Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Childish Question



When I was young,

And the sun was higher in the sky,


I wanted to see

The Cathedral of Notre Dame


And the

Little gypsy dancer.


I wanted to be

A small white goat wearing a bell;


I wanted to wander

Where my hooves would echo with the remains of saints.


I have always done this--

Mixed the sacred and the profane;


Goats are goats--

Music, to them, is all the same.


So now here I am,

And the sun has gone much lower.


I would still like to meet

That gypsy dancer

Before I meet God.


Do you think

I can get to Paris from here?


And can you tell me

Is there really sanctuary


With God and all His bells

Or in the changing sky of a woman's heart?

________

Monday, September 28, 2009

Go, Me






My name is Shay and I'm an alcoholic. One drink is too many and a thousand are not enough. Through AA and reliance upon my Higher Power, I have stayed sober. One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time.






Today (Sept. 29) marks 24 years of continuous sobriety for me. I am grateful for the grace and the gift I've been given.


________

Fifty-Eight Degrees



Everyone woke up complaining...

It is fifty-eight degrees,

Damp,

And windy.

Everyone else is complaining,

But you--

You would have loved it.


When the leaves'

Little sugar-making machines

Shut down,

Well then they're on stage

Like a bunch of rotten little Camilles.


Oh but I can understand

The loss of something essential.

Not being a leaf,

I write poems.


Today it is fifty-eight degrees,

Damp,

And windy.

Everyone is complaining,

But you--

You would have loved it

And I--

I would have loved you,

And the chill, windy day

As well.

_______

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Capricorn Muse



Scarlet has given me five words to work into a poem: muse, bliss, charm, metamorphosis and the Spanish word secreto.


I searched for my muse in the folds of a summer morning

And found her,

Wrapped in crows' feathers,

Kissing a stone.


I gave my voice to her hair, and it whispered in her ear,

"Come with me.

Let me take you home."


"I am home," she insisted,

Though nothing grew there but night.


I tried every charm and word,

Hoping to be heard by Our Lady of December,

Despite the wind,

Despite

Everything the stars had told me.


I melted like a candle and covered her with my desire--

I watched her face,

Praying for metamorphosis and a bliss forever withheld

But which never stops calling,

Despite distance,

Despite

Every dream of doorways, leading no place.


Summer lasted five minutes--

We twined and bloomed in secret.

To me she said, "My Love, you have opened me like a flock of dark pages;

Read me to myself,

Burn me so that the light I give reveals us naked, needing, and we'll call that our poetry.

Let there be nothing else,

And then you must leave me."


I found my muse in the folds of a summer morning,

Wrapped in crows' feathers,

And when I woke I found I had been kissing a stone.


She left me a message written on a bloody rose, which said,


"Los secretos son el humo,


El amor es cenizas,"


And when I left I was once again alone.

_______________

translation: "secrets are smoke, love is ash"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chloe, Considered Dangerous



Chloe is back.


Chloe, considered dangerous,

Uses a shiv to turn her magazine into an origami tiger.


They both sit equally still.

They both breathe softly, in

And

Out.


Chloe has killed golfers,

Disrespected judges,

Burned down the Mulberry Place Mall,

And slept with both the Succubus

And



Her eyes are a calm green,

Like new leaves in Spring.


She is posed like a Buddha,

And she is nothing if not

Pragmatic.


Chloe, considered an escape risk,

Waits for the hurricane.


Lover leave the light on, she thinks,

And a thousand women stir in their sleep,

Shifting

Counter-

Clockwise.

________

Friday, September 25, 2009

Perchance To Dream






"To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;


For in that sleep of death what dreams may come


When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,


Must give us pause." --Hamlet, Act III, Scene I




The Succubus gets a job at a sleep clinic.


She dispatches volunteer subjects by entering


Their dreams and helping herself to their souls.


She doctors the data and gets rid of the evidence,


Then attaches herself to every electrode she can find.


