Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dining Car



I took my eyes out of my head and set them in cups, like eggs.



Look at them, I complained.

They are like library lions, guarding the doors from the steps,

And the steps are sinister,

Always rising.



I seek the sun inside an egg shell,

I don't even tap with my wrench,

I float,

Like the heavens over a corn field at night...

But it is the corn field in motion,

Not the stars.



Look,

My baby is blind.

Look,

How my eyes sit paired, set before the morning with a linen napkin lying next to them, an adored and lazy lover.

Reach out,

Splay fingers in empty air like prayer.

Sense the scion settling in,

Wearing a summer suit,

Arriving refreshed,

Combed, cologned,

And hungry.

_________

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For Annie



Zebra are seen mainly in dreams,

With licorice stripes--

And bodies of cream--



Their jewelry box hooves

Are made from the moon--

And their manes were lately

Bristles on brooms.



You can take off their heads

And fill them with clouds--

If you fill them with coins, they weigh five thousand pounds.



Lions like stars--

So they hunt in the sky--

But the zebra are hiding

Behind your closed eyes.



Zebra are seen mainly in dreams--

In the morning, they follow the sun--

When its warmth is felt, their cream bodies melt,

Then, my dear, away they run.

_______

for One Shot Wednesday

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Seven Things



Sioux has saddled me with given me the Stylish Blogger Award. This means I must spill seven things about myself. Here goes:

My seven favorite poets:

1. Emily Dickinson
2. Pablo Neruda
3. Frederico Garcia Lorca
4. Joy Jones
5. Edgar Allan Poe
6. Walt Whitman
7. Christina Rossetti

Seven books that changed my life in some way:

1. "Lady Chatterly's Lover" by D.H. Lawrence
2. "Tess Of The D'Urbervilles" by Thomas Hardy
3. "Jude The Obscure" also by Thomas Hardy
4. "Keeping You A Secret" by Julie Anne Peters
5. "East Of Eden" by John Steinbeck
6. "The Wounded Breakfast" by Russell Edson
7. "The Runaway Bunny" by Margaret Wise Brown
Nope, no self-help books or religious tomes.

Seven women I am dying to kiss:

1. Never mind, but she knows who she is!
2. Emmylou Harris
3-7. there is no 3 through 7

My seven favorite possessions:

1. my books
2. my couch
3. my netbook
4. my Joan Jett barbie
5. my favorite old white sweater
6. Sundance's old leash
7. my three cards from Beatrice (yes, I know, suckerrrrrr)

1 book and 6 movies that made or make me bawl:

1. "Pages For You" by Sylvia Brownrigg
2. "Ordinary People"
3. "Rocky" (Adrienne!!!!!!!)
4. "The Spitfire Grill"
5. "The Crying Game"
6. "The Bridges Of Madison County" (the movie)
7. anything with a hero dog in it

Seven Songs I love:

1. "Memory" from Cats
2. "Gimme Dat Ding" by the Pipkins
3. "Comin' Back To Me" by Jefferson Airplane
4. "Marcie" by Joni Mitchell
5. "Michelangelo" by Emmylou Harris
6. "AC/DC" by Joan Jett
7. "She Moved Through The Fair" (Irish traditional)

Seven things I would not miss if they vaporized tomorrow:

1. professional football
2. reality television
3. the republican party
4. boom cars
5. rap and hip hop
6. guy talk
7. frantic announcers on commercials

Seven things I would like to be, but won't be:

1. prettier
2. out of debt
3. living next door to Emmylou Harris
4. crash landed on the Planet Of The Lesbian Poetry Lovers
5. able to see one more game at Tiger Stadium with my father
6. slimmer
7. satisfied

I pass this on to Mama Zen, Hedgewitch, Lolamouse, Raven, and Ellen.

That's all, folks!

In The Hospital Cafeteria, All Unbidden

In the hospital cafeteria, all unbidden,

Miss Aqua Net Extra Hold at the next table tells me,



"You're using way too much salt."



I turn to a pillar, shaker in hand.



I smile.

