House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Poetry Reading

  • The Reader's Loft 2069 Central Court Green Bay, WI 54311 USA

Bobbie Lovell & Wendy Diehlmann


Bobbie Lovell’s educational background and career are in visual art, graphic design and print production — but she’s hopelessly smitten with words. She lives near Green Bay with her two favorite young people and works in a corporate marketing department. Bobbie's poems have appeared in several journals, and she received a 2015 Pushcart nomination from Star*Line. She tends to write about relationships and ordinary life, occasionally from outer space. bobbie-lovell.com
 

The Morning After the World Didn't End

You wake to a sliver
of wan winter light
leaking between curtains.
Peering out, your eyes
linger on the landscape,
blessedly familiar in its wholeness —
no smoldering skeletal ruins,
no field of fallen sky.

A passing jogger,
ponytail bouncing,
seemingly impervious to cold
but too pristine and nimble
to be zombified,
confirms that you aren’t,
somehow, the proverbial
last soul on Earth
left mysteriously behind.

You are infinitely grateful
for the steadfast sun
iridescent on the frosty lawn,
for the grounding scent
of brewing coffee, and even
for this exercise in dread
and hope. You brim with profound
relief in the mundane —
that which is often reserved
for cancer remissions
and military homecomings.

TV ads urge viewers
to complete holiday shopping,
confident that Santa
will indeed deliver.
But the news reveals
the flip side of sameness:
Oceans rise and missiles fall
today as they did yesterday.
Again, you feel the grip of the end
around your throat, threatening,
at any time, to squeeze.
Even so, you won’t give up —
not now. Especially not now.

-- Bobbie Lovell

 

Wendy Diehlmann has taken the long way ‘round, completing her Bachelor of Arts after her daughters were grown. Life has been a rich and full experience thus far, despite living it check-to-check, and the variety of that experience, in work, travel and people and friends, has been more than worth it. She lives in Oconto township, in a little piece of heaven on the bay. She was a guest on and read her poetry on Higher Ground with Jonathon Overby in 2005. She works two part-time jobs and is finally at a point where it is time for the writing.

I am an Old House

I am an old house.
A family whose roots
Reach and branch
back and back,
through country
through century
to obscure beginnings.
I came down from
Norway, France
and Germany
crossing paths along the way
with a Rabbi somewhere back,
I’m told.
There were Vikings.
I saw them,
in the sons and grandsons
broad-shouldered and
white-blonde hair,
ruddy faces
and blue eyes,
Stepping slow
bearing their mother, their grandmother
to the grave where we were gathered.
There were farmers.
I the child saw them,
in my grandfathers, in my uncles.
Their eyes
in wind-burned
leathered faces
looked across fields
into the sunset
as if they
were gazing back through time.
Strong arms, stubborn hearts,
backs bent to their work.
There were matriarchs.
I saw them, in the faces
of my mother and
her sisters
cooking in their kitchens.
Strong hands, stubborn hearts
beneath flowered aprons.
They got their way
When it mattered.
The old ones are nearly gone now.
I am ninety-nine
in my Aunt Hazel.
I am ninety-three
in my father.
I have seen the world
as it was
before cars
before telephones.
From the corner of
the country porch
I the child
watched dusk
creep, trailing
its shadow across the yard.
The windmill
turned lazily in evening breezes,
creaking.
I listened to my parents
remembering
with brothers and wives,
sisters and husbands,
the cadence and
the laughter
led me back with them
to years before
when days, slower days
ended at dusk, and
the windmill turned lazily in evening breezes.
I am an old house.
I stand in the country.

-- Wendy Diehlmann

© 2017 House of the Tomato