Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Hands At Night

My hands were dreaming--
One, of the warm skin just below your left breast...
Of your ribs as you breathe, and the beauty of your heart beat.

The other, of your hair in fingerfuls,
A soft rope ladder to summer night rain before it falls.

I set my hands outside, in the grass, without waking them.
There were fireflies
And endless stars.

_

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Song

Where does the night come from?

It is brought by birds, blue and black at the tip of every wing.

How is desire undone?

By lying still and silent at the bottom of the stream.



When do you best love your darling's dark hair? 

In the early mist of morning and every seventh spring. 

When do you most adore your darling's dark heart? 

I'll score the answer on your bones if you dare to ask again.


______

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nantucket Sleigh Ride

In a room where I had already been,
I used a dictionary of words I already knew,
To help me write poems backwards.

When my hair broke the scissors,
I set fire to my shoes.
The smoke spoke only Spanish and wore a red shawl--
Why I was surprised by this is a riddle for a lunatic.

In the stream, down the hill,
The rocks are black and slippery, like whales' backs.
I am dancing across them barefoot when my heart starts again like a Nantucket sleigh ride--
I laugh, a thawing bell, in the moment that I realize
How careless real love is,
And that I might fall.

______

A Nantucket sleigh ride was when New England sailors and their boat were pulled along by a harpooned whale.

This is a poem about the end of my marriage, a decade ago.

For One Shot Wednesday. Happy one year!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leda

Old white-haired Zeus, you don't fool me.
I see the dent Athena left in your dome,
And the way you've taken to wearing
Your pants
Almost up to your
Armpits;
The way you're prone to wandering
The pharmacy lanes
For something for
Your hemorrhoids and chilblains
Isn't godlike.
It isn't even manly.

...and now you come as a frothy swan,
a styrofoam cup in a bird bath...
Well, you're too late.

Night came across the water as I was bathing--
I couldn't see,
And she was just as ill-tempered as they say.

What could I do except to wrap myself around her, smooth and wet,
And that neck,
So long,
I had to kiss its every feather in order to believe in it.

Tired Zeus, a dark storm has settled over my world,
And I live inside,
Bitch and bride,
Marked by her and owned.
It's really no place
For an old man to be,
Disguised, decrepit, alone.

_______

for Form Monday at One Stop Poetry

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear John

This is for Jenny Matlock's Saturday centus. I was limited to 60 words, two of which needed to be "Dear John".

Dear John,

I'm glad you've found this note I've pinned to the casserole.

Welcome home. The city is a madhouse since the virus.

All changed? Sitting down eating? See how well I know you?


Thanks for promising to end your affair.


Full now? Full of virus. (The casserole.) I know you've been with her.


See how well I know you?


_______

Lions

Lions are wash-outs at counted cross stitch,
Disasters at building model battleships,
And show no aptitude for playing the piano;

They have feet the size of pancake griddles,
Brooking no bullshit--
Where they stand,
The earth stays.

Lions make piss-poor babysitters,
And cannot become pope
Or president;

But, as the stumbling gazelle can attest,
At a single touch, lions can impart
Everything in the world that is worth understanding.

_______

Photo by Adam Romanowicz for One Shoot Poetry Challenge

Friday, June 24, 2011

Musical Interlude



This is:

1. Pete Townsend in his dotage

2. Charo after running out of Neet

3. Slash without the hat

4. Sasquatch

???????

_______

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Soul Dentist

The soul dentist
Will not insult you with claims of painlessness.
He'll give you a stick to bite on.
He is a Big Picture kind of guy.

The soul dentist
Keeps his instruments clean,
Eats frozen pot pies for dinner,
And has the ear of God.


The sad toy cat
Has a stitched inverted "Y" forming mouth and nose.
She not only does not smile--
She cannot.


What is the point in telling her jokes,
Or inviting her for dinner?
What future can there be in kissing her?
Of what use to her is your unthinking gift of wine?

The soul dentist thinks what he thinks, but says nothing
Upon ferreting out the decay in your aura,
Your receding chi,
And the rot at the root of your glib, infected life.


He is thinking of the sad toy cat,
The one he cannot examine.
She is his silent Mona Lisa--
Filled, not with the light of divine spark, like all the rest,
But with cotton batting,
Mystery,
And her unreachable, machine-sewn melancholy.


________

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Intelligence Test

What is the same or different between

good clean sheets,

cotton in a box a gift of jewelry comes in,

and snow when there's no way home?



Two are no good going back to when the shine is gone.

All of them can be thrown, but not far enough to satisfy real anger.

All of them can seem pretty at first, until you see how things really are.




Dearie baby, come out from behind that glass and set your clipboard down.