"Why, thank you Pinocchio."

A practiced flourish of the wrist brings a white rain.

I look back.



She has gone back to attacking her salad.



Longevity runs in my family, but,

I would rather go down,

Back into the earth;

Give me all the seasons now,

Cos, dearie, for what it's worth--

I have no wish to linger on,

To go quietly,

To fail slowly,

To grow old.

___________

for One Shoot Sunday

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Got Featured :-)



I've been featured at Dani's haiku love songs. A bit ironic, I know, as I famously hate haiku, but I love Dani's blog, having found her through One Shot Poetry. And I'll be dipped in shinola, Coal Black is in on the fun, too!

Please go see. Dani has done a really nice job on the post, and I am honored that she wanted to feature the Word Garden, Coal Black's House Of Pain, and me. Thanks, girl!

_____

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sad News

Today I came home from work to discover that my beloved doggy, Bosco, can't see. It's a result of his recently diagnosed diabetes, but it came on so very suddenly. He's happy, and is cheerfully doing his best, but his mom is sad and upset.

So, forgive me if there isn't a new poem for a bit, or if I don't come by and comment as I normally do. And thank you from the bottom of my heart to my thoughtful and dear friends who have already lent their support and information. We love you and we are grateful.

xo

Shay and Bosco

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rant At 8 A.M.



I sat in the corner at AJ's Cafe,

With a biscuit on a shishkabob skewer, and a x-large coffee full of caffeine;

It spoke. It went:

Double, double,

Toil and trouble.

Drink me.



I'm your Alice, sugar.

I sat in the corner on a wooden bench at a wooden table,

And became a tree spirit.

My limbs suddenly grew the boardinghouse reach, and I rudely swiped shit from other tables,

Cracking blackberries like walnuts,

Delighting in the screams and inventive new curse words.



People stared but wouldn't approach me.

I sat in the corner at AJ's, writing a new poem--

The page began pale as a virgin bride, but I filled it up with bad notions, backtalk, bullshit and beauty so sharp the baristas wept.

Then it got up and flew,

Its still-white wings waving at me,

Its mother,

With my head of flapping crows, I use no product,

I am a feathered Medusa,

A vintage hat full of crafty crazy,

Here,

Let me set it on your head,

You will hear it sing.



Maybe it was mermaids, or somebody's ipod.

I sit at AJ's Cafe on a Wednesday morning--

I wait like judgement,

I idle away the hours,

I am just a girl,

I used to be sweet.

Pour out that lo-fat decaf bathwater, baby,

Come over here,

Live a little--

Drink me.

_________

Monday, April 18, 2011

For The Thief With Stormy Hair



In the Night Garden, between trailing vines,

Against a wall of brick--

Dark brick--

The color of an imperfectly healed wild heart,

Find the Thief With Stormy Hair.



I turn my hands, and dark orioles rise from my palms,

Into a sky of black--

Rich black--

Like the shirt she wears, then loses like a dream,

Offering me the stars, and her dusky kiss.



I want to climb the bricks like a Morning Glory,

Reach out and softly twine around her,

Bringing the rain every time we touch--

The orioles know,

My devotion is helpless, I go to her as if I were a spirit compelled--

I love her.

That is all anyone needs to know.

________

for STWIASD

photograph: Charlotte Gainsbourg

submitted for One Shot Wednesday

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homecoming


When robots are born, their mothers are machines.



This is not to say that they are lacking in any way.



Floating in the aquasphere in the mid-levels,

New robots are happy--

They revolve like eggs in a pool,

They hear Mozart in the humming workings beyond the walls.



Then, goopy and stunned, they are carried head-first into production.

Some become domestics.

Some, soldiers.

Others, traffic signals, or automatic nannies.



Always, they dream of escalators.

Sometimes, when switched to stand-by, they imagine they are being carried up, returning.

For some, this brings terror and electrical malfunction, purposeless flailing and an alarming grinding within.

In others, the notion is sweet and sought-after,

Becoming stronger,

Like the siren addiction of lubricants.



