Saturday, February 28, 2009

Smoke Girl



It's an industrial town

Full of clubs and bars

And cremes in jars

That belong to girls like you

Whose hearts were left out in the rain.


I am made of lace

The judicious use

Of empty space

And just in case

I might have thought myself too fine,

You were there to remind

Me that I am worse than plain.


I'm sorry it's 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

I'll join the ghosts you keep like an arsenal in your head,

Slip out the door and come back no more;

You'll say, "She wasn't what she seemed,

Just something that I dreamed."

A Smoke Girl, gone away

A keeper of your kiss, a dancer with the dead.

_________

Friday, February 27, 2009

Strippers



A pole dancer and a minister move in together.

They don't love each other, but,

They agree that everyone else is an asshole.


They are both sick of the needy looking to them for what they cannot find at home.

They hand out titillation, or cans from the food bank, with the same smile, and the same withering scorn.


Their friends are all horrified.

"How can you move in with someone like that?" they ask, eyes wide.


But in the night, she asks him to recite scripture to her. His chest is hairy, it's like passing out on someone's front porch with her face on the bristly doormat.

The words he says are loony gibberish, but his voice is like newspaper trucks rumbling by in the pre-dawn; his arms are a porch light and she the moth.


In the night, he touches his fingertips to her skin, and finds that she is smoother than a surplice. It is like being handed the bowl, for the sweet batter within.

He knows her history, the cafeteria line of her past lovers hovering like moondogs, but in her arms he feels that she is braille, and he the blind man.


People begin to notice changes.

She quits the club and takes up dancing at her kitchen sink.

He quits the ministry and finds himself suddenly mute, but his hearing improves.


Their friends are horrified.

"You've changed. I knew this would happen!" they say, eyes wide.


The pole dancer and the minister move away.

They live in a dinky place, but

They love each other.


Their neighbors smile, but regard them with withering scorn.

They think the couple are bohemians, and if there's a cat left in the local shelter, it must be because those two missed it.


She likes the cats for their physical grace.

He likes them for their silence.

Neither of them goes to clubs, or to church.


They make new friends.

The friends say, "One day at a time, keep coming back," and other loony gibberish.


The sun comes up, the sun goes down.

If they keep living on the Mobius Strip,

They may just find themselves yet.

__________

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Tower Ravens


( I wrote this a while back, but set it aside. Here it is now. )


I cannot bear kindness--

I might shatter

At the slightest gentle word.


Just pretend you think I'm pretty--

I'll leave a dollar

And some smaller coins stacked nice.


Let me count the Tower ravens--

And bring a cup

That's made of ice.


Bring my tea and silver blade--

Leave them solemn as a bird;

Place an apple on my napkin

And make sure I'm not disturbed.

___________

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Transgendered Cats



Transgendered cats become a problem.

The females prowl the alleyways all night, fighting and spraying the hell out of everything.

Meanwhile, the toms grow their hair long and preen like Grand Duchesses in the window seat.


Clergy become alarmed.

They urge people to buy dogs instead.


"It's all that catnip," says Mrs. Mumbly, deliciously scandalized.

"It's a sign of the end times," says Herbert Straight, with a knowing nod.


The transgendered cats march on Washington.

Being cats, this doesn't go smoothly, but eventually they all make it.


"Kitty, kitty," says the president.


"Oh please," say the cats.


America and the transgendered cats stare at each other.

Cats never blink, but,

Mrs. Mumbly swore that one of them winked at her, and that she'd never seen such brass.


Transgendered cats.

It's happening now.

Meow.

______

"W" is for.....

Scarlet has picked me for a meme. Gee, I had hoped that she would! Have you visited Scarlet at More Than A Feeling? If you haven't, trot your happy little buns over there. She's one neat Cuban Woman.

Here's the rules. I'm alla bout rules.

(If you would like to play, leave a comment on this post SAYING THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY and I will assign you a letter. Then post ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter on your blog. Explain the rules with your ten things and when others comment requesting a letter, assign one to them; thus, the chain continues.)

