June 6, 2013

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

There is lots of potential in the middle of the year, the crown of it all, June. Weddings used to be in June—ours was, barely, on the 28th of June, 1964. There is lots more, including other family gatherings and vacations. If nature cooperates, flowering perennials, and buried bulbs surprise us. We buy favorite pots of plants and wait to witness their blooming beauty. That is nature. What about men, women and families? June creates home transfers as jobs of many kinds require new alignments to new neighborhoods, if you are lucky. People move to towns and cities new to them, that change how and where family members work and attend school, while taking in the new place. You have been put into a long lead-in to a poem created as the city of Iowa City cranked up another of its early series named Poetry in Public. It is sponsored by Iowa City Public Arts Program. I have not entered it. Alison McGoff and Ginny Paulson did, this year. Alison related an experience not unknown to many of us when families arrive in new neighborhoods. The title is:

Apology to Our New Neighbors
We have eaten the bars we baked expressly for you.
They were raspberry, with crumbs on top:
a combination of oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter, of course.
The house was dark and no one answered the door
when we stopped by with our welcome offering.
They were scrumptious, but a tad too sweet.
So next batch, we’ll cut back on the sugar.

None of you need to nod your head to acknowledge a
complicity in a scheme like Alison poemed out. Complicit only if you consumed the well-intended offering, a sweet or savory treat. For most of us this poem tickles. It is cute, and for the most part accurate, as I create the vision. Ginny Paulson caught my eye and sense of it, with the poem:

You Can Notice
You can notice old feelings on paper
by the dust cradled in the bowls of vowels
and in the gaps between letters,
or worse, words,
but you have to look closely
and some feelings
don’t like to be looked at.

If you look at compositions for errors (God forbid here) gain some generosity of spirit. Range deeper into the language, and feelings, that word, seems to be the key. Old feelings include resentments, some of which are never resolved, and attachments, some which can never or were never realized.

I really enjoy the final fourteen words.

“You have to look closely and some feelings don’t like to be looked at.”

We are grateful for access to these and other fine poems, acclaimed and posted in public in Iowa City as part of the project, Poetry in Public. We are aware the arts are demonstrated and acclaimed in other cities and towns. It is a welcome sign for writers and poets, and those who value skills in painting in all kinds of media. We have noticed, (have you?), painters with spray cans have been given recognition in some quarters for a high creati-vity? We are always grateful for the month of June. It is glorious for many, many reasons. Join us for this column in July, please.