These latter begin to falter--

They park the children in the underground reserved space,

And put the Chrysler into bed and sing it Irish lullabies.



Finally, they are taken out of service and sent back to base section.

They rise without effort, like buns,

Where it is warm from constant rotation.

They touch the passing steel with their alloy fingertips, going by--



They think,

"How like me,

Smooth and silver,"

And are accepted back,

Perfect match.

______

for One Shoot Sunday

Photograph by James Rainsford

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Moonlit Lullaby



So restless was the wind,

It rushed across the sky, then back again--

Just to end where it had been...

Restless wind.



So sorrowful was the moon,

First full, then half, then quarter shewn--

A sad and silver fair quadroon...

Sorrowful moon.



Restless child of shifting sky,

Four faces filled with passing sorrow--

Calm and soothe, beg or borrow...

This little moonlit lullaby.

________

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dem Bones



Dr. Loomis sought to understand the skeletal structure of the human arm and hand.



Why does the upper arm have just one long bone (the humerus),

While the forearm boasts two (the radius and ulna)?

Further, why does this progression expand and bloom into five phalanges, or fingers?



Consider the humerus first, the doctor advises his young students.

It springs from the shoulder and, in turn, from the torso, as solid and utilitarian as a wagon wheel.

The simple single bone (he continues),

Facilitates the straightforward actions of warfare or farming:

Thrust.

Cut.

Bury.

Reap.



Why does this simplicity give way to ambivalence?

(No useful postulations issue from the students' gallery.)

Perhaps the radius and ulna reflect the conflicting urges to grasp and to draw back.

Combined with the gender-based, inherent split in all bones--

The masculine "robust" and the feminine "gracile"--

We have, clearly, a limb at odds with itself, shaking apart, disintegrating into ever more numerous shoots and branches.

Fine for botany, observes Dr. Loomis dryly (eliciting a ripple of superior chuckles from his charges),

But it will hardly do for human anatomy.



The double bones of the forearm may suffice for slightly more complex motions,

Such as operating a weaver's shuttle, or manipulating the mechanisms of a weapon,

But, when speaking of finer tasks,

(For example):



Writing a letter to inform that a loved one has died,

Or,

Touching a lovers' skin, puzzling whether silence denotes contentment or ennui,



These things require the bizarre profusion of digits at limbs' end,

A removal from what is really understood,

And distance from the rational mind, locked in its bony case.



With this,

Dr. Loomis rejects medicine and turns to astrology, religion, and superstitious rite.

"People die,

Lovers leave,"

He tells the unfinished faces looking up at him, as his students pause in their note taking.

"I haven't the god damnedest idea why."



Then, he crumbles,

Collapsing onto the single wooden chair beside the dais,

His tired face hidden in his folded arms with their troika of perplexing, vexing, ridiculous bones.

_______

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Russian Love Story



I brought you a garden where Winter had hidden--

It came drawn by two draft horses, strong and dumb,

Like the Cossack hearts I had made them from.



The Siberian ice pleased you, breaking beneath your sable boots--

Little frozen birds from the afterworld

Arrived to adorn your fingers like feathered burls.



If I had just one wish,

It would be to lie beside you like moving water--

I want to tear myself continuously on the edges of your ice.

Sick of loving dull round stones,

I want your sharpness--

Over millennia, I want to be dissolved entirely

By your face,

Your eyes,

Your voice.



I brought a garden where winter had hidden,

To your frost-sheathed doors, shut against the Spring--

Concealed within was the canny vixen,

As silent as snow, as soft as linen.

________

for One Shot Wednesday 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dolphins

The dolphins came out of the sea,

And from the corners of the eyes of giants who lay weeping and unconscious across the lazy heavens.



It rained dolphins, their bodies as smooth as dogwood blooms.

They smiled as they fell, they were fog, they were everywhere.



In those times, you could put the sun where you pleased--

It could rise in the south,

At midnight.

Who cared?



I live in a paper house which is always on fire,

I keep dying until it bores me;

I lie down on the smoke like a cat in a streetside window,

And the disused milk chute with the rusty catch holds the stupidities I cherish most.