My letter is "W".

1.WORDS. Love 'em. Always have. I love the sound of them. I love finding out new ones and what they mean. They hide, you know. Some of the most beautiful ones slip shyly between the covers of books and wait there for someone to notice them. I like to discover them there, grinning up at me.

2.WRITING. Duh. It's a poetry blog. LOL. I have loved to write since I was a little bitty kid. I used to bug my father to let me use his old Royal typewriter. Then I would bang out little stories in which he was always the hero. I say bang out because I learned at Daddy's knee. He used to do some damage to those keys, for fear of a half-struck letter. He was a newspaperman. Clack clack clackety clack ding! Hi Daddy. I hope they've got a good daily up in Heaven!

3.WIT. Make me laugh and I'll follow you anywhere. There is also a play and movie called "Wit." It's about a college professor who is an expert on John Donne. She becomes terminally ill with cancer and comes to regret her isolated life. Near the end, her mentor offers to read Donne to her. She opts for Margaret Wise Brown's "The Runaway Bunny" instead. It is the greatest book ever written. If you haven't read it, borrow it from any three-year-old. Trust me on this.

4.WOOLLY SOCKS. It's February. I live in Michigan. I carry the mail. Nuff said?

5.WOODS. I find peace there, always. My father (Hi again Daddy!) loved to walk in the woods and would take me with him. It's a sweet and holy place. Crunch step crunch shuffle crunch sigh. yeah.

6.WISTFULNESS Well, you've read my poetry, right? RIGHT? Oh for Goddess sake. (head in hands). Well, here's the Cliff's Notes...it seems to me there is always something quite wonderful and lovely just around the next corner, or the last. It involves kisses, roses, a parting...and perhaps, standing on a stone bridge, watching the water float lazily by, underneath.

7.WINDOWS. No, Eggbert, not the operating system for computers. I mean glass ones, letting the light in, or out as the case may be. Windows with window seats just perfect for cats to nap or girls to read. Yellow windows, seen from outside, at evening. Tall windows, little windows, windows with glass so old that it has little ripples all through it. Frosted glass, and bevelled glass. Melissa Etheridge singing, Come to my window, I'll be home soon. Windows.

8.WOOF WOOFS. I love dogs. They love me. We are on the same level. Bosco and Molly are the head dogs around my house. They make sure no animals jump out of the television and attack their Mom. Molly especially dislikes televised llamas. Beats me, you'd have to ask her.

9.WOOFERS. When my Daddy died, (Hi again Daddy! Gee, I love ya!) he left me a small amount of money, and I bought a nice stereo with it. I like it. It has a super woofer you can turn on. I can sing Come tooo my windowwwwww, I'll be home soooooooon, as I do the dishes and shake my happy little ass. My father would have hated it. He would have said, turn that thing down! Ha!

10.HOME.(Note: it has been pointed out that this is not a "W" word. I blame this on agitators. LOL, I can be SUCH a birdbrain sometimes! Oh well, details baby! Onward...) I love my little house, it is my safe haven and my refuge. The dogs live here with me and they allow me on the couch and everything! My friend Kelly Dickson says that my father floats around, keeping an eye on me. When I leave for work each morning I say, "Bye, Daddy!" He was a neat guy. I hope they have Royal typewriters in Heaven. And books, lots of books. He'd love that. But not too much music. Boom boom boom, it's that beat, it gives me a headache, he'd say. Oh Daddy. Not a disco king, are ya? But I love you, I do. Even when you're a grumpy old bear. Clack, clack, ding! Oh look! Your wings!
_________



Monday, February 23, 2009

Watching Saint Anne



I have a friend who knows carpentry.

She is handy with awl and adz,

Lumber and level.

Her shop is heady with the scents of fresh wood

Stain and paint;

And her manicure is always perfect,

Demonstrating that there is no justice in the universe.


There, where the air is fragrant with epoxy and Emeraude,

She sees the finished item in all its beauty and utility

Before she ever puts blade to board.


