Saturday, April 19, 2014

“Winter” and “Loser,” two poems by Day Merrill

November 16, 2013

The Old Man blew into town last night,
two fingers of Canadian whiskey over ice in one hand,
two fingers of the other hand crooked around the faux-fur steering wheel cover
of his Caddie DeVille).
His cruel companion sat at his side, laughing wildly as they careened and spun out
on the road down the mountain into town.

Just like that old bastard to show up at least two weeks before we expected him,
making us look bad with leaves still brimming the gutters and
dead pumpkins on the porch.
Jesus! Does this guy have no shame? Drunk on possibility,
he slammed right into our driveway, blocking the car and making everything if not impossible, at the least a real pain in the ass.

He plans to stay “a while,” he informed me as he slid out from behind the wheel, his breath curling up into the frigid air like smoke from a cheap stogie.
His blowsy lady friend settled down a bit, stretching her long legs as she got out of the car, but you never know when she’s going to blow, unpredictable as she is.
What a bitch! As if the cold and snow weren’t enough on their own.

I opened the screen door to greet them, rueful that we’d left changing it out for the glass panel just one day too late. As they swept into the house, they tossed me the newspaper, frozen in its little blue plastic bag and covered with frost—
like something left in the freezer beyond all recognition.

I sighed as I dug out my boots, long underwear and shovel. Keeping up with these two is never easy, and if they’re already settling in by mid-November,
it’s gonna be a long, cold winter.

And good riddance
March 28, 2014

Ha! Old Man, your days are numbered.
You can bluster as much as you like,
but we’ve got you on the run now.
We had as much as we could countenance
of your cold, dour face a while back.
But you refused to leave,
like some high-maintenance house guest
who’s long overstayed his welcome.

You showed up four months ago with such panache, such élan.
At this point, youre merely tedious and pathetic.
Just look at yourself!
Petulant and mean-spirited,
You’re no match for the enlightened days we’re seeing now.

Your time is over – at least for another year –
and we are so over you.
So scram, vamoose, melt away like the wicked witch.
Spring ahead, fall back – whatever.
Leave behind the foul detritus you hid for months underneath
your cold butt – we don’t care!
We’ll gladly face the mess just to get you gone
and good riddance.

Day Merrill is an American who has lived in Canada since 1995. While her first published poem appeared in her college literary magazine in 1969, Day set aside writing for decades to pursue career and family and didn't take up the craft again until age 60. Now 65, she is working on several volumes of poetry and a first novel. Day lives in Collingwood with her husband and a rescued dog and cat. Her hobbies include shovelling snow and cursing the weather gods.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Bolton, Caledon, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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