Monday, January 30, 2012

I Was Not The One

I was not the one who poured the night and all its stars
Into the cold curve of evening's cup.
I was not the stupid virgin
Working up her nerve.
I was not the one who fetched or served.

I was not the one who brought the bile or the blade
And not the one who baked a loaf of death.
I was not the cook
Who wrung the rooster's neck.
I was not the portion nor the plate.

In my gaze find the small gloved hand;
In my words sleeps the fox.
In my veins find the sweetness that killed
The bantam in the laying hen's box.

I was not the one who sent the master down the mad-path
Or the one who set him swinging from a tree--
But the one who slipped her son
Past the sere red eye of dawn,
In the silent early morning, that was me.
________

for Real Toads OLM

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Few Lines From A Couple Of Canines

Sheila: What a party! I can't wait to get out of these heels.

Buck: We'll be home soon, lambchop.

Sheila: Take the thruway...it's faster.

Buck: I think I can manage. We live three miles away. It's not exactly "Incredible Journey", you know.

Sheila: Sorry, dear. Drive on. Did you enjoy dinner?

Buck: Mine tasted like week old kibble.

Sheila: Really? You should have had some of mine. It was delicious and the portions were enormous.

Buck: Same as our hostess.

Sheila: Bucky! You devil. She likes you, you know. The way she came rushing at you before we were barely to the door...anyone would think you were the mailman!

Buck: Bite your tongue, darling!

Sheila: Buddy certainly didn't. I thought he was going to bore the entire table to death, going on about his show ribbons.

Buck: Not impressed, my pet?

Sheila:  He's overbearing. Thank god you studs all went off to your little preserve in the den to have your chew sticks.

Buck: We have to, darling. If we had to stay and hear bitches going on about puppies and flea bath shampoos, we'd all start howling.

Sheila: Bucky, what a thing to say. If any of the wives have got fleas, then I'm sure they got them from their husbands. After all, who knows where they've been?

Buck: I don't know about that, lambchop. We're all kept on dreadfully short leashes.

Sheila: And you love it!

Buck: I'm going to pull in at this gas station. I need to use the men's room.

Sheila: You always drink too much at parties.

Buck: They had flavored water! And a fully stocked bowl!

Sheila: All right dear. I'll just run in to the ladies' and check my collar.

Buck: What for? We're only going home.

Sheila: I've got plans for you!

Buck: You sweet Jezebel.

Sheila: You animal!

Buck: I think I'm just a lucky dog.

Sheila: Oh, Bucky...
_________

for the Photo Challenge at Real Toads. Photograph by Daryl Edelstein.                  

       

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Smartest Gals In The Room

Sometimes a bird gets inside the house.
Sometimes they shoot a man into space,
And oh, the look,
The look on their face.
Some haven't got the sense to stay home,
And some can't tell
Up from down,
Their ass from a big damn hole in the ground.
Some don't know
Their butt from next week,
Much less their place, and oh the look,
The look on their face.

Sugar pea, check out the trees--
It's spring, and everything is in bloom;
Everyone we see
Wishes they were you and me
Like Angel 1 and Angel 2
The smartest gals in the room.

Sometimes a dog goes off its chain,
Running hell for Tuesday down the lane,
And oh, the look,
The look on its face.
Ladybug, ladybug, why rush to go home?
Your husband's asleep,
Your children are grown,
And the condo people will keep the lawn mowed.
There's a mint on the pillow,
A magnum in place,
When you blush, I just love the look,
The look on your face.

Sugar pea, check out the trees--
It's spring, and everything is in bloom.
Reality
Is just you and me,
Angel 1 and Angel 2
The smartest gals in the room.
_____

photograph taken by my friend Daryl Edelstein!

this poem linked to Real Toads Photo Challenge.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Aphrodite

Aphrodite came out of the sea,
Barefoot,
Wearing jeans, a shell necklace,
A bunch of bangles at her wrist,
And nothing else.