If I were wood,

I would open to her like a morning smile,

Knowing I was in the hands of a master.


When I am opened by life, cut by words, hurt by love, stained by doubt,

I like to stand in my friend's workshop;

I find faith in the sawdust.

When I am feeling most fragile,

Lonely and

Tired,

I like to watch what she can do

That I can't.

I see grace at her fingertips,

Comfort and purpose in the continuing racket and mess.

____________

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beeville



Another one I literally dreamt up....


Beeville is the kind of place you move away from.

There are silos and an IGA out on Miller Road, out by the old assembly plant.

Its heavy chains loop around the gates like yarn in a girl's hair,

But of course,

Girls haven't worn yarn in their hair for decades.


Out at Beeville High,

The boys' football team is practicing--

They are called the Bucks

And bucked is what they are.

Ricky Lundquist is the best they can do;

The kids call him Fat Ricky

And the football squibs out of his fingers like a link sausage from the hand of an infant

Playing with its food at the IHOP down Highway 90.


The last time Beeville won anything,

It was the lady Bucks in 1990.

They rode their ancient bus to Chesaning and Fowlerburg,

And Becky MacGruder's hook shot would arc through the gyms like a bright planet in the winter sky.

She kicked ass,

And all the lady Bucks would hit the DQ on the way back,

The yellow bus bouncing over the pot holes in the lot

Like a happy drunken duck.


Becky MacGruder has kids of her own now.

They wear a lot of crap around their wrists and necks

And howl like the damned if made to stay home on a Saturday night.


Sometimes if the doorbell rings or the dog gets into something,

Becky will shift her laundry basket from a hip to the stairs

And go off down the hall just like she was driving the lane.

When she gets back,

With somebody's sweatshirt in her hand, plucked off the back of the couch or a kitchen chair,

She balls it up

And sinks it in the laundry basket from fifteen feet,

Nothing but plastic.

Beeville lady Bucks!

Yeah!

It's still on the sign out on Miller Road, even though the "a" in "ch mpions" has fallen off.

They locked up the title

On a crisp night in March--

Locked it up tight like the gates of the assembly plant,

And even Mr. MacGruder, who hardly ever said two words in a week,

Told his daughter how very proud of her he was.

____________

photo credit: Krista Hakola

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Best Of



Mama Zen made me aware of a contest being presented by Barking Mad , in which you can win a 250 dollar Target gift card by posting 5-10 of your favorite posts. Go see! Meanwhile, here are mine:


1. Fall Planting My friend Val's favorite of mine, along with


2. The Burn A poem that came out of my dreams, quite literally.


3. The Hill Is Closer To Heaven A simple little love poem I wrote for Helen T. It seems to me that those whose waters run deep, pay a price in isolation, sometimes. Along with Peace , the two best poems I wrote for her. No one deserved them more.


4. For Evelyn This poem is about Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White, written after I had read Paula Uruburu's excellent book "American Eve."


5. Crow In Love My friend Anne's favorite. Crows are my totem animal.


6. This list just has to include story poems. Shrinky's favorite, Demons, about some demons who go for a late night snack at Denny's, as well as Cupcake, about a little frosted cake who joins the army, and The Marlboro Man, a favorite of my friend Kelly Dickson, about unexpected changes in the life of the familiar advertising symbol.


7. And finally, my short story Blackbirds, about the tragic results of a love triangle between two Native American sisters and a white man.


Got a favorite? I'd love to know about it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Joan of Arc (Again)



Joan of Arc goes to a casting call.

They tell her she can be The Girlfriend.

She blinks.

Her armor reflects the harsh lighting as she says,

"I am a French national hero, and a saint besides.

I have led men into battle to fight and die.

I have been wounded and burned,

And you offer me the part of The Girlfriend?"


The man before her is bored.

There are a million young actresses who would leap on this job like rabid minks.

"So do you want the part or not?"


Joan of Arc rides her noble steed past Starbuck's.