Shove that pencil up your ass,


And talk to me when your heart stops, frozen, in a drift of things the same or different, a million miles from home. 


_________

 for One Shot Wednesday

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Always there, wearing fur of a bear...

This post is dedicated to my BFF Hedgewitch, who, when she isn't polishing the horns on her Viking helmet, is about the best friend a girl could have.


Even when I bore her to death with my 19th nervous breakdown, she doesn't run me through or tape my mouth shut. Teh coolnezz...she haz it!


^^Keef!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Come Back, Little Sheba

A black panther sits concealed in the branches of a tree, watching for potential victims.

Game, in herds and small groups, passes below.

The panther is a killing machine, and to catch her eye can mean instant death,

But her feet dangle in empty air,

And her eyes are staring at nothing, unfocused and ditzy.


"Why is the QOTV up in the crab apple tree?" asks Chloe, setting down her Rolling Stone and craning her neck to see out the window of Danny's Coffee Shop.

"She looks stoned or something."


"She's moping," says Denise the waitress. "The Dark Haired Chick is out of town and she can't deal."

"Well, where'd she go? Peru?"

"Pawtucket, I think," says Denise.

The Succubus, sitting nearby wearing dark glasses indoors at ten in the morning, mumbles, "Wasn't it Punxatawney?"

"I heard Port-Au-Prince," says Savanna the resident juvenile delinquent.


Chloe bites her lip, still looking up. Then she strides out the door and the little bell jingles as she hits the sidewalk.

Stopping underneath the tree, she pitches a stale chocolate chip muffin at the Queen Of The Vampires.

Bullseye.

"Snap out of it!" she advises, stamping her foot and giving the QOTV the hairy eyeball.


The QOTV shifts a little on her branch, makes a few annoyed kitty noises, but remains a torpid cartoon of a jungle cat.

"She'll be back!" yells Chloe the serial killer, spreading her arms. Seeing it is hopeless, she goes back inside.

She gives God the waitress a sideways look.

"Seems like you could do something," she snipes.

"Like what?" asks God serenely, while filling the holders with sugar packets.

"Well," says Chloe, crossing her arms, "you could move Pawtucket closer to here!"


"Punxatawney," murmurs the Succubus.


"Port-Au-Prince," corrects Savanna, drawing on the table with her knife.


"Oh for chrissake," groans Chloe, but at a sharp look from God, she adds, "Sorry," then giggles.


Eventually, the Queen of The Vampires does leap down and dispatch a Jehovah's Witness, leaving only a few pamphlets strewn across the sidewalk.

On one of them, is a picture of a lamb in Jesus's arms.


A minute later, the shape-shifted QOTV walks inside of Danny's. "Baaaa," she says, tilting up her black and white lamb face at God.

It is a rare and fine thing when anyone can make God snort.

"Get out of here, you lunatic!" God swipes a foot at the QOTV, who shape-shifts again, back to a panther, and jumps up into one of the booths, which she promptly shreds with her fearsome claws before settling down.


She curls into a ball.


She sighs.


The Dark-Haired Chick cannot get back too soon.

________

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Electric Dawn

(done in the style of Jim Morrison for Saturday Celebrations at One Stop Poetry)

In the electric dawn,
Revelers appear like hellflowers--
Bones and batons meet...
Unbalanced lovers who devour each other.

A guy and a girl feel like they're in a movie--
Sea creatures froth and surge
Melting in primal acid bloom
Sweeping past
& smoothing them,
Left behind perfect as shells.

Every revolution starts with a kiss
Between stars and tarmac--
Unable to hold either,
They find each other
& fit
Like bullets in a chamber.

In the electric dawn,
Death wears boots,
Bringing graffiti cross-flowers to the cold husk of the poet
Held like a leaf in a stone hand
Where the water runs.

Every revolution starts with a kiss,
Then turns its back on itself.
The theater closes--
Every revolution ends in silence.

 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Serpent

I was longer than desire,
Than regret--
Longer, even, than a bible lesson.

I had no legs to stand on,
But I had backbone--
Miles of it.

I swung low from my branch like a rain cloud;
Falling was inevitable--
At least I kept it graceful.

"See how smooth I am,
How sinuous," I whispered.
"And with a tongue like you wouldn't believe."

Eve laughed,
And spun her wedding ring.
"Don't be a shit head," she cautioned me.

My red and yellow diamonds made me look like a playing card;
I posed a wager with myself--
Rattling as innocently as a baby.

Swinging my pretty heart-shaped head near her ear,
I said all the unprintable things
That a girl might like to hear.

She blushed, bit her lip,
Shivered, then said she had to go--
"At least take this apple," I urged, wrapping myself around her shoulders.

I knew from the start how special she was,
How divine, how discreet, how venomous--
She took the fruit in her fine sharp teeth,
And, smiling,
Filled it with promise.