I was there, on the beach,
In the first gray of morning,
A little ashy bonfire of a girl--

I was writing poems,
Which I considered, by turns,
To be well worth fucking me for,
Or,

To be the stupidest,
Most scorn-worthy scraps of weasel crap
Ever to insult an innocent blank page.

All these things depend upon
How recently you have stretched out on top of me,
Smiling;
Or how fresh your indifference,
Thorned into my borrowed shell.

"Aph," I said,
"Tell me,
How is it that the waves always come this way,
Wearing stones down to sand,
And yet...

I remain as dry as driftwood,
Smooth and silly and flat on my back,
Waiting to be carved?"

Aphrodite complained that she had lost a bangle in the surf;
I have seen many women's backs,
But hers, when she turned,
Was so beautiful, it reminded me of yours.

I know she didn't hear me, or care,
But still I asked,
"Why am I always the sunset, well-remembered, Aph?
And why never
The longed-for shore?"
_____
for Mary's Mixed Bag at Real Toads.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shay's Rebellion

Plenty people
Tried to bang me down in a box
At the bottom of the sea
With a thousand million locks...

Mama was their Queen.
She tell me do right,
And toe the line,
Or she smash me to smithereens.

Sorry, Mama,
I'm a flock that scatters and spins;
Turns once, turns twice,
Then comes together again.

I always been this way.
Don't cotton much
To rules and such.
That's all I got to say.
_____


Thanks to Cloudia, of Comfort Spiral blog, who sent the kitty pic, and wished me a happy anniversary of Shays Rebellion!

Top photograph: Charlotte Gainsbourg
 

Flighty

You called me flighty--
You, with the hard hubcap eyes.
And oh, what a big mandible you have!
The better to grind me with,
As if I were a green blade of grass.

I'll admit,
I'm a little bit twisty--
A little bit up in the air...
But I learned from the birds, the benefit of a little bit of tilt
In spotting what I need to see.

Were you still speaking, darling?
No. Up here!
I'm on the cross beam, with my toes pointing south, my nose headed north,
And my heart going a mile a minute, all the time.

I've got to spread my wings.
I know! I talk such shit sometimes!
It's only to lull you,
Little bug,

Only a colorful mock-embrace, headed your way.
Only dizzy me,
Not falling, but swooping
Down to your level, love,
For this one
And only time.
_____

For Kenia's Challenge at Real Toads. I hope this is something resembling what you wanted, Kenia. But if not, I can hang this up in litigation for years! :-P

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Finches

If the finches should call you
On the land line
In the hall
Of the old house,

There is no need to set aside your book
Or to trouble yourself at all--
It is only a draft
Through a window
Where an empty vase still sits.

It is only the gone summer,
Only the things that could never be;
It is only these.
It is only me.

And if there is a nest
On the pole,
Above the transformer,
Where the snow clouds skulk and glower...

There is an egg,
And in the egg, a memory that does not change,
But is, instead,
As static as a china dish.
Likewise, there is a lace-edged wound,

And within the wound,
An hour,
And within that hour,
The high-grown fields,
Your bare arms with their gooseflesh skin,

And one secreted, hoarded darling--
Palmed in my hand to kiss.

If the finches should call you
Before rot
And ice
Destroy...

It is only me, up on the wire,
Sealed and
Cauterized
With my voice.

I remain as mad
As mad has always been--
A balance pole
Of oriole
And owl bones

Long and thin.
Find the dazed bird on your porch boards,
Dashed against your doorway, dying;
Uncurl my fingers,
Lean close, and laugh,

And love me
One last time.
_______

Picture by Eugenio Recuenco, sent to me by Kerry O'Connor, my fellow Toad. It was originally part of her challenge to me to write to the pictures of Recuenco, which I did, but not to this one, until now.

This is for dverse OLN, because my bestie, Hedgewitch, is hosting. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eclair de Lune

Down boy.
Not yet.
Did you forget that a woman is a work of art?
With maddening plastic packaging
Protecting her heart of hearts?

Toro, toro!
That's just the way it goes;
I knew you'd love this little red number,
And I love the smoke coming out of your nose.

