Let’s Fly

A seagull soars above the beach.

There is a way to gauge how high

But not a way to find out why.

Science gives us tools to measure.

But when it’s time to sink or rise,

We take our lead from the gull that flies.

The Death of Philosophy

(pleased to post this poem by my pal, the philosophical, and whimsical, David Belmont)

when descartes
was 60 years old
he went to stockholm
at the request
of queen kristina 

the curious monarch
had room
for philosophy
only at 4 am

in her unheated library
in the dead of winter

so rene 
eschewed his habit
of mornings in bed
and strode thru the snow
in his pointy shoes
curly wig and
embroidered gloves

after several weeks
he became too cold 
to think
and therefore ceased
to exist

The Cost of Winning

Find an angle.

Read the rules.

Stretch them, bend them…

If you’re clever enough

and have some luck

You can win.

And in winning you lose

The fun of playing;

The grace, the embrace

of time together.

November 21, 2020

The Election

by Caroline Donnola

Sitting outside

having brunch with a friend

on an oddly warm and sunny

November morning—

a major treat in Covid time—

we hear cheering and horns honking

and we know what this must mean—

Biden has won.

We walk the streets back to my car

and there is singing and dancing

and celebrating in this very liberal neighborhood.

And while I am relieved by the results

I don’t feel happy or celebratory.

Instead, I feel almost numb.

For me, this is not the beginning

of things getting better.

We’ve simply turned a new page

in a volatile chapter

of a flawed and outdated story.

Fifteen minutes later

I’m back in my neighborhood.

My district went for Trump—

an anomaly in New York City—

though it was a close call.

I drive around and around

and then walk the streets

to drink in the mood.

The almost-half who went for Biden

must be celebrating indoors.

I breathe a sigh of relief.

The others—who may be angry, upset, disappointed—

hide their response as well.

There are no public displays of emotion

in this neighborhood

that is more like Middle America

than like New York,

although the mixture of ethnicities

would make this place an anomaly

in Middle America.

Somehow I am most comfortable

in places that don’t quite fit.

I am neither fish nor fowl.

I’m an independent.

I can’t celebrate half the country

doing anything.

Perhaps I would feel better

if I could share that sense of victory.

But I can’t.

We independents

are going down a different road.

One that has to include,

if not everyone,

then at least the vast majority.

Yes, it’s a longshot.

Hell, we don’t even know where this road leads.

Who would travel such a road?

Those of us who simply cannot accept

this either-or, in-or-out, winner-loser

way of things.

Will there ever be a time

when the whole country

can celebrate together?

I would love to be part of that rejoicing—

to spill out into the streets,

to sing and dance

and relish our coming together

our American-ness.

I doubt I’ll live to see it,

but I’m still trekking down that road

and finding comfort

in those—in big numbers and small—

who walk along this other path

with firm and steady steps

day by day.

The Election

By Caroline Donnola

Sitting outside

having brunch with a friend

on an oddly warm and sunny

November morning—

a major treat in Covid time—

we hear cheering and horns honking

and we know what this must mean—

Biden has won.

We walk the streets back to my car

and there is singing and dancing

and celebrating in this very liberal neighborhood.

And while I am relieved by the results

I don’t feel happy or celebratory.

Instead, I feel almost numb.

For me, this is not the beginning

of things getting better.

We’ve simply turned a new page

in a volatile chapter

of a flawed and outdated story.

Fifteen minutes later

I’m back in my neighborhood.

My district went for Trump—

an anomaly in New York City—

though it was a close call.

I drive around and around

and then walk the streets

to drink in the mood.

The almost-half who went for Biden

must be celebrating indoors.

I breathe a sigh of relief.

The others—who may be angry, upset, disappointed—

hide their response as well.

There are no public displays of emotion

in this neighborhood

that is more like Middle America

than like New York,

although the mixture of ethnicities

would make this place an anomaly

in Middle America.

