Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wineflower



She is a wine flower--

She has drooped into sleep, softly snoring;

She does this to herself every evening.


Her back is tanned and beautiful--

With a little mole like a leopard spot;


Her hair is long flames from burning love letters

She'll never write again;


Her hair is light through a slatted window,

When she's gone back to where she's been.


And me?

I do this to myself every evening--

Puzzling out the fortunes I am reading

In her golden hair and skin.

______________

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fool In Winter


If it were up to me,

Tears would be like snowflakes--

They would make me

Austerely beautiful.


And after all,

Snowflakes--

Like a woman's tears--

Offer no explanation

And only a fool would even ask.


If it were up to me,

What I was would not follow me

Into who I am.

And if I were clumsy,

Or frightened,

Or lonely,


Someone would say,

Shay, why are you shivering?

They would say,

Cookie, why are you crying?

And hold this

Winter fool.

__________

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Clarity




You won't find clarity


When you're in love.


You won't find clarity


When you're well fed


By the fireside.




Clarity comes


In the moment you realize


That your wheels have left the road.




Clarity comes


When you've taken one step further into wilderness


Than you have the strength to retrace.




Clarity comes


Sheathed in ice, pain, and uncertainty;


At the point of no return,


That's when


Clarity comes.


______________

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Story Poems


The creative tap seems to be turned to "on" and so here are two story poems in a single post.


THE BATH TUB


The bath tub is unhappy.


"Though people come to me naked,

And give themselves, sighing, to my embrace,

All they ever leave me

Is dirt;

Warmed and soothed by me,

They rush off to meet somebody else.


It isn't as though I hadn't any charms--

Because I am a porcelain fixture,

My skin will never wrinkle

No matter how long a bath may last.


And yet,

I spend most of my time cold and alone.


If I could,

I would be a saddle

Or a sports car seat;

A pendant

Or a wedding ring.


Then I would be treasured, taken out, and shown off.

But I am too hard to be comfortable,

And too ponderous to be jewelry."


And so the bath tub is unhappy.

Remember that

Next time you soap up.

Remember that the lonely crave

A tender word.

_____________


ENSEMBLE


A Hat and Scarf

Cannot agree.

"You just hang there," snipes the Hat. "It's repellent."

"Oh, excuse me," sneers the Scarf.

"So high and mighty, well la-de-da!

If not for someone's head holding you up,

You'd be lucky if Boots would be your friend!"


Soon, the rest have aligned into camps;

Coat is solidly with Hat,

While Mittens staunchly support Scarf.


As the temperature plummets,

The arguing goes on and on

Despite all hurt feelings,

And in spite of whatever thoughts each might privately have

When alone on a hook indoors.


It is like this all through January,

February as well,

And for weeks thereafter.


But Spring always comes, no matter what,

And the heavy, quarrelsome Hat and Scarf

Are replaced by

Silk and Straw

Who go together beautifully,

And would never dream of doing anything so tiresome

As bickering.

____________


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Note To Myself



When will you stop reaching for shiny objects?

Believing in the impossible may work for Alice,

But all of this playing in traffic,

All of this believing that God is in everything,

Is just childish

And no longer cute.


Your body has gone off and left you--

Little orphan amid the shelling,

Little ghost in the gathering dark.


Love never knew your name--

She so haughty and cold;

You trailed after her like a puppy anyway...

Now it's time to stop.


Stay in your kitchen.

Make your black-iced cakes.

Be Our Lady of the Animals.

Forgive that green-eyed girl

And yourself

For your flaws and for the ridiculous vanity

Of hoping.

_________

The London Limited



She's as practical as a railroad engine

And as compartmentalized as a designer bag

But she can make you flow just like her long blonde hair

And leave a circle around your heart just like the rings her wine glass leaves

In the morning

When it's over

When the tracks are cold

And the train has gone.

__________________

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ice



Water

In a hot bath

On the top floor

In the late morning

With a lover just outside the door,

Can make your skin pink with pleasure

And your eyes close in contentment.


