane.
The diaper pail of charity is one
I could have done without.
My bones, they never measured up.
Hid for years in sleeping bags
and skirts the size of circus tents.

How I walk. A miracle.
A testament that underneath
lay something stronger than its frame.
All my struggles. Ripples. Stones.
Kodak moments of a wish like
rolls of film exposed to light.
The rara avis of a life that
redefines the shifting sand
between your mortal toes.

Class Dismissed

I’ve always admired
the cummings approach
in lower case pride--
gave ‘A’s to kids
who had a concept
of vacuous, even though
they spelled it wrong.
In some classes,
the erection of rules
stops the blood flow
to more important puzzles.
And a quiz is
not what you think,
but what you know.
The literary bent
is a fashion statement
of vellum venom
that deserves the
paperback status
it’s been assigned.

I asked my students
to write a book,
not tell me what they’d read.
Said: "Drool,
just go ahead and drool
and see how far
good spit can travel."
Swatters of words
are plastic; they snap
before they nab most flies.
An erection of art
is blunt arousal of pain;
someone needs to live in
its blood as a flutist sits
in a concert’s score.

Calamity's Quilt, Janet's first print collection of poetry, will be released by Newton's Baby Press on December 1st. To pre-order, go to: