Hi poetry peeps: Here you will find poems separated into The Four Seasons, and Life and Times. 
More categories may be added. Check in from time to time to see what's new. Thank you for reading. If you'd like to comment, you can email me: kfernsuess@gmail.com. 

SUMMER

October Moves

July seeps into my pores
like love from a baby’s eyes

a lonely wood duck dips and sputters in the pond
her brown feathers melding
in water muddy from last night’s downpour.

my nose twitches with a faint, familiar, watery smell
replicating a long ago memory

Low tide in a swampy area, Miller Place, LI, 1950’s

my bare feet in low tide between tall reeds,
smell rising up to me
the tanned boy calling
C’mon, c’mon.

my feet squish down into the mud
Feel around, feel around,
he calls from his stance yards away


When you feel a shell, grab it with your toes,
pick it up, drop it in the bucket

my toes inch along, flexing, feeling,
anxious to be successful
at this new boyish pastime


imagining my mother’s glee
when I bring home
a hard wrought bucket of clams

I see her leaning over the big blue sink
scrubbing the shells,
using the special knife to pry one open
squeezing the lemon over the pinkish membrane,
tilting her head back
sucking out the rubbery mass from the shell

Plums are Summer

Plums are a screened porch

On a rainy day

The musty smell of old cushions on a sagging divan

faint mist of cool rain easing through the screens

Lazy July days of rummy, Sorry!, Monopoly, Masquerade Party

 

Plums are hammock swinging under the birch trees

Faded shorts on straight skinny legs

Plums are sour skin breaking thru to
dark red pulpy inside

Juice dripping down the hand

Plums are savoring the pit till all pulp is sucked off

Chewing on it till you forget what it was

Plums are summer

June Morning at Calamar

And the green is of trees and leaves

and grass and weeds

and yellow undersides that tease

Whispering its softly, lulling breeze

 

And the lilt and chirp and Mozart songs

of birds who soar

And swoop in blue and white and black and yellow

Cruising red in wise symphonic splendor

 

And the grey smooth slate of chunky ends

And rust embedded corners lying next to next

And end to end, on bottom, on top

Curving, sliding, arranged in studied disarray

 

And the two foot weed so dark

And fuzzy, droopy one leaf wonder nodding

And swaying, proudly defying, pushing forth

Saggy, upside down purple, covert blossoms

 

And the worn out table staid and square

And stolidly sitting in wood-like wonder

And reposing in vague uneasiness

Scarred tribute waning, fading in relief

 

And the Jessie dog lies panting, panting

And pink tongue hanging, hoping

And shade insufficient under boat dog house

Wishing for cool, wood warped table shade

 

And the woodpecker rat-a-tat-tats

and drums and bangs and hammers his native beat

And bores in undisguised tenacity

Slamming the house in drilling, pounding holes

 

And the black taut fly of green iridescent cape

And spinning, buzzing, racing intentions

And droning, circling, suggesting, landing,

Hoping for skin and sweat, not swat

 

And the cottage quaint and faintly smoky

And sleepy cool and green alone there

Alive with moist and showy ferns

Winding cobbled path tiptoeing to forgotten door

 

And the sting of friendless words

And the memory of laughless conversation

And the wonder of nature’s backyard comfort

Soothing, smoothing wrinkled emotions

June Morning


and the ant struggles slowly
across the tile
hauling a crumb half the size of his body

 

and the butter in the dish
on the counter is soft and spreadable on the hillocks of the olive ciabatta slice

 

and the pollen dust,
yellow and fluffy
settles softly on every flat surface

 

and the bull frogs in the pond honk
sonorously
moaning for a mate

and the red tailed hawk
and the red winged Blackbird
and the red throated hummingbird
and the purple finch
and Mrs. Cardinal
and the spirit of Benny the Bluebird

and they call, in screes and warbles, tweets and chirps
and they soar and glide, fly and flutter
in their sky traveling ways
and my hair expands to greet the muggy morning

AUTUMN

Give Away Day

 

Equal amounts of leaves on trees
as on the ground

brilliant above

withered below

crunchy scattering underfoot,
a pa
rched smell hoovers the air

folks rub their hands together
with expectation in the

early morning chill.

 

Give away day at the library

Bibliophiles eager, quiet, purposeful

The ringing of a cell phone draws frowns

and disapproving glances

This old barn is the anti-technology

 

An empty coffee can

sits on a rickety card table

outside the barn door

Donations accepted

several other handmade signs

tacked up inside the barn

printed in shades of dried out markers

 

formerly stuffed boxes

lie empty on the tables

Still the book seekers search busily,

like squirrels foraging for nuts

soiled canvas bags bursting at their feet

Winters coming

Books will be needed.

 

Mid October sees windows

snap their mouths shut

against the chill air

Bird chatter is hushed in a

church like whisper

Wind chimes,

like admonished children,

are seen but not heard

Socks urgently rush 

duty bound, from drawers

plates clatter with cold from the cabinets

the oatmeal box marches confidently

to the forefront

 

Without struggle

the house adapts this quietude

then quickly switches

to the clatter of logs

dropping to the basement floor

furnace rocks and rumbles

The dehumidifier nods to duty well done

Until next year

Autumn Drops it's Veil

The house next door comes into view
from the upstairs bathroom window.
November, and the green lush curtain of summer is suddenly swept aside
In its place, leaves, yellow, rust, and brown
twirl and rush to betray my privacy

 

Long antennaed brown seed bugs,
mistaken for brown marmorated stink bugs,
invade the house,
landing high up on walls and drapes
they cling tenaciously to their slow life
ready for that lethal blow,
that strong scent released at death
fighting, their last valiant effort

Autumn drops its veil upon us.
Wet, brownness all around
Sweaters must appear
scarves must protect
farewell bare feet.

Vicious

Mid November and the sudden cold snap

bites me in the ass like a vicious dog

My crooked finger wails with pain

I curse those autumn lovers who

Knew this was coming

And nonetheless

hailed the harbinger

the brown, the orange, the gold,

the dead leaves of autumn

WINTER

Winter Poem 

I am the Duchess of layering,
a wizardess of wool.
embracing winter with gusto

Though I long for mittens to type
I tire quickly of the moaning
the whining and the gripe

Bring it on! I say
Though even nighttime tunneling
cannot prevent cold hair
I will not lean to despair

 

published Chronogram, Feb. 2018

powdersoftsnowmonday

borrowed from a vagabond

in a down jacket

greyed with winter

and cigarette smoke

 

of poetry recited in parked cars

and library steps

graceful bony fingers painting images

of newfoundland

and chairs on pulleys

and the stark landscape

 

crackling brown eyes

pleading for something

unknown to me 

 

powdersoftsnowmonday

borrowed from a vagabond

of a used-to-be blue jacket

emitting feathers

like newborn chicks

 

of a laugh that stabs at trees

in lacy white coats

voice like gravel in the night

Dostoevsky entwined in his meanderings

Kafka overseeing a frugal life

made rich with forays into rooms

of willing women who listen to

poetry recited
as he crushes their resolve

SPRING

Spring Haikus

when will the green come?                         

to sooth winter weary eyes                          lone robin waits patiently 

 

morning nods its song                                

lime green spreads slowly across               

maples, oaks, birches.                                    

laughing lemon drops                                

spreading across green landscape 

dandelions tease 
(published in Chronogram, May 2019)                                            

Ohayo Mountain Road                               forsythia bedazzles                                  winding yellow curves       

                     

I Like
published Chronogram April 2020

I like my toast light,
my coffee dark,
my men well mannered

I like my sunsets pink and orange
my clouds fluffy,
men who can still dream

I dream of beaches
canyons, puppies,
ribbons, glitter
loving hands

I see pain
feel pain
know pain
dream anyway.

How Many Signs of Spring are Found on a May Day?

A mammoth ant appears from nowhere,
marches across the white counter

to commandeer my crumbs

I swipe him away; he hits the floor,

takes his mission elsewhere

 

The sweet scent of viburnum rolls around the corner
on a gentle breeze, drifts into the kitchen,
thick and spicy, compelling
I drop my lunch and track the scent,

like a teenaged girl following a musky scented male
down a crowded school hallway

 

Outside I grow saddened by the daffodils
as they fade and nod,
worn out and resigned, like former beauty queens
forced to hand over the reigning garden crown
to the statuesque perfumed lilacs

 

Lilies of the Valley push hither and yon;

the circle so carefully planted last year
resembles now a hastily scattered display

as greenlings, prepare to unfurl

share their sweet scented tiny white bell clusters

 

The placid pond reflects a lime blush from eager trees
and with the May sky’s bright blue face,  
creates a blue and green liquid tapestry.