Pffft, tiger, it really means nothing
That you love my pastry, sleek and tan;
You must worship my sweet custard filling
If you want to be my man.
_____

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Journey

Oleg travels by train to Minsk,
Carrying his hands in a lady's hat box,
Wedged between his arms, 
Riding like an overfed pet cat upon his lap.
In his luggage, carefully wrapped, 
Are beautiful soap replicas of his feet;
The artisan who created them now languishing,
A prisoner of the White Army.

Look at me, thinks Oleg...
A man in extremity!
He thinks of his young manhood in Odessa,
Where vendors called out to him,
With fez-wearing monkeys perched on their brutish shoulders.
Then, his middle years,
Married to a woman from a village at the foot of the Urals;
She was mute,
But bore him a son who became an opera singer.

Oleg's hair, what there is of it, is gray.
Where is all the color, the passion, of his earlier life?
As the train bumps along, he fixes his mind on his destination...
In Minsk, at the Workers' Hall,
He will unpack his hands, proudly,
And use them to embrace Lenin
And to offer himself to the great leader.
Oleg will throw himself into the collective fire,
The forge,
Of the workers' noble cause!

His little feet, made of soap,
Delicate as a swan's, will melt.
No matter!
Oleg is exalted just to think
That his bones will form the base
Of a statue
Of a worker
In the very spot where the czar's police once came,
And closed down the opera house...
The entire company, even the ballerinas,
Sent away to Siberia!

Nearing the station, Oleg prays to Lenin,
Take these hands,
These feet...
Tuck a bottle of the "little water" under my arm
And pack me off to my grave;
You will find me there,
In a thousand years from now,
Singing your praises
And smiling.
_____

Saturday, January 21, 2012

December 23rd

It was two days before Christmas,
And I hadn't seen the riders in the road.
I remember
The big bay doing a stutter step,
His head moving down, then up,
Like an oil well.

I swerved my car into the trees
As if I were a child down a slide--
Whump! Fast.
Into a parent's arms.

"Sit here," someone said.
Kindly,
A request.
I knew I was dead.
It was snowing outside--
Big exuberant flakes, coming down 
In the halo of the porch light beyond the windows...
I hadn't expected that.

Soft sounds came from inside the kitchen doorway.
A hall clock ticked,
Comfortingly.
I studied the dark richness of the old plank floor,
And soaked in the soothing gray
Of the walls.

Then,
A woman came and leaned in the light near the stairway.
"Hi," she said, and smiled.
She wore a ribbed turtleneck and jeans,
With antique silver rings on her fingers,
And her blond hair was the color of honey on biscuits.

"I'm dead," I told her, stupidly.
"I know," she said, and held out her hand. "Are you ready?"
"Sure," I heard myself say,
And I was.
________

photograph by Margaret Bednar

posted for Real Toads Sunday Challenge.

A Fable Of The Western Plains

Even in the beginning,
When Goddess laid Her fingers across the land and brought forth the prairie grass,
The West has had two-lane highways
And little diners by the road side.

In those times,
Horses had the power of speech,
And they said,
"The Man Who Knows Everything doesn't need a menu
Or a map.
He is usually divorced;
When he opens his mouth, it makes a muffled, dusty foomp,
Like blackboard erasers being knocked together."

"There is also the Woman Who Knows Everything;
Her children's feet are on fire for the sunset,
And they leave her alone, like a cricket inside a geode."

Still, there are things that even horses don't know.
For these, one must find a waitress, and ask her for the Secret Meaning Of Eggs.
Don't be shy--
She is the Queen of Honey & Jam,
The Voice of the Goddess in the everyday world.

"Eggs," (she will tell you,)
"Contain the dreams you had last night, but can't remember;
The obstacles you fought with.
The woman you've longed to kiss, and did, until your lips were deliciously sore."

"There is a way," (she will further reveal,)
"To retrieve these dreams,
But there is a special method for it."
Watch, as she yanks the checkered table cloth out in one quick motion,
Leaving your coffee cup and plate of pancakes
Undisturbed and serene
As a Western morning.