 _

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Baby Needs A Shepherd

I love this song by Emmylou Harris. The first time I heard it, I cried.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For You

The voice I found
In the rich black ground--
That is not for you.

The uncertain bees
That may sting, or please--
They are not for you.

The little box where I rest my eyes,
The sarcophagus full of bottle flies--
Neither is for you.

The restoration of my better nature,
The eternal enhancement of every feature--
None of that is for you.

My spit, my sex,
Whatever comes next--
Not, and never, for you.

Your boon is what Love only claims to be--
Intact and intense never-endingly;
Receive my Hatred--
That is for you...
My gift, eternal and true.

______

for One Shot Wednesday

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raining Up

It rained up,
Everything launching into the sky--
Leaving the earth a featureless desert much like your heart.

And the one
you were convinced
I loved better than you?

I love her better than you.

She makes everything weightless,
Fantastic;
It rains up.

Hell yeah.
_________

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homecoming

It was one of those dreams of short brown grass,
Like cheap carpet in an entryway to the waiting room of the Ruined Dentist Of Fremont Street.

A tin foil sun shone
Like a child's sheriff badge,
Arresting all
As if we had molasses in our veins, and ill-got trinkets stuffed in our cheeks.


It went on like that for weeks,
Until who we had been,
And what had replaced us,
Diverged so profoundly that as we skittered by, like old traffic tickets wearing preposterous brown shoes,
I looked at you,
Nodded at the shadows,
And said,
"To them, we are the ghosts."

No use in mirrors, then.
No sense in trying to start any more fires,
Though we had become, ourselves, rags,
Melted outlets,
Tinder.


It was only when I found myself alone that grace came.
The path changed,
Became a sea shell road.
There were tree blossoms like cherub faces,
And the weather turned as easily as an old cat in a rocking chair,
From stifling to superb.


Just when I thought I belonged nowhere,
Just when I believed the lying dust I had been living my life upon,
I saw him--
Our uniformed chauffeur, washing the Stutz in the drive under the magnolias.
He tipped his cap,
Smiled,
Said, "Good morning, Miss Anna. It's been a long time."


Oh,
I'm telling you,
I felt my heart spread out like a rose bush in June--
As rooted,
As beautiful,
As loved, for all my blooms and thorns alike.

I fell down beneath my favorite old tree,
In the lush grass,
Not caring about my white dress.
I couldn't stop laughing, fountaining joy,
And I woke up like that,
In happy tears,
Remembering.


_____


photograph by Rob Hanson for One Shoot Sunday



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fingerpaints

Afterward,
Simple with joy,

I have the urge to draw a sea shore
On the skin of your hip
With fingerpaints;

But you touch my wrist
And two birds stay together in the nest,
Playing moon to the tides
Of love in you.

_____

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vee Haff Informayshun!

As some of you have astutely discerned, I think Emmylou Harris is the second most fabulous human being on the planet after STWIASD (She To Whom I Am Slavishly Devoted). Only the most churlish of you would point out that Emmylou has no opinion about me, cos she, um, well, doesn't know I exist. 

But the wonderful blogger Sioux has alerted me to a really excellent article in the current issue of Garden & Gun magazine!  Garden & Gun??? Southerners...y'all are nucking futs! But the article is a fine one. Find it HERE.

Garden & Gun. What's next, Okra & Ought Sixes? 

This post approved by Giuseppe Verdi, kitten.

______

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Check-Up

The doctor is a white bird
Under a fluorescent sun.
I am a little frightened fish
Half mermaid, half undone.

He asks, "What brings you in today?
What do you mean by appearing here this way?
Have you had anything to eat?
Grasses, communion, meat?

Have you ever wondered how a raindrop stays round?
Or why they always fall?
What's the big attraction with the ground?
How old are you? Any idea at all?


Sexual partners?
Male?
Female?
Out to their families?
Symptoms?
Wings?
Tail?

What drugs have you taken?
This morning?
Last week?
Can you tell me?
Did you bring them?
Can you speak?

What did your father die of?
What did your relationships die of?
Or do they still persist?
Is there anything I've missed?

When you were a child,
Any fevers, coughs, or chills?
Was there one particular day
When you were most desperately, painfully ill?

When your heart beats,
Is it like a Chesapeake & Ohio train?
Are your ribs the track, your legs the trestle?
Does it rattle through your brain?


Or is it more like the lazy waves
Rolling in off the lake in July?
If you remember the time you had a hand to hold,
Will you act the girl, and cry?


All right.
I see.
None of this is exact.
None of this is free.


How do you like the paper gown?
Are you afraid of needles, sharps, and pokes?
Do you think you could go like this, for me?
Do you think this is a joke?