Somehow I am most comfortable

in places that don’t quite fit.

I am neither fish nor fowl.

I’m an independent.

I can’t celebrate half the country

doing anything.

Perhaps I would feel better

if I could share that sense of victory.

But I can’t.

We independents

are going down a different road.

One that has to include,

if not everyone,

then at least the vast majority.

Yes, it’s a longshot.

Hell, we don’t even know where this road leads.

Who would travel such a road?

Those of us who simply cannot accept

this either-or, in-or-out, winner-loser

way of things.

Will there ever be a time

when the whole country

can celebrate together?

I would love to be part of that rejoicing—

to spill out into the streets,

to sing and dance

and relish our coming together

our American-ness.

I doubt I’ll live to see it,

but I’m still trekking down that road

and finding comfort

numbers and small—

who walk along this other path

with firm and steady steps

day by day.

The End of Election Day

(Here’s a timely one by my friend David Belmont)

it’s saturday
mornin’

i’m movin’ 
papers around
on my desk

groovin’ to the
rhythm review

70s soul classics
streamin’ on
my computer

dj felix
is wailin’

the spinners
some late sly stone

stevie’s singin’
i’ll be lovin’ you
always

i’m thinkin’ about
the first time
i heard 
songs in the key

it was on howard’s 
dorm room style stereo
in north london

during my first trip
out of the country

remember 
recreational 
travel?

my reverie
is interrupted
by commotion
on the street

has cheering for
frontline workers
been moved earlier
and i missed the memo?

my partner kim 
says no
biden just won

i click on my
election map tab

it says
biden 273

pennsylvania!

thought it was going to be
arizona plus nevada 
to a perfect 270

we go out to the terrace
and watch people
dancing in the street

philadelphia p a
baltimore and dee cee now
can’t forget the motor city

i get an email
from jackie salit

trump is gone (smiley) 
would you draft 
a press release 
spelling out 
the role of indies

i write back
gladly
will have it to you
in 20 minutes

The Seasons are Changing

By Caroline Donnola

I haven’t been writing poetry lately.

So I ask myself,
is it the drip-drip-drip
of my patience running out?
The constant barrage of
candidate ads, text messages
and phone calls screaming
“I’m the one”?

Is it that feeling of dread
that I’d rather not share
because to share it
would be to face it?

The seasons are changing now—
the leaves are turning
the election is almost over
the virus rages on.

I search for the little things
that add meaning—
A card arrives in the mail
from a sweet friend who keeps
me in her thoughts.
The young man who runs the flower market
calls out my name as I pass by.
On a blustery autumn day
as the temperature drops

and the winds pick up
a pile of colorful leaves
paints a brilliant picture.

When I stand in line
in the pouring rain
to cast my vote,
I find solace in the friendly banter
between voters who’ve never met before
in a decidedly split district
and remind myself for the millionth time
that we are more than
and different than
what the media says we are,
we are neighbors after all,
and this gives my mood a lift.

And the poetry
starts to come back.

Fall on the Battenkill


Temperature is mild.

On again, off again rain.

Changed the tackle in a downpour;

An act of will.

And back to where I hooked one yesterday

(and lost it).

Time to pack it in, 

When right in front of me

A big fish

jumps out of the water.

I chase after him,

Clumsy in boots and waders

But he’s gone.

Mist and rain;

Trees and stream remain.

The big trout

Still plays with me;

What was it about?

September 28, 2020

Fall on the Battenkill


View the autosave
Add title

Temperature is mild.

On again, off again rain.

Changed the tackle in a downpour;

An act of will.

And back to where I hooked one yesterday

(and lost it).

Time to pack it in, 

When right in front of me

A big fish

jumps out of the water.

I chase after him,

Clumsy in boots and waders

But he’s gone.

Mist and rain;

Trees and stream remain.

The big trout

Still plays with me;

What was it about?

September 28, 2020