All posts for the month April, 2013

Concrete Word

Published April 30, 2013 by kdorholt

I replaced words in Rae Armantrout’s poem “Thing.” First  your will find his poem, in case you’re not familiar with it. Then comes my substitution poem.


by Rae Armantrout
We love our cat
for her self
regard is assiduous
and bland,

for she sits in the small
patch of sun on our rug
and licks her claws
from all angles

and it is far
to “balanced reporting”

though, of course,
it is also
the very same thing.

Concrete Word

They hate your dog
for his “other”
distain is lackadaisical
and luscious

for he stands in the large
meadow of shade off your lawn
and devours his fingers
with no linear lines

and it is near
to “Fox News”

though, of course,
it is also
the very same difference.


Grandma Karason

Published April 29, 2013 by kdorholt

Grandma Karason

Sometimes I imagine her
as Grandpa first saw her,
Mariska Tarr,
behind a booth
selling her father’s finely
crafted cipo
for the feet of the
more fortunate fairgoers
in that meadow
outside a remote
Magyar village
near Jugoszlávia.
Her bountiful black hair
in crochet-like coils
crowned her maiden head,
smiling shyly, but thankfully,
her head slightly tipped to
the right, reinforcing her
girlish gratitude,
her eyes glistening gladly,
so innocent, so sincere–
almost holy in her simple
countenance and grace.
Though small, she was powerful,
used to work–evident in her
agile hands and sinewy arms.
She could endure the
long, languishing journey
to Amerikai Egyesült Államok
help him build a business
bear him boys–
maybe some girls–
reach his Amerikai dream.
“I am going to marry
that maiden behind the booth,” he told
a fair-going friend.

When I knew her
She was Grandma Karason
rounder, older, wearier
an Amerikai now
in Akron, Ohio
on Long Street
usually in the kitchen
preparing Csirke Paprikas
with nokedli and
hot Hungarian peppers
or, if we were lucky,
(and lucky we were)
her perfect, pleasing pastries:
palacsinta, kalács,
or beyond-belief rolls of retes.
These alluring aromas surrounded
us scrumptiously when we entered
and seeing us,
her grandmothery arms would stretch
in greeting and, with her devoted
hands, held us in her Hungarian hugs
so  pure and powerful.
“Leany! Fiu!” she would
cry through cheerful tears
of welcome and warmth.
Softly, soulfully she scrutinized
each of our faces,
her bountiful salt-and-pepper hair
in crochet-like coils
atop her matronly head,
smiling widely and thankfully,
her head slightly tipped to
the right, reinforcing her
“Grandma’s” gratitude,
her delicate brown eyes glistening gladly,
so innocent, so sincere–
almost holy in her simple
countenance and grace.
and each of us experienced–
saw what Grandpa saw,
felt what Grandpa felt–
that fortuitous day in the
meadow at the Magyar fair
many years far gone . . .
And we glimpsed something more–
the certainty that she, no
matter the labor, had
achieved her Amerikai dream.
It was us!

Learning Lavender

Published April 29, 2013 by kdorholt

“Paris has a gift
everywhere you look,”
he told me tenderly
as we stood
by the Seine and studied
the scenes scattered
about in largesse
evident everywhere
The Louvre to our right
and beyond that
the spires of Notre Dame
the Tuileries to our left
and beyond that
(and to the left)
the Eiffel Tower.
Dusk had fallen
and the glistening
canary-diamond jewels
lighting the famed in the city
began to twinkle on,
bit by bit
as if introducing each
site with a flourish
of particular presentation.
I tucked his words
within a pocket in
my heart,
and each day,
true to his telling,
Paris surrounded me
with surprises.
Each one
I placed within
this heart’s pocket
as my own treasure,
learned to believe in these
spontaneous surprises.

At the museum Musee D’Orsay
a  fascinating favor
awaited me in
Van Gogh’s “Bedroom”
(a simple setting
by a master of a lifetime
lived learning color,
until it coursed through
his veins)
Headphones on,
I heard a little of a
letter he had written
to Gauguin.
Longing to lure him to Arles,
he temptingly told  his friend
of the little lopsided
room of relaxation
and rest with
(in the interpreters’ words)
“I painted the
walls lavendar.”
I gasped gratefully.
What a gift!
Before me was Van Gogh’s
distinct definition; his open opinion
of a  color I had always found
curious, so difficult to discern
But now I had it! Held it wholly!
The thrill of knowing lavender
poured over me like the paint
itself–lavishly alive and permanently
part of my person now.

I may never acquire an
accurate appreciation
of aubergine
or the precise pigment
of puce
and continue to misconstrue
coquleicot and carnelian
or cerise
Colors may confuse
me continually,
but I KNOW
from its lightest lilac
to its perkiest periwinkle,
because of Paris and a companion’s
simple, sincere sentence
lavender lingers lovingly,
like the priceless prize
it shall always be  . . .
in the pocket   . . .
in my heart.

