Sunday, June 16, 2013

turn and burn

I dreamed of you last night.
It was an outdoor summer party,
with lanterns, and I was walking barefoot across the lawn, 
carrying my shoes and the same old broken heart.

In the far part of the yard, where the wax myrtles grew,
I found a path and walked down it,
wearing my light gray and white dress
as if it were undecided clouds over moonlight.

I have dreamed of you before, with my eyes wide open.
I have watched you choose tomatoes,
or swing into your Cherokee,
like clear water that calls you with its movement,
knowing it will never stay.

Finally, I came to a barn, its doors and loft open to the night.
The light was yellow on the hay, and as I walked in,
I caught the strong scent of horses and saddle oil.
There you were, with your back to me,
wearing Wranglers and a blue and white snap button western shirt.
Your hair was tied back loosely, 
like you'd done it in a hurry,
and you had roping gloves tucked into your belt.

In my dream, you turned,
and I knew what your wandering strays must feel like when you find them.
You dipped your head and then looked back up at me;
I recognized your old shyness, the sweetness that you hide.
Kissing you is all there is, really.
Being touched by you is all I care about.
Don't you know you are water to the willow,
and the whole reason I came here?

I said these things out loud, in my dream of you,
and maybe out loud as I slept, who knows?
Later, it rained, and I went into town wearing my brown cowgirl hat,
the one you gave me,
the one people always notice up here in Michigan.
"I like your hat," they say,
and I tell them, "Thanks. So do I."
Sometimes my voice catches when I do, in spite of myself,
and I quicken my stride,
though I'm not on my way any place, even though I'm in motion.
_______

for Artistic Interpretations With Margaret at Real Toads.

Image by Merri Melde, used with permission.

for you city slickers, "turn and burn" is a barrel racing thing. I love barrel racers.

I really do have a brown cowgirl hat that I wear whenever it rains.

 


18 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Even the clothes in this are alive, shifting things that are an extension of their wearers--there is a dream feel to the action, a slo-mo parade of non-events that yet have great meaning, phrases that are gestures, words that are purely visual, yet it feels much more real and conscious than your usual dream-state--as if it has taken on the qualities of waking life. Lovely, yearning, descriptive writing, Shay, and yet another beautiful love poem.

Sioux said...

"Undecided clouds...wax myrtles." Why do those--along with so many other phrases in this poem--move me so? THIS is the mark of a gifted writer--they're able to create phrases and images that SEEM ordinary but in reality are extraordinary.

A lovely poem, Shay. (Notice, I didn't call you VAL ;)

TALON said...

This brought back fun memories, Shay. I used to barrel race...though it's hard to imagine I was ever brave enough! :)

The scents, the sounds...and finding someone there...I loved this.

TexWisGirl said...

'undecided clouds over moonlight'... wow!

Helen said...

This brought tears to my eyes ... maybe it's Father's Day emotion ... or maybe it's this line ...

'and I knew what your wandering strays must feel like when you find them'

I fell in love with your poem this morning.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Don't you know you are water to the willow...

That says it all right there: and you have shown with infinite care are some people will always visit in dreamscape.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

This is such a beautiful, captivating poem.
Your lines, so many of them, were enchanting. I especially liked "wearing my light gray and white dress
as if it were undecided clouds over moonlight."
Thanks for sharing this dream-like gem!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, so many incredible lines, such a poignant story, told as only you can tell it. "dont you know you are water to the willow?".....and the catch in the voice at the end of the poem - says so much.

Margaret said...

One of my favorite kind of poems, a prosaic free verse (is that what it is called?)

"I quicken my stride, though I'm not on my way any place..." Misconceptions occur ALL the time based on people's actions! I have never seen Brokeback Mountain - need to order that from Netflix. I'm sure it is still harder to unveil the truth of same sex attraction out west...

The loneliness, the yearning, "same old broken heart" even in her dreams... (although I wondered if shoes shouldn't have been boots:)

Loved the video .. gorgeous horses, and so cool when the image of the woman and horse become the tree! Well done, Shay!

Thank you for playing so late! (and somehow, I KNEW you would chose this photograph! :)

grapeling said...

These lines, I keep reading and re-reading - their movement, and longing:

"like clear water that calls you with its movement,
knowing it will never stay."

~ M

gabrielle said...


“Don't you know you are water to the willow,
and the whole reason I came here?”

Lovely and haunting,
A waking dream

The pairing of your poem and Ballad of a Runaway Horse brought me to tears. I can taste the longing, the wildness, the wide open sky.


Daryl said...

another to read and re-read ...

Mama Zen said...

This is so fine in the details, so lovingly crafted that it is it's own little miracle. Love this.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

This was a delight to read. Loved your wordplay.

HermanTurnip said...

I really dig your straight-forward pieces. They contain little flourish, but are deep in honest feelings. I can't tear myself away from them. Thank you for this one!

Grandmother said...

I love your love poems and this one has such perfect lines, like knowing what your strays feel like, and kissing you is all there is, and you're water to the willow. It's detailed and exactly specific but familiar, recognizable. Lovely.

G-Man said...

Jaysus Queenie....
You sure can write your ass off.
Bellisimo!!!

myheartslovesongs.com said...

too many amazing lines to quote, beautiful imagery ~ especially you in your brown cowgirl hat {smile}

and a haunting musical accompaniment ~ made me want to cry. for some reason it reminded me of a barrel racer who hit his horse in the face with his fist because he (the rider) had done so poorly. that was the last rodeo i ever went to.