Category Archives: humor

My Lawrence Ferlinghetti Story, part 1

The time: Evening, Autumn, 2002
The Setting: A reading sponsored by The Poetry Center of Chicago in an elegant building, downtown.

The facts of that day are actual, not metaphorical. Here is my poem inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s reading, which seemed to temporarily disrupt geography among other things, posted now in honor of his passing last week.

Let me tell you a story…

10/18/02

Ferlinghetti Speaks

Traffic is thick, but smooth.
Rain, not sleet, falls from mid-October sky,
trees reluctantly flame.
All directions lead to Rome.
Building disguised with scaffolding,
I walk past unnoticing and have to backtrack.
Remaining front row seats reserved
for important people, few do not come.
A woman, whose daughter is in a wheelchair,
removes her raincoat and umbrella from a prime chair,
offering it to me. I accept gladly.

Welcome. Introductions set the scene.
Gilded room filled and beyond.
Audience willing to be amused and amazed
with sharp use of language.
Ferlinghetti, blindfolded, steps groping onto the stage,
reading his first poem as if blind, but “cheats,”
turning pages as he reads. Or does not cheat,
reading from memory, turning pages for effect.
The crowd laughs, delighted at the ruse.

He continues, eyes uncovered now, twinkling,
having a good time—
born in 1919, still in mental prime.
About Willie Mayes and Tito Fuentes,
about a dog who wants communion,
about peace and Prague, and painting with light.
Rapt faces of the audience upturned:
an unlined earnest Greek god face,
another face framed by fuchsia hair,
the faces of matrons, students,
artists, poets, professors, insiders, outsiders.
Now and then a camera flashes as he speaks,
hands clap after most every poem.
In expressive sing/song he reads eighty minutes,
stopping briefly for small sips of water from a sport bottle.

The poet dons aviator goggles and leather cap,
ending with “A History of Airplanes”
from Wright brothers and Lindy to 9/11.
He stops with a smile—pleased.
Admirers line up to get a piece of him to take home.
I consider the long line and turn to go. Outside on the street,
a dollar in a cup for an invisible newspaper.
Leaving in rain to meet husband waiting at train.
Parking garage machine will not take my card—
three times it denies me before letting me leave.
When I emerge, driving north,
the streets of Chicago no longer run in their previous directions.
Confused, I drive south on an east/west street
and keep circling to find my way until
I decide to go with what I know.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2002

From my poetic journal.
Tomorrow part 2, what happened next (well, more than a decade later).

From Across Michigan Avenue, Copyright 2012 by MD Mikus

62–“Express, Process, Assess” from “Resist the Slide into Darkness”

Chicago Trains, Coming and Going, by M D Mikus, Copyright 2012

4/26/16

Express, Process, Assess

After Mike Latza and Oriah Mountian Dreamer

Fear and I are well-acquainted
but any love lost is unrequited
Fear is not my friend though
sometimes I pretzel-bend in its wind

It is a choice, this distance
a choosing and re-choosing in the face of challenge
Not what has happened that might
suck me down and in and under but
who am I in relation to this
potential grand piano falling from the sky
Why ask why when there is no answer
Why contract into fetal-ball position
as if that guarantees protection

Beaten egg whites gently folded in
add humor as leavening to lighten
the batter I am making from a recipe
handed down or found or made up on the spot
Trust…just enough

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

From my upcoming book, Resist the Slide into Darkness. Listen here: https://youtu.be/DRxcVnP0uVo

Mike Latza is the editor of the journal, Willow Review. (I was the Illinois Featured Author in 2013.) I wrote this poem after the annual Willow Review launch and reading at College of Lake County, which is always inspiring for me. Oriah Mountain Dreamer is the author of The Invitation–based on her poem–and other books. We are connected on Facebook where she often writes beautiful, insightful short essays. Inspiration can come from anywhere and threads begin to weave together into something that speaks to me, that whispers “write this down.”

Randolph and State Streets, by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2012

For more poem videos in the series

44–“Because My Star” from “Frazzle”

Opening From Inside by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2011

“Because my star
is tied to yours

my love,
my life is entwined

with your own….”

From poem 44, “Because My Star,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/nN4sx3yQvXk

Stephen and I have been together ever since we met on the first day of a college English class in mid-January, 1972. We became friends and then more as our relationship bloomed. This poem, of course, is about him. But it could also be about any close connections, how we mutually affect each other. (Hint: Humor is helpful sometimes.)

Unexpected Wave, CA Beach, by M D Mikus, Copyright 2013

Photo above is from Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine (in color for the eBooks and b/w for paperback). I caught Stephen on a beach north of San Diego, CA just as a huge–and very cold–wave hit shore. We both got soaked. And laughed a lot.

After the Wave, taken by Stephen Mikus 2013

For more poem videos from “Frazzle”

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

Lovely Winter Surprise

I just had the loveliest surprise and I wanted to share it with you. I happened to be on iBooks tonight and found a 5 star review of my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine. Just warmed me up, for sure!

Here it is:
“This beautiful book of poems touches all of my emotions. It leaves me weeping, laughing, soaring with possibilities, and speaks to me intimately. Her poetry is a beautiful gift.” Fletch62.

I am most grateful!!!

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

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

Christmas Cricket

Merry Christmas! Here is a poem I often post at Christmas, remembering and being grateful. Maybe a chuckle. The context: In 1996 as Christmas approached I had just finished chemotherapy, which had followed surgery and I was just beginning extensive radiation treatment for breast cancer. I was kind of out of it, but trying to function. Our kids were young and my husband and I wanted to have a “normal” Christmas, with gifts and tree and Christmas dinner. Here is it story of that dinner. Enjoy. And share if you wish.

Christmas Cricket

Just when I thought
nothing could shake me,
a cooked cricket
showed up on our Christmas turkey,

not crispy, but thoroughly well done,
black body sprawled across a browned thigh.

Awakened by the warmth of the oven
from winter hibernation
in a dark, safe place—the roaster,

it began the final journey
in ever increasing heat
and then succumbed,
at least where we could see

before taking a crunchy bite.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996

From As Easy as Breathing

AEAB-front-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and listen to track 19 on my CD, Full Blooming

cd-cover