Love and Fear

Are sisters in the same room;

Water

Is shaken from Love's hair.

Fear says,

"Ah, so you're leaving."


Cold

Is the perfect killer;

Cruelty is freezing

When it calls itself honesty

On the top floor

In the mid-evening

With a lover just inside the door,

She knows that

Water

Taken edgy and solid from the dark sister's hand,

Is the perfect

Murder

Weapon.

_______

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Hippopotamus



A hippopotamus attends the fair.


By chance, the first thing she sees is her own reflection in the fun house mirrors.

"How beautiful I am!" she cries, preening and proud that her diet is working.


Afraid of being trampled, the crowd scatters before her.

"Everyone here loves me! They treat me like the Queen of England!"

And yet, she does have sense enough to stop short of giving the little royal wave.


All day, her broad simple face is lit with a smile,

Her few teeth gleaming from the great chasm of her mouth,

And her heart is filled with a big fat lump of joy.


You mightn't know it to look at her,

But she is possessed of a great and singular talent.

Despite her lack of thumbs or physical grace,

She can play the violin so beautifully

That bounty hunters and professional wrestlers embrace each other in tears

At the sound of a note coaxed forth by her.


And so her sensitive nature is stung

When a girl

--the sort of honey-haired young stunner who can crawl from a dumpster and be crowned Miss Universe without even brushing the barf off last night's jeans--

Says,

"Get a load of the fat cow," and snickers as only one so entitled can do.


But a cow could never have snapped the girl up like that.

A cow could never have trotted with such surprising speed over to the games booths and dragged that beauty queen to the bottom in a hail of yellow plastic ducks.


In an interview from jail, the hippopotamus, manacled and wearing an enormous and unflattering orange jumpsuit, confides:


"There is no such thing as too much beauty,

But no one should be expected to look too much reality in the eye

And not flinch."


The article goes on to add

That in the deep cinder block evenings at the county jail,

A sound as heartbreakingly pure as first love and summer roses

Makes even the screws weep

Like little children.

________________

The Gypsy Fortune Teller



The gypsy fortune teller has gone off her meds--

The drunken ambulance men

Would take her away if they could only stop laughing and find the friggin' doors.


Churches are no place for angels,

But a fine place for bones.


Oh look, Bo Peep,

Stop cutting yourself for five minutes and listen.


There is no astrology to this, and no sacraments.

No rescue.

Just a few plasters and some mutton stew.


Leave your crook here and we'll go down to the beach before it snows--

We'll steady each other as we pour the sand from our hearts,

So we at least don't have to do it alone;

We'll watch it blow away in sheets

Like Tarot-Jesus.

(His woman kicked him out--

Him and his broken clock gospel,

Right twice a day

But still comforting to us black-faced and not-beautiful ones

Who, despite all the mud daubing, still go blind from scanning the horizon

For hopeful signs.)

___________________

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Open Gate

The open gate
Seems to say, "This way!"
But the only thing it will ever be able to do
Is close.

The bottle of wine
Is inviting and bright
But the only thing it can ever become
Is empty.

The day arrives
With heart and mind of light,
But it can only ever end
In darkness.

Come to the gate.
Bring some wine.
Then turn away
And say goodbye.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conversation Overheard In A Diner



Coffee says,

"I am rich and strong, and yet I am no good on my own."

Cup says,

"Come in, lover. Let me hold you."

Coffee says,

"You are beautiful on the outside, smooth and pretty."

Cup says,

"And welcoming on the inside, as if I were made with you in mind."

Coffee says,

"Pot never loved me like you do."

Cup says,

"Milk never warmed me like you do."


Coffee says,

"Now that I've found you, you won't run away with the spoon?"

Cup says,

"Silly coffee!"

And the sun says,

"Goodnight" to the moon.