Now they say,

Dolphins are really birds--

The sun is nailed up like a tin sign on an empty barn,

And no one is coming to save you,

To kiss you,

Or even to bury you.



The dogwoods are dead and the sea floor has fallen in,

Revealing God in the magma,

Chinamen in the paddies,

And you,

Falling,

Like a feather into the flames.

_____

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nun


Raise a child up in the way it should go,

And even the bad apple will fall damn near the tree.

Mama took every pill in the house--

She was country but tried to be posh--

Either way, Mama, they bury you in the dirt.



I'm the sale rack girl...

I ate an entire tray of cookies instead...

And I'm higher than a mailman on pay day.



I need to tell--

I need to tell you and Dead Mama something--

I'm out by the pool in my pepto-dismal pink dress and Payless boots,

Seeking Aqua-Jesus.



Aqua-Jesus lives out of reach of the squalor and stupidity of this world,

Down there in His perfect kingdom at the bottom of the in-ground.

Down there, far below the oil-tainted dead leafy scum at the surface,

He lives with Mary Magdamermaid

And several trident-bearing Neptunes from the Home Depot.



Aqua-Jesus, you're my last chance gas, my last call at Corinne's, my tampon machine in the restroom of my extremity.

Lovemelovemeloveme,

Snorkel up,

Enfold me.



Aqua-Jesus, here comes the apple that Eve should not have ever tried.

Imma fall,

Call it a dive,

Hoping that, face down in the crappy filthy pool, I can see you better.



Aqua-Jesus,

Make me your goldfish--

Overfeed me til I die,

Keep me in your cool coral reef shower curtain world

Where no one hurts,

Forever.



Let me be your beloved barnacle.

Let me quit this fucking world and float like a cute seaweed,

Down where even Your sacred blood looks like strawberry jam from a squeezie;

Down where every scream is muted in a gentle rising of bubbles,

As if the whole thing were just a giant champagne flute,

And we were just happy half-smashed lovers

Getting over,

Getting married,

Oh baby, getting it right at last.

_____

for One Shoot Sunday

photograph by Lauren Randolph

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dust

She was not perfect in her vigilance,

and now she sways like a drunkard.

He will not need that eye she took from him--

the Vampire Hunter sees in only one direction anyway, lackey that he is;

Besides, she gifted him a second mouth by opening his cheek,

so that he can spout doubletalk twice as fast.



She was not vigilant, and he struck at her a dozen times.

Now, his silver dagger hangs from her side like hideous jewelry--

with each step, it scrapes her black heart, and her lung has collapsed.

She and the Hunter now go their opposite ways, like idiot lovers,

bleeding, dizzy, diminished.



In her favorite shape as a black panther, she limps toward the coffee shop,

unable to use one front leg.

She lurches, stumbles, sees three of everything,

leaving a trail of blood down the sidewalk behind her.

Weak and compromised, she can't hold the shape shift,

and pitches into an alleyway as herself, on knees and one hand,

hearing passing college boys say "drunk bitch" and laugh.



Had the Hunter's aim been truer she would be dust--

as it is, she will die here in a few decades or a few minutes.

But no...

again she is up, thinking of her kitten friend Giuseppe Verdi, and she weaves and gasps her way to Danny's.

With the weight of her sluggish, cold-fingered body, she pushes open the door,

then lurches hard sideways, smashing the glass.

She falls and lies there like a broken figurine in a pile of glitter.



Chloe and the Succubus drag her inside and put her in a booth.

An enormous street person badly in need of a bath gets up from a nearby table and approaches--

it is Grigori Rasputin and they have met before.

"Little One," he says, laying his huge hand on her head. "You will not die."

Behind them, God the waitress looks on.

Perhaps she sent the Hunter.

Perhaps she called Rasputin.

Perhaps she is only a waitress, watching it all unfold like the rest of them.



From her back, the lights of Danny's look like the aurora to the Queen of the Vampires.