Someone driving past in a pick-up truck honks the horn, yells "hey baby!" and whistles.

It is raining.


Joan of Arc sees her ex-girlfriend coming out of a women's bar on Harrison Avenue.

The same one who told her to take her "funky frog ass back to Quebec."

Joan of Arc is not Canadian.


Saint Teresa of Avila appears and finds Joan sitting on a bus bench, devouring a huge chocolate brownie.

She says, "Hiya, Toots. Nice horse. So...talk to me."


"Life sucks," says the Maid of Orleans.

"I'm unemployed, single and hormonal;

Everything around me seems trivial and unkind.

I feel that I was meant for more than this,

And that, perhaps, I have been born in the wrong time."


"Listen, chica," says Saint Teresa,

"You are more than your circumstances, finer than your failings, and there is honor and purpose in every breath you take.

Besides that, you are loved, more than you know."


"Aw g'wan," says Joan of Arc.

She raises an eyebrow.

"You're not going to start in about Jesus, are you?"


"Nope," says Saint Teresa of Avila. "It's just us girls here. Now fork over some of that brownie. You're such a pig."


Joan of Arc laughs around a mouthful, and breaks off a gooey hunk for Saint Teresa of Avila.

"Fuck you," says Joan of Arc, but she is smiling.

_____________




Friday, February 13, 2009

The Grocery War



Celery have launched a major offensive.

Crackers have dropped leaflets and jammed Radio Free Poultry.

Tomatoes have made a stand in an old department store...they may have enough gelatin prisoners to make some kind of deal.

A dazed mango wanders through the streets as loaves of bread rumble past on their way to the gravy front.

Bags of sugar patrol the skies.

In a house, a mother is making dinner for herself and her daughter.

"We must not do this, it is against the War Act," she says.

On the edge of the city, eggnog has gained a foothold.

Bacon has been subdued.

Some canned goods start up the walk towards a house...

___________

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sunny

(the picture on the right is of Sundance in 1987, taken by my landlady at the time. He was getting older then. I have been sad the past two days, and I suddenly realized why. It was 16 years ago yesterday, that Sundance passed away. )

This is a true story of two strays. In 1978, I was 23. I had landed in San Antonio, Texas, where I didn't know a soul, and I began to try to gain a foothold. I lived in a tiny little apartment on the ground floor, in the back of the building, across a dirt road from a seldom-used playground. At night, a small pack of loose dogs used to hang out there. In the daytime, one of them took to hiding underneath parked cars in the apartment lot. He was a beautiful dog, and I decided to try to coax him into being friends with me.


I would buy a pack of lunch meat and walk through the parking lot, making sure he was aware I had it. Then I would go into my apartment, but leave the door open. he was far too wary to come in unless there was a very good reason, and so I gave him one.


Bologna.


I would place a slice of bologna in the middle of the floor and then sit down and wait. Pretty soon, here would come the big handsome head, peeking around the door frame, looking longingly at the unattended meat. He would do some sort of canine calculation in his head, then dash inside to take the meat. Just as quickly, he would turn and dash back out to enjoy his morsel.


It took a while, but after a time, he would stay in the room with me for a bit. He seemed to have a war going on within him. He wanted to be liked, but he had also clearly learned to be careful. He began to allow me to pet him, but he would sit stock still and never really relax. Still, he was glad to have the food! And I was glad for the company.


After a few weeks, he was spending his days with me, then running off at night to be with his wild pals in the darkened playground. In the morning, there he would be again, wanting a cuddle and a snack.


After a couple of months, we moved to an upstairs flat a short distance away. In the day time, he would follow me everywhere. He even began to spend some of his nights at home. Our bond had begun to deepen.


Here is the part that makes me cringe for shame, even now. he wasn't used to human rules and things, and when he would commit some little transgression, I would treat him the same way I had been treated. I was unforgivably hard on him, yelling at him for these little mistakes.


