Category Archives: Chicago

Dinner with Geary–Connecting through Poetry

7/24/17

Dinner with Geary

On the good days
what comes between here and there
the before and after, now and then
the necessary transition
the clarifying calm after the storm
the personal and the political
is messy but manageable

On the bad days
fear overrides all good instinct
kindness mistaken for weakness
brute control at any cost, manipulation
mistaken for power and yet…
even here in abject darkness
a sliver of light, or a crack

that lets light in or a smidgeon of hope
What kind of question opens the door
to the path, not laid out in advance
but created new under each separate footfall?
Why tell you this—or ask you
to consider not losing hope, not despairing?

We are each a dot in a context
a deliberate point in a pointillist painting
It is the context, the perspective
I offer for consideration

And we are each a universe entire
autonomous yet connected in a web
of strands seen by some, felt by others
maybe you are one, if what you once knew
when you came here has not been pounded down
If you can still recognize what is true:
We were made for these times

To remember, hold to beauty, inspire
Not as in human cold marble statues
of superficial shallow perfection
but embodied spirits, warmly human
unwitting gods of creation, fragile and powerful
at least a bit willing.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2017

In looking for something else, I found this poem and realized I had not heard from my friend, Geary, in quite a while, since we had met for dinner at a favorite Thai restaurant. I realized I had not sent him the poem that came out of our conversation. I decided to email it to him to check and see if he was ok. He got back to me right away and had quite a story to tell. As he said, once again our lives were in parallel. Here is this poem for you too. What has inspired you lately?

Chicago Roof with Pigeon, by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2012

46–“Something Small” from “Frazzle”

From Inside Looking Out by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2015

“You can write a poem
about anything:

mundane, mystical, trivial
momentous, silly or banal.

A car in front of me
on a dark winter night…”

From poem 46, “Something Small,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/9wJb73ytJmc

A poem can be a story, a portrait, an observation, a eulogy, a witness, an emotional rant, a philosophical musing or anything else in between. There are rules and they can be bent or broken. Anything that happens can be woven in, with threads from the past, present or future, both true and speculation. What you sense or think or dream or imagine…all can be made real, on the page. What character are you most like in this story?

For more poem videos from “Frazzle”

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

43–“Flying Geese” from “Frazzle”

Chicago Roof with Pigeon, by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2012

“The leader at the “V” point changes
so the responsibility of bearing the brunt,
breaking the flight path, does not fall on any one
even exceptionally strong goose,

but is borne by many if not all the flock in turn….”

From poem 43, “Flying Geese,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/vhhNbGNMVMI

Timely…(and perhaps timeless) poem about innate responsibility and seamless connection, as seen through the lessons of nature. I wrote it in 2010, but it seems to apply directly to this week.

For more poem videos from “Frazzle”

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

17–“For John” from “Frazzle”

What do you remember about the choices you made and the chances you took to get where you are right now? Is this where you were headed when you set off?

Poem 17, “For John,” from Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/4eHOAzWp-fw

For more video poems from “Frazzle”

Choosing Expansive

State Street, Chicago Copyright 2012 MDMikus

State Street, Chicago Copyright 2012 MDMikus

I wrote this poem when I was a mentor for a 7th grade girl through the Spark Program. I would drive 30 miles into Chicago and we’d meet at an Argo Tea shop downtown after school. After a snack, we’d talk about and read poetry. She’d write from prompts I gave her or her own ideas, and plan and carry out her project.

In 2012 the high school graduation rate for Chicago public schools was low, about 60%. The Spark Program (begun in San Francisco, now in four cities) was meant to give individual attention and apprenticeships to students to encourage them to stay in school and graduate. I wrote while I waited for her to come, and in my car afterwards, and elsewhere inspired by the whole process. I also took Chicago photos, which I love to do (see above). She ended up creating an amazing collection of her poems paired with her vividly colorful designs (including glitter stickers) and presenting it to the entire group at the end. Very cool!

Here is one of my own “Spark” poems:

Choosing Expansive

(Spark #2)

A door opens
walk through.
Opportunity knocks
answer.
A boat glides up to the dock
where you stand waiting
to take you to your dream
no explanations
no guarantees.
If you don’t go
you will wonder
and if you don’t go
what will you do
and if you don’t…go
when will you find out
just what you are made of
just what you could be
if only?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

From Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing