Monday, July 10, 2017

I read four of my poems at Brickstreet last Thursday night ...

I rarely read at open mic, but this night thought I would go prepared just in case the Universe moved me. On my way out the door,  I grabbed 2 poetry books, one magazine, and printed off the fourth poem I wanted to read. It was published in Indiana Voice, an online journal owned by the guest poet. I met him for the first time and thanked him for publishing three of my poems last October.

I hadn't realized a poem for each miniature schnauzer had been published within the last year until I chose what was quickest to take to read. Since I pride myself on being fair always with my canine family members (I abhor partiality in families), it was a nice  serendipitous moment.

Early Morning Manna at Grandma’s
Published in May/June Branches Magazine

Grandma greeted the sun’s first peek through curtains
while the household slept. Her biscuits appeared
on the breakfast table as the men sat to eat.
I loved the fresh-baked aroma wafting
from her wood-burning stove.

Butter churned from fresh sweet cream, skimmed
from Grandpa’s dairy,
dripped out corners of mouths
after biting into the warm chewiness
of one, then another.

Imitating Uncle Gray, I swirled butter into molasses,
spread a dollop before each bite.
When finished, the men got up. Left. No one uttered:
Thank you. Delicious. Please excuse.
Then Grandma fixed her plate and ate …

… the only time I saw Grandma eat.
Later, she dish-toweled the biscuit platter,
refrigerated sides, milk, and meat. After supper,
the little and quite large piggies feasted
on her biscuits in their pen,

along with leftovers scraped from plates
and serving bowls—not seen again.
At home we ate a prefab version popped out
of cardboard tubes, buttered with plastic-tasting oleo.
No one begged for seconds.

© 2017 Denise C. Buschmann
       ... for Coco
Published in Paw Prints in Verse, April 2017

Coco self-advocates—quick
repeated rounds at the fence
—caked in mud up to knees,
black as Little Debbie’s.

Hattie’s a tank—
brown furry tail held
high—striking back
in short-bursts.

Noses separated by chain links
and two feet,

each firing blanks
at the other,
neither giving
eye contact nor quarter.

© 2017 Denise C. Buschmann

Breakfast Dance
Dedicated to Cupcake
Published in Words & Other Wild Things, November 2016

persnickety schnauzer
sniffs, circles, investigates

scrutinizes, procrastinates
eating her food.

she wants a treat

but first must eat

breakfast in her bowl.
© 2016 Denise C. Buschmann

Worth by Different Standards
Published in Indiana Voice, October 2016

The actress wore
her perky,
finely chiseled nose,
as an accessory—
in her profession
a necessity.

But, what if
we were who we are
without pretentions
without fear
of rejection by peers
clanging in our ears?

What if
we enlarged hearts
not breasts
and painted others’
praises instead of nails
weighing accomplishments
on altruistic scales?

What if we dared?

© 2016 Denise C. Buschmann

“All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks and permit us to stand upright on that ground which God destined us to occupy." Sarah Grimke's Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman (1838)


  1. Love these! As usual. <3

    Deep. Thought-provoking. Inspiring. Humorous. Scenes clearly painted and yet a reader feels the layers between the scenes.

    "Early Morning Manna at Grandma's" starts nostalgic and warm. I can smell and taste those biscuits...and the swirled molasses and butter. And then...the poem begins to turn. For me that turn begins when Grandma eats last, a sign of the times and circumstances. And it gets deeper and twistier from there. Superb.

    I love the serendipitous moment when you discovered the two family member poems. Perfect!!

  2. Thank you so much for your review! Love it. One comment at critique was that the pigs were eating better than we were at my house (by an attorney poet), lol. I started a poem in 2014 about Grandma and it morphed into this. I'm not sure I did her justice.

    In an earlier version I gave a detailed account of her appearance in addition to her daily silent-servitude for her children/grandchildren. I wonder what effect this had on Daddy and his thoughts about womanhood. Something to explore. Thanks again for the kind words!