Sundance--for that was the name I had given him...a fine cowboy name--had his own bed on the floor in my bedroom. One day I walked in and he was laying on it, and he cowered as I walked in. I was horrified. I realized that my dog was afraid of me. I sat down on the floor with him, took his big beautiful head in my arms, and told him I was sorry, and promised that he would never in his life have reason to fear me ever again. (I kept that promise.)


The first thing I did was to go to the used book store and look at a book about dogs. The book said, among a great many other things, to tell him something good about himself every day...that he might not understand the words themselves, but that he would understand the intention behind them. So, despite its feeling absolutely awkward to me at first, I did what the book said to do. Every day, I told him he was a handsome boy, a smart dog, a great dog. Today, you couldn't stop me from saying nice things to those I care for. But back then, I had to learn to do it. And I learned because of Sundance.


The dog who had been so wary, so careful, so unsure, became a dog who literally strutted. He thought nothing of flipping a guest's hand with his nose, to get them to pet him, because before too long, he simply expected to be adored! And why not? He was adorable indeed.


He was a very handsome fellow, and when we would go for walks, he would attract a lot of attention, especially from ladies. He loved it, the flirt! All of his life, he never lost his wild beginnings, and he would go off on night-time jaunts. In the morning, I would go search the neighborhood to find him, and more often than not, he had made a charming human friend, and I would find him smiling and full of himself, with her. (I would never dream of letting any of my dogs wander like that today...but that was a different time and a special dog. If I didn't let him wander every so often, he became impossible to live with, restless and unhappy.)


Sunny wasn't a dog who barked unless it was really necessary. He loved most people, and when he didn't like someone, I kept my distance from that person, too. So, when he woke me up in the middle of one night with his furious barking, I was sure a burglar or worse must be standing in my living room. Confused and panicked, I stumbled out of bed and grabbed the baseball bat I kept leaning against the wall for just such an emergency. Heart pounding, breathless and expecting the worst, I went stumbling into the living room of my upstairs flat, Louisville Slugger at the ready. What was the dire emergency, you ask? The downstairs people's cat had climbed the tree and was sitting on a branch outside the window. Ha!


Speaking of windows, Sundance had a little friend who lived next door. She and her little playmate would call up at the window, and Sunny would poke his head out through a round hole he had made in the screen (did I mention that rules were forgotten by that time?) and they would talk to him and he would smile and wag up a storm. He loved children dearly all of his life.


After six years in San Antonio, we both moved back to Michigan. I stopped letting him wander as of old, but he still found ways to escape. Late one night, I was laying around, watching some movie on tv with a friend. I had fallen asleep while my friend finished the movie. I was awakened by the telephone. A local policeman informed me that he had my dog. I said, no you don't, my dog is right here at the foot of the bed. Well....a quick check proved the policeman right. he had my dog! Someone had forgotten to latch the door at the bottom of the stairs (another upstairs flat), and he had gone down the steps, nosed the door open and gone wandering. I wonder if "Born Free" was playing in his head! the officer told me he had seen Sunny trotting along, had called him, and he had come straight over to him and sat down expecting a cuddle. So the officer loaded Sundance in the back seat of his cruiser and let him sit next to his desk at the station while he called me up. I told the policeman i didn't have a car, so it would be a while before i could walk down to the station to claim him. "No problem," he assured me, and fifteen minutes later, here comes a police cruiser with my dog in the back seat, happy as a clam. The cop opened the door and out he bounded. If dogs could say "woohoo!" he would have. I can say with certainty that no other dog of mine has ever been picked up by the police on a Friday night!


A year or so after that, I moved in with my new significant other, who had understood that to court me, meant to court my dog as well. Chew sticks were the order of the day. The first time I came home and kissed my (human) love before greeting Sundance, he sat back on his haunches and let out the most unusual howl/moan I have ever heard in my life! He was insulted, I had apparently forgotten that I was HIS!


Sundance appointed himself my son's protector. he would go on and stay with him until he fell asleep, before coming back to my side. Joe went through a period of being afraid of ghosts, until I assured him that ghosts are afraid of big dogs. Problem solved.


