Friday, August 29, 2008

Dinner For Two


I will lay out what I plan to use,

Just as if

Pyrex and stainless steel

Were Chinese silk

And lace.


Behold my wiles.


I love tomatoes

Curved and ripe--

They bear the red of passion,

On their skins

And in their hearts.


My thorough fingers

Slip the layers from an onion,

Like your dress I'll peel away;

Before such pale nakedness

I will sometimes weep unbidden.


I will bake some firm potatoes

Until they slowly soften--

I will leave them steaming helplessly

Inside their humble skins.


I will lay a cut of meat

In a spicy marinade--

Steeping 'til tender and savory;

I will make it know that its only purpose

Is to bring a moan upon the tasting.


I will set a pretty table;

Wrap your silver in a napkin

And a little knotted ribbon.

I will watch you loose the tie,

As if forks and spoons

Were my arms

And wrists.


Mine is the kitchen with the steamy windows,

The gingerbread house on the right;

Arrive on time with a bottle of wine--

Bring your appetite.

______________________________________

Oasis


(I used to live near Brackenridge Park, at the back of which lies the San Antonio Zoo. Sometimes at night, the sound of the big cats roaring their presence to the world would come drifting through my open bedroom window. Hence, this poem.)


Laying on your side,

The elegance of your curves

In the moonlight...

The night purrs

As you chase down the

Gazelles of dreams,

And bring them back to me

Where you're more lovely than

Cool water.


mmm,


My Lioness.

__________________________


(A different version of this poem appears in my short story "Song For Amanda." This is the original.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Childish Things


The minister delivers his sermon;


"We must live righteously,

So that when we die

We shall be absorbed into the glorious goo that is God."


The next week, at the direction of the diocese,

The minister condemns the left-handed.


"The left-handed threaten what is right,

And if we do not stand for what is right

There shall be nothing left."


Some of the left-handed attend camps

Hoping to be made right-handed;

Others gather among themselves

Identified by a secret (left-handed) handshake.


The congregation throws rocks through their windows or prays for them,

Rolling on the floor.


This goes on for years.


Eventually they all die and are absorbed back into the welcoming warm goo that is God.

"She doesn't even have hands!" they exclaim, flabbergasted.


They all feel pretty dumb then.


But, stuffed within Her love like raisins in a roll,

They are too happy

To care.

_______________________________

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For Chokecherry



I held you like fog holds the riverbank

In the hour before dawn,

The hour you always loved best.


I think of you in April...

That's when you were prettiest,

When the rains came.


Love, I take a new knife out to the garden,

Times when I've dreamt of you.

I cut the funeral belles

And lay them on the riverbank along with my dress--

The one I wore in the rain,

The one you always loved best.

_________________________

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Snake


A snake bit me,

Filling my arm with clouds

And my feet with sand.


A snake read my poems

And complained that it could not warm itself on them,

That tears are not stars

And that the desert does not forgive.


I said, "Serpent,

I would bash your brains in if I could,

I would run if I could,

But you have poisoned me

And I am decades from any help,

And from any soft kiss that might have saved me."


"You begin to bore me," replied the snake.

"Lay down in your nest of poems and die,

Even though they will not warm you;

Even though tears are not stars,

And the desert

Never

Forgives."

Friday, August 15, 2008

For The Red Queen


I had complaints.

I laid them all in a row like cooling pies.


A wind came up.

It hailed blackbirds.


They flew in,

They fell out, heavy as stones.


Oh, come to me, come to me now,

Embrace me with your arms of smoke,

Tell me everything

While the birds lie stunned and stupid outside...


But your mouth is full of rain clouds and the birds recover and fly inside;

That's when I know

They weren't birds, they were bats.


What we are is macabre.


Don't come here sunday--

Leave me to sit under my mulberry tree

With tea, and a magazine;

My cheek unbloodied

By the sharpness of your kiss.

_______________________________

The Butterfly Who Loves The Moon


I feel it. I do.

Wet wings always seek the sun,

And I have changed--

In every weightless fibre that has turned into (my!) beauty,

Every instinct loves the light.


But, all the dreams I can ever remember

Lead me to a language I can only find cupped in your hands--


I flutter there

At your command in the heart of the night.

_________________________________

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Invitation


Come into my dream

At your own peril--

I'm not feeling so dainty today.


I'm sick of little doilies

And teacups in the afternoon.


I'd like to see your bones, dear,

Please boil yourself clean

In this pot.


Come into my dream,

Come into my garden--

Filled with sylphs and saints,

Snakes and stinkweed.


Here's a little hard-backed chair.

Here's a little bible.


My dream

My rules

My way.


It has been such a long, long night;

Oh, you better hope

The day comes soon.

______________________________

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bake Until Golden, Sweeten To Taste


I searched the sun

Which was the color of a sugar cookie,

But in the end,

The day hoarded you for itself--

Leaving my face tilted in the window

Like an empty plate.


So,

I hid my name in a honey jar;

Did you think

A thing as simple as a sweet tooth

Could sing to you like that?


I have many recipes,

But just a single sweetheart;

And I can use many wiles

All for a common cause.


Follow your craving,

I'll be waiting...

Come to my kitchen, now Love, now.

I will distract you with temptations,

And when your eyelids fall to savor,

You'll never notice

The softly closing door.

________________________________

Love Story


"I was born in a taxicab, I'm never goin' home" --Tom Waits


Her hands are not your hands--

No more forgiving than a statue's,

They abrade and tear me

Until the sheets are bloody with my misery.


Her eyes are not your eyes--

No more soulful than elevator buttons,

I am locked in here screaming until the morning comes.


Each day is like a driverless car

Circling backward on itself in unstoppable blind murder;

Pregnant with a memory,

I give birth to a fever...


I sweat and shudder

'Til it breaks.

___________________________________

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How The Evening Murdered The Morning


When you get up from the table,

Your wine is spilled;

It drips like a million goodbyes from your lips,

Those inviting betrayers.


So are we only a bad vintage?

A mess to be cleaned up

Or covered with apologies, wry jokes, or chilly poise?


Now,

Everything will evaporate

Leaving just a sticky residue,

A charmless accident...

Nothing that will warm us,

Nothing that will lead us to say things that would have found us sharing the morning,

Together like two goblets

Still lipsticked from the night before,

Lit up and lovely in the rising sun.

_______________________________