Monday, February 28, 2011


 susan ambrosino


It's a pointless activity, knitting another scarf
that you could just as well go out and buy─
but the meditation is needed,
knit one, knit one, knit one, over and over,
it keeps you in the moment─

suddenly you feel the balcony breeze,
sense the life flashing through your flesh,
hear the mourning doves, the palm fronds sway,
the swoosh from the interstate a mile away,
there’s a train passing in the distance,
a punctuation of calling from an unknown songbird
immediately answered by its mate,

while your hands keep busy, knitting, knitting, knitting. 

You often arrive late at night, after a long drive,
having eaten road food for two days,
a headache in back of your eyes,
a bad taste in your mouth,
and a crunched tailbone from sitting too long
staring at the interstate,

but there’s something about driving,
perhaps the pointless continuity of moving forward in a straight line,
like knitting,
seeming to go nowhere,
having savored the monotony,
you finally arrive.

So what if the moon has a crooked smile
you notice through the back seat window
as dawn is just about to broaden her brightening stare
on all of you driving to the plane
that will bring you away from the last perfect Florida day.

The songbird singing in the yellow-flowered tree
at the darkest moment before dawn
bragged her amazing vocabulary,
raised you to listen,
rushed you into the day

that would return you to a cold reaching between your ribs,
your neck, wrists, face,
its own extensive vocabulary
describing the degrees below a certain point.

So why does the southern moon
have only a crooked smile
to send you north today ?

Friday, February 18, 2011


  susan ambrosino

The wind blows the wind.
Leaves fall on leaves.
Water flows through water, seeking the low ground.
Nature doesn't deny itself, it is what it is and that's all.

Our nation is an old man who huffs and puffs out the door
bellowing "Ready ? Hurry up, Let's Go !" as though he
were the one waiting for you.

Snow snows on snow.
Rain rains on rain.
Bodies fall on bodies.
The cycle continues.

Time is a many chambered honeycomb dissolving bit by bit,
each segment dripping sweet honey
from which you tongue the moment,
sticky with the business of your busyness.

Nature pushes back, cannot be fooled.
Cold chills cold.
Heat accumulates.
Melting amplifies melting.

Time has no obstacles, moving through mountains with no hesitation,
no relenting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



 susan ambrosino

You need something to write, it needn't be important,
the delusion of meaning is enough.
You wake in the middle of the night feeling hollow.
There's nothing to change your life,
the concrete is poured, dried, set, the basic structure in place.
There's no wrap-around porch, no birds-eye-view from an upper balcony,
no dormer windows tucked in roof top seclusion,
no cool wind from the west pushing out the weight of stale air,
a picture window would have been nice too.
This was not how you intended things to be. Go out to the garage,
get the largest wrench you can hold steady in one hand,
throw it in the works, grinding all to a halt.
Maybe something red and odd will fly out, surprise you
as you pace back and forth, held together by the best plans made with
nails, imaginings, and misgivings.
By the time you're done it's too late, over, kaput,
the bus roaring down the road, dust and exhaust in your face,
the cab picked up someone else…. a sexy woman in a red hat,
the job has been filled….a perky, smart princess sits at the desk
that should be yours near the 45th floor window overlooking Central Park,
the deadline was last month, a winner has already been declared.
You arrive to face a closed door, voices inside laughing,
a shut gate, the plane on its way to the Caribbean,
the marquee lights off, it's the wrong day,
the bakery closed, nothing to serve your guests,
the funeral is over, the coffin lowered in the ground.
But you still remember Silversheene, King of The Sled Dogs,
you read it in fifth grade ignoring the teacher,
book open in the corner of your desk,
reading and glancing out the winter window,
tears streaming down your cheeks,
your first true love was Silversheeen, King of The Sled Dogs,
he broke your heart,
made you come alive in fifth grade,
made you find the words.
The important thing is that the words were there and they were spoken.
Perhaps in disguise as pen and paper, a notebook or a computer screen,
you can leave this world, holding your wound,
slip out unnoticed by a side door, enter the alley,
run along the wall to the back fence,
slip one toe in the chain links,
then the other,
go over the top,
drop down on the other side,
run and never stop,
leaving a trail of words dripping along behind you.
You're trying to understand the weather in your pond
while powers hiding in tall grasses
make plans you can't know anything about.
So you live in the fact of your small world
knowing what you do is of little consequence.
But the words are still there.
The words will always be there.