Even a dog as magnificent as Sundance gets old, to my great regret. He went deaf, but I devised a series of hand signals to communicate with him, and anyway, people always noticed that we had an almost psychic link anyway. I have never had that feeling of "we two are one" with any other living being but Sundance. Also, I took to sometimes saying his name very clearly, right into his ear, in case he could still hear it, and would like to.


He had a couple of strokes and several time i thought the end was probably near, but he always pulled through. He always had the heart of a lion, my Sunny. And for my part, i just couldn't let him go. He had taught me how to love, how to be kind, how to open my heart. How could there be life without him?


Eventually, though, I saw that it was time. On the last day of his life, he spent a long time laying in Joe's room as if saying goodbye. In the evening, i took him to the vet's, and came home with only his leash in my hand, which I still have. I had never cried so hard in my life. I howled. I thought i would break apart. My grief consumed me and turned the world grey and meaningless. It was during that time that I heard a song on the radio, by Neil Diamond,called "The Story Of My Life." It's on the music player here at Word Garden. That's my song for Sunny.


In time I realized that the wonderful things I had learned because of Sunny were still alive, in ME. And that's when I began to recover.


Flash forward ten years, to 2003: I had a psychic reading, and the gal told me that Sunny was there, and gave details that confirmed it. "He's such a charmer!" she exclaimed. Yup. Ha! Anyway, she said that he was concerned about "the spotted dog". I said I didn't know any spotted dogs. She told me to watch for one, that the spotted dog was important. A short time later, I was in the pet store and saw a Border Collie puppy, with spotted legs. I bought him on the spot. That's Bosco, light of my life. Thank you, Sunny. See you again, huh? My hero. *sigh*

__________




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Lioness Lies Sick


( Written after watching a program about a pride of lions whose best huntress is bitten by a snake and lies in the shade of a bush, trying to recover. It broke my heart.)


A lioness lies sick.

Her cubs are gone.

She waits alone.


Vultures rise by day--

By night, hyenas mock


Because a lioness lies sick.

Her cubs are gone.

She waits alone


To rule once more,

Or turn to bone.

_____________

Monday, February 9, 2009

Return Of The Succubus



Some of you may recall that the succubus in this poem first appeared in The Sad Demon. Well....she's baaaaaaack!


The succubus blows her new career as a real estate agent.

She shakes her long shiny black hair and examines a nail as she says,

"These two chowder heads, they fell asleep in their chairs as I was discussing points and inspections,

And well, all of my old instincts just came right back.


"The guy was easy. His head lolled to the side and his bill cap fell to the floor like a white flag.

It made me want to put on jackboots and march through the Arc de Triomphe!

Wouldn't you know, though, his spirit was dull and practical, like something you'd find in a hardware store, if I ever went to those.


"But her! She gave this sexy half-distressed little sigh as I plucked her soul like the pit from a fresh juicy peach!"

The succubus goes all misty.

"What was I thinking, giving that up to pitch real estate?

FIXER-UPPER! NEAR SCHOOLS AND STORES! PRICE REDUCED! NEW CARPET AND TILE! MUST SEE! MOTIVATED SELLER!

How am I supposed to feel good about myself, doing this for a living?


She yawns, then continues.

"I have a friend who was an incubus.

He was a fine dancer, but went mad from entering the dreams of straight women.

Now he spends his time riding city buses and mumbling."


The succubus gets up from her chair and stretches, unfolding her great black wings like a bat's.

Then, sighing lightly, she flips her lit cigarette into the waste basket, where it ignites the discarded Thank You For Not Smoking sign.


"I'm off!" she cries brightly, as grey tendrils begin to curl in the air around her slumped erstwhile clients.

"Sweet dreams," she chirps, and with a wink

She is out the door and gone.

_____________

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lemonade Award



Thank you to both Tracey-Ann and Grace Dewitt for giving me the Lemonade Award!






The Lemonade Award is for sites, which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
Rules for the award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.2. Nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Nominate your favorites and link to this post.