Hello, Everybody! I’m Stepping In

Published April 28, 2013 by kdorholt

I began with the Hungarian proverb “He’s dancing on the razor’s edge.” Needless to say, my search gave me entries about “Dancing With the Stars” and lyrics, and videos of and about “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and for some reason, an article about Prince Harry’s first trip to Rio. Here’s the result which is dedicated to my brother-in-law Jimmy Dorholt and great-uncle Johnny Doran, both professional dancers nonpareil–who both, actually, walked on the razor’s edge in one way or another! (My poem won’t print with the way some of the words were printed on the page for poetic effect.)

Hello, Everybody! I’m Stepping In

Natural cool!
Stick around
and see him

Buy the ticket . . .
be in
the first

He can
total class–

or spark the
party spirit

Full of surprises
wowing crowds,
and bowled

He’s completely
torn up
the guidebook
And rewritten it
in his


g             B
h        g     o
t    n           l
ni              t

Through his dancing shoes
he dazzles the crowd–

playfully, playing
the people’s

Pigeon toes
he’s a

See . . . the music
through his
Feel the music
fuze his

Energy energized–
as sexy as
a Samba
his fever . . .
catches on.

Music flares
his body
into yours.

After dancing
to dusk,
he simply

as usual . . .

Jimmy. . .
Thanks. man.

Fun run–
You. Made.
My. Day,

Giving Explanation and Seeking Forgiveness (aka “The Wreck of the Hesperus”)

Published April 26, 2013 by kdorholt

*My mother was always so frustrated with the condition of my bedroom. I don’t know how many times I heard, “It looks like the wreck of the Hespersus in here” So I thought I’d use the poem to give you a glimpse of me giving an explanation and looking for forgiveness. I couldn’t, however, figure out how to make my whited-out words look whited-out when I pasted my result. So my poem is just in fragments without all the white space.

Giving Explanations and Seeking Forgiveness
aka “The Wreck of the Hesperus”

That little daughtèr,
Then up and spake
“I fear a hurricane
did blow
“Last night,
the roughest gale from the Northeast
fell and Down came the storm
in its strength

she shuddered, paused
tears in her eyes

the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow.”

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That savèd she might be;
She thought of Christ.
looked soft as carded wool
like a vessel of glass
Ho Ho!
A maiden fair
the salt tears in her eyes
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
Christ save us all!


Ballad of the Moon

Published April 25, 2013 by kdorholt

*I tried to write a ballad based on a topic new to me. I did not know that the Native Americans named the months based on the full-moon cycle. This poem is a summary of the story I learned about the importance of each month and its name.

Ballad of the Moon

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

My first month brings the howling wolves
that cry so fierce, so hungrily
They’re ‘round the villages at night
Oh they are a frightful sight
and because of this, “Wolf Month” I shall be.

The second month’s so challenging
The snows fall down so harsh, most heavily
And brave hunters often kill no game
When nature is so mean–untame
Then “Heavy Snow” or “Hunger” man calls me.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

The next month brings a change in life
ground softens–worms abound
underneath the crusted snow
inviting back robin and crow
By “Worm,” “Full Crust,” or “Crow” I’m crowned

Next flowers return with pink wild phlox
Green grass shoots cover the prairie
Along the coast shad swim up to spawn
And sing a welcome new spring dawn
So “Pink”, or “Grass” or “Fish” is what I’ll be.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

When blossoms scattered o’er the earth
In every wood and dale and nook
Then flaxen corn in field is planted
The golden gift our gods have granted
At “Flower” or “Corn Planting Moon” you’ll look

And if you desire the red-heart fruit
Strewn o’er the great green land
And by the soothing summer creeks
Their bounty and their season peaks
The “Strawberry Month” is sure and grand.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

Our hunters watch the young buck close
In my month’s thunderous, warm days.
As antlers push from bucks’ foreheads,
In coats of velvet they are spread
It’s “Buck” or “Thunder Moon” that rule their ways

From Lake Champlain to the Great Lakes
I make fresh sturgeon freely flow
and men from many tribes come fish
through reddish, sultry hazy mist
In “Sturgeon” or “Red Moon,” with joy, they row.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

With me come all the labors’ fruits
Of those who work the Indian land
They harvest corn, pumpkin and rice
and squash and beans; the means of life
when winter brings its times of strife
I’m “Harvest Moon”–so bountiful and grand.

Now time has come for leaves to fall
and fattened buck and doe to roam,
so hunters grab their arrow and bow
to kill wildlife–the fox or buck or doe.
The “Hunter” brings its people food for home.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me

The “Beaver Moon” is used to set the traps
for beaver and their warming fur.
While beaver now their dens prepare
with food for winter’s blizzard terror,
both man and beaver must all ways endure.

In my last month the winter spreads
the land in chills and grips it bold.
The darkness falls and nighttime grows.
The wind whirls frozen, bitter snows.
That’s when I’m “Cold” or “Long Nights,” I am told.

I’m the moon the fine, full moon–
a monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
name all the months by me.

Do not forget the fine full moon–
the monthly mystery–
and wise Native Americans
who name twelve months by me.

* Moon-month name information provided from: Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.

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