She thinks of the time she saw the Dead, and gave Jerry Garcia just the slightest nip on the throat,

but it seems so long ago now,

and nobody would want to hear about it again,

even if she could still talk.

_______

Make It Go Away...



...or make it better. Things are not going very well right now in Shay World. Every time I put out one fire, three more seem to spring up, and I'm tired so tired.  :***-(

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Amazing Gypsy Fortune Teller

The gypsy fortune teller said, let's begin then.

Stay away from men named Tom,

Fireworks, bombs,

And poisonous creatures of every description.



Then she sipped her tea

And the silence stretched out

Endlessly.



Anything else? I asked, a little pointedly.

Of course, she said,

And nodded, yes even winked, at me.



Again she sipped her tea

Which habit was becoming

Rather annoying to me.



Well? I demanded. What?



Avoid escalators,

Pontificators,

And pitch men of every stripe.

Shun sailors

And milksops of all persuasions and natures.

Be suspicious of bishops

And high churchmen of all denominations,

But most of all,

Remember that cheap hair spray is an abomination.



What do you recommend? I inquired,

Simply wanting the whole thing to end.



Glue.

Bamboo.

White plaster.

Epoxy or polyurethane.

Pie crust.

Endust.

Cat gut or monkey brains.



I'll be leaving now, I said.

She just sipped her tea

And wiggled her ears

Quite thoroughly amazingly.

_______

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rx

I put on somebody else's white coat--

In the pocket,

Cookies, quinine, a stethoscope.



They should have feared the female--

Those too ill to work,

Those too mad to think...



Tiny mosquito--

Entry through the skin is called subdural,

A kiss, a fever, this camp full of sleepers.



I made the sign of the cross.

I made diagnoses and prescriptions.

I had no training at all, and yet,

Many recovered and kissed my hand.

Many died and said nothing against me.



At night,

The toads were thick in the jungle, calling.

In my tent, I listened for my own heart beat, finding it strong and heady.

I took down the netting,

And dreamt of the curve of your hips as if I had gathered the hills above the hospital into my hands.



Sometimes the dead walk--

I disperse them with my happiness here,

In this delicious hell I stumbled into,

Smiling,

Smelling the glory and the endless easy blood.

_______

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bah



Bo Peep lights another Tareyton, then continues with the interview:

"Those goddam sheep," she says, staring balefully at a six months old People magazine on the side table.

"I'm seventy-six years old. I've been married four times. I've lived in sixteen different states and also Puerto Rico, and all anyone ever remembers,

All anybody ever wants to talk about,

Is those sheep!"



Her rheumy eyes suddenly seem to blaze.



"Now Mizz Peep, don't go gettin' youseff in a lather about dem ole sheep now," chides the nurse, who has been looming nearby, a gargantuan, if benign, presence.

Bo Peep waves a liver-spotted claw and growls, in a smoker's voice deeper than a man's, "Oh stuff a sock in it, Marie Laveau. Now listen,

I was fifteen years old. I got farmed out to Green Acres or wherever it was as an alternative to juvie. They told me, 'tend these sheep', and so I did.

What did I know from sheep? What did I know from anything? It was nineteen fifty fucking five. They hadn't even had Woodstock yet. Cinderella was still sweeping floors. Those melvins at that farm handed me a crook and off I went."



Bo Peep pauses. The television is tuned to Murder, She Wrote with the sound off.



She takes a drag, squints, shrugs, and goes on:

"One afternoon, along comes Johnny Appleseed. Or somebody. A boy, anyway. And a little while later I was missing my top and some sheep.

'Leave them alone, and they'll come home,' he says with that smirk they always get, after, like they really pulled something off. Well, he had, but I got dressed again, you know. I wasn't just some chippie."

For a moment, Bo Peep seems to lose the thread of her story. Her nurse turns her wheelchair toward the window. Outside, the sun is shining. Some people are having a picnic on the lawn. 

"I was just fifteen," she repeats herself, stubbing out the last in a long line of unfiltereds.

"You'd think those sheep were all I ever did. I have five kids. I owned a design company. I've been to Paris and Tokyo."



"You tired, Mizz Peep?"