Ten blogs? Um, no. But I do nominate these three:


Riot Kitty




Poutalicious




and Gillian!




Friday, February 6, 2009

Sampler

Peanut butter is the preferred food of saints;
Devils are keen on cranberries.

Fives and sevens denote disaster;
The ace of spades, mystery.

If I could organize each beat of my heart
Like spools in a drawer,
Then I could mend love
Then I could darn devotion.

Red is always passion;
Keep yellow close for hope.

But remember, rain starts on the rooftop,
And two strands twined make rope.
____________

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Paul Newman's Eyes



An astronaut

Moves into a mobile home outside of Keller, Arizona;

If she wants to visit Cindy's Salon and get her hair highlighted,

She has to unscrew her helmet

As if she were a big white jar of ketchup.


One day the postman, with evidently nothing better to do,

Asks her, "What was it like on other planets?"

She tells him it was the same as here,

Except that the tv programs were a little different.


She no longer attends the tedious NASA reunions;

When they would start to go on about the honor of being a part of the space program,

The fork would slip from her big gloved hand

And she would fall asleep in her soup.


"All I ever really wanted,

Was to go someplace where I could hear myself think."

But now her thoughts devour her

And she can never get far enough away

To make them finally shut up.


"You look like an ice cream bar with legs," says a little boy in the Kwik Mart.

She stands there,

With the fluorescent lights reflecting in her visor,

And remembers the first time she ever saw the earth from space;

It was so blue, like

Paul Newman's eyes,

With clouds sprayed gracefully across its face

Like a woman's hair on a windy day.


She clomps out to her car

In her great awkward boots,

And grips the wheel with her fat white fingers,

Then just sits there.


Keller, Arizona

Is a place where a lady can cry in her car

And not be stared at as if she'd just flown in from Mars;

And though it is so dry there,

It is still part of the blue,

And it is sometimes windy

As well.

_________

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Burn


As some of you know, my creative urge has been extinguished for about a week. Since I operate in something akin to dog years, for me that's a long time. But I quite literally dreamt this one up, about an hour ago. Not in lines, but then, dreams are their own special poetry.


In my dream, there was blood...

Bright red, like words you can't take back.

It was woman's blood, that routine and slightly shameful miracle,

And it was mine.

That's how I know it was a dream--

If I bled now

It could only be tears,

Colorless and common as salt.


In my dream, I'd been with someone else...

Someone nicer than you, probably,

But when I put my mouth to her in that familiar prayer, she was calm as a Madonna,

And so I came back here to you.

You had ordered breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes drowned in butter

--so unhealthy and so sweetly delicious--

And though you'd clearly sated yourself while I was away,

It was the sort of easy, loving gesture you're so talented at

When your heart is generous and your claws are sheathed.


In my dream, I wanted to tell you

--as I trailed along after Your Majesty in the way that believers must do--

That I was so glad to be back with you...

That it felt like coming home, even if the house is on fire,

Even if nothing can be saved,

Even if the next kiss has to be the last.


When I woke up,

On cool white sheets in the silent night,

I knew it would be all right;

I knew why unrepentant witches smile through the smoke with their hair on fire;

Despite blood, belief, sweetness and loss,

I'd seen the face I love

And the burn in my bones was back.

__________

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Rules


It is with tremendous pleasure that I present a marvelous poem written by my friend AnneElena Foster. I've been a fan of her evocative, fearless poetry for a long while, and now it is my privilege to host my friend and her work here at Word Garden.


The Rules


by AnneElena Foster


These are the rules she lay before me:

You must adore me fully.

You must answer when I call.

You must come when you are summoned.


You must open like a blossom

That would deny me nothing

Pouring forth your treasured nectar

Into my expectant hand.


You must wait for my indulgence.

You must show your gratitude.

You must open like a flower

That has never known reluctance.


You must bear fruit like groves in summer

You must wait patiently for harvest

And when I come to you with hunger

You must feed me where I stand.

_____________