____________________

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The English Club Gentleman



Disclaimer: views expressed by The English Club Gentleman are not necessarily those of Fireblossom. Please forgive TECG's use of a not politically correct term for Japanese persons. A bomb went off near his head in '43 and he hasn't been quite right since. Now, without further ado, The English Club Gentleman!


We'd been fighting the Japs in Burma and they'd given us all we could handle, I daresay. By June it was just McGinty, Hargreaves and myself left against 45,000 Japs, and McGinty had malaria, dropsy and dengue fever but refused to give up his post. We held out as long as we could for King and country, but in the end we were forced to surrender.


Some men break under captivity, I've seen it myself. One day McGinty said to me, "Major, I can't live without my London Times and a good cuppa," and by Jove, he was right, he dropped dead on the spot. Hargreaves lost his head and caused a bit of a fuss over it, and they threw him in the hole for three days. Awful business, that. When they let him out, old Hargreaves stood blinking in the Burmese sun, at attention, determined to show the Japs what a British officer is made of.


Well, curse the luck, a Bengal tiger chose that very moment to leap out of the jungle and tear off his right arm. I'd have saluted him for his courage, but things being as they were, he would have been in a spot of bother to salute me back, so I restrained myself. Old Hargreaves crawled over to where I stood and said to me, "George, I'm afraid I've torn my sleeve." I said, "It looks as if you have done. Never mind, we'll have that odd leftenant from tent three sew it up again." But before I could so much as puff on my pipe, old Hargreaves gave up the ghost.


Within a few weeks His Majesty's troops had whipped the Japs and we were all back in Surrey, drinking gin at the Club. But I hadn't liked to leave old Hargreaves to rot away in the jungle, and so I'd packed him in a duffel and brought him home to England. I know he'd have done the same for me.


I looked up an old chum I knew from when we were both lads at Sandhurst. This chap had retired and taken up taxidermy. I explained the lay of the land and he stuffed and mounted old Hargreaves sound as a pound. You can see him, just there, above the fireplace mantel. If he could talk, I feel as if he would say to me, "Good show, George old boy! Jolly good show!" Now, where have I gone and left my spectacles....


________________


Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Fretful Cake



A cake is worried.

The cake has fallen in love with the cutest, golden-brownest, most irresistible cinnamon apple pie ever.

When the cake sees the pie,

All her sparkler candles go off at once!


And yet,


The cake is worried.


"Once, I was trapped inside a dark cardboard box

On a shelf in aisle five of Mitzi's Food Mart on 9 Mile Road!

I was separated from myself by little bags and packets!

And I was

*blush*

For sale."


The cake thinks of her beloved pie and glazes over with helpless love.

"Darling pie! I am so sweet for you!" she thinks, dizzy with devotion.


"Will she understand," frets the lovestruck cake,

"That I came from mere powder and goo?

Will she overlook

That I needed eggs added?"


The cake, woozy with desire for the sweet cinnamon apple pie,

Never stops to consider

That her beloved was once in pieces too,

Hanging on trees in the rain

For anyone to pick?


Someone sets the cake and pie side by side on a pretty red and white checked table cloth.

Seeking a snack,

A mischievous yellow lab noses the pie over into the cake,

So that they are mooshed together.


"She kissed me!" exults the happy cake,

Who never worries about anything again.

_______________

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tuesday Half Four



She prowled the off-green hallways

'Til she grew sheathed talons on her toes--

The tap dance ballerina of ward five,

Queen of cockroaches

Adored by the delusional.


"Oh come in, come in,

My gentleman caller," she croons to the

Frantic orderlies on the other side of the door, as she

Picks the Director's bones clean,

Crouching over him like the new-birthed phoenix

Of some unprescribed

Gasoline opera.

___________________

Kitchen Magic



Leek and potato soup

is

hot and creamy


Fresh-baked bread

is

warm and dreamy


The soup seems made

for a blue-and-white bowl--

The bread sighs steam

when broken apart;


Bring them together,

dip one in the other--

Be still, my beating heart!

_____________________