Bless the gadgetry and current that brings


Chloe back; homicidal, perfect, eager, hers.


_________

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Promise And A Certainty



September

Has never been very kind to me--

Arriving on the heels of the

Too-bright

Too-long

Summer,

Whether I would like for it to do,

Or not.


September seems to make people keen to say goodbye,

Whether they had planned to or not,

And whether it is wise to or not,

Including me.

I have said goodbye to almost everyone and everything at one time or another in my life

And so have you;

Or you will do, soon enough.


If I keep breathing,

I will heal.

So will you, if you are needing to.

October will come, crisp and sweet,

And I will think,

What was I so sad about,

In September?

There will be new friends,

And yes, probably a new love in time.


Enjoy them.

Savor the long nights near Christmas,

And the Spring beyond, which comes whether we believe that it will,

Or not.

These new darlings will say goodbye too, but hush, and kiss them anyway;

They will leave, it's true,

But not until

September.

__________


Thank you to Gillian, who reminded me that what turns back, will in time move forward again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Henna Tattoo



So these are the moon and stars I receive from you

My adored and true--

You whose love is not love,

But only vagary;


So these moon and stars are what's left of you,

And they'll hardly do--

Just a gorgeous and temporary

Henna tattoo.

____________

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Good Morning



Good morning, sleepyhead.

Whether there is

A vase full of roses on the table,

Whether there is

An open box--

Half chocolates, half wrappers,

With one empty white paper on the floor;

Whether there is

A magnum in a silver bucket of melted ice,

Whether there is

A tray set by the door,

Good morning, sleepyhead,

There are only so many more.

_______
Thank you to Cloudia, who unknowingly gave me the "good morning" inspiration. :-)
________

Friday, September 18, 2009

Anniversary



Anniversary.

Warm restaurant.

Such happiness.

She takes her hand.

Candles burn in bowls,

A baby grows in her womb.

"At last."

Smiles.

Tears.

Joy.

Good food.

Outside, leaves, concrete, a chill.

They kiss and hold hands.

Voices behind.

"Yo, what you need is a man."

Hospital.

Wife and baby gone.

Devastation.

Pain beyond bearing.

Anniversary.

___________


True story.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Romantic




My love,


If some small thing that I have done has charmed you,




If you think to yourself, how sweet, only she would do that...


Remember that one day, probably soon, when we hate each other,




The very same thing will set your teeth on edge and make you want to bury an ax in my skull.


You will complain about it,




Describing it to your friends, and the friends will exclaim that such an action is indeed


Unnatural


Unbelievable


Horrifying.




My darling,


Someday soon, when loathing and disgust have reached their peak,


Perhaps we will laugh it off,




Perhaps we will forget each other entirely.


But maybe,




After enough others' embraces have filled us with an unbearable ennui,


After you have forgotten the details of the little thing I did today,




Perhaps then we will both receive the heavy and impossible guest Regret;


And if we do,




Despite its being laughably too late,


We will know




That it really was true love we had.


____________
Mary Pickford wallpaper by Sylvie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Survey Course On Common Fruits



Plums are the preferred fruit of judges;

Lemons denote clergy's hauteur.

Cranberries are consistent with gradual losses,

While limes are for lovers who conceal their hearts.


Guavas are for girls in white summer dresses--

Their sisters insist on strawberries with cream.

Black cherries are grim predictors of disaster--

Papayas are for music, and the language arts.


Never turn your back on the tiny kiwi--

The industrious gather apples with serious mien;

Lovers give oranges to their faithless darlings,

Who tear them, section by section, apart.

__________

Monday, September 14, 2009

For Those Who Kiss Gypsies



Never cross a gypsy.

Never break her heart.

The moon will split and fall

Like silver coins into a fountain--

Beware the closing in of night.


Never kiss a gypsy.

Never think you can just walk if you do.

All wolves are sisters--

They are silent, so silent,

But nonetheless eloquent in the end.