"So it is with dreams.
You can charm them out, like barn cats,
But you must do so without breaking the shell of the egg."
If you can do this,
You can find the Horizon,
Keep the knowing of the Dream Time,
And cross the border into
The Anasazi village
Of your own absent Joy.

______

for dverse poetics--borders.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pickelhaube

The girl in the pickelhaube hat
Wore the darkest of mascara
And a bob blacker than that.

Her legs were long and smooth,
Hands clasped at her knee
As she sat upon a stool for some quick photography.

Now, gone is the girl
And gone is old Berlin;
But her grand-niece has the pickelhaube,
And her easy smile, again.
______
for dverse Meeting The Bar--Imagism

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Creation Parable

Something startles the brides--
They stampede,
Hundreds of them.
Little flowers fall from their hair;
Carefully set tables are overturned,
Their white shoes are used as bludgeons
In jealous rage.

Grooms writhe within the wooden door frames, gnawing.
They appear industrious--
Though pale.
Though blind.
Will there be any threshold left, by sunset?
Can fire remove them?
What of their hats?
Their hearts?

Cheetah Girl
(a feral, using bark and dust to rub her soft skin tough)
Sits in the high place with Cheetah Mother,
She of the long claws.
They hold no truck with the tumult below--
The panicked brides.
The unwholesome grooms.

Cheetah Mother will teach her the loose-backed sprint,
The blood-mouth, the sated moment.
Cheetah Girl will make a deal with the stars,
A trick rolled in sorghum,
Her own black and yellow dream modeled after the one she sees.

At dawn, they will trot right down the throat of the bride herd,
Silly dazed cream puffs sitting blank and finished on the ground.
In the afternoon, they will watch the blaze and the old wood falling,
The last interlopers sent to hell in a spray of red sparks.

Cheetah Girl will know it is time to go.
There will be others after her,
But until then,
She has her own high-sun way of invoking God--
She will not see Cheetah Mother again,
But she has learned every lesson by heart
And will survive.
That will have to be enough...
That,
And the east African sun;
A red eye on the horizon,
Starting to rise.
________

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspiration

How can I explain what it means to me
That you are there?
Where does a vine begin?
What is the starting point
Of air?

I know a certain magick--
A way to make what cannot be,
Be.
But the thing is,
I cannot make sweet honey
Or sweet sting, either, truthfully,
Without hive--
Without bee.

I can capture the light
Any time of year;
Between window shade and window pane,
And hold it, dancing, there.
But I write these lines because you read them--
Create because you care--
That's as well as I can explain the vine
Or the starting point
Of air.
_____

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chamber Duet

See how I love you, darling,
Risking my favorite gray ankle boots to go skittering down the rotten-leaf path to the marsh,
Wearing my delicate little gloves and an old-lady cardigan against the chill damp?

Don't try to hand me any shit about how you love sailors now,
And how they float their bones up from salt water to this place,
To sing shanteys to you--
Here, where you percolate in the shallows like a Quadroon turned to wax.

My frail sweetheart,
Look at you, what's become of you.
There was a time when you could char the moon's pale edges simply by looking up;
Don't I know it better than anyone?
There was an age--was it sixteen?--
When a lack of you was a dearth I couldn't endure.
Now, if I move you at all,
It is with the edge of a cypress branch,
To roll you like a dismal log in a fire of rot.

We really cared once, you know it's true;
But these days we are sophisticated--
Everything must be de rigueur and scripted to within an inch of its life.
Go ahead, I release you for all time--
Be the anima for your little sailors as they dance out from sharks' mouths and surround you,
As stultifying as ease.

I will use tiny silver clippers to trim the soulful timbre from the cello,
Rendering it a balsa fiddle;
A repository of false notes and refined choking,
A waterside abomination,
Our love song evermore.
_____

for Monday Melting Week 2. I had to use the following words: timbre, derigueur, percolate, marsh, char, damp, frail, dearth, wax and anima.