 susan ambrosino

(Hamlet says, “There’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” )

to know importance i must stop thinking.
it comes from mindlessness,
not from math, science, or english.
look to the leaf,
the single leaf lighted by the brightness of noon.
i try....
until i stop trying.
i cannot shut my mouth because i cannot shut my mind.
i look at the leaf and i know what i should be.


  susan ambrosino

The opponents will start on the first day,
everyone else will come later,
strife and conflict is much more interesting.
Black against white, the Bible fisting it out with the Koran,
red and blue states a culture clashing spectrum.
Don't let them get away with anything,
talk about it, make it into something,
keep your chin up and stand your ground,
you have god on your side if not the entire population.
What if the Chinese were to take your place.
You've always been on top of the heap.
How will you find yourself if no one sees you.
We could all go back to Africa, or the Garden of Eden,
revisit the sedimentary layer, the rock of fossilhood, infancy.
Your husband has no explanation. He looks at you and sees a child.
Your thoughts keep coming back to kind conversations, all the smiling,
the rushing up to get more gravy, passing the pitcher of iced tea,
the talk about weddings, grandchildren.
What if that mouse comes back, roams freely around the house.
There's only so many chairs you can stand on.
Psychological atmospheres, national tendencies, international
reactions and whether there is peace or war, globally or
at home in the kitchen.
There's only so many chairs you can stand on.


 susan ambrosino

The complicated churning of one individual
bouncing off the complicated churning of another individual
creates a living chain reaction of complications radiating
from the dinner table, to your bedroom, through all the greatest rooms
of your house.

You're aware of a sad person standing alone with
the understanding of your own humanity:
humble, fragile, mistaken,
fingering many emotions like you would finger fine fabrics:
the soothe of silk
the comfort of  cotton and linen
the brusque fiber of wool
the harshness of burlap:
that tough sack that holds the seeds and beans of your thoughts.

The mind can go places the body can't. The mind never
stops, even when the body sleeps.
It thinks of tough burlap, how it withstands rough handling,
it's loose weave breathes, yet was never worn except for
religious mortification….

You know cotton and linen burn steady and slow,
they smell like burning leaves, you can blow them out
like birthday candles,
silk and wool burn like hair, fast, with the smell
of flesh and blood.

The synthetic polyesters, acrylics, burn like wild fire,
melt as they burn, sticking to your skin.
And you feel the mind going dark, but that is not what you intended.
It was joy you wanted to talk about.
The mind's contents sometimes mold, spoil, and rot.
A dropped cigarette can burn your house down.

Oh ! for the safety of synthetic atmosphere:
acrylic denial, polyester illusions,
nylon happy-faces to wear each day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


 susan ambrosino

Such is the nature of existence,
the dual of give and take, sun and dark, light and grave,
intangible concepts weighing heavy,
bookends holding together the sheaves of days, years,
half moons, full moons, the cinematic rush of seasons
moving through you,
building  new moments like this one,
stringing together the mesh of who you are,
a carapace layered over, then shed
layered over, then shed,
layered over, then shed
for 59, it can be said, wonderful,
or, it can be said,

But it's just another beautiful Florida morning,
light coming through the blinds touching something deep,
you slowly moving forward in response
as the day proclaims it's message
of life renewing itself
again and again..

And you've manage to avoid the extinction of dying,
every day opening your eyes,
seeing the magnificent, the brilliant, the astonishing, in ways
you never thought imaginable,
facing yourself for the straight run,
one more left turn, then home.