One thing I forgot to say--

All women...

All women...

Are gypsies.

All liars will be found out,

And all paths home are long, uncertain and poorly lit.

_________

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Talkies



Into a silent house with orderly shelves

Came me

With the big gesture

And a book of ghost stories--

Getting into my mother's jewelry and crowing,

"I'm a star!!!"

You couldn't shame it out of me.


Always,

I made necklaces from rain drops--

And where the wooden fence met the back of the garage,

That was my plantation

Where I bossed my puppets about

And no one demanded a sensible word all day.


Chokecherry wine is bitter,

And while I loved the odd scent on Daddy's breath when he picked me up and held me,

Bottles are never becoming for a lady.


My movie goes on and on

And I have survived,

Though Daddy and my first love didn't.


Always, growing up, I insisted

That I had a missing sister-twin

And demanded to know where she was.


Now I have found her.

She is me.


Living is a sketchy business,

And I'm sorry for the ones I have had to leave behind;

But when I lay my dreams out like fancy dresses,

Put them on and call them poems,

"Ta-da!

I'm a star!!!"

And you can't take that away from me.

_______


Photograph: Tracey Power as Mary Pickford. Last line courtesy of George and Ira Gershwin.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tanqueray



Little damage-flower,

All razor blades and roses,

Think my name

And I will be there to hold you

As smooth as the inside of a shell.


Little oriole,

In your hanging nest,

I have smuggled in a cat and some Tanqueray.

Send down the rope ladder--

Let me in.


I know

That you are beyond saving,

But let's get drunk and call the cat our familiar;

It will be magic enough for me

To be happy for a minute and not get caught.


Little smoker,

I love your flame.

Tomorrow,

There will still be water enough to walk into.

Tomorrow,

I will have to save somebody else--

Maybe even

Myself--

But tonight,

Let me kiss your cheek, your lips, your hands,

While the gin and your room and your skin

Are warm and soft and not yet gone.

___________


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Disappointed Teddy Bear



The disappointed teddy bear says,

"I was supposed to be cuddly, to sleep on a child's bed, guarding her dreams."

The unfulfilled flower pot says,

"I was supposed to bear beautiful flowers to line the garden, but instead I am upside down and stacked."

The teddy bear's heart is as heavy as the rest of him.

The flower pot's heart is full, but only with emptiness.

This is why it rains in the garden--

It is the only way they can cry.

________


Photograph by Daryl Edelstein. Once again, Daryl's photography has moved me to write a poem to go with the picture she created. Click on the title of the poem to visit her original post!

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Dream Of Sevens



I am the only one.

When I blow on the candle next to my bed,

It lights and burns.

When I pour water from the pitcher to the bowl,

It makes the morning come.

Come and kiss me,

Right now.

By the time my pen meets the page,

I'll be gone.

It's what I've tried to tell you all along--

I am a condition of atmosphere.

Mine are the lips,

Mine are the hands

That can both create and calm your gorgeous storm.

I am the Queen Bitch your demons are afraid of.

I am the sweet dream who gets up and makes you breakfast.

I am the rain off a bird's wings,

And I am the ridiculous girl who'll believe any outlandish thing

You press to my ear with your tongue.

I am all of these.

I am the one,

The only one

Who loves you this fiercely

This helplessly

This endlessly.

I am the girl with a gift, and I long to place it in your hand,

Closing your fingers around it with my own;

If only you would reach out

And let me.

_________

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Feline Fairy Tale



A cat may look at a king,

At anyone or

Anything.


Late last night and the night before,

I was here, though you did not

See me.


Little robbers at my door.

Such thievery

Pleases me.


Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?

Waiting under the branches from night

Until day.


I've been to London to look at the Queen.

After checking to be sure that the king

Was away.


Make a cat your confessor, tell her your sin,

You'll come barefoot through the dawn

Calling my name


A cat won't blink when you do it again.

Crying, "gato amante!

You heard and you came!"