 

A pair of geese repose statue-like and unawares
under a Japanese maple
resembling a placid old couple
bench sitting in a park

 

I crank open windows
stretching and breaking
accumulated winter cobwebs.

Chimes tickle the air 
Birdsong trills from the trees

How many signs of spring on a May day?

Poems from Tablecloth Nights, a Memoir

All Day the Urge
To shout it out
To the hilltops, to all ears
Even as bees buzz on the deck
Drone in harmony, seek refuge
As squares are stitched together
Side by side
Top to bottom
As groceries find their way into basket
Chicken beside rice
Beside green bananas
Ripening even as I have the urge
As second gear slips into third
As clutch moans softly
As Jessie dog trails tongue to the wind
Even as conscience reminds
Respect their wishes
The tradition of secrets
Even as I know that shame
Is all that stands between revelation and
Respect for privacy
Even as I know how secrets
Worm their way
Out of closets
Out of respect
All day the urge
To shout it out.

Comes a Time
those hurried school mornings
Looking down at my feet
ensconced in scuffed oxfords
navy blue, color of my life
his firm jaw working
above a starched white collar

“Take them off, they need a shine”
At the table he spreads a sheet of the
Journal American, completed puzzle face up
fishes out the small round can of Kiwi polish
from under the kitchen sink,
the shiny, scented rag, the worn brush
stained brown and black and blue
I wait in stocking feet

Meticulously he applies the paste,
rubs and rubs, brushes, and buffs
“Here” he says, his voice softened
My cold feet slip quickly into place
I feel the insides still warm from his hands.

LIFE and TIMES

I left home without 
my cell phone
but didn’t miss it
didn’t need it

the absence of its dull weight
freed me 
to devote my attention 
to the very large footed woman
in the cafe 
and her cell phone

and her fascinating 
pink sneakers
with tongues painted blue with white clouds,
and rainbow stripes circling the rubber soles

My eyes are drawn to her phone
I watch with text envy 
her thumbs wiggle madly,
displaying brilliant texting expertise  
far beyond my own limited 
single middle finger jabbing technique

I rue the inability to train my errant thumbs
to perform swift acrobatic 
sit-ups over the edges
of my phone

But in truth I envy 
her pink sneakers more.

 

Willpower

they taught us about
willpower
nuns in fresh scented white garments
we sat primly
dressed in eternal navy blue
retaining what made sense
forgetting what we didn’t like
they hoped we would remember
years later when back seat
shenanigans took place
we didn’t

Just a Sec

infinitesimal breath
blink of an eye
unwanted
unknowing
Timing, karma cavort in your life
not merry, but devious pranksters
life changes course

 

a fall
a step gone awry
a word not uttered
an uttered word rued

The Wiz with the Sciz

 

so much more than a haircut

entertaining

energizing

neuroses exchange

 

hip hop hipster

be-bop bipster

talk of the hood

 

banter spills out

fast, faster,

snip-snap snipster

clumps of bray hair

hit the black and white checkered floor

 

a quiet man listens on the zebra striped bench

chartreuse molding collects curlicues of dark hair

 

“Stigs” says the Wiz

my grandfather

the greatest ballplayer on the planet

he lived in Kingston

people said he was shit.

My Wooded Path

...resembles a game board of

child’s pick up stix

littered by deliberate winds

Past the felled whiteness of the old stately birch


I hear the roar of

Spring’s rejuvenated stream

running like a wild child

raucously tickling the ear

chortling happily over rock steps

 

Froth builds like washday around

matted piles of brown leaves

snags stick stubs

trickles down atop

pale lettuce-stamped rocks

 

Morning is sanctified here

Rain blackened trees eagerly await

the imminent kiss of morning sun

Brown carpet complements

the mossy green smattering of feathered firs

Herein lies the altar to pray

Heart Shape Cookie Cutter
Green Leaves
Image ©2018 kathleen suess
Flowers and Citrus