She nods. Her nurse smiles at this reporter and then wheels her famous charge away to her room down the hall where she helps her into bed.

It is mid-afternoon.

The room is cheerily wallpapered.

The pattern is from a Grandma Moses painting...

Sheep grazing peacefully in a green pasture near a barn.

______

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Ballad Of The Wicked Baby

She was born with a caul--

Born with a tail--

Mama took her out,

And set her on the rails.



Down the tracks--

Through the rain--

Come the morning mail train.

chucka chucka chucka chucka...



Twister on the tracks--

Split the mail sacks--

Postman and the porter

Put the letters back.



Through the trees--

Up ahead--

Baby in her burlap bed.

chucka chucka chucka chucka...



Coyotes come and chew her free--

Carry her up the hillside--

She growed up silent by the rails,

But grinned when Mama died.

_______

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Dead Woman Got Up



The dead woman got up--

Thank Goddess for hard rains and fingernails.

Those who would rise, give up black for blue,

Earth for sky.



The dead woman leant against a tree--

Its bark like the skin of a mummy-baby,

But her with no heart to be lured back with,

Exchanging love for leaves,

Mud,

And droppings.



She can lure no man,

Bear no child;

She doesn't care how clean your house is.

She hasn't got a thing to wear,

She has forgotten her own name,

She kisses the dogs who fight over her bones and names them--

Cerberus,

Anubis,

and Sugar.



The dead woman gets up--

Spends a week in the underbrush, falling apart,

Skin flaking away, blood turning thick and black.

Underneath,

A changeling, a hoodoo queen, neither virtuous nor innocent

Shines in the moonlight,

Smiles, starts walking,

Fearsome,

Careless,

Not really dead at all.

________

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Desire



I want to love her like a rainy Sunday.

I want to breeze in the back door,

Trailing low bruisy clouds from my hair.



For her, I want to be heart-catchingly gorgeous.

I want to be the most filthy beautiful woman who ever made the fields falter and bow.



I'm not, of course.

I am older than late afternoon,

And as plain as garden mud.



Still, I blush darker to say,

I dream of her--

And my desire, far from fading,

Has only grown more insistent.

When I was young, I was blank blue sky;

Now I blow in where I will, brooking no argument, scattering the crows.



I want to leave her soaked inside like church gloves left on the roof of the car in the storm.

I want her as fragrant as rain grass.

I want to think, "I love my own smooth face when I am this close to her."



I want to love her like a rainy Sunday.

I want to keep her inside,

In bed,

All the sweet afternoon long.

_______

magpie 60

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pressure, Low and High



You can smell what will fall from Heaven before it does--

Poppies are just drops of blood on the cool skin of the Earth.



A woman's arm has that bend for holding babies--

But when the sky is never close enough,

She will gather in what she pleases.



Lovers with hearts of ice or cinders--

Dream-beasts with rolling eyes and teeth for every wound,

Razors,

Needles.



On the flat line of the horizon,

You can see blurry cotton-ball houses in the path of the storm...

Angels and demons moan there together

In the rush.



Nature is nothing but emotion given scope and voice--

She is mindless, yet understands viscerally

Any furious, hopeless seeking

After unreachable peace

And impossible equilibrium.

_______

Friday, April 1, 2011

Descent



The first time she would not sleep with me,

It began.



I thought, back then,

That it was just the tag on my dress--

Then I thought,

I am cracking, alive, down the center.



The second time she would not sleep with me,

There was blood.



The sheets had to be burned,

And the flames rose crimson--

The smoke a choking jet.



It doesn't matter.

I can no longer lie down--

My back has birthed devil-black wings,

Bigger than I am.



If I wrap them around myself,

I can close my eyes for a blessed moment;

Though when I unfold them again,

They are more impressive yet--

And I am less human.



The third time she would not sleep with me,

I no longer cared.



I laughed remembering how such a small thing could have appeased me--

Now, I require everything,

And when I sigh at the idea of appetite unleashed,

It sounds

Like fluttering.

________

photo: Amy Lee