__________
Photograph by Daryl Edelstein. Click on the title for the link!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mrs. Icarus



For months, Icarus takes up the entire garage and driveway to build a pair of enormous wings.

He enlists the opinions of his guy friends.

Six or seven of them stand around on a Saturday afternoon, staring at Icarus' half-built contraption.

"I'd use balsa," pronounces one.

"No, your balsa wood is too light. I'd go with your teak or your cherry wood," opines another.

"Or mahogany," intones a third, and six bill caps swivel toward him scornfully. "Or not."


"Look, shithead, it's not a fuckin' flyin' desk," explains the fattest one, helpfully.


Mrs. Icarus hardly sees her husband, and when she does, he is buried under a layer of sawdust and epoxy.

She asks him, "How's it going out there?"

He says something about struts and heads to the refrigerator.


Icarus' work-in-progress merits spreads in Amateur Aviation Monthly and Cockpit.

Icarus receives advice from any number of men, all beginning with, "What you've got to do is..." or "What you've got to understand is..."


There is a lot of nodding and placing of feet firmly apart.

A lot of rather hairy arms get crossed, or reach to point out a flaw.

There is a lot of calling each other "dumb motherfucker", followed by hearty laughter.


Finally the day arrives when Icarus is ready to try the new wings he has labored so long on.


He soars, up with the birds!

He rises, closer and closer to the sun!

Then the special wax he ordered from the J.C. Whitney catalog melts and he and his wings drop like a piano in a cartoon.


"Dumb motherfucker," say his friends.


The following year, Mrs. Icarus decides to build some wings.

She works on them whenever she has a minute.

Her friends ask her if she is okay, if she is keeping busy.

"Mhm," she says, and sips her coffee.


Mrs. Icarus uses stuff she had in her sewing basket,

Some sheets that she found on sale,

And Feather-Brite from the Joanne Fabric store.


Lots of Feather-Brite.


So, one Tuesday night in June, after work, after dinner, she decides to try out her wings.

Her dog thinks this is a fine idea.

Her son says, "Don't crash. I need a ride to the mall."

Mrs. Icarus kisses them both and up she goes.


She stays up.


A dozen bill caps turn toward the sky, and their owners are finally speechless.

Their dozen wives look up and shriek and smile and wave like maniacs.


Mrs. Icarus waggles her wings at them.


Upon landing, there is laundry to fold, and a dog to be walked.

There is a child to be driven to the mall.

He lets her pull right up to the front entrance where all his friends can see. This is astonishing.


"Have fun, Daedalus," she says as he opens the passenger door.

She knows better than to try to kiss him, but he does turn around for a moment to give her a wink.

He is fourteen.

He is proud of his mom.


She pulls away from the curb smiling, happy in the knowledge of what it feels like to fly.

________

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September



It turned out to be a day just like this one--

The sky that impossible September blue,

And the summer growing sleepy, as if June, July and August had been a long luxurious meal.


That morning,

You lay your clothes carefully on the wet grass of the bank,

Like a blanket over a sleeping child.


As you stepped into water and fog,

What was it you hoped to find as the chill found your ankles, your knees, your shoulders?


Why didn't I wake up?

Why didn't you come find me, and crawl in beside me, still wearing your chains and charms from the night before?


How could I not have been there when the water fanned your hair?

I could not help and will never understand.

Each year I watch the water darken these poems as I sail them across this accommodating element

To one whose heart has always been

And will always be

Twin to my own.

__________

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear Girl



One day, you will forget about her--

The one whose voice animated your whole world.

You will no longer hear her,

Nor even listen in the hopes that you might.


Don't let anyone tell you

That every season's roses are the same.

She made you happy in summer--

You, who loves the ice,

And the long nights.


One day you will forget her

And be poorer for the forgetting.

One day you will put her behind you, and be free to do anything you like.

And then what?

Oh dear girl...

Then nothing,

Just nothing at all.

__________