You can get dressed now, we're done.
Did you feel the need to pray? To dissociate? To come?
It's all normal.
Take three of these.
Call the desk with questions, or if you start to seize."


The doctor is a white bone,
His diploma terra cotta;
And I am a little frightened fish
Slipping back into the water.


_______
 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If I Were A Fox


If I were a fox,
I would crave clean sheets--
Ones you slept on.
Ones like these.

I know that you
Steal out to kiss the night,
Like a somnambulist,
Hardly knowing that you do, or why.

If I were a fox,
I would trick the morning,
Shake the vole,
Hide my kits all over your rolling lawns.

When you come to yourself,
Don't disbelieve in red things, just because.
Don't dismiss the lingering feel of fur,
Of tail, of paws.

If I were a fox,
I would lie hidden in your other life--
Beyond naming,
Beyond saving,
And especially beyond laws.

_______

for One Shot Wednesday 49

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thief

My desire to steal has become so keen

That I can balance on it,

Out here,

Like a black cat carrying a bird through daisies.


Your bedroom window glass was keeping us apart, and so

I wrapped my red kimono around my fist and broke it,

And now, for a minute,

There is a naked woman standing with her toes in your dewy lawn.


The sound woke him.

He asked you, "Who is it, dear?"

You said,

"A banshee and her hound."

You said,

"Sugar melted in cream."

You said

Something in Romany and the sun rose higher.




My desire to steal has become my heartbeat.

I touch nothing if it isn't your skin.

I could wait out here forever,

But I won't.

Gimme

Gimme

Gimme.

Send him away.

Let me in.

Believe me, my scorching dark dove,

The sky is always big enough

To hold every bird.

_______

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Daddy's In His Shop

Daddy's in his shop
With the gadgets and the glop,
Toiling all the afternoon
To turn potatoes into shoes.

His coffee's laced with paint
All the better to enable
Him to fix his extra eye
Which had fallen on the table.

He doesn't eat his sandwich
Kindly placed at his right hand.
When you ask him what he's doing,
He says, "you wouldn't understand."

Electric charges bring the largest cat you've ever seen
Back from the brink to have a drink of flaming kerosene.
Then it eats some rotten meat and gaks up on the floor...
When daddy takes its heart for parts, it will not gak no more.

The missing neighbor
Is used for labor--
He claps on and claps off.
The answering machine
Eats aubergines
But has a nasty cough.


There are nails in a jar, petroleum and tar,
And little screws rolling loose;
Elbow joints and old toast points
Plus a railroad train caboose.


Daddy's in his shop
Of a Sunday afternoon,
He doesn't give a shit about the grandkids;
He pees in a can,
Sleeps in a sedan,
And lines his hat with old can lids.

_________


Fireblossom does not understand "puttering." 
No cats were harmed in the writing of this poem.
Photograph by Rob Hanson for One Shoot Sunday

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Snow White, Hopeful Lycanthrope

"I got a woman
Way over town,
That's good to me.
Oh yeah!"  --Ray Charles

I keep an actor in a small suitcase on a high shelf.

I wait until it snows,

Then I take him out.


 I love a woman in the flatlands.

She can turn me inside out just cos she wanna,

And she wanna, sometimes, when the moon is new.


I told the actor,

"Here is your mark,"

Then pointed to a place where the floorboards were missing.


He laughed and said,

"I know why you love the snow.

It is because you, too, are always falling."


I wrote a letter to My Love.

I blush to say I begged.

I said, "If you don't do me soon,

I will turn into a saint,

Or some sort of Sunday school teacher,

And that would be a diabolical shame."


I keep my heart

hidden in a cookie jar

in my kitchen.


I keep the actor high,

and only feed him limes.

He says you won't come,


But I howl and call

all night in the blizzard,

just in case you do.

 * * *







Thursday, June 2, 2011

God and Eros





As a child, I was given a skull and a knife to play with.


I turned the skull on its back, so it could look up and see God.

I gave it the knife for an eye, to sharpen its vision.


I said, "Dollie, what do you see?"

She said, "One eye sees a silver blade,

The other sees a table of sky."




For a long time, we played God and Girl,


My knife-eyed Dollie and me.


She said, "The clouds are plates,


The birds are tea cups."




I said, "Here are my fingers for spoons,


And a sugar of bones for our bowl."




My mother was angry that year.


She blew through like sleet.


"What are you doing?" she demanded, cleverly using the Wind's voice to accuse.


"Playing church," I lied.




When I grew up, I used knife-eyed Dollie's face to make some Woman love me.


"You see so much," she said.


I am the restless wolf with the moon in its mouth.


I make crows crazy with their own very blackness.




"Good girl," said the Woman,

And